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The Leaden Boot challenge

19th May 2013

Route.  Alstonefield - Ilam - Grindon - Wetton Mill - Ecton - Sheen - Pilsbury - Hartington - Alstonefield

(  26.2 miles 5800ft ascent)

A few months ago I was off work ill and was passing time on the internet when I came across the Leaden Boot challenge and as you do when you can hardly stand never mind walk I decided to enter a marathon. The challenge takes place around the beautiful Derbyshire countryside centered on the lovely village of Alstonefield. The weather was very kind with warm but not overly so sunshine all day. Thinking that I needed all the help I could get I joined in the blessing of the "soles" where the local vicar sprinkles our feet with holy water and at 9 prompt we were off.

Our route takes us past the church, whose need to replace stolen lead was the inspiration for the walk.


After dropping down to the river Dove at Milldale we are faced with the daunting climb up Baley Hill. 

At the top now but not much time for a breather as we immediately drop down the very steep track back down to the Dove.

Passing by Dove Hole caves.

We cross the river at Ilam Rock

The sign says it all.

Once up the very steep path and along the top of the dale we drop down to Ilam

Entering Ilam. Another impossibly pretty village

The checkpoint at Ilam. All the checkpoints are manned by an army of volunteers who provide drinks snacks and plenty of encouragement.

The ruins of Throwley Hall

Dropping down to the River Manifold. I was getting a feel what the walk is all about now and I knew that for every descent there would be a (usually) steeper ascent.

After a particularly tiring climb I was glad to reach checkpoint four at Grindon. 12 miles done

After a few more ups and downs I reach the village of Sheen with it's own pretty church.

Looking back to the top of the hill and checkpoint 6 at Pilsbury, 19 miles completed. Of course the height lost dropping down had to be immediately gained again.

Leaving Pilsbury now,  heading for the stone pillar on the hill to the right. This turns out to be the last big climb and now the route is more or less down hill all the way to Alstonefield.

But first we must visit checkpoint 8 at Hartington ( 22.5 miles done) Here I was joined by my sons Andrew and James who were going to walk the last 4 miles with me

The lovely valley of Narrowdale.

Looking back down Narrowdale. All that remains now is an easy walk across fields to Alstonefield.

 I was quite pleased with my time of 10hrs 10 minutes which is a moving average of around 2.7 mph which for me is good especially with nearly 6000ft of ascent. The Leaden Boot is a superbly run and friendly event and I would like to thank all the volunteers who made for a brilliant (if at times painful) day out.

Last walk - Beda Fell Next walk - Three days on the north western fells