During the runner’s 2 day recce of this 22 mile, 7000 feet of climbing challenge I did two walks. We stayed at the pub in Mungrisdale and the walks were from Bowscale, the next village.
The first walk was to Bowscale Tarn. The path started near where I left the car. It was level at the start, but then, once I had crossed a beck, it rose uphill. It was early, it was a weekday and it was raining so I had no company on my slow walk but flighty wheatears and curious, somewhat judgemental sheep “Can’t you go faster, Two Legs?” As I looked down to the valley bottom I could see the bubbling river Caldew and the narrow single track road from Mosedale which joined up with the Cumbria Way where the tarmac ran out. Across the valley was the bulk of Carrock Fell, the first summit of the race, with its forbidding cliffs dropping to the valley floor.
After a final few steep yards I reached the hidden tarn tucked under crags. The shallow waters near the path at the edge of the tarn were clear, the deeper waters reflected the grey looming sky. In the splattering rain I sat getting my breath back, listening to the sheep and the silence.
I followed the path around the tarn which led me over and down the grassy col at the far end of the tarn to rejoin the outward path and I headed downhill.
Once back at the car I drove up the road from Mosedale I had seen from above, past Swineside, parked on a grassy verge and waited for the runner to return along the Cumbria Way.
On the next day which was warmer and drier I did a level circular walk from Bowscale that I had found in a leaflet on the internet. It took me through fields, farmyards and quiet lanes to Mosedale Moss. There were a couple of birders out who told me they had seen some stonechats but my closest encounter with nature was getting bitten by a horsefly in the sheep filled fields.
The tearoom at the Friends’ Meeting House in Mosedale was open when I passed it towards the end of my walk. I had a cup of tea and a sandwich in the cool shady garden, letting the conversation from neighbouring tables waft past me. Then I collected the car and headed back up the narrow road for another pick up from the Cumbria Way.
On the day of the race I dropped the runner at the Old Crown pub in Hesket Newmarket and returned to Mosedale and then up the road to the Cumbria Way again. It was a hot Saturday in the school holidays and markedly busier than on the last visit. I found a parking spot, walked along the road, crossed the bridge over Grainsgill Beck and turned in the direction of Skiddaw House.
There was no shade on the Cumbria Way and the sun was strong on the wide stony path. I envied the families splashing and shouting in the river Caldew. I walked until I saw the marshalls at Blackhazel Beck, the final river crossing for the runners before they headed up Blencathra. I was feeling warm now so I scrambled up the bracken and sat in the shade of a lone tree with my binoculars to watch the race. Once I had seen my runner I retraced my steps, ate my picnic and read by the river while the runners crested further peaks: Skiddaw, Knott and High Pike before finishing the day on the green at Hesket Newmarket.
Bowscale Tarn walk: I downloaded a description of the walk from www.walklakes.co.uk (£1). Easy navigation
Mosedale Moss walk: walksfromthedoor.co.uk The Mill Inn, Mungrisdale Cumbria
There is no phone signal at the top of the road from Mosedale as it approaches its junction with the Cumbria Way so we made rendezvous arrangements in advance.
Tea Room at the Friends Meeting House at Mosedale is advertised as open Wednesday – Saturday and Sunday afternoons
Rating TTT (facilities at Mosedale Tearoom) or T (if tearoom not open)
RR (if tearoom open) or 0
WWW lots of choice in this area if you have a car