NORTHERN FELLS - CHEEKY TRAIL RUN
If you are visiting the Lake District why not try this for a Fell Run to ramp up your training and smash in some quick Vert. Distance 8.58 miles / Elevation 2162ft. Taken from Strava using Suunto Ambit 3 Peak. The following is intended as a brief guide only and runners should take their own maps and compasses and research the route thoroughly. Feel free to email any questions to email@example.com. The route takes me about 1hr 30 mins but this will obviously vary from runner to runner. Route finding is easy in good conditions but be mindful of the Cumbrian Weather, it changes very quickly and you may need your map and compass....be prepared..
Most people coming to Cumbria visit Keswick at some point. If you are coming from the M6 then this is virtually on your way. Take the Troutbeck turning off the A66 (signed Dockray) and head for Dowthwaite head. (pass the Rookin house turning and it is your next proper right turn). Follow the road to the T junction and there's a small car park to the right. The good news is its free and there is nearly always space.
This is basically a loop which starts along the Old Coach Road, climbs Clough Head, then Great Dodd and follows a long trail back down to the car park.
Park your car and head to the gate. The first few miles follow the Old Coach Roach along a rough but easy bridleway. After a short distance you'll see a sign which says Great Dodd two miles. This is just after you cross a beck. You can either get your feet wet or use the small bridge. Pass the sign on your left on the way out, but take note, this is where you'll descend at the end of the run.
Follow the Old Coach Road for about three miles. As you reach the base of Clough head, the trail bears around to the right and climbs. The base of the fell is fenced, so stay on the path until you see a gate on the left hand side. Pass through the gate and climb the path upwards to White Pike. Stay on this path until you're are a few metres away from the rocky outcrop. Bear right and follow the path up onto the top of Clough Head. From the Trig point there are great views over to Keswick and Skiddaw, as well as Blencathra. In the Clag, there's nothing but clag...
As you look west you need to take the left most path which takes you down towards Calfhow Pike. You don't need to ascend the crags at Calfhow as the good path, passes it to the left. Stay on the path and it will take you on the long haul up to the top of Great Dodd. The cairn marks the top. There is no clear path from the top but you need to look for the marker cairns which run generally downwards and to the north. After a short distance downwards on a rocky surface, the path then reappears and steers you steeply downwards and roughly Eastwards. This is a popular route with mountain bikers. Stay on the track and it will lead you downwards the two miles back to the beck crossing. The path downwards is mostly marshy and you can pretty much follow the mountain bike tyre tracks all the way down. Once here retrace your steps back to the car.
You'll need: waterproofs / windproofs / map / compass / mobile phone / fell running shoes suitable for soft ground.
if you need any local advice feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to me on Twitter @slapseeR
Happy Trail Running