Monday, 18 March 2013

Falcon Flyer - 16th March 2013

The first of the three annual challenge events hosted by the Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team to help towards the essential fund raising for this vital service.

Short route for us today; just the 16 mile out and back from Ravenscar into the North Yorkshire Moors - forfeiting the extra four mile loop that would have taken us down to Boggle Hole, preferring instead the direct return over the top from Jugger Howe - the right decision?

The first bit, hobbling up the Moorland Road towards Three Lords` Stones and we joined the first "path" of the day ... for the remainder of this narrative, for "path" read "stream" ... which guided us down through Pye Rigg Plantation to cross the A171 Scarborough Road and continue towards Harwood Dale: Following further "paths"...

At the bottom of Broadlands Slack I turned left down the farm track. Big mistake, this got deeper and deeper rendering forward movement ridiculous. Eventually an actual tarmac road brought some sanity to my route selection but we had lost time and places ...

... and with snows on the horizon, further trouble was portended.

... And once out on the moors, heading round brown Hill and up towards the Burn Howe checkpoint, atop the high point of the turn, then the weather was chucked at us in buckets. With sleet and snow driving into our faces, it made the uphill climb through snowdrifts, clay clogged "paths" and waterways nearly impossible; I have no idea how the decent runners make such speedy headway out here?

It may look nothing from the comfy chair, but this section to the duck pond was horrid - just trying to get a decent purchase was difficult - so very relieved to make the turn east and the long downhill to Jugger beck couldn't come soon enough. The problem as "runners" reduced to a helpless shuffle is one of temperature control and with the elements being flung in and hat, gloves, hands and feet all frozen it was a pleasure to leave the tops - what this would have been like without waterproofs ...

so a very welcome sight of the Mountain Rescue Landrover ...

... before a final push onwards towards the final checkpoint ... "Won't you just turn this nab of heath?"

to see the blue tent of the checkpoint with the flapjacks, jaffa cakes and the samovar on the go!.

Like many Lyke Wake Races before, the crossing of the A171 has signified the end of the adventure. Todays adventure was quite different and a devilish introduction to Winter moorland running challenges for Michelle. I'm usually around these parts in the Summer when it's different ... honest!.

Trying to run through frozen streams and snow drifts uphill into the teeth of a gale with no sound footing to be found at any price is light years away from fair weather road running and it asks the question of everyone that has a go. Emotionally, it pulls the mind: There is no escape from the track, the only way is forward and although a retirement can be had at any checkpoint you wish to pick, then somehow failure isn't in the vocabulary ...a DNF is reserved for a serious event either weather or health. Tears of frustration simply are not enough.

So, looking back as I always do at this point, its bittersweet to see the clouds break and realise that all that anguish probably covered all of a few miles in the middle section where the tempest lived.

Then the quiet of the view down into Ravenscar and Robin Hoods Bay once we're over the crest of the final hill heading down through the bare field on the final mile ...

... and then all of a sudden, my camera steamed up as we cruised back into the hall ... 3 hours 59 minutes after the kick off, and at least we were greeted by the friendly faces keeping time and tabs on us all!

Not sure whether I should say thanks to the team for their support or this time the onus is on them for giving us a mini Fimbulwinter around mile 9 - or was it just the rubbish surface to try and run over up to Burn Howe? can't remember now .... storm in a teacup?

As ever, the Pie `n` Peas render the travails historical and immediately hit the spot. Three cheers for the cakes and endless tea. Its always worth that ... no doubt I shall return, once I've dried out.



  1. A big well done just for turning up. Must of missed somehow. Legs have just about recovered. See you on another trail. Joe

  2. Joe! ... ya gave me the slip then :) .... if not before then it's Lyke Wake? Well done on the finish.