This is 56km of relentlessly technical terrain, designed to test your mountain running, strength, endurance, speed, balance and skill to the max. From grassy trods and well-worn mountain paths, to bare rock and scree, open fell, bogs and tussocks, we’ve packed in a bit of everything on this fully marked route.
Course timing and cut-offs
Start (University of Cumbria) 07:00
CP9 cut-off (Patterdale) 14:45
CP12 cut-off (Kirkstone Pass) 19:15
Course closes (University of Cumbria) 21:00
What to expect
From the streets of Ambleside, your adventure begins with the climb up to Fairfield via
Dove Crag (CP1) & Hart Crag. Drop down across scree slopes to Grisedale Tarn (CP2)
before making your first traverse of the Helvellyn massif.
Coming down via Swirral Edge (Grade 0.5 scramble) – one of the very best descents in the Lake District – to the classic mountain top of Catstycam (CP3), the route plunges down the north-west ridge to the valley floor below (CP4, Water Station).
Climbing back up onto Birkhouse Moor (CP5), you can look forward to the joy of running the whole length of Striding Edge (CP6) – an easy Grade 1 scramble – before topping out back on the Helvellyn massif. Contouring around the top of the headwall of Nethermost Cove will lead you onto the lesser-known line off Nethermost Pike (CP7), where you drop into Grisedale.
A short & very sharp uphill grind onto the Grisedale face of St Sunday Crag will ensure your heart is beating hard before you face Pinnacle Ridge itself (CP8): steep, exposed, and not for the faint-hearted, this Grade 3 scramble will be the crux of the course for many.
From the summit, a fast descent via Arnison Crag into Patterdale (CP9, Feed Station) for a swift refuel will set you up for your next climb, reaching the high tops via Boardale Hause (CP10) to visit Angle Tarn, The Knott and approach the summit of High Street before peeling away into a bone- shaking descent. From Long Stile, you’ll pass Blea Water and head down the valley to join the track (CP11, Water Station) leading up past Small Water, on to Nan Bield Pass and back to the summits, following a beauty of a track around the head of the Kentmere Valley.
Your legs will be burning you into submission by now, but some fantastic undulating running from The Beacon through Threshthwaite Mouth and over Caudale Moor to Kirkstone Pass via St Ravens Edge will carry you to the final resupply point outside the Kirsktone Pass Inn (CP12, Feed Station).
The ascent of Red Screes (CP13) is the final climb of the day, and it’s a corker. The King of the Mountains Super Stages will be played out here, with the uphill prize going to the fastest male and female on the climb from Kirkstone Pass, and the downhill prize for the fastest sprint finish from the top of Red Screes to the finish line in Ambleside. Be sure to keep something in the tank for those final kilometres!
A bottle of cider and a hot meal awaits you in Ambleside.
The route is fully marked and flagged, and no navigational experience is required. A safety team will be present on the hill, and there are marshalled control points at high-level locations along the course.
In certain extreme conditions, a reduced Bad Weather Route may be used. Designed with the safety of competitors and the race team in mind, the Bad Weather Route retains as much of the spirit of Lakes Sky Ultra as possible.