It’s that time again.
Here are my previous reports (there are other non blog reports going back a lot further):
Robert and I started doing this walk following my cruciate ligament replacement in 1996. Before that, I had been walking the 55 mile ‘Bogle Stroll’ (Manchester Uni Rag Walk) since 1968. After the surgery I decided not to attempt distances of more than 26 (ish) miles for fear of injury.
But this year Ken was over from Canada again, and was planning to run the longer 38 mile route that beat him last year. After much debate I decided to do the long route, but as a walker. This meant I could start two hours before Ken, who would no doubt pass me at some point during the day. Walkers are strictly forbidden from running.
About 20 to 30 participants gathered for the usual ‘you are not allowed to run’ briefing at Sowerby Bridge Cricket Club before our 7 am start.
A couple of chaps set off at a really cracking pace. I think the rest of us would have had to run to keep up with them. Then there were about nine of us – a team of four, a couple of friends, and three random blokes of whom I was one, who slowly drew ahead of the other walkers. We weren’t deliberately staying together, but the relatively modest pace compared with my usual pace for the shorter course seemed to suit everyone. There’s no point in stretching out too much when you have 38 miles to cover.
I paused at the third checkpoint to take the top picture of Ryburn Reservoir, and this snap of Andy, Tom and Noel crossing the dam.
Two checkpoints later, and we were crossing the M62 footbridge. Noel would have been striding off ahead – he has very long legs – but Tom’s shorter legs saw him walking at a speed very similar to mine. Andy is in the background, as he remained for much of the day, but he kept us in sight and the clack of his walking poles was often in evidence.
After ambling with care over the slippery rocks of Blackstone Edge, we reached the White House checkpoint just as it started raining. Waterproofs were donned and sandwiches were scoffed. The poor quality of this year’s photos can be attributed to my using the Samsung S5’s camera, from within a waterproof bag. The next picture shows R to L, Andy, Tom, Noel and Danny, with the checkpoint team. Danny was walking in heavy boots and gaiters and was doing well to keep up with those of us wearing lighter footwear.
From the White House, we set off on a long loop to rejoin the shorter route at Lumbutts, passing the summit of Freeholds Top on the way.
Freeholds Top is about half way. I took no further photos until the next one, showing me with Tom and Noel after finishing. Perhaps we were getting tired, and it was raining for a good couple of hours. But looking at the splits from my GPS download, we walked the second half of the route slightly faster than the first half, despite spending a bit longer at each checkpoint. So the relatively leisurely pace at the start left us with the energy to maintain that pace for the entire walk, which saw seven of us finish in 10 hours 36 minutes. The team of four from East Lancs LDWA (they were practising for a 100 mile LDWA walk) had been reduced to three as one of their number had felt unwell, and Danny’s boots just lost their momentum up the last hill to Nab End, leaving him to finish about ten minutes adrift.
I’d been expecting to see Ken come jogging past, but there was no sign of him. He finished long after most of us had gone home, at around 8 pm, in a shade over 11 hours. Anyway, this year he did manage to avoid being timed out before the finish, so Well Done Ken.
Here’s our route – 61 km with 2000 metres ascent, taking 10 hours and 36 minutes. No after effects thanks to the relatively leisurely pace.
The full results are here.
The 40th Calderdale Hike will be held on a Saturday in April 2018.