|Breathtaking views of the fells across Ullswater|
on the run down to Howtown
It was freezing when we arrived at the car park in Ambleside at 7:30am and we both ended up putting on too many layers before hopping on the coach. By the time we'd reached Pooley Bridge at 9am the sun was out and I had to figure out how to fit them all in my sack.
|Descending to Howtown|
Once we climbed out of the village the views across the fells were just stunning. The trail down to Howtown is one of the best sections of the entire run: perfect gently descending trail. Once we got to Howtown we turned to head up the first pass of the day. Last year in the heat the climb up Fusedale knocked the stuffing out of me but today it all felt pretty enjoyable as we chatted away with a bunch of different runners.
|On Fusedale after the first false summit|
The run over the top was lovely and Hawswater looked stunning.
|Andy going over Low Kop towards Hawswater|
The descent was obvious and we began our yo-yo race with Sally Howarth (she trounced us in the end). The technical run along the lake shore was great fun. The day was getting hot and Andy and I stopped in a few becks to cool down.
|At the head of the lake at last|
Terry was doing a sterling job at the Mardale Head checkpoint and we relieved him of some of his mountain of biscuits before the climb up Gatesgarth Pass. Again, with the poles this climb felt pretty comfortable. Once over the top the descent on the other side was steep and aggressive. It might be worth keeping the poles out for that.
The Longsleddale valley was as dull as ever. I don't know what it is about this stretch but there is just nothing enjoyable about it. Maybe it's just because you've spent the last few hours looking at jaw dropping views and you suddenly find yourself in a relatively dull valley. The climb at Sadgill and the following run down to Ketmere were all great though.
Fantastic reception at the checkpoint by the wonderful Kentmere ladies and up over Garburn. This climb does deserve respect: it's rocky, steep and it goes on a bit but it it's not as bad as the other two passes we'd climbed already.
|Descending the rocky Garburn Pass|
After the short, steep climb out of troutbeck there is a really nice walk across to the woods above Ambleside. Something to look forward to! There is only one junction in the woods...left is correct but it seems like the right fork may join up anyway.
So, 28 miles in 6:20 (20 mins better than on the recce last year) and I felt pretty good at the end. Another massive confidence boost and a fantastic day out in the hills. For the first time this year I genuinely feel like I will make it to the start line of the Lakeland 100.