Paddy Buckley Round 16th/17th May 2015

61 miles, 28000 feet of ascent


This last weekend I managed to complete the Paddy Buckley round, the Snowdonia version of the Bob Graham Round. The following is a short report on how it went.

We started from Capel Curig at 11am on Saturday morning in what was almost perfect conditions. The first 2 legs over the Moelwyns ( 20 miles, 7900 feet of ascent) and Hebog (8.8 miles, 5100 feet of ascent) sections were sublime with perfect weather and good running. We then started the Snowdon section ( 13.1 miles, 6100 feet of ascent) with about an hour of daylight left with the weather still quite good. However as we ascended it was getting cold and windy and we stopped to put on more layers. Generally it was quite good visibility but near the Summit of Snowdon visibility was down to about 20 metres. However, we kept on schedule and arrived in Llanberis at the 42 mile mark with a good hour to spare to get in under 24 hours.

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The 4th leg over the Glyders (9.3 miles, 5900 feet of ascent) was always going to be hard work. I’d been on the go for 15 hours and thick mist was still affecting visibility but we needed to concentrate to make sure we didn’t make any navigational errors. We had 1 or 2 hesitant moments going up through the quarries but luckily we had been on this ground many times during recces so we got to the top of  Elidir Fach without too many issues.

However, I was for the first time starting to lose time on my schedule and we needed to get moving. Unfortunately I had been struggling to eat and the fatigue wasn’t helping me think straight. I had been doing the Glyders leg in 3 hours 45 minutes in training recce’s but it took me 5 hours and 8 minutes on the day. I ate only 5 jelly babies during that whole leg (not nearly enough!) despite Dave and Heather heckling me constantly to eat. I realised I was stumbling on the rocky ground a lot and Heather said later that I looked drunk coming off Tryfan! I lost 48 minutes on my schedule over that (Glyders) leg and I thought I’d blown it because I just couldn’t seem to go any quicker.

The descent off Tryfan led us down to Ogwen where a cup of tea and a chair beckoned. I decided that whatever happened I had to eat at Ogwen before I started the final leg ( 9.5 miles, 4100 feet of ascent) and I forced a can of rice pudding in me. With a nagging dread that I had blown my chances of getting in under 24 hours I had to draw on some reserves to get out of my chair at the Ogwen crossover. Luckily that can of rice pudding saved the day and I got back in to Capel Curig in 23.50.14. 9 minutes and 46 seconds to spare…

I found the Paddy significantly harder than the Bob Graham but I think that was partly down to the lack of food during the night legs. I still haven’t found a way of overcoming the nausea that I seem to feel whilst running long distances. Whilst I ate regularly for the first 3 legs, and I carried a variety of savoury and sweet foods, very little was being eaten on the last 2 legs. In hindsight I should probably have stopped mid leg and forced myself to eat but it was very cold and windy during the night so stopping for too long wasn’t an option. It was a grand day out in the hills and an experience that I’ll never forget. Huge thanks to my support team of Dave, Jules, Heather, Howard and Mo!

Ian Loombe