Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Trigger 2013 – Marsden to Edale ~24m ~4,000’

Named after the three trig points that form the spine of its route, this race has filled the shoes of the old Tanky’s Trog race from Marsden to Edale that took a slightly different route to bridge the 20-odd mile gap* between these places in Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
*20 odd miles depending on your ‘choice’ of route (i.e. whether or not you get lost).

where's Wally?

Boarding the Pennine minibus in a pre-dawn Hayfield to set off across to the motherland, the collective mood was pretty buoyant but focused on the task in hand. Visibility over the tops of Kinder and Bleaklow looked promisingly clear as we made our way, but threatened to be a bit more of a problem as we approached Marsden.
Navigation skills were the name of the game in the lead up to the race, but having broken the route into sections it seemed reassuringly clear that the route to Black Hill (Trig 1) would be pretty straightforward, with plenty of people to follow, with a straightforward descent into Crowden.
There then follows a route choice over Bleaklow – straight up Lawrence Edge and across the top to hit the Pennine Way (quite a climb up the face of the hill with a bit of scrambling); Wildboarclough leading onto the Pennine Way (a bit less direct but a gentler ascent) or along to Torside to pick up the Pennine Way (definitely the longest option).
The Pennine Way then leads onto the vicinity of Wain Stones where you dink South-West to Shelf Stones (Trig 2), and then over to Snake Top and onwards any way you fancy to the Sandy Heys trig on Kinder and across to Edale.
I didn’t have a great race – I was wearing too much (inexperience) and so overheated, and for some reason I had nothing in my legs in the run up to Black Hill. This section is no tougher than a Thursday night club run so I think with overdressing and setting off too fast I messed things up for myself here.
The freezing bogs on Black Hill had made my feet numb so I tripped a few times on the trail and on the descent down into Crowden I bashed my leg and ended up walking for a few minutes to shake off the knock. My knee would swell up to the size of a melon the next day but mrs t.o.r. had no sympathy. She has given birth twice, so I’ll forgive her not being overly concerned at my discomfort whilst running a race through the beautiful Peak District countryside!
From Crowden I took the Lawrence Edge route up to Bleaklow. With shotgun blasts from the shooting range next door ringing in my ears, and the trail of blood I was leaving in the snow from my bashed up knee as I climbed up the rocks, The Trigger seemed more like a title for a lo-fi James Bond film than an AL fell race.
Up to the top of Lawrence Edge and cramp sets in. Try to eat a pork pie but it’s frozen - end up choking. Sling the pork pie and it’s over Bleaklow we go. Bleaklow was ok given the clear, frozen conditions. Progress was constant but slow at this point but I’d teamed up with someone else and we kept each other going.

Shelf Stones
Snake Top comes and goes, along with some food to get me up and onto Kinder. I was pretty frazzled by now so took the easy route up onto Kinder via Mill Hill and across to Sandy Heys. Here I met Dave Bowen and we walk/jogged together up the Downfall to Kinder Gates and managed to take a great line down to Crowden Head. We fell in once apiece as we took it in turns to test the bogs, but here was a decent crust on top so progress was fairly decent.

We jogged along the edge path to Grindslow Knoll and down into the valley bottom. 5 hours and 41 minutes after leaving Marsden we crossed the finish line in time for hot pot and prize giving at the village hall.
I had a great time doing this race and learnt lots of valuable lessons – not going off too fast was one of them, along with not needing to wear too much even if it is freezing. I’ll be back for more next year!

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