The recce week that wasn’t…

01 April 2015

Well, sadly I’m writing this report earlier than I expected to, and, as you can guess from the title, things didn’t quite go to plan!

I arrived at the campsite (Rydal Mount, very nice, will definitely visit again) Saturday lunchtime as planned - in the middle of heavy rain (definitely not planned!). I’d been checking the forecast obsessively for the last few days, and at no point had it said anything other than heavy rain, basically for the entire week I was due to be in the Lakes. Never mind, I have all the kit, and whilst running/trudging through constant downpours for 4 plus hours a day isn’t exactly fun, coming back to a nice dry tent, hot shower in the lovely shower block, then off for a nice meal and a pint of real ale would soon ease the suffering - at least until the next morning. In a (slight) break in the weather I rushed to get my tent up, and my kit etc inside. It wasn’t raining too hard at that point, so things didn’t get more than slightly damp, and of course, as soon as I finished the rain actually stopped. Taking advantage of the lull I quickly got changed and headed out for my first run of the week, from the campsite itself to hook up to the end of the Ultimate Trails 110k Ultra route that I’m competing in mid June. The route made sense, the views were stunning (of course) and I had a great run. I also managed to remain dry until about a mile from the campsite. Very quickly I donned my new waterproof (thank you Berghaus), a perfect fit, and perfectly waterproof, so I returned to my tent dry, warm and happy that the first run had gone well.

Unfortunately all those good feelings left rapidly when I got into the tent and realised there was water on the groundsheet - water that hadn’t been there when I left…

Now, the tent I was in (I have a few) was an “old faithful”. It’s kept me warm and dry through heavy snowfall in the Peak District, through storms on previous visits to the Lakes. In short, it’s a tent you put up, and forget about until you take it down. Sadly the important word in “old faithful” was the “old” - on checking all of the taped seams were no longer taped, in fact I could clearly see the tape peeling off…and letting water in! This was obviously not good news, especially as the rain was getting heavier, and the forecast wasn’t improving. Still, I was hungry, so I headed to Keswick to find food, and to have a think.

The night in the tent didn’t improve things. Gale force winds shook the tent all over (unfortunately I was on one of the few exposed pitches at the site) and I could see water coming in at every seam. Admittedly it wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to be making things damp…

The next morning it was still raining - so I headed back to the outdoors mecca that is Keswick to see if there were any solutions. In short, the answer was no! There was one product that may have extended the life of the tent for a few months, but it had to be applied to a perfectly dry tent, and allowed to dry - not much chance of that the way it was still raining! So, a new pair of boots (I still like to hike sometimes), a couple of books and a nice lunch later I’d made up my mind - time to head home. If the forecast had been for dry weather for the rest of the week I could have stayed, but getting wet on every run, then coming back to an increasingly damp tent and kit really didn’t hold much appeal. Full credit to the Berghaus Vapourlight Hyper Smock for keeping me perfectly dry during it’s (admittedly short) test - and a sad farewell to my tent after all these years.

So, the rest of this week is being spent running locally or just down the road in the Peak District. The mileage won’t be quite as high, and the recce’s aren’t happening so I’ll be running blind - but then I’ve not really recce’d any of my previous races, and some of those have gone ok! On the plus side, I’m still enjoying my week off work, and I’ve now got a lot more time to devote to testing the new Garmin fenix3 that Garmin UK have kindly sent me - review to follow soon.

Rydal Water
Very near the start of the ultra

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Simon Edwards

Simon Edwards

I’m a runner, a reader, a writer, a listener, a photographer… all of those are elements of me. I run because I can cover more ground than if I walk, I can see what’s around the next corner – and the one after that. I run for the challenge of going further, going faster, becoming stronger. I run against myself, against the mind and body that want me to quit when it gets hard, when tiredness sets in.

I read, write, listen, make photographs to document what I see, to learn more about my world, to create new thoughts, to challenge myself further, to give my running further meaning.

  • Location: Derbyshire
  • Event entered: Ultra Trail Marathon
  • Favourite outdoor activity: Trail Running
  • Favourite cake: Cheese Scone (Okay, I know it's technically not a cake... Ginger Parkin if it HAS to be a cake)
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