Tour de Helvellyn
Saturday 16 December 2017
38 miles (61.1 km); 7,874 feet (2,400 m) of ascent
Starting in Askham the route generally follows footpaths and bridleways to St Peter's Church near Martindale; Boredale (Boardale on the British Mountain Map); Patterdale; Sticks Pass; Stannah Beck; Swirls car park; Birkside Ghyll; Raise Beck; Grisedale Tarn; Patterdale again and back to Askham.
Visibility was generally good. Higher parts of the course were blessed with an abundance of snow and sheet ice lurked in patches to give runners winter conditions. In the absence of strong winds and precipitation the conditions seemed quite mild and the ample spare layers taken just in case remained unused (but wisely taken just in case). There was sufficient snow to inspire a profusion of skiers who could be seen carrying skis to enjoy the conditions. On the ascent towards Grisedale Tarn on the path up Raise Beck Santa Claus was merrily snapping photos of the runners (which can be seen on the Facebook page of the event accessible via the event website).
Recent snowfall was evident on most of the course and there was a flurry of snow at the start but that soon eased off. On the hills there was plenty of snow to make it a magical day out. Particularly lower down snow had melted and frozen again to give patches of sheet ice. Generally the route offered a choice of loose gravel and slippery rocks or wet grass and mud or sheet ice. At one point I went skidding along on a patch of sheet ice and slammed into a large rock causing a Kendal mint cake to sustain a double fracture and dislodging the cherry from the icing of my bakewell tart. Fortunately I bore most of the impact on my arm, shoulder and head so a packet of Eccles cakes escaped totally unscathed.
First Man: Rory Harris; M; 5:54:47
First Lady: 5th overall; Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn; North Leeds Fell Runners; F; 6:29:13
David Harrison: 22nd; Dark Peak Fell Runners; MV50; 7:29:36
Nicky Spinks: 24th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; FV50; 7:31:47
Ian Loombe: 27th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; MV40; 7:33:02
Cass Chisholm: 102nd; Dark Peak Fell Runners; F; 9:34:29
Steven Jones: 130th; Dark Peak Fell Runners; MV50; 10:15:13