To get a good understanding of the values that are important to those who call the Lake District home, a good place to start would be to catch a race in Borrowdale on a dreary November day.
There's mud and blood, skin and bones and still very cold. Skinny joggers cutting steps into copper-shingle slopes and cloud-shrouded cliffs, there's baggy T-shirts, skimpy shorts, worn-out Helly Hansens and muddy sneakers. City Hall is full of jelly bean tuppers and hastily made pancakes. There are outdated checkboxes like podium prizes and some lukewarm beers for recovery. No pomp, little ceremony - mail your registration check to High Pot Farm. Best of all, there is no phone signal to charge after running. No compliments, no likes, just a nod or wink from a flat-hatted viewer who's no doubt done it all before in stiff leather boots and in half the time. He's discreet, he's brave, he's tough. A few hours of suffering; Max heart rate, rolling ankles, scraped knees: all for a thermos of hot tea in a field and a long drive home to do it again next week.
I gave this world a chance when I was younger. My father is the 573rd member of the Bob Graham Club; I'm sure it doesn't mean anything to anyone, but my gym teacher understood and duly gave me a spot on the cross country team without even trying out. It was better than math, but I'd never gotten used to shaking so badly when my mud was washed off in the parking lot before heading back to the school bus.
Bob Graham's round isÖLitmus test and ultimate local challenge for those who choose this life. It is a 42.66 mile Yomp Peak through the hills with a 24 hour time limit, starting and ending in Moot Hall, Keswick. Everyone in the scene had a chance, but it's more than just a run. It has a culture, heritage and history that must be respected. Supportive runners are often needed, so relationships with other runners are required, you give your time and they give theirs. create a community of good faith; People are understanding, carry water, catch you if you fall, and often tell you hard truths about pace, safety, and sleep when things aren't going so well. This creates an unspoken bond of humility and respect.
The names of those who record good times along the way are unknown to most but are whispered in the old slate pubs of Langdale and Matterdale. Tales of wintry twists, unaided attempts and double twists become myths, legends and are romanticized in tankards of dark, tasteless ales and Lakeland bitters.
A name that often comes up in these conversations is Martin Stone. On the shortest day of 1986, Stone attempted the first lap of the winter without assistance. That night he was pursued by a full-blown storm along Helvellyn Ridge and had to conduct a hasty evacuation, but two weeks later he tried again in a clearer window, successfully in a time of 23 hours and 41 minutes. His feat was not repeated until 36 years later.
Early last year a friend sent me a link to UKClimbing; it was an interview with Martin Stone and Shane Ohly that beat Stone's winter 2020 record by 15 minutes. I was intrigued by the article, particularly for the challenges it described and her relaxed attitude to finding boundaries in dangerous conditions. What interested me most was the general theme of their discussion of the "purity of their quest." It was clear from her tone that finishing the course and turning around mattered less than the style achieved and the severity of the conditions they faced. They were mountain connoisseurs with enough uphill and downhill experience to take on the challenge of not just riding the Bob Graham, but doing it in conditions and in a style that matched their own personal adventure values.
It's safe to say that the article popped into my head and gave me a new perspective on these ultracycling races and challenges, because why else are we doing these things if not for our own ideals and definitions of adventure to fulfill? I was obsessed with taking on a big challenge on a bike, in the mountains and in the middle of winter. Snow on the peaks, ice on the trails, long periods of darkness and temperatures far below zero. Basically, he wanted terms that only Martin Stone could chuckle about.
Last summer I rode the Lakeland 200 for the first time. The organizer and creator of the L200 route is Alan Goldsmith. Its rules are clear; Keep the spirit of confidence and get back to where you started in less than 40 hours. 200 km in 40 hours? I laughed. Who spends those long 200 km on the bike? 5 km an hour, I thought, walking isn't that much slower. I had gone home for the long weekend to try and spend some family time, but the last part of that plan didn't really work out. The day started slowly and never really progressed, both due to my lack of preparation and the number and frequency of gates throughout the circuit. When I finally got home to a very late and rather dry and cold Sunday roast I was so tired I couldn't get a sentence together and fell asleep amidst Yorkshire puddings and potatoes. I vowed never to do that again.
But of course this experience gets under your skin. The route is technical and constantly changing. There are no free kilometers and the elevation profile reads like spikes on an EKG. Intense, consistent, relentless. It requires you to be on at all times, it's a great day in the mountains. One of the biggest I've ever had and for various reasons, I broke down mentally and physically that day. Perhaps that was what started an obsession with completing a winter loop. I felt the need to go back to the scene to sew up the seam with a few extra patches for good measure.
Last year was the route's 10th anniversary and it gained something of an iconic status due to a major project by the Steezy Collective to improve the diversity of honor rolls. But for the number of new people completing it within the 40-hour limit, many more didn't stop there and underestimated how many calories are needed and how much cycling involves.
For the winter round there was much less understatement on my part. I trained long enough throughout December to stay in reasonable shape, running sections from Hartsop to Kentmere on the long night of the winter solstice, shifting my times to cover the sectors I found difficult to complete in daylight. I also changed my setup a bit, removing the bags from the frame to adopt the CX look and putting a lot more on the rear to keep the bike light and maneuverable. Most importantly, I watched weather patterns hawk-like across the Atlantic. I had highlighted the full moon weekend in early January to try it, but the isobars just weren't distributed properly and I had to wait. At the end of January I was getting impatient and starting to lose hope until a message from my father appeared with a very cheap link to MWIS. My suitcase had been packed for weeks, I quickly booked a train and some annual leave and set off that night for an early start to Coniston the next morning.
I left Coniston at 5:45 am. M., somewhat relieved that the plan had worked so far and that the west coast of Avanti had found a place for the motorcycles. It's a well-known saying in the bikepacking world that getting to the start line is often a journey in itself. It didn't take long for the trail to climb and the grade hit 25%, and it took all of my concentration to find a way through the sheets of ice, which glowed eerily in the reflections of the torches like candles in ancient mirrors. After about 40 minutes I was already climbing Walna Scar, crampons and bike firmly on my shoulder, cushioned by the attached scaffolding foam. He felt ridiculously macho and generally quite ridiculous at the same time. Without a cloud in the sky, the jagged outlines of the hills began to appear against a deep blue sky. Already knowing that the day would bring enough scenes to fill the National Trust calendar for next year, I vowed to always be patient with the weather.
The snow was more than 600m high and the descent down the other side was by sled rather than horse. Down I slid over a frozen swamp, only to fall through its silver shell into the brown splash below. I immediately heard a loud hiss and knew something was wrong. On closer inspection, ice had cut through the tire's wall. New Maxxis tires. Damned. No gloves, toolbox out. The rosy reflections of the sunrise were promising, but I was struggling. Hard new rubber and freezing temperatures turned out to be a nightmare combination and I just couldn't keep the inside of the tire clean and dry.
I had only told a handful of close friends about this tour. They're a support group, but they're definitely not the type to make me forget that a blockbuster was the reason the house of cards collapsed. No question he had to fix it. I cut my fingers, broke tire levers, and kinked inner tubes just thinking about their smiley faces over the next round of coffee. By the time I had both tires floating I was on my final patches and already 2 hours behind schedule. He had driven 20 km.
It was time to act. The day was as spectacular as I had hoped and the winter light brought high definition to the slopes tinged with rusty ferns and amber grass. It was a privilege made all the more special by being alone on the trails. As I walked through Kirkfell to Black Sail Pass, the sun was beginning to set. The swirling patterns of windswept snow shimmered like oil slicks beneathfoot, and the great ridges of Ennerdale's amphitheater pulsed pink and purple. I ate the last cold pizza, zipped up my jacket, and braced myself for the long night to come.
The Eskdale to Buttermere section is the real crux of the L200 in my opinion and after a flat climb from Honister Pass I felt much more confident of the approaching darkness. I went to Keswick for a garage party and followed the gravel roads to Threlkeld. The night passed with few incidents and some confusion. I found my deep groove in some pretty random Spotify playlists and the steady metronome of a Cadbury brunch every 40 minutes. The paths were far more treacherous than the bridges, but banging on the deck several times during the night turned out to be just what I needed to keep my eyes open and move safely and stably.
When sometime during the night clouds blotted out the bright constellation blanket I knew my luck with the weather was about to run out and as I plowed through the knee-deep snow between the High Street and Thornthwaite Crag the wind picked up and hit the snow-capped peak. I must have battled that blizzard for at least a few hours, for dawn was just breaking when I emerged from the clouds into the sheltered sanctuary of the Kentmere Valley. He was originally going to come to Staveley for the bacon breakfast, but walking through the snow emptied the tank. I unpacked the stove and fired up instant mashed cheese. He survived.
Staveley to Coniston is definitely the easiest part of the journey and after loading up groceries, hoses and batteries in the village I felt quite confident. It did not last long. When night fell for the second time on this trip, I panicked. My schedule in this industry was based on summer hours and fresh legs, which I definitely didn't have right now. The hours slipped off schedule at an alarming rate. With two hours to go I found myself on a part of the route that I no longer recognized and I had to go back several times to correct it. The Etrex also gained weight leaving me no range to shoot. I was completely in the dark about how far I had to go and how much altitude I still had to climb. The stress kept me in the pedals frustrated and greatly improved my downhill skills. When I got to the track for the Coniston sprint, I had half an hour left on my watch. I could see my mother's headlamp frantically moving through the trees and I could hear my father's voice saying he'd made it.
It may well be a controversial opinion, but I think the L200 has all the makings of being comparable to Bob Graham; the MTB equivalent maybe. Something in your culture speaks for it; There's enough romance and mysticism in the effort required to capture the interest of the adventurers, villains and heroes that roam the fringes of the cycling scene. It has its own following that is as much about this community as it is about the trip itself. There is altruism from Alan the organizer, support galore, no entry fee, no room for ego, no fame but a name on a list in an unknown corner of the internet. The journey is multifaceted, with a lot to think about and a lot of possibilities for things to go wrong. Supplies are limited and there is almost no phone signal. Because it's so easy to get to, it can seem pretty remote. Confidence is essential and creative problem solving is required. All of these factors of course forget the stunning scenery and unique rustic charm of the Lake District itself. Chances are you'll ride through more than a few sunsets and sunrises and therefore the full spectrum of its colours, the shifting shades of its geology, the vibrant reflections from its flanks and lakes. But then again, maybe not, my summer round was a constant state of gray and black, but maybe that's also part of the risk, craps game, and ultimate attraction.
However, one thing has remained constant across the summer and winter routes; Arriving in Coniston about 6 hours after my arrival, my parents had good news for my brother and his wife's newborn baby. I immediately felt guilty for adding unnecessary stress to the family WhatsApp group while my sister-in-law was in labour. I ruined another healthy family weekend by doing the same stupid bike ride.
Welcome to the Alfie Murphy family.
How do mice travel between townhouses? ›
These pests will often use air ducts to travel to and from different house floors, and nest and sleep in between meals. Not only can mice travel up a wall, but they can also get into the wall and travel inside it.Can you get mice in high rise flats? ›
Every floor is ground floor to a mouse. They can get to the next floor the same way they got to that one—inside walls, along pipes and wiring and air ducts.Will a mouse go in a room with no food? ›
Mice need a place to nest and nearby food in order to survive and multiply. In a context where you abruptly remove the food, the environment would suddenly not be able to sustain such a large number of mice; therefore, mice would look for more favourable environments and many, if not all, would leave.How do you figure out where mice are coming in? ›
Look closely at your foundation for cracks or gaps where a mouse could squeeze through. Wherever possible, climb underneath porches and look behind stairs, bushes, or other objects. There may be holes that have been made larger over the years by water damage and chewing pests.How many mice do you see for each one? ›
Spotting one elusive mouse typically means there are at least five or six hiding out in your walls, basement, or attic. This is particularly true if you see a mouse at night or in a low-traffic area of your home. For more proof of a full infestation, look for these indicators: Scratching noises in the evening.How common are mice in flats? ›
And unless you live in a brand-new house or apartment, chances are there's a rodent of some description living in your home. A 50% chance, in fact. A study of nearly 300 houses in Manchester by Warwick University found that half of them showed signs of a mouse infestation.Are mice less common on higher floors? ›
The good news is that mice do not run rampant in the home. For the most part, they are interested in finding areas that provide warmth and easy access to food and water. This means that they will usually hang around the kitchen, and mainly avoid going to higher floors.How do you keep mice out of flats? ›
- Keep things clean. Sweep up any crumbs on the floor, wipe down your counters and try not to leave dirty dishes in the sink.
- Close openings in walls. ...
- Utilize hard, plastic containers. ...
- Keep your garbage can covered. ...
- Utilize window screens and door sweeps.
Keeping your space clean and spotless will help prevent mice from coming in. However, this is only applicable if they have not discovered your place yet.Does 1 mouse mean more? ›
If you see an actual mouse in your home, there are very likely many many more where it came from. This is especially true if it is during the daytime and/or in an open area like the middle of the floor. When populations grow large within a single community of mice, it forces some members out of the burrow at odd times.
Will mice leave if house is clean? ›
A common misconception is that mice are only attracted to dirty places or areas with lots of trash, that is not the case. In fact, mice are explorers who go around looking for any source of food they can find. Just because your home is clean, doesn't mean you're protected from a mice infestation.How do you get rid of mice when you don't know where they're coming from? ›
- Get a cat. If no one in your family has a cat allergy, getting a cat might just be the easiest way to get rid of mice. ...
- Use essential oils. ...
- Set humane traps. ...
- Try a hot pepper solution. ...
- Build your own humane trap. ...
- Pack spaces with steel wool. ...
- Block with duct tape. ...
- For a severe infestation.
Mice are nocturnal creatures, so they are most active between dusk and dawn. They don't usually like bright lights, but a mouse may sometimes be seen during the day, especially if its nest has been disturbed or it is seeking food. Seeing them in the day also can indicate a large infestation in a home.What are the signs of a mouse infestation? ›
- Rodent droppings around food packages, in drawers or cupboards, and under the sink.
- Nesting material such as shredded paper, fabric, or dried plant matter.
- Signs of chewing on food packaging.
- Holes chewed through walls and floors that create entry points into the home.
There are two main things that can attract mice and rats to your house – food and shelter. If you don't tidy up properly and there's food waste on the floor or surfaces, rodents are going to love it! Rats and mice also need shelter, particularly during winter to avoid the worst of the cold.What smell will keep mice away? ›
But what exactly do mice and rats hate to smell? Mice can be kept away by using the smells of peppermint oil, cinnamon, vinegar, citronella, ammonia, bleach, and mothballs.Where do mice enjoy food in a townhouse? ›
3) As per the last line given , the mice were able to enjoy the food in the town house . It is clear with the line when town mouse describes about the warm cosy hole accompanied with the delicious cheese and tasty cakes.Does 1 mouse mean an infestation? ›
Question: Does one mouse mean an infestation? Answer: One mouse is not considered an infestation, per se. However, one mouse will almost always lead to an infestation if control methods are not put in place.How common is it to have mice in your house? ›
If you have a mouse infestation, rest assured you are not alone. Each winter, mice and other rodents invade an estimated 21 millions homes in the United States. Mice typically enter our homes between October and February, looking for food, water and shelter from the cold.Is it normal to only have one mouse in your house? ›
A single mouse is a rare occurrence, but the mouse might be alone if the weather has been cold. On average, most mouse sightings indicate a more significant infestation, so having a solitary mouse in your home is pretty rare.
Do mice usually go in bedrooms? ›
Although finding mice in your bed is not a common phenomenon, there are a few things you can do to prevent mice from entering your bedroom: Seal off any holes you may have in walls. Mice can sneak through the tiniest of cracks, so don't miss any spots.Do mice stay in bedrooms? ›
Yes, mice will nest in bedrooms if they can find a place that is not often disturbed. However, bedrooms are rarely conducive to a nest. Still, they are often a place where mice can seek food and nesting materials. Even if mice aren't living in a bedroom, they'll still go into them for supplies.Do mice stay in house all year? ›
If you find mice inside your home this summer, then it's possible they've been there all year. Mice often build semi-permanent nests in warm parts of a home in winter. Then, when those warm places get too balmy, they'll start moving around the home to find new digs.Where are mice most likely to hide in house? ›
- The bases of kitchen cabinets.
- Wall voids that are insulated and located close to heat sources.
- Voids in and behind large kitchen appliances.
- Areas that are hidden by stored items and clutter.
Some of the most common ways mice get into homes are through cracks in the foundation, walls, or through the attic. Don't underestimate just how fast these little creatures can scurry and how quiet they can be entering your home. If a mouse is lucky enough to get into your house, don't feel ashamed.Do mice follow you when you move? ›
Don't be surprised that mice can follow you, travel in your belongings, and move with you into your new house. This is because they squeeze into your boxes and bags that they find to be warm, cozy, and dark.Why do mice come in flats? ›
Mice in London flats have it especially good because they can also enjoy the benefits of having an abundance of food at hand. Mice travel 10–12 metres around the nest. Therefore, they potentially have an easy access to more than one kitchen.What scares mice out of hiding? ›
A great way to bring mice out of hiding and steer them in the direction you want them to go is to sprinkle potent scents they find particularly unpleasant. Mice don't like the smell of garlic, onions, cayenne pepper, cloves, ammonia and alcohol.What time of year do mice come into homes? ›
Rodents have a tendency to move around more during summer as opposed to other seasons. This is a necessity for their survival – to relocate from their winter and spring nests into places where they will be more comfortable during the summer heat.Does a messy room attract mice? ›
Clutter. Because mice love to nest and burrow, they will often seek out cluttered areas to make themselves at home, and any place that provides warmth and a sufficient hiding place will fit the bill. And as clutter builds upon itself, it becomes more difficult to clean, which then further encourages rodents to burrow.
Does Lysol disinfect mouse droppings? ›
A mixture of 1½ cups of bleach or Lysol® in a gallon of water is effective at killing the virus. Allow the solution to sit for 15 minutes before cleaning up with a mop or sponge. Spray rodent carcasses, nests, droppings, and other potentially contaminated items and surfaces with bleach or disinfectant.What attracts mice to a clean house? ›
There are three things that can attract mice to your house: food, water, and shelter. Your house can be squeaky clean, but as long as you have what they want, then your house would be highly coveted. Of course, it would be more attractive to them if you have food wastes on your floors and other surfaces.Is it normal to have a few mice in your house? ›
While it's normal for a couple of mice to make it indoors at this time of the year, that's all it should be. If you are actively seeing signs of mice in your home, this means there is an infestation. Let's cover some of the ways that you can tell if you have a more serious mouse problem on your hands.Does Pine Sol keep mice away? ›
Strong scents deter rats and mice, specifically peppermint and Pine-Sol.How do you lure mice out fast? ›
- Peanut Butter. In the wild, mice prefer eating nuts, grains, and seeds. ...
- Chocolate. Small pieces of chocolate can also be used as bait. ...
- Seeds. Mice love the taste of seeds. ...
- Pet Food. ...
- Fruit Jam. ...
- Bacon. ...
- Nesting Materials.
How Long Do Mice Stay in a House? The lifespan of a typical mouse ranges from about six months to two years. Generally, the more access to food and shelter a mouse has, the longer it will live. This means that a mouse in your home has the potential to stick around for several months at a minimum.When should I worry about mice in my house? ›
Signs you have mice
If you have discovered mouse droppings or nesting material, heard noises in your walls or attic (mostly at night), or have seen signs of food packaging being chewed, you most likely have mice in your home.
Mouse nests look like a ball with a hole in the middle where they can enter and exit. Nests can also be found outdoors and underground where they are able to take shelter from prey and keep warm.Do mice travel between houses? ›
Mice can travel from one house to another and they are very smart when it comes to hiding. They can hide in furniture like sofas, beds, and closets, and will create a comfortable nest for themselves and their babies.How do mice travel through apartment buildings? ›
Essentially, they (mice) squeeze into any hole or opening they can, including: Open doors and windows. Gaps found indoors. Holes in walls and floors.
How are mice getting into my second floor apartment? ›
To start, they are very good jumpers and climbers, so sometimes they will enter a building through the roof or the second or third floor. The mice will either climb a tree and then jump from it onto the home, or they will climb the wall itself if it has a surface that is rough enough to grasp.Why do I suddenly have mice in my house? ›
There are two main things that can attract mice and rats to your house – food and shelter. If you don't tidy up properly and there's food waste on the floor or surfaces, rodents are going to love it! Rats and mice also need shelter, particularly during winter to avoid the worst of the cold.Where do mice usually hide in a house? ›
Where Do Mice Live in a House? When choosing an indoor nesting spot, mice hide in remote areas where there isn't much foot traffic. This usually includes wall voids, attics, crawlspace, and garages. They also hide in the warm cavities beneath appliances, in pantries or kitchen cabinets with easy access to food sources.What scent will keep mice away? ›
But what exactly do mice and rats hate to smell? Mice can be kept away by using the smells of peppermint oil, cinnamon, vinegar, citronella, ammonia, bleach, and mothballs.How many mice are usually in a house? ›
The average mouse nest can be home to between a dozen and two dozen mice, depending on their age and the presence of other mice in the vicinity. Because mice nest in order to raise their pups, they seek out warm, dry areas that are well protected and close to a food source.Will mice leave a house on their own? ›
Contrary to popular belief, mice do not leave on their own, and in order to successfully rid your home of them, you will need to contact a professional pest control company. Dealing with a mice infestation inside of your home is something that no homeowner wants to deal with.Can mice sneak under doors? ›
Possible points of entry for mice to get into your home include: Gaps around windows. Cracks under doors.How long do mice stay in one place? ›
How Long Do Mice Stay in a House? The lifespan of a typical mouse ranges from about six months to two years. Generally, the more access to food and shelter a mouse has, the longer it will live. This means that a mouse in your home has the potential to stick around for several months at a minimum.What time of year do mice come inside? ›
Rodents have a tendency to move around more during summer as opposed to other seasons. This is a necessity for their survival – to relocate from their winter and spring nests into places where they will be more comfortable during the summer heat.Do mice run across floors? ›
Mice are nocturnal creatures, so pay attention to activity at night. You may hear moving, scratching or squeaking in your walls as the mice run around. If you're up late at night, you may even notice a mouse or two peeking out and running across your floor. If you don't notice, your dog or cat probably will.
Can mice live under floors? ›
In a domestic setting you will typically find the rodents in lofts, walls, under floorboards, garages, sheds, log storages, behind cookers, fridges and tumble dryers.Do mice mean my house is dirty? ›
Just because a house gets mice, does not mean it is dirty or unclean. Mice are looking for shelter, a place to nest, a place to breed, and easy access to food. If they can find those things in your home, they'll find any way they can to get inside.How do you know if your house is infested with mice? ›
Signs of mouse infestation include droppings, gnawed plastic or furniture, tracks and rodent sightings. House mice also emit musky odors. These signs help homeowners to identify nesting areas. Mouse nests are made from shredded fibers and other found materials.Can mice get into fridge? ›
It is rare for mice to get into a fridge but it can and does happen. Usually through the sealed door - so simply check to see if the seal is intact. Mice do often nest under the fridge or near the compressor. They like the warm and the dark.