Rothay Park parkrun, Ambleside

Route map of Rothay Park parkrun in Ambleside, Cumbria.
Rothay Park parkrun route. Start next to the playground, three laps.

My original plan was to struggle up the hills at Whinlatter Forest, but they have to cancel when there are high winds. Luckily, that meant I could walk to my (temporary) local run at Rothay Park, in the North of Ambleside. It’s very easy to find – Ambleside’s not that big, and the church is a good landmark. There’s plenty of car parkland free parking for a few by the river.

Cut trees beside a wide path and a large tree stands over a trimmed hedge.
The start, which heads towards the camera. On each lap you then run away from the camera past the tree on your right, turning right at the end to go past the playground.

This is a lovely run round the town park and a field next to the football club. Three laps, a little bit of up and down, some mud (but nothing this weekend that needed special shoes), parking and toilets nearby.

Path at the top end of the park with thin metal railings keeping us off the river on the right.
Round the field, alongside the water.

The paths are pretty narrow in places. Room enough for the 92 of us there were, but it does mean there are a couple of stretches where you either can’t or shouldn’t overtake, as people come back the other way. The path to the field next to the football club is also the path back from the field, for instance, and so are busy in both directions. I say “shouldn’t” not to say you must not if there’s space, but because one of the leaders only looked straight at me as he stepped out in front of me to overtake a back marker. I was happy to move aside, but probably shouldn’t have had to. But no biggie.

A bench in the foreground, with green grass and a tarmacked path to the right.
A bench. The finish is towards the back of this section.

It was a windy day, which didn’t affect this course too much, though it did hit us as we turned into the field, which is also the soggiest part, needing a little care. A little frost would toughen this part of the course up, otherwise it’s only going to be muddier in the next few weeks. You wouldn’t feel daft running this course in trail shoes during the winter, and many people did exactly that.

Narrow tarmacced path runs down a small incline, toward a playground in the distance.
A small downhill section down the twisting path.

I’ve taken photos on a sunny day, though Saturday was a little drizzly. It was still perfectly good weather for a run, though, and there are plenty of trees and hills around to break the weather up a little.

A muddy path through gates, with the local football club building on the right.
Through the gates into the field, and back out again after you’ve been round it.

It’s a lovely event in a gorgeous small town, with very friendly and welcoming volunteers. I was running a milestone event, but quietly – all those months conspicuously not getting to the milestone during the pandemic closure meant that I was not really feeling it. A friend had tipped off the run director, but with many other things to think about, he got the name a little wrong at the start, and I only realised he meant me when he said “ah, must have gone to Whinlatter”. Too late by then, but I did say hello at the end and we had a laugh about it. That worked out ideally, really – no fuss made, but it also wasn’t a total surprise so no-one was offended that I hadn’t mentioned it to them. A couple of others also ran milestones and they hadn’t had a shout-out, so I was happily tucked into a sub-group, enjoying a lovely run without distraction.

The town really is set in a lovely location, especially when the sun is out. A few views below.

Results from Rothay Park parkrun, event 29, 29/1/22.

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