Sweeping the Hadrian Hundred

I guess sometimes the role of a sweeper is often overlooked, other than on the final section, as experienced walkers, very tired after two nights, strive to finish inside 48 hours to achieve their goal, when they need every encouragement and support. That will always be the case but on the Hadrian Hundred there was a need for special emphasis on the overnight crossing of Cross Fell from Garrigill to Dufton, as it transpired, the arrangements put in place given the intervention of “challenging” weather proved well judged, in the main.

There was no shortage of willing and capable volunteers from Northumbria Group who were familiar with the route and who had assisted in the past on our Durham Dales annual challenge event. They were supplemented by volunteers from further afield with both Tara Williams ( Sussex ), Melissa Butcher (London) together with Peter Grayson from Duddon and Furness MRT and of course the experienced Raynet sweeps, LDWA members, Bill Draysfield and Graham Belt.

After wise counsel from John Sparshatt the route was divided into 5 sections rather than 4 and the desire to have an MRT Landrover based in Garrigill, secured.  

We wanted to recruit Des Lee and Eric Gilhooley from Teasdale and Weardale MRT, specifically for the overnight section up and over Cross Fell and they earned their corn!  There is no substitute for experience when the weather turns particularly foul. We were indebted to them both and Graham Belt from Raynet who all endured a very interesting sweep section. A good training exercise perhaps, it will long stay in the memory of all participants and sweepers.

I am sure there are many individual tales to tell and doubtless all entrants would like to express their gratitude to the sweeping teams – AND importantly, we did not lose anyone !


Peter Ford