This is a chapter from 'A Tribute to the Round', a short book on the Bob Graham Round, written for charity and available here
I have found writing about the Bob Graham Round to be significantly easier than completing it. For reasons unknown, I have been involved in ‘attempts’ over ever decreasing time periods: first three days, then two days, strangely 30 hours and, naturally, 24 hours. Each was begun, but not all were finished; suffice to say I have not yet made it into the Club.
This lived experience has developed into a fascination with the round and the different ways of travelling between the 42 peaks – this is the genesis for A Tribute to the Round.
Of course, once all is said and done, the round can never be reduced to just analysis. Lines on maps, words in print and numbers in tables neither train the legs nor generate grit for the endeavour. While I have learnt this through scree-filled shoes, rain-soaked lycra and clag-induced confusion, I must continue to remind myself that no one has yet completed the round from their armchair. Nonetheless, it has been a deeply enjoyable experience to write about the round and its route in this small way.
I am very grateful to the many individuals who have provided support, especially David Butterfield (no. 1,983), John Butterfield (no. 1,893), Chris Gill (no. 1,985) and the McDonald family. Thanks are also due to the Bob Graham Club and Keswick Mountain Rescue Team.
I am especially grateful to the photographers who have kindly allowed their work to be reproduced: James Appleton, Richard Davies (no. 1,476), Alan Green, Joe Jackson, Andrew Locking, Elizabeth Oldham, Paul Sharkey, Chris Stainthorpe and Brian Stallwood (no. 1,847). Their images pay a tribute to the round which no words of mine can match.