Ed has been reading Steve Birkenshaw’s ‘There is No Map in Hell’. We watched the film of his 214 Wainwright challenge and were in absolute awe, the book offers a little more of an insight into what sort of person aims to, and succeeds in, a challenge so immense. We wanted to tackle a 30ish mile route with over 100m elevation per mile (for most of the way), so we took inspiration from one of the legs on Steve’s route.
Starting at the Castle Inn, we headed around Bassenthwaite Lake via the road- stopping to move a crow out of harm’s way (happily greeted by its squawking family on the other side of the wall).
We then picked our way into the woods (some minor navigational errors led to scratched legs from briars) climbing through Whinlatter Forest to summit Barf.
It was a really tough climb through forest trails, we’d never done this particular route before and so we were surprised at just how steep it was.
The air was very dense and close, we’d figured on 1.5L of fluids to get us to Buttermere, that was still a way off.
We continued on to Lord’s Seat before dropping down, down, down in order to pick up the trail to summit Grisedale Pike. This followed the route of the Grisedale Grind Fell Race. Grinding being a good term for the nature of the climb.
We then dropped down through Coledale Hause towards the Buttermere Valley.
(taking in a few bonus summits including Whiteless Pike along the way)
A grassy descent brought us into the village of Buttermere where we stopped to fill up our drinks. The last massive climb of the day had been hanging over us, now it was doing so literally.
We skirted the lakeshore to pick up the trail to Robinson. Signed 1.5 miles. The longest 1.5 miles in the history of the universe. Jean Paul Sartre said ‘Hell is other people.’ Birkinshaw reckons there’s no map in Hell….I’m telling you, Hell isn’t ‘other people’, the way there is clearly signed and it can be found on the way up to Robinson.
It was rocky, muddy, steep, relentless. I was tired. We pressed on, eventually reaching the summit. From here we could feel a sense of homecoming as the valley stretched out ahead. There was still around 13 miles to go.
We slid down a grassy section in style to meet Scope Beck where we stopped for sandwiches. Cheese, ham and Tabasco.
We followed a nice runnable track down to Little Town, where we had another stop at a farm shop where we refilled drinks. That last section was thirsty work.
Fields and farmland brought us out onto the Cumbria Way through Portinscale and onto Allerdale Ramble. A low key route next to the river. We headed to Dancing Gate where we crossed the road into Dodd Wood.
This was a long section that led onto a busy road. We were already over 30 miles and so took the most direct route back to our starting point. It was a long day out, over 10 hours, more factoring in breaks, over 100m climb per mile for the first 25 miles. It was tough but very satisfying, seeing old places in new ways and bringing a route to life, you can’t beat it. We tried out some new software that’s linked with Ed’s Strava called ‘Relive’. It creates an amazing fly through of your route, automatically adding pictures that were taken at key spots (you can even add your own music).
Sit back and enjoy!