About Me

My photo

Breathing in the forest air, my heartbeat and footfall are settling into rhythm as I climb the trail... The autumnal canopy is scattering bronze, copper and golden jewels like a carpet beneath my feet. Ducking under a spiderweb laced with diamonds of morning dew, I see the stag as he scampers deeper into the forest.... My muscles and heart are pumped as I push up and out of the tree line and onto the ridge. Climbing up onto the top of the world, and a panorama I silently soak in. A buzzard lazily flaps away from the cairn. Now the fun begins as I run down the trail, twisting, turning, feeling every contour of the earth beneath the soles of my feet. A log to jump, a branch I scoop under, my feet going quicker, quicker, dancing down into the tree line as a fox darts across my path.... This blog is based on tales of my trail and ultra running exploits. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Hot House...

Today there were no idyllic trails to saunter down.. today was work, and training in the Hot House....

Crouching next to my buddy beside the steel container I hear his breathing rate is elevated with anticipation. As I gaze at the blistered, peeling paint on the steel wall, a familiar wave of claustrophobia seeps into my mind. I can just about hear the fire, roaring.... from the depths of the "oven" that essentially this structure has become.

A couple of deep breaths and I plan the logical order of what I would do, should my equipment fail when we are in the heat and very heart, of the fire.... I'm ready.

BANG BANG on the steel door, our cue, and we are on!

I spray the outside of the door with water and SSSSS! It evaporates into steam instantaneously...

As my buddy opens the door I blast a cloud of droplets into the thick black dirty smoke as it pours over us like an overflowing cauldron. Fresh air is greedily sucked into the room to feed the fire that we know is in the depths of the kiln.

We move inside and our thick fire kit gradually absorbs the intense heat. I know once the heat gets in, it  won't get out, it will just get hotter and hotter. A "Boil in the Bag" microwave dinner...

I blast a spray like an umbrella around us... our safe zone. The spray sizzles into nothing, we can see nothing... More spraying above our heads as we move forward... but not too much water or we will scald..

Then I see it coming at us... up in the smoke layer. The red glow... the fire. It moves quickly along the ceiling as I change my branch settings to blast the water deep into its fire gases... Then blackness, so time to progress, I feel hands of fire pushing me down to the ground, we are on our knees as we move forward. Its so incredibly hot, I feel my shoulders burning.

I spray above us, our umbrella... Then it comes at us again, rolling along the ceiling like a dragon and once again I knock it back. We progress, we cannot see, but look for the seat of the fire..... We are close, but once more the fire attacks us, once more I fight back, then we hit the seat of the fire. Game over, but I REALLY need to get out, I am so hot....

We back out, on our knees, always looking to check the fire has not re-ignited...
Bright daylight... we are outside. I pull my mask off and start to cool down....

Once more I go in... this time my buddy fights the fire and I'm putting my trust into him to get me through. We are in our own little bubble of steam in backdraught conditions and he beats it back....

As I cool down once more, I think of my boy... I know in my heart that a casualty would not survive such a fire... but maybe they would, if they were in a room beyond? Or a room above?



I know this has nothing to do with trail running..... or does it? It may explain my love for open hills, space, minimalist kit....

I've never had a desire to do MDS ;-)