Anniversary Waltz Fell Race – 21st April 2018
The Anniversary Waltz is a fell race held each year to celebrate the wedding anniversary of race organisers Steve and Wynn Cliff. For the past 21 yrs it has been held every April in the beautiful Newlands Valley in the heart of the Lake District. Sadly in January this year Steve passed away after losing his couragous battle with Motor Neorone Disease, so Wynn has decided this years race will probably be the last ever one.
The race is 11 miles long with 3,600 ft of ascent climbing most of the peaks around the Newlands Valley, on the north side of Derwentwater near Keswick.
Whilst a lot of the Harriers were heading down to London for the marathon, Myself, Adian Kamis and Janet Kay made our way up to The Lakes to have a crack at this classic fell race on this absolutely glorious spring day.
After the usual kit-checks and safety brief, there was a moving tribute to Steve Cliff followed by rapturous applause in memory of this obviously well loved figure in the fell-running community.
The race starts with a low-level run in the shadow of Cat Bells before making our way across the valley floor before the brutal climb up the first mountain, Robinson. This is steep, bloody steep, on all fours in places, but eventually we reach to summit and enjoy some lovely ridge running with stunning views all around on this abolutely glorious sunny day.
Next summit Hindscarth can be seen in the distance, this section flew by and before we knew it we were heading for Dale Head, the highest point on the course, with stunning views back down into the Newlands Valley on our left and amazing mountainous views to our right. On this beautiful clear day the full amazing route could be clearly seen, no need for map and compass today.
A runnable climb north up the tourist path leads to next checkpoint High Spy. I was quite shocked at how good I actually felt here, even felt strong on the climbs, and managed to catch Adrian, who I didnt think I’d see again ’til the finish, but because he was fannying about taking photos I managed to catch him. We ran together for a while, working hard but still managing to take in the breathtaking scenery.
Over Maiden Moor and heading towards Cat Bells we could now see Derwentwater shimmering in the sunshine way below. The steep climb to the summit was tough going but once over the top we enjoyed a fantastic steep grassy descent down the fellside to pick up the track where we started. From here its past the farmhouse, down the winding country lanes which seem to go on forever, then finally into the finish field. Wow what a cracking race, loved it. Certainly one of the most enjoyable races I’ve ever done.
I’d love to say I’ll be back next year, but like I said earlier its probably going to be the last ever one, well if it is, then it certainly went out in style. Glorious sunshine, clear blue skies, amazing scenery, a cracking course and the friendliest bunch of people you could wish to meet.