Poor weather but an improving forecast was the prediction for the day and the first part was certainly correct. Eventually the rain stopped and the sun almost appeared but visibility remained poor on all the tops, all day. I wasn’t sure about the likelihood of improving weather and so I left my camera in the car and that turned out to be a very good decision indeed.
A tough old day it turned out to be, at least for Albert and I. Poor visibility is our excuse for not contouring High Raise and, anyway, there is a great descending trod from near the top. One way or another we were considerably slower to Angle Tarn than last year which meant the cut-off at Cockley Beck was going to be a real challenge. We had little idea just how tight this would turn out to be. Usually when a check-point closes, at the cut-off time, you can’t “arrive” and are timed out – here when the check-point closes you can’t leave. As we reached the road above the check-point two marshals told us the check-point would close in about 5 minutes and as we ran into it we were told 2 minutes, “You must leave within the next two minutes!” No misunderstandings about what was required here. Special thanks are due to the marshals who thrust tea, sandwiches and bananas at us before hurrying us out and on our way. Had I been taking photos on the way round we wouldn’t have had the two minutes, I am sure.
Back up into the low cloud and on our way to Coniston Old Man we found our pairs wandering around lost and although we tried a couple of other times to go seriously wrong we failed each time and finished in about eleven and a half hours to earn our t-shirts.
Huge thanks to Chris Lloyd as well as all the marshals and everyone else involved in making the Old County Top 2013 happen. People think we do it for the t-shirts – we don’t, it is Arthur’s legendary soup that makes it all worthwhile – thanks Arthur.