Newlands Valley Round

Sunday dawned magically bright, one of those mornings I’ve not experienced since last summer when the early morning sun cast it’s light through my bedroom window to raise me from my slumber.

A quick breakfast and it was off on the hours drive across the Lakes to the Newlands valley, an area I had not run in for some time, in fact the last time I had run around across these fells was during the ill fated 2008 OMM.

Skiddaw from Catbells

This mid march morning couldn’t have been more different. A dusting of fresh snow lay on the northern fells lighting up the tops of Skiddaw and Blencathra in the drawn out shadows of early morning, it was cold and the air crystal clear. By the time I reached the small car park in Little Town, it was already virtually full but I grabbed one of the last few spaces, sorted out my kit, donned running shoes and with Seren eager to get moving, headed off on the steady climb towards the skyline of Catbells.

It was hard going. A day earlier I had been on a 70km circuit on my road bike, on the lanes and moors around Kirkby Lonsdale and Sedbergh i had found myself ploughing through one of those ‘prolonged showers’ that managed to soak and chill me to the bone for nearly 45 minutes as I climbed through and across the high moor that separates the small villages of Barbon and Dent. Less than 24 hours later my legs were now feeling the effects of that damp 3 hour spin.

High Spy & Dale Head

The initial climb onto the spine of the ridge was luckily short and once on the broad flat top, it was a steady but relatively gentle pull towards High Spy. The air was cool but the strength of the sun was strong, it was ideal running conditions, there as I was cruising along some 600 metres above sea level, I caught and past a couple of other runners, out on a similar round to mine

Having climbed over the summit of High Spy i now dropped steadily down towards Dale Head Tarn which was then immediately followed by a warm and what felt like a brutal, yet just about runnable, if runnable is a fair term for the slog come foot shuffle that formed the couple of hundred metre climb to the summit of Dale Head. I reached the lofty summit some minutes later and after stopping to chat to a couple of locàl runners, out on a partial Recce of the Anniversary Waltz fell race route continued around along the southern edge of my circuit along Littledale Edge before another calf sapping pull onto the final summit of the day, Robinson.

From here it was a fast descent along the rocky path before I veered off sharply down a steep grassy descent to the valley floor. All that was left was for Seren to have a refreshing paddle in the cool waters of Scope Beck, I decided too give that one a miss.

Distance: 14km Ascent: 1085m / 3550ft Time: 2hrs 10 minutes

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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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