Pre Paddy Buckley
A retrospective view of my build up to a prospective punt at the Paddy Buckley Round (PBR).
It’s 13:26pm, 36 hours before I’m supposed to be plodding my way up Moel Siabod on the eastern fringes of the Snowdonia National Park.
The lovely inclines in the Dinorwig slate quarries on the rise up and out of Llanberis. Snowdon and Moel Cynghorion on the horizon too.
The PBR was devised by Paddy Buckley and first completed in one continuous effort by Wendy Dodds in May 1982. It’s not as well known as it’s Lakeland counterpart, ‘The Bob Graham’ but is certainly in the same league of difficulty. In fact, many people believe the Paddy is the toughest of the 3 (the Charles Ramsay being the Scottish version). After supporting a friend on the Ramsay last summer I don’t know if I entirely concur with this school of thought but like all these things, they vary from experience to experience.
Coincidentally, it was the days spent up in Scotland that planted the PBR seed.
My current thoughts towards the weekend are mixed.
Do I think I’ll do it?
No, is the honest answer to that, I have a lot of friends that think I’m a sandbagger and underestimate what I’m capable of but I guess I’m the only one that really knows and I can say 99% of the time I honestly feel the way I say I do. However, what I also know is, this weekend included, I will beat myself into a pulp.
How am I preparing mentally?
Well, as I’m typing this I’m envisaging myself vomiting food back up, crawling up hills and telling my support team I’ve had enough… My backwards way of thinking is - if I can visualise these situations now then when they occur, which I guess they probably will, I’ll have been there before and will be ready to suck it up and crack on.
Hopefully it won't be like this on the 17th of May! The Snowdon Cafe looking a little on the cool side
My deepest fear?
Pretty easy one this. My knees. I’ve suffered with IT band issues a fair bit since I started running. I’d go as far to say that I am now chronically worried about a re-occurrence of the dreaded ITB pain. I have no doubt that any pain from this will stop me as I am unable to run through it.
Will I be bummed if I don’t do it?
I tell myself “no” and I tell others “no” but I really feel it’ll depend on my performance. As an old resident and climber in North Wales I’ve spent a lot of time in and around Snowdonia but rarely venturing off the beaten track and frequently hitting the same crags. The recceing for the PBR has been such an eye opener, I have loved every minute (almost) of the reccies. How I never ventured up the Nantlle Ridge whilst I lived there I will never know, why I never walked over the Carneddau on a crisp winters day I can’t quite understand and why I never ran up the inclines in the slate quarries (a bit more on the weird side of enjoyment but none the less properly good fun) I’m not sure. I’ve met a lot of old friends and made quite a few new ones in the process. All in all it’s been fun and I hopefully when I read this back after my pathetic failure I won’t be so grumpy!
What’s not been so good about the PBR build up?
I’ve got slow. Not so much on the flats but as soon as I hit a hill I can’t help but walk. It’s been a nightmare, I feel like I’ve programmed myself to conserve energy on hills, not a bad thing for the Paddy but not so good when you’re trying to run a short fell race.
Lastly, should I not fail spectacularly on Saturday and I do manage to complete the Round and no longer be an aspirant ultra fell runner (sub 24 or not) I have huge amounts of respect for the physical and mental capabilities and resilience of anyone who has completed any one of the 3 famous UK rounds.
Looking back along the Nantlle Ridge towards Trum y Ddysgl
Charging off Carnedd Llywelyn with Pen yr Helgi Du and Pen Llithrig y Wrach. One of the few sections that is easier in winter connies
Coming down off Moel Siabod looking over towards the Snowdon leg of the Round
Foel Goch, Y Garn and the beginnings of the Glyders looking rather delightful
Man with cold face
Wasdale, Kirk Fell and Great Gable and some other classic Welsh peaks.... Wait a minute... A weekend away from a weekend away
Lunar landscape on the crest of Pen yr Ole Wen
Foel Goch, Y Garn and the Glyders
The logistics for my PBR recceing have been somewhat hectic and although I'm sure a lot of the folk that have put me up and helped support my manic efforts to recce the route won't ever end up reading this I am very grateful for your fantastic hospitality, thank you.
PS North Wales is bloomin' great!