Contributor Sarah Briggs tells us how about her preparations for next month’s Ullswater Trail race and tells us why the final race in the Lakeland Trails series is its most distinctive.
The first time I ever went ‘real’ mountain biking was in the Lake District in early November. I got covered in mud, soaking wet, went to a bonfire party at a pub and had a fantastic time.
Sunday 2 November heralds the Ullswater Trail race, the last one in the superb—and deservedly popular—Lakeland Trails series for 2014. Like mountain biking, you’ll probably get covered in mud, are likely to get soaking wet, will be running through stunning scenery and will have a fantastic time: but unlike mountain biking you won’t need to spend hours in the cold cleaning a bike after you’ve finished.
This final race is one with a difference, as the party atmosphere starts on a boat. The Ullswater steamer ‘Raven’ takes runners from Ullswater Pier in Glenridding (where there are pay & display car parks and public toilets) to Howtown, with a musician serenading them throughout the half hour journey. Having disembarked, you then run back around the southern end of the lake, along paths and bridleways well away from any roads.
Graham Patten, the mastermind behind the Lakeland Trails series, says it’s probably his favourite of all the spectacular courses used throughout the year by the organisation: it’s so popular that there are three 14km races on offer as well as a 10km route. There are also ‘enter on the day’ races for children, which will be held in the festive finishing arena.
Whatever the weather the run promises to be stunning: views of Ullswater and Hevellyn; the surroundings of ancient woodland; stony trails underfoot. If you were one of the people who answered the survey about trail running on this website with the answer ‘only in the summer’, then think again. Autumn is one of the most stunning times of year in Cumbria; why on earth would you not run all year round?