Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Day 17 review - Thunder and lightning cuts the day short.

The sun was beating down at the start of day 17 in Middleton-in-teesdale. My mate, Mark Huck, was the latest to join the road side support crew and he would be the lucky one who would be fetching and carrying for me for the next 2 days.

I felt very tired after yesterday's effort on the Pennine Challenge route and ultimately found this day far more difficult than I had expected.

Today's route was one long climb for 10 miles then it sloped off after that.

The run got off to a disastrous start when I was, all of a sudden, surrounded by hundreds of flies. I was already uncomfortable because of the heat and this just made it 100 times worse.

I called Mark Huck back in order to get some insect repellent and I coated myself with the stuff at the 2 mile point. Unfortunately, I could feel that I'd already taken a load of bites by this point.

I was attacked by even more flies until the 6 mile point and I felt that the jungle strength insect repellent did very little to deter them. These were clearly County Durham's hardest flies and far superior than anything I'd been attacked by in Scotland. I even tried using an old branch at one point in an attempt to get rid of them.

All of this extra effort left me completely breathless and I'd done far more twisting and turning than my body would have comfortably liked.

I arrived at the 8 mile banana stop and could see some very dark clouds in the distance around the Kirkby Stephen area. I thought I could also hear thunder but wasn't sure if it was one of the nearby MOD shooting ranges.

I soon pressed on again and eventually arrived at the 1612ft summit which was the 2nd highest point on the run so far. It was at this point that I could see clearly the thunder and lightning in the valley ahead.

I was so tired by the time I got to Brough and I was quite pleased to see that the weather ahead hadn't changed. I agreed with Mark that it would be unsafe to continue.

While on our way to the Tranna Hill B&B in Newbiggin-on-Lune I couldn't believe how bad the weather actually was. There were numerous flash floods on the way and conditions were very dangerous indeed. The decision to stop was a wise one indeed.

Mark and I got some bait in a local pub; the Black Swan in Ravenstonedale. The neighbouring pub, the Kings Head, was on the local news later that night as it had been flooded.

All in all this had been an exhausting day considering I'd only managed 14 miles. At least I'd got over the major climbs on the Pennines over the last 2 days. These had been hills that I had rarely seen the likes of in Scotland. I'm now only 10 miles ahead of the daily average schedule. Any more slippage and I just might have to make use of the contingency day.