The plan was to recce legs 3, 4 and 5 of the Uphill to Wells relay race, around 15 miles or so, with Mike and Colin (with Dave to recce 4 and 5, and Maggie to recce 6). It didn’t start well when we went completely in the wrong direction at the car park, but realised pretty soon and came back, only to go wrong again when we hit the road (turning right instead of left). We managed another wrong turn later in leg 3 which took us through a lake of a puddle, then back again after our alternative way back to the correct path involved some bulls. Only one more wrong turn to end up finishing leg 3 meeting up with Maggie and Dave about an hour (and a couple of miles) later than intended.
We lost Mike for leg 4 as he went back for the car (anticipating that we weren’t going to make leg 5) but gained Dave and seemed to be navigating better (the sheep with its head caught in a fence wasn’t marked). Once we hit Cheddar gorge proper we managed to take the wrong path however, ending up by an observation path that wasn’t marked and going down Jacob’s Ladder. A rider on a horse told us how to get to a marked road, so we decided to take that to the end of the leg rather than try to get back en route (even though we did manage to find the correct turning at Bradley Cross). Dave went on to complete leg 5 and Maggie safely completed leg 6, with everyone meeting up in Wells for coffee and cake.
The West Mendip Way (which the race follows) is not as well marked as the Cotswold Way, and the maps provided by the organisers, whilst good, aren’t at a great scale. Anyone running without being able to recce their leg first should try as get as large a scale map of the area as they can.
A 479 epic suffer score according to Strava, and the longest time on my feet (I did stop and start my watch during many of the map consultations).