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Home » Lakes Sky Ultra™ 2019

60km+ with 5500m ascent | July 13th 2019 | Location - Patterdale | Entries Open - 1st November 2018

If you’re looking for a serious challenge, this is it. Inspired by the great sky races of Europe, Lakes Sky Ultra™ is one of the most technically demanding course-marked race's the Lake District has ever seen. Entries are vetted to ensure that only the most experienced runners will tackle this ultra-distance route, taking in Swirral Edge and other extremely technical terrain, demanding that the runners have superb mountain skills.

Classified by Skyrunning UK as a "Sky Extra" race in 2018, Lakes Sky Ultra is officially the most extreme mountain running event in England.

Race route: Please note this route may undergo slight alterations before the race day itself so do not rely on this map. Reproduced courtesy of Harvey Maps.

Starting in the grand and victorian grounds of Patterdale Hall, the Lakes Sky Ultra has undergone some serious developments for 2019.

The newly developed route starts you at the original halfway point for the old course, starting the ascent of Boredale Hause with-in a few km's of the start. Heading north now instead, ascending to the summit of Place Fell, which over-looks the race start and the beautiful Ullswater Valley. Once the summit is gained, true Lakeland trails lead you to a fast and rocky descent into the valley of Boredale, before heading back south again to ascend the classic Beda Fell ridge-line. This new deviation brings you back into the original course and passing Angle Tarn on your left you will start the ascent to High Street before taking the wild and rocky ridge-line of Long Stile and Rough Crag, dropping you down to the valley floor of Haweswater and your first re-fuel of the day.

From the Haweswater CP you now head into the wild and remote valley head containing Small Water before climbing to reach Nan Bield Pass (Windy Enclosure Pass), turning west you climb passing Mardale Ill Bell before sweeping round the head of the Kentmere Valley to pick up Thornthwaite Beacon. A steep, rocky and loose descent traces you through Threshthwaite Mouth, with the rocky ascent out to gain the summits of Stoney Cove Pike and Caudale Moor. Sublime running from here takes you along St Raven's Edge to the 1st re-supply point of the day at Kirkstone Pass.

Now you climb hard, up the open fell and rocky gullies to reach the summit of Red Screes. Remember, this is one of the KoM stages sponsored by Leki UK, with your chance to gain points to win the overall KoM Super Stages challenge, a race with-in a race!

The running from the summit into Ambleside is one of the best descents in the Lake District, bringing you into the north side of Ambleside and a chance to re-fuel at the University of Cumbria CP hosted at the original race start.

Now the fun really begins with a long ascent of the east side of the Fairfield Horseshoe, topping out at the summit of Dove Crag. Rocky and technical running takes in Hart Crag and Fairfield summits before a rocky and scree-ridden path drops you to Grisedale Hause and another leg burning ascent to the flanks of Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike and finally the summit of Helvellyn. A quick dive to the north-east drops you down the uber-technical ridge of Swirral Edge (grade 0.5 scramble) and the amazing descent into the Red Tarn Cove. You now descend the main 'Helvellyn Track' into the Glenridding Valley (home of Mountain Run) to the old mine workings and a final chance to re-fuel before taking the 'miners' track back up into the Greenside Valley and though the saddle at Nick Head dropping into the hidden valley of Glencoyne. Fast running brings you to the penultimate ascent over the eastern side of Sheffield Pike to descend down a bone shaking single track and back into the valley of Glenridding. Now with the finish almost in-sight you make the final ascent via the Rattle Beck Bridge climbing to Lanty's Tarn and using 'private trails' through the woods of Keldas and Hall Bank, back into the finish at Patterdale Hall.

The route will be fully marked and flagged. There will be no navigation on route required, but navigational experience and skill maybe needed in the event of loosing the flags and is pre-requisite for a race entry.

The above image, with thanks to Harvey Maps, shows the provisional race route. There is likely to be some refinements before the race itself. Please keep an eye out for updates as they happen.

Underfoot terrain will be mixed. Grassy trods, well worn mountain paths, bare rock, scree, single track trails, hard/technical ascents and bone shaking descents will all feature on this fully marked route. Use of hands will undoubtedly be required.

There will be a safety team on the hill, with marshalled control points at high-level locations along the course. Feed stations will be at Kirkstone Pass Inn, Ambleside and Greenside Mines. Due to the nature of the terrain, competitors will need to carry their own food and drink for significant sections of the course, and finish with at least 200 calories of emergency rations. However, we encourage racers' families, friends and support teams to make their own way to marshalled points on the fells and at road crossings, preferably with a Cow Bell (these will be available to purchase on the day) or two to add to the atmosphere and character of the race.

There will be a cut-off at Kirkstone Pass (Time TBC) and Ambleside (Time TBC), to ensure timely completion of the race route in daylight hours. Sunrise will be at approximately 05:10 with sunset at approximately 21:27, with the race running between the hours of 06:00 until 21:00.

“An epic, brilliant, bonkers race!” Ellie H, 2017

60km+ of Lake District paths, trails and rock with 5'500m ascent will test your endurance to the limit - but stamina alone won’t get you to the finish line.

You’ll need a good head for heights and nerves of steel: you’re going to traverse three of the most amazing ridge-lines in the Lake District: Beda Fell, remote and sublime, the bone shaking and very wild ridge of Long Stile Edge and the very alpine and rocky scramble of Swirral Edge. We’re talking serious ascent with some distance thrown in and previous race/mountain experience is a must.

We packed all the best central and eastern-Lake District mountain running trails we know into this course: you’ll go up and over Place Fell, Beda Fell, High Street, Thornthwaite Crag, Stoney Cove Pike, St Raven’s Edge, Red Screes, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn with some of the most remote valleys in the area dropped in for good measure. It’s an epic day out to say the least.

And just as you think you can make the whole distance we've added some new KoM Super Stages in to spice it all up. This year we will be combining the times for a real up-hill extravaganza, so remember to train 'hill reps' galore. It’s a race within a race, and the prizes will go to the runners who can dig the deepest in the final flight to the finish. [the winning men and ladies will not be able to enter this part of the race, prizes will go to those outside of the 'podium' slots]

Entries coming soon via SI Entries. Included in your entry fee:

  • Fully marked course
  • A Sky Race by design
  • Lakes Sky Ultra buff
  • Race tattoo to keep tabs on your progress
  • Three fully-supplied feed station (Kirkstone Pass, Ambleside and Greenside Mines) and 13 manned checkpoints [TBC]
  • Post-race meal (vegan, so good for all dietary requirements)
  • A finishers’ bottle of limited edition Lakes Sky Ultra Cider, produced locally by Cowmire Hall
  • Electronic timing & safety checkpoints from SI Entries
  • A professional Safety Officer and supporting safety team [All 'mountain qualified']
  • A professionally planned event delivered by a highly experienced team
  • A 'tour de force' of the Central and Eastern Fells of the UNESCO status English Lake District
  • A great day out in the mountains with hard-to-earn adrenaline and endorphins ...

Optional extras are available via SI Entries:

  • Half board rooms available at the Patterdale Hall [Extremely grand bunk accommodation with a hearty breakfast and piled high evening meal]
  • Lakes Sky Ultra quality cotton tee (available exclusively to race entrants, £20 each) - [design available to view online, prior to purchase]
  • Branded goat-bells for your support team (£15 each) [These are real 'alpine' goat bells]
  • Hot meal at registration on Friday evening – carnivore and vegan options available (£15.00 - pre-order only)
  • Post-race massage (£15, with 25% donated to Patterdale MRT)

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