Haweswater – High Street – Mardale

A lovely, warm, clear day for being out and about. Planned a 16 mile route hoping to hit 1000m elevation, my ankle/shin is improving and I still have a week until the Calderdale Ultra so I built in an escape route to shorten the loop anyway just in case.

Parked at Burnbanks and followed the signposted track to Haweswater Resevoir.

   

The path hugs the shore line until you cross two streams, it’s at this point you leave the path and head up hill on a track that leads up onto Bampton Common. You gain height fairly quickly here and it’s an instant pay off for stunning views (that get better and better as the route progresses)

 
From here we cut across Wether Hill to Keasgill Head and the views start to open up across Martindale all the way to Helvellyn in the distance. I love it when you begin to realise just how interconnected all these places are. High Street is an ancient, Roman Road, one that was created to cross these fells and when you’re on it, you really feel a sense of quite what an awesome undertaking this must have been.

  
From here the route steadily gains in elevation until you reach Racecourse Hill and you once again get a sense of the interconnected routes across the fells.

   

We came off High Street towards Mardale Bell and down Nan Bield pass. This is a rocky descent that I took pretty easy, my Black Diamond Ultra Distance poles were serving me well as a bit of extra support for my leg and they’re particularly great for pointing at things in distance and vaulting over boggy patches but I don’t think they market them for that…maybe they should.

Had a little rest and snack at Blea Tarn. The current fuelling of choice for this sort of distance is 2 jelly babies every half hour for the first hour or two and then a more substantial snack of Golden Syrup Cake. Different to my choices on ultra races as I start craving savoury food after around 30 miles and I literally stuff my face with sausage rolls on ultras.

 
From here we picked up the shoreline path back along Haweswater. The Resevoir is quite deceptive from this end, you think you can see the other side but there’s a sneaky extra bit so it does feel like a long way back. I’m looking forward to doing this again but the opposite way so that you can get up onto the high fells and stay there for the whole run. My leg was ok and I followed up the run with ice and an ultrasound treatment and its feeling good. This might be the last run before Calderdale so I can get the most out of resting it, might do a little jog mid week to test but we’ll see. 

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