Sunday 7 April 2013

Another day out in lakes

6th April 2013- Dunmail to Ambleside

After a late start doing other stuff, and wanting to take advantage of some more great weather I decided to run from Dunmail Raise to Ambleside. Thanks once again for Rachel dropping me off at Dunmail by the Achille Ratti Hut. Running up towards the start of the Seat Sandal path. It didn't take me long to be in the snow, the surface was getting quite slushy, but there was no need for crampons.
In the snow climbing up Seat Sandal

One the steep bit was over I looked up to see the sky scattered with paragliders which had obviously got very good thermals been very high above me. I could here the distinct, distant sound of a Seaking helicopter which flew right passed me. Soon I was on thew summit of Seat Sandal and the views of the western lakes was stunning.
Nice view of the Western Lakes, near Seat Sandal summit

A nice descent on snow from Seat Sandal down to Grisedale Hause. A good dump of snow was waiting for me on the ascent up onto Fairfield, but again there was enough grip in my fell shoes to climb up with no problems and the summit of Fairfield was soon reached. The panoramic views were stunning, the day wasn't disappointing. There was a definite feel of heat in the sun, I had managed up to 873 meters without putting jacket or gloves on.
Grisedale Tarn with Fairfield to the right

Running off Fairfield was good going in the well trodden snow and soon I was dropping down Link Hause before ascending up on to Hart Crag passing an impressive cornice.
Looking towards Hart Crag

Hart Crag was soon passed and there were lots of walkers about in this area, passing many small groups the snow was good running all way to Dove Crag.
Western lakes with Fairfield and Great Rigg in the foreground

This marked the start of a great descent down to Ambleside, One I have not done before. Just over 5km of good running and it was noted that the ground was starting to soften up at lower levels and the ground was wetter and muddier in places. Soon I was down in Ambleside and back at the University of Cumbria's car park.
Fine descent to Ambleside from Dove Crag

A great day out, it definitely felt more like spring today, at last, Legs were a little tired with only 12.8 km distance and 906 meters of ascent. A quick look round Ambleside and of course coffee at Costa and oh yes managed to pick up some Salomon XA 3D Ultra 2 form £69 from Field n Trek. Well pleased with that price and they should be my shoe of choice for the UTMB.

Friday 5 April 2013

5th April 2013

After running the Dalesway 4 weeks ago I have built up my running again after the recovery period nicely to have a good 4 days of activities.

This as included a ski touring session near Yad Moss, Alston which was out with Morecambe kite surfing club who were snow kiting. This was a nice day out with just under 10km travelled and about 400m of ascent.
Ascending up Winder

The next session was a day out in the Howgills. As there was allot  of snow about in the lakes and Dales, I was surprised to see that a lot of snow had shifted on the Howgills. This was a great day out but the wind made it hard work and it was very cold, biting wind.
Descending from Bram Rigg Top

this was a nice steady day completing 18.7 km and 1200 meters of ascent. It was great to be running on grass for a change with just a few bits that were covered in snow.

The route took in Winder, Arant Haw, crossing to Calders and Brim Rigg Top before descending down the ridge to the bottom of the gill before taking the path to ascend up on to White Fell Head and to the Calf before returning back over Calders etc back to the car at the bottom of where I started at the Pennine Cycleway road. 

Me on the Summit of The Calf

Howgills part 2

After a rest day and the promise of good weather again, I had to get back to the Howgills. Knowing that there was good running conditions and great weather. I decided to start the route the same as the other day but extend it so I could do some more climbing.
Ascending Arant Haw

I made better progress than the other day due to the wind not been as strong, once back in the bottom of  Calf Beck I had a quick in take of food and started the climb up on to White Fell Head. You could feel the warmth in the sun, but this was spoilt by the very cold wind chill. Back on to the route across to Busk Howe descending slightly before a small climb onto Cobbles, before a very steep descent in the valley below, Middle Grain. A very steep sided valley only meant one thing, a very steep climb up the other side onto the top of Hazelgill Knott. I followed Hazel gill down off the summit, to the main path, which I ran along to the ascent up onto the Calf and the return back to the car
Starting the snowy descent from Bram Rigg Top

Another great out in the Howgills just over 25km was ran and 1800 meters of climbing in 4 hours. One thing I did notice was looking over to the  West side of Whernside and the North West side of Great Coum was the amount of snow that needs to melt before the Fellsman which is only now 3 weeks away.

Climbing up on to Hazelgill Knot

Ski Tour to High Street

As Rachel and Paul were going to go Ice climbing at Blea Water, I was going to walk with them to Blea water and then continue on to High Street to do some ski touring and see what the snow conditions were going to be like.
Rachel & Paul ascending towards Blea Water

I decided to walk up in my fell shoes and had my boots in my bag, which was a good move as it certainly made walking up to Blea Water easier with only the odd patch of snow to walk over.
Leaving Rachel and Paul to walk round to the far side of Blea Water to the start of their 300m ice climb, I set off on the path to ascend up Stile High, deciding to continue in my fell shoes and change into my boots on the summit. 
Climbing Long Stile Ridge

As I started the climb up Long Stile Ridge the wind was starting to increase and was whipping up spin drift which was quite painful across the face. The grip on the snow and ice wasn't a problem but if I was going to descend this way I think crampons would be a good idea and safer!
Near the summit of High Street

Once on the top the cloud was still hanging on the summit making it feel rather gloomy on top. Not wanting to keep too still for long and I had very cold toes (again), I quickly changed into my very warm ski boots complete with dry socks. The surface of the snow on the summit was very icy and very slippery making skiing very hard to ski. In fact with the very strong wind it was pushing me along with out having to move my ski poles.
Near High Street summit before heading to Mardale Ill Bell

The wind seem to be getting stronger, but it did manage to lift the cloud to open up stunning views of the lakes mountains
Harter Fell in the background and the descent to Small water

I skied towards Thornthwaite Crag before returning back towards High Street and then I decided I was going to Ski to Mardale Ill Bell and return to Mardale Head via Small Water. The skiing was fast on the icy surface and the cross wind was so strong that it blew me other near the summit or Mardale Ill Bell. Slightly un-nerved by this and the fact that i didn't want to get blown down over an edge I decided to take the skis off and put my crampons on to descend downwards and pick up the snow filled gully towards Small Water. This was a great descent on ice and the crampons did there job to get me lower so I could put the skies on for the last part until I reached the end of the snow line.
Back on my Skies below Small Water

A great day out, with mixed feelings at times due to the strength of the wind and the conditions of the snow making it very hard to ski. About 17km covered and just short of 800 meters of climbing. It was worth getting up at 05:30!
Feeling good after a good day out below Small Water