Sunday, February 16, 2014

Anniversary Waltz Fell Race Route Recce - February 2014

Dale Head - just past the half way point, looking back to Robinson on the far left and Hindscarth in the middle, two fells we have just been over.

Today was supposed to be a weather window so I was very keen to get out.  Jonathan was looking to get a run in but is struggling with an injury where a wall jumped out on him so I met up with Gerard for a recce of the Anniversary Waltz course.

The race is held each year to commemorate the wedding of Wynn and Steve, a couple who obviously loved the local area and were married in Newlands Church which is near to the start/finish of the race.

We parked near to Swinside and then about a mile later, Gerard pointed out the starting point.  The course heads along the Newlands Valley, climbing steeply up to Robinson, then onto Hindscarth, Dale Head and over to High Spy, Maiden Moor and Cat Bells before taking a side track down Cat Bells back to the road.  Course route is about 11.5 miles but you can choose your own way between the checkpoints (Robinson, Hindscarth, High Spy and Cat Bells) so you may go a bit further.  The record is under an hour and a half.  Today we were out for just over four hours

view over to the snowy fells we will be running around

steep climb up towards Robinson.  Reservoir at the
 top of Scope Beck below
The run was fairly flat until we got to the reservoir at about four miles in.  This is the same track as the last part of the Bob Graham Round so Gerard was reminiscing about putting road shoes on and feeling great getting back on the level.

I'm not particularly fit at the moment so it was easy going to this point.  We took a sharp right up towards Blea Crags.  This is one of the places where there are multiple options and Gerard pointed out the various routes people take as well as the return track for the Bob Graham Round.

We took Gerard's preferred route.  I was happy to bow to his greater knowledge and experience. 

Once up on the ridge, there was a fair amount of rock climbing to do.  We took it steadily as the rock was wet and icy.  A bit further on, we reached the snowline.  The snow continued until we got to Cat Bells.

The incline mellowed slightly and we ran over to the flat top of Robinson.  Fairly misty at this point but brief interludes of clarity as well as familiar territory meant that we stayed well on course.

looking down over Blea Crags after the steep climb up

in the other direction, a rocky climb up to the snowline

in the snow now, "we'll catch them!" heading up to Robinson

up and over Robinson (where we encountered a mild hailstorm) and heading down Littledale Edge
which had soft fluffy snow on it
which was great on tired knees

Gerard heads up towards Hindscarth

from Hindscarth looking over to Dale Head

looking east to Maiden Moor at the end of the ridge

along Hindscarth Edge with Honister Pass far below

Decent size cornice on Dale Head

never get tired of this view

looking back to Hindscarth (to the left of the cairn),  Robinson (to the left of Hindscarth) and Coledale fells beyond

beautiful day

heading down to Dale Head Tarn
From Robinson, there was a nice soft snowy run down Littledale Edge.  Gerard ran up Hindscarth while I dawdled.  We then took a nice path over to Dale Head, scooting around Hindscarth Edge.

Dalehead is one of my favourite photo spots in the Lakes.  It didn't disappoint today but there was a very large cornice on the edge of Dale Head.

We took a diversion from Gerard's usual route down to Dalehead Tarn as the snow was becoming a bit icy.

Once off the top, the snow was nice and soft, perfect skiing snow I would say.  We headed down and were soon at the tarn where we had a snack and a drink.

We took it easy up to High Spy before setting off on the nice levelish run over to Maiden Moor.  Gerard showed me an easier way off Cat Bells and then we both (due to our chronic injuries) took it very easy on the final bit down to the gate and along the road back to the car.

High Spy

beautiful light.  I would guess that Great Gable is the pointy fell on the right above the cairn with the Scafells to the left

snow starting to run out, heading down from Maiden Moor

Coledale way

Cat Bells ahead, final fell - usually an easy one but I was done in by this point

ever popular Cat Bells

route taken.  We did 13.2 miles all in.

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