Fenella and Chris Higgins along with son Rich and friend Add travelled 'well south' as they say to take part in the Dartmoor Mountain Marathon over the weekend of the 24th and 25th July.
Starting in Princetown, Dartmoor nick was a fitting backdrop as teams and individuals made good their 'escapes' over the moors and tors. The weather was ideal with little sign of the notorious shrouds of mist out of which murderous Dickensian villains emerge soaked in bog water wearing Inov8's!
The going was surprisingly, hilly interspersed with some proper boggy ground that sought to suck the strength from your legs and shoes from your feet on numerous occasions. One competitor was eventually hauled by their arms by four strong men from some very wet ground. Getting him out was made the easier when he took his feet out of the stirrups! ( An old one I know but couldn't resist it)
Fenella's 'sensible' navigation ensured our arrival at the overnight camp. A welcome relief for tired legs. Son Rich and mate Add arrived soon after on what was their maiden outing. Camp was basic, water and pretty limited numbers of loos. No shortage of pitch space and some great views to wake up to. Day one completed and in first mix vet position about middle of the field over all.
Day two, dehydrated spag boll perked up with hot chocolate, no wonder sleep was hard to find the night before, so exited about breakfast was I.
Weather spot on again, pretty cool, high cloud cover and only occasional short lived blankets of mist. There was the inconvenience of random kit checks. We, Fenella at least must have an honest face as straight through to 'dib' and off. Son and mate not so, ha! Very soon, son and mate sprint past laughing on way to first checkpoint. Time will tell son.
Working through the checkpoints a 'reckless' but undeniably critical navigational decision (I still assert) was taken. This led through very thick gorse, no sign of a track not even a rabbit run. We made ground and time but poor Fenella, legs cut and as sore as a very cut and sore thing, fell over. More injuries including a pierced water bottle to boot.
Things went much better after that, so well in fact that son and mate rapidly came in to laughing range, Mrs Higgins promised she would still do the Rab and I found two jelly babies I thought I'd eaten earlier.
The finish? Second mixed vet, 39th out of 61 finishers and one ahead of son and mate. Whey hey.