It was a gloriously sunny day at the end of April when Penny and I headed down to Keswick for our next ’round a lake’ challenge of the 16. The London Marathon had taken place just 6 days earlier at which Lake District chef Matt Campbell had, sadly, died. Runners all over the country were running the three and a half miles of the race that he had missed in tribute to him.
We parked in the Theatre by the Lake car park. I love it here: the lake is shallow enough for paddling or swimming; there is usually a buzz of people around; and the theatre itself extended its cafe a few years ago (the theatre is great too: I don’t go there as often as I mean to, but I always enjoy it when I do). We ran along the eastern shore past the families piling into boats and dog-walkers heading off around the lake, a couple of other female runners just ahead of us. As we ran we suggested that perhaps this should be our ‘miles for Matt’: far further than the ones he missed, but there seemed to be something appropriate about running in the Lake District. Who knows: perhaps he even used this lake path for his own training.
You can see how much I was enjoying this run from my broad grin as I run towards the camera – I think it shows even though I’m so small in the photo. It’s a beautiful lake and it was an absolutely fantastic day to go with it – and everything was still green as we hadn’t yet had our headwave!
Heading further south towards the end of the lake, you have to cross the road to run through some woods, coming out near the Lodore Falls Hotel (in April undergoing a lot of refurbishment work including the development of a Spa – due to open Autumn 2018 – mental note to check it out) where you cross back over the road to get back down to the lakeside. You’re more or less at the opposite end of the lake now, and after a stony beach area, we left the families behind to cross over the river which enters the lake here having descended from the fells.
It’s completely understandable why this is such a popular lake – it was stunningly beautiful but also the path around most of it is also fairly easy to follow, and there are frequent ‘beach’ areas which are mostly quite accessible from the various lanes in the area. As we got over to the western side again there were many people out enjoying the sunshine and the fresh air; walking, running, or just soaking up the lovely weather and enjoying the views.
You run past various activities centres – which made me think of booking the children on to some mini-adventures in the holidays – along the shore, in and out of trees along what is a relatively flat path. At one point we were tagging a male runner: we eventually passed him, thinking he might overtake us back, but had soon left him far behind. Later a younger male runner zoomed past us into Portinscale, soon leaving us behind: as the three of ran past a boat hire place the man hiring out boats said something about loony runners – I shouted back ‘but happy!’…
The only downside to the run is that by the time you reach Portinscale at the northern end of the lake you need to run on road for a while – though you pass several tempting-looking cafes, including one situated in some woods – before then joining a stony track which takes you back into the middle of Keswick. The last couple of miles along here and back through the middle of Keswick you feel a long way from the lake, and are dodging pedestrians: but otherwise we had run 16 very enjoyable km (almost 10 miles). Another one for the ‘Head Torches’ group to try out if we could somehow be dropped at the Theatre by the Lake and picked up from Portinscale.
We went into the Theatre Cafe and treated ourselves to some of their lovely food and drink: after all when you’ve completed a run you deserve a treat!
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Back home, I donated some money via JustGiving to Matt Campbell’s appeal for the Brathay Trust. He had wanted to raise £2,500: at the time of writing this he has raised almost 15,000% of that (£371,000). There is a tribute to him on the Brathay Trust page: Tribute to Matt Campbell