Distance: 17.88 miles/28.78km
Elevation: 5154 ft/1571m
The day started with an early rise and a drive to Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton, where I met up with Andy and Shep to hitch a ride up to Troutbeck. I picked up 2 really nice beers from the farm shop, brewed by Lakes Brew Co which I knew would go down a treat once we got back to the van.
OMM Kamleika Jacket, Rab Sonic LS Top, Montane VIA Dragon Shorts, Higher State Leggings, Inov8 Speed Socks, Inov8 Race Elite Gloves, Inov8 Train Elite Beanie
In The Pack:
Osprey Duro 15 Running Pack, Higher State Hoodie, Patagonia Retro Pile Fleece, Petzl Actik Core, Black Diamond Access Spikes, Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight .5, Adventure Medical Kit Emergency Bivvy, Inov8 Wrag, Snacks
Firstly I would like to start by giving a massive shout out to my Inov8 Mudclaw 300 shoes and Black Diamond Access Spikes as this run wouldn’t have been possible without them. My feet stuck to the snow and ice on the steep descents, which turned scary icy slopes into a joyous frolic to the bottom. Not only did the shoes help on this run, but they have been a delight since day one. This is only my second year of winter running, but these shoes make me question how I managed the first year without. They fill me with confidence when approaching a wet muddy descent, they keep me on my feet and not on my backside. 10/10 for that reason alone. As for the Access Spikes, this run was my first time using them, ever. I was almost instantly used to how they felt on my feet. I cannot wait for another excuse to use them, so much fun!
We pulled into the lay-by just after the Troutbeck Church at around 9 and began making our way up to Yoke, following the path up Garburn Road which is a steep cobbled path that eventually turns rocky. The views were clear and the air had a slight chill, the wind was still which was nice! Not long after starting the climb, the views to the left open up giving a lovely display of Troutbeck valley from above and Troutbeck Tongue in the distance.
As we started to ascend, we followed the fork left and were confronted with a path covered in ice. I put on my access spikes and we carried on up the path with ease. As we gained elevation the snow was increasing in depth. So by the time we approached the summit of Yoke, the ground was completely covered by snow and ice, and the clag was in.
We followed the path up and over Ill Bell and Froswick, the snow had reached shin height in places and the visibility had decreased to about 20 meters. Andy had the plan of potentially visiting High Street after Thornthwaite Crag and then joining back onto the Horseshoe to finish the round, but if the conditions weren’t easing then the plan was to stick to the original route. We eventually reached a cairn that wasn’t what we were expecting. Thornthwaite Crag has quite a big and distinctive cairn and we had reached one that was about waist height. Turns out we had totally missed Thornthwaite Crag and ended up at High Street after all! So Andy made the decision to carry on his plan if we ended up at High Street, and found the path that would eventually take us to Mardale Ill Bell.
By this point, we were starting our descent. The run now started to include more downhill sections than climbs so we could start to pick up the pace, ticking off Mardale Ill Bell, Harter Fell, Kentmere Pike and Shipman Knotts.
Things started to look familiar as we dropped into Kentmere. I had taken part in the Lakeland 50 in July and we had dropped onto that route, so I knew the last climb wasn’t going to be a fun one. Out of Kentmere, up Garburn Road and back to the van.
After changing from wet clothes and retiring a tired Shep to the front seat of the van, we cracked a beer and recovered for the journey back. A warm shower before some pub grub and pints awaited us in the afternoon so it wasn’t long until we set off back home. The pub in question is the Black Lane Ends in Colne and if you are ever in the area, the food is amazing! Plus the pub sits high on the hill and away from civilisation, lovely scenery and a cosy atmosphere.
If you’ve got this far into this blog post then I hope you have enjoyed me waffling on about my Kentmere Horseshoe experience. I highly recommend this route and I’m sure without the clag you get some fantastic views! I will be doing this route again I’m sure in the future.