Between Lakes and Fells

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.

Some highlights:

  • 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)

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