in the line of fire

Another day of relentless upland gales and bouts of torrential rain. Sooner or later this bandwagon of meteorological misery has got to come to an end, but at for the time being its rolling on.

I spent the morning contemplating alternate fell running routes. Looking at the map with a cup of tea was easier than actually heading out the door. Sadly the forecast was clear. It would be windy, the rain would be heavy at times and the visibility would be poor. Again. Motivation is proving hard to come by at present.

I’m conscious that not only has my running been extremely poor lately but that for a variety of reasons, the last few weeks has seen little training. I wanted to get some more hill climbing in and get back on track and so gave up on thoughts of more imaginative runs and headed to where I knew would be runnable and high if not pleasant.

High Street is hardly a sheltered place to be in poor weather but approach it from the right direction to put the wind behind you and it can be runnable even if fully exposed. Furthermore the terrain once up high is forgiving. You can be blown off your feet and yet, with the wind behind you still keep going and it’s hard to get lost. So I parked up at Hartsop and headed south into Thresthwaite cove, in theory protecting me from the south-westerly gales until just below Thornthwaite. But even in the valley the wind was gusting and squally enough to make forward progress hard work. By the time I had reached the col between Stonycove Pike and Thorthwaite Crag it had reached storm-force, I was knackered  and struggling to stand up let alone run. So I stared at the ground, walked a bit, tried to run a bit and focussed on reaching the obelisk. Once there I knew the second half would be easier.

I stopped for a minutes refuge behind the dry stone wall atop Thornthwaite, at least from here the wind would mostly be on my back. I resumed and instantly got propelled along the now rutted path towards the summit of High Street. Minutes later and the rain had turned to hail, the path was flowing with icy water and my calves, arms and hands were stinging as icy pellets fired into me. My swearing faded into the wind, there was no-one else to hear my cries on the high fells today.

Lake District Flood Damage

Below Hayeswater. One of the footbridges washed away in recent storms

Fell running in Thresthwaite

Looking up towards Threshthwaite Cove

Isolated trees on a Lakeland fell side

A handful of new trees planted at the rivers edge but a whole hillside of vanishing woodland above. Time for a re-think?


Horrendous weather nearing Thornthwaite Beacon


Hail storms and mid-winter gloom on High Street


One of the smaller landslides on the bull-dozed track up to Hayeswater. Millions being spent on Hydro-schemes and nothing on re-wilding.

Flood damage on the Lake District fells

The track to Hayeswater has been badly damaged in recent heavy rains


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.
This entry was posted in Fell Running Diaries and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to in the line of fire

  1. Kevin says:

    They keep telling me that horrendous weather builds character. But sometimes I don’t want character that bad. Keep having fun at it as you push yourself out the door.

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