With one week to go until this years Anniversary Waltz fell race I decided to head out on a recce of the course.
I’d decided it wasnt really necessary to worry about the first and final section of the race, and to make life easier had headed to Little Town where there’s a handful of parking spaces for a modest donation to the chapel. We’d left home at 8 to guarantee a parking space, it was cold when we arrived, the temperature gauge in the car reading only 2 degrees and in the shade the grass remained frosted. The upshot was that it was a beautifully clear morning, visibility was superb and once in the sun, it would soon feel warm.
We headed off at a steady pace, initially along the metalled road, passing the small chapel before heading up alongside Scope Beck. The route continues on this steady gradient until it veers sharply off to the right and takes a brutally steep beeline for the ridge of High Snab Bank. It had been sometime since Steph had last been fell-running and this was not the gentle introduction that she would have liked, even with locomotive Seren chugging at her lead, she was finding it hard. Note to self, describe steep as brutal!
From the ridge line we made our way along the main walkers route, weaving our way through the rocky outcrops as we made our way towards Robinson. A light but cold breeze took the edge of the strength of the April sun, it was perfect running weather, even if the ground could be a little taxing. Again I was brought up on my terrain description by Steph, for steady read steep!
Once atop Robinson, things began to ease off, a steady descent across to Littledale Edge, before a rising path lead upto the summit of Hindscarth. By now the clear blue skies had begun to fill in, and with a notable drop in the temperature had occurred, a cold breeze carried us across Dale Head, but despite the encroaching clouds we were treated to fantastic views across to a snowy looking Scafell Pike, before we left the walkers route and descended directly down to Dale Head Tarn.
With the bulk of the big hills behind us, we were left with the last steady climb up to High Spy. Steph optimistically had hoped that we might have finished our climbing for the day, but one last drawn out climb was left. Thankfully it’s not a particularly taxing ascent, unless of course your legs are fatigued and your lungs about to explode. Steph had done enough today. But from the top of High Spy it is a virtually continuous descent along Maiden Moor towards Cat Bells.
Next week the pace will need to be a little faster, no real expectations yet but I’ll be disappointed to not finish within 2 hours.
Distance: 15km Ascent: 975m approx. Time: 2 hrs 30.
Note: race route starts and finishes in Stair, distance is 18.5km / 1095 m taking in Catbells