Thursday, 20 September 2018

25th Anniversary Challenge - Day 4

Despite strong overnight winds on top of Hartside Summit I had a reasonable sleep. Chappie was in a good sheltered position and it was fairly quiet. The temperature of recent days is definitely when sleeping inside is most comfortable. It’s probably the most sleep I’ve had in Chappie over consecutive nights. 

Day four of the 25th Anniversary Challenge began with a knock on Chappie’s door. I opened up to be greeted by a man called Steven holding a box. To my amazement he told me that his wife, Adele, had been following the journey online and had cooked sausage sandwiches for me. What another brilliantly kind start to the day! 

As I ate the sandwiches, I noticed a hand written note on the enclosed napkin. What a nice touch. 

I started running down from Hartside Summit just before 0830. The wind was the strongest I’d encountered with Chappie but it was very stable and I felt quite safe. 

I arrived at the expected road closure and made my way down into the maze of country lanes to my right. 

I could see PC Tony up ahead just after the two mile point. He’d brought me some coffee and I thanked him for his online donation made the day before. 

We chatted about the fire at Hartside Cafe and the oncoming Storm Ali. We laughed that it was very aptly named! 

The rain started at mile 4 as I tried to navigate what I thought was the most efficient route to Penrith. The route was very undulating with some challenging climbs. 

I got chatting to some cyclists who had left Penrith earlier on. I warned them that the wind was strong near the summit behind. Some of their party had abandoned the ride and had been taken to Nenthead which was their final destination. 

I described the route ahead for them and wished them luck. I later found out via the Run Geordie Run Facebook page that they had reached their destination safely albeit with a few cuts and scrapes. Three out of their party of five were blown off their bikes. 

A little further down the road a runner called Lucy stopped and asked where I was heading. I have her a brief overview of my journey around the world and with a few kind words of encouragement from her I was on my way again. 

I reached the bridge at Langwathby after 13 miles. The wind dropped and all of a sudden I found myself running in glorious sunshine. The bridge was one of three during the day where I had to sprint to the other side. 

The sunshine lasted all of 20 minutes and the wind picked up considerably. Debris started to fly everywhere and the passing traffic added to this by driving straight over it. 

It seemed a long old slog to Penrith and I was very relieved to reach the junction with the A66 at the 17.5 mile point. I crossed the busy roundabout and descended into Eamont Bridge. 

I made it over the river Eamont just before the traffic lights changed. It was a steep incline but these bursts of pace helped to keep my body temperature up. 

As I turned towards Pooley Bridge there was further evidence of Storm Ali’s destructive powers. 

The wind speed increased and I had to really fight to maintain the pace. 

Just before I reached Pooley Bridge a kind lady threw some money into Chappie’s basket. I counted it later on and paid it in to

There was another bridge to sprint over at the 22.5 mile point and I was now running alongside Ullswater. 

There were branches strewn everywhere and the water was lapping up onto the road in places. 

I eventually turned towards the campsite which was a 2 mile climb in a direction away from Ullswater. It dawned on me at this point just how good I felt considering I’d ran 24 miles into a headwind. 

I felt very hungry as I dragged Chappie up the hill. I decided to munch on some chocolate eclairs that I’d been given the day before. 

I reached the camp site after 26 miles just before 5.30 pm. It was without doubt one of the most difficult days I’d ever had running with Chappie. 

I checked in to the campsite and headed to the bar for a pint. There was a power cut on the site and the place was lit by candlelight. 

I ordered myself a pint (imagine the Hobbits in the Prancing Pony) and got talking to a couple called Jacquie and Jason. 

We talked about both my adventures and theirs. I was interested to hear about the places that they’d cycled and their own fundraising work. It was a proper adventurer’s conversation and I think everyone was in their element. 

I retired for the night happy with a good job done over the last 4 days. 90 miles of very tough running had proven to be a challenge fitting enough to celebrate 25 years of fundraising. An unexpected £112.50 had been raised for St. Benedict’s Hospice too which is fantastic. 

There is now the small matter of a few days of walking around Ullswater before heading back home via St. Benedict’s Hospice starting at the weekend. 

There’s approximately 120 miles left to run. There is a lot of climbing left to do. I’m looking forward to bringing this particular challenge to a successful end and getting as close as possible to my fundraising target of £50,000 for the current campaign. 

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