Running in Lake District – Coledale Horseshoe
After the River Ayr Way race, it was home for a bath and some food, then pack some stuff for a few days in the Lake District with family.
We were so lucky with the weather and managed a few decent walks as well as some time relaxing and reading.
I also managed to get few runs in. The Coledale Horseshoe looked good on paper and didn’t disappoint. The route starts in Braithwaite. You can park beside the school easy enough (particularly if it’s before sun-up!).
Follow the road towards Cockermouth, passing a couple of paths both sides of the road to a small car park on the left (I guess you might be able to park there – it’s small though and probably fills up quick). The Grisedale path is marked and immediately starts with some fairly steep steps. Me being me, I blindly took the other path for a mile until I realised I’d gone the wrong way. Turns out it was worth it anyway as the sun delivered a morning treat.
Grisedale Pike is pretty runnable although steep in parts and rocky underfoot, making a mis-judged step a potential sore-one. Near the top it’s hands on thighs stuff for a while.
From there I headed on over an ‘unamed peak’ (according to the guidebook) to Hopegill Head – again all runnable.
Then a quick left over Sand Hill and onto the saddle of Coledale Hause. From there it’s a really pleasant trail until you reach a junction. I chose to go right first and head up onto Grassmoor for some amazing views over Loweswater, Crummock Water and Buttermere.
Back then to the junction and the next climb – Eel Crag and onto Crag Hill. Some cracking views then of Sail, Outerside and Scar Crags with some fantastic descents down some steep, twisty, rocky paths. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and for a while, it really was running heaven. Now this is fun-running!
Last snap I took was just coming off the top of Crag Hill. Nothing for it but to get back up there on the slim chance that I’d find it / or I’d re-catch some of the ascending walkers I’d passed on my way down who may have picked it up. I was already pretty gubbed. I sank an energy gel and tried my hardest to retrace my steps all the way back up as quickly as I’d come down it. I could see a walker about half a mile in front and I caught him by the saddle of Sail / Scar Crag. No sign. I then spotted a walker further up so raced to catch him. The poor guy must have had the fright of his life as some strange panting, sweating Scottish runner questioned him on his route choice “what way did you come up?”…..have……you…seeeeeeen..my camera!?!
With the smallest trace of hope, I thought hard about where I had taken my last shot. I ran back there again then walked down the twisty route – remembering that I had stopped about ½ mile away and the zip of my bag was open at that point. It could really have only fallen out on the descent of Sail.
Anyway, this was never meant to be a big story. Just wanted to show some pictures of a fantastic route to run in an area that’s often ignored by Lakeland visitors. If you’re ever in and around Keswick it’s definitely worth a blast, especially on a clear day.
So good, I was almost glad I’d nearly done it twice.
Just don’t forget your camera 😉
Some additional pics: