This weekend (31st July - 2nd August) the Lake District will again play host for scores of serious fell runners as they battle the mountains and the elements to complete the 2nd annual Montane Lakeland 100 (ULTD), one of the most spectacular long distance events in the UK. Sponsered by one of The Climbers Shop's long standing brands, this event sums up Montane's ethos of lightweight gear for serious outdoor enthusiasts.
As the name suggests, it is a 100 mile event that takes in the whole of the Lake District and includes some of the most iconic landscapes in Britain. Starting in Coniston, the route will head South before completing a clockwise loop which takes in the Dunnerdale fells, Eskdale, Wasdale and Buttermere before arriving in Keswick. From here the route heads to Matterdale and continues over to Haweswater before returning via Kentmere, Ambleside and Elterwater, in order to finish at Coniston again.
As Phil Hodgson, one of the organisers said;
"...While Lakeland bridleways tend to follow original highways, old drovers roads and coffin routes you'll be surprised at just how rugged the going can be. Many of the climbs and descents are rough and rock strewn and are particularly unforgiving on feet and ankles..."
So, although the majority of the route is set to be on trails and paths, the 6300 metres of ascent will be no walk in the park, and with the weather likely to throw its own obstacles in the way, this could be an exciting year to compete. At the time of writing, the weather in the Lakes is a bit minging (official meteorological term) and is set to be changeable through to the weekend, but as it should be warm and the winds fairly low, the event should still be able to continue unabated. When I spoke to one of the organisers, they still seemed quite up beat about the weekend and had this advice for any competitors;
"...Wear a coat!..." (sound advice indeed!)
If the entire 100 miles does not appeal then there is also a 50 mile version that starts on Saturday from Dalemain Estate, just north of Pooley Bridge, and also ends up in Coniston, covering a mere 3100 metres of ascent!
If you've got the strength and stamina to overcome the rigours of the route, you should be treated to some spectacular views and dramatic scenery as you wind your way over some of the Lake Districts most beautiful scenery, and if you make it to the finish line then the inevitable sense of achievement will hopefully make up for any short term discomfort.
If you like the idea of competing then you're almost too late, entries will close tonight (29th July) for all competitors. If you want to put a last minute entry in however, why not give them a ring on 07738 429909 or email at log on to their website.