Monday, 2 July 2012

Lakeland 100 - Training day - Aira Force to Ambleside

After a couple of years either training or supporting Bob Graham Round attempts the new challenge of the Lakeland 100 race at the end of July 2012 meant checking over some "new" ground. It tackles a huge loop around the Lake District via paths and tracks. No summits but around 30,000 feet of ascent means it is still pretty hilly!

There are 3 of us attempting this epic event - we are raising money for a Hospice in Lancaster - you can donate here!

Some grim weather in June (wetest on record) meant conditions were poor under foot and the forecast for the 30th June was not great. After leaving a car in Ambleside we eventually set off from Aira Force on the Western edge of Ullswater at just before 8am and headed North through damp vegetated hillsides and fields on muddy paths toward Dalemain. Ullswater is a long lake and it seemed to take quite a while to get beyond it's Northern-most point. The roads and lanes just before Dalemain were a welcome relief after some ankle deep bogs in the initial section.

Aira Force to Ambleside
The route then heads South to Howtown and then climbs over desolate moors to Haweswater and a delightful path on the West Shore, leading to the tough climb of Gatesgarth Pass.

Castle near Dacre
Andy at Haweswater - Andy had never seen this Lake before!
Tom at Haweswater
The long climb of Gatesgarth
Walls demolished by floods in Long Sleddale
Recent eroison near Sadgill
The floods of June had caused a huge amount of damage to some tracks, and made it pretty tough going on sections that should have been quite quick. We began to tire with our heavy packs after the 30 mile mark, but eventually made it to Ambleside in 9 hours, a reasonable time for a training run.The thought of another 70 miles to complete the circuit is a bit mind blowing though!

Heading to Troutbeck
You said 36 miles - this is nearly 40!

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