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" Buttermere Horseshoe Race and Jen's Visit "

Date & start time:    Saturday 23rd June, 2018.   11 am start.

Location of Start :   The Village Hall, Loweswater, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 140 210 )

Places visited :         The Village Hall, the garden and the Kirkstile !

Walk details :             Leisurely for us, hard work for others.

High point :                The spectacle of the race.

With :                            Ann and Dylan, Jenna and friends, and approx 400 race entrants.

Weather :                    Overcast and cool to start, sunny and warm later.

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A busy summer Saturday when we see more people in the village in one day than we see during a normal winter month. 

There's a fell race on and it starts from the Village Hall and the organisers were expecting up to 400 runners.

Our daughter also arrived in the afternoon as she was spending a long weekend in Cumbria with friends.

Saturday morning and there are strangely a lot of cars in the field opposite the cottage ?

It's the day of the Buttermere Horseshoe, also known as the Darren Holloway Memorial Race by the organisers, the Cumberland Fell Runners Club.

The race is a circular route around most of the high fells in this picture (excluding Rannerdale Great Gable and Hen Comb ).

It starts at the Village Hall then crosses to Whiteside and Hopegill Head, Grasmoor, Whiteless, Robinson and Dale Head

before dropping down to Honister Pass, back up to Haystacks, across the High Stile Ridge and finally summiting Mellbreak.

A total of 22 miles and 9,000 feet of climbing . . . target time ?   Have a think . . . I'll let you know shortly.

The race is normally just a "club event" with under a hundred participants.

This year it is a qualifying race for the British Fell Running Championships and so has attracted nearly 400.

Dylan and I walk up to the Hall to see what's happening there.

It's pre-race registration time.

Each participant must carry full waterproofs, hat, gloves, whistle, map, compass and emergency food

as well as their race number and electronic tag to record their run.  These are all checked before the start.

- - - o o o - - -

Spectators take up their preferred spot in time to view the event.

"The runners are coming"

The leading group pass the cottage . . .

. . . the rest filling the road way all the way down the hill.

Still they come . . . there's definitely a big turnout this year.

The last runners are in sight . . . as the sound of trainer on tarmac fades into the distance.

They are on the first short road section to Lanthwaite Woods.

The rest will be off road . . . see their route below.

Target time to beat . . .  the men's record is held by Carl Bell with a 2017 time of 3 hours 57 minutes.

The 2013 ladies previous record was held by Jasmin Paris, with a time of 4 hours 36.

It would take me days !

[ Right click here or on the map and open another page for their race web site ]

The conditions were cool to start the race with a breeze at altitude . . . so a good race time could be on the cards.

As the day progresses the weather improved and with binoculars we could have possibly seen runners at the head of the valley.

- - - o o o - - -

Who won today ?   Let's take you back to the start.

Ten seconds ahead of the main group as they passed our cottage was a single runner.

I thought he may have been a marshall running ahead to warn any traffic . . . but he had a numbered vest !

The race leader here and all the way round was Carl Bell . . .
. . . who finished with a personal best time of 3 hours 43.

A brilliant fell run . . . and he jogged back downhill to the field afterwards where he kindly offered me the opportunity of this photo.

Out of interest (though I didn't spot her) Ladies record holder Jasmin Paris also retained her title, again beating her personal best time for the race.

- - - o o o - - -

As an aside . . . another long standing record has been broken in recently . . .

Kílian Jornet, a Catalan born ultra-runner, attempted the Bob Graham Round of 42 Lake District fells in 24 hours.

The current best time of 12 hours 52 minutes was set 36 years ago by Billy Bland, the Borrowdale shepherd and fell expert.

[ Here Kílian is photographed with a pacer from Keswick AC, courtesy of the Guardian Newspaper ]

[ I understand that Carl Bell, who won this year's Buttermere Horseshoe race, also acted as one of his pacers on this record breaking attempt.]

Afterwards, seated at the Moot Hall, Keswick

celebrating with Billy Bland, at the end of the run.

Kílian made it round in an incredible 11 hours 51 minutes

a whole hour quicker than the existing record

and an excellent achievement.

[ Picture and excellent race report courtesy of Ian Corless's web site ]


Kílian was quoted as saying: “What made it even more special was that one of my pacers was the son of one of Billy’s pacers and Billy was there, too.

For me, it was so cool to be there with them: they know every stone of the road, of the mountain, and I learnt a lot during the run.”

- - - o o o - - -

Okay . . . back to today in Loweswater . . .

After the first Buttermere runners were home, and while the latter ones were still way out on the fells,

we were joined at home by our daughter Jenna and her friends who were staying for a long weekend in the Lakes.

Roll call:   Andy and Jessica, Miriam, Jen, Jenna, Kate and Emma, Tracy, Stephen, Gayle and Charlotte, Stephen, Ann and Dylan.

A visit to parents on a nice day has to include tea and cake on the lawn.

Jenna's Canadian/Edinburgh set of ten friends has been added to in recent years with several new arrivals.

Gayle and Charlotte.
Kate and Emma.

Andy, Jessica and Emma . . . and big, scary Dylan.

Folk wanted to go down  and walk around the new paddock.

Everything is greening up nicely though there are few wild flowers yet.

Foxgloves and one small mown path.
Still some bare patches.
Rhubarb in the raised beds on the way back up.

- - - o o o - - -

The view from our garden includes the white gable end of the Kirkstile Inn (seen below next to the Church).

No visit to Loweswater is complete without sampling the local Loweswater Gold beer of course . . .

. . . so we make our way along the lane towards the pub, enjoying the best views Loweswater has to offer.

Whilst there Jenna and Ann sit in the beer garden and have a photo taken with a couple of glasses of orange juice.

Ann has a sneaky half of Loweswater Gold shandy' tucked in behind her glass . . . don't think we didn't notice !

More conversations than photos at the pub and soon we are back at the cottage

as some of the group have to return to their cottage, near Mosser, in good time to put their youngsters to bed.

A couple of final photos from the garden before we go . . .


Myself, Ann and Jenna . . . half of a full family photo.

Thanks to Jenna and friends who provided many of the afternoon photos from this set.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix TZ60, or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

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Previous event- 1st to 12th June - A Pin Mill visit to see the Family

A previous time up here - 14th June 2015 - Gavel and Blake with Jo

Next walk - 1st July - The Garden, Visitors and the Heat Wave