Back to business

Picking my way across heathery tussocks in the gloom of a damp Cumbrian afternoon can only mean one thing, the weather and me are getting back to normal.

It also meant, with the drought of April a distant memory, my first proper opportunity in about 7 weeks to start putting my new GORE-TEX Active Shell jacket through its paces.

After a tiring cycle ride yesterday I was determined to get straight back to fell running today and so I headed out across the fields and along the banks of the River Kent towards Potter Fell.

Remarkably my legs felt surprisingly strong, a slight twinge in my right knee but nothing serious, but I held steady, knowing that my planned route over the top of Potter Fell and onto Brunt Knott would be my longest run in nearly 18 months, in fact so long had it been since I last set foot on this quiet fell that forms the southern extremis of a long spine running down from High Street that I couldn’t actually remember when it was that I was last there.

I reached the cloud line as I reached the dark and choppy waters of Gurnal Dubs and as I climbed higher up the fell the visibility gradually worsened, so much so that by the time I skirted around the scattered tops of Potter Fell I could barely see more than 50 yards.

I clung close to the dry stone wall, my memory struggling to decipher the broken ground that was falling away in front of me but before long we reached the walled steps that indicated we were in the right track. Brunt Knott lay half a kilometre or so to the North but today the weather gods were keeping it well hidden, only grey mirk could be seen. Even Seren, my sheepdog, was beginning to look a little bedraggled, if ultimately quite happy, having been bounding across the heather.

It’s a surprisingly steep pull onto Brunt Knott’s small summit; approaching it from the south the incline is barely noticeable but for the runner it rears up suddenly to drain weary calf muscles before relenting just as quickly as it’s broad flat summit opens up. On a good day there are far reaching views to be had across to High Street and the Kentmere Fells but not today. I paused to take a quick photograph before turning back to retrace my steps down to the col.

Descending quickly to Brunt Knott farm, we dipped below the cloud line once more and the rain turned back to light drizzle. All that was left was a steady run along the farm lanes before heading back across country, passing the fading blooms of bluebells, towards Beckmickle Ing and retracing our steps along the River Kent, slightly damper than when we left but buoyed by a renewed enthusiasm for running on the fells again.


About Richard Talbot

An accomplished fell-runner as well as being a keen climber and mountaineer. Since 2005 he has worked for the UK based manufacturer Mountain Equipment and is currently Director of Product. He has worked in the outdoor industry for over 15 years.
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