Lakes Quadrathlon 24 Hrs Challenge
Keith and Peter started the Lakes Challenge with swimming Derwentwater (6.25k) South to North. The entry point was the National Trust car park at the south east end of the lake
As they entered the water at 9 am under blue skies they were hit by the expected cool water temperature of 15 degrees. The Lake however was calm and apart from the cold water conditions were ideal for swimming. After a fast swim they exited the water at Derwentwater Marina (Portinscale) at 10:30.
To keep warm they headed straight for the showers. Then into their cycling gear and set off at 10:50am to Seathwaite at the foot of Scafell. This short cycle through Keswick and then round the lake and down the valley to Seathwaite took just thrirty minutes. After a quick coffee they changed into their running gear and were away to start the climb at 11:30am.
The weather had started to change but still fine with good visability. At this time we had no inclination of the weather conditions that were to come. The run went well and we reached the summit in 1hour and 35 minutes. Slightly misty on top with moderate winds. The run down Scafell again went well although conditions underfoot were very wet. They finished in a total of 2hours 35 minutes. Well up on schedule at this stage.
Cycling to Wastwater
After a quick change back into their bike gear they were off again at 2:30pm and staight into the climb up Honister Pass. This was follwed quickly by Newlands and Whinlatter. Everything seemed to be going well. However as they descended into the Ennerdale Valley they were hit by strong head winds and heavy rain, this made the going really tough. By the time they had reached Swarth Fell and Cold Fell the driving rain had got even worse, progress in the wind was slow and it seemed ages before they reached Wastwater. In fact the ride had taken them an extra hour more than anticipated reaching the Youth Hostel at the west side of Wastwater at 6:30pm. They had lost the time gained earlier but were still on track.
After changing from their wet biking clothes they were quickly into their kayaks on what seemed a tranquil Westwater. After 10 minutes they were out in the middle surfing large waves. This would have been okay in sea kayaks but not in unstable marathon kayaks. The last mile was especially difficult as the waves changed direction and hit them sideways on. Finally they reached the bottom end of the lake were they dragged their kayaks up to the road.
By this time (8pm) the light was beginning to fade so lights were needed on the bikes as well as a change of clothing, doing this and trying to keep dry in driving wind and heavy rain is impossible.
Cycling To Newby Bridge
They eventually set off at 8:30pm with Hardknott and Wrynose passes waiting in the dark. The ride to the foot of Hardknott was relatively easy but would change on the two passes!
The only good thing to emerge from riding over the passes in darkness and terrible weather conditions was the fact there was no traffic! After a brief stop at the Three Shires Inn,no unfortunaty not for a pint, we continued on to Newby Bridge. During this section of the ride the rain was now bouncing off the road. Would it ever ease. We finally reached Newby Bridge at 11:30 in what had become a very hard 3 hour ride. Now slightly behind schedule.
After changing clothes and fitting lights to the kayaks as well as taking food and drink they launched from the Swan Inn at 12:15am and travelled up the river Leven into the Lake at Fell Foot. Fortunatly the wind had dropped but the rain continued. Navigating the lake in darkness proved challenging but Keith and Peter knew the lake well so little time was lost. After stopping briefly at the ferry point (Windermere) for a drink they pushed ahead to Waterhead and Ambleside. Everything had gone smoothly but with Waterhead in sight the wind was back whipping up large waves. The last mile was mainly surfing with water coming over and into the kayaks. They were both glad to be back on dry land, if you could call it that, with the car park at Waterhead flooded. It had taken 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Cycle to Derwentwater
After a break at Waterhead and another change of clothing they set off for the final bike leg and final major pass over Kirkstone at 4:15am still in torrential rain. As they started to climb Kirkstone the mist had descended and visibility was difficult but they knew this was the final big climb and pressed on.
After a slow descent they passed the shores of Ullswater and headed up via Troutbeck to the A66 as dawn was breaking. On reaching the main road the rain eased somewhat as they headed towards Keswick and the bottom end of Derwentwater. There was litte traffic on what usually is a very busy road and they reached their original starting point at the National Trust Car Park at 6:45am. Now only the kayak of Derwentwater was left.
They quickly got into their kayak gear and set of at 6:58am with the finish in sight and the 24 hours target was well in thier grasp.
The lake was relatively calm and they made good time landing in Derwentwater Marina at 7:48am - yes you guessed it- the rain had stopped and the sun was breaking through the clouds.
A total time of 22 hours 48 minutes. 1 hour and 22 minutes within schedule