Monday, 6 July 2009

Skiddaw Fell Race

Setting off complete with water bottle and girly trainers
Descending in the heat, my legs are shot

Skiddaw summit from Fitz Park

The Skiddaw mountain range above Keswick

Skiddaw summit plateau

The Skiddaw Fell Race
Standing at 3054 ft and overlooking the town of Keswick, Skiddaw is one of the major fells within the lake district and having run or climbed its slopes many times id never actually ran the race.
Its a fairly straightforward fell race that starts in Fitz Park at the cricket pitch and climbs past the smaller fell of Latrigg then onto Jenkin Hill towards Skiddaw Little Man then finally climbing up to the main summit of Skiddaw.
Sounds easy but not on a baking hot Sunday.
Now i dont run well in the hot weather and this race is famous for runners blowing up on the baking slopes.
As usual the race flies off at the start and all to soon we are climbing aound Latrigg and Im thnking god this is unreal. I race up with a couple of runners that I know are roughly about the same as me and we share the pace. The first gate is reached and I remember it well from my Bob Graham day. The race is basically the start of the BG round until you get to the summit. Then instead of continuing on to do another 41 peaks the race just turns around and heads back down to where you come from.
By the time we are on Jenkin Hill im suffering and just really shuffling up the steep slopes. From experience i have carried a water bottle up with me and i have a little drink and then pass it to a fellow runner so he can have a drink
Ive always been a help others type of runner and work on the saying of what goes around comes around.
The final plod to the sumit is hard, bloody hard but finally I reach the trig point and thank the summit marshall for his time and turn and head for home. I still have the water bottle which is 1/2 full but have another use for that later.
Now its flat out down down down and more down. My legs are screaming in pain. A group of us are going very fast but as the slopes steepen and we re trace our steps my legs start to turn to jelly.
Slower but certainly not lesser runners are still running up the hill and its time for me to look out for a fellow runner. I slow and hand the water bottle over and its a perfect swap. I continue with a word of thanks ringing in my ear. I shout back good luck and just head on down.
That is a thankyou for a helping hand given to me in a previous race. Like I say what goes round comes round.
Now as we descend back to the gate we have a grassy bank to overcome and this is were my legs just pack up and wont work. Its tough terrain and a runner comes by me but straight away falls and lands on his face. I shout (you okay mate) and he just says yes and gets up and carries on.
Before I know it we blast back on the main path and are nearly home. A quick skirt around Latrigg and down towards Fitz Park but Im joined by familiar company. Two guys from different clubs have caught me and that means a tough run in. The Dark Peak runner goes first and leaves me and the other lad to just lod in and be happy with our positions.
We cross the finish line and collapse after shaking hands.
After 9 miles and 2700ft of climb all i can do is just lie on the grass under the sun. A drink of water out of a bucket and my work for the day is done.
For a grand total of £5 ive taken part in one of the most famous fell races.
My time of 1hr 23mins and some seconds gives me i think 26th place. Tne winner is back in about 1 hr 9mins I think but I never bother much about results.
Incidentally the race record is about 1 hr held by the famous fellrunner Kenny Stuart. I look back up to Skiddaw as I lie there and wonder how the hell that anyone could run that race that quick.
A couple of pieces of cake and its homeward bound down that M6 again.


  1. Good time daz oh and nice vest tan I have a similar one !!

  2. Yup. Daft. All of you. I've actually been to Keswick. Gazed up at Skiddaw. "Fellrunners race up there," people told me helpfully. Naturally I thought they were Teasing the Tourist. Learn something every day.