Support and Logistics

No matter what time you start and what your intended pace is, one of your pit stops will be at some ungodly hour. You are just going to have to pull in favours.

There are four road crossings, in a clockwise direction these are: Threlkeld; Dunmail Raise; Wasdale; Honister Pass. These are opportunites to refresh on water/hydration mixtures and food; change clothing if necessary; dry out and tend to your feet. They are not long rests, certainly not long enough to recuperate. Indeed, having too long a rest may cause muscles to stiffen, thus negating the effect intended.

The support team(s) should have some reasonable idea of when you are likely to appear at each crossing, this is even more important if you are well up on schedule. See the foot of this page for a table of times based on the intended schedule. Note that I mentioned teams: on a summer weekend in the Lake District, moving around during the day can be very frustrating due to the sheer volume of cars on the road so two support teams may be needed. This is particularly relevant in the case of Wasdale: three peaks “challenges” arrive at Wasdale in the middle of the night on their way from Ben Nevis to Snowdon via Scafell Pike. The problems caused by the support minibuses and coaches on the narrow lanes is the cause of much local anxiety.

Some time, a couple of weeks, before your attempt, you should meet up with as many of the support team as possible and make sure that everyone knows what they are meant to be doing on the day. Among the things that need to be sorted out are:

  • Where the exact meeting points are, grid references, descriptions, etc.(See the table at the foot of this page).
  • An estimated time of arrival.
  • The food and supplies for each stop.
  • The food and supplies for the next leg.
  • Mobile phone numbers, car registrations, other contact details.

On the day itself, the driver of the main support vehicle is in charge. That person should ensure that everyone knows where they should be and what they should do.

The next few paragraphs deal with each of the above in turn.

Both the contender, but especially the pacers need to know where the support vehicle is situated at each stop: there is no point wasting time by looking in the car park at Wasdale, for example, when the vehicle is at the road junction or vice versa. To this end one of the support party should be some distance out along the incoming route to guide the party to the vehicle. A small pair of binoculars is useful to pick the party out from all the other teams on the hill.

There should be comfortable chairs or seating for the contender to use at the stop. It is now like a formula one pit stop: the contender needs to be fed and watered; feet need attending - drying out with talcum powder; socks and possibly shoes changed; any problems sorted out; maybe a change of top if the weather is changing; areas that are rubbing need vaseline applying; suncream?.

The support team need to have some idea of whether those on the fells are ahead or behind schedule. Obviously if just one main support vehicle then there will be the departure time from the last stop to work from along with the state of the contender etc. It is worth being ready about an hour ahead of schedule, just in case the fell team are doing well. Hot water can be put into flasks, items laid out and so on.

The following list gives a rough idea of what is needed in terms of supplies at each stop.

  • Fresh water.
  • Hydrating fluids (sports drinks) ready mixed.
  • Choice of foods.
  • Towels.
  • Fresh socks.
  • Complete change of clothing for the contender.
  • Talcum powder.
  • Vaseline.
  • Any other medication.
  • Chairs.
  • Suncream lotion.
  • Portable gas stove.
  • Tin opener.
  • Plastic plates and cups.
  • Eating utensils.
  • Route card (and pen/pencil) for the next leg.

The table below shows the approximate arrival times at each road crossing. This is based on the schedule entered in the calculator or a clockwise circuit on the closest Saturday to midsummer if you have not chosen a date for your attempt. The support team should be at these locations well in advance of these times to ensure that they are ready when the party arrives. This is especially so for the later stops if things are going well and are up on schedule.

Click on one of the table rows for a set of directions from the previous road crossing.

Location Grid Ref Description Approximate time of arrival