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However, short extracts from it may be used, for non-commercial purposes, provided their source is fully cited, acknowledged and referenced as:
Broadrick, R.W. (1902) A Record Fell Walk. Yorkshire Ramblers' Club Journal Volume 1 Number 4: pp309-315. Leeds: YRC

A Record Fell Walk.

By  R. W. Broadrick.

I OUGHT, perhaps, to say a few words first upon "Fell Walking Records " in general. The idea seems to have  been originated by the Rev. T. M. Elliott, who made a round of the Fells about Wasdale Head in the early sixties; since which time there have been undertaken a large number of long Fell walks more or less in the nature of record-breaking performances.

My attention was first drawn to the subject by vague accounts in circulation at Windermere of a prodigious feat accomplished by the Messrs. Tucker, who, it was said, had climbed the seven highest mountains in England in the twenty-four hours. Being anxious to find out if such a thing were possible for an ordinary mortal, I tried, and found that, granted good conditions, it was not nearly so difficult as it appeared. In 1899, an account of Fell walking records appeared in the Cornhill Magazine, and my competitive instincts being excited, in the following autumn I attacked and lowered by some four hours the so-called " Four Peak Record." Unfortunately, I could not find any companion, so had to go alone on both occasions, and in consequence, needless to say, my accounts of these walks were euphemistically termed exaggerations.

This last autumn, I was lucky enough to find a kindred spirit in Mr. Dawson, of Sale, Cheshire, a great road walker, and we determined, if possible, to try to go one better than the "Four Peak," and see what could be done in the twenty-four hours. The arrangements had been very carefully worked out; Mr. Dawson had managed the commissariat and transport with a skill that would have done credit to a chief of the staff, and I had explored the ground very thoroughly, and had made out a time-table, which was much more accurately followed than those curious productions of some southern railway companies.

By September 14th, the preliminaries had been got through, as the sporting papers put it, and we met at Keswick. Curiously enough, we had never set eyes on one another till that moment, and knew nothing of each other's powers, except on paper, twelve hours before the start. It is probable that in nothing would so much variety of pace be shown as in a Fell walk: few amateurs, if any, could keep up with a Swiss guide on the mountains, and equally few guides could keep up with an amateur on the flat. Luckily, as it turned out, we were extraordinarily well mated. The Fells were in perfect condition, as dry as they ever get, and the weather had for several days past been all that could be desired. There had been plenty of clouds to keep the air cool, but they were high enough to clear the tops of the mountains. The wind, such as it was, was N.E.

I might perhaps say a few words here about equipment. Clothes are simple enough; they must of course be of flannel, and as light as possible. Trousers are better than shorts, as they do away with the need for garters. Knickerbockers are to be avoided.

We had arranged a civilised meal about every five hours,  but found we required a few supplementary snacks. People vary very much in this respect. Some men can walk hard for six hours without food. I have always found that meat sandwiches are bad, and biscuits hopeless. One can seldom find any water to drink  just where one wants it, and to swallow such things dry is impossible. Jam or marmalade sandwiches are much the best; chocolate makes one thirsty, but can be swallowed; a few plums are a great help. All these, with compass, map, and small flask, must go into the pockets of a light jacket or blazer.

If pacemakers can be got hold of one can feed sumptuously, but these useful animals do not grow on every bush. The foot gear is the chief difficulty. My companion used climbing boots for the first bit and gymnasium shoes for the roads and grassy Fells. I had tried all kinds of things, and had decided on light boots       (shoes are apt to blister the heel) with jute soles. They grip the rocks, whether wet or dry, splendidly; they are comfortable on roads, and are very light. India-rubber is hopeless when wet, and leather is worse. Nothing will hold on steep grass except nails, which are not to be thought of.

We spent the night of Friday, September 13th, at Mrs. Cannon's farm house, Rosthwaite, and, let me say en passant that Mrs. Cannon is the beau-ideal of a landlady. She set us on our way with a good breakfast and a cheery word at 3.30 a.m., had an excellent supper for us twenty four hours later, and early next morning there she was again, as executive and good tempered as ever.

We left the house at 3.32 am. on Saturday, September 14th, and started for Sty Head Pass, our intention being to tackle the more difficult ground first, leaving Skiddaw to be negotiated when we were no longer fresh.

It was a cool morning with a slight N.E. breeze, and - as is usual with this wind-cloudy and dark. I need hardly tell those who know the ground that that delightful bit of path just above Seathwaite is at its best on a dark night when one is half asleep. It was not quite light enough when we reached the parting of the ways to attack Great Gable by the shorter route, so we continued to the top of the pass, struck up the S.E. ridge, and arrived at the top two minutes before our appointed time, i.e., 5.18. There we left our first visiting card. We left one on each mountain, under the top stone of the cairn, and one of these, very much weather beaten, was sent to me this winter as a Christmas card.

For our next run, from Great Gable round Kirk Fell and up the Pillar, l had only allowed 65 minutes. This must be a distance of quite three miles, and though we went very fast, we were ten minutes behind time there.  The dip to Mosedale is - as all who have tried it will remember - very steep, and, while my companion in his heavy boots went down like a bird-or an elephant-my light ones were cut to pieces in the scree and would not hold on the steep moss and grass at all. Consequently, many were the times I took an involuntary seat on a sharp rock. My pockets, too, did not long stand the strain put upon them, and, as a result of one of these gymnastic performances, a shower of coins, great and small, went hurtling amongst the boulders, which, so far as I know, are still there to reward the curious explorer.

We reached Wasdale Head Hotel at 7.20, and had breakfast number two. At this point, a friend, Mr. Lehmann Oppenheimer, of Manchester, who was also going to Dungeon Ghyll, joined the party, and kindly offered to keep us in sight the whole way, and so act as witness.

The climb up Scafell, over the lower shoulder of Lingmell, was uneventful, and the summit was reached at 8.45. One should get a glorious view from it early in the morning even in September; in fact, those who have never been on the top of a mountain before breakfast do not know what a view is. Unfortunately, the east wind made everything hazy, dull and grey, and though we sometimes got a nice foreground, the distant effects were wanting all day.  On the top of Great End we met mist, that bete noire of the climber, not enough to hinder us, but enough to make us somewhat gloomy about the future. Bowfell was reached via Hanging Knotts at 10.25, and we trundled down Green Tongue at a fine pace. We found that a sitting glissade went very well on the steep, dry grass, and descended several hundred feet in this way, somewhat to the detriment of our nether  garments; and, I must admit,  when we reached the old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel we were not looking our best. There a sumptuous meal awaited us, to which I am afraid we did too full justice, for we lost a quarter-of-an-hour of our valuable time in the dining room.

From here onwards relays of friends, whose pockets bulged with all manner of dainties, took us along, and inspired by these kind pacemakers we tramped down Great Langdale at the rate of five miles an hour, crossed over Red Bank by one of the most beautiful paths in the district, and arrived at Grasmere still as fresh as paint. At this point, an enthusiastic cyclist, the writer's brother, met the party and accompanied them for - several yards.  But, alas for the frailty of human nature, the smell of dinner streaming from an open inn door proved stronger than fraternal ties, and we saw him no more.

We climbed Fairfield by the Grisedale path, arriving at the top at 2.28, and dropped down the steep scree on the N.W. side to, and I may add into,  the tarn, for my _ companion is apparently amphibious, and during the thirty six hours we were together he managed under the most adverse circumstances to put in, I believe, five bathes.

The walk over Helvellyn was chiefly remarkable for a curious instance of telepathy. During our last dip our pacemaker with the nosebag had gone on. Our swim made us very hungry, and the way we raced up Dollywaggon Pike with that bag dangling like the proverbial carrot in front of our eyes, amazed even ourselves.  However, it was no good, he and it had got too long a start, and when we reached the top, half famished, we were still a good way behind. But, oh joy! there by the path were two cairns, built of biscuits, and each surmounted by a succulent looking plum. I have believed in telepathy ever since!

Well, to cut a long story short, we reached Thirlspot  at 4.50, where another table was groaning under another load of provisions, specially selected beforehand by Mr. Dawson, that prince of caterers. Again, alas that it should be said, we lost a quarter of an hour. This, however, we more than made up, and arrived at the top  of Blencathara - called by the vulgar Saddleback - at 7.55, in excellent time, for, under good conditions, the walk over Skiddaw to Keswick should be done in about two hours. Unfortunately, here our luck deserted us. The wind had increased to half a gale, and brought with it thick mist.

Those who have been benighted on a mountain know that it is unpleasant; those who have been befogged have probably no very pleasant recollections of it; how many, I wonder, have combined the two?  I had fixed our bearings some days before as far as the top of Skiddaw  ridge, but walking by compass is not such easy work as the inexperienced imagine, even when one can see the compass; when it has to be read by lantern light, it is much harder, for the readings must necessarily be fewer.

After apparently several hours' stumbling, we reached Glenderaterra and crossed what appeared to be a network   of streams (I believe there are really only two) into a bog. Our compass led us right through it, so on we had to go. I verily believe we took the biggest bog in England at its broadest part, for, for nearly half-an-hour we were wading through rushes, wet moss, and water. But all things have an end, even in a fog, and we eventually reached the ridge which, curving away to the north, leads to the top. This ridge, which is three miles or so long by about 6oo yards broad, is the only part of the walk I had not carefully reconnoitred. By extraordinary luck, however, my companion had been over that bit a short time before. Had it  not been for that we should not have finished the walk in  time. Here, on the top, we felt the full force of the wind, and out went the lantern. Everything was so damp that lighting a match even in a calm would not have been easy, and as it was it was next to impossible. After that I carried it wrapped up in a sweater under my arm, so by that  means it was kept from being blown out, and we could sometimes see a few square feet of mist. Unfortunately, our joy at the brilliant success of this manoeuvre was somewhat damped a few minutes after by finding that the accumulated heat inside was melting our candle!   However, we had four others, and could only hope they would last us out. Eventually, more by good luck than good management, we reached one of the cairns on the top - I don't know which - and left our last card.

Our direction down, according to the map and compass, was S.E., so off we started. After a few minutes, sundry falls impressed us with the fact that the path (!) was getting worse. We had another look at the compass, which maintained, with an irritating persistence, that we were going N.E.! By that time, we had entirely lost our bearings, so had to guess our way, and we wandered about hopelessly for an hour and a half before we found the ever blessed wire fence that runs along the mountain, and which, as our last candle flickered out, led us to the hedge at the foot. But a hedge in the dark, if a good one, may be something of an obstacle, and we had to pay a heavy toll before getting into the road. Those clothes have never been worn since, and I had to have supper in an ulster.

The rest of the walk was plain sailing. We met our friends at Keswick, and all reached Rosthwaite at 3.4 a.m. tattered but triumphant.

 Appended are our times:-

         RosthWaite             3.32  a.m.
         Great Gable            5.18    ,,  
         Pillar                        6.28    ,,
         Wasdale Head        7.20    ,,
         Scafell                     8.45    ,,
         Scafell Pike             9.15    ,,
         Great End               9.41    ,,
         Bowfell                  10.25    ,,
         Dungeon Ghyll      11.18    ,,
         Grasmere                1.25  p.m.
         Fairfield                   2.28    ,,
         Helvellyn                 3.58    ,,
         Thirlspot                  4.50    ,,
         Threlkeld                 6.40    ,,
         Blencathara            7.55    ,,
         Skiddaw                10.40    ,,
         Keswick                12.50   am.
         Rosthwaite              3.40     ,,

The walk represents a climb of about 18,500 feet and a distance of 70 miles.