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The La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw

31-Aug-2019 Lime House School, Holm Hill, Dalston, Cumbria, UK (England)


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Trail Race Race Terrain
71KM / 44Miles
1 Day - 300 Runners

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

Entry From £65 GBP

The La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw is a 44 mile, fully waymarked, trail ultra race taking in the beautiful Northern Lake District with a climb up the mighty Skiddaw at the approximate halfway point, giving a total of 7136 feet of ascent.

The Route

The route is almost entirely run on public footpaths and bridleways, starting and finishing at Lime House School near Dalston. It then follows the River Caldew, winding through fields and woods until you reach Caldbeck.

From here, the scenery changes to the stunning and remote feeling Caldbeck Fells, where you make your way past Skiddaw House to the car park at Latrigg. The  climb up Skiddaw follows, after visiting the summit you contour round passing through Orthwaite, Branthwaite and Fell Side before the route brings you back to Caldbeck and the return journey to Lime House School along the banks of the River Caldew.

Entry includes event technical t shirt, bespoke medal, tracker hire, free event photographs, free parking, all food and drink at the 4 Checkpoints and a hot meal and free beer at the finish. The route gpx file and route notes are available to download.

Qualifying Points

The La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw is a qualifying event for The Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc®, with 3 points.


Event Organiser
Gaynor Prior



Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Type: An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for: Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Global - Virtual

Type: A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for: For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Review The La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw

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Ian Cha

09:06 04-09-18

A really nice route; be careful not to look at the lovely views too much and lose concentration and your footing, apparently the 2nd checkpoint will look after you and patch you up if you do fall.

Good trails throughout. It is a flat first 8 miles to Caldbeck prior to a climb to High Pike. A fantastic descent and then a nice route with amazing views to Latrigg. The ascent and descent of Skiddaw are steep with a great run and descent of Longside Edge. Then its a rolling descent via Peter House Farm to Caldbeck and a return along the flat section (which is no longer as flat as you thought on the way out!).

The start could do with an artificial lap of the sports field or a short road section to break the pack up prior to a series of gates and a queue.

Checkpoint grub was great...who would have though cheese and pickle sandwiches are just what you need after 30 miles! The organisation was great and the vibe and friendliness at the finish was great.

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08:59 15-02-17

Fast trails, steep climbs, running along the ridges- sounds exciting? Go and grand yourself a place and enjoy!

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Ultra 365 Tribe

04:38 12-09-16

Grand Tour of Skiddaw

It was that time of year again to head up to Lime House School near Dalston for the La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw, a 44 mile ultra trail marathon that, as the name suggests, includes an ascent of Skiddaw.

I like to make a weekend of it for this one as camping is provided at the start/finish area for £5 per night, so I set off around lunch time on Friday hoping not to end up on the M6 car park, and allowing for a lazy evening after putting up the tent, registering and kit checks. Registration is open until around 22:00 so if you are unable to make until after work there is still plenty of time, and also an early registration on Saturday morning be for the race.

No need for an early rise as the race starts at 08:00. Once all squared away and ready I attended the race brief at 07:50. There seemed to be only a small gathering of competitors. I guessed they’d either race notes brief timings, or had decided they wouldn’t compete due to the weather forecast…. The latter seemed more appropriate.

Leg 1- Lime House School to Caldbeck

We were away on time at 08:00. After leaving the school grounds this section follows the River Caldew winding its way along the trail through fields and woods until you reach Caldbeck. Navigation is easy but I would advise making points of reference on a couple of trail changes if you are expecting to be returning on this section during the hours of darkness as things can look slightly different at night! The checkpoint at Caldbeck is situated in the village hall. After dibbing in and giving my race number I was away again as I didn’t feel any need to hang around to refuel here with it being only 8 miles to this CP.

Leg 2 - Caldbeck to Latrigg

Back on the tarmac for a couple of hindered meters before a slight uphill to the foot of High Pike. At 658m and a steady climb along hard trail it won’t be too long before you reach the summit plateau. Again, navigation is easy here as the route is marked with red flags. A few hundred meters on from reaching this point and before the descent of Great Lingy you will check in with a safety marshal and give your number. The following section before the descent can be extremely boggy during wet periods, which can also make the fairly steep decent a tricky one! Go carefully on the rocky sections when wet here. Once down it is again fairly flat and fast running all the way past Skiddaw House and in to the checkpoint at Latrigg….. Apart from 1 or 2 short sharp inclines.

Once at Latrigg and after dibbing in, it was time for a 10 min stop. Refill. Refuel. And off.

Leg 3 – Latrigg to Peter House Farm

Or long slog as it should be called! Almost as soon as leaving Latrigg you’re ascending Skiddaw. It starts of quite steep then as it winds its way up the tourist track, gradually the gradient lessens as you head closer to the summit. Once it has flattened out on the summit plateau approach you will find another safety marshal just before the trig point. If the weather has closed in you will need to stay on top of your navigation here if you are a novice. It would be easy to drift off and waste time looking for the marshal in poor visibility. It is also fairly exposed to the elements on the summit section. .

Once you have checked in with the safety marshal and given your race number, dart over to the trig point and ring the bell before descending down the scree slope towards Longside Edge. Again, it would be easy to miss the right hand track junction on to the scree in poor visibility if you are unfamiliar with the ground, as one guy did before he saw me break right and had to run back! I witnessed several falls along this section of the course, specifically on the scree and Longside, mainly due to the challenging conditions underfoot and on the wet rock.

Once down of the fell it is only a short distance in to the CP at Peter House Farm.

Leg 4 - Peter House Farm to Caldbeck

After dibbing in it’s another quick fluid top up then off

After leaving the CP there is a short fairly steep incline which can be seen in the forest clearing as you look right from Peter House Farm CP. This section is again fairly flat and winds its way along some country lanes interspersed with sections of trail on the lowlands of Udale and Caldbeck Fells before heading back to the Checkpoint at Caldbeck village hall.

Once again you will dib in here. There was a surprise waiting for me here…

Leg 5 - Caldbeck to Lime House School

This is exactly the same as Leg 1, in reverse. If you’ve taken note of how you got here in the morning it should prove no problem on the final 8 miles back in to the finish!

If the weather is ok you will find a collection of competitors at the finish line welcoming you back and likely with a beer from Newark Brewery (one free beer with your race number!) and a pizza from the German Pizza truck, not actually sure of its name!

All in all the course is mostly undulating with 2 ascents, High Pike then Skiddaw at approximately half way.
If you are looking for an introduction to ultra running in the mountains I would say that this would be a great race. Although I would advice being a confident navigator and pay attention as it would be easy to miss a turn as some sections are not very well signed and the weather has a tendency to be a bit wet, windy and poor visibility in the Lake District, even during some months.

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08:51 10-09-15

Great race - wonderfully British way to spend a weekend. Generous organisers, challenging course, friendly team and a pint at the end. I could ask for no more. Thank you all

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03:41 02-09-15

Really good race. Northern Lakes with a good mixture of fast, (relatively) flat trail running and steep climbs and descents. The organisation is excellent, the checkpoints are super friendly with loads of food / drinks and the scenery is incredible. You can camp for the whole weekend if you want to make a full trip of it.

The only reason this race doesn't get 5 stars is because there aren't enough people doing it. It's a shame because it is a great race and it just needs more bodies on the course I think.

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08:47 02-09-15

Grand Tour of Skiddaw 2015

Fantastic race. Great route through the Northern Lake District taking in a climb up Skiddaw at the half way point. With a stunning and technical descent.
On site camping available for the full bank holiday weekend. Brilliant staff, food and drink available for the full weekend all reasonable priced.
Great race, great entertainment, great weekend. I'll be back next year!

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09:25 01-09-15

This was my second mountain ultra and tough for a beginner like me. But the comradeship was great and the support staff at the checkpoints were friendly.

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08:30 31-08-15

Great race with a great atmosphere. I'll be back next year.

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03:43 31-08-15

Fantastic friendly event with a chilled out atmosphere. The course has a couple of tough claims and a tricky descent. The views are awesome on a nice day. Not an Ultra for a beginner but great fun for experienced Ultra runners. The whole weekend had a great atmosphere and was run without any problems. Loved it and felt it was the best Ultra weekend I have had.

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12:52 31-08-15

Ran the GTS this year, conditions were fabulous if not a little warm but the light shower on Skiddaw was a refreshing welcome. Course is a mixture of field, bridalways, fell, mountain tracks and tarmac. Parts of the course a quite technical i.e Grainsgill Beck and the decent off Long Side and Unlock Pike. The course covers a demanding 44 miles and is well supported by marshals at 4 check points. The climb up Skiddaw from Latrigg is tough but the decent to Carl Side is even tougher as the terrain is pretty much scree. All that said the view are spectacular and the comrademanship is united throughout the run. I'm glad I ran it and next year I'm considering the 73 mile race for my sins.

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