Wainwright Relay

The Herald Article, 1993

Team members enjoy a well deserved pint after their exploits. Back row (left to right): Gary Baum, Phil Blanshard, Alan Davis, Ron Kenyon. Front: Jon Bardgett, Peter Teasdale, Jane Meeks and Harry Blenkinsop.

EIGHT members of Eden Valley Mountaineering Club have completed what is thought to be the first relay run over all the summits in Wainwright’s guides to the Lake District.

Joss Naylor completed an amazing traverse of all the summits about ten years ago over a seven-day period, and his route was used as the basis for the relay.

The route included 214 summits and covered 360 miles with an overall height gain of 112,000ft.

It was restricted to eight main runners, with others helping as back-up. The route was divided into appropriate legs and the runners worked in pairs, sometimes running together, especially at night. At other times they split the legs between them and ran individually. Each summit was visited by at least one team member.

The run began at 6am on Friday and took 4 1/2 days, finishing on Tuesday evening.

The team, who returned injury free, faced a variety of weather which, in the main, was good. It went from heatwave conditions on Friday to rain and snow on Saturday evening.

During the night the moon was not quite full but on some nights provided enough light to run without torches and gave superb views from the summits over Lakeland fells.

The EVMC Newsletter June 1993

You may have already read in the Herald that the Wainwright relay did take place, taking 12 hours longer than the planned four days to complete. Fairly quickly, after the first few legs, we realised that we had taken on something that was definitely not going to be a push over and by the end of day three we knew that the run was going to overflow into work time. Thus Gary and Phil, who could not get away with missing a day’s school were relieved of their last leg and Harry (retired) and Ron (part time accountant) took on an extra section on the Tuesday to complete the round. We think that it is the first time that the Wainwrights have been done in a continuous relay and the challenge is out for another team to beat the four day barrier. The weather changed quite dramatically over the four days from glorious
sunshine to snow, which made it hard to judge how much clothing to carry and wear. Al Davis decided to go into Bob Graham mode, and carried absolutely nothing on the first leg. He explained to Jane “Oh, I don’t often carry any water – you can always rely on streams.” It was only when Al had got through half of Jane’s water that she realised his ruse. These two probably had some of the hardest sections – particularly on Mell Fell when they encountered vicious gorse bushes in the dark – made more difficult, I suppose, as, to these two, the gorse would have appeared like prickly redwoods. Gary and Phil entered the foggy Armboth Bog on day two and emerged, completely exhausted and covered in black ooze a few hours later. The lady they passed quoting Wainwright on Calf Crag, later in the day, does not
realise how close she was to meeting her maker as she read “.. Wainwright says you can get from here to Watendlath and keep your feet dry…”. John and Pete employed the Who road show wagon to support their sections. They had a vast entourage of followers providing hot foot and drink, massage and goodness knows what else during the four days.

A pity that their support team could not tell the time and missed them completely at Howtown – you just can’t get the staff. Ron and Harry were the saviours. As explained above, they took on an extra leg, bringing their total mileage to over a hundred. Just as well we had these two dossers in the team who had nothing better to do on the Tuesday, or we’d never have got it finished.