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The George Fisher Tea Round (September 2022)

27th September, 2022

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A passing comment on a Tuesday evening Lomies run, led to a conversation in the pub, then dates and the next minute, two weeks after The Ben, a team of nine congregated at Castlerigg Farm campsite. Separately, obviously as the campsite do not accept groups. However, multiple people arriving wearing Lomies hoodies may have given the game away. “If one of you is out of order, you’re all out!” Trouble? Us?

After eating our own body weight in pasta from three delicious dishes we hit the hay, wherever you could find a space that wasn’t filled with king-size air beds!

A crying baby, a domestic, a car alarm, snoring from neighbouring tents and an unseasonably cold night meant little sleep. Camping sucks.

The George Fisher Tea Round is a 30 mile, 10 peak, 12000 foot of ascent tour of all the hills you can see from what used to be the Abrahams Tea Room on the top floor of George Fishers outdoor shop. Start at the front door and finish at the front door.

The 06.00 alarm was not required and after forcing down a pot of porridge and tea with condensed milk, don’t ask. We gathered at the front gate of camp Castelrigg. a light frost had appeared overnight, but the day was glorious with mist in the valley. Our support crew were briefed and seven Lomies started the mile and a bit downhill warm up to the front door of George Fishers.

Shoes re-tied, watches sync’d, obligatory team “before” photo taken and at 07.38 we were off, a little behind schedule. We passed other Tea Rounders wishing each other luck and headed off toward the fells.

Arriving at Catbells, controversy! Some Lomies revealed poles? Apparently, they’re all the rage. I will bring this up at the next agm. The first climb is always the hardest they say, but this is nonsense, they’re all tough. However, it was a tough first climb but once the first hill was out of the way you immediately run all the way down to Little Town nr Newlands.

With only the briefest navigational interludes we headed toward Robinson. Passing more Tea Rounders, there’s a great camaraderie when you meet other taking the challenge, and they kindly kept us on the right path. We climbed up onto High Snab Bank and scrambled up Blea Crags onto Robinson, another photo, and then a fairly precipitous descent (drop) down the path (cliff) to the road at Kirk Close. We regrouped there whilst some regretted shoe choices. Then along the road to Gatsgarth Farm at the southern end of Buttermere, and the most amazing part of the challenge.

The support crew. April and Jane and the VW camper. Drop bags were arranged, drinks, snacks, and jells laid out and seven pasta pots prepared. Luxury.

Down by Buttermere the chilly morning mist had burned off and the sun was warm. Pasta scoffed, last swig of water, a bit of suncream and we were ready for the off. Just time for tea and coffee orders for the support team at the next road crossing. Awesome.

The next objective was High Stile

We picked our way under Low Cragg and over Comb Beck, and could see the Tea Rounders from the descent into Buttermere, who had then passed us as we ate pasta. For some the scent of quarry was too much and a discussion had to be had about pace. This was not a race. Approaching the top of High Stile, while we appreciated the great view down the valley to Fleetwith Pike, Laurie announced that we should push on and he would continue alone, so in true Lomie fashion, with only the merest attempts at encouragement, we did. Those that fall behind etc…

Once we got to the top of High Stile it was across to Red Pike, which is actually red, and then an exciting scree based descent down to the inviting BlaeBerry Tarn. The path then becomes a cobbly nightmare, almost designed to catch out the unwary descender. So maximum concentration was required until we reached the cool shade of the trees. Along the well worn path to the next support stop and our fantastic support crew.

By this point, 17 miles in, legs were getting tired and fatigue setting in, perfect time for our Support Crew to reveal a huge Malteser cake and Victoria sponge, glorious. The couple of other Tea Rounders we had passed hove into view and were invited over to sample our wonderful support. Cheryll and Matt were duly adopted. All special dietary requirements catered for. At this point some Vaseline needed applying, say no more, but I declined the offer of a salt tablet. (Yes, that is foreshadowing)

Off we went for the final section, Cheryll and Matt stopping off at the local café, while we started the long climb up Whiteless Pike and on toward Wandope Moss. At this point the muscles in my inside leg just above the knee started to twitch, uh-oh. Does anyone have any salt tablets? “I did say back at the van”, said Martin in a knowing way. Meanwhile Cheryll and Matt, powered passed, not that It’s a race. Thankfully, Martin did have a spare salt tablet and a potential cramp was avoided. After a brief navigational discussion on Wandope Moss, (never follow a Lomie) we made our way toward Hobcarton and then Grizedal Pike, which is the out and back part of the round. At this point it can be said that the Tea Round goes on a bit. And the phrase “This will be the last big climb of the day” is used on at least four occasions.

Grizedale in the bag and a convenient, summit avoiding, trod back passed Hobcarton and we were on our way toward Eel Crag. We passed Cheryll and Matt on the descent, not that it’s a race. A scramble up Eel Cragg and probably the last big climb of the day! Up onto Crag Hill, where I had to be quite firm about pace, again. Onward down to Sail and toward Causey Pike probably the last big climb of the day. Causey Pike leads to Rowlings End, which was much further away than it looked, but once reached you look across to Barrow, which is, actually, the last climb of the day. A navigational discussion decided to run back toward Causey pike, passing Cheryll and Matt heading the other way, before contouring to the north of the hill so as to make the last big climb of the day as not big as possible.

The last climb was ground out and then it was time to take in the view and enjoy the fact that that was the last big climb of the day. Then scarper down towards Braithwaite before Cheryll and Matt caught up. It’s not a race.

After the glory of the fells the run back toward Keswick is not very inspiring but has to be done. We managed to resist the temptation of a pint in the Farmers Arms Portinscale. After nearly getting mixed up in the Cumbrian Way Ultra, we finally weaved our way through the masses on Keswick high street to touch the George Fisher door again in 10 hours 9 minutes and 2 seconds.

The Wainwright pub is just too darn convenient. And after we discovered that the pub we had booked for food that evening that advertises Good food, does not in fact serve food, we had a fantastic Chinese meal at the Golden Hills Restaurant, try the chips. Then all aboard Davey and Janes tardis like camper van back to camp.

The tea round is a cracking day on the hill. Especially with good company and fantastic support team. Mon the Lomies!

Dave Turner

The Fells The Runners Adopted Runners The Support Crew
Catbells Davey Cowan Cheryll and Matt Jane Cowan
Robinson Martin Bell April Bell
High Stile Dave Turner
Red Pike John Smith
Hobcarton Iain Thomson
Grizedale Pike Cammie Watson
Eel Crag Laurie Anderson
Crag Hill
Causey Pike
Rowling End