Paul sets new record for 23 before Tea

WE were delighted when ultra-runner and holder of records Paul Wilson announced he was going to tackle the 23 before Tea challenge on the fells around Elterwater. Here’s his account of how he broke the record on Thursday October 14:

“I first heard about this challenge last year when Dave Cumins ran the route to celebrate his 50th birthday. Dave has done a lot of fell running in the Lake District and if he thought that this route was worth running then it must be good.

On the summit of Pike o Blisco

Dave had come up with a 12-hour schedule which had been posted on the hostel’s website so I used that as a guide. I’d decided to run the route solo and unsupported, so that I didn’t need to organise any support and could enjoy a day out on the fells running alone.

To make sure I got back at a decent time I set off at 5am. Even so, due to limited daylight at this time of year, it meant running the first two fells in the dark, and it only got light as I started ascending Wetherlam.

The first half of the route is fairly tough going then, once you get up onto the Langdale Pikes, it’s fast running down to Grasmere. Then comes a big ascent up Seat Sandal then Fairfield before descending again to Rydal. After which there’s only one fell left, Loughrigg, which makes for quite interesting route finding as you get near the top as there’s paths going in all directions.

I made it back to the hostel in 12 hrs 41 mins. I had an ace day out on the fells and really enjoyed the route.

My summit times were

Black Fell  42m

Holme Fell 1hr 33m

Wetherlam 2hrs 44m

Swirl How 3hrs 08m

Great Carrs 3hrs 13m

Cold Pike 4hrs 00m

Pike o Blisco 4hrs 23m

Lingmoor 5hrs 18m

Loft Crag 6hrs 35m

Pike o Stickle 6hrs 43m

Harrison Stickle 6hrs 57m

Pavey Ark 7hrs 08m

Thunacar Knott 7hrs 13m

Sergeant Man 7hrs 29m

Blea Rigg 7hrs 55m

Silver How 8hrs 21m

Seat Sandal 9hrs 47m

Fairfield 10hrs 18m

Great Rigg 10hrs 30m

Stone Arthur 10hrs 42m

Heron Pike 11hrs 09m

Nab Scar 11hrs 20m

Loughrigg 12 hrs 21m

Elterwater hostel 12 hrs 41m ”

Back in time for tea!

Congratulations to Paul, and we look forward to many others now having a go at the route. We also think it’s possible to break into two or three sections, for walkers or less speedy runners, who want to come back and stay at the hostel overnight in between. Let us know if you’re coming to have a go; there will be a brew and some home-made flapjack at the finish.