We also came to toast my Dad's birthday at his cairn near the top of Crowden Tower, and so had three hours good slogging over Kinder and then the added pleasure of a walk back up to the top after getting changed at the race HQ in Hayfield to drink a beer or two in honour of the late James Henry Bernard Meredith (aka The Cougar).
The Trial takes the same format but different course each year and consists of:
- Andy Howie makes a list of all the most leg knackering terrain he can think of: Bogs, Heather, Scree, Tussocks, River crossings, Steep rocky hillsides.
- A.H then wanders around Kinder with said tick list attempting to find suitable areas.
- A.H then arranges orienteering clip controls in a roughly circular route around the Western edge of Kinder and throws in a few difficult route choices to make things interesting whilst incorporating previously mentioned leg knackering terrain. (shall I go up and along the path because it's easier ground to run over?, or shall I take the direct route and scramble over this boulder strewn hillside with the nasty drop off the edge? ...I'll probably just follow everyone else.)
- Maps of said controls are then printed off and all entrants are given a start time, each at 30 second intervals with 164 starters this year. 2 mins before start runners present themselves at the desk at the scout hut in Hayfield, receive their map, and see the route for the first time. Then they're off; deciphering the map with compass in hand, winding through the streets of Hayfield (watch that lamp-post!) to find the quickest way up into the mists of Kinder and the first clip control.
- We stagger hither and thither attempting to find the best route between checkpoints and trying to not look as though we're just following everyone else. Unfortunately no mist this year. (It's more fun in the mist as there's more map work to be done. This means the slower runners who are good map readers can overtake those quick runners who go bounding off over the heather for a 1/2 mile in the wrong direction because they can't read the map. In mist, people don't end up in big trains stretched out across the moors and you have to work harder to find your own way - which can be advantageous to those of us of the 'diesel powered' persuasion).
- Runners return victorious to Hayfield after visiting all checkpoints on the map - hideous knock-kneed crap-encrusted spectacles hobbling through the streets in snot streaked lime and mauve lycra (but happy).
- Eat soup drink tea (cheers Col) say thanks go home.
I forgot to take photos but here's a pic of the map which the runners are only allowed to see 2 mins before the off.
Jol and I came in about halfway in 3hr 01.
Then we headed off up to Crowden tower.