Race winner Rob Sinclair on Pinnacle Ridge. Photo: Ian Corless

Race winner Rob Sinclair on Pinnacle Ridge. Photo: Ian Corless

Scottish runner Rob Sinclair has won the annual Lakes Sky Ultra race, with New Zealand-born Sophie Grant taking the women’s title.

The race is part of the UK Skyrunning series, which combines mountain running with alpinism, with runners having to contend with scrambling or rock-climbing on the routes.

The race began at 7am on Saturday in Ambleside, with an international field including competitors from Austria, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Poland and Romania, as well as UK runners.

It was the fourth time the race had been staged and runners had to contend with temperatures up to 20C on the mountains, with little chance of finding shade.

As the elite field of 74 runners began the ascent of Dove Crag via Low Pike and High Pike, Great Britain international trailrunner Rob Sinclair took an early lead. By Striding Edge the Scot had a 10-minute advantage and as the day progressed it looked like he might break the course record of 7hrs 30mins 27secs.

The first half of the course includes around two-thirds of the 4,500m of ascent and most of the technical ridge running, with the second half being faster, more runnable terrain.

In the end, Sinclair arrived at the finish line in Ambleside just 10 minutes outside the record. “The race was brilliant,” he said. “It was a really good run. It was super hot, but I felt good in the heat today.”

Second-placed Tim Campion-Smith said: “I loved the race; it was super fun. The first five hours were great. Hours five to seven were pretty bleak. But then it was a nice little run in to the finish. The blueberries were out too, so I stocked up on a few calories.” The Briton was last year’s winner in the sister event, the Scafell Sky Race, staged the following day.

Third-placed man Andy Berry, also of the UK, said: “The other two lads were just a different level today.

“I don’t have that in the tank at the minute. Pinnacle Ridge was superb.” The ridge, on St Sunday Crag, is a technical and exposed section where runners use safety ropes. Berry improved on his last year’s time by 13 minutes.

Sophie Grant uses the ropes on Pinnacle Ridge. Photo: Ian Corless

Sophie Grant uses the ropes on Pinnacle Ridge. Photo: Ian Corless

New Zealand-born GB international trailrunner Sophie Grant was fastest woman over the course, with a time of 10hrs 14mins 42secs.

Britons Kate Simpson and Jenny Yate were second and third respectively, in times of 12hrs 37mins 38secs and 12hrs 51mins 35secs.

Simpson said: “I really enjoyed it up till Patterdale, then it got tough. The climb up High Street just went on forever. Coming off Red Screes seemed to go on forever, too. The marshals were amazing the whole way round. They were egging me on, telling me I was second lady, which did put some pressure on.”

The race awarded prize money, as well as prizes from race sponsors Salewa, Leki and Mountain Fuel.