FRA Relays 2007, Forest of Bowland
Saturday 13th October

A report by Steven Fallon
Shane walking it off on Sunday

The support
For this year's FRA event, we managed to organise 3 teams : Ladies, Vets and Senior. Getting people down to the event was made a lot easier with Adrian offering the use of his minibus, which could carry up to nine people, their stuff and dogs. I'm told the drive down was quite smelly, a truck carrying fish was thought to be the culprit, but after overtaking this, the smell still hung around. People were quietly blaming each other until Kipper (Lucy's dog) was found to be farting all the way down ! Other people shared transport, but since I was intending to extend the weekend, we came down in our new (to us) campervan. Arriving in the dark at the campsite, we were first, followed shortly after by Kate and Joanne who'd set off much earlier, but took the 'scenic route' (according to Joanne). After Kate and Joanne errected their tent, they decided couldn't bear the noise of the rain on the overhead pylons or the septic tank smell, so moved to the other side of the field. Other folk arrived after having eaten in one of the nearby pubs.
In the morning, half an hour's driving along very narrow country lanes was required to arrive at the event. With the rain that had fallen overnight and the previous day, I felt really sorry for the organisers trying to push cars into the field, tyres failing to grip and sending muck everywhere. They took one look at our large red van and suggested we park in the lane. Eventually they gave up on the idea of sticking cars in the field and started parking cars up the lane. An ensuing traffic-jam commenced.
Our three teams and dogs gathered together by one of the main tents and proceeded to get organised. Bad-boy Kipper sneaked into the food-tent, grabbed, then devoured a bacon-roll ! Standing in the drizzle, and envious of other better-prepared teams, we all agreed that Carnethy need to purchase a tent/gazzebo thingy in order for us to shelter in and hide our modesties as we attempt to change into running gear.
Adam and Stewart at the end of leg 1
Angela and Lucy
Joanne did leg2
She was very thirsty!
Gary sets off on leg 2
Jon and Mark set off  for the senior team
The mist was well down on Parlick, the hill immediately infront of us, as the first leg pairs (Adam, Stewart, Mark Johnston, Jon, Angela and Lucy) set off uphill and past the tents. Considering the pea-souper they were running in, all six runners put in exceptionally good times. Upon arriving back at the tent, Angela quicky gathered her stuff together and headed for a wedding - I hope she hosed down her mucky legs before going into the church ! The changeover went to Garry, Simon and Joanne, who all returned intact. Navigation leg was over to Mark James, myself, Shane, Russell, Helene and Jacqui with the mist still clinging on. Mark and I found the navigation quite easy, only the first checkpoint was a bit tricky to find (a ruined sheiling hidden in a nook) and later we hung onto some locals, which certainly helped out on checkpoint 5. Some other teams got a bit lost, with the leading team, Pudsey and Bramley overshooting checkpoint 4 and subsequently losing around 8 minutes and 3 places on this leg. Adrian, Andrew and Kate took on the last leg and the mist started to clear. Kate and Andrew both put in brilliant performances, but hats off to Adrian for running this leg through injury. He ran through cramp to bring the Vets home in 4th place and first Scottish Team. The senior team wasn't far behind (38th overall) and the ladies came in 5th.
Shane and Russ on leg 3 for the men
Jacqui and Helene on leg 3
Jacqui and Helene finish their leg
...handing on to Kate
Simon - looks like he 'walked it'!
Rather than hang on for the prize-giving and subsequently get stuck in the inevitable traffic-jam, we headed back to the M6 and up to the Lake District. Food was to be had in one of the local pubs near to our campsite in Braithwaite, though not the intended one as a 30th birthday party was in full swing, competing with the England-France rugby match. Keith and I however braved the elements in our modest, cold campervan and tucked into some of Tesco's finest - I've done my stints under canvas ! Up to the pub later on, Shane and Simon looked like wee boys stuck in front of the tv, trying to get the best view of the match, now at France 9, England 8. You can imagine the atmosphere in the pub once England overturned this ! We wondered if the fireworks at 11:30 were for the birthday boy or the England rugby team.
A wee bit too much beer was drunk on the Saturday night, so Sunday's intended run didn't start too early. Adrian had to pass up on the run because of his injury. Angela arrived around 2 minutes past 10 - that was 2 minutes too late, as most of the crowd headed up to do Coledale Horseshoe bang on 10am. Over the weekend I had to endure a bit of a ticking off for having not visited this area before, so I was hoping the weather would clear up for our run on Sunday - we weren't disappointed ! We all met up together at the half-way point and aimed up Crag Hill. This time it was Canna's (Angela's youngest dog) turn to be bad-boy, he was tucking into a recently deceased sheep's carcass, but a good holler from Angela got his attention and he dutifully caught us up.
Back at the campsite, everyone bar myself and Keith headed back up the road. We stayed on for one more day, and I'm glad to say I am no longer a Lake District Munro Furth virgin !

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