Kathleen’s Lakeland 50
My own version of the Montane LL50 Dalemain to Coniston the scenic route.
My second ever ultra, my first being 55k three weeks before!
I was told by lots of people long before the day to just go check point to check point and not
think of the entire route!
It all started well very and dry at 11:48 on a nice grassy four mile undulating trot around the
Dalemain Estate. We came out at very busy Pooley Bridge to lots of cheering from the crowds.
Through the village and a trot up a Tarmac Road probably for about a mile and onto the fell side
along above Ullswater, the weather was still dry and had very enjoyable little trot along to
Howtown. The check point was very busy and I was really looking forward to something savoury
but it was all sweet stuff & bananas, LOADS of bananas, I can’t eat bananas unless they are
sliced in a bowl with custard!! So I left eating my own cheese and crisps after replenishing with
water. I wasn’t looking forward to the climb up Fusedale but it wasn’t as bad as my previous
attempts, it did start raining before the top, I just put my jacket over my head & shoulders &
around my my backpack rather than undo my backpack and put my jacket on (such a faff!) got
very wet but it wasn’t cold so wasn’t too bad! Round High Kop up and over Low Kop and mainly
pleasant grassy descent to Haweswater, apart from the waterfall stretch which was very muddy
and slippy & shoulder height bracken! I didn’t particularly enjoy the Rocky path along the side of
Haweswater where the real rain started but could see the welcome site of the checkpoint long
before reaching it. Arrived at Mardale Head checkpoint at 17:55 (I didn’t know the time at the
time!) I had the most amazing cup of tea ever. Bravely took off my backpack and donned my
waterproof jacket, left the checkpoint to head up Gatesgarth climb with a second cup of tea and
cheese sandwich in hand, I had recce’d this part of the route in June in searing heat so again
wasn’t looking forward to this climb although tough it wasn’t as bad as I expected. The descent
on the other side was worse than I remembered, wet, slippy & rocky. I spooked two poor fell
ponies when my tiny plastic cup came loose & bounced across towards them, they trotted off
one way, me the other!
Arrived at Kentmere checkpoint at at 20:22 to the sound of ABBA playing and all the
fabulous volunteers dancing & singing, had some pasta & the most delicious smoothie and left
not expecting it to be dark before I reached Ambleside, so wasn’t prepared with torches! This
was a stretch that I had not done a recce on so I was a bit nervous of it. It got dark on a path
I’ve never been on and when the bats started flying I got a bit scared. I had to stop in the dark
fumbling in my backpack to retrieve my torches very scary! I was very fortunate there were
people about out who kept me pointed in the right direction and I arrived at Ambleside at 23:13
feeling really tired, way past my bedtime!
This next stretch from Ambleside to Chapel stile I knew quite well and felt very confident just as
well because I was alone, but I’d forgotten about the normally very pleasant ‘little’ stretch along
the side of Elterwater, well it just seemed to go on forever! I tried to eat the vegetable soup at
Chapel Stile but didn’t do it justice, replenished water and left.
Leaving Chapel stile on my way to Tilberthwaite, I felt fairly confident having done the route a
few times. However, I managed to fall backwards from a walled ladder style landing on my back
and banging my head, really knocking my confidence, helped up by two lovely young ladies who
trotted along behind me until the climb up to the Wrynose Pass Road. It was here where I realised
I’d hurt my back & running wasn’t an option! Just after this point my body torch started to
intermittently flash, at first I just thought it was moths flying in front of it but I soon realised it was
the battery failing!!! I’m terrified of the dark! I knew the stretch from Blea Tarn to the the
compulsory unmanned checkpoint on Wrynose Pass was very rocky and then very very boggy. I
struggled over the rocky stretch legs going one way my head going the other, reached the
boggy stretch and managed to put one leg knee deep into the bog and a couple of steps later other leg
same thing. Still with flashing body torch & still unable to run I walked the next stretch to
Tilberthwaite with a very pleasant tired young man arriving at 04;34. Not knowing how I was
going to manage the climb up Jacob’s ladder with my back in spasm, but after the most
delicious toasted cheese sandwich, cup of tea and a five minute sit I started the struggle. It was
a long hard slog with very tired legs & body. I had jokingly said to my husband days previously
that I might just sit down & wait for daylight to do the descent into Coniston with it being so rocky
and to me very scary, I didn’t have to, daylight came long before I got there!! He was there
waiting for me to hobble the last half mile or so to the finish. Crossed the finish line at 06;47
shattered, delighted, proud but NEVER AGAIN!
After two and a half years of avoiding the dreaded Covid it got me on the 50!!
A very well organised event, fantastic friendly folk, great support & ALL volunteers &
marshal’s went way beyond the call of duty.
Montane have put together a cracking video of the event. Click here to have a watch. You might see a few familiar faces!