Distance - 25.1 miles
Ascent - 5689 feet
Time - 8hrs
Route - Coniston - Seathwaite - Eskdale - Boot - Wasdale Head - Black Sail Hut - Buttermerre
This was mine and Dan's second recce of the Lakeland 100 route we decide to do the first section Coniston to Buttermerre of 25 miles with 6000 feet of ascent with a cut off time 9 hrs 30 min. We arranged to meet Friday night in Buttermerre where we would spend the night in the back of are cars before driving one of the cars to the start in Coniston. With around an hrs drive to Coniston we woke early for breakfast before we set off we had some great view as we drove along the Honister Pass arriving in the Walna Scar Road car park around 9 am quickly getting sorted we were ready to make a move for 9.30am.
We set off with a gentle jog up Walna Scar Road with the intentions of just warming up but we managed a good pace nearly all the way to the top that was until the ice and snowy section started. I'm sure the people we passed with their full winter clothing including ice axe and cramps must have thought we were crazy up the in are tights and trainers. The path leading down towards Seathwaite looked a lot worse than the path up. We set off steadily with are pace quickening with every step as we were unable to steady ourselves on the ice we both had an airy moment but by the skin of our teeth’s we managed to stay on are feet.
As the neared the village of Boot the weather was starting to draw in so out came the wind proofs by this time we were both starting to get a little hungry and decided after the next climb to Burnmoor Tarn we would stop for some dinner. The Tarn made a great little spot to have lunch. I think we both were pleased with our progress to this point and our time was looking good. The weather was starting to get worse so as we left we put on are water proof coats and head towards Wasdale head with no water left for this section we had to drink from the little streams hoping to refill are bottles in Wasdale.
We followed Black Sail pass from here both of us found this to be a tough climb made more difficult by the ice and the light was starting to fade and was not really prepared for what we would be greeted by at the top we really could have done with some micro spikes to get us safely through this section. There was a lager ice field which we was unable to walk on without sliding away on with a few airy moments luckily the ice never slid us to close to a big drop. As we tip toed are way down the ice on to the clear path we were losing light quickly and at Black Sail hut we got are head touches out. To our surprise the YHA was shut but we spoke to a group heading there saying they had hired it out and had the key which sounded an interesting thing to do I think we might look into this option.
We made are way up the final ascent of Scarth Pass with are head touch's on the only trouble was the light was only lighting the mist up and the path didn't seem to very well defined we were soon struggling to follow it. I lead us of the path and started to ascend up a very rocky section as we were starting to think this was the wrong way the ground disappeared up ahead as we came to a cliff face the only thing for us to do was to trace are steps back and find the path again after small very carefully navigation we were back on the path heading to the top off the pass to descend following the cairns. Even with some very carefully spotting of the Cairn’s to keep on the path they just disappeared and we were off the path without realising it but we could hear the sound of gushing water and soon came to the massive ravine so we knew we were heading the wrong way. After about 20min of trying to find the path and becoming very cold we followed the ravine up hill to wear we was hoping to cross over the path which worked and we was back on track pricing the pace up heading into Buttermerre village.
We clocked in with 1hrs 30mins to spare before the cut off time so we were both were really pleased. We have still got 8 months of training left so every think seems to be going in the correct way.