Monday, December 19, 2011

Whinlatter fell run December 17th 2011

Wow, I live in a beautiful part of the country.  One of the things that makes the Lake District so beautiful is the changing seasons.  At the moment, there's a heavy blanket of snow across the Whinlatter fells and that's where I headed today, following a route planned out during one of my many evenings spent staring at mapping software, drawing routes along ridges.

Setting off from Wythrop Church and heading around Sale Fell towards Wythrop Woods.  A gradual uphill, avoiding a tempting track to the right that caused this problem recently, and out onto the open fell side of Lothwaite Side:

Turning left down past a favourite row of hawthorn trees (pics on the way back) and then back into the woods:

Climb through the woods and then out onto the open fell again.  Steep climb in knee deep snow - visability = not much:

Keep heading up and my GPS tells me that I have bagged the summit of Broom Fell.

Now for some basic map reading.  The red W represents a wainwright, this one is Broom Fell at 511 metres above sea level.  This is obviously a summit and each contour line moving away from the summit represents a 10 metre difference in height, a thick contour line is shown every 5 lines (or every 50 metres) so here, just by going from the thick lines, I can estimate that it is approximately 150 metres down to the river.  Here is the same section in 3d:

Here you can see the steepness of the descent.  What this doesn't show you is the knee deep snow meaning that I could run as fast as I could and have soft landings.

Back into woods:

Through these woods to the fence and then straight up to the top of Graystones (wainwright number 2) and then straight back down to the road:

Along the road, head up Whinlatter pass, turning off before the visitors centre managing successfully to avoid the delicious, but no doubt run-ending, allure of a soy-latte.  Along the track and then head over Aiken Beck, around the corner of the forest to head up towards Lord's Seat (wainwright 3).  Follow the wall straight up, then keep going.  Try not to be concerned about the footprints you are following and the fact that you can clearly see the spikes that the person was wearing to ensure good grip in the snow:

Heading up towards Lord's Seat, cloud coming in, snow getting deep: 

follow the fence:

Lord's Seat, whether you are religious or not (I am not) you can't help but admire the poetic name.  No doubt it will be topped with a fittingly elegant cairn, marking out a spot where our lord would feel happy sitting, looking over all He has created:


Right, on to Barf (wainwright 4) another great name.  The journey from Lord's Seat to Barf is usually very boggy and hard going.  Today the knee deep snow meant that at least I didn't need to worry about the bogs.  it also meant that the footprints of the person that had gone before me were easily distinguishable and so I set off following these, right to the point where this person obviously thought better of it and retreated to the woods.  Oh well, on we go:

On to the summit of Barf.  Very cold but very beautiful:

Not a bad view either:

Ok, time to head down and out of the snow:

Steep path down, couldn't resist climbing back up to the Bishop of Barf:

There's a nice little scree run straight down to the Clerk of Barf:

Back at ground level, a little run along a minor road (looking across to Skidaw):

Then back on the C2C route through the woods towards Sale Fell:

and back past those Hawthorn trees I talked about at the start:

This was a long run, over six hours.  I'm learning that you can't compare distance and speed on the road to fell running.  A 16 mile run on road would take me about two hours at a fairly easy pace.  Six hours on the fell would be the equivalent of a 35-40 mile run.  Big effort but big fun.


  1. Excellent blog! I love the Bishop of Barf photo - I really want to climb Barf that route as it looks like an adventurous sramble!

  2. Thank you. The path to the Bishop is steep but you can get up there from the Clerk in a few minutes. I'm not sure about carrying on up that way. I passed it on the way down and then climbed back up, then ran back down.