I leave work a little early in order to get home for around 5pm to collect L and the boys before tussling with the M6.
We stay in Elterwater for the first time in a cottage called The Stables, because it was once some stables, that’s just across the road from the cottage hire place. Which makes getting the key rather easy.
After unpacking we attempt to get a drink in the Britannia but it was too full to even get in the door. So we end up at the Wainwrights instead which, by contrast, is very quiet. I suppose Jennings axing Snecklifter doesn't help. That was the main reason we went there and the lack of my favourite Lakeland tipple will certainly hamper my race prep.
The run is on Saturday, with a 12:10 start to fit in round the bus timetable, and it’s rather damp and misty. Although it’s nowhere near as wet as last year. There are 700 of us in the 10K, which is now no longer split over two days and means parking all the cars is quite an issue but they just about cope. We make sure of a space by arriving early and parking in the National Trust car park by the Sticklebarn. It’s a choice of £7 donation to National Trust to park there or a £5 donation to the Brathay Trust if you park in the race car park. Both are worthy causes.
Many of the runners are in fancy dress and I dress up as a frozen turkey still in its shrink rap, as I try out one of L's new ponchos in a bid to keep dry. Although I don’t run in it.
Perhaps I should have done as it might have given me an excuse for being outwitted in the race by a Christmas Pudding that although it huffed and puffed its way up the one big hill, it positively rolled down the other side. Although not stopping for a mull wine at the drinks station, as I did, gave it a distinct advantage.
My time of 47:49 is 22 seconds quicker than last year, a small victory I suppose. They hand me a Sainsburys Christmas pudding as I cross the line, which will no doubt sit in the cupboard for most of the year. We’re not big Christmas pudding eaters. Much more to my liking is the Hawkshead's Dry Stone Stout they had on in the Sticklebarn for a post-race tipple. In the evening, we are back in the Wainwrights to eat and it was again very quiet.
On Sunday, we have breakfast in Slates, the refurbished and rebranded cafe in Elterwater that only opened in September. Then we do a photo session for the family Christmas card, both in front of the cottage and in front of the Christmas Tree in front of the Britannia.
After which we do a walk up to Shelwith Bridge and then round to Little Langdale, mostly dodging the showers. We have a pint in the Eltermere, where we've never been before, before finally making it to the Britannia in the evening. It is quieter with it being a Sunday but not by a lot. We eat there despite the Lad’s attempt to get us chucked out by not letting any other dogs share the back room with us.
We go down to the New Dungeon Ghyll for breakfast on Monday before shopping in the Co-Op at Chapel Stile, a ball session in Ambleside and then a cheeky Brodie's Prime at the Hawkshead Brewery before heading home. Visiting both sets of parents on the way.
(Monday 9th December)