Time to load the car. Where's the boot liner? Can't go without that. Last time we went without it it took half a day to get the mud out of the boot. Not doing that again. Find boot liner in BGT, Phew! Boot liner in. Food & flasks - check. Wet gear, hats, gloves & boots - check. Walkie talkies - check. Map & instructions - check. Bin bag for wet gear at the end of the day - check. Each time we go we find more ideas to make life easier. Brollies & shooting sticks - check. Camera gear - check. Car loaded & off we go. If we haven't got it loaded we'll have to do without. There's no time to turn back now.
Finally, on the road & heading west to the Lake District. An uneventful drive brings us to the gate to the forest. Gate marshall suggests we park up & walk to the section. No chance! If we did that we wouldn't get there till mid morning and be in no fit state to do anything when we got there. Drive up to the section and arrive 15 minutes before opening time to find half a dozen cars queued up on the narrow track. Manage to squeeze past them, sign on & head for the top of the hill. Struggle into all the bad weather kit, grab the food, flasks brollies etc and take our places on the hill.
Get the queued cars out of the way and get sorted out & settled in. Thankfully it's not raining and not too cold just now but that can change rapidly.
One incident could have been very serious. I won't indentify those involved but most of the competitors will know by now who it was. They were climbing quite well in an open car when they clipped a tree on the right of the track. This flipped them over and they landed upside down just off the track. Fortunately a couple of logs prevented the car from going right down to the ground and there was some space under it. This happened just a few feet from me. By the time I got there the passenger was dragging himself out from under but the driver was still trapped. The fuel pump was still running and the driver was becoming quite concerned. I had shouted for assistance as soon as it happened but all the help was well down the hill and would be a while getting to us. The passenger & I, with Pam, managed to lift the car enough for the driver to wriggle free. Both driver & passenger were shaken up but apart from minor cuts & bruises, they were unhurt. When more help arrived me managed to get the car back on its wheels and eventually off the hill to a safe place where the damage could be assessed.
Whilst accidents like this are thankfully rare, it brought it home to me just how vulnerable we all are out in the middle of a forest. My workplace gained first aid skills are very rusty and with no kit, I wouldn't have been able to do much. If serious injuries had occurred it would have been some considerable time before professional help arrived. As it was there weren't serious injuries and the only serious damage was to the car.
The rest of the day passed well apart from a temperature drop and some light rain. It was still better than some days we've spent up there.
Thanks to Pam for some of these pictures. If your car is there and you want a copy, just get in touch (details on the 'Contact Oily' page) and if we can identify it, I'll email a copy to you.
The ZS was like this when we arrived at the top of the section. It was even worse when we got back out of the forest. One thing is certain. I won't be washing it.