When adventure plans meant that Berghaus athlete Anna Taylor couldnt take part in this years 10 in 10 Challenge she decided to give it a whirl anyhow, here she documents her test run of the round and provides a sneak peak of some of its must-see views
The 10 in 10 challenge is an annual charity event in support of the MS Society. It’s a 26km loop starting and finishing at the Swinside Inn, in Newlands Valley, and covers 10 peaks, with the aim being to complete them all within 10 hours.
Berghaus is long-time supporter of the event, and whilst I am unfortunately going to be away during the real thing, I decided to go out and have a go at the round on my own beforehand, as the route looked fantastic, and covers an area of the Lakes that I don’t usually spend much time in, as it’s a fair drive from my usual fell-running haunts in Langdale.
I’ve written down a short account of my day below and included a few pictures I took along the way to give any potential participants an idea of what to expect. Enjoy!
I arrived at Swinside Inn at around 11 o’clock, slightly apprehensive as it had both rained a little during the drive over (despite a very good weather forecast), and because this was to be my first long excursion in the fells for a couple of months thanks to a dodgy knee.
Crossing my fingers that the sun would soon make an appearance, I followed the road for a short way before joining a path above Stonycroft Gill and heading straight for the striking summit of Causey Pike (a peak I’d never previously climbed). The climb was fairly steep and certainly got my legs burning, but it was over quickly, and proved to be a good warm up.
The sky began to brighten too as I ascended into the fells, and before long I was on my first top of the day, pleased that the weather seemed to be on my side and that my knee wasn’t hurting, and ready to put in some miles!
(Pic: left – the view on the way up to Causey Pike. Pic: right – the Derwent Fells)
I took a few moments to take some photos on the summit of Causey, before continuing along the top of Scar Crags, up to Sail, along to Wandope, and descending towards the pretty village of Buttermere via Whiteless Pike.
The sun came out properly as I made my way down into the valley, lighting up the surface of Crummock Water until it glittered, and vanquishing any doubts I had about the weather. Reaching the houses was bittersweet, as although this was the halfway mark all the height I had just lost was soon going to have to be regained for the second half of the journey.
Preparing myself for another long climb, I headed out of the village and joined the path that would take me up to High Snockrigg. It was another steep one, but the views over Buttermere lake towards High Stile more than made up for it. The Lakes is always beautiful, but when the sun shines it goes up a gear, and this was one of those lucky days. The purple, heather-covered slopes contrasted beautifully with the dark green woodlands below them, and all around me the Derwent Fells stretched out, with their pointy summits and twisting ridgelines continuing into the distance for as far the eye could see.
As I continued on my way, I remembered what it is about moving fast and light through the fells that I enjoy so much. You get such a sense of freedom when you’re not encumbered by a large pack; able to fly down the descents and (at least on a good day) even enjoy the uphill parts somewhat. Distance is covered quickly, and before I knew it, I realised that three quarters of my day was already behind me, as over on the other side of the valley I could see the line of peaks that had taken me over to Buttermere in the first place, and which all looked to be an awful long way away now!
(Pic: left – heading down into Buttermere. Pic: right – ascending back into the fells, with a view of Crummock Water)
Before long I had arrived on the top of Robinson and was able to look down into the slate mines and spoil heaps of Honister Pass. I was reminded strongly of a very long day out I’d had last summer, when a friend of mine and I had ended up staggering into the mines in the early hours of the morning, after over 20 hours on the high fells. Feeling a little relieved that this day was a lot more chilled out, I jogged along Littledale Edge to Dale Head, then descended again to its namesake tarn.
After this I had to go up again, but thankfully this was to be for the last time, as once I made it to the top of High Spy the ground was relatively flat towards Maiden Moor, the last summit of the day. I had another quick picture stop to take in the views over Derwent Water; realising that I could also see many of my favourite Borrowdale climbing crags in the distance, before retreating once again to valley level. I headed along the track below Cat Bells, before turning at Skelgill and following the road back to my van and flask of coffee.
(Pic: left – the ridge that took me out initially from Causey Pike. Pic: right – the finishing track below Cat Bells)
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the 10 in 10 route, and would absolutely recommend that anyone thinking about signing themselves up for this year’s event to just do it! The whole thing took me just over five hours and given that I’m not particularly fit at the moment, I’d say that the 10-hour time frame is pretty achievable. It’s certainly a great way to see one of the most stunning mountain ranges in the Lakes, and it’s for a good cause, so what’s not to like?!
Registrations for the 10 in 10 Challenge close on 30th May so sign up quicky to nab your spot on the walk of a lifetime in the beautiful Lake District and be part of a national movement to help stop MS.