Sat/Sun 8/9 August 2020
The 10 Peaks Challenge was well and truly smashed by Roy Parkinson over the weekend. He covered the entire distance, 58 miles with 6006 feet of climbing in 21 hours 6 minutes. Setting off from the car park near the Pigeon Tower at the bottom of Rivington Pike, at 1.30pm, he had chosen one of the hottest days of the summer. Fortunately, by the time he dropped off Great Hill it had begun to cloud over. The route is a mixture of fell terrain interspersed with long sections of road. The key to his success came with the decision to carry both a fell and a road pair of shoes. The fell shoes were on over the boggy section from Rivington Pike to Darwen Tower. A handily placed bench by the tower saw the first change to road shoes for the next section.

Slight doubts came to the surface at this point. Am I carrying enough water? You need enough, but you do not want to carry too much – it is heavy! Fortunately, Steve Taylor, out with his camera, was on hand, to supply more at Ewood Park. Then it was on to the long stretch of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and a cycle track through Great Harwood. A handily place petrol station provided the next lot of extra water before it was back to fell shoes over Pendle. Leaving the summit and heading to the Scout Cairn, by then dusk had set in. The quickest route to Clitheroe is not one that is commonly used and was unfamiliar to Roy. By this time map reading was difficult without a head torch, which was in a bag with overnight gear in Clitheroe. He took the easier, but longer option, and followed the road from Mearley Hall into Clitheroe.

With Steve relaying information on his progress on PH WhatsApp the interest and goodwill messages were coming in. Queries were raised ‘Does he have hot kitchen support?’ No, this was a low key effort. What he did have was more important. Waiting at Lidl in Clitheroe was his wife Wendy with a takeaway, an overnight rucksack with warm clothes and a sleeping bag. It was after 10pm when he left Clitheroe in the dark and even after 30 miles a drunk could only keep up with him for 50 metres. The long slog from Edisford Bridge up Birdy Brow was challenging with many cars on the road, probably not expecting pedestrians at that time, causing him to dive onto the grass verge.

Into the forest on Longridge Fell fallen trees across the path resulted in a few detours and the headtorch picking up a pair of eyes staring at him (probably a deer). Bed for the night was a bench at the viewpoint on Jeffrey Hill. The wind had got up and the sleeping bag was only just warm enough. But 2 hours, and the sight of a shooting star across the sky, was enough. He was off after a quick message to Steve. Steve was waiting at 5.45am on the approach to Beacon Fell. He took on another bottle of water, dumped the heavy overnight pack and was away to meet former football teammate and ultra-runner, Tom McAteer, who ran with him for the last 12 miles. The long climb from Blindhurst Farm up to Parlick, featuring three false summits, was a slog but with most of the climbing done Roy was still moving well.

He soon reached Fair Snape Fell, a quick descent into Bleasdale, leaving only Nick Nook remaining. The last remaining road section from Bleasdale, through Oakenclough to Grizedale Bridge followed. Leaving only a pleasant run through the woods of Grizedale and a short climb over Nicky Nook, he descended to Snowhill Road to be met by Wendy. The WhatsApp group got the news, ‘Finished, on my way to Applestore for breakfast’. Well done Roy, fantastic achievement. And not only for this run, but for coming up with the idea of the 10 Peaks Challenge. There are now over 50 members attempting the challenge, with 42 having completed 5 or more and 17 visiting all 10 summits.