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" Invesco Perpetual Lakes Challenge ~ Helvellyn ~ "
Date & start time: Saturday 13th August 2014, 7 am start.
Location of Start : Near the Traveller's Rest, Patterdale, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 382 170 )
Places visited : Greenside Mine, Raise, Whiteside, Lesser Man, Helvellyn, Nethermost, Dollywagon and back via the tarn and Grisedale Valley.
Walk details : 11 mls, 3500 feet of ascent, 10 hour including 4hrs on Raise.
Highest point : Helvellyn summit 3,118ft - 950m
Walked with : Myself and Dylan (we left Ann and Harry asleep) plus competitors.
Weather : Valley mist, a slight easterly breeze on top, sunshine improving all the time.
Out on the fells early again, providing safety cover for about 120 challengers who were raising money for The Youth Adventure Trust.
Dylan's first marshalling day involved rising to the alarm at 4.30am and then driving over to Patterdale to pick up equipment for the event.
It was organised by Invesco Perpetual, a corporate weekend, involving Invesco employees and friends and colleagues from associated companies.
Bright and early . . . or should that be dark and early at the Glencoyne turn of Ullswater.
A hive of activity at the camp site . . . now to find the equipment room to collect radios and team sheets.
The campsite at Sykeside, Brothers Water has been turned into Challenge Base where Invesco have built a small tent village
to feed, wash, sleep and generally take care of over 150 participants and associated staff this weekend.
Dining in the marquee, social evenings in the Tentipi, teams sleeping in twenty six-man dome tents or the bunkhouse.
Radio in my rucksack, coffee in my tummy, dog in the car and I'm away . . .
From Brother's Water I drive back to Patterdale, stopping only to enjoy the view of course.
There's a mist inversion in the valley and the prospect of another lovely day above as the sun starts to rise behind Angle Tarn Pikes.
A pink hue colours the normally white "White Lion Pub" at Patterdale.
It is a still morning and Ullswater doesn't have a ripple in sight.
Under way now as I need to be up on Raise before the teams arrive.
I pass what I take to be the Old Gunpowder Store of the Greenside Mines as the sun starts to rise above the fells.
Dylan at the gate to the Greenside Mine buildings which include the Helvellyn Youth Hostel.
The teams will be well on their way now so no time to hang about.
Passing the new hydro dam above the mines,
looking for the path up the valley amongst the jumble of tracks.
The lower path crosses the beck and heads for Red Tarn and Helvellyn.
The path coming up the valley will be used by the teams but the old track up this side has been fenced off.
A short back-track and I find the upper path which breaks away from the Sticks Pass route signposted just a short way back.
The impressive bulk of Catstycam ahead as I move quickly (well quickly for me)
up the old mine track on this side of the valley.
The track leads on to the old Kepple Cove reservoir dam
but three quarters of the way up I take a right and join the path that zig-zags up towards Kepple Cove and Raise.
In the cool of the early morning the climb was completed relatively easily, although I did shed a layer of clothing on the way up.
At the top of the zig-zags I broke away from the path which led on towards Helvellyn
in favour of a direct, final approach to the summit of Raise.
" What are you doing up here this early ? " . . . . . Catstycam, Helvellyn and Lesser Man . . . with two sheep.
If you after names of the sheep . . . one was called Maam, the other may have been called Barbaraaa.
The summit of Raise is set back just that bit further than you think, especially if you haven't been paying too much attention to the map.
It is a broad, rounded summit with a lovely prominent cairn on the top . . . and there are people up there already.
Meet Claire and Amy.
Claire is an event medic, up in the Lakes from Bristol. Amy is also an event marshall today having travelled up from the south Lakes.
With myself on radio and general support the challenge participants are well looked after today,
especially when you consider the other marshals and radio relays spread across the summits between here and Fairfield / Hart Crag.
Introductions complete, Dylan stops rushing about and sits, as I take the opportunity
for a look around before the challenge teams and other walkers fill the picture.
First team up . . . jogging across the summit plateau no less.
They've left their day sacks down at the path junction and are travelling light . . . but their pace did increase when they saw the photographer.
Each of the teams were checked off and any first aid problems hopefully sorted . . . fortunately there were few.
Time for an official team photo on the summit.
Time passes and teams come and go . . . here a more mature, sensible bunch !
Some not quite so sensible . . . but they were having a great time . . . which is important after all.
Teams came and went but the sunshine just kept on coming.
This is the view north across Sticks Pass and on towards Clough Head, Threlkeld and Blencathra.
Fortunately the haze was dispersing with the slight easterly breeze
and we were getting improving views of Ullswater away to the right.
Dylan greeted the first teams enthusiastically but was flagging slightly after his early start.
By the middle teams he wagged his tail, the end teams . . . well fairly non-committal.
Doctor Claire prescribed a Toffee Muffin and all of a sudden spirits were lifted and energy returned.
More teams through . . . there were nineteen in all.
The coffee was going down, the photo count going up, but by this time the photographer had moved to to Helvellyn
and technology was down slightly to small lightweight cameras or phones.
Dressed in simple, cool base layers the next team arrived having taken a different route up the fell.
Not part of the event, friends Neil (Haslewood) and David (Hall) were out walking the fells today too and stopped to chat.
You may note in contrast, I was wearing a thick Icebreaker and two warm insulated layers . . .
standing around for five hours in a gentle easterly breeze is cold even in the sunshine.
Time passes and so do the teams . . . and now the mountain bikers and general fell walkers are out on the fells.
Time to be moving . . . we pack up our checkpoint and follow the last team off towards Helvellyn.
Claire and Amy have a call to return to base camp at Brothers Water, so they've descend the other way.
Looking back . . . that's Raise in the sunshine and the prominent path is the ridge route from there
over Whiteside and up this steady climb to Helvellyn Lesser Man.
To our right on the way up we get a view of Thirlmere over Brown Cove Crags.
Major summit number three lies ahead
and we meet the path from Swirls and Thirlspot . . . then join forces for the last climb onto the Helvellyn summit itself.
My colleagues, Craig and Jo from the Invesco event staff look across to Swirral Edge
where ant-like people are moving up and down the skyline.
One last team summit photo of the day using various cameras and an ipad . . . marshals have to be so versatile these days !
It is lunchtime now, in fact nearly two o'clock, so I take the last of my lunchtime sandwiches over to the edge, and catch a picture down to Red Tarn.
[ You'll be pleased to hear I also took my camera which made the whole procedure a lot easier.]
On the summit, set back slightly from the crowds, is Dave who has been acting as Radio Relay.
The hand held walkie-talkies we use only work line-of-sight so communications between summits and down to the base in the valley
need careful logistics to ensure everyone is able to keep in touch.
Trevor, in blue in the last picture, decided that he wasn't able to complete the course (all the way to Hart Crag) in reasonable time
so we planned a shorter, escape route off the fell. He still wanted to do Nethermost and Dollywagon summits
so he and I headed off via the top cairn, the busy summit shelter and then across for a view down to Striding Edge.
Our next views down was into Nethermost Cove and two amazing sheep that were grazing the steepest of crags.
You may just be able to make out the white dots half way down, between the rocks.
Looking back at Striding Edge and Red Tarn.
Walking the ridge, ticking off the summits, the view down now is to the diminutive Hard Tarn, so called because it is lined with rock.
There were two green tents down there . . . what a lovely place for a wild camp.
We passed the radio checkpoint and Trevor and I were soon descending the Dollywagon zig-zags.
With the last teams past, Checkpoint Two was closed and we were accompanied onward by marshall Cath and friend (sorry no name).
The outflow end of Grisedale Tarn.
Those with a little time on their hands were enjoying the sunshine by the lakeside.
Our route lay along and down the Grisedale Valley.
Dylan and I diverted slightly to an old rusty sign fixed above a rock outcrop . . . the "Brothers Parting Stone".
Ruthwaite Lodge, always a welcome sight as it marks our progress down the valley.
Now a climbing hut, it was formerly an old mine building, with the remains of several underground mines,
spoil heaps and open workings visible on the fell side above,
Just the walk down the valley to go.
We'll not cross the bridge but stay on the right hand side on the main path.
Time for a brief pause and a drink . . . plus a dip in the stream for Dylan to cool off.
The path is easier going now and Trevor and our little team are making good time.
An old pack horse bridge at Elmhow Plantation, offering a way across to Braesteads Farm on the opposite bank.
It was with great delight that we met up with Amy again at the foot of the track.
She had come across in the car to pick us up and return Trevor safely to base camp, dropping me at my car in Patterdale along the way.
One last job was to return the team sheets and radios
and to catch that moment when one successful walker finally crossed the finish line
to rapturous applause from those off to the left who recognised him from the checkpoint on Raise, earlier in the day.
- - - o o o - - -
Tomorrow (Sunday) the teams are lined up for a long bike ride, along the length of Ullswater, to Alston and back.
I think they'll be tired as they make their way home after a busy weekend.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with Ann's light weight Canon Sureshot SX220 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a little less weight in the rucksack
Previous event - 7th September 2014 - The Loweswater Show 2014
A previous time up here - 13th Oct 2007 Raised glasses on Raise Fell
Next event - 20th - 27th September 2014 - Our Zuza 2014 Hebridean Cruise
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