10Peaks The Lakes 2017 – Ecological Briefing Notes

 

Ourea Events’ races are located in Britain’s greatest upland areas that often contain features of outstanding biodiversity value and importance. Occasionally, the features that provide this interest can be vulnerable to the wear and tear that may result from the passage of event participants. The risk of ecological damage is carefully assessed during early stages in the planning process for each event, when every effort is made to avoid sensitive ecological interest areas that could be disturbed by the event.

 

Classic Lakeland views worth preserving ©Tom Hecht

Classic Lakeland views worth preserving ©Tom Hecht

 

We are keen to encourage personal route selection choices by participants on our events to further avoid the risk of local ecological disturbance. This Ecological Briefing Note has been prepared for the 2017 10Peaks The Lakes™ event to identify key ecological interest features that contribute to the special character of the event area, with route selection comments to help minimise the risk of localized ecological disturbance.

 

The 2017 10Peaks The Lakes™ event area is located within the northern and central fells region of the Lake District National Park, an area of sedimentary and igneous geology comprising the Skiddaw Group of slates and mudstones in the north and distinctive Borrowdale Volcanic rocks within the central and southern parts of the event area. The character of the event area landscape is strongly influenced by glacial action, creating a variety of distinctive ice scoured valley systems with glacial moraine deposits on lower slopes and ice-shattered boulder fields on the highest mountains.

 

A variety of distinctive upland wildlife habitats and vegetation types are present within the 2017 10Peaks The Lakes™ event area. These include four extensive areas of International nature conservation importance, and 24 areas of National nature conservation importance. The majority of the Lakes 10 Peaks route will follow existing hill paths, helping to avoid the risk of disturbance to sites and features of special nature conservation interest. For localised situations where event participants might be required to cross areas of land not crossed by hill paths this ecological briefing note should support personal route choices that will avoid the risk of significant ecological disturbance. This ecological briefing note has also been produced to communicate the special upland environmental interest of the event area to enrich the experience of participating in the 2017 10Peaks The Lakes™ event.

 

Mickledore - highly trodden passage, from Broad Stand ©Tom Hecht

Mickledore – highly trodden passage, from Broad Stand ©Tom Hecht

 

  • Dry acid grassland is a widespread vegetation type within the event area, where centuries of livestock grazing has converted heather moorland to open grassland. These areas provide a relatively robust vegetation type that can generally withstand the trampling effects of hill running.

 

  • Extensive areas of dry acid grassland can include mosaics of other upland vegetation types such as blanket bog, heather-dominated heath vegetation and wet acid grassland creating areas of local vulnerability to a concentration of trampling by 10Peaks The Lakes™ participants. Upland vegetation mosaics can be of interest to ground-nesting birds, and as a consequence, care should be taken to avoid nest disturbance when crossing these areas. Use of existing paths where possible will help to minimise the risk of nest disturbance.

 

  • Blanket bog is an important feature at several locations within the event area. Some of these areas comprise degraded blanket bog where bog vegetation has been lost and peat erosion gulleys (peat hags) have formed where and the underlying peat is being eroded.

 

  • Disturbance of blanket bog by runners churning through peat hags has the potential to trigger further peat erosion by de-stabilising the peat surface. Wherever possible, route choices in these areas should try to link strips and patches of surviving moorland vegetation between the peat hags. These are often quite well-drained, providing areas of relatively robust vegetation and resistant to the trampling effects of running.

 

  • In contrast to areas of degraded blanket bog, some locations on plateau landforms within the event area contain patches of high quality blanket bog with an intact vegetation surface that lack eroding peat hags. These are typified by areas of wet heath vegetation interspersed with shallow pools, often associated with Sphagnum These areas often comprise a mosaic of vegetation types that will include slightly raised areas of better drained peat with drier heather moorland vegetation. These will be far less vulnerable to disturbance through vegetation damage by trampling and should ideally be selected when making route choices for running through these intact blanket bog areas.

 

  • Areas of wet acid grassland will be encountered where impeded drainage occurs within relatively level hill grassland areas or where groundwater emerges at the surface as seepages across more steeply sloping ground. Wet acid grassland can be of special nature conservation interest, in particular where groundwater seepages provide conditions for communities of specialised mosses, liverworts and other specialised plants. These vegetation types can be vulnerable to persistent disturbance effects of trampling and should ideally be avoided wherever possible by selecting routes that keep to dry acid grassland to by-pass wet grassland patches.

 

  • Wet acid grassland at groundwater seepages on steep ground can be difficult to avoid where they cross valuable contouring lines. Avoidance of these areas could involve a significant route change and deviation from the desired contour level. Despite this, it would be ideal if damage to seepage zone vegetation could be minimised, often located within shallow gulleys, re-entrant features or associated with ground level rock outcrops that cross steep slopes.

 

  • On hillsides, soil movements within dry and wet acid grassland areas can develop well-defined micro-terrace systems, often referred to as sheep walks or trods. These typically follow contours and can provide extremely useful running lines. Grassland vegetation at the edge of these micro-terraces is often friable and easily broken off. Care should be taken when using these features for contouring to avoid running on the edge of these terraces to minimise grassland damage.

 

  • Distinctive semi-natural woodland of very high conservation interest is present within the event area, including broadleaved woodland within steep-sloping ravine landforms associated with upland streams and rivers. Many of the broadleaved woodlands are of great importance for the mosses and liverworts that grow on tree trunks and boulders on the woodland floor. The microclimate of ravine woodlands often maintains vegetation comprising highly specialised mosses, liverworts and other plants.

 

  • The 10Peaks The Lakes™ route generally avoids the need to pass through or in close proximity to key areas of upland semi-natural woodland interest. Where the route passes small upland woodland fragments it is important that existing paths are used.

 

  • A variety of boulder field and scree habitats are present within the event area that are potentially vulnerable to disturbance. Ice-shattered boulder fields on the highest mountain tops often support fragile montane grass-heath plant communities of extremely high nature conservation value. Existing paths through these areas should be used to avoid disturbance of these communities. Blocky scree often supports specialised plant communities that utilise the microclimate of sheltered spaces within the scree. Sections of the Lakes 10 Peaks route that cross these features should use existing paths and should always minimise disturbance of scree blocks.

 

  • Specialised rock ledge plant communities are present at a number of locations within the event area. If 10Peaks The Lakes™ participants need to negotiate low rock outcrops great care should be taken to minimise disturbance of ledge vegetation.

 

  • The event area has a substantial number of lakes and hill tarns that are generally of considerable nature conservation interest. Often this interest is associated with complex and specialised vegetation areas that develop at the margins of both large lakes and smaller hill tarns. There is no need for 10Peaks The Lakes™ participants to enter any water body within the event area, and all lake and tarn margins should be avoided.

 

  • The event area contains a complex network of streams and rivers, some of which are potentially vulnerable to ecological disturbance from repeated crossing by runners. Some of the rivers within and surrounding the event area are covered by very high level nature conservation designations, including watercourses that could support internationally and nationally threatened animal species such as otter and water vole. In many cases, the nature conservation interest of these rivers and streams concerns use of the banksides by these animals. As a consequence, great care should be taken by 10Peaks The Lakes™ participants at stream crossings, preferring the use of bridges and stepping stones to minimise bank disturbance when entering and climbing out of stream channels.

 

 

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New Organising Team For 10Peaks™ In 2017

We are delighted to announce that a new organising team will be managing the 10Peaks™ events in 2017.

Our regular participants may have suspected that a change was coming with the delay to our usual 10th October entries opening date. This delay was unavoidable as the details of the transfer of ownership by co-owners Mark Bottomley and Paul Smith to Ourea Events was being finalised.

With events like the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™, the Cape Wrath Ultra™ and Skyline Scotland™, Shane Ohly and his team from Ourea Events have been steadily building a reputation for delivering world-class mountain running events in recent years, and this move puts the 10Peaks™ events in safe hands for the future.

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Ourea Events Race Director, Shane Ohly, at the Skyrunning World Series Dolomites Skyrace earlier in 2016.

Ourea Events Race Director, Shane Ohly, said, “I love the principle of the 10Peaks™ events; to visit the 10 highest mountains, with an emphasis on navigation and with a challenging yet beautiful route through the mountains. It is very much in keeping with my personal preference of the types of journeys I like to undertake in the hills.” He added, “The 10Peaks™ courses and format are rock solid, and we have no intention of changing these fundamental details of the event. During 2017, we plan to deliver very similar excellent events to those which Mark and Paul have organised in previous years.”

Mark Bottomley said, “The events have become such an important part of our lives that it is extremely hard to let them go! The history behind the Lakes race is incredibly personal to Paul, and the Brecon race was my creation, so we both have a real bond with them. BUT, the ever increasing demands of our day jobs mean that we cannot give the events our proper attention, so we had to seek a successor. It was an obvious choice for us about who to approach to take 10Peaks™ over, as the main priority was to hand over to someone that had the skills and experience to manage the events to at least the same standard that we had always strived for. It was all about finding a safe pair of hands that would continue with the same ethos and energy that we had. Having raced a few of Shane’s events before, I knew Shane operated in a similar fashion and created events that were similar in style to ours.”

Also, there will be some minor changes to the events as the new team become fully engrossed in the organisational challenge. For example, only solo entries are possible* and the mandatory kit list has already been changed: Survival Blankets are out, Survival Bags are in.

*Just accepting solo entries is for results and entry-system clarity. We still actively encourage participants to team up with others and create informal groups along the way!

The price for the Brecon Beacon event has been increased to match The Lakes event, and naturally GPS tracking has been introduced at the Brecon Beacons event, as this was the reason for the price difference.

The dates for the 2017 10Peaks™ events have now been confirmed:

• Lake District 10Peaks: Saturday 24th June 2017
• Brecon Beacons 10Peaks: Saturday 9th September 2017

Entries for both events are now open

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If you have previously volunteered at one of the 10Peaks™ events and would like to stay involved, you will be very welcome. Please fill out the volunteer application form.

 

10 Peaks – The Return by Simon Franklin

It had been 3 years since I ran the 10 Peaks Long race for the first time. A 24 hour challenge taking in the 10 highest mountains in the Lakes, it was the biggest thing I’d done up to that point and I really enjoyed it in 2013, taking 21hr 30min to finish it in the early morning darkness. It’s approximately 50 miles, but with 15,000ft of ascent and a lot of rough terrain and route finding.

That time I had joined up with two lads who had a readymade cheerleading team and we walked in the last 20 miles or so, which included a long flattish section back to Keswick from Great Gable and a single climb up and down Skiddaw. After a few larger challenges since I thought I fancied having another go and hoped this time to go a bit quicker with the benefit of more experience especially in climbing.

A questionable choice of accommodation overlooking the market square and the Moot Hall at Keswick enabled us to run out on the start of a friend’s Bob Graham on Friday evening.

10-Peaks-Simon-Franklin

Friday night leg stretch ©Carol Morgan

Unfortunately the room’s positioning also meant that we were still being kept awake by drunk people in the square when our alarm went off at 2:30am on Saturday morning.

The race starts with a coach drive to the bottom of Helvellyn at Swirls car park and at 4am we were off and heading up and above the midge clouds. As the sun rose behind us and set the tops of the fells out to the west on fire, we got the first peak and 3,000ft of ascent out of the way and then the first bit of route choice arrived.

The race has 2 out of bounds areas and the summits have to be done in a certain order but this leaves quite a few decisions on lines. As many headed off down the tourist path towards Wythburn, I dialled in the bearing Carol had worked out the night before and dropped down the steep Old Counties Tops descent, joined by two Horwich runners who I shared mutual friends with. They got the line spot on; I drifted right slightly but we rejoined the path ahead of those we’d split up from and continued down to the valley and then up the far side, through the area marked on the map as The Bog and on via High Raise to Angle Tarn and Bowfell.

It still early, not yet 8am, but it was starting to get hot. I don’t deal well with heat, but tried to keep drinking plenty and there were plenty of mountain streams to fill up from.

Just after Bowfell, my friend Andy, who was running the Short course, overtook us and yelled encouragement. He had started an hour after us and was flying. He went on to win the short race by 58 seconds!

Beyond Ore Gap, the tops started coming quickly and I skipped over the rocky ground and ticked off Esk Pike, Great End, Ill Crag, Broad Crag and Scafell Pike. At Ill Crag Tony and Albert, who I’d been running with, made the decision to convert over to the short course, so I continued on my own on the long course.

The second biggest route choice comes soon after Scafell Pike, and as I headed over the boulders towards Mickledore I joined up with a guy called Graham from Buckinghamshire. He had done the race once before and had taken the easier but longer Foxes Tarn option to Scafell that time He fancied trying Lord’s Rake though, and I offered to show him the way up.

10-Peaks-Mickledore

Heading across Mickledore for Scafell ©Helen Price

We had a fun time on the rock filled gully and then parted soon after summiting Scafell, as I was opting to drop down into Wasdale whilst he was heading via the Corridor Route to climb Great Gable first.

The glorious sunshine had brought the crowds out, and although my initial drop down the side of Scafell was nice and quiet, by the time I exited the scree run and headed towards Wasdale Head I was meeting tens of tourists starting the climb up England’s highest mountain. A quick stop in the shop for the Coke I’d been fantasising about and I headed up Mosedale towards Pillar. Less than a mile from the hubbub of Wasdale and now there was no-one around.

A steep climb up the skirts of the mountain and I was on the ridge. I soon bumped into Emma on her Bob Graham leg 4 as she headed in the opposite direction towards Kirk Fell, and after hugs and handshakes with her and her supporters I completed the out and back to Pillar. Here I met Graham again. As we were taking alternative routes, we couldn’t work out which of us was ahead and parted in opposite directions with half an expectation of meeting at the next major checkpoint at Honister.

The heat, climb and distance was starting to get to me by now, and the haul up Great Gable from Beck Head was slow and painful. At the rocky top the weather was changing and I had to take a bearing in the mist to find the drop down to Windy Gap and Moses’s Trod. I started the jog back down to Honister, by now knowing I was in need of food and energy. As happened several times, just at the right time I got the perk of seeing someone I knew; Daniel from my running club was heading out to meet some of his friends who were also on the Long course, and a brief chat lifted my spirits.

At Honister, pasta and more Coke awaited. Graham came in just before I left and we chatted before I set off down into Borrowdale. In 2013 I’d instead gone up the suggested route to the col near Dalehead, but Carol had pointed out the night before that there was an alternative route that involved no climbing, along the banks of Derwent Water, and I gratefully took it.

By now there were rain clouds sweeping in. I welcomed the drips of drizzle that started, and then suddenly had to shelter under a tree and put on waterproofs as it turned into a downpour.

I was keeping up a slow jog, but even compared to the walking in 2013, I wasn’t making very quick progress. As it had for the last 5 hours, Skiddaw reared up ahead, the final of the 10 peaks. I decided I couldn’t face the suggested steep route up via Carlside, and planned on the familiar climb up past Latrigg, Jenkins Hill and Little Man.

I’d not taken much food on board since Honister, and after a terrible convoluted journey through Keswick I started up on the last climb.

Time stood still as I trudged upwards, the only consolation the beautiful views across Derwent Water to Newlands Valley and Coledale and beyond to all the peaks I’d been up.

10-Peaks-view-from-Skiddaw

Consolation view

I pleased myself by forcing a gel slowly down whilst on the steepest part of the climb, but a swig of water afterwards proved too much, and back it all came. Bent double by the side of the path, I checked my watch. 1,500 ft still to climb, and it was obvious now I wouldn’t be able to make it to the finish in daylight. I thought about the option of stopping, but stopping actually still meant 5 miles or so of running back to Keswick. I carried on upwards, and the nausea abated.

As always, the weather on top of Skiddaw was several stages worse than everywhere below, and I headed blindly along the ridge until the trig point and a lone figure appeared out of the mist and rain. “Simon! Wait there, I’ve got something for you”, shouted the apparition, and I stood shivering as the marshal Paul came back from his tent with some red wine in a hip flask. I sipped it carefully and then it was about turn and back off on the final descent.

Gravity helped my progress and I slowly jogged back the way I’d come, with a brief stop to put on my headtorch, and for another bout of nausea.

The lack of sleep turned ferns into skeletons, roots into polished mahogany table legs, and most bizarrely, a large rock into my blue bath towel that I slowed down to attempt to pick up.

Just over 19 hours after starting I jogged back into the football club in Keswick’s Fitz Park, cheered by several friends who had been watching the tracker and come along once then knew I was on my way. Carol was there too. She’d finished 5 hours before me, and so had had the chance to shower, change and probably go for another run.

My initial reaction was of disappointment, as I’d hoped to take at least 3 hours off my previous time, but I think I’d overestimated the difference between my walking pace and my running pace at the end of a long day out. I also realised that difficult races are difficult however many of them you do.

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Clif Bar 10 Peaks Long Course by Karen Nash

A bit of a mouthful but a great race. Race no.7 in the Runfurther series was a race within a race as the Lakes 10 has short, long and extreme versions. Luckily we only had to do the long – the extreme gets few entrants and even fewer finishers. Our long might only be 45 miles and so a ‘medium’ for Runfurther but they were a tough set of miles with over 5600m of climb and a sting in the tail.
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The Semples on Tour

Callum and Dad’s 10 Peak Challenge
(Please note who had top billing)

Once upon a time not so very long ago my eldest son Callum wanted to be just like his Dad… sadly that time has passed and now all he wants to do is be better than him!!

Part of the problem is the gene pool, both his mother and I are very competitive, not painfully so, but enough to niggle.

In 2012 I competed and came 14th place (can you tell that I’m still dining out on that?) My children and chiefly Callum helped me write a blog for the 10 Peaks website. This seemed to capture his imagination and he went on to help me pre plan my 10 Peaks Brecon course and nav with some adventure camping over a weekend. I eventually didn’t compete due to a blown knee and so my heart was set on 2014.

10Peaks-start

Callum was an Army Cadet, a strong athlete with good navigation skills, but and it’s a big but…. he was 14! The race, because of its very nature has an 18+ age limit.

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Ultra Race / 24 Hour Round Training and Preparation by Nicky Spinks

Since 2005, when I first completed the Bob Graham (23.33 hours) I have trained and prepared for seven more 24 hour rounds. Only one of these; my first Paddy Buckley was “unsuccessful” as such (25.45 hours). I learnt a lot from those early rounds and have since completed six more successful rounds including four record rounds. A summary of the rounds and my significant Ultra races are below.

2005 Bob Graham 23.33 hours
2006 Paddy Buckley 25.45 hours
2007 Paddy Buckley 23.55 hours
2008 Charlie Ramsay 22.32 hours
2009 Grand Raid Reunion 4th Lady
2010 Grand Raid Pyrenees 1st Lady
2011 Fellsman 1st Lady Course record 11.51 hours
2011 Ladies Lake District round 64 peaks in 23.15 hours
2011 Grand Raid Pyrenees 1st Lady
2012 Bob Graham Ladies record 18.12 hours
2013 Paddy Buckley record 19.02 hours
2014 Charlie Ramsay record 19.39 hours
2014 10Peaks Xtreme Overall winner 18.26 hours

Ramsay-record-Nicky-Spinks

2014 Ramsay Record

These are a few tips I would give to anyone training for an Ultra Race such as the 10Peaks Xtreme or a 24 hour round. If you would like to learn more or for some one to one tuition then come along to my training day!! www.runbg.co.uk/RunwithNicky2015.htm

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IOM Mountain 50K Ultra

By Mark Bottomley of 10 Peaks.com – 3rd place

I hadn’t been to the Isle of Man before, and to be honest, it had never really featured on my radar. This all changed though when I heard about the IOM 50km Ultra, which for some reason instantly grabbed my attention. It required a certain amount of navigational competence; would be a linear route (with 98% of the course being off-road); would take you from one end of the Island to the other; and involved 2500 meters of ascent! What more could you ask for from a race? I checked out the flight and accommodation options and when I discovered how cheap they were I signed up.

Mark-iom{Unfortunately, within a week of entering the race I developed an Achilles injury thereby thwarting all of my training plans, but when the race weekend arrived I thought I may as well travel over to enjoy the views and experience.}

The course takes a diagonal south-west route across the Island’s array of mountains and hills, to finally join up with the western coastal path and finishing in Port Erin. I was staying in an apartment at the finish location, having reserved a seat on the race organisers’ bus transporting runners from Port Erin to the start.

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Grom and the 10 Peaks – Part 3

An emotional farewell from Jessy. “You can do this thing!” were the words, accompanied with some tears and a nice big hug.

I leave Torquay for Keswick, driving in my green diesel VW polo. Although its a bit  messier, much slower and terribly noisier than the banana car, one advantage was the Bluetooth connection for the stereo. The Bastille Album would accompany on my journey. Music blaring I hit the road to Keswick. It took 8 hours to negotiate the M5 and M6. It was a bit like my training, slow traffic but kept moving.

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Clif Bar 10 Peaks The Lakes Race Report

A light breeze, clear visibility and 20 degrees was the forecast enticing the 260 entrants to leave work on Friday evening and travel to Keswick, ready for the early morning start of the Clif Bar 10 Peaks race in the Lake District. As it happened, injury, traffic and family commitments managed to claim some 50 of them, but there were still over 200 keen competitors chomping at the bit at first light.

Approaching Helvellyn with Catstycam and Swirral Edge to the left, Lower Man to the right. ©Stewart Bondi

The forecast did not let us down for the 5th edition of the Lake District race held on the weekend of 28/29 June. With 3 distances to choose from (48km, 73km or 100km) and ascent ranging from 3200m on the short course to nearly 8000m on the Xtreme course, there was something for every ultra distance mountain lover. This was proved by the enormous variety of competitors that showed up – sponsored athletes; record holders; Bob Graham legends; hardy regular ultra runners; those that had attempted the race many times before but not quite succeeded and new-comers doing their first real long distance mountain race. Each and every one of them with their own personal goal, equally as important as everyone elses.

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10 Peaks Xtreme – Wasdale

The enclosed map shows the location of the new check point at Wasdale. This is located near to the National Trust car park and is available for all Xtreme and Long Course competitors opting to take the Alternative Route.

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