Here’s where we collect stories and anecdotes about P&B’s infamous navigational gaffs and – very ocassionally – triumphs.
P&B has a glorious history of navigational error. It seems that as soon as someone puts on that maroon & gold vest they are destined to find creative ways to get lost or take the wrong line – and the chance for error only seems to increase when a route is flagged or has been recently recce’d.
Nothing to be ashamed of. It’s considered a rite of passage for new members, and it happens to the best of us. As Boff’s article entertainingly tells us, getting lost is to be embraced; it’s key to learning how to find our way back again and can be an essential part of the joy of fell running – though sometimes it’s a joy only experienced while commiserating in the pub afterwards.
So here we go, in no particular order, for the enjoyment of all.
REALLY WILDLY OFF COURSE…
Really Wild Boar 2017 and conditions are markedly less wild than they have been in past years, making the course much more runnable. So runnable in fact, that Graham Pilling found himself in a small group of runners determined to get some extra miles in.
Despite it being a fairly simple run in pretty much a straight line off the top of the summit back to the very same track you climbed up earlier… and despite having done the race 4 times before… and despite a very strong suspicion he was headed ‘Into The Wrong’… it took a good ten minutes of running before he came to his senses and finally set off in the correct direction, noting that the group was now following him, like the bastion of last remaining navigational sense (which isn’t saying much at all).
To add insult to injury, the last checkpoint was back up the hill meaning a ‘run of shame’ passing all the runners coming down.
All in all, 2.3 miles added on and managed to get back before Mountain Rescue was called.
THE RACE VILLAGE IS EERILY QUIET…
Duddon Valley Fell Race, part of 2015 English Champs, and excitement is high as various P&B look forward to a great day out in the fells. There is always potential for navigational error during a Long race in the Lakes, of course, but one must first successfully navigate to the place where the race starts.
There are two Seathwaites in Cumbria, as not one but two of our runners discovered when they turned up at the wrong village, waaay North of Duddon Valley and on entirely the wrong side of Scafell.
“In the early 1990s we decided to award a trophy for Year’s Worst Navigational Error. I constructed it from a lovely little trophy thing with a compass mounted on it – the compass needle being bent out of shape. The first year it was awarded to Paul Gaines, who had a howler that destroyed our attempt at breaking the Pennine Way relay record (which we still hold, by the way). Needless to say, the trophy never appeared again (oh the irony) and so was only awarded once…” – Boff Whalley
“I have blanked out the classic Calderdale Way Leg 6 nav error when around 1 mile from the finish and with a 4min lead Jamie Noon and I decided to do a few laps of the school playing fields. Our 2nd place that day to Clayton was not a happy memory. All Jamie’s fault.” – Mick Hill
ARE YOU LOCAL?
“Leading the entire field at the Jack Bloor race the wrong way off the Badgerstone… at Ilkley Moor… where I live less than a mile away!” – Graham Pearce
ONLY A TRAIL RACE
At training one evening while chatting about the weekend’s racing, Neil Armitage confessed that he had run the Harewood half marathon trail race. He was running strong and in second place. Despite the route being taped, flagged and marshalled, full of spectators, and taking place entirely within the confines of Harewood House estate, he (of course) managed to find a way off the race route and got himself lost. He dropped out.
WHICH WAY DOES THE STRIPE GO?
For some, navigating one’s self into the vest is difficult enough. Here’s Alex Jones on his way to finishing 9th place at Helvellyn Trail Race. Vest on backwards.
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