Saturated boggy ground in storm Desmond. Stryd footpod CIQ field crashed around 6 hours in hence no power and related data after that point and pace/distance switches to GPS
Brief trip report in Strava activity description:
Had been meaning to do this for a while, having walked it over two days in 2018, and then noticed last year that it featured on fastestknowntime.com, with a FKT of 9h 14m 34s. I can beat that I thought, and kept my fingers crossed that no one else would attempt it before I got the chance.
I scheduled it in for mid-Feb at the start of the year. The weekend before Storm Ciara hit. This weekend it was Storm Desmond's turn. Great, that'll make it a bit more exciting I thought!
The night before I was all excited with last minute preparations. A small attempt was made to dissuade me from the run, but I was looking forward too it to much to stop now.
The family drove me up to the start at Cold Ashton where, shortly after 9am and a bit of faffing putting on shoes and jacket in a stiff wind and desperately needing the loo I set off.
Descending down into the valley it became a little sheltered from the wind, but it rapidly became clear that the ground, already saturated from Storm Desmond was going to be in many places on this run a boggy mess. Thankfully I'd decided on the Mudclaws, though in places later on event these were sliding around in the mud.
Not long after the start the drizzle turned into light rain, which grdually got heavier, and the wind, which for the vast majority of the route I was running into, got progressively worse and more gusty. I'd started off in leggings and waterproof top over Byrne and t-shirt, it feeling quite mild, but I gradually became wetter and wetter, from perspiration or rain it was hard to tell. I had to stop taking photos as the screen became unresponsive to cold wet hands, and was slowing me down too much, especially as my polartec thin gloves were soddedn and hard to put on and off.
At Hinton Blewett I'd reached familiar ground, this being one of the check points on the Butcombe Trail Ultra. I realised I had been cold for a while at this point, but thought mainly it was just my hands. I switched to my Prism gloves, which took an age as my fingers had lost all strength and I could not pull them on (contemplated going in to the pub to ask someone to put my gloves on for me, but decided not too), Hands feeling slightly warmer off I went.
Passing above Compton Martin and sharing a quick hello with club member's who'd finished their hill repeats, the trees gave shelter from the wind, but was reminded by the loud crashing sound of tree coming down that this was not necessarily a safe place. Shortly after, after turning off the BTU route, I realised that I really was cold and desperately needed to put another layer on. 5 minutes of faffing and the Rotor Smock was on - why did I not do this earlier, it was a blessed relief to start to feel warm again. Lessons learned.
6 miles to go I texted the family to let them know where I was, back in my stomping ground, how long would it take, probably an hour I thought. The reply back said they'd meet me at the finish at 5:15pm.
I was a little bit wrong, it taking closer to an and a half. The bottom of Black Down felt far more rocky than I could recall. I normally run this in the other direction, but here I was, tripping over every exposed rock - I was clearly more tired than I thought, which I think was due to drop in core temperature earlier. It was also quite gloomy and starting to get dark - and I had not packed a head torch - even though I'd estimated 8 hours and a finish around 5pm, in my excitement the day before I completely forgot to pack one.
So it was in the blue hour that I finally reached the finish at Shipham, tired and relieved it was over. I hadn't met my goal of 8 hours, but given the headwinds and ground conditions underfoot I felt I had done well.
Possible Drizzle and Dangerously Windy, 10°C, Feels like 10°C, Humidity 94%, Wind 27mph from SSW - by Klimat.app