NYMAC Lakes weekend

A weekend away running, eating (and for some, drinking) in the Lake District … Hmmm … that doesn’t need much thought does it.

This is a bi-annual running (and for some, drinking!) club weekend which is arranged for May and November.

It’s generally two nights – Friday and Saturday but you can do the one night if you can’t make both.

We stay at Patterdale Hall in Glenridding which is just a stones throw from Ullswater – the second largest lake in the Lake District. It’s an ‘outdoor adventure learning centre’ and its a superb place to stay. It costs £93 for the two nights and we pretty much have the place to ourselves. The rooms are dormitory style with four bunk beds. All bedding is provided, you get a packed lunch Saturday and Sunday … breakfasts … A meal on the Saturday evening (THE best food!) …. tea and coffee facilities …. a fantastic drying room  … all you need to take is your own gear and should you want some (most do!), alcohol. It’s little wonder its a very popular club weekend.

Day 1 – Friday.

I took the Friday off work so I wasn’t rushing around and it meant I could help with getting the kids to school/nursery. When you’re going on a weekend running club jolly and leaving your wife with the kids you do what you can to help last minute 😉

I’d opted to drive and after picking two others up who live nearby, we were on our way for midday.

Arrived, rooms sorted out … bags chucked in .. straight out with the other early arrivals for an afternoon run to Aira Force which is a National Trust waterfall about 4 miles along the side of Ullswater.

The Hall doesn’t provide food on the Friday evening so it was a night in the pub for us all.

Day 2 – Saturday

Breakfast discussions centre around peoples plans for the day. With there being so many of us there are always various options on the table. Anyone fancy a Long run? A Shorter Run? A bike ride (some do take their bikes), A walk up Helvellyn? A day relaxing and not running? All you gotta do is make a choice.

I decided on the long run .. the weather was absolutely glorious – hot, bright sunshine and blue sky .. it’d have been a shame not to make the most of it.

Time to get kitted up and meet in the courtyard…

There was fifteen of us for the long run although a few of them planned to stop at the halfway point of Pooley Bridge and get the boat back to Glenridding. We left Patterdale and made our way to the southern end of Ullswater to pick up the ‘Ullswater Way’ path that we’d stay on all the way to Pooley Bridge.

This first 6 miles of the run is on a quite remote, fairly undulating, rocky path which takes you to Howtown . As you leave Howtown the path takes you up onto the edge of the moorland (not particularly high) and from there you can continue along the moorland path or take a lower lakeside path which takes you through some farmland and on to a road that leads you into Pooley Bridge

Arriving at Pooley Bridge we had a ten minute stop for people to eat and top up their supplies in the shop before bidding farewell to the few runners who were taking the boat back.

The return leg on the western side of Ullswater proved to be much more challenging as the path led you away from the lake side and up into the surrounding fields.

It’s roughly 7 miles from Pooley Bridge back to Aira Force that we’d ran to the previous day. The path on this side of the lake takes you much higher up through woodland and across fields.

Spot the guy doing star jumps after legging it up the hill!

By the time we got back to Aira Force that we’d ran to the day before a few of us were feeling shattered so we walked the last couple of miles and finished a fantastic day out with an ice cream (chocolate of course) in Glenridding 🙂

That evening after a top notch meal provided by the Hall, a few beers and a little competitive general knowledge quiz we all wandered down to the pub for a few more drinks then back to the Hall for late night cups of tea.

Day 3 – Sunday

Sunday = go home day but not before we’ve squeezed another run in 🙂 Thankfully I didn’t drink too much so I was feeling pretty chipper. Two options this morning – a short, slightly hilly run or a much hiller, longer run. I favoured the shorter option having ran 20 miles the previous day but somehow when some of the lads on the longer route asked me which run I was doing I found myself saying ‘I’m coming with you’ …

After a mile or so we started climbing … quite a steep climb too!


Obviously you need a photograph at the top and it’s also a good excuse for a five minute breather …

What goes up must come down they say and in this case it was much sooner than I’d expected. After the climb we had a short section running along a track on the top before we reached a narrow, (very) rocky gully descent that proved to be very technical and would leave you just one badly placed step away from a broken ankle.

Barring another small hilly climb this track led all the way down to the Ullswater way and within a couple of miles we were back at the Hall to pack up and get on our way.

As weekends go this has got to be up there as one of my favourites. I will probably skip the November trip (too close to Xmas, need the money etc etc) but I’ll definitely be going back in May.


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