Christmas on the Fells 2007

23rd Dec 2007
12 miles 5,500 ft

The original idea for this was to do the first 2 legs of a clockwise Bob Graham round. Starting at the Moot Hall Keswick and finishing at Dunmail Raise. With a bad weather forecast this plan got changed to just doing leg 2 Threlkeld to Dunmail raise. All the arrangements were made using the FRA (Fell Runners association) websites forum.

The drive up with Will and Ian was in pleasant weather. It looked like the forecast might be wrong. We all met at the lane which start leg 2. Soon after we were off. All in various Christmas outfits some with a full outfit, and some like myself with just a festive hat on. Bill joined us part way up Clough Head and we all kept quite a nice pace going. It was a breezy day with a few threatening clouds in the distance. It was clear but increasingly cold all the way to Whiteside Bank. Then the weather got more severe.

On our way to Helvellyn the clouds came down and the wind increased it was now very cold. Maybe -20, with the wind chill. My hands were numb and by the time we headed off Helvellyn for Nethermost I realised that my clothing was not sufficient for these arctic conditions. We all ran down the track that misses out Nethermost and when we got level with Dollywaggon, at the old steel fence post, we had a group discussion as to weather to miss out Fairfield and Seat Sandal and go down via Raise Beck. We decided that like most of the ground so far, Raise Beck would be iced and so would be very difficult. We dismissed Fairfield and went with my suggestion of still going up and over Seat Sandal from the side to get out of the wind and warm up again.

This worked and running off the other side to Dunmail Raise, although still bitingly cold, seamed a lot more pleasant. On reaching Dunmail a few of us including Will and Ian decided that as we had cut the route short we would ascend Steel Fell, as they would soon do on there Bob Graham Rounds next summer. As it was, in parts, iced on the way up we decided to descend the long way via Steel end. We then ran around the base by the road to finish an adventurous day on the Fells. I think I gained the feeling in the ends of my fingers when I was about half way back to Lancaster.

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