Tag Archives: fell running

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




The best family day out in the Lakes

15th July 2019

We’re looking forward to Ambleside Sports next week,  the best family day out in the Lakes, when we will see young fell runners competing for the Elterwater Independent Hostel trophies.

We stepped in last year with prizes for the new “under-nines” category in the hugely popular Guides races, and we saw some fantastic performances from champions of the future.

Ambleside Sports is one of the highlights of the year in this part of the world. The gala atmosphere, the stalls and side shows, the craft tent and the children’s rides all combine to make this one of the best day’s entertainment anywhere in the country.

Raffle tickets will be on sale throughout the day, and one of the prizes will bring you here; it’s a two-night stay in one of our ensuite rooms!

But the emphasis, obviously, is on Sport. We are very happy to encourage youngsters to take up running and to see their efforts rewarded. Many of our guests take their first steps onto the fells – walking or running – while staying with us, so this is a great way for us to be involved. The Guides races are easily viewed by spectators as they follow a direct course up and down the fell side.

Ambleside sports: the best family day out

The Sports day is always the last Thursday in July, so this year will be held on July 25. The first event of the day is the major fell race, the Heart of the Lakes Rydal Round, a nine mile race around one of Lakeland’s best known routes, the Fairfield Horseshoe.

You have to be a pretty serious walker to even consider walking this magnificent route, never mind running it. We hope that the juniors who start in our race might go on to take part in this and other classic Lakeland fell races.

Marjorie Blackburn, chair of the Ambleside Sports committee, said: “There’s been a massive demand for a race for the youngsters thanks to the coaching efforts of our local club, Ambleside AC. We are delighted that our friends at Elterwater Hostel stepped in and are making it happen again this year. Their support means we can offer five trophies to the boys and five to the girls.”

Manager Nick presenting the trophy last year

Twenty three before tea

8th July 2019

Twenty three Wainwrights and back in time for tea…could this be the new challenge for fellwalkers and runners?

When we published our map of Wainwrights within reach of the hostel, after Paul Tierney’s record-breaking run round ALL of them, our list of 23 caught the imagination of many Lakes lovers on social media.

Not content with eyeing-up the list for eventual completion – and it IS a rather random list, based on an oblong area of the map with our hostel at the centre – they started discussing how the 23 tops could be linked together to form a new challenge.

The consensus was that the tops could best be divided into two loops, returning at lunchtime to the hostel for a break after loop one before setting off on the second.

Have a hearty breakfast at the hostel and be back in time for tea!

Loop one would be:

  • Sergeant Man
  • Thunacar Knott
  • Pavey Ark
  • Harrison Stickle
  • Pike o Stickle
  • Loft Crag
  • Pike o Blisco
  • Lingmoor
  • Black Fell
  • Holme Fell
  • Wetherlam
  • Swirl How
  • Great Carrs

And loop two would be:

  • Helm Crag
  • Tarn Crag
  • Blea Rigg
  • Silver How
  • Loughrigg
  • Nab Scar
  • Heron Pike
  • Stone Arthur
  • High Pike
  • Low Pike

It’s illogical, perhaps, to omit the rest of the Fairfield Horseshoe, or the Old Man of Coniston, but if we stepped back to photograph the map and include those, then Elterwater moves from the centre. So for now, until someone tries it, that’s the list as we originally published it.

Online discussion then centred on a name for the challenge. The Elterwater Endeavour and the Elterwander were among the suggestions, but our favourite is “23 before tea”, with its implication that ALL could, perhaps, be done in a day. And when someone DOES have a go, we shall most certainly have the kettle on for tea when you get back.

So now we hand the challenge over to you. Try it out. Test each loop, or test the summits in your own favoured order, and then let us know. What time did it take? What was the total mileage? Did you have fun? And do you take sugar in your tea?

Paul Tierney’s new record for completing all the Wainwrights in the Lake District has captured the attention of the world. (BBC news / ITV news)

It’s a remarkable new record, six days six hours and five minutes to run over 214 Lakeland fells, breaking Steve Birkinshaw’s record by seven hours.

We took a photo of the map that Tierney’s support team was using during his challenge, a map specially created for them by Harvey Maps based on Birkinshaw’s route. The photo placed Elterwater at its centre, and then we traced the route lines to the south, west, north and north east, and listed the summits within that box.

The map with Elterwater at the centre
Paul Tierney in Langdale during his epic run: our route will take you to the head of this valley

Trophies presented to the youngest runners

6th August 2018

We were delighted to present the trophies recently to the winners of a new race at Ambleside Sports…for runners under the age of nine!

When we came on board to sponsor the newest event at our oldest and most famous Lakeland traditional sports we had no idea how popular it was going to be.

The junior races have always attracted big entries, thanks to the efforts of the local club Ambleside AC, the local primary schools in Ambleside and Grasmere, and the British Open Fell Running Association.

So when there was a request to include an even younger age category, we hoped that there would be enough runners turn up on the day to make it happen.

And what did happen was an astonishing turnout of 40 youngsters whose enthusiasm for charging quickly up a steep and rocky hillside on a very hot day had the huge crowds cheering. One of the parents told us they were very grateful for the lower age category because it gave the younger runners a chance of  a prize because they couldn’t compete equally in the older category.

Runners came from all over the north of England. We were very proud of all of them.

The first three boys were Jamie Dent, Josef Tancrel and Cooper Wadsworth, with Tom Ashworth in 8th place the first Ambleside runner.

The first three girls were Isla Ball, Lucy Bell and Isla Jebb. Our manager Nick was there to hand over the trophies, and we look forward to another exciting race day next summer.


Many thanks to Dave Woodhead for the photos.