Saturday, September 16, 2017

North Derbyshire Running Club Trip to the Lake District

The North Derbyshire running club has an annual club trip the last trip was near Keswick and not far from Basenthwaite water. For this years trip the club stayed at the excellent Bury Jubilee hut which is above Glenridding, in a fantastic location for quick access to the fells. The track down is also not too far for a trip to the local hostelries. This trip was not a full on training session but a social trip, however we are a club of enthusiastic runners additionally we are in the fells and we're here to run! This trip was no exception club members ran excellent races and training runs. There was a lot of mutual encouragement to get out and run.
Thornthwaite Crag Beacon

A lot of us had booked leave on the Friday to arrive in Glenridding early that day. My plans had gone somewhat awry! After going climbing at Awesome walls, Sheffield, I met Amanda at Woodall services on the M1 at 9pm. Amanda had returned from work, Keisha and Louis needed a lift back home after climbing. I was eventually ready to head off to the lakes! I arrived at the Jubilee hut Glenridding at silly oclock, I stepped out of the car, switched the lights off and was amazed by a splendid starlit sky. Racing club members had already gone to bed, those that were still up made me feel most welcome and showed me to an available bunk, there was still time to chat about the weekend plans.

The day started bright there was much enthusiasm to get out. There was a buzz around the hut as we heard about the days fell race, the, Three shires fell race (wikipedia). This fell race features four fantastic summits Wetherlam, Swirl How, Pike O’Blisco and Lingmoor along with Three Shires Stone these are also the race checkpoints. These fells make you appreciate what a tough undertaking this is. John Gorman, Martin Dawson Joel Siddall were our three excellent race competitors, club members went out to support them.

Different groups of club members went off into the fells to try different routes, one sounded like a long walk to the pub this included a planned long stay at the inn on The Kirkstone pass, very tempting.  I had a mad plan to run over as many mountains as I could, starting from the Dodd's. I set off up a steep path behind the hut and headed for Watsons Dodd. It was good to take advantage of the height and the beautiful weather. The initial hill was very steep I had to do a fast walk!
My route took me to Stybarrow dodd and Watsons Dodd. As I jogged... staggered up Glencoyne head I saw Sheffield pike, it looks like a good hill one I must try. There weren't many people around but as I got to Watson's Dodd to commence the traverse there were more and more people, including friends from NDRC.

Bright sunshine heading up Glen Coyne to the Dodds'. The view above is towards Watsons Dodd.
As I struggled up Stybarrow and progressed on to Watsons Dodd I thought about the team on the three shires fell race. My performance gradually improving. The run along the path from Watsons Dodd was excellent runnable and underfoot it was great. I made good progress along to Raise. Near here I met a team from NDRC who were happy with their ascent of Helvelyn via Swirral edge... thats one impressive morning run!

I had a great run this is such a splendid route enjoying the great Helvelyn plateau and looking back at the wonderful Swirral and Striding edge ridges life felt much too short, I can't wait to come back here and scramble those ridges once again you can never tire of them. From Nethermost pike I looked back towards Ullswater.
Continuing onto  Dollywagon pike, I stopped and looked back, although the cloud had gathered it still looked absolutely fantastic. From this point the route descended steeply to Grisedale tarn then back up onto Fairfield slow and steady. In hindsight I wish I'd gone up Seat Sandal before ascending Fairfield perhaps I'll try that next year! My journey was concluded with an ascent of St Sunday Crag, here I met the Andy and the Kirkstone Inn team. I'd forgotten the fun of scrambling the well defined backbone of Saint Sunday There are great views of Grisedale and across to Helvelyn. Looking in a southerly direction towards the Hartsop fells is also excellent. I returned to the hut via the path to Lanteys tarn, the path was a little confusing but I eventually made my way through. It was quite pleasant to return in a light shower of rain. After five and half hours I'd completed a load of excellent mountains with a journey of 16.5 miles and 5600 feet of climbing....   pace frustratingly slow, but these are the lakeland fells.
Back at the hut Dave and Ron had been busy starting preparations for tea. We'd had some problems with the gas supply and had to call the hut caretakers to resolve the problem. It wasn't long before Dave and Ron were cooking on gas and 20 club members we sat around enjoying an excellent feast. Our fell runners had returned but our Kirkstone pass team were still out somewhere in Patterdale on Kirkstone... it was a mystery.

In the evening we drank beer and wine, played cards, planned routes, races and generally chatted. It was good to hear the stories of the days racing. The results of the fell race were summarised excellently by our club reporter, Neil.

RESULTS UPDATE : THREE SHIRES FELL RACE,LITTLE LANGDALE,AMBLESIDE,SATURDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2017. This is a fell race so famous that it has its own Wikipedia entry (Saturday saw the 30th running of the event) and so difficult that the experienced and usually unfazed John Gorman reports back that it was "the hardest race i have ever done", whilst David Edwards talks of "slippy conditions and very tough gradients.

The 12.4 mile race starts and finishes from the Three shires inn at Little Langdale Ambleside.Five of the NDRC crew taking the annual NDRC trip up to this ruggedly beautiful part of world took the 20 mile journey from their Glenridding's base to the race:Steve Bennett and Maggie Gorman supporting and Martin Dawson,Joel Siddall and John Gorman running.In what sounds and looks like a proper, technical difficult fell race top marks has to be awarded to all three.

WINNER - Jonny Malley (Ambleside) 2:01.55
FIRST LADY Claire Nancy (Lonesdale ) 2:33.29

44.Martin Dawson 2:33.20
116.Joel Siddall 3:08.14
167.John Gorman 3:56. 50
170 finishers

The Kirkstone crew arrived back later in the evening happy with their day in the hills and evening in the pub there was a little bit of tut tut tut lol!
The following morning a party of people hired a motor launch enjoying a tour of the lake. A group of us headed out to Brothers water with the objective of running over High Street. We found a path which ascended up onto Caudale Moor from the Brothers water inn. We had selected a route with some good paths and including a Roman road! We had to move quickly because we needed to return in time for brunch back at the Jubilee hut!
The route went up steeply I was moving at a walk, dare I say fast walk. Martin, one of our racers from the previous day breezed relatively easily up the hill. When we arrived at the adit the gradient eased a little, even I could manage a run!
The adit with Brothers water down below

As we ran onto Caudale moor the running improved, the views were just fabulous it was good to look southwards to Ambleside and Windemere. Our next point was Stony Cove Pike we had a good run, we had to go steeply down to Threshthwaite mouth, here, we all enjoyed gaining speed as we bounded over the rocks. There was another steep pull up to the beacon on Thornthwaite crag where we stopped for a round of kendal mint cake and water.
As we ascended high street we were spurred on by thoughts of brunch and Martin pulling us along! The pace increased as we headed back down to The Knott and the village of Hartsop. We'd had some fairly regular stops to check the map to make sure we were going the right way. However we stopped sharply when a shepherd was whistling, it was quite amusing because they joked that they wished their dogs stopped so obediently. We'd had a fab run which concluded with an excellent brunch back at the hut. In summary this was a trip of great running, great food, great friends and brilliant days in the hills. After tidying the hut and saying our goodbyes I left with a great sense of enthusiasm for more running and days in the hills, can't wait for the next trip.

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