By Aaron Rolph
Returning back to my old stomping ground, the Lake District - I always try to get out for an adventure of some sort. It’s a nice trip down memory lane but also despite not reaching the dizzying heights of my hometown Chamonix, it’s one of the most picturesque places in the world, though admittedly I’m somewhat biased. After family birthday celebrations had wrapped up, it was time to blow off the cobwebs and head out for a big trail day.
Joined by good friend, Henry who’d made the trip North, we had our sights set on a running challenge called The Tea Round.
The concept originates in one of the UK’s oldest outdoor shops, George Fisher in the small town of Keswick. The mountain-obsessed staff were gazing out of the top-floor cafe at the endless lake district vistas when they had a eureka moment. What if we climb and run between all the summits we can see from the tea room window and right there, the Tea Round was born.
Don’t be mislead by the endearing name however, the challenge is no easy feat. This route is around 50km, taking you over ten peaks and including 3300m of vertical ascent over some technical and sometimes pathless terrain. Sounds like a great day out.
Keen to maximise our adventure, we set off from Keswick in the early evening with a view to bivying out on the first nearby peak, Catbells. The evening was textbook moody Lakes until we get a glimpse of the orange sunset poking through through the clouds.
After a good night sleep under the stars, it was time to get going on this big day ahead. We set a 4am alarm to get a good start, and also enjoy the glowing morning light while most were still enjoying their Sunday morning lie in.
Although getting out of our cosy sleeping bags wasn’t easy, it was well worth the early start. And after a quick bite and early morning cuppa under the glow of the Bilby 400 headlamp, we were off.
We bag our next peak while the sun casts dramatic shadows all over the fells. Dropping down into one of my favourite places, the Buttermere valley we then climb all the way back up the other side and back up to High Stile (807m). With a quick cafe stop for a refuel on the way back, we headed into the quiet northern fells around the Coledale, clocking peak after peak.
The legs are starting to feel heavy and the rocky terrain keeps on coming but after descending our final peak, we get an ice cold dip in a nearby river before making it back to Keswick for you guessed it, tea and cake.
This route takes in some of the finest scenery in the northern lakes and also avoids most of the crowded popular peaks in Cumbria making it a great option in busy summer months. Thanks to the George Fisher staff for putting together this top tier fell running route.
Full Route on Strava.