In the summer of 2018 I cooked up a slightly wacky idea. An idea that evolved into one of my favourite ever adventures.
Over the course of 10 days I attempted to climb the highest peaks and complete a lap of the 10 largest lakes in the Lake District, all whilst carrying a series of awkward or heavy objects like car tyres, sandbags, kettlebells, slam balls, sledgehammers, logs and rocks.
It was a brilliant 10 days of being outdoors with my wife and dog.
And on the whole, the challenge was a big success, but like all great trips, it didn't go entirely to plan. There were injuries, tears, long days, itinerary changes, route changes (e.g. we couldn't complete a lap of Windermere because of a running race along one side and some of the higher peaks had to be changed due to weather). There was also a water-logged phone, lost kit and one very tired pooch.
It was physically challenging and mentally difficult at times but you never really remember the tough stuff when you're back home.
We didn't use any single-use plastic items for the whole trip (with the exception of dog food and we're looking for a solution to this)
We covered around 300km and over 10,000m of climb carrying all sorts of random stuff
The curious, inquisitive looks from everyone I met
Climbing the highest peak in England with a 15kg slamball
Carrying a 20kg sandbag 30+km
Being called 'dangerous’ whilst running around a lake with a sledgehammer
The outrageous views from mountains, down valleys and across lakes that make me question living in suburban London.
The photos don't do it justice but hopefully they’ll give you a flavour of a magical local adventure.
Day 1 - Here we go
Peak: Helvellyn (950m) with a sledgehammer (and a pooch)
Lake: Haweswater (17km) with a 15kg slam ball
Day 2 - Kettlebells and hills don't mix
Peak: Nethermost Pike (891m) with a 16kg kettlebell
Lake: Derwentwater (16km) with a 20kg sandbag
This day I learned that kettlebells weren't designed to go up mountains and that you should always have a Plan B.
Day 3 - The long one
Lake: Ullswater (32km) with 18kg bergen
My little buddy wanted to make sure I was well warmed up.
Day 4 - Oof
Peak: Skiddaw (931m) with log
Peak: Catstycam (890m) with weight vest (20kg)
"Get comfortable with being uncomfortable" was the motto of day 4. It was a toughie.
Day 5 - Lakes, lakes, lakes
Lake: Bassenthwaite (14km) with log Lake: Crummock Water (12km) with weight vest (20kg) Lake: Buttermere (7.5km) with kettlebell
A day of soggy soggy lake laps.
Day 6 - A 'tyring' day
Peak: Pillar (892m) with car tyre
Lake: Ennerdale Water (11km) with car tyre
Six days in, 12 stages completed and the body was starting to feel it.
Day 7 - That looks a bit silly
Peak: Scafell Pike (978m) with 15kg slam ball
Lake: Wastwater (12km) with sledgehammer
"That looks a bit silly!"
Quote of the day from a passing walker heading up the highest peak in England with a slam ball.
Day 8 - Beautiful
Peak: Great Gable (899m) with a rock
A long day with a hard climb but the views from the top were sensational.
Day 9 - Earning a good meal
Peak: Bow Fell (902m) with 20kg sandbag
Lake: Coniston Water (22km) with rock
Day 10 - A change of plan
Peak: Red Screes (776m)
Lakes: Grasmere & Rydal Water (10km)