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Langdale Horsehoe Fell Race, Oct 12th 2013

Published October 13th, 2013

A view of the race from the middle of the field, which soon became the back of the field!

The First Climb

Single file and trying to conserve energy.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 10.4mm / f/5 / 1/125 sec

The gradient eases

With the exception of the elite runners at the head of the field, for most of us the first climb is a fast walk, with the odd easing of the gradient to allow for a bit of running.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 12.18mm / f/5.6 / 1/100 sec

The view back down to the Langdale Valley

The race route follows a good track all the way to Stickle Tarn, but there are opportunities to take the odd short cut and cut out some switchbacks. It feels like a long way up already but the climb goes on.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 10.4mm / f/5.6 / 1/100 sec

Stickle Tarn

For just about the first time the route levels off to allow for a bit of good running around the edge of Stickle Tarn. It felt like we were properly in the mountains now, with nature putting on a great light display, the sun breaking the clouds.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 10.4mm / f/5.6 / 1/250 sec

Blea Rigg

Continuing to make the most of a rare bit of flat running we make progress towards the bottom of the climb up Pavey Ark, the long ridge of Blea Rigg providing a dramatic back drop

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 10.4mm / f/5.6 / 1/200 sec

Climbing towards Pavey Ark

The climb kicks in again as we head up towards Pavey Ark, although we skirt to the right of the summit to finally reach Thunacar Knott at 2351 ft.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 16.39mm / f/5.6 / 1/200 sec

Pike O'Stickle

The first climb finally completed we can enjoy some good running on a wonderful grassy track. We are ultimately headed to the peaks in the distance, Bow Fell on the right and Crinkle Crags on the left. The lump to the near left is Pike O'Stickle. This is the most prominent landmark on the Langdale skyline and will feature prominently in subsequent photos.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 10.4mm / f/5.6 / 1/200 sec
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Descending to Stake Beck

Making the most of a fast grassy descent. The peak of Harrison Stickle provides the backdrop.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 10.4mm / f/5.6 / 1/500 sec

To the Rescue

Not. It might look like the runners in the distance are coming to the rescue of the poor soul consumed by the bog, but they've actually paid no attention. You'd think they would take a different line. Let's see how No.500 fares.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 19.98mm / f/5 / 1/125 sec

Traversing the Bog

No.128 is in but No.500 is looking good. No.485 has deftly used No.128's head as a stepping stone and has come through unscathed and remarkably unmuddied!

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 19.98mm / f/5.6 / 1/125 sec

There she goes.

No.500 was always doomed. I lost rather a lot of time here myself, not in the bog, but just taking pictures! I suppose I could have warned them but that would rather have spoiled the fun.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 19.98mm / f/5 / 1/100 sec

Above Langdale Combe

A high level traverse takes us from Stake Pass to Angle Tarn and a magnificent view right down the Langdale valley to where we started. You can see how Pike O'Stickle dominates the skyline.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 10.4mm / f/5.6 / 1/400 sec

Finding a Line

In mist this section would be tricky, but today it was really just a matter of following the runner in front, trusting that the elite runners know the best lines well and have taken the rest of the field on the optimal route. When the clag is down this race takes on a whole other aspect.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 10.4mm / f/5.6 / 1/200 sec

Climbing to Esk Hause

As we reach the shoulder of Esk Hause the Langdale peaks have receded into the distance. This is just about the furthest we get from the start of the race before turning back on the other side of the horseshoe.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 14.75mm / f/5.6 / 1/250 sec
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Towards Bow Fell

Having turned around at Esk Hause we take a narrow and difficult path under the flanks of Esk Pike, climbing up towards Bow Fell, occasionally being enveloped by cloud as we approach.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 29.15mm / f/5.6 / 1/250 sec

The summit of Bow Fell

Climbing to the highest point of the route, Bow Fell at 2960 ft, scrambling over the summit boulder field. We're just about in the cloud here but the sun isn't very far away.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 10.4mm / f/5.6 / 1/800 sec
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Broadstand

On the steep descent from Bow Fell, looking across to Broadstand, the sheer cliff which separates Scafell from it's higher sibling, Scafell Pike, sitting in the cloud. The underfoot terrain is difficult but it's hard not to be distracted by the incredible views looking west.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 26.26mm / f/5.6 / 1/640 sec

Scafell Pike from Three Tarns

With perfect timing the clouds clear to provide a view of England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike, at the ideal location to take a photograph. Racing is put aside for a few minutes as I find the best vantage point for the shot. The light is perfect.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 21.08mm / f/5.6 / 1/800 sec

Climbing Crinkle Crags

The penultimate climb to the penultimate peak of the race, Crinkle Crags. The walking is becoming quite slow now and stopping to take a photograph a great opportunity for a short rest!

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 10.4mm / f/5.6 / 1/320 sec

The Bad Step

Coming off Crinkle Crags, you can avoid the bad step if you know the route but I ended up just following the main track down. The holds are good but can be a little intimidating for some as you lower yourself down the 20ft drop. The lady behind me was a little anxious so I took a moment to guide her feet on to the holds. She then promptly run off into the distance!

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 21.77mm / f/5.6 / 1/250 sec

The Admiring Glance

Despite appearances here, fell running is not so much about enjoying the magnificence of the mountains but about the ego. We do it to appear heroic and look good. The real reward is not the views of the landscape but the admiring glances from attractive fell walkers!

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 22.74mm / f/5.6 / 1/400 sec

Pike of Blisco

A fast descent takes us all the way to the foot of Pike of Blisco, the last summit of the day. This is not the near one in the sun, but the furthest one in the shadow, We've been very lucky with the weather. It's had been raining to the east of us pretty much all day.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 22.74mm / f/5.6 / 1/320 sec

Finish in Sight

After checking in at the summit of Pike of Blisco we soon get sight of the finish, which can be seen amidst the event car park in the valley on the far right. It seems like quite a long time ago now since we were climbing up to the peak opposite. You should recognise Pike O'Stickle again, on the far left.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 13.09mm / f/5.6 / 1/125 sec

The Final Descent

It's mostly good running all the way to the finish but the field is now very spead out. One last chance to enjoy the high level views and the amazing light before hitting the valley, the finish line, and a beer - or two.

  • October 12th, 2013
  • DSC-RX100
  • 17.4mm / f/5.6 / 1/320 sec

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Fhithich
Fhithich  almost 4 years ago

Fantastic photos, Bob.

But why are you in the back end of the field!

Mick Garratt

artsy72
Paul Arts  about 5 years ago

That's great. Brilliant photos, love the info. Thanks

JohnParminter
John Parminter (inactive)  about 5 years ago

A great photo story of the race Bob. One I haven't done yet though... :-)