Anniversary Waltz Fell Race Report

anniversary18.04.15 – 11.5 miles, 1200 m ascent
Another Saturday, another fell race in the lakes and another journey over on my tod! Conditions were in contrast to the previous week, sunny, warm and calm! Like last week it was just myself and Phil Pearson representing Saltwell. This is a classic race which takes on the Newlands Horseshoe and the summits of Robinson, Hindscarth, Dale Head, High Spy and Cat Bells.
The race start was slightly changed this year to further along one of the narrow lanes which avoids some of the ascent along the lanes at the start but means a longer run in at the finish. Conditions were really warm now and I felt a bit sluggish at the start with the first mile and a half on narrow lanes. After this the route goes off road with a steady climb to the foot of the first mountain of Robinson. I took the opportunity to shove down an energy gel to try and perk me up and this seemed to work as I felt relatively comfortable up the initial steep climb up Robinson which involves some scrambling. The gradient then eases off allowing a nice run over the summit. The views were stunning with most of Lakeland in view and also over the Solway Firth and Irish Sea.
From Robinson there is a nice grassy descent before a short sharp ascent to the summit of Hindscarth. I felt ok now and the run from Hindscarth to Dale Head is pretty level and fast. From Dale Head there is a very steep descent to the tarn below where I took the opportunity to take a further gel and throw cold water from a nearby stream over my head. The water felt lovely!
There is now a steady climb up to High Spy which as its name suggests has magnificent views over Borrowdale. On previous races I have felt very tired on this section but today felt quite steady. The route from High Spy goes over an undulating ridge with views over Derwentwater on one side and the Newlands Valley on the other. This section normally seems to take ages but today passed quite quickly and before long I was on the short scramble up Cat Bells and down the other side and along the slightly longer run in to the finish.
A beautiful day to be out in the fells and a pleasing time of 2 hours 15 mins (75th out of 191)-almost 30 mins better than my previous best! Phil went even better-1 hour 57 minutes in 22nd place.
Iain Armstrong