Carnethy had 3 teams down for the weekend at
the western Lake District for this year's FRA relays.
An Open team (or Captains' Select Team as both club captains, Steph and
Jon, ran in this ! ) a V40 and a V50
Click on the
green names and their stories
will pop up below
Smith Steven Fallon
Reccied the route the previous day in glorious sunshine
which meant no problems with navigation, just heads
down and do the best time we could. The v40 pair of
Tim / Matt had set off just in front of us with the
v50's - Willie and Keith a further 15 minutes ahead.
After one runnable ascent, two steeper ones and three
fast descents we entered the finish field just behind
Willie and Keith. The sprint finish went to the old
guys, with the even older ones a whisker behind.
had a more energetic Saturday than anticipate, (Coledale
horseshoe) I was slightly apprehensive and stiff. Our
goal was to catch Keith and Willie - tall order 16.43
ahead. Some 50m from the end of last descent they appeared
out of the mist. Paul lengthened his stride and I left
it until 20m before the finish to puff my way passed Keith.
and I took over from Mark and Paul, who’d had an
incredible run. We were put on leg 3 - the navigation
leg, and just to ensure we’d be challenged, the
weather threw a thick veil of wet mist onto hills. Fortunately,
the fairly featureless terrain is crossed by lines of
fences. Bruce and I were overtaking quite a few folk,
but local runners found faster lines and we’d meet
them time and time again. Half an hour into the race,
two other Carnethy vests pulled up beside us – Jon
and Andy were pulling out all the stops. In a large group,
many of us stopped, heads down to the maps with hands
stretched out, compasses pointing hopefully the way ahead
into the grey ether. We’d all overshot and had to
return, losing a good few minutes. One last run to return
around a coire and a forest, Jon and Andy kept low, whereas
Bruce noticed runners on a path above, so we climbed onto
it and we managed to pull back on our Carnethy mates.
Bruce’s downhill running is quite something, but
his flat running is also pretty good and I had trouble
keeping with him on the last sprint back to the event.
Hopefully we managed to pull even more places back before
we handed over to Adam for the last leg.
The last time I did the FRA relays was as part of the
Standard Life team in near perfect conditions over the
familiar hills of the Ochils. This time it was completely
different - clag down to my nose and hills I'd never seen*
let alone run around plenty of times. One thing that I
do remember from the last time was that on the nav leg
my partner and I kept taking a differing route from most
of the other teams, and this year it was no different.
Straight from the off Steven pointed us up and over the
first bump and a few minutes later we had dibbed in at
the first checkpoint (11th fastest on this section**).
Our navigation wasn't letting us down and we were even
quicker getting to the 2nd CP (5th fastest overall on
this wee section). We'd made up 27 places in those first
two checkpoints, without noticeably passing that many
teams but sadly it couldn't last.
Our up and over approach to the third point was going
fine until we crossed the 2nd fence too early and floundered
around in the heather for a few moments before using the
aural navigation technique to home in on the voices at
the dibber point.
We decided to navigate back to the ridge and follow the
fence line up to Blake Fell and then peel off to the 3rd
point, our approach ended up with us swapping places with
the Edinburgh Uni team a couple of times, not to mention
a local pair who were following a wee trod going in the
right direction. This wee trod must have been the one
Jon and Andy were on when they came flying past us to
reach the dib a second or two before us.
A sharp about turn from CP3 and the race was on between
the two Carnethy teams to see who could come home first.
Unfortunately 4 navigators were not better than two and
the cooks managed to spoil the broth by heading too far
off the ridge, rather than taking more of a right turn.
Eventually we, (and about a dozen other teams who had
screwed up equally) found the right pile of stones to
dib in on number 4. The chase was then back on for the
return to CP5. Jon and Andy drifted on a bearing round
the edge of Blake Fell and so did we until we ran into
some slate scree, looked up and saw a bloke (who we'd
just overtaken) running along a path just above us. We
clambered back up there and it was game on back to the
finish. Despite deciding to take the safe option of following
the fence up and over High Pen we still managed to get
back to the Low Pen checkpoint before Jon and Andy and
then it was as fast as we could go down the hill back
to the changeover and on to Adam to make up even more
I've seen a few comments that the navigation was too
difficult but I must admit it was pretty much what I'd
Well done to the rest of the teams and thanks to Jon
for cajoling three teams out, it was good to be part
of the Carnethy effort and I'm sure there will be
more takers for next year as rumours are it will be
in the Lomonds.
hours to kill a slow recce of leg 4 paid dividends with
several teams going off course - including the first 3
who were disqualified - it was an enjoyable run in the
mist hitting all the controls spot on. Also nice to see
and cheer on our teams while out on the recce, including
a surprised looking Willie G and Keith B - a grand way
to work up a thirst for the Jennings at the finish!!'
the defined trod out from the start it wasn't long up
the first climb before we hit the clag, without the benefit
of a recce we left the unmapped trod & used map & compass
to take us to the fencing and along the ridge to CP1,
Mark & Paul with prior, used the trod & over took
us at this point. Descending to CP2 track & CP3 lochan
proved to be the only views we got on our leg. A steep
climb up back into the murk of CP4 followed, with a quick
chat on route to one of the Westies who informed us they'd
gone "walk about" earlier in the mist. Following
Tim down to CP5 I was cursing not having put my lenses
in, as it made foot placement all the more challenging.
The last climb up though the woods was tranquil, though
not without interest on the slippy roots and all too soon
we clambered over the stile and back into the clag. Taking
no chances we used a bearing off the last top to lead
us into the last control. It was quite weird hearing but
not seeing the event centre as we contoured barely a hundred
or so meters above it. In summary a good solid run and
though we might not have had the fastest lines on the
ground, we made sure we knew where we were given the conditions.
Tim and Matt
Unsure as to whether to run due to a 10 day bout of "man
flu" I was pleased to be paired with another invalid, a perfect
Our slowness had the bonus of us running in the midst of a bevvy
of beauties from other clubs.
A wonderful run!
Putting us together made us the coughing and wheezing
specialists. Fortunately our respective health problems
seemed to leave us well balanced in disability. So we
made up a harmonious team, not putting a foot wrong
thanks to Willie’s careful reccy the previous
day whilst Keith was swanning around in the sunshine
above Keswick. It was a pity we couldn’t have
put a bit more speed on and beaten the V40’s over
the finish line, even though they did start a quarter
of an hour before us. The food and beer at the end capped
a superb day’s competition. Much commiserations
for the poor marshal who collected a broken leg in the
pretty dire conditions.
Despite selecting the wrong (but luxury)
campsite our performance as a team was awesome. Recce
on Saturday in perfect conditions for legs 1 + 2 made
a big difference as by the time we arrived on Sunday
morning the clag was in.Sick Bob W. led us off and
knew exactly where he was going and handed over to
Willie and Keith who were well matched in health conditions.
Bob J had been called up at last moment to replace
a sick Andy who was there to check the reslts and
cheer us on. Bob and I were a dream team which had
never run together before but good route choice and
spot on navigation got us to all the controls and
back in V50 first place where we handed over to JBF
who disappeared into the mist and found all his controls
and brought us up to finish in 93rd position out of
147 starting teams. Not bad for team that should have
had 3/4 members in a sickbay!
" we made up some good time thanks
to Gordon devising
sensible routes which kept us to the flatter ground. Bob straight-lined
of the earlier legs and this lost us time - fortunately it was
that mistake remains a secret!"
runners were spread out on the last leg and the mist was
route finding was not s straight forward. This especially applied
to negotiating a dense forest coming off Sharp Knott the second
checkpoint. This was not flagged whereas the rather obvious route
up to the last hill, Murton Fell was.
A glorious, autumn Saturday - blue sky warm and autumn colours - saw
one car load reccing the course (a very useful idea as a misty mizzly
Sunday saw us all using the info gleaned by the recciers), while others
when for a run over the hills from Braithwaite where we were camping.
Then followed a night at the pub before the big day. In the race, the
teams all started steadily and picked up throughout the race and there
was some quite exciting racing between the Carnethy teams as on most
changeovers there was only minutes between all 3 teams and often just
a few seconds, with each team taking it's turn as the Canrethy premier
team ! In the end the only Carnethy prize winners were Gordon Cameron
and Bob Johnson who were fastest V50s on the navigation leg (run in
thick mist), with the Mens 40 team being the first home for the club
in around 40 place out of the 160 teams entered. At least all the teams
got round the courses with no mishaps, unlike the leading 3 clubs that
all were disqualified for missing the first control on leg 4, leaving
Borrowdale who thought they had finished 4th to be promoted to winners!
The colourful club tent was a useful focal point and shelter from the
mist and drizzle of race day and stood out in the muddy event field.
All in all a great weekend and once again the FRA Relays were a brilliant
event - the only disappointment was the lack of Carnethy Ladies - somewhat
unusually we couldn't get a ladies team out as we do most years.