Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Rain and more rain with a bit of rain for good measure

At last, my knee that I damaged at the start of summer is fit for running once more. One of my favourite fell races, The Three Shires, was last Saturday... but at around 13 miles and 4,000ft of climb it seemed prudent to give it a miss for a first race back on the fells.

The weather was lousy, cloud touching the bay leaving a gap just large enough for the constant rain to fall to the ground. That added more misery, its a course I know pretty well, so there's always the hope that I can sneak past a few fitter people who lose their way. But its one of the best races in the calendar to photograph - the start runs down a narrow lane for a few hundred yards, then across a stream. The first runners have the luxury of a narrow footbridge (replaced this year, the old one creaked and groaned under the weight of a few hundred runners once a year). The busy middle of the pack splits into two factions, those who enjoy an elevated view from the bridge of grown men and women splashing through the stream - and those who provide the entertainment. Its worth getting wet, it can save a minute or so. Plenty take the wet line, and plenty of spectators gather on the other side to watch them all splash through. As someone once commented - 'its like the start of Black Beauty'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0upwJC-XKBI

A quick chat at the start with club mates, then I made my way down to the bridge to get prime position. Then waited... and waited, stood in the stream up to the top of my wellies, water dripping off the tree above me, and the 'stream' rushing past. It wasn't looking good - I was wondering if I'd take the wet line had I been racing. Eventually the runners started to file along the bridge. Then continued to file across the bridge. Not a single person opted for the water. On one hand, why not? They couldn't get wetter! But saving a minute by risking a fall in there didn't make much sense. I took a few shots seeing as I was there, but runners walking in single file over a narrow bridge doesn't really stir the photographic juices nor fire me up for some hard pp back at the office.

Maybe next year - though with any luck I'll be running it rather than waiting to see if anyone goes nose first into the water.

This shot was taken later on a walk up Hampsfell above Grange. The nights are drawing in fast, 8 o'clock and the light has gone. Hand held with max iso seemed to record something, but had to push it pretty hard in photoshop to discover quite what. Imperative that you click on this one to see it larger.

Arnside and Arnside Knot from Hampsfell
iso 3200, ƒ4ish and pretty slow shutter

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