Lakes 5in5 – by Angela Coates and Chris Bonington

What else could you expect with a British summer? After a week of warm sunshine, we were faced with a wet and windy morning as we drove through the Newlands valley to Buttermere.

It was here that we would start the Lakes 5in5- a challenge to summit 5 peaks in 5 hours. The event is to primarily raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis (MS Research), a debilitating neurological disease with no cure while also taking on the personal challenge of just getting around the course.

Since Berghaus were sponsoring the event we formed a team of 6 staff members, including athlete Sir Chris Bonington.

We set off at 10am also joined by Chris’s climbing partner from way back, Paul Ross, who pioneered many of the best routes in Borrowdale in the fifties. The rain was just spitting but looking up at our first Summit High Snockrigg, we knew we were in for a bit of a bashing with the wind. It started steeply up to the first checkpoint and then it was a plateau of soggy bog land to parade through as we started the ascent onto Robinson. There was no easy way around, it was just a case of get in and get wet! – although Chris swears his Explorer Boots remained dry!

The 10in10 was on the same day, but these guys set off at 7am and so on our way to the 2nd summit we were getting passed by the more elite competition. There’s definitely going to be a few of us attempting that one next year.

After reaching the top of Robinson (737m) we had gained most of our height – with the gusts getting stronger we battened down the hatches and made our way along the ridge. Sneaking past Hindscarth and then dropping down steeply to the col before arching back up onto Dale Head, our highest point of the day at 758m and also the halfway mark in terms of distance. As Chris pointed out ‘we’d broken its back’.  Dale Head can promise amazing views across to the Skiddaw range on a good day but visibility was pretty limited for us. The checkpoint here consisted of a man huddled in a tent noting your race number, apparently earlier that morning the tent had blown away, the winds had been that strong.

We headed down out of the mist to a tarn in the dip, had a quick bit of grub before the last pull up onto High Spy, there’s not much uphill after here, across onto Maiden Moor our last summit and then a drop down the side of Cat Bells joining the main track into Little Town. Only 15 mins away from the finish at Swinside pub and definitely ready for a beer!!

If anyone wants to compete next year here’s the website, http://www.10in10.org.uk/ – well organised and great fun!!

Some Images from Sir Chris:

Setting out from the start at Buttermere, walking up High Snockrigg in the rain. The guy on the right belongs to another team and the one on the left is my old mate Paul Ross, with his Jack Russell, Nettle leading us all.

Team group on top of Robinson, where Paul left us.  He’s a keen Berghaus user, pioneered many of the best routes in Borrowdale in the fifties, made the first British ascent of the South West Pillar of the Petit Drus with Dob EWhillans, Hamish Macinnes and myself in 1958 and after a long stay in the United States has returned to his roots in Keswick.

On the way down to Dale Head Tarn.  We’ve cracked the toughest p[art of the route.

Nearly there – on top of Maiden Moor.  They are already talking of doing the 10 in 10 next year!!

Down hill all the way