Pebble in a pond – the Winter Fan Dance 2017 – Load Bearing

Well, I’ve just got back from Wales taking part in the Winter Fan Dance. This is an event I have done before but this is the first time that I have taken part in the Load Bearing category. How ever you look at this it is a tough event. My watch happily told me that the total ascent was 3,192 ft over a total distance of 14.4 miles. Considering the start and finish are at the same point this also means that it is 3,192 ft of descent and this places quite a strain on your quads, especially the last little bit !

So, why, do you ask did I choose to do this carrying a 32lb backpack ? (this was the weight at the finish after I drank about half the water I was carrying…). Well, I wanted a challenge. The other reason is that I still feel that I have something to prove. Not just to myself but to the people round me.

Everything that we do has an effect a bit like dropping a pebble in a pond. The ripples spread out and reach further that you could ever imagine. Each of our actions affect the people around us and influences in some way what they do. As parents, and grandparents, we are all role models for our children and grandchildren. We help to shape their goals and aspirations. I want my grand-daugher to grow up thinking if her Grandma can do that then their is nothing to stop her achieving anything that she aims for. I also like a new challenge !

As with all the events run by Avalanche Events that I have taken part in the organisation was superb. It is a company that takes safety seriously and won’t accept shortcuts on kit. The kit I took with me is pretty much everything that I’ll also need for my next big adventure later in the year; just with a few more clothes and a bit more food !

My knee is still not fully recovered so I was a bit wary about pushing things too much so the plan was always to walk. The conditions under foot were not always good. Plenty of ice with a bit of water on top for good measure with plenty of mud thrown in at times ! I will say the weather is the best I’ve ever known considering the time of year and there was a real danger of overheating at times so it was a case of jacket on & jacket off !

The part of the route I was most worried about was the ascent back up Jacobs Ladder. The last part of this is a scramble over rock (at least for me with fairly short legs it is !) and I was really not sure how I would find this with the additional weight of the backpack. I made it to the top (in one piece 🙂 ) and I think this is down to the training I’ve done over the last year. Running up an 800ft hill once a week really does help and the additional gym training and swimming to help my upper body strength helped with the additional weight of the backpack.

When I got near halfway (about half a mile out) my daughter and grand daughter were there to walk in with me. One day I hope to be able to do this with them both competing but it will be a few years yet !

So… here is the bit when I list the kit I used :

Clothing

OMM Kamleika waterproof jacket
Mountain Warehouse lined trekking trousers
Inov-8 merino wool base layer
Fan Dance technical t-shirt
SnugPak merino wool socks
Brooks Fiona running bra
AKU Trekkit boots

Backpack

I’m not going to list all the contents of my backpack… but I used an Osprey Ariel 65l backpack. I’m so glad that I took the time and trouble to buy a backpack that fitted properly, it made such a difference and meant that the load was split between my hips and shoulders/back. My backpack and I have a few more adventures planned for this year !

Anyway, these are a few photos from the event 🙂

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