It feels like I’ve been on quite a few mini trips recently. Summed up by a comment on my Facebook picture ‘Do you ever keep still? Or are there three of you dotted about the country :D’

After a pretty good week at work and a well needed drop back week in training, I was off to the Lakes, with a pit-stop at Lancaster to pick my friend up, for a jam packed long weekend in Keswick.

After driving through the seasons, we arrived in a sunny(ish) Keswick, and walked straight down to the lake to see the beautiful place in which we had come to. However, this was very short lived as I had been up since 4 that morning so was starting to wilt.


It was a solid lie in until 7:50 for me this morning, which would turn out to be the only one of the whole trips. I had decided to do my long run in the morning rather than the afternoon and where better to do it than a run around Derwent water? So light breakfast and a small coffee later, I headed out the door towards the Lake.

The first 5 miles were somewhat undulating with some steep hills thrown in to add to the challenge. But as I turned the corner to run along the other side, the other side the proper hills began. I can tell they were hard because not only were my legs crying a little, but I was getting several weird looks from passers-by.

Honestly though, I thoroughly enjoyed the run, after all when it comes to hills I am in my element and the views around the Lake were beautiful.

My friend had been for a slightly shorter explore so had been waiting restlessly for my return. I barely had time to shower before we were back out of the B&B on the search for some lunch. This then turned into going into every single outdoor shop in Keswick and let me assure you there are LOTS! Being me, I got into conversation with one of the sales assistants in Blacks about my morning run. He looked at me and exclaimed ‘you ran up Catbells?’ I didn’t know I had at the time but turns out this is no mean feat.

Post shopping (somehow, we both managed not to buy anything, result) we headed back to the room to get ready for the planned afternoon swim. By this point the wind had really picked up and the rain had set in. While I don’t recall the logic behind the decision, we chose to swim in Buttermere lake rather than Derwent. The drive to the lake other than being long, was quite unnerving in the rain, especially with the manic holiday makers rushing to get back.











After finally finding somewhere to park, and changing into our wetsuits (in the car), we braced the storm that was brewing outside. The wind was so blustery the Lake looked like the sea, and the thought of getting in wasn’t overly pleasant.

Turns out it was freezing cold as well and I got ice cream head as soon as I started swimming. I was on my way back to the shore to complain to Toby about how cold it was, when he just ignored me and swam straight passed me. Later he told me that he was worried I was going yo get out and he knew if he started swimming I wouldn’t be able to get out… Logic sounds fair.

The swim was brilliant in the end, while it was incredibly choppy, the water was beautifully clear and the water I did manage to swallow tasted like something out of a bottle of spring water. After 30 minutes Toby got out and being aware of how cold it was out there I only did another 20 minutes before joining. Not quite the iron swim I had planned but I didn’t want to leave him waiting around. I like to think it balances out though, because my run was 30 minutes longer than it should have been. Dinner was well deserved that evening that’s for sure!


Now it was no secret the weather wasn’t set to be very nice this weekend, so waking up to wind and rain didn’t come as the biggest shock. Luckily, I had bought my cyclocross bike with me, so saved my nice bike from getting dirty again. It also meant I had some good brakes in the wet. Only downside, it is significantly heavier and had quite unforgiving gears, just what you want up the hills.

Due to the weather I had decided to play it safe with my choice of route, after all Toby couldn’t drive to come and get me if it all went wrong. So, I did Whinlatter from both directions and then did a big loop up to Cockermouth. Fabulous amount of climbing that’s for sure. To sum up this ride:

After a shower and some lunch, we decided to go and climb Skiddaw, word on the street the 6th highest peak in the UK. Now the weather wasn’t great at this point, but dressed and ready to go we set off to find the path. Somehow, I managed to forget to put a bra on and instant regret set over, especially when I couldn’t run down the mountain on the way back and just had to watch Toby disappear into the distance.

I can honestly say that the climb was one of the hardest I have ever done. Now there is a small chance my legs might have already been a bit tired by this point, but the gradient was insane and unlike Snowdon, didn’t ever seem to level off. After 4 miles of walking we had gained 2600ft and still weren’t at the top. At this point the wind was so strong I could barely keep my footing and we couldn’t see anything. There was a guy heading back down passed us, his bag flapping so loudly we initially thought it was a helicopter.

After making it to some metal looking cave we headed back down, admitting defeat something I don’t normally do. We caught the guy that had passed us up and I had a lovely stroll down the mountain with him while he told me all about the climb. Turns out where we stopped was called Lesser Man Cairn, one of the mini peaks.

That night we were both absolutely ravenous and I can’t remember the last time I ate dinner that fast.


Final day, another unplanned early start, and home time. But before we go, a last swim in Derwent water. A fantastic end to the weekend!

As always thanks for reading. For any of my regular readers, its 3 weeks to go until IRONMAN Wales now, please please please read my story and sponsor me:

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4 thoughts on “Weekend in the Lakes”

  1. Hi Rachel I did Catbells and Blancathra last month when staying just outside Keswick for the week. We were lucky to get a week of sunny weather which makes a huge difference in the Lakes. Had a laugh about the comment of “lots of outdoor shops” I sampled them all plus the New Balance shop. All the best for the Ironman. I’ve done some of the course when on holiday last year.

  2. Hi
    And thank you for giving us a peak into your world and challenge! I’ve very much enjoyed and enjoy watching people who take on these great challenges! You girl are something though I don’t know any I follow that radiate fun the joy of the challenge while I’m sure you have moments like who reach beyond, it’s a delight to see! And I’m very much looking forward to Ironman Wales which I know you will do well. I feel challenged myself by you!! Keep it up I’m sure your a spark in many life’s! Jim

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