Friday, 23 January 2009

Cumbrian Traverse recce

Last Week: 56.6 miles, 9250 feet, 13:56:56 

A Rucksack Club meet at High Moss provided the perfect base for a recce of the start of the Cumbrian Traverse which is a 55 K route from south to north across the Lakes – more information here:(

From Broughton Mills to Caw is the least familiar part so on Saturday morning Pauline, Keith and I left Broughton Mills for Great Stickle, Stickle Pike and Caw. At Stickle Pike Keith decided not to try to keep up with us but would aim to meet us later, before Swirl How, by missing Coniston Old Man. The high fells were wreathed in grey, ominous clouds but the cold wind was behind us. At White Maiden we got our waterproofs on, not because of the threat of rain but the strengthening wind was now buffeting and chilling us and we had more height to gain. Into the clouds over Dow Crag and Coniston Old Man where we stopped, briefly behind the summit cairn, for a bite to eat. Along the ridge to Swirl How where the distinctive cairn was plastered with ice. Our original intention was to ‘tick’ another couple of summits but the “Old County Tops” race route to Cockley Beck and shelter from the wind was too tempting. From there we took the road and footpaths back to High Moss to finish a 16 mile, 5000 foot day.

After Saturday night’s storms and a bit of snow on the high fells we went back over Caw to collect Keith’s car – the three of us – and settled on the weekend of 4/5 April to attempt the whole route on a self-supported basis. This reverse recce allowed us to have another look at the route and make a couple of changes to remove some unnecessary climbing a ease the route finding. The grey clouds obscured most of the mountains but Harter Fell appeared briefly to dominate Duddon Valley on a very cold Sunday morning.

2009-01-18_Caw_ 003

Most of the rest of the week has been cold, icy or wet and sometimes all three during the same session. I would have missed the track session had it not been cancelled and this has been the worst week of early morning weather all winter, I think. I have still managed to get out on all four mornings, an evening and finally last night’s hill session. Hill sessions just don’t get any easier – if anyone tells you they do, they are lying!

This month sees the retirement of two pairs of road shoes, a pair of Mizuno Wave Riders after 467 miles since Dec 2007 and a pair of Nike Vomero 2+ after 503 miles in the same period. The Wave Riders were too light for my stiff feet and didn’t provide enough cushioning for very long runs but the Nikes have been brilliant – so good I have another two pairs in use with a further pair still in a box for later in the year.

I have ‘discovered’ Twitter which is a lot of fun. So far I have found about another twenty runners, all in the States. Surely there are some on this side of the pond?

Next Week

Run up Winter Hill on Saturday and then “That’s Lyth” on Sunday where we are marshalling, as usual. Planning on 12 miles on Saturday, 21 in Sunday and hoping the fierce weather passes through on Saturday night as forecast. I had a look at last year’s records for this weekend and found I did 20 miles on the Saturday and then 21 at '”That’s Lyth” and continued like that for a few weekends until I tore a calf muscle in the middle of February. I suspect the two are related and that this is too early in the year for 70 mile weeks and so I am going to increase my mileage more gradually this year to try to avoid injuries.

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