Until a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t even heard of the Spine Challenger. We (myself, my friend Helen and my Poodle) were out walking one day and whilst stopping at a cairn for refreshment a guy called Mark stopped to chat. He had a massive backpack as he was walking and camping the route of the race over about 4 days. He said we should come back this way and check it out on the 11th to help put his gloves on. As I enjoy taking photos of grouse in the hills, which I might say is very difficult (I can show you my 1 good grouse image). I thought this would be the perfect photography challenge taking photos of fell runners in their natural habitat.
So fast forward to January 11th 2014…
It was about 8.30am and as soon as we parked the car on the Snake Pass where the Pennine Way crosses the road, it started to snow. Stepping out of the car the wind hit us, it was cold and already we began to feel a little sorry for the runners and walkers. We took the stone flagged path across Featherbed Moss heading towards Kinder Downfall, heads down trying to avoid the prickly snow on our faces. For a while we didnt see anyone at all. Then suddenly without warning, out of the fog appeared a group of about 10 handsome runners. The path is narrow, we had to jump out of the way. I was gutted, the camera was still in my bag. I thought thats it we’ve missed them there wont be anymore competitors on such a brutal race. Moments later more poured down the path but this time there was some warning so I was ready. Again we jumped out of the way dragging the poor Poodle with us still managing to get some shots. This continued to happen every 10 minutes.
All the runners had gone then the walkers came. We were noticing they thought I was the official race photographer and as soon as I was spotted all the smiles and some funny poses were on display.
We covered just a couple of miles and a few hours not going much further than Mill Hill. I guess the real official photographer will cover the rest of the 104 miles or so, 60 hours non stop Spine Challenge.
Now with the excitement over I’ll get back to my grouse photography.