Double Paddy Buckley Round

122 miles, 17070m

17th to 19th May 2019

The Paddy Buckley has always been a special round to me because it was the first round after the Bob Graham, where I learnt so much and really changed my training in order to complete it. I reccied it a lot and had many weekends over the winter of 2005/2006 learning the lines with Dark Peak and Penistone. I attempted in bad weather, staggered round in 25.45 hours and then got breast cancer. I returned to Wales throughout 2006 and 2007 and attempted again in May 2007. This time I was successful.  I also had a wonderful day in 2013 when I broke the Ladies record in knocking 5 hours off my time to complete in 19.02.

After completing the Double Ramsay I knew I wanted to do a Paddy. I had a couple of reccies before Ultra Tour Monta Rosa working out how to do it and decided on a full ACW round followed by a CW round starting at Capel Curig. My worry was the night sections and after I had reccied the Pont du Gors to Aberglasyn leg a couple of times thought that the major navigational problem would be finding the descent off Hebog to Banog. But there had to be a night section and that was the best one. I was also worried about the long Capel to Aberglasyn and back leg and wanted the second traverse as early in the round as possible.

I emailed out for support around Christmas time as I wanted to go with my favourite weekend for rounds which is May 18th /19th etc. Support came slowly but over time me and Charmian collected a few more good people and I was happy with the allocation. I wanted Wisp along but after the Ramsay when she overheated a lot I chose night legs and although she likes the Capel to Aberglasyn leg it's just too long at over 7 hours. But four legs would be nice and finishing with her too. I also asked Keith Holmes to come over for the last leg. There are a few shots of me on the Run Forever with Keith at the end and I cherish the fact that our special friendship is recorded on camera. Part of my 2006 getting fitter and faster plan was to attend the Winter Mondays sessions that Keith organises. When I turned up, a lot slower than any of them, they and especially Keith didn't make me feel slow at all. They all encouraged me and slowly I got faster and much stronger at hills. I still do the Winter and Summer Mondays and think they are key to my success. Keith has been there with me through thick and thin. There had been quite a few supporters changes in the week and days leading up to the start and I am really thankful that the support I had all doubled up and changed around just as asked. Everyone of you were special and played a key part in my success last weekend. I hope I remember to mention everyone.

The weather forecast in the week beforehand was a changeable picture. Everytime I looked it was different as although there was a high in place there was also a low moving in from the west and it just depended on how far east it came. But the temperatures were good - 10 to 15C and a cold east wind too. Although I wanted dry rocks there was no way I was cancelling for a possible few showers. I had booked a B&B which took dogs for Wisp as all campsites didn't! It was actually lovely having a room and I would recommend the Bryn Glo Cafe as accommodation especially with a great pub within walking distance and the Moel Siabod cafe on route to Capel Curig.

Leg 1 - Start Joe Browns, Capel Curig 10.30am. Support: Damian Hall, Tim Ripper and Wisp. Scheduled Time: 3:20 hours Actual Time 3:00 hours Arrived 13.30 Friday

It was overcast and slightly drizzling so I'd gone with a Short sleeved Tri Blend Tee with a Stormshell Waterproof . I put on my Enso skirt with my Race Elite 3/4's tights over the top as I really expected it to get warm enough to take the 3/4's off. It was so good to be setting off at last. Wisp was quite good on the road but eager to be off her lead and running abut when we got over the gate. I had timed the splits and thought we would get up on schedule but I didn't try to concentrating on just taking it easy and starting to eat. It did seem very daunting to be setting off on two rounds but the taper was working as I felt fresh and strong. It was quite warm and the showers didn't come to much. We could soon see the whole of our route and looking across to Snowdon it looked clear too. I had a good chat to Tim Ripper about sleep and feet as in March he completed the The Lakes 2500 (which are all 62 'Wainwright' Fells in the Lake District that are over 2500 feet in height - 110 miles and 45,000 feet of climb)  in 51.39 hours. Chatting away the whole leg passed very quickly and we were soon trying to stay on the grassy path down. Running into the layby I wasn't looking forward to the ascent of Tryfan as on the ACW leg it's a brute of a climb. I tucked into some Expedition foods Custard and Berries in readiness!

Leg 2 - Start Glandana layby. Support Damian Hall, Darren Fishwick, Jim Paxman. Scheduled Time: 4:05 hours Actual Time 3:45 hours Arrived 17:15 Friday

I set off steady up the climb. It was getting warm but not enough to take off the 3/4's. The temperatures were good for me. On my recce I had plodded up what I thought was a path but couldn't find it now. It was a relief to get off the steep gully and onto the rock climbing. Damian went ahead and found the scuffed rocks for us. My stomach was playing up a bit and I wondered about trying to go to the toilet. Oh it was nice to reach the top on schedule and then descend. As I didn't have a pack I found this much easier than normal and now the rocks had dried a little so the graphene shoes gripped really well. The climb up Bristly Ridge seemed loose, steep and hard. I gave myself a telling off for going too fast and tried to go slowly but the gradient is so steep. Topping out I think we all felt the pace was too fast. Jim and Damian went ahead and walked - I think making a point that I should also walk. I heeded this hint and walked while trying not to be impatient. A loo stop helped. I was eating rice puds I think but didn't eat the bars as I usually do. We met Lee Proctor on the climb to Y Garn and I had cheered up a bit by then. Slowing the pace had worked and now it felt more do able for a longer period of time. Trotting over to Elidir Fawr and Elidir Fach was nice. I've always liked them ACW. The descent to Llanberis went well too with us finding the lines down through the quarries and down the concrete panels. I remembered one recce with Wisp where she had a dunk in the lake then we turned back round and headed back to Glandana!

I think I ate some eggs and beans here (it's all got a bit confused!). And I changed my socks, taking Tim Ripper's advice.


Leg 3 - Start Llanberis. Support Darren Fishwick, Kirsty Hewitson, Matt Bennett and Wisp. Scheduled Time: 4:31 hours Actual Time 4:14 Arrived 21:29 Friday

The first climb to Moel Eilio I quite like ACW although everyone else said it dragged. From there we trotted along quite happily. It was quite chilly but clear and the moon was starting to appear. The worse ACW climb has got to be the Crib y Ddysgyl one. I had hoped that it was avoiding people on the path that made it worse but there were no people and it still just dragged on at the same relentless gradient. Kirsty and Matt got a great line though that popped us out right at the summit. Phew. Down to the col then up to Snowdon we went. We whooped a little as we knew that it was downhill mainly now and the grassy descent from Yr Aran is rather pleasant. I was eating well again and mainly noodles with the occasional gel and other stuff. The coke was going down well too. Meeting Damian on the final descent I had some coffee and then enjoyed the grassy splodge down to Pont Cae gors.

I think it was cheese and onion pie here. And a change of socks again sticking with the Graphene Mudclaws shoes.

Leg 4 Start Pont Cae gors Support: Ian Charlesworth, Simon Rippon and James Gregory. Scheduled Time: 3:46 Actual Time 4:25 Arrived 01:54 Saturday

Setting off I was happy and feeling fresh. We walked / ran along the tracks and hit the grassy climb. Having done this a couple of times it was fairly simple to navigate and we soon seemed to reach the top. The clouds had rolled in though and we were in clag which didn't bode well for later navigation. Running and climbing across the rocks to Mynedd Drws y Coed we were chatting to James about exposure and he said he didn't like heights. Ian replied "It's a good thing you can't see down then". We soon reached the summit and onto Trum. Here we nearly ran off the hill the wrong way but I just spotted the edge to my right. It was very hard to see the path in the grass. Down we went and dropped slightly out of the clag. The little out and back was quick and then I led up the wall and gully to the summit of Y Gryn. Off that was the usual heather and rock bash then there was a long climb up into the clag and cold again to Moel Lefn. Because of the clag we weren't spotting the nice trods but it was fine. The climb up Moel Hebog seemed very steep and I was glad to reach the top. Now came the tricky bit. I was determined not to drop too early as I knew that was rocky. Looking over the edge I couldn't see the basin below for clag so kept running down to the cairn. Then we headed left. It looked right and slightly grassy but then we hit gorse. I'd never seen gorse before but there was nothing to do but descend. The gorse just got deeper and thicker. I think both me and Ian thought we had dropped too much and must be too far right - but to go left meant lots of gorse whereas straight down looked less gorse. My legs were getting scratched and I fell in a hole, only stopping when my leg got wider than the hole was. I had a lump on my shin like an egg. It throbbed a lot. It was awful floundering around in deep gorse and rocks and I was very frustrated. We then spotted a wall. Looking at my map I realised that the wall would lead us to the summit of Bryn Banog. Just then James answered his phone and it was Charmian telling us we were too far right. So along the wall we scrambled - having to go up and down all the time. It was very frustrating - and not only that but I don't think I had eaten for all this time- we reached Bryn Banog in 52 minutes having lost 27 minutes. Getting a bearing sorted we ran off. Again I had reccied this and when clear I had walls and buildings and streams as guidance. We dropped out the clag and could see some lights but we weren't sure of the route and so went very slowly. Eventually we reached the boggy basin and the start of the proper path. Running down I was disappointed to have lost that time but thought that it's happened and everything is still ok.

Leg 5 Start Aberglasyn Support: Tom Pape, Megan Wilson and Pez Holda. Scheduled Time 6:33 Actual Time 7:57 hours Arrived 09.51 Saturday

Leg 5 I had cut into Leg 5a and Leg 5b with Ian Fitpatrick and Mia camping out in the quarries mid point. On reccies it just seemed too long to have it as one leg of 7 hours. This however only slightly improved the enormousity of what was to come. The climb to Cnict isn't bad - but the track after the road goes on forever. As we neared the end of the road there was a ginger haired chap sat on a landrover that I partially recognized. He had a great smile and a cow bell. We all grinned as we passed by. So up the track we went. I knew I had to be running part of it but just didn't have the energy. I also wasn't looking forward to the whole leg really. We lost about 10 minutes to the top of Cnict and it was foggy on top. Tom led me down what I thought must be Ian Fitz's contour route but it was quite nice and dropped us at the reservoir the same. Again going over to the quarrries I knew I should be running. It was lovely seeing a yellow tent there and although I didn't want to stop long I ate some beans and drank some coffee. We could see two bodies inside the tent all curled up, in their sleeping bags and fast asleep. Ian Fitz and Mia we assumed. Eventually Ian heard us and emerged from his deep sleep. How lovely I thought - that he can sleep so well out here. He said he would move across the quarries and meet us on our return which would be nice.

Tom, Megan and Pez filled up their water bottles and we carried on. Somewhere we bumped into Lee and Tori on the climb and although lost the path, soon found it by the fence again. I don't think I was very happy now, things just didn't seem to be going right. Little errors in the clag all cost time I know and I still wasn't finding loads to eat. We ran off and over to Moelwyn Bach where Jake the cameraman was waiting - as cheery as ever! Running back towards Moel Yr Hydd I cheered up a bit and realised we weren't too far off the schedule. Maybe life wasn't all bad! We trotted along the track below the Moelwyns, across the two little bumps meeting Ellie on route which was nice and down into the quarries. This time I had something to eat quickly and set off as I needed the loo. I waited for the others to catch up and we climbed up onto the plateau. The clag was swirling round but I knew the lines ok and with Tom in front we were good. Pez and Megan were cheery and fed me noodles and coke.

Running back towards Druman Tom asked me which way round the lake I went - and I always go right. The pace seemed ok but I realised we were just losing time on the schedule on every split. Although I had reccied these lines and tops a lot I was doubting myself and in the clag we couldn't see the obvious markers such as the ponds. We ended up back tracking to one top in the clag. At some point I tried to work out whether I wasn't even going to do the first round in under 24 hours. I think I was sure we would but I could feel the under 48 hours for the Double slipping out of reach.  I was toying with stopping at Capel however when Megan said "How much do you want to push up here?" on the climb to Moel Siabod I replied automatically "Not that hard as I have to turn around and do it all again" !!! Then I knew I wasn't stopping !!!! I did have to come to terms with the fact that the sub 48 hours was probably 99% not achievable though which was immensely disappointing as I really didn't want another Double like the Ramsay. I ran down to Capel not knowing how to pull anything round.

I can see on the video the anguish in my face - Inov-8 /videos/449742519168708  I don't even stop to hug my brother properly and dive into the camper. Even though I didn't think I could sleep I just needed a break before the huge return leg so Charmian asked everyone to be quiet and I had 10 minutes just lying there. When Charmian came back in we changed my clothes (I took off the Enso skirt as it just wasn't going to get warm enough for that now)  and washed my feet and then I started to feel rather sick. Charmian grabbed the washing bowl and I vomited into that. I looked down and although the eggs and tea had come back up none of the baked beans had. There were some berries though and Charmian said "Berries and Custard" - that was from Glandana so they had been in there hours! I felt slightly better and thought I'd have to get on with Moel Siabod. I took my Leki Micro Trail Pro poles as I knew I was going to need some help on this second round!

Leg 6 Start Capel Curig Support: Damian Hall, Kirsty Hewitson and Adam Micklethwaite. Scheduled Time 7.55 hours Actual Time 9.52 hours Arrived 19.43 Saturday

The climb up Moel Siabod didn't seem too bad but I was going way slower than what I needed to. I honestly can't remember a lot of this leg. Adam led a lot and the others tried to get me to eat. It all just seemed a bit pointless. I've never wanted to be one of these people that do very long things, very slowly and then complain about the whole experience - but that's what I felt like I was doing. I felt like I had let everyone down even starting the Double Paddy - what a stupid idea to get everyone out on the pretense that I could complete a Double Paddy in under 48 hours. And even my brother and his family too had come all the way from Berkhamsted. All these really negative thoughts were going round my head.

Then coming off Moel Meirch we met Lisa Watson and her friend which really gave me a boost though and I ate a few of her chocolate coffee beans too. I hope they could work miracles on me as they did on our whole High Peak Marathon team back in March! I did go off feeling slightly better and kept going onwards towards the quarries. Coming down into the quarries we were met by Lee and Tori again. I was now quite used to hearing a bouncy Sounth African accent mixed in with Lee's Newcastle one. I needed something to eat and they had beans which tasted quite good. Kirsty suggested a kip in the bothy bag and I thought I would. It was rather nice just lying there in the sun and I think I got a few minutes sleep although my knees starting hurting so I had to move. I had some more beans and decided to crack on.

The next climb up Foel Ddu I usually found really easy although it's steep but it really took the stuffing out of me. I was pulling hard on my poles and completely exhausted. It was horrid. This was my worse fear that nothing I did would make me go any faster. I was calculating that I had 5 legs left and at 6 hours a leg it would be another 30 hours and into Monday. Moel Yr Hydd felt just as awful and I really started to question carrying on. If I turned round I could spend all Sunday with my family. I decided to get back to the quarries and see how I was. Walking to Moelwyn Bach we thought we spotted people on Moelwyn Mawr. "They've got a long wait" I thought!

I decided to voice my plans to quit to Adam, Kirsty and Damian. If they immediately agreed then it would strengthen that argument. Of course they didn't !! Kirsty said No-one thought I was wasting their time, that everyone was there for me and it didn't mater how long I took. That I would do the same for any of them". Damian said "you would only come back and try it again" That it would make a rubbish film, that I'm achieving something great by even trying it. Both Damian and Kirsty said I must be in calorie deficit still from being sick at Capel and not eating loads since. And Adam agreed and gave me his wonderful hopeful smile. We continued to climb Moelwyn Bach and I pondered what they had said.

I knew really that they were right and it was up to me to try and sort the calorie deficit out. I asked for a gel and then the noodles. And then stomped my way back and across to Moelwyn Mawr with more purpose asking for a gel and noodles every 20 minutes or so. I knew I needed to do something in order to get up the Beast that was Cnict. We met Lee and Tori on Moelwyn Mawr and they came with us across to the quarries and onto Cnict. I was glad they were coming as everyone asks about the difference between the Bob Graham and the Paddy Buckley. And one huge difference is the steepness and the pathless climbs that the Paddy has. Cnict is almost vertical and either soft grass, heather or scree. I ploughed into it puffing away like a trooper but feeling stronger. Reaching the top I almost felt elated and did a little skip!

More gels and noodles, then a rice pudding, that didn't want to stay down but I forced it to. Trotting on I thought "Just do one leg at a time and if everyone has to go home then I can borrow a rucksack and finish the whole thing, taking as long as I want with Wisp". I knew Chris Charlesworth had travelled all the way from Yorkshire to support me, even though he was recovering from a stomach bug so I had to at least do the next leg. The track and the road went on forever but meeting Mark Harvey and Steve Sanders with coffee and Dan Milton for a chat it was better than expected. There was the ginger haired bloke and his landrover at the junction again and now I remembered where I knew him from. I had been reccying a few weeks ago and he had stopped to chat. I'd said I was reccying the UTS and he said have a good race! It was lovely of him to be there both ways!

Into Aberglasyn we all went and after hugs I got into the camper van. I had some food (pizza I think) and changed my socks again. I had bashed my toes quite a lot and not running downhill they were sore but I didn't think any other shoes than Mudclaws would cope with the terrain on the next leg so stayed with them. I didn't want to stay too long as I wanted to get up Moel Hebog in daylight - not wanting another gorse experience in the dark.

Leg 7 Start Aberglasyn Support: Chris Charlesworth, Helen Elmore, Wisp, Andy Quicke and Ian Charlesworth from Yr Gryn. Scheduled Time: 3:55 hours Actual Time: 6.10 hours. Arrived 01:58 Sunday

It was a surprise that Helen Elmore was supporting on this leg but a very nice one. Wisp was always scheduled to be on the leg and it was lovely to see her bouncing around already. I knew the first two climbs were going to be hard and they were but at least we could see. Coming off Bryn Banog I could see over to our left to where we had been floundering in the gorse the previous night. It looked a long way across and down - I know it felt like it at the time. Oh Well - let's get this leg over with. Helen was very good at keeping me eating with the noodles and a gel every now and again. All the supporters knew the drill now - and water appeared as soon as the noodles did as I needed water to wash them down! It was cold on the top of Moel Hebog and I asked to put my leggings on. That was also nice to have the bottom half of my legs covered as the gorse scratches were getting sore from bracken rubbing etc. It was clear as we trotted slowly along which was nice. We discussed where Ian Charlesworth was going to meet us - I think he was worried I would be going as fast as on the ACW leg - he needn't have worried on that account! Although I felt a lot more positive I wasn't much faster and worried myself a couple of times with a few wobbles on the rocks. It was nice having Chris Charlesworth along as he hadn't been there before and the leg has some nice features like caves and ridges to look at. We spotted a light on Y Gyrn and I was surprised that Ian would chose to climb that heathery thing! He was happy on the top but we floundered on the descent as they didn't listen to me but took us off the end instead of straight left. It didn't matter - we got down. Then up a bit and off to the little Mynedd Elor pimple ! Now as we climbed Trum the clag came in again and it was a bit of a blessing I suppose. I kept looking up and just seeing them higher up in front of me - it was cold and wet now and I was glad of my leggings and protec jacket. Along the ridge we went and then down the rocks - very very slowly as we couldn't make the path out, it was slippery and windy. Wisp knows this ridge and just skipped around using Ian Charlesworth as a breaking cushion when she was unsure of a rocky descent. It's a bit disconcerting when she does it initially as she just slides into the back of you - but you soon learn to hang on more tightly in readiness! I was glad she was using Ian and not me! Down we went to the wall line and up to Y Garn! I gave a little whoop - another leg nearly done. It took us forever to descend what with me feeling unstable and having very sore toes. And the leaders not heeding my instructions of just crossing the stream at 350m. But anyway Wisp enjoys it! Then into the forest. As we walked along I found it hard to run. I wanted to run but the legs didn't want to work. Kirsty Hewitson had come out to meet us and walked alongside me and Helen. They were chatting away and I thought I'd try and see if I was ready for a sleep. I shut my eyes and kept walking. After a few steps I wandered to one side and opened them. But now I felt more drowsy so I did it again. I think I did it about 4 times - Helen did notice and I thought if I actually fell asleep on my feet that she would catch me.

We arrived at Pont du Gors and I said to Charmian as soon as I got in the camper that I wanted a sleep. I ate some cheese & onion pie and beans then I remember starting to lie over to put my head down and the next thing Charmian was coming back into the camper van. She said I'd gone out like a light and she'd left me. I felt so much better. I put more clothes on so I left wearing a Short sleeved Tri Blend Tee with a Long sleeved Merino and then a softshell jacket over the top. I also changed my 3/4's for Winter Running Tights as I've used these a lot on my reccies and they keep the wind out and are showerproof too.  I then put on my Protec Shell asked for my Extreme Thermo Mitts too. I knew that the weather on Snowdon was not going to be pleasant and I wasn't moving fast enough to keep warm.

I debated about my shoes for a while too. I tried Trail Rocs, Trail Talons and then the Terraultra 260's I was just looking for something that would give my toes some room and feel comfortable. Although I have never run more than 5 miles in these shoes I brought them just in case. I changed the insole to a cushioned one and decided to go with them. I had been screwing up my big toes because they were so bashed and these shoes felt like I had lots of toe room.

I then had a lovely chat to my brother, Charlie who said it didn't matter what happened, that he was proud of me. And went on my way.

Leg 8 Start Pont du Gors Support: Matt Bennett and Pez Holda. Scheduled Time 4:50 hours Actual Time 07:01 hours. Arrived 08:54 Sunday

As soon as we went through the gate I started running! This was amazing - I wanted to run!! The clag was well down and I was glad that Matt knew the way and also had a gps. We climbed up and up, passed walls and buildings that I didn't recognise and saw things like caves and more walls that I had never seen! It was so thick clag that when we reached the ridge we couldn't see the fence only metres away! Never mind - turn left and there we were - at the top of Craig Wen. I also felt like eating and knew I should because on top it might be horrid. So I asked for a Tunnock bar and that went down well. As it was cold I didn't want cold food now. But ate quite a bit of chocolate stuff. It was hard for us to stay on the path as the wind was blowing us around and we kept drifting too low. But on we went. We were all soaked now and the rocks were wet. So different from earlier when we had skipped down this ridge. But we were making uphill progress. Eventually reaching the top of Yr Aran then painfully slow downhill as the rocks were now lethal on the path. We reached the col and gratefully crossed the wall so we had a bit of shelter on the steps but not for long before we were exposed again. I saw Pez had a mitt on and asked for mine. He apologised that he was wearing my Extreme mitts and said there was a pair of All Terrain Mitts in my green bag. I said he must wear my mitts and I'll wear the All Terrain ones as I already had gloves on. We sorted that out and some more food. At one point. Snowdon eventually loomed out the clag, after a few diversions on and off the path and we were met by Steve Wathall and Dave Pickering who had tea. We sheltered in the cafe entrance although the rain had stopped the wind was still bitter. I was so looking forward to proper tea! When Dave handed me the cup I thought it looked a funny green colour and then he said it must be Lemon tea and really nice. Hmmm - maybe one day but not today when the milk had made it curdle slightly! So not only was it green but it had curdled milk in it too. I did try it as it was warm and I was cold. But I made such a face as it was disgusting. I just don't do fancy teas at the best of times. I had some coffee to get rid of the taste and then we said we'd get off - thanking Steve and Dave as we did!

Up to the summit we went - all alone but not for long! There was a steady stream of Three Peakers coming up. I enjoyed congratulating them - and them me! I'm not sure who looked worse for wear! Over to Crib y Ddysgyl we went and turning off our head torchs now as we could see. It was rather pleasant to be dropping after that - and out of the clag too. It didn't seem so far to Llanberis now. As we dropped to the col before Foel Goch we could see two tents. "What a strange place to camp" we said. Right on the path where it would get very busy.  As we got nearer we noticed a layout of food outside the tent and realised it was Ian Fitz! This time he had both Mia and Eddie and they were all fast asleep! We tucked into the food. Coffee and pizza!! It was very nice ham and mushroom. Pez and Matt were very gentlemanly and let me take bites of whichever pizza I wanted then hand it back to them. Then in a couple of minutes when I decided I wanted more I just took it back off them again! But I didn't want to risk eating too much of anything but the different tastes were nice. Ian emerged and we thanked him. Mia stuck her head out the sleeping bag and said well done before rearranging her sleeping mat and snuggling back down again!

We went on - up the steep short climbs and across to Moel Eilio. I touched this summit and gave a little hop in celebration! I said I needed a wee (I was very hydrated now!) and the guys ran off.  The clag had rolled in again and as I tried to catch them they were engrossed in "man-tech-gear-chat" and totally oblivious to the fact they were going way faster than I was. I gave up in the end and thought they would remember me eventually - which they did! We all laughed and carried on down together.

Trotting through Llanberis I was cheery - and it was interesting passing all the triathletes that were doing the triathlon in all their clean and tecky gear while we had rolled in off the hill looking probably a lot worse for wear! I was so cheery and you can see the difference in the video Lee Proctor takes of me -  Inov-8 / Llanberis video  .There was a crowd round the camper van and I was surprised when I heard Joe Mann's voice. He was on my original supporters list but had said he was busy herding reindeers or climbing in the Alps or something exciting that he's usually doing. I hugged him and then my brother before diving into the camper. Now I was properly hungry! There was cheese and onion pie with lovely crispy potatoes and probably some beans! I was tucking into this when Charmian handed me the phone. It was Joss Naylor - wishing me all the best and to keep going and not to worry about the time. That I was doing marvelously. How incredible is that!

Change of socks again but sticking with the same shoes. They had been good on Snowdon and although I knew they wouldn't be great down Bristly Ridge nor Tryfan the comfort had been good.

Leg 9. Start Llanberis Support: Helen Elmore, Megan Wilson, Tom Pape, Joe Mann and Andy Quicke. Scheduled Time 4.40hours Actual Time 5.44 hours Arrived 14.38 Sunday

It was a merry bunch that set off but I didn't care. I'd said to Charmian that if it was going ok then I was happy with any of the supporters coming on extra legs. There had been so many changes to the supporters that I had no idea who was supposed to be on what leg anymore anyway! I don't mind the quarries and the inclines and climbed quite well. We chatted away and passed signs for the Triathlon. Then we heard music - Chariots of Fire I think and I assumed that was for the Triathlon as well. There was a photographer and I was amazed that the Triathlon would use the inclines - then we realised it was Mark Harvey! Tom and Megan started doing silly running and that was funny. The climb went quickly with Mark bobbing ahead and taking photos. Then across to Elidir Fach which was slippery as we headed back into the clag. I tried jogging a little on the way off and we resorted to a sort of jog/walk but it was all good. I was eating more and even tried some of Joe's BLT at one point. It was nice to want food again. Everyone was joking about my exploding yoghurts - and trying to make me eat something I hadn't eaten before. I had tried most things but eventually did have a fruit pot on Glyder Fawr as the sun came out briefly. I had quite a lot of coke on the round and a few Yazoo milk shakes. Still quite relient on the odd gel and a handful of noodles washed down with energy drink or water. Meeting Lee Proctor and Tori again meant we were a huge group crossing the Glyders and over to Bristly Ridge. I heard a Scottish voice but didn't look up as I was concentrating. Then someone said "Well done on your Welsh 1000m record" and I realised it was Finlay Wild. How amazing is that. He was so nice bobbing about and chatting to everyone. I never managed to chat to him but smiled away. (I've just thanked him on his blog too!).

Then we met Tori and Lee again as we crossed over to the col before Tryfan. Dom the cameraman was there and we had some request for noodle footage and Tori thought we meant that Dom had the noodles and so she called him back. He came back and then said "I haven't got the noodles. I'm not noodle man". I don't think there is any footage of the noodles - they were quite messy but overall they did work and everyone was saying that "Noodles saved the Day".

So Up Tryfan we went. Now there was a bit of a discussion as to which route was good. I followed Tom in the end as he had proved to be a reliable route finder. I rather think Joe (who was the only fresh person amongst us) didn't quite realise the limits of my climbing and stability skills as I wasn't great on leaping big gaps or stepping up big slabs of rocks. Tom however found a lovely path which got us almost to the top (sorry Joe!x). Once nearly at the top, out of the clag appeared people - and not only that but long haired and topless men - yuk - sat in the way and on the top. So I touched a rock that was near the top and left them to their selfies!

No little hops this time - too rocky and unstable for that. Just a long and awful scramble down with everyone trying to help but really there wasn't anything for it - the old tried and tested 6 points of contact with two bum cheeks playing a big part always gets me down and that's what I did most of. It just went on forever though. And then we turned right and that wasn't great. My feet were now sore - Charmian had said I didn't have blisters but my feet had just been wet through for 40 odd hours and were all white and wrinkly. The balls of my feet and underneath my big toes were very sore. I used my poles a lot when descending to break the impact. So down we went - slowly. I hung back and Helen and Megan stayed with me which was nice. I just liked having a bit of space.


Running into Glandana I was all smiles and Kirsty said "What have you done with her? Have you swopped Nicky for a new person?". Hugs all round and my brother Charlie said Lottie and Scottie had gone up the mountain to meet me. I turned and they were about 100m up the stepped path so I waved!. Into the camper for the last time - wow! Just some food and a cup of tea and a change of socks and I was ready for off.

Leg 10 Start Glandana. Support Helen Elmore, Kirsty Hewitson, Keith Holmes, Wisp and Joe Mann. Scheduled Time 3.55 hours Actual 5.17 hours. Arrived 19.55 Sunday

I jogged off next to Keith Holmes and we chatted away. I could see he was hobbling a bit but I didn't want to go any faster and chatting made the road go a bit quicker. Once over the stile we could let Wisp off and she ran around happily. It was easy to find the path up Pen Yr Ole Wen and I have never found this climb to be awful so kept going slowly. It didn't matter about the time as I'd learnt that my brother and family were able to wait to see me finish. I had been worried that they would have to get off back to Berkhamsted and I wouldn't see them. There had been clag on the top and it was swirling round. I hoped I didn't have to finish in the clag. Keith was on top form, complaining about the rocks and making us all laugh. It was a jolly party really that crossed the Carnedds. The clag came down heavily between Carnedd Llewelyn and Pen Yr Helgi Du and Joe took the map and helped. I was adamant that there was a left trod but there wasn't really much of anything. I was looking forward to getting onto some grass again on the last descent.

There were a couple of people sat waiting for me on Pen Yr Helgi Du which was nice and then just a short pull up to Pen Llithrig y Wrach. We had a small celebration and Keith gave his speech then we trotted off down the ridge. It felt surreal now that it was all over as I'd never believed I could finish while going across Legs 5 and 6. There was Keith out front with Wisp. Then me, Helen and Kirsty - two of my closest running friends that had done everything they could to make this happen for me. Their quiet, insistent encouragement to eat - which I always tried to obey. Their constant attention to my needs which was always around, but never too near or overbearing.  Now I'm teary remembering what each and every one of my supporters did for me. And I've cleared my diary so I can do the same for them as soon as they ask.

Steve Sanders had come out with my Dark Peak vest. I was torn as so many of my close friends and supporters are Penistone Footpath Runners & AC - but decided I did want to finish wearing my vest because it was Tom Westgate and Richard Hakes from Dark Peak that took me semi-seriously all those years ago in 2005 when I told them I was going to attempt the Paddy Buckley next, having just completed the Bob Graham in 23.33 hours. The raised eyebrows and knowing looks I completely understand now. But still they took me under their wings and showed me the Paddy Buckley routes, their schedules and gave me their support. On went the Dark Peak club vest!

Running down to the road I looked at my watch and saw it was 19.45 hours. My brain didn't compute much but I thought if there was a chance of getting under something then I would. We all upped the pace just slightly and seemed to fly down the road. It was wonderful. People running all over the road. Wisp being very well behaved and not tripping me up! Joe Browns came into sight and I aimed for the steel post I had left so many, many hours ago. Touching it I was so happy.  Lee Proctor video captures it all - Inov-8 Double Paddy Finish video 

I stopped my watch - at 19.55 having done an ACW round in 23.21 hours followed by a CW round in 34.04 hours making a total of 57.25 hours!!!

Sometimes you don't know how you're going to feel and this was one of them. Maybe I'd gone through all the emotions and disappointment at not doing under 48 hours out on the hill. All I knew was that I was incredibly happy and felt very satisfied. My family and close friends were there and Charlie opened a bottle of pink fizz that I had hidden in my van "Just in case!". It tasted delicious and I felt like I could party all night.

Thank you to all my support listed in this report and Charmian Heaton who kept me going, fed me well, massaged my feet and just completely looked after me at all the road stops. Thank you also to everyone that has donated to Odyssey and if anyone would like to get me a little nearer my target then please do so here spinks