Bell/Holcroft Memorial Write Up
We hope you all had a great time at the Bell/Holcroft memorial relay, it certainly was a great tribute to two great friends. Those who were out on the fells dealt with some interesting conditions, battled the elements, made new friends, bagged some iconic peaks and ultimately had a good time. And for those of us who couldn’t make it we had a great time following along from afar, whether that be through the tracking link or the variety of pictures coming through on the whatsapp chat. All the teams finished within an hour of each other thanks to the meticulous planning of Neil McKenzie. After that it was over to Brathay where many memories of the past 24 hours were shared but most importantly Dave and Roger were remembered with great speeches by Ben Abdelnoor and Tony Walker. A huge thanks to Helen, Mac and the team for putting this together – we hear Dan has already got his thinking cap on for next year’s one.
Here are some reflections from a members:
My initial thoughts when reflecting on the day is that Dave and Roger would have absolutely LOVED it!! It really was such a great mix of all that makes the club so special: running in the fells with friends and socialising together after.
As a running challenge, the BG Relay had it all…. team dynamics and organisational complexity mastered by Mac and the Team Captains. Dot watching galore. Seriously grim weather conditions and darkness battled by the hardiest runners on the first three legs. Relentless wind. Frantic changeovers. And not forgetting the suntans, frivolity and ice creams for the lucky leg 5 runners in the sunshine on the glory leg!
I particularly enjoyed the excited buzz at Honister and later in the Market Square in Keswick – briefly awash with blue and green – as the teams all arrived home to cheers within an hour of one another! A moment to savour. Everyone full of smiles with the hard work done.
Then on to Brathay. The weather in the evening was kind, and attendees were many, as revellers relived the glories of the day. Delicious food was devoured and we heard touching speeches by Ben Abdelnoor and Tony ‘Shagpad’ Walker which reminded us why we were there: to remember two great men who both left their mark on the club and who will be sadly missed. Roger and Dave both embodied the spirit of the Ambleside AC and were highly involved and influential members for many years. It was great to see so many different ‘factions’ of the club enjoying the night together and celebrating the lives of two like-minded people who some of the newer members had maybe never met, and many of the older members remember incredibly fondly.
Huge thanks to Helen for having the initial idea and putting it together so well. Helen was ably supported by Mac on logistics and the many others who supplied marquees and sound systems, transported kit around, managed payments, put up and took down tents, set up and cleared up after everyone and did the myriad of other jobs that make huge events like this possible!
The club is 40 years old next year and I am already excited about what could be possible by way of celebration! Ideas to the Committee… upwards and onwards 😊
Late recruits Mike and Vince got us off to a solid start on leg 1, but the ‘summer’ weather ripped up the schedule for leg 2 onwards. Hats off to Daz and Jenny – Jenny is relatively new to the club and only joined the team on the Thursday afternoon – for a nothing short of heroic second leg in awful conditions. The silver lining of an understandably slower second leg was that Hanno and Ian had a bit more light for a wet and wind-blasted trek to Wasdale. (MWIS would describe it as ‘wind likely to impede progress’). However, Brie the wonder dog was the undisputed star of the show – although Hanno deserves credit for obviating the need for the tracker by broadcasting photos from every summit on route.
By Saturday morning, the Lakes had almost remembered it was summer. Michelle and Steve completed leg 4 in bright, (you could almost say) sunny conditions. However, a stiff headwind from Steeple onwards made things a bit more interesting. By leg 5, it was like a different day, and Wayne and Paul completed the glory leg in recce-time-busting style. Huge thanks to our support team, Chris Hodgson, Jim Tyson and Jez Lefton. When can we do it again?
I removed my head torch on the approach to High Raise. By then I could see enough of the ground not to stumble. Steel Fell had been just black; we had seen a vague outline of the Calf Crag summit so we had had something to aim at. The wind and rain going up Mere Beck had been unpleasant and John and I were both cold and wet, but our line up to Sergeant Man had been perfect. I had been slightly nervous leaving the car at Dunmail after listening to the stories of the leg 2 runners on the Helvellyn ridge but we didn’t get the same onslaught that they had had. Kate and Rachel had sped off after Steel Fell so we were quite alone in the half light of dawn, which was slow in coming because of the low cloud. We didn’t see another soul until we got to our handover point in Stake Gill. Running on the high fells at 4.00 in the morning was a new experience for both of us; a real challenge and I guess that was the point. This was how Dave and Roger lived their lives; pushing themselves to do better, to go faster and further. Roger would have been embarrassed at all the fuss and would have used that laugh of his to disguise the fact; Dave would have told us all to “sod off” and go to the pub instead. Both enjoyed the thrill of the individual challenge that fell running brings.
Cut to Brathay on Saturday evening and we are surrounded by 170 like-minded people creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The mixing of the groups. The stories, the banter and the inevitable “what next” discussions. Probably three quarters of those present had participated in some way either running or in a support role. There can be no other fell running club with such an inviting and generous spirit as ours and what a great thing to treasure. Dave and Roger would have been equally at home in the marquees, with Roger telling stories of old and Dave taking the piss and drinking the Brathay Gold. We should treasure the memories of a genuinely special weekend as well as remembering two outstanding club members whose passing inspired the event.