As many of you will already know, The English Lake District is an area of the country which holds a very special place in my heart. Some of my favourite running adventures have taken place along its valley’s and across it fells in this corner of the UK and I’m really looking forward to returning in the summer for another crack at The Lakeland 100.
When I saw that Kingsley Jones was going to publish a new guidebook of trail and fell running in the Lake District I was keen to have a look. As someone who prefers to browse through maps and follow my nose when planning an adventure, using pre-defined guidebook routes is not normally my kind of thing. However I find guidebooks an excellent source of inspiration, and this one is one of the best out there.
In this book Kingsley has provided routes that cover the entire national park and cater for all levels of runner. From easier valley trail runs, right up to a technical skyrunning style loop around Pinnacle Ridge, this book has it all.
Lets start at the beginning. As is usual with Cicerone guidebooks, the first section gives you an introduction to the area and general advice on how to approach the activity in question. This includes travel and accommodations suggestions to build your trip around, plus kit and safety advice for when you’re out on the fells. There is even a small section on tips and techniques for those new to the sports of trail and fell running, a welcome addition.
From here the routes are broken into four sections, with ten runs in each. Each run includes one or more colour ordnance survey maps (1:50 scale), plus a general introduction/summary, followed by a detailed route description.
The guidebook also includes a nice grading system and expected duration against each route, so you can easily make your route choices based upon your own experience and the time you have available. For those of us that like to use GPS watches or devices, Kingsley has your covered, with a GPX file available to download for every route in the book.
A really nice touch is to see both the public transport and parking options described, helping you plan your trip to and from your run. I also liked the hints and tips sprinkled throughout the book, for example the use of altimeters or the choice of clothing to help regulate your body temperate.
It is the breadth of route styles covered that I really like about this guidebook. There is a nice mix of trail and fell runs, ranging from seven hour epic adventures, to 90 minute valley floor blasts. Lets take the south west section for instance. In here you will find some high level classics, like The Langdale Horseshoe or a circumnavigation of the high fells above Wast Water, You will also find some lovely lower level alternatives in the Duddon or Langdale valleys.Generally I will flick through guidebooks and then place them on the shelf, ready for some future date when I am next planning a trip to the area in question. This one however really drew me in, as I slowly went through it cover to cover imagining the routes being described or reliving past adventures, slowly building a tick list of places I wanted to visit when I am next in The Lakes.
With the sport of trail running becoming increasingly mainstream, its great to see guidebooks such as this hitting the shelves to introduce those new to the sport to some of the best trail running The United Kingdom has to offer. If you’re thinking of heading to The Lakes for some running adventures of your own or are a more experienced runner looking for some inspiration, then I can highly recommend this guidebook.
Hopefully see you out on the Lakeland fells sometime soon!
Trail and Fell Running in the Lake District is written by Kingsley Jones and will be published by Cicerone Press on 15th April 2017. For other guidebooks by Kingsley Jones or Cicerone, be sure to check your local book shop or the Cicerone website.