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Kentmere Horseshoe 2019 by the McBourne

July 30, 2019
Surely the weather couldn’t be as bad as last year’s Kentmere race could it? But according to Carol Kirkwood and the doom-mongers at the Beeb, a yellow weather warning had been issued for Cumbria right up until Sunday morning. And even as Tom Smith and yours truly took the ‘scenic’ route across the Trough to the Lancaster rendezvous things weren’t looking good. But lo and behold as soon as we got off J36 things looked worryingly promising. An almost Simpsons like parting of the clouds gave way to blue skies. Conversation changed from navigational and route choice issues to who left the bloody sun cream at home?!?! I even heard a disappointed Rob Jebb bemoan the fact that this morning’s mist had now cleared, presumably giving us mere mortals a sporting chance.
A healthy smattering of Bowlanders were dotted about the parking field and what a caring sharing bunch we are. Not only did we share lifts but also water, sun cream and Ibuprofen too.  I’m definitely feeling the Bowland love-in at the moment.
Pre-race, James Simon was introduced to the age old tradition of crumpling your race number in order to stop it blowin’ in the wind, but with very little breeze present it was hardly necessary. Sandy donned a rather fetching cycle cap for shade. Ironic really as he was the only one in the car least likely to be mistaken for a young Bobby Charlton and therefore susceptible to scalp burn.
It’s a cracking race Kentmere. At twelve miles and 3,300ft climb the Harvey’s map description nails it on the head; “it’s NOT long but it’s a long medium”. The majority of up takes place in the first half of the race; a juicy little climb before bypassing Yoke to the first checkpoint on Ill Bell. It’s then steadily up and down until you hit the distinct wall path to the summit of High Street; quite possibly the most runnable of all the major Wainwright summits? On route was the sorry sight of Steve Swarbrick, whose knee twinge had forced him to retire prematurely. Speedy recovery Steve.
Once you turn towards Mardale Ill Bell the return route is relatively straight forward but it does offer great views to the ridge just run and down to Haweswater Reservoir. Whenever I say Mardale Ill Bell I can’t help but sing ‘Get It Together’ by the much maligned Beastie Boys, specifically because of the last line; “I’m like Ma Bell, I’ve got the ill communications”. It’s having Mar and Ill and Bell so close together. It was this that got me up the final climb to Kentmere Pike. Well that and a homemade flapjack.
Last year I was one of the many who missed the trod back down to Hallow Bank following the final check point, ending up coming back though the farm further round. In clear vision this year there was no such problems. In fact the stile that was missed in 2018 is so massive it got me thinking; how in the name of buggery did I miss that?!?! Anyhow, as I tried in vain to keep up with Helen Ockenden we came across our second Bowland casualty of the day; James Simon. Tripped up by a non-crumpled race number. As if. James had come a nasty cropper coming across the slippery rocks on the Hallowed descent. I’ll say it again; speedy recovery.
Back at the finish line there were some happy smiling faces; Sandy Lockett finishing in the top twenty with Davids Wilson and Nuttall also in under two hours. Leigh Warby adding another V60 title to his vast collection. Tom Smith, Helen and Debbie Cooper rounding off all the Bowland finishers. Talk turned to Borrowdale next weekend and the next chapter in this year’s Bowland club champs. With this weather you just can’t beat a good day in the Lakes. Kentmere

 

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