/ Bob Graham Round reccies?

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Nick Smith - Climbers - on 16 Apr 2012
I'm planning on reccying the BG route (going clockwise) over the next couple of months, aiming for a 23-24 hr pace.

I'd be interested in joining up with anyone else who is currently reccying legs of the route for their own attempt, or experienced 'old hands' who'd like to show me some of the better route choices!

Many thanks
ben b - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC: Far be it from me to point you to a different site (ahem) it might also be worth asking over on fellrunner if you haven't already. There's a whole BG section over there.
I shall now perform a penance by clicking on the next ten ad banners on ukc to try and improve my karma.

Good luck and suggest not putting a fixed rope up Broad Stand.


Mike Hartley 2 - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:

I wouldn't mind looking into it myself Nick, if you're wanting to do a few legs. I was planning for attempting it either next year or the year after, depending on how I'm running.

I live down in the South Lakes so not too far away.
Sam Simpson - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC: Hey I am probably going to try it next year so will be keen to get out and for reccies however there is a group on facebook if your interested joining the group? its called 'BG TRAINING' and there is about 18 keen runners who are all reccying legs for rounds..
parkovski - on 18 Apr 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:

I have very little time in the coming months and a recovering knee, but i can share some reccie and training thoughts based on my experiences:

Leg 1 (keswick to threlkeld) is an excellent starting point because the pace is fast (by round standards) and therefore acts as a good benchmark (i.e. it's nice to know you are capable from the outset on getting round it well under schedule.

leg 2 needs less attention if you're going to do it in the light (e.g. 1am start), but will require encyclopedic knowledge if you do it in the dark (e.g. 7pm start) It's good to do some research on exactly where the relevant cairns are before you go out, and what they look like. Bob Wightman's site has descriptions, and links to a site that has 360deg panoramas from all the summits -

leg 3 is best divided up into overlapping bits on lots of runs through the year. When you're feeling like ramping it up then combining leg 3 from High Raise through to the end of leg 4 (parking in Stonethwaite) is a good test. If you can do that easily within schedule, you're probably winning.

Leg 4 works well on it's own starting with a run over to wasdale from honister.

Leg 5 is simple. Check you know where the tops of the 3 hills are and spend some time assessing the descent options off Robinson. The road bit is best done on a bike / car. No-one likes road running do they?

Don't get too obsessive - navigation on the BG isn't hard, there's just lots of it. I think a lot of people get a bit obsessive about route choices, and it spawns all sorts of doubts and faffery. In fact it's really just an ultra mobile eating and drinking contest - get your hydro-prandial skills up to scratch and you can probably afford a few crap route choices!

The best thing I did in prep for the BG wasn't actually recceing the route, but getting out in other mountains. I did a round of the glencoe munros this time last year, and would highly recommend it. Once you've been up the sides of both the buchailles in short succession, the climb up Yewbarrow is a piece of piss even 14 hours in!

Good luck!

steveriley - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:
My mate Andy is doing 1/2 on Saturday, with cars at both ends. I think he's posted an invite on the FRA site.
elliptic on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:

Good summary from parkovski.

Bear in mind that training and recce-ing are to some extent conflicting objectives - I found it tempting when first going out on the route to keep pressing on hard to compare splits with the schedule, leading to a kind of tunnel vision effect and sometimes missing the best lines entirely. As obvious as it may seem don't forget to look round, take bearings, memorise landmarks, check out other lines etc. etc. while you have the chance! On the more intricate sections of the route (eg. the Dodds ridge, the Dunmail-Langdale section) it's also worth covering them in the opposite direction (eg. with out-and-back runs) if you have the time.

As parkovski said the basic structure of the route is not that hard to follow, with a few key shortcuts/bypasses which are well documented on FRA threads and Bob Wightman's site. But there's still great satisfaction in learning subtle cues at critical points eg. the very slight rise in the path where you turn off for Watson's Dodd (easily missed in the dark).

Don't think I specifically recce-ed any sections of the route more than twice over the four or five years when I had the round in mind as an objective - I'm familiar with the Lakes fells in general though. In the final lead-up I did most of my fell training in the Brecons.

Finally: something worth being very sure of is the line *off* each top so there's no hesitation as you tag each cairn, especially the ones you're leaving on a radically different bearing (Fairfield and Pillar come to mind here). As Bob Graham himself said, if you stop just for a minute on every summit, you're adding 42 minutes to your time...
Nick Smith - Climbers - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to elliptic: Thanks to everyone for the advice, very useful.


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