Saturday, September 26, 2015

Scafell Section Recce

from High Raise

I had been conned into entering the 3 x 3000 Ultra race, a 50 mile race taking in the three summits in the Lake District over 3000ft in height.  I was familiar with most of the course but had never been down the Whythburn valley, mainly due to everybody saying how awful and boggy it is.

at the start, running along the track by the side of Dunmail Raise
looking towards Thirlmere before climbing the fells to the left
I had a route planned out which would allow me to take in the return leg from Scafell Pike to Whythburn church and would cover about 20 miles, meaning it could double as a good training run for the actual event.

This went over the fells passing Harrop and Blea Tarns to Watendlath before picking up the race route.

up at the beautiful Harrop Tarn
the fence going up to High Tove.  I've been along the fence,
 I've crossed overand kept the high line and I've crossed over
 on the footpath past Blea Tarn (today's route).  There isn't a
 dry way over but I'd say the footpath is the least wettest out
 of those oprions.
After discovering that the Armboth Car Park wanted about £7 for parking, I drove on to the Bob Graham verge at the side of Dunmail Pass and parked there, following the footpath over to Steel End Farm where I crossed the road to the Thirlmere shoreline path.  I then climbed steeply to Harrop Tarn and on to Blea Tarn.  Tough ground on this section, very boggy and then a steep descent into the hanging valley of Watendlath before taking on the familiar route through Rosthwaite and on to Seathwaite.  I took the shorter route around the tarns going straight from Styhead Pass to Esk Hause (or the shelter just by Esk Hause), missing out on the summit of Scafell Pike in an effort to save some energy in my legs but also because I was finding it tough going.

Blea Tarn, quite lovely
The Esk Hause shelter marked the start of the unfamiliar territory.  Once I had picked out the track over towards Rosset Pike, it was pretty easy to find the way, following the path over to Angle Tarn.  From here I took a path up towards the Langdale Pikes, contouring round a bit to High Raise.  The actual race route takes a much steeper and more difficult direct ascent to High Raise, the big fell they don't really tell you about on the 3 x 3000, it still reaches 2500ft and is a significant climb.

another beauty of a tarn - Watendlath
I met some Duke of Edinburgh award people there, planning to camp in Langstrath valley.  I picked my way over rough ground (more direct but tougher going than the race route) to pick up the famously wet and boggy Whythburn valley.  By this point, I had some pretty bad blisters on my feet.
I should have stopped at High Raise to sort my feet out but pressed on.  Quite a bit of walking towards the end until I got back on the road and then crossed over to take the footpath on the east side of Dunmail Raise, heading back to the car.

This was a tough run.  Only 23 miles but felt like a lot longer.  On reflection, some long runs in the last few weeks.  I could have done with a rest!

past Styhead Tarn and on to Sprinkling Tarn.  Green and Great Gables behind

from near Esk Hause looking towards Langdale

Angle Tarn with Bowfell behind

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