Start point: Honister slate mine
Honister to Robinson
(via Dale Head and Hindscarth)
Overview Shoulders and ridges. Cutting corners can shave a smidgen of distance
Classic While Dale Head is always further than its modest altitude suggests, there is no alternative. From the summit, skirt around the crags of Hindscarth Edge to save unneccesary work and divert right to Hindscarth summit at the earliest opportunity. From there, look out for the drop into a well-formed trail that elegantly cuts the corner back to the Littledale Edge. Once back on the ridge, take either the path up the fence or stride out a more direct way to Robinson summit.
Anti-clockwise reflections The only slight modification is that there is a stronger case for taking the faint diagonal trod from Robinson summit to the mid-point of Littledale Edge (before cutting the corner to Hindscarth).
Robinson to High Snab
Overview Whatever best suits tired legs.
High Snab Bank From the summit, head to the shoulder and stick to its edge over Blea Crags. Enjoy the runnable (perhaps) High Snab Bank but look for an opportunity to head directly down to the lower path before the fence.
Blea Crags As above, but taking in the steep descent much earlier and before the bulk of Blea Crags. Look out for a grassy line.
Little Dale Start out as above, but begin heading right (east) before the edge is reached. Choose a line that leads to the entrance of the hanging valley to pick up the path that leads the reservoir. There are two main line choices. The first is to descend immediately using steep grass and scree, then travel over boggy ground to the entrance of the hanging valley to pick up the path. The second is to drop down at a later stage but before the shoulder is reached.
Making the choice At this stage in the round, the choice will be dictated by whatever feels the path of least resistance. Most opt for Blea Crags but a softer and more gradual option is Little Dale.
Anti-clockwise reflections In ascent, trudging up Little Dale may be preferable to taking in a steep section and crags.
High Snab to Moot Hall
Overview By this point, who cares? The existence of Derwent Water denies a direct attack.
Road Little Town to Swinside to Portinscale to Keswick.
Off-road Take the road to Little Town but then find the path to Skelgill. A short road section beckons to Hawse End Outdoor Centre, but from there a well-appointed bridleway (the Cumbria Way) leads to Portinscale. From here, the road and off-road routes merge.
Making the choice Nearly all contenders opt for the road and it will surely be swifter. But a round is a round and it is no lesser achievement to make the final transition on softer and more varied ground. Further, the prospect of a tarmac 10k will be anathema to the sorest of feet.
Anti-clockwise reflections With fresh legs, stick to the road
leg FIVE summary
The only choice of the leg is how to get from Robinson to Moot Hall, but the determining factor will be whatever terrain best suits tired legs.