Montane Ambassador Jen Scotney knows a thing or two about trail running. Based in the Peak District, she manages to juggle working full-time with training and came in third in the 108 mile Spine Challenger. She took a break to tell us about her top five running trails.
Jen wrote this guide pre-COVID. Please remember to check the latest guidance from the local authorities if you are planning to travel to any of these trails as this can change without notice.
Coed Y Brenin, Wales
Not just a mountain bike mecca, these gorgeous forests and trails are perfect for running whatever the weather - so much that we chose it for our honeymoon in winter! There are trails to suit all abilities and aspirations; from sedate 4km loops to over 20km with a tonne of height gain.
Yorkshire Three Peaks
A classic trail that earns its place by being as beautiful as it is hard! A satisfying round of 24 miles and about 1500m of ascent, taking in three climbs, with my favourite (and Pennine Way friend) Pen-y-Ghent. I've done it many times - though not in the classic fell race, then it would be too hard to stop for photos.
Cleveland Way, North Yorkshire
At 109 miles long in its entirety, this trail can certainly be a daunting proposition. It can be broken up into stages, or you can cherry-pick your favourite section: I have run the Cleveland Way on the Coast to Coast route, which takes in some stunning ridges and trails across the North York Moors. The scramble over the Wainstones is my favourite.
Who wouldn't want to run up and down the highest mountain in the UK! Although I usually aim for trails away from the crowds, this one was really fun as I had walkers I had overtaken on the way up clapping and cheering me on the way down, as if I was in a race! I think having my beagle Sherlock with me that day may have encouraged the cheering. At 10.75 miles and 1352m of ascent, I was willing to take any help I could get.
Fairfield Horseshoe, Lake District
While only 12 miles, this round gives you all the drama and views of Lake District running, but allows you to be finished in time to enjoy lunch (and maybe a drink!) in Ambleside. A lot of the ascent is at the start and finish, so hang in there - once you are on the ridge it gets easier.
(Bonus!) Edale Skyline, Peak District
OK we said five but I really had to pick one by my home in the Peak District and the Edale Skyline is a perfect 22 mile loop taking in the best ridge, views, bogs, and trails in the Dark Peak. An absolute classic!