The idea of a path all the way around Ullswater was mooted many years ago. Indeed, some of us used to run it regularly but until recently there were some gaps in the paths and trails, which pushed you onto the tarmac, and it was unsuitable for more than doing with a small group of friends.
One of the 'good news' stories coming in the aftermath of Storm Desmond was the launch of the Ullswater Way, by the Lake District National Park and various Ullswater associates. Having lived and worked primarily in the valley since the mid-80's it's quite amazing how 'The Way' has evolved and I'm now able to organise an event around The Lake.
More recently I have become a member of The Friends of The Ullswater Way, a group dedicated to celebrating the culture and heritage of the valley by commissioning a number of installations around The Ullswater Way. So, if you want to enjoy and walk or steady run around Ullswater with like minded people, this is the day to do it.
This event would not be happening without the support of LDNP, and The Friends of The Ullswater Way, and you can make an optional donation to Fix-the-Fells and 'The Friends' if you so wish. We will pass on your donation for you.
Route and Logistics
'Ullswater Way Challenge' is a new 24 mile event starting from Pooley Bridge and going anti-clockwise around the Lake. Start anytime you wish between 8:00am and 10:00am; giving slower walkers and early start and with faster runners later on. Our route is a few miles longer than the normal Ullswater Way, but the extra three miles will be well worth it.
From Pooley Bridge, you'll climb steadily up to Maiden Castle, then on through Bennethead to Watermillock and Gowbarrow Fell. The route will use the high level route over Gowbarrow summit, then descend down to High Cascades Bridge, up stream from Aira Force.
Aftera check point at High Cascades car park you'll stay high and traverse around the head of Glencoyne Park, to Greenside and down to Glenridding. There is a chance to bail out here and enjoy cruise back to Pooley Bridge on a 'Steamer', or to continue through to Patterdale, and along the lakeside path to Sandwick, Howton and the finish at Pooley Bridge.
We will not be using the new 'NT-path' from Aira Force car park to Glenridding as it is not suitable for our purposes, being narrow, busy and with a dangerous road section. We are grateful to the National Trust for allowing access over Gowbarrow summit.
Nature of the Terrain
The route is on a variety of paths and trails. It is way-marked using the Ullswater Way symbol and you will be given a simple written route description. No map reading skills are required. Please note that the path from High Cascades to Greenside does go high and can be exposed in poor weather.
The high level section around Glencoyne is not marked by these signs but will be signed and staffed.
However, it is a distinctive path and our professional event staff will be monitoring and safe-guarding your progress.
Food and Drink
We will have a number of checkpoints with cold drinks and 'nibbles' (maybe hot drinks as well) We'll be confirming checkpoints locations and facilities in due course; some details and permissions are yet to be confirmed.
You'll also pass through Glenridding which has a selection of cafes and shops for ice cream and other essentials! And be rewarded with tea and cake at the end.
We are just awaiting conformation of our start, finish, HQ which will affect what refreshments we can offer
Equipment and Safety
The route is walkable by most competent and experienced walkers and runners. However, there is a surprising about of up and down and some rough paths, so please don't expect manicured 'lakes-side-way' gravel trails!
You'll need to wear and carry some basic gear - waterproof jacket, spare fleece, water bottle and snacks, etc. Again, we'll up date you on this is due course.
Parking - Public Transport - Spectators
One of my aims is to limit the amount of cars this event brings into the valley. Fortunately, Pooley Bridge is close to the M6 and Penrith, with it's mainline railway station. I'll be posting details of buses from Penrith and Rheged soon, and offering a shuttle if necessary.
Ullswater has it's 'Steamers' which service Pooley, Howton, Glenridding and Aira Force, so if you want a shorter day, then these and the public bus, plus our own shuttle bus will result in less car traffic.
Our actual start / finish / parking arrangements are yet to be confirmed, but suffice to say they will be in Pooley Bridge.
Naturally, you may have family and friends who wish to see you during your challenge and whilst we want them to enjoy their day, and visit Aira Force and Glenridding for example, please ask them not to meet at any road crossings as cars and spectators will cause congestion and will be dangerous.
Want to Volunteer
We need several volunteers to help organise this event. There are various tasks, start and finish admin, roadside checkpoints, tea-pot managers, roving footpath event staff, even a Wainwright hill-top to look after. If you want to volunteer please email me with your preferred role and availability.
Well 'party' isn't really our style but Pooley Bridge offers a good range of pubs. We have a reputation for tea & cake ...details to be confirmed.
Entries Open - Wednesday 3rd August - via sientries
More Updates here, and via our facebook event page soon