We decided it would be a good idea to hike the GR5. Apart from a few wild camping nights over the years in the Lake District we had not actually done more than one night at a time and then only covering between 15-20 miles. Our kit was heavy and essentials like red wine seemed a good idea at the time until we tried lifting our ruck sacks! We realised we would need to get a serious long distance hike in and so decided on doing The Bob Graham Round.
The route is a 66 mile circuit covering 42 Lake District peaks with 26,900 feet (8,200 m) ascent. The route was finished by Bob Graham in under 24 hours in 1932. The current record is now 13hr 53m set by Billy Bland in 1982, the ladies record is 15hr 24m set by Jasmin Paris in 2016. Nikki Spinks ran the fastest Double Bob Graham Round earlier this year in 45 hours and 30 minutes, 10 years after having had cancer! Amazing.
Now we were not aiming for any records except getting round the route without any mis-haps. We split the route into six sections to keep daily distances shorter than our usual day hikes with light packs. We were carrying full kit with 5 days of food so our kit with water was around 14-15 kilos. It felt a lot heavier than this and the first couple of days were tough until our bodies got used to the extra weight and we ate the heaviest foods.
Day 1 - Keswick to Scales Tarn Blencathra, Wild Camp
Day 2 - Scales Tarn to Nethermost Pike, Wild Camp
Day 3 - Nethermost Pike to Harrison Stickle, Wild Camp
Day 4 - Harrison Stickle to Wasdale Head, Campsite
Day 5 - Wasdale Head to Brandreth, Wildcamp
Day 6 - Brandreth to Keswick
By day three we settled into the trek and it became a little easier but still tough going with full packs and our total ascent was over 8,000 metres so not a bad challenge to test ourselves with. It helped us refine our kit selection for the GR5 and we figured if we could manage six days trek we'd manage 32. How hard could it be!
The Bob Graham Round is a great longer distance hike taking in some of the best areas in the Lake District. If you've only done a night wild camping give it a go but pack light!