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" Seafarer's 24 Peaks Challenge"
Date & start time: Saturday 12 th July 2014, 11.40 am start (for me).
Location of Start : The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, Langdale, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 286 060 )
Places visited : Mickleden, Angle Tarn, Esk Hause, Esk Pike, Bowfell and down The Band.
Walk details : 10.8 mls, 3400 feet of ascent, 11hours (5.45 walking, 5.15 at Esk Hause).
Highest point : Bowfell summit, 2,960ft - 902m.
Walked with : Myself, my colleagues and 14 Challenge teams.
Weather : Fine to start, low cloud and rain forecasted from about 5pm.
[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]
" Over the weekend of 12-13 July, 14 teams from across the commercial maritime sector headed to the Lake District
to take part in what is known as one of the toughest fundraising and team-building challenges
that there are in the UK: the 24 Peaks Challenge." (quote: Seafarer's Web site)
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It's Saturday, it's 11.40 am and I'm at the Old Dungeon Ghyll at the start of a long working day,
but however long it will be for me, it has been a lot longer for some of the people I will meet
as they have been on the go since 6 am this morning.
Welcome to my view . . . of the Seafarer's 24 Peaks Challenge 2014.
The target time for me was 2 pm at Esk Hause as I was safety crew on the last leg of the event from Esk Hause
over Esk Pike, Bowfell and down to the end of Day One at Stool End Farm at the base of The Band.
It is quarter to twelve when Roy dropped me off . . . time to get a move on !
Middle Fell Farm as I pick up the path behind the hotel and head off towards Mickleden Valley.
Many hours from now I presume I'll be walking down The Band, the green ridge on the right.
The teams will have walked ten peaks . . . I will be joining them on the last two.
The gate to Mickleden.
Ahead is Bowfell and my route will take me up through the gap next to the flat topped Rosset Pike
To my left the impressive Pike O'Stickle with the scree leading down from the neolithic stone axe caves.
A larger walking party stops by the sheepfold for refreshments.
It was quite warm and a couple of folk were swimming in one of the pools in the river on the way up the valley.
Looking back down the two mile Mickleden Valley walk now behind me.
Mmm . . . the forecast mentioned that low cloud would envelope the western Lake District by mid-afternoon.
Let's hope the cloud setting in over Bowfell was not the cold front arriving early.
The Rossett Ghyll path as it zig-zags up the fell side.
It is a well pitched path and easy to follow.
Climbing fast but moving slowly.
It is a humid day and the warm weather calls for occasional (some could say frequent) relaxation stops.
There's always one more turn and, as you near the top,
always one more false summit before the hause is reached.
I pass, am passed by several folk on the way, this group of three on the way down after an early start.
[ The slower pace on the steep climb set my expected arrival time back beyond two pm . . . so no time to hang about.]
A short drop down to Angle Tarn before heading for Great End.
The guy in the photo here asked if the summit ahead was Scafell Pike and was this the right way ?
When asked, he said he had no map but was just following the path, hoping to follow everyone else to the summit.
He had reasonable clothing but had no idea of the distance or the nature of the ground he would be walking over.
I let him know the poor weather forecast to which he replied "Well I better get going a bit faster then". . . it takes all sorts.
Looking back at Angle Tarn with Hanging Knotts and Bowfell behind.
The familiar cross shaped shelter at the lower part of Esk Hause.
Confusingly there are effectively two Esk Hauses, two areas of low ground between the fells, that also mark the crossing points between valleys.
The lower east / west crossing carries the path I've just walked up which joins Langdale to Wasdale, the higher one (where I'll be based)
sits two hundred yards south and a hundred feet higher on the north / south crossing between Borrowdale and Eskdale.
It is a major cross roads on the fells and a busy spot on a day like today.
Half past two now and the first of the Seafarer teams are through and on their way up Esk Pike.
Zooming in, four members of "Team Aguero" are making good progress up towards their ninth summit of the day.
Time passes, so do Team Robben, Draxler and Ramires.
In between times I have the chance to stretch my legs a little and look around at the view.
The fell run turns out to be "The Wasdale Horseshoe"
This lady competitor seems to be enjoying her run, breaking into a faster pace as she reaches flatter ground.
[ Their route . . . Whin Rigg, Seatallan, Pillar, Great Gable, Esk Hause Shelter, Scafell Pike, Lingmell Nose Wall, finish back at Brackenclose.]
[ Race record (1982) held by Billy Bland in an incredible 3 hours 25 minutes.]
Down below me is Sprinkling Tarn and a second un-named tarn on Seathwaite Fell behind.
In the distance a hazy view of Skiddaw and Derwent Water.
I thought I had taken a picture of Allen Crags in the sunshine without people
but there is one on the lower path after all . . . I said it was busy up here.
The Langdale Pikes . . . the apparent middle one is Pike O'Stickle that I photographed earlier.
The others are Harrison Stickle (left) and Loft Crag.
More of our teams and more walkers come and go, Sometimes it is difficult to tell one from the other.
The plan is to talk to and log each of the Seafarer teams as they walk through my position.
That early fell-top mist cleared but there is a definite change in the weather on the way.
Time to put up a small shelter for myself . . . this can be a very exposed spot on a rough day.
A quick panorama before the fine weather goes.
Time moves on and fell runners and walkers come and go . . . this one catches his breath after the climb up from the Esk Hause shelter checkpoint.
That's my little shelter and from the shape of it, the wind had started to increase already.
3.45 pm and the cloud has started to drift in over Great Gable.
The last teams over that summit may have not had the view they were hoping for.
An hour later and the weather had taken a turn for the worse . . . the weather forecast was turning out to be correct.
Teams Oscar and Sneijder had requested to miss out the high summits which, given the conditions, was quite reasonable.
They arrived via the Sprinkling Tarn path and after a chat, headed directly for the finish line accompanied by Phil, husband of one
of the competitors, who had arrived at Esk Hause to offer encouragement, extra drinks and a Chinese newspaper (?).
My colleague Malcolm who had walked up with them, stayed on at the shelter for a while to see how the other teams were progressing.
He would walk out via Seathwaite if anyone needed to cut their day short for any reason.
The weather was definitely getting poorer . . .
. . . even the sheep had to put their lights on !
The final teams arrive at our location . . . here two members from Muller had joined forces with the original six from the Van Persie team.
While they has a drink and a bite to eat, I had time to take down the shelter and get prepared to walk out with them.
All the six guys and two girls were eager to complete the course . . . so it would be a walk over Esk Pike and Bowfell in the mist to end the day.
Passing the summit of Esk Pike . . . with another pause to gather everyone together and check we hadn't lost anyone.
The visibility up here, as you can see, was down to 30 to 40 yards at best.
Together on Bowfell, their tenth summit of the day . . . these guys are tired but happy after today's big challenge.
Photo by my colleague Roy, who has been sitting on Bowfell and checking through the teams at his location.
Downhill all the way now . . . just the walk out down The Band to finish.
Given the conditions, photos opportunities were a bit limited to say the least
but I did manage to gather Roy and the team for a final photo at the seat in the wall as we left the open fell.
The farm was in sight . . . today's end close at hand now . . . and we could almost hear the cheers and smell the coffee.
- - - o o o - - -
A great effort by all fourteen teams.
Not everyone completed every summit, but given the nature of the walk and the conditions later in the day everyone did brilliantly.
Team Van Persie started their walk in Buttermere seventeen hours ago . . . climbing ten major peaks in their long day.
Tomorrow they plan to walk fourteen more summits . . . now that's what I really call a challenge.
- - - o o o - - -
Since doing the walk I have been in touch with Eva from the Van Persie team in Germany
and received some of their photos from earlier in the day.
Here is their lake District from a Hamburg point of view . . .
Dawn on Saturday 12th as the teams look up at the first morning rays of the sun
lighting up the top of the High Stile Ridge.
On the summit they meet up with my colleague John camped out in his sleeping bag on the top of the ridge.
Looks like lunch on Great Gable was spot on.
Topping out on the big one ~ Scafell Pike.
Van Persie Team on top of the world.
A final shot of their wonderful walk over Fairfield and the Helvellyn Range, here looking down from Fairfield at Grisedale Tarn and Seat Sandal.
High Stile and the high fells from yesterday were mere dots on the distant horizon
but hopefully indelible memories in their minds.
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For final results and details of everyone's fundraising success check out the Seafarer's web site
A big thank you to Eva for the additional Van Persie (Schulte Group, Hamburg) team photos that have been added to this page.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with my Nikon P520 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . admiration for the efforts of those taking part.
Previous event - 10th July 2014 - Loweswater Ladies Summer Outing
A previous time up here - 7th September 2013 - 24 Peaks ~ High Stile to Gable 2013
Next walk - 17th July 2014 - Loweswater and High Nook