|at the last fence on the climb up to Skiddaw, looking back at Little Man|
A nice long run out today on a classic route. Snowy and icy conditions meant that a descent from Hall's Fell Ridge was not wise so we took a route back to Keswick down the gentler slopes of Blease Fell. Twenty miles all in all (although I did wind through the streets of Keswick to make up the last mile).
|route and elevation|
|climbing up to Skiddaw, looking over the Coledale fells.|
My aim was to keep at a low heart rate as much as possible for this run. I've worked out that it's a lot harder to pace yourself when you are out with somebody else. There is a real tendency to race. Jonathan would get ahead and then I would try to keep up.
We took it very easy up to Latrigg, walking the steeper sections. Once we got on the main Skiddaw path, Jonathan couldn't help surging ahead. I thought that we went up Skiddaw a bit too quick for the long run we were planning but we got up pretty easily.
As we were climbing, the top was clear but when we got to the top, it was a whiteout. Icily cold, we didn't hang around on the summit, carrying on straight over to pick up the track down the fence line. I slightly overshot the turn off but not by very much and we were soon descending the tracks over to Hare Crag.
I was surprised to find so much of a track, expecting this section to be just a grassy trod. We soon dropped down out of the cloud but there was plenty of snow and ice around, making the going quite precarious. We took our time, gently following the track down and over. It got boggy as the terrain levelled out. The ground was partially frozen. Just about enough to not sink if you were going fast but we both still got our feet wet and boggy at this stage.
At the Grouse Butts, I thought about heading over to take the more mellow ascent of Great Calva but decided to carry on straight across. The path was much better than it looked and we steadily climbed to the summit, taking in a bit of food on the way up.
At Great Calva Summit, we turned around and started to follow the fence back down, around the corner to the East. In hindsight, we might have been better continuing down here to the Cumbria Way track because the route we changed to after consulting the map was across deep heather which took up lots of energy.
We ended up at the circular sheep pen, then trudged 100m or so to find the river to be quite fast and quite deep. We thought about jumping at one point but the water was very deep and so we walked south west to where the fence crosses the river, using this as a handrail.
|Great Calva summit, looking back down the fence line|
Once over the river, we had the steady trudge up to Mungrisdale Common. Slow and steady again and with wet feet from the boggy ground before the river.
We eventually reached the rounded top and found the summit cairn without difficulty, continuing on to the back of Blencathra.
This, normally boggy, section was just the right amount of frozen to stop us sinking. At this point, we had a think about remaining daylight hours and energy levels and decided to head down to the Keswick railway track once we had been over Blencathra.
At Foule Crag we put our microspikes on and climbed up to the flat top, running across to the summit.
|just before the microspikes went on - heading up to Blencathra|
|easy running across the frozen top|
|the final climb|
At the top, we walked over to look at the Hall's Fell path and I don't think Jonathan was in any doubt about my decision to avoid it today.
We carried on along the tops over Knowe Crags and then enjoyed the long and winding descent down Blease Fell.
We took a slightly convoluted route through to the railway track and then enjoyed an easy run back to the car.