Lakeland 3 day event 29 April – 1 May 2017, by Tess Evans

The Great Lakeland three day adventure May 2017 :

Well, what a challenge.

In the nature of the things I enter myself into; did I really know what to expect- not really!

It would be alright, right? Plenty of people do things like this and aren’t really prepared, surely?


Any hoo, the kit list comes through (‘ooo, bit serious that’) I check on the web site for must have stuff and updates. Maybe I should follow the list, they seem pretty stern about the rules on this, I get me a 59L dry bag, I make sure that everything for 3 days, is under 13kgs. I sit back with 3 days to go, packed kit. My inner head voices are going crazy: “am I going to starve?”, “that really isn’t a lot of stuff – I’m going be cold!” … “does this compass work, since when have I last used it??!”

“…its orienteering, right, with bigger hills and gaps between checkpoints, that’s all…”

Well, I’m here in Coniston, backpack on, ready to dib my chip and stroll out into the unknown wilderness with a map missing lots of detail, a compass that might work and 2 litres of water, plus manky energy gels. “…it’ll be alright..”

Everyone is cooly excited, trotting along, each making out they know where they are going, different direction and ‘this way’ going on.

So far so good. Me and the map and features are getting along. I know where I am, good stuff.

A little doggy confidently trots past – owner trotting along behind. I love this event, it has amazing dogs who have sucker feet and can read maps! Ok maybe slight exaggeration but close to the truth.

The landscape is amazing! So much ‘up’ (and up and up…) the weather has been good, just windy with looming cloud.

Well, that’s 2 check points down and my adrenalin rush is waning slightly. The map scale is hard to relate to, and so much is missing, -where are the buildings, the village names??!

…”Just keep moving, running where possible…”

I need to eat, cant stop, hungry…

…5 mins, be ok. Wow, I am cold…

…Got to keep going, remember to drink…

The mist, pretty, but scary. Which way?

Compass; help me, no. This is not the way.  Which way? getting cold.

Keeping going.

I see people, recheck map follow to sheltered path. Ok I get it now. This is the way. Phew. Mist, you were not my friend.

Yet to gain peoples trust, no friendliness. Hope this happens, otherwise I’ll look mad laughing at myself tonight.

Checkpoint 4 – straight line method seemed to help, although possibly not the done thing, ‘have to keep to the path’.

… Fellowship of the ring continues….

I’m passing very focused groups of twos and three. Conversation initiated, hurray. We keep passing each other until the path junction. Determined to be going the right way, we duly did not follow each other. Yet somehow we met up again. Haha.

Past notable quarries and bits of history, passed by others climbing up, and scuttled past others scrambling down dale.

Uh oh. A featureless pass. Map you are rubbish! Only the water bodies, of which there are few seem to correlate. Still not sure. Man with strapped knee starts chatting but is slowing me down, got to move, got to be warm. Follow those who pass by? Hmmm. Would be safer to do so at this point.

Yes. Brilliant. Last two check points to go, and I’m feeling exhausted now. Starting to stare, must keep drinking. Food feels crap in my mouth, gel goo essential.

Start chatting to friendly guy, possibly good person to follow nearby. I keep up, just. Heavy with tiredness, steep last peak, climbing difficult as legs stop doing what I tell them. Must keep moving forward.

6ish pm: The campsite, yay! Lots of down, ow. Hold out and carry on.

7ish pm: Tent up, pitch sorted, change clothes, feet refuse the shoes.

8ish pm: So tired. Eat. Check map. Pack backpack, Sleep.

6ish am: Didn’t sleep, cold – rubbish!. Pack up. Choose route. 7.30 – go.

Stiff, cold with sore feet I march the shorter route. I start enjoying the day by about midday when my muscles loosen up. Beautiful waterfall walk, run walking in the valleys and toe stepping up the peaks. I have company, someone who has a sore leg, doesn’t say much but is polite company of a stranger. Wet feet today meant blisters. They started popping downhill toward the camp. Sad times, funny walk with searing pain and more marshes.

I have to say; I asked myself if I was having fun. Only a few swearwords as I sorted myself out at camp. (Shower would be welcomed at this point). Wet wipes- nice.

Now chatting a little as faces are familiar. The atmosphere was nice. Story swapping and food chat. Very windy tonight. No rain, which is a blessing. No shoes, stretching and trying to make my body feel better. Warm drinks and then sleep. Last day – can I do it?

Jo joined me again today. He was privately suffering, more than he let on until the very last turn to the finish. I grumbled occasionally in pain. I see why he was happy to walk with me, he hurt as much as I did. I couldn’t walk downhill. My calves and quads were so painful, that I had cold sweats from marching downhill. I had to keep up, I had to get to the finish. The wind at the peak was so strong, we missed check point after check point, just aimed for the finish. We missed a path, and the woods were lovely but we had to keep moving on. Not in a long time did I continually have so much pain. I wrestled in my mind to find a way to block it out, to embrace it, to breathe it out, to let it go. I had to move no matter what. Relax my mind, it is going to be ok.

I tell myself I needed more training, I’m not in the right condition, bit unfit to be honest. Day one I can do, three days in a row – wow that is something else!

I did it, I went through something on the way, but it was a fact: I wasn’t prepared. Thinking about it – what would prepare me? Just hindsight.  Not so bad then 😊


Links: photos