The Trigger 2019. Rain, and drizzle, and wind, and clag, and wet, and sodden, and 24 miles, and 5k feet of climb, and Gareth Evans.
Looking back yesterday’s race was challenging and I’m pleased to have completed it. The overall weather was pants to be honest, with drizzle most of the way, clag creating limited visibility, and a very sodden ground underfoot making for hard going, with rivers also in flood.
The hardest element was the wind which may have been 50/60mph in places, and for a lot of the running was completely in your face. The climb out of Red Clough to the Kinder Plateau was one of the hardest climbs ever for me as the wind pushed you back with footwork on the trods being all over the show as you were buffeted by gusts.
The weather overall was strange, for the most part awful, but interspersed with moments of clarity (see photo below) to then soon be lost to clag.
Navigation was important after Lawrence Edge with the Bleaklow Plain being a right old fug. Visibility must have been down to 20 metres in what is a bugger to navigate in clear weather. Compass in hand we aimed for the Pennine Way, which would take us to the Wain Stones, and from there to High Shelf Stones Trig on Shelf Moor. Leap frogging had to be used and we were pleased as Punch to be bang on with the Nav’. It is at this point I’d like to say a big thank you to the poor sods of Glossop Mountain Rescue manning checkpoints and turning points such as Wain Stones, in blistering wind and rain - they must have been frozen. There were some other hardy (foolhardy?) folks also up there as we passed people heading north completing the Spine race; you really did feel for them.
At the Downfall I have seen the waterfall many times blown backwards up the river, but never with such ferocity as yesterday; if you were not wet by then you certainly were at this point as you became drenched by the spray from the waterfall being funneled by wind.
I'd decided to run with Gareth Evans for some company and am very glad I did as we pushed each other along and kept each other company. Meeting us part way round with encouragement was Ryan Townrow armed with Poppy at the Snake Pass crossing.
(I initially saw Ryan hanging out of van on the Holmfirth Road at “Snoopy’s” yelling “Cobbers” adorned with a superb mustache. I’ve now renamed him Magnum in homage to Tom Selleck from childhood days.)
At the finish we were met by Gareth’s family to cheers, which brought a close a tough old day. Would I do it again? Yes, and I can see why people like the race and it sells out. It is a classic fell race. Beautiful scenery with you pitted against the elements; it challenges you to the point of being proud when you have finished.