Lake District Sky Trails

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The Course

Prepare for a journey across some of the highest ground in the Lake District, taking in summits including Green Gable, Great Gable, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Esk Pike and Harrison Stickle as you cover the 40km from Seathwaite Farm to Ambleside. The course sweeps you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the central Lakes via the finest single-track paths in the region.

Course timing and cut-offs

Start (Seathwaite Farm) 09:00

CP5 (Old Dungeon Ghyll) 14:30

Course Closes (University of Cumbria) 18:00

Scafell Sky Race Race Map V2
Provisional race route supplied for illustrative purposes only. Route amendments and updates may be made at the Race Director’s sole discretion. © Harvey Maps.

What to expect

The adventure begins with a scenic coach journey through the heart of the English Lake District: meet at 07.30 at Event HQ, Ambleside for departure at 07:45.

The coach stops at Seatoller at the head of the Borrowdale Valley, and it’s a 20 minute jog to the startline at Seathwaite Farm. That’s the warm up done: your race begins at 09:00 sharp.

The first climb of the day starts right here at Seathwaite Farm: head up past the spectacular 'Sour Milk Gill' waterfalls and follow the track that winds up into the Gillercomb Valley, past Base Brown to the summit of Green Gable. A short sharp drop brings you to Windy Gap (CP1), the col between Great and Green Gable. Descend on scree, then weave your way around the waist of Great Gable on beautifully technical single-track – and don’t forget to look out for Napes Needle, first climbed in 1886 by William Hasket-Smith who did it solo and performed a handstand on the top just for fun!

Arriving at Sty Head Pass, you’ll begin one of the most classic and technical ascents of the Scafell Massif: the route goes via the 'Corridor Route' that leads directly to the summit of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England (CP2). From here, turn North East, making for the summit of Broad Crag and crossing wonderfully technical boulder fields on the way. The summit gained, you’ll set out towards the Great Langdale Valley, taking in CP3 as you head for Esk Pike and Ore Gap. Summit Bow Fell (CP4), then you’ll drop down a technical scree descent then revel in one of the best stretches of single-track in the Lakes, the ‘Climbers Traverse’ that weaves under Cambridge and Flat Crags. Descend into Great Langdale via the high ground of the Band to reach the Old Dungeon Ghyll pub and refuel at the only feed station on the route. (CP5, Feed Station).

Fueled up and ready to rock, head along towards the Stickle Barn and then bear left and up the spur connecting you with the summit of Harrison Stickle (CP6) then back down to Stickle Tarn.

Now prepare yourself for a stretch of perfect single track, running across the lower fells of the Northern side of the Great Langdale Valley to the summit of Silver Howe (CP7) with its views over Grasmere: this is real Wordsworth country. Continue along single tracks to cross Red Bank road then climb back up to the summit of Loughrigg fell (CP8) before crossing Loughrigg Common to Lily Tarn and beginning your final descent into Ambleside.

A special-edition commemorative bottle of cider and a hot meal awaits you at the finish line.

Route safety

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 9 marshalled control points at high-level locations along the course.

In certain extreme conditions, a reduced Bad Weather Route may be used - this is shown in green on the map above. Designed with the safety of competitors and the race team in mind, the Bad Weather Route retains as much of the spirit of Scafell Sky Race™ as possible.

Use of the Bad Weather Route is at the Race Director’s sole discretion.

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