Tag Archives: Elterwater Hostel

23 Before Tea fell running record broken again

6th June 2022

After just nine months, the record for the 23 Before Tea fell running challenge has fallen again.

Richard Bolton completed the 23-summit circuit, starting and ending here at Elterwater Hostel, in 12 hours and 18 minutes, beating Paul Wilson’s October 2021 effort by 23 minutes.

The circuit, taking in 23 Wainwright peaks in a continuous loop, climbing nearly 17,000 feet, from Elterwater, was originally conceived by the owners of Elterwater Hostel as a shorter, possibly more achievable, homage to Paul Tierney’s record-breaking Wainwright round in 2019. They used the map of Paul’s Wainwrights’ route (devised by Steve Birkinshaw, the previous record holder), placing the hostel at the centre, to find a circular route which could be done in a day, and be back in time for tea.

The first to complete the round was Little Dave Cummins, in a time of 14 hours and 50 minutes, before Paul Wilson (chairman of the Bob Graham Club) took a whopping 2 hours and 9 minutes off the time last year.

Richard, based in Warrington and a member of Pennine Fell Runners, had intended to do a Paddy Buckley Round, Snowdonia’s fell-running challenge, on the double Bank Holiday weekend. But a series of niggling injuries led to cancellation of those plans. “But I was still keen to do a good challenging round.  I’d seen the 23 Before Tea article in The Fellrunner magazine the previous year and knew that Paul Wilson – whom I’d met a few years ago on Bob Graham support duties – had completed it last year.”

Record-breaker Richard

The weather looked favourable, so he set off just after 5am on the Saturday, on a still clear morning that promised to turn into a hot day. Richard says: “It’s a really fantastic route that kicks off with the minor tops of Black Fell and Holme Fell, both of which I’d visited only once before while mopping-up remaining Wainwrights a while back.  From there, the pull-ups get bigger onto the well-trodden Coniston, Langdale and Fairfield ranges.

“There’s lots of climbing!  The direct, and very steep, route up to Loft Crag from behind the Old Dungeon Ghyll, was new to me, as was the brilliant descent off Silver Howe into Grasmere.

“Although I’d stashed some supplies at Langdale and Grasmere, I was running on empty by Fairfield and pretty much melting in the late afternoon sun by the time I dropped down into Rydal.

“I really recommend the route, another great addition to the mid-distance Lakeland routes, a great fitness test ahead of one of the big rounds, and a great day out in the fells.”

Elterwater Hostel have offered a free two-night stay to anyone who can break the record, and Christine Thomas, one of the hostel owners, said: “We are delighted that runners are now taking on this challenge, and absolutely thrilled that Richard has set a new record. We’re looking forward to hosting Richard when he takes up his free nights with us – he’s definitely earned them!

“If anyone else wants to have a go let us know and we’ll have a cup of tea, or a pint, ready when you finish.”

For more information call 015394 37245 or see https://www.elterwaterhostel.co.uk/

Richard’s split times:

Elterwater Hostel
Black Fell 00:38
Holme Fell 01:21
Wetherlam 02:30
Swirl How 02:52
Great Carrs 02:56
3 Shires 03:11
Cold Pike 03:42
Pike o Blisco 04:04
Lingmoor 04:56
ODG 05:26
Loft Crag 06:19
Pike o Stickle 06:24
Harrison Stickle 06:40
Pavey Ark 06:51
Thunacar Knott 06:58
Sergeant Man 07:14
Blea Rigg 07:34
Silver How 08:07
Grasmere 08:29
Seat Sandal 09:31
Fairfield 10:00
Great Rigg 10:12
Stone Arthur 10:25
Heron Pike 10:56
Nab Scar 11:05
Rydal 11:23
Loughrigg 11:58
Elterwater hostel 12:18




Five things to do with conkers

30th September 2019

Conkers, the symbol of autumn, and a great game for generations of children (and the not so young).

But what else can you do with the fruits of the horse chestnut tree? There’s plenty of them around this autumn, and right now they’re just starting to fall. It’s fun to collect them, to take the shiny brown nut from inside the spiky shell.

And they have been used for centuries, for many different purposes.







Here’s our top five.

DRILL a hole through the centre, but instead of threading string through and bashing your friends’ conkers, paint them with bright colours, use coloured wool to thread through, and use them – eventually – as decorations on the Christmas tree.

IF moths are a problem in your winter wardrobe, it helps to place a bowl of fresh conkers near your clothes. The horse chestnut seeds contain a chemical called triterpenoid saponin that wards off pests and they have been proved to be a moth-repellent as they dry out and emit the chemical.

MAKE jewellery, chunky bracelets or necklaces by threading them on to plaited, coloured wool. Use them naturally for a bold, modern effect, or spray silver or gold to add a bit of bling.

MAKE a decorative feature out of a tall glass vase filled with conkers, or a bowl of them surrounding a chunky candle.

PLAY table boules. Put down a long strip of lining paper marked out in boundary lines, and mark each player’s conkers with a different coloured paint. They’re not round, so they won’t roll in a straight line.

But actually, nothing beats the fun of the most basic game, bashing conkers against each other till one breaks…and an ultimate champion is revealed. We know for certain that soaking conkers in vinegar and then baking in a hot oven hardens them for competition. But is this cheating? The verdict is yours….

Let’s play conkers

Welcome to the bottom bunk club

11th September 2019

This is not an age-related offer, but……

We know that life can get a bit more challenging as you get older.

We know that the young at heart, of all ages, love coming to stay here at the hostel. They love our home cooking with a glass of wine or good local ale available, and they love coming away with friends for a few days of companionship in this beautiful location.

But when they need to get up in the night to go to the loo (maybe a little more often than in their youth), the climb back to the top bunk can be more, well, challenging, than it once was.

Which is why we’ve launched the Bottom Bunk Club.

This is aimed at those groups who are happy to share a room but fight to avoid the bed ladder.

So here’s the deal. Get together a group of at least ten people, and the whole hostel can be yours for a mid-week break (Monday to Thursday) in November or December.

You need to book a minimum of two nights, but we’re offering a great bargain: bed, breakfast and dinner for just £80 per person for TWO nights. That’s with sole use of the hostel for your party…and no bunk ladders to climb.

front door
Welcome to Elterwater
Dining room
Time for dinner

Our dormitories are small ones, so it’s just three to share at most. There are good hot showers and a great drying room if you are back from a day on the hills and the cosy sitting and dining area for scrabble, reading, knitting or parlour games, if you prefer to stay ‘home’. For dinner you might be offered homemade steak pie or mushroom stroganoff, followed by Nick’s fabulous sticky toffee pudding; and the next morning there will be a Cumbrian full cooked breakfast available.

So, whatever your age, however your group is made up, book the Bottom Bunk Club for a great deal. Call us on 01539437245 or email bookings@elterwaterhostel.co.uk for more details.

Bunk beds
Avoid the ladder

Easter egg treasure hunt

27th March 2019

An Easter egg treasure hunt on the lower hills around our hostel will start in Easter week.

Starting Monday April 15, on every day leading up to Easter Sunday, we will publish a clue here on our website.

The clues will lead treasure seekers onto the lower fells around our village of Elterwater in the Langdale valley, and the locations will reveal a voucher to be exchanged for a prize egg at the hostel.

Follow the clues around Elterwater to find the Easter treasure

The treasure hunt is an extension of a successful scheme which has been arranged in and around the grounds of the hostel in previous years.

“All ages love going on a treasure hunt,” said hostel manager Nick Owen. “We wanted to add a bit of extra adventure this year and open up the competition to all visitors to the Lakes. And everyone likes chocolate.”

He added: “The clues might be cryptic, or contain a map reference, but the locations will all be in safe and easily reached places.”

Start looking out for the clues on the hostel’s website blog on Monday April 15. https://www.elterwaterhostel.co.uk/news/

Elterwater hostel

Walkers who carry the Wainwright bible

13th September 2018

There’s a bible that many of our visitors carry with them on the fells, and that will be one of the Wainwright guides.

It’s a good analogy because the guidebooks have sold in biblical proportions, more than two million of them since the first of the seven-book Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells series was published in 1955.

Wainwright map

Map of the Wainwright summits

Visiting all 214 Wainwrights is a common form of peak bagging. They are one man’s personal choice of mountains over 1000ft in height, and while there are other lists – our neighbour Bill Birkett has 541 of them, which ultra-devotees set out to tick off – doing the Wainwrights has become part of our language here.


So it was with great pleasure that we recently welcomed Mark Richards to stay here at Elterwater Hostel. Mark was a great friend of Wainwright and is author of his own Fellranger guides. One of our staff team, Pete Savin, was walking a route with him for his guidebook update.

Mark Richards

Mark Richards

“I have very fond memories of AW, his passion for fish and chips, his enthusiasm for new projects, an ‘infection’ we shared. We even started planning a joint guide to the (Welsh) Cambrian Way,” Mark says. But as the older man’s ability to walk was faltering, he concentrated instead on a book of Scottish Mountain Drawings. Mark developed his own series of guides and many other books including Great Mountain Days in the Lake District.

There are registers kept by the Long Distance Walkers Association and the  Wainwright Society of completers, but many more people just do it for the love of the hills and their own sense of satisfaction. Some are more beloved than others; everyone is fond of Catbells and Haystacks, but few will find a kind word to say about boggy Armboth Fell.

The first continuous round of all 214 Wainwrights was completed by Alan Heaton of Clayton le  Moors Harriers, a running club in Lancashire, between 29 June and 8 July 1985 starting and finishing at Keswick Moot Hall, with a total time of 9 days and 16 hours. Joss Naylor set a new record of 7 days 1 hour between 26 June and 2 July 1986. This was beaten by Steve Birkinshaw between 14 and 20 June 2014, who completed the round in 6 days and 13 hours.

Alfred Wainwright lived and worked in Kendal for most his life but he was born into a working class family in the Lancashire mill town of Blackburn and experienced the difficult times of the 1920s and 30s. Being a bright lad, however, he worked hard at improving his position, taking night school classes and later correspondence courses to qualify as a local government accountant. This eventually enabled him in 1941 to obtain a position in the council office in Kendal, just where he had wanted to be since taking a holiday with a cousin walking in the Lake District .

Langdale Pikes

The Langdale Pikes, favourites of Wainwright-baggers

After his move to Kendal walking in the Lakeland fells occupied as much of his spare time as possible, becoming his obsession. His view of the Lake District is clearly expressed in the opening sentence of his first guide: “Surely there is no other place in this whole wonderful world quite like Lakeland.”

We won’t argue with that.