The Bob Graham Round

The Bob Graham Round, of all the feats of endurance I have witnessed, this is one of the most intense and impressive. Starting from Moot Hall in the centre of Keswick,  the 42 peak challenge takes runners on a tour of the highest fells in the Lake District with an aim to finish within 24 hours. Bob Graham himself completed it at the age of 42, hence the 42 peaks (for more info the official page is here), my dad was a bit late being 50 but who’s counting.

My first confession should be that I was not a participant, rather, it was my dad. He finished within 22 hours. Not bad going having just turned 50. An accolade few can attest to. Photography is my calling so I just took the action shots and used the opportunity to cram in some sunset, night sky and sunrise pictures all in one night.

Capturing astrophotography so close to the summer solstice is less than ideal (even when the sun had set, the sky wasn’t fully dark) but I was determined nonetheless. Despite the exhaustion, it was a pretty successful night.

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

My parents, pre-run. The scaffolding was the makings of a NOASIS gig, who we didn’t know were on until the night after, which was a nice surprise.

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

Stop 1 – The Bob Graham Round – Underskiddaw


The first unofficial stop, just at the bottom of Skiddaw, only around 20 minutes into the run, allowed some great views and was a chance to catch the runners before they left on their first 4-hour leg.

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

Stop 2 – The Bob Graham Round – Threlkeld


The second stop landed us in Threlkeld car park. At about 10:00pm the runners arrived. The major road works adjoining the car park didn’t exactly make for a peaceful 4-hour wait but it was only a short stop compared to the rest of the run.

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

Taken at 9.30pm from Threlkeld car park at they reached the summit and began their decent.  3 hours in.

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

Stop 3 – The Bob Graham Round – Dunmail Raise Pass


Our next stop was on the road side, and considering we started with a party of 5 or 6 of us, at this point it was turning into a major event. I took this shot around 1:45am after a short nap to keep me going through to the morning. The runners came through at 2:00am almost exactly. After another quick bite to eat and outfit change they were off  into the darkness for their longest leg of 6 hours. Next stop, Wasdale.

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

This was my first real attempt at astrophotography. I was away from any major cities so had a good chance of capturing the Milky Way, unfortunately, even when the sky seemed at its darkest there was still enough light from the moon to brighten up the sky. A lot of my long exposure shots looked more like a mid-afternoon, with added stars, which actually wasn’t that bad.

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

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The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

 

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

 

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

Stop 4 – The Bob Graham Round – Wasdale


The time spent at Wasdale was by far the best part of the night for me. We travelled up over Hard Knott pass, which is one of the hardest places to drive over in the Lake District, with its 30% gradient hills combined with tiny, winding roads. On arrival at the top of Hard Knott, you are rewarded with spectacular views across huge valleys overlooked by towering peaks. Because it was so early the clouds collected at the bottom of the valleys creating an eerie mist. Unfortunately, the schedule didn’t allow me to stop and wait for the sunrise, but the Lake District never runs out of great landscapes, so Wasdale was a welcome replacement. After arriving at 4:15 am I made a hasty retreat back to the other end of Wastwater to catch the sunrise over the mountains, and for one of my first sunrises, it was pretty spectacular.

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

Stop 5 – The Bob Graham Round – Honister Pass


The last official stop brought us to Honister Slate Mine. Honister Pass is definitely up there with some of the best views, with an uninterrupted perspective right down the valley and a steep decent out either side. It’s 2 pm, so by now, most sane supporters have retired to their beds. Me, my mother and the support runners remained. My dad arrived earlier than expected, by over an hour. He was in high spirits with the end in sight, with around 6 miles back to Keswick. Nearly there.

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

Stop 6 – The Bob Graham Round – Newlands Church


The final stop allowed for a quick change into his Dallam Running Club jersey to finish in Keswick. There was a pretty little church that made an ideal retreat whilst waiting for him to come down the other side of the Honister Pass.

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

Finish Line & The Day After – The Bob Graham Round – Keswick


Finally at the end. Pat on the back to anyone who read this far. Just under 22 hours later and he’s back at the finish line. A truly fantastic effort from my dad and everyone involved. I’m not quite convinced I’ll have a go but a proud moment nonetheless. The last stretch through the crowded town centre didn’t allow for many shots, but I managed to snap one of him reaching the Moot Hall door, and the face of relief and triumph. Bob Graham would have been proud.

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

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The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

 

The Bob Graham Round - Keswick - Calum Lewis

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