The Challengers Arrive in Caernarfon
Author : Rob Howard
PhotoCredit : Rob Howard
Date Posted : 2018/06/10
Almost every year the Snowdon run is done in the dark by the majority of the teams – but not this year. The late start and the almost windless night have ensured that.
This year the first teams arrived after the sun came up and then only because they were in the non-competitive Challenge Class, which allows engine use at times. One of those times being when there is no wind at all! So, while the race boats were becalmed rounding Bardsey Head, the Challengers had pulled away.
Smithers Purslow came in just after dawn, appearing out of the morning mist at low tide to pull up alongside the pier and disembark their runners, Andrew Bursley and Caroline Mattock at 04.38. They were in good spirits and planned to walk the Snowdon route, expecting to take around 8 hours. “I’ve done the 3 peaks many times,” said Andrew, “but never from a yacht!” Caroline said, “We are new to sailing and so far it’s been enjoyable – calm seas, a glorious sunset and dolphins for company!”
Gwyr Harlech were due in next and friends and family were waiting. One of the Marshals is Will Bailley, and his son Ben, and nephew Ed were on board. Having waited through the night to see them there was a little consternation when the boat didn’t pull onto the pier but took a mooring. A phone call established “the runners are not ready and are getting breakfast”! Clearly they are a very relaxed team.
Three of the team set off up Snowdon. I was told, “there is only one regular sailor on board and the other 4 wanted to go up, but the skipper said one should stay with him”. They plan for 4 to go up Scafell Pike.
When they did arrive (06.08) they made Peaky Finders wait briefly. This team were all still wearing their flat caps, and clearly plan to throughout the event. One of the runners said, “I’d be in big trouble if I lost my cap!” It was Richard Wykes and Ryan Weir who set off for Snowdon and they were hoping for a time of 6 hours to catch the next tide.
It will be a while until the race boats arrive, but they have picked up some wind now. They will be on Snowdon in the middle of the day, and it looks like it’s going to be very hot, which will make the first run harder.
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