Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Fred's Run

Fred Rogerson was, with Harry Griffin, one of the founders of the Bob Graham 24hr Club. Somewhat ironically neither man had completed the round. Following Fred's death last October, his family came up with the idea of a relay taking his ashes around the route.

Selwyn Wright, the club chairman, organised things for this last weekend and as luck would have it the generally benign weather broke early on Saturday morning. A deluge of Cumbrian proportions. I'd offered to help from Rossett Pike onwards, hopefully as far as Great End.

A chance encounter in Langdale with another helper - after all who else would be jogging along the valley floor in a heavy rain shower at 7am? - saw two of us climb steadily up the new path up Rossett Gill. Surprisingly we met a couple heading down, we didn't realise it until later but they were actually a support party for an attempt that day, I think the contender got round so good effort on his part!

We stood around in the mirk close to the summit trying to see the relay arrive when a voice behind shouted "Are you anything to do with Fred's Round?" Somehow they'd run right past us. So after a quick chat we set off up Bowfell. Now Selwyn had warned me that the two on this leg were by far the fastest of those helping out - "they might have slowed down a bit by the time they get to you", they hadn't! Whilst they were busy chatting away I was in the red zone, as we approached the ramps leading to the plateau I caught them up - all right they had stopped to wait for me: "fancy carrying Fred's ashes?" Not a problem, except for the occasional stumble where the bag had to change hands quickly to avoid getting split.

Eventually the plateau was reached and we were now not just in a deluge but a bit of a hoolie as well. The summit rocks were slippery and not nice to try and move quickly over but a dab of the hand on the summit cairn and Fred had another one ticked off.

At some point I'd tweeked my groin again so I decided not to continue as I'd only hold the fell hounds up but to descend back to the car. This took as long as the ascent had done and I only saw three people until I was back in the valley.

A lot of effort maybe for such a short section but it was worth it.

Apparently the weather finally cleared up as the relay left Honister and a group of around fifty, including Alan Heaton and Bill Smith, walked the last mile to the Moot Hall in Keswick to complete Fred's round.

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