Monday, 5 November 2012

OMM Howgills Report 4.

Teaming up with Jim Mann for my first proper go at a Mountain Marathon was a scary prospect, especially when I realised we’d be doing the Elite Class in a totally unknown territory.  Jumping in at the deep end for me, at least, meant getting my pack weight to an absolute minimum.  Meticulous trimming down of non- essential kit weight became almost obsessional.  Learning about what kit was essential was a new experience for me, something I’ve not had to do too much before for the single day ultra events I usually take part in.
The weather provided an extra dimension to the weekend – that’s something that gives the OMM its reputation for being such a tough event.  Day 1 proved to be cold, but with good visibility and I was glad to arrive at the overnight camp reasonably dry.  We had a reasonable run, although suffered from one significant navigational malfunction mid-way and a time keeping issue at the start!  I’d suffered with foot problems for most of the day, the long traverses and steep climbs took their toll, so that had added to our time out on the fells.

I had the chance to try out the H18 ORR sleeping bag which proved to be a warm bit of kit, especially since we had only day 1’s maps to sleep on in a tiny tent and I had packed my luxury of a A4 size piece of foam mat.  I got into the bag as soon as I could and didn’t get out until day 2! The hood was brilliant in blocking out the sound of the wind and hammering rain on the tent.  My only issue with it was that it was too long for me....I’m not very tall and that extra bit of fabric weighed something!
Day 2 was really tough, and highlighted why the OMM is a team event, visibility was not great, combined with low temperatures, rain and high winds, it was a real test. We also suffered from another time keeping issue- do H18 ORR do watches?!  I was very pleased to complete the course, especially when we learnt that a few teams had retired for various reasons.  Despite it being the toughest thing I’ve ever done, I loved (almost) every minute and I would jump at the chance to do another one, now I’ve dipped my toe in the water.

Helen Skelton


  1. H18 - never heard of them. It's nothing to do with Hitler's initials is it?

    Well done for jumping in at the deep end. I enjoyed it so much that I've already gone and bought myself a Terra Nova tent half the weight of the Terra Nova we took to the Howgills which I've owned for nigh on twenty years.

    I'll be stripping the wrappers off my Mars Bars next year!

    In terms of the weather, I reckon we probably got off lightly for an OMM!

    1. Lonely, you have never heard of us cos we are new to the market. I have checked with the H18ORR archaeologist and there is no connection to AH initials, it is actually Hangar 18 Off Road Running.


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