Thursday, August 28, 2014

Skiddaw & Bakestall

looking back over the rolling top of Skiddaw

We had planned a Kentmere Round but time constraints and a late start, meaning parking would be problematic at Kentmere, meant that our plans changed to a pretty simple route over Skiddaw, on to Bakestall and then back along the Cumbria Way path.

from Jenkin Hill - all the more reason for a photo stop

We parked at the Latrigg Car Park.  Heading towards the steep Skiddaw path, we saw people setting up an aid station for some event.  It was a clear day with not too much wind.  We had thoughts of running up Skiddaw as far as the first gate but the urge rather than my legs were lacking on this occasion.  We made do with a steady walk from the gate, starting our run again where the path splits to go up or around Skiddaw Little Man.

this is where I threw in the towel on my recent Northen Fells attempt
Once through the top gate, I wanted to have a look around the place I was wandering around in the early hours of my birthday on my recent Northern Fells attempt.  It was easy to see why I was reluctant to continue on, even after finding what I later saw was the correct line towards Carlside.  The ground was scrubby scree with a continual drop down the gill to Slades Beck.

Due to a poor headtorch and darkness confounded by cloud, my navigation plan had been to drop to the same height as Carlside and then head in the direction.  Basically, contouring but high up on Skiddaw in the dark.  If you check the Northern Fells blog post out, you can see that I was on the correct line and about 400m away but I just didn't have the confidence to continue.  Still the right decision.

Jonathan conquers Bakestall
We carried on over Skiddaw, taking the path around the initial bump.  We noted the start of this path is marked by a cairn set off the main track on the right.  Handy for future.  My heel had been hurting for some time at this point, recurrent Plantar Fasciitis but I decided that our intended route was probably the best course to take.

We dropped down to Bakestall, intending to find the scree I ran with my mate Paul a few months back.  As we had only decided to come this way after setting off from home, I had not properly checked out where this scree was.  I had a look at home and worked out it's past the summit near to where a fence goes off to the right (south).  Again, we will know for next time.

Skiddaw House
Once onto the Cumbria Way path, we enjoyed easy running to Skiddaw House where we saw a group of runners coming along the other branch of the Cumbria Way track (from Caldbeck).  

We joined with them at Skiddaw House and ran along and around Lonscale Pike.  This is really nice running ground.  We met someone here and he told us we were doing really well.  We told him we were not in the race and asked him about it.  The race was The Grand Tour of Skiddaw, a 44 mile race covering this section of The Cumbria Way.  The runners were about three hours in and were about to head up Skiddaw once they got to the checkpoint we had gone past at the start of our run.

Running along the track, we ran up the hills, something we would not have done had we been in the event.  We stepped aside to let competitors pass us but then ended up passing them again on the inclines.  We told everyone we were not in the race.  Personally, I would have been gutted if someone bounded past me after three hours hard racing if I thought they were also in the race.  Crossing Whit Beck, a part of the path which is always flooded by the beck, there was a photographer.  I was about to shout to him that I was not in the race but then thought again and powered through the beck as he snapped away, "Well done that man!" he shouted. 

my favourite part of the Cumbra Way as it snakes around Lonscale Fell, some steep rocky sections

Jonathan photobombing The Grand Tour of Skiddaw

and me.

route from the car park

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