Ullswater Way

The Ullswater Way – a 32km circular route around Ullswater in the Lake District with 1444m of ascent. 

This was not my plan A for today (that was the Cumbrian Traverse), or plan B (Montane Tearound) or even plan C (recce for the NAV4 Lakes Mountain 40) or D (Wainwright bagging in the Far Eastern Fells) but when my alarm went off at 4.30am and I heard the wind howling it became my plan E. It was not the distance I was looking for or the mountain adventure that I am craving but the forecast was for 70mph winds on the summits. And that is windy. That’s blow you over windy. And I was heading out there solo. 

When I head out into the mountains I always sense check – if I had a mishap and had to call Mountain Rescue, am I happy that I have taken all relevant precautions (experience for the route, spare kit to keep me warm if I become immobile, navigation skills for the route, checked the weather forecast). I went to bed with Plan D in my mind but when I woke and heard the wind I felt uneasy. Alongside all the above considerations I also trust my gut instinct a lot. If I have an uneasy feeling then I listen to it. So, despite knowing this route wasn’t going to play to any of my strengths (too flat, too much road, too much hard trail, no fells), I would be in sight of the mountains and I hoped that they would still be able to work some of their magic on me. 

I did enjoy parts of the route although I found myself looking forward to the climb round Gowbarrow, although you don’t actually go to the summit, just for a bit of interest! I enjoyed Aira Force. It was good weather for waterfalls.

It was also good weather for scuba divers (rather them than me in that dark looking water)

and good weather for ducks obviously.

I also enjoyed this gate. Who doesn’t enjoy a pointless gate! 

I did not enjoy how the cumulative miles on road, track and hard trail made my hips, knees and niggly glute feel. More miles on tougher terrain definitely makes my legs hurt less. 

All in all, I am grateful to the Ullswater Way for providing a little trip out in really rubbish weather. 

Next up on my radar is a trip round the Lunar Round in February. Let’s hope the weather is a little more conducive to a mountain adventure.