Last year saw the inaugural event around the newly established Ullswater Way, with 180 people enjoy some, or all of the 24 mile route. Everyone had a great time, although some found it a bit tougher than they imagined as not all of it is nice flat lakeside trails, as some of the media photos portray! Suffice to say, those who choose to get a 'Steamer' back down the Lake were both wise and reward by great views of Ullswater.
This year we are repeating the event, but with a few tweaks and a change of direction.
For 2017, we'll be going clockwise around the lake instead, so if you 'only did the first half .... and it was amazing' last year, now you can do the same again and do the other half, and it's a win-win!
We are also offering two options - Ullswater Way 20 or Ullswater Challenge 24. Both routes share the same route to Glenridding at around halfway, and then they split. The UW20 route stays low and uses the 'new NT' lakeside path to Aira Force Cafe. This is by far the easier option as it's flatter and very much parallel with the road and lakeshore.
The UC24 will head up to Greenside and over into Glencoyne, traversing on the higher level fell path to Dockray. This includes the stunning views down the lake and as well as some 'technical single-track' that many will enjoy. The UC24 route will continue over Gowbarrow summit, and join the UW20 route at The Old Shoot Lodge.
For an idea of the routes take a look at the excellent FoUW website, which gives you some general maps and information on the heritage and artworks.
The start and finish will be in Pooley Bridge. You can start anytime between 8am and 10am, so no mass start, 'elbows out' or traffic worrying malarkey.
The exact start arrangements will be confirmed in the next few weeks as I'm awaiting confirmation as to useage of the Memorial Hall and/or maybe the Sun Inn, as last year, but it will be somewhere in the village. All will be confirmed in due course, plus you'll get 'Final Details' by email via the entries system of course. Entries are already open and places are limited, so please don't miss out. If you are undecided on which route is for you, don't worry as you can 'edit your entry' at a later date and change from one to the other. We will also allow you to do this at the Glenridding CP during the event if needed.
The Ullswater Way route is waymarked with the UW 'roundel' shown above. We'll be adding a few small orange NAV4 arrows and a few safety tech staff at key points, but it is an easy route to follow. We'll give out carefully written route notes (large text and accurate) and have commissioned a special UW&C map. No-one should fear getting lost!
Is it a race?
No, not really, but more of a time trial for those whom speed and time matters.
We take our responsibilities seriously, so naturally we will time you out and back in again, so everyone will have a 'finisher's time'. And we'll be accounting for you at the various Checkpoints around the routes. Everyone is welcome, walkers, runners, ramblers, as long as you are all tolerant of each other and aim to have a good day out.
All we ask is that those who are slowest and want and need more go early soon after 8am, whilst the speedy runners go much later around 10am.
Why? We'll it is logical and spreads everyone out. It also makes it all a lot easier for us to manage as the finishing 'window' isn't so long, and generally open shorter hours. This means a lot for the volunteers helping you all day.
We keep things simple, clean and green. Don't expect unnecessary 'bling, music or a fanfare at the start or finish. Do expect a great day out, plenty of fun, banter, brews, cake and...
There will be shuttle bus with pick ups from local villages and venues, including Penrith Station and town centre. We are hoping to resource free parking in Penrith with shuttle bus service to the start. There will also be secure bike parking at the event venue - ride a few miles from home or your B&B?
Checkpoints are likely to be at Howtown, Side Farm / Patterdale, Glenridding, Dockray and Aira Force, Watermillock or Bennetthead. Each will supply a minimum of cold drinks, plus some hot drinks and tasty nibbles. You'll be able to fill your water bottles at each checkpoint and we'll be providing you with special souvenir mug at registration for you to use on route.
A year or so on, the basic route is now well established and the Friends of Ullswater Way have done a remarkable job of installing eight art structures around the route, with more planned. We will be donating some money to continue the work and to help with general footpath maintenance, but you can also add optional donations to Fix-the-Fells and National Trust that you can 'tick' when signing up.
Ok, I think that's just about it for now; I'll write updates as and when, and 'Final Details' will be sent to all participants a week before the event. Check out our facebook event page to share FAQ's, comments, offer lifts or accommodation or whatever. This is a low-key, community led event so please get involved.
Want to help out?
We do need so volunteers to make the day work smoothly. Helping at a checkpoint is an excellent way to put something back in to the event. Or, perhaps you can help before with offering a checkpoint venue, minibus or... whatever.
If you can please get in touch with me, Joe via email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks, Joe.