I love spending time in the mountains, I can’t get enough of it. Snowboarding trips are the highlight of my year and I didn’t manage to get one in the 2012/2013 winter season so I was miserable. When spring rolled round I started looking up summer trips but it was looking quite difficult to get something interesting while travelling alone so I shelved the plans for a while.
A month or so later I was training for my first marathon and a friend recommended I give the Marathon Talk podcast a listen to help me pick up some training tips. I’m not really a podcast fan but, as a complete running newbie, I needed as much help as I could get to get me to the finish line of the marathon so I gave it a go. I really liked their easy-going attitude and how it comes across as if it’s just a couple of mates chatting about running. One of the hosts, Martin Yelling, mentioned he was hosting a trail running holiday in the Alps so I did a bit of Googling and the itinerary looked perfect. The trip is organised by a company called Adventures in the Alps so I fired off an email and got myself booked in.
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Keswick is a gorgeous little town in the Lakes that I’ve been meaning to visit for years so when I was thinking of places to go for a late summer/early autumn running trip it was pretty much top of my list. Right beside Derwent Water and surrounded by hills it has a reputation for being an ideal walkers destination so it should serve me perfectly to get some hill running and navigation training. I found a decent looking B&B, packed up my gear and set off.
As I was driving towards Keswick the scenery was breathtaking, but what stood out most of all was a massive ridge line connecting 3 or so peaks on my right hand side. I could see people walking across it so I said to myself in the car that this ridge was going to be goal for the weekend. I arrived at the B&B and, in my excitement, got the maps out straight away to start planning. It didn’t take long before I found my ridge had a name: Blencathra, and that the disused railway line from Keswick (now a footpath) would take me almost to the base. The map was a bit ambiguous with footpath markings at the point I wanted to leave the railway but I figured I’d just have to explore.
I’d been in Wales the week before arriving in the Lake District and with three Snowdon ascents in my legs I was looking forward to a rest day with some easy hiking before starting on my running but the weather forecast didn’t want to play. The only good day would be Saturday, the rest of the weekend was forecast as a complete washout and, while I’ve got no problem running in the rain, if I was going to run up these hills I wanted to be rewarded with a decent view when I got to the top! I was more than a bit concerned that my legs wouldn’t be able to deliver what I was asking of them, so I went to bed nice and early to give them as much recovery as possible.
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