1 talk, 2 Wilfs, 2 Wainwrights

IMG_0004I had a lightning trip to the Lakes for a talk and a walk last week. The train up went well and I strolled down to Wilfs to set up for my Bob Graham Round (BGR) talk, part of their Slide-Supper series. I always get nervous before giving these talks, so it was great to get the laptop in place and checked out.  Having long-term friend Mike Cambray there in support, and also to meet Richard Davies (technically an ‘internet friend’, I suppose) and Mel Steventon for a chat before we started helped me relax. We all had a fab casserole and rustic bread, and a coffee or tea (or a beer from the next door  Hawkshead beer hall) before getting down to business.

I have revised the talk from the first time I gave it, adding video clips of my friend Neil Walker’s BGR, some very short readings from ‘The Round: in Bob Graham’s footsteps’, and some belting stuff from the ever-quotable BG record holder Billy Bland. The latter were from the excellent ‘Conversation with Billy Bland’ evening that Mel Steventon’s Due North Events had organised in Keswick last month. It was great to see Mel at Wilfs, shyly raising her hand with a few others when I asked who in the audience was perhaps thinking of doing a BGR.

A great quote from Billy Bland I shared concerned how hard he pushed himself, and whether he felt pain when running hard. At the Keswick evening his considered response, when asked this, had been:

I have never felt pain in my life when running, and I mean that …….. I consider I trained hard, but I may have given up easy sometimes. John Wild would run till he was sick. You wouldn’t catch me doing that, I’d just slow down. My strong point was preparing myself for what I was going to do.

IMG_9996One book quote I used was from Jim Mann (the winter BG record holder), who on one day was carrying the GPS tracking device (which transmitted his progress to a map on a website) for Steve Birkinshaw on his all the Wainwrights record effort [whose book launch I had attended in his very room]:

Steve was having a [power] kip on one of the tops, and I was trying to draw a picture on top of the fell by moving around with the tracker. I just needed a 6-7 minutes to get it done, but he work up too soon.

I finished the talk with some thoughts on how  BGR completers, their pacers and their reccies were adding significantly to the path erosion on some of the fells. At the end I commented that it might be good to consider this impact, try to lessen it, which is something the Bob Graham Club are highlighting. I suggested offsetting it by contributing to groups doing footpath repair/improvement work.

One fixthefellssuch group is the excellent organisation Fix the Fells. We took a beanie hat collection of loose change, and with that and some money from my book sales I was able to send a donation of £45 to Fix the Fells. Thanks to all those who contributed. 

The next day Mike and I slipped back down to Wilfs for a filling breakfast whilst waiting and hoping that the weather was about to clear. I am gradually working through bagging the Wainwrights and we highlighted two over Patterdale way that would do nicely for a short day. Arnison Crag and Birks provided a great walk, with superb views of snow-clad summits all round from the latter. Coming off the sharp end of Birks we saw caches of large rocks, which looked liked they had been helicoptered in to do some path improvement there.


That is it for book talks for the moment. The next up are a ‘Conversation with Billy Bland’ with Due North Events in Skipton in May, and a double bill with Joss Naylor at the Buxton Adventure Festival in June [see links to book places].

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