by Richard Slack
In the rain at the (stunning) Keswick parkrun
The weekend was scheduled as walking on the high fells above Buttermere and Ennerdale. The weather put pay to that with forecast persistent rain and 70mph winds. Thus as a good (sic) alternative I decided to run the new Keswick parkrun. The old route, prior to the floods in November, was an out and back from the old Keswick railway station along the old railway line – now a cycling and walking path. However, parts of the path and the boardwalks had vanished in the flooding and thus Keswick, much to their credit, relocated the Keswick parkrun down by the Derwent Water. Parking, although pay and display, is ample by the Theatre by the Lake – there are also toilets by the car park. The start is then only a two minute walk away by the small National Trust shop, where this morning a group of around 70 hardy (and quite frankly mad) souls huddled out of the wind and rain that was whipping across the Lake. After a few short words from the course director it was a 3, 2, 1 countdown and then off we went….
The course, is quite simply beautiful – or certainly it would be on a nice calm warm day! From the National Trust shop, heading South, there is a short section on tarmac before you reach the lakeshore path. This is followed for about 0.5km to reach Friars Crag before continuing along the shoreline. You then turn inland to cross a field – very wet and muddy today- and heading to a short boardwalk to start the return back leg through a wooded area. After a couple of rises you again turn and emerge behind the Theatre by the Lake. That pretty much completes a 1.5km loop which is then repeated a further twice. The course is so scenic and a cross between parkrun and cross country so for anyone over and thinking about doing this parkrun – wear cross country shoes. I had previously spoken to Luke (Woodend) about the new course having seen Luke at a number of previous Keswick parkruns. Whilst we would both agree that it is definitely not a PB course you will need to go a long way to find one as stunning. Thus my time – a couple of minutes slower than normal – was not due to any picnic stops but rather reflects the more rugged nature of the run – parkrun nature.
Thoroughly recommended and a shout out for the Keswick volunteers who remained enthusiastic and cheery whilst standing in the rain!