Sunday, 10 July 2011

Wasdale Horseshoe fell race – 09 July

One of the toughest races in the calendar, Wasdale Horseshoe involves 21 miles and 9000 feet of climbing over the highest ground in England. This year the forecast looked good even if a little warm later in the day and there would be no doubt that I would still be out, even if not still running, later in the day. The roughest ground comes late in the race along with a big climb or two so there isn’t a shortage of excuses for a bit of walking.

The cloud cover was just burning off as we arrived, more or less confirming the forecast.


wasdale-3-100Wast Water and the screes – the first leg of the race is along the top of this ridge

wasdale-7-101Yewbarrow on the left, Great Gable in the centre and Lingmell (where the final descent is) on the right

wasdale-8-102Buckbarrow with Greendale Bridge in sunshine

wasdale-1-200Bill and Chris and a few others relaxing before the start

20110709-wasdale-3-2Almost ready to go

wasdale-3-103Climbing out of Wasdale towards Illgill Head

wasdale-4-104Still climbing out of Wasdale towards Illgill Head

wasdale-5-105Greendale Bridge where Joss hands out drinks and encouragement in equal measures

wasdale-7-106Mosedale with Wasdale beyond

wasdale-10-107Looking back to Kirk Fell with Ennerdale beyond

wasdale-12-108Starting the descent from Great Gable

Pauline was at a couple of places on the route and captured Ben Abdelnoor (who won) and a number of Bowland club mates.





By Sty Head I had very little left in my legs and the long drag to Esk Hause and on to Scafell Pike was pretty unappealing but having got that far ……

wasdale-13-109Ali with Great Gable and Green Gable in the distance

wasdale-14-110Esk Hause Shelter with David Powell-Thompson (grey hat), Ali and another marshal

wasdale-15-111Esk Pike and Bowfell

After Esk Hause there is still plenty left to do and it is time to put away my camera and concentrate on getting over the rough ground and down the final descent. Fortunately Pauline and Mark and moved round to Lingmell and so the final photos are hers.

20110709-wasdale-55Lingmell and the start of the final descent

20110709-wasdale-52About to start the steep drop back down into Wasdale and the finish

Sitting down in the sunshine, trying to recover and a little removed from the prize giving I was more than surprised to hear my name being called, more than once, – initially I was fairly certain there must be another “Ian” and look round only to realise everyone else was looking round – at me. Stu Stoddart captured the moment when Joss presented my first ever race prize – 2nd V55. A grand day out, indeed!


Finally, huge thanks to the marshals and, this year in particular to the last minute race organiser Rhys Findlay-Robinson.


  1. Woo hoo! Many congratulations.
    Surely you are not old enough to be in the MV55 class ;)

    Lovely Shots of Wasdale too.

  2. Well done Ian on the prize! Brilliant photos as ever

  3. Nice one Ian, you'd have won your category if you weren't trying to be David Bailey! :-)


  4. Well done Ian, a great result and the usual nice set of pictures.
    I got my first race prize at 55 too. Be warned, it can be a life-changing experience!

  5. Old Runningfox - thanks, although I suspect it was more due a Championship Race in Wales on the same day rather than just my own performance. Nevertheless, you can only beat those who turn up :)

  6. Congratulations Ian. Surely you are not old enough to be a MV55. You dont look old enough.

    Lovely Wasdale photos.

  7. Thanks Steve - don't look old enough? Could have been a V65 from the way I looked when I got back to Brackenclose!

  8. not many prizewinners have time to take photos on the way round too! Great pics and I really enjoyed running some of the way with you

  9. Thanks ali. I enjoyed your company and hope to see you at Borrowdale. Please let me know if you would like a copy of any of the photos, without my copyright notice.