Tried & Tested

Favourite runs demand favourite kit... And where better to showcase Darren Moore's pair of 2000-mile socks than the Lake District?

 tried and tested

by Kirsty Reade |

Like favourite socks, we all have our preferred routes. Those old favourites that give us a guaranteed great run every time (with no blisters). The ones that draw you back time and time again and ones that you know are going to put a smile on your face.

Darren Moore is a man who certainly has a favourite pair of socks (he’s testing some Bridgedale socks and has got around 2000 miles out of them so far – with no holes), and we wanted to experience one of his top places to run in said socks. As Darren’s home turf is the Lake District there was no shortage of beautiful options to choose from.

Darren’s choice of Great Langdale is a fine place to start a run. Set in the Central Fells and easily accessible from Ambleside (it’s served by bus route 516 which is highly recommended because traffic and parking can be a real issue here at busy times), to the north you’ve got the distinctive, sharp, rocky peaks of the Langdale Pikes, and on the other side of the valley the rugged Crinkle Crags and the lonely peak of Pike o’ Blisco. It’s no wonder that John Ruskin described Langdale as, “the loveliest rock scenery, chased with silver waterfalls, that I ever set foot or heart upon.”

And it’s up one of these ‘silver waterfalls’ that we start our run. Well, it’s more of a hike at this point. It’s a long haul on well-trodden, rocky steps beside Stickle Ghyll (accessed behind the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel), but every time you turn around to see how far you’ve climbed you’re rewarded with a stunning view across the valley. And then, just when your legs are getting tired, you pop out at the top of the climb to find the spectacular Stickle Tarn.

 bridgedale

‘Like Darren’s beloved Bridgedale socks, this route is an old favourite which delivers every time.'

While we had a bit of a breather to admire the backdrop of Stickle Tarn – the view of Harrison Stickle to the west and the imposing Pavey Ark to the north is really something – Darren told us a bit about his recent running adventures. He’s part of the fell running community who spend their weekends out supporting other runners on rounds and record attempts. He was fresh from a speedy Joss Naylor Challenge when we met, and earlier in theyear he supported Sabrina Verjee on her Wainwrights record.

Following Bright Beck away from the tarn takes us to the east ridge path (Wainwright called it North Rake) up Pavey Ark (avoiding the grade one scramble of Jake’s Rake). This rocky, rough and often steep path up to the summit gives you views across the eastern and southern fells on a clear day, which unfortunately it wasn’t for us.

Then it was time for two of the three Langdale Pikes: Harrison Stickle and Loft Crag. We followed the path along the ridge from Pavey Ark on an easy climb up to Harrison Stickle, the highest point in the area and on our run. I could see why this was part of Darren’s favourite route as you can see most of the Lakes from here, and no doubt a lot of the fells he’s supported runners on.

From Harrison Stickle we carried on down to Loft Crag, enjoying the view to Blea Tarn, and began the long and mostly pretty runnable descent back down to the Langdale Valley. And all good runs end with a good café or pub and this one ends with not one but two options: the New Dungeon Ghyll and Stickle Barn.

The route is just 6k but it packs in some great climbs (720m worth), three Wainwrights, and some of the best views of the Lake District. It’s hard to imagine a short run which showcases the Lakes more effectively and I can see why Darren loves this valley so much. Like his beloved pair of Bridgedale socks, it’s an old favourite which delivers every single time.

5 Great pairs of socks:

Little things matter the most when it comes to making your run memorable

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