The Lakes, Meres and Waters is a much lesser known running challenge that can be undertaken by the (over) enthusiastic endurance athlete. The concept of the route is simple, but the execution of it is far from it. There are 26 major Lakes, Meres or Waters in the Lake District, and linking them there is over 100miles of trail and fell and an accrued 6,500m of ascent.
The route was first run in 1981 by two friends, both on separate runs just a few days apart. The times spanned from 35 hours to 42 hours. Alan Heaton, a man of many a fell running accolade (inc the first ever continuous Wainwright Round of 9 days) completed the round in 25 hours, and then Joss Naylor came along with an amazing 19 hours and 14 minutes! At the time of writing only 22 people have officially completed the route and the times not including Joss' time range fro, 24 hours to 43 hours.
The Lakes, Meres or Waters that must be visited are:
Loweswater Crummock Water Buttermere Ennerdale Water
Wast Water Devoke Water Goat’s Water Low Water
Levers Water Coniston Water Esthwaite Water Elterwater
Grasmere Rydal Water Windermere Skeggles Water
Haweswater Small Water Blea Water Hayeswater
Brothers Water Ullswater Thirlmere Derwent Water
Bassenthwaite Lake Over Water
Amazingly, Joss also added Kentmere Reservoir (as the map below shows) but this is not essential to completion.
From the double digit completion figures it is clear to see the route is not on the hit list of many, or if it is, not many have got around to doing it! Last year Vivienne Crow teamed up with Joss Naylor to bring out a fantastic book about his run, and the route taken in a bid to encourage others to have a bash. Well, it worked...
My Lakes, Meres and Waters
Not long after achieving my dream of tackling and completing a Bob Graham Round I wrote a short blog detailing what I was going to do next. I listed a few goals for 2022, such as completing the Cuillin Ridge in a day or cycling the C2C in a day. Ironically, just a couple of days later I invalidated the blog as I decided I would make an attempt on the LMW. I had intended to slot it into 2023, but good pal and Wainwright legend James Gibson told me I should just get on with it. Still basking in the afterglow of BG success, feeling fit and most importantly uninjured I suddenly announced this was happening at the start of August. As much as part of me was looking forward to not having to be focused on training for something like this right off the back of months of work towards a BG, it made so much sense. The BG didn't have to be an end-goal, it could be a springboard to something far greater.
To be honest one of the main things that attracted me to this run was Joss' testimonial of the route. He describes it as 'summat special' and one of the best routes he'd ever run. When someone who has travelled as many miles as Joss has that to say you can't help but want to find out. Laughably I had announced my LMW attempt on social media before reading the line in his new LMW book where he announces it's much harder than the Bob Graham Round....'gulp'.
And so, it's back into the training now to get myself ready for what is most likely going to be a 35 hour endeavour - a whole 50% more time out there than my BG. I am excited and scared all in equal measure, but I do believe I can complete this route and I would be so stoked if I can make 2022 my year of ultra-running success.
With the working season picking up it'll be harder to get as much running done, but as I've bleated on before, walking around the hills with a pack on is brilliant training too. I'll need to get out and do recces of the route as there are some big chunks I've never even set foot on - or heard of!
I still plan to complete the C2C cycle in a day (140 miles) at the end of August so part of my training will need to be completed on the road bike or turbo trainer. This will give my knees a rest, lessen the likelihood of an impact injury and provide some nice variety.
And of course, there is still the strength training. I'd hope to be able to complete at least one session a week, but hopefully two in order to maintain that resilience, strength and muscle efficiency. Legs and core will be the priority.
Bring it on!
Me, with Over Water beyond.