Last year on our Xmas Run Ricky uttered the words “I’ve never been so relieved to get off a ……. hillside!”
This year wasn’t quite so bad, however, as we stood ankle deep in bog, words similar to the above were starting to creep in. At this point the rain had been driving down on us for the last 4 hours, as we waded through heavy bogs, tussocks and rivers. The wind picked up on the higher ground and with it, our body temperatures dropped. So our planned route, The Eskdale Watershed (as we named it), was wisely shortened to not take in the higher ground. Originally we would have made our way from Ravenglass up to Bowfell, Esk Pike, Scafell Pike and Scafell. These mountains all form part of the Watershed that form the River Esk.
So back to the start. 6AM in Ravenglass. We set out at a good pace, and before long many of us stopped to take off a layer of clothing. Our first real point of interest was around the 4-5 Mile mark. Sitting just under Birkby Fell was the Barnscar Settlement, a prehistoric settlement dating back to the Bronze-Age. We carry on, running along the edge of Devoke Water, over Birker Fell and towards Harter Fell, it becomes obvious that much of this day is going to be spent with our feet submerged in bogs, streams and rivers. The rain begins to come down harder with many of us putting our jackets on before carrying on. It’s slow going from Harter Fell to Hardknott Pass due to the tussacks and, yes, bogs. Once over the road it’s onward’s to the summit of Hard Knott. It’s at this point some members become really cold in the wind and rain. Extra layers were added and off we went. We headed north until down in the valley below Crinkle Crags. This is where we decided it would be daft and just not enjoyable to hit the higher fells. So with map and compass out, we made our plans of staying lower and making the turn to head back. We’d been out for over 5 hours, everyone was soaked through. But, all that was left now was the 15 mile run back to Ravenglass. Our route took us via Stony and Blea Tarn. Both popping out of nowhere as we reached them such was the visibility.
Once over Bleatarn Hill the weather picked up. The rain stopped and we’re all that little bit warmer for it. We dropped down into Eskdale Green before making yet another boggy run, up and over Muncaster Fell we went. On the Summit of Muncaster we could see our route back. Possibly the first time of the day we could see our actual route. We headed down, through the yards of Muncaster Castle, passed the Owl’s and back to the Estuary just in time to see the sunset.
Time for a couple of pints in the pub before we head home to put our, finally dry, feet up.
Another year done.
Brilliant stuff everyone, great day out. #elbra