This time it was Mary’s fault. She wanted a training weekend in preparation for the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa, a stunning multi day run in Switzerland and Italy. I was keen to join her as last time I didn’t see the views,
This time it was Mary’s fault. She wanted a training weekend in preparation for the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa (UTMR) a stunning multi day run in Switzerland and Italy. I was keen to join her as last time I did the Bob Graham Round I didn’t see the views, in fact I’m not sure when I’ve seen the views in the Lake District! But thankfully this occasion did not disappoint. We had a fabulous three days with 360 degree views all day every day, and made 30 summits.
Day one started from Dunmail Raise and we visited 14 out of the listed 24 summits between there and Honister. We enjoyed the corridor route to Sty Head pass before a quick ascent of Great and Green Gable towards the end of the day. Coming off Grey Knotts we met a real Bob Graham 24 hourer who was 3 hours away from the finish in Keswick so we hope that she made it. A large slab heated by the day’s sun was a welcome resting place at Honister slate mine, complete with via ferrata and cafe for those seeking adventure and food. We stayed overnight at the YHA Honister Hause.
The next day we tackled Dale Head from Honister Pass, followed by Hindscarth and Robinson before a lovely run down to Newlands Valley where the church felt welcoming. Running through Littletown on beautiful grassy fields and into Portinscale I was delighted to find there was less road running than I had expected. In Keswick we almost stopped at the chalet, an inviting looking cafe as we ran into the town. “Why can’t we be like other people and just enjoy relaxing in a cafe?” I said to Mary. “I think it’s our disposition” was the reply. A bit of tricky navigation to get us to Fitz Park by the shortest route and we were off up Skiddaw. 900 m of ascent was a bit daunting but a quick marmite sandwich accompanied by Mary’s delicious savoury flapjack, and we were off. Lots of paraponting to admire and help the ascent, which is really a bit dull as it follows a gravel track up and up. However, the views were stupendous and the contrast to my March solo trip with snow on the ground could not have been greater. A lovely descent down to the river with a couple of very off road river crossings, and we were ascending the beautiful NW side of Blencathra, near to the Cloven Stone, so named because it is roughly the shape of a cloven hoof. Wainwright’s book suggests that this area is too boring, but I would disagree as it’s really a lovely quiet ascent and not too steep. It was a good contrast to Skiddaw, and the going was fine once we’d navigated a personal route from Skiddaw to Blencathra avoiding Great Calva, the only summit we missed today. Blencathra was beautiful in the afternoon sunshine and we enjoyed the views in all directions before taking the easy route down to Scales where we’d booked a couple of nights in The White Horse Inn Bunkhouse.
Having a welcome rest in the bar at The White Horse Inn we got chatting with a young Fell runner and her dog and were very happy to arrive at the pub after 10 hours on the hill. We all felt much better after a pint of liquid and a look at our room. The accommodation here is newish, with plenty of rooms sleeping 4 or more people, a couple of kitchens and bathrooms. Lots of similar Fell running types were staying here too, including Jon and his mates from Derby who’d just finished 50 at 50 in 21 hours. Made us feel a bit feeble, although we’d done 30 in 3 days in our 60th year so not too shabby really. The food in the pub was excellent and we all slept well after a full day out in the sun.
Our final day was the route up Clough Head and along the ridge and past Helvellyn to Grisedale Tarn. We took in most of the summits today including Fairfield and Seat Sandal which I’d missed last time. It was windy but the going was relatively easy and the paths good, so despite tired legs we were able to run steadily along much of the route. Great views again. Down to Dunmail Raise we retrieved our car from the lay-by and went back to The White Horse for an early pasta supper which we cooked ourselves in the kitchen. In the evening we explored the delightful village of Mungrisdale nearby which lies hidden on the edge of the Lake District. Overall, we’d had a delightful weekend and were very lucky with the weather.
There are many more independent hostels, bunkhouses and camping barn offering self catering accommodation in the Lake Distrtict.