The Lakeland 5 Day 1998 James Head Day 1 Witherslack What a bright sunny day we had to begin the

Lakes 5 day, somewhere, someone must have been laughing. Nearly all of the events were characterised by lengthy walks to the start so you had plenty of time to talk to fellow Orienteer’s along the way. Some people mentioned running on this area several years ago as part of the JK but they weren’t letting out much information. Getting off to a rocky start my first control on M21S involved a very steep descent down the side of a quarry and whilst I was slowly making my way down Paul Glanville seemed to bounce along behind me. “Why didn’t you use the path” he asked me later. The long courses followed a figure of eight guiding us through the woodland towards the very technical north end of the map before coming back across the open heathland on top. The fact that not all the crossing points were overprinted on the maps was commented on afterwards by several competitors. The planners have since said that this was to prevent people from straying in to the out of bounds areas, of which not all were overprinted on the map. This did cause some confusion and I myself nearly ran straight through the start on the way back. Although the course was rather long there were some very nice technical areas which were well used by the planners. In the evening, Brendon and Caedmon Gould, together with Troy Hargreaves managed to amuse themselves by building a dam across the river running through the campsite. This might seem like a trivial piece of information until you learn of what was to occur the next morning…. The Flood I was woken up at five-thirty by the sound of rain hitting my tent which continued unabated for the rest of the morning. After having breakfast and hearing that the start times had been put back for two hours I sat in my car and began to read a book, totally oblivious to the chaos that was occurring around me. Several parts of the field were by now covered by standing water but I wasn’t too concerned since I had pitched my tent on a small rise. At around tenfifteen it seems that the camp site organisers began to alert campers to the danger of the rapidly rising river level and instructed people to leave the site and pass on the message by word of mouth. This word of mouth never reached myself until eleven when I hurriedly gathered up most of my stuff except for the flysheet - which was in danger of being swept away - and drove out. The river, which had been a trickle the day before was now within a foot of bursting it’s banks which it did minutes later. I joined the throng of sightseers that had gathered to watch as the campsite disappeared leaving only the top of a single large brown tent exposed above the waterline. During the afternoon, once the rain had stopped the water began to drain away from the campsite revealing a few mangled tents and in one case, a large metal tent pole that had been bent into a right angle, twice! Day 2 Silver How Amazingly we were allowed back onto the campsite where I was reunited with the flysheet of my tent. Unfortunately however the poles were broken in three places so it looked a very pitiful sight when erected to dry off. It was a long slog uphill to the start but the organisers had thoughtfully placed a couple of portaloos on the route. This rather spoiled the view from the kitchen window of the holiday cottage Rosemary was staying in though!

The Silver How map covered an entirely open area of fell with no trace of woodland so the mapper had decided not to use the more normal pale orange colour for ‘rough open’ but had instead left it as all white with exception of the juniper bushes. Some people seemed to think that this made things easier for them but I myself didn’t notice any difference. The map did however show the Dungeon Ghyll Hotel so if you felt a little thirsty out on the run…… After the previous days excitement the course seemed a little uneventful really.

Day 3 Lingmoor Lingmoor included another lengthy uphill walk to the start, this time however on the other side of the valley. Weatherwise it was an unusual type of day, for the most part sunny but with several periods of intermittent rain and sometimes quite windy, particularly as the long courses negotiated the steep sides of the valley. The rough open moorland was quite rocky in places and the very high bracken also helped to make the courses more difficult by hiding several controls, especially on the south facing slopes. Most of the courses however did seem so suffer from one major flaw, in order to get people down from the moorland and into the woods the planners had placed a crossing point at the north end of a long downhill wall which meant competitors had to negotiate an 85 metre descent along the edge of the wall to get to the next crossing point. Any route diagonally down the hillside was blocked by large crags. Over the course of the event this route turned very dangerous as the trodden bracken became slippery and the earth began to erode away. This resulted in a Sea King rescue helicopter being scrambled to aid one injured female competitor. As Jill Green pointed out later, all the planners had to do was move the first crossing point 85m downhill so that competitors would use the path on the western side of the wall, or come down diagonally across the hill side. The change from open to wood confused some but thankfully I managed to get through quickly. I had still taken the longest amount of time I have ever done though - three hours and most of this had been on the previously mentioned descent. Day 4 Blae Rigg On arriving we found out that the starts had been put back two hours giving us plenty of time to socialise with other Devon and Kerno members in the assembly area over mugs of Wilf’s coffee. Those running from the red start had the furthest to go today, a walk of an hour and fifteen minutes! I decided to cut out controls 2 to 5 so that the Greens would not be waiting an age for my return so I was rather surprised to see that I am actually recorded in the results as completing the course in 90 minutes and have not been put down as retired! Those doing the long course had the added bonus of being able to see a spectacular rainbow over Easedale Tarn, if you weren’t concentrating too much on your course that is. Much of the course seemed to be straightforward until the last control where I somehow managed to aim off a little too much to the right and ended up 400m from the control but quickly relocated. Day 5 Grizedale Forest I like forests, especially very big ones with lots of features that are very runnable so I thought I’d like Grizedale Forest. Well the first half - along the eastern slopes - was okay and I was going slightly faster then usual but after we had crossed an area of rough open in the centre of the map the forest changed from being ‘nice’ to something resembling Fernworthy at last years Gallopen only ten times worst. The forest got a little better before the end although the planner decided to bring us back along what appeared to be the most rocky and treacherous parts of the forest. The Lakeland 5 day had been more physically demanding then any other multiday event I had been on and the organisation had appeared to be as ‘slick’ although the

all the finish’s had been very low key and seemed to run smoothly on very low manpower, especially when you consider how far away some of them had been from the road. One last thought, if any of you saw Geraldine Gould hanging around Tory Brook with a ruler in hand at the Caddihoe Chase you now know why!