My first trip into the Lake District as a walker and not a tourist had all the makings of an eventful and fantastic day and I can tell you it was certainly eventful and lived up to its fantastic billing. The weather was the only slightly negative aspect of the day as the forecast was showery and we really knew from the off that we wouldnt get the well known spectacular views that are part of the Lake Districts charm. Instead we got angry skies, low cloud, poor visibility and rain, soft and drizzly at first turning to more persistant in the afternoon.
So we set off up the path leading from the campsite and followed a mapped out route that would take us to Pike of Blisco. My very first Wainwright and it was a well deserved Wainwright as the climb to the top of this baby was a hard slog up boggy grass and stones. Every time we thought we'd reached the summit or could see the summit a dark looming shadow could be seen through the cloud and mist so we kept plodding on upwards until there were no dark and looming shadows in the near distance and the altimeter told us we were infact on the summit. Yay, my first Wainwright and I spared a thought for the lovely little man and his journeys through the Lakes. Thanks Alfred!
My first Wainwright - Pike of Blisco.
The views were - out there somewhere !
I loved the wooly sheep around here. So cute and fluffy and not at all like their countrymen in other parts who always look a bit scruffy. These little ones looked like they'd been hand knitted - so cute. Apart from their cousins, the black ones who looked very spooky with their weird skull like faces (shame I didnt get a picture)
Down the other side of Pike of Blisco was Red Tarn which signified the start of the ascent of Cold Pike. Again we had the tough and arduous climb through grass, bog and rocks and its probably wise to mention that these rocks were slippy. Some covered in slimy moss made the going even harder as you had no confidence in your footfall not knowing if they were slippy or not and since I'd already had 1 tumble today which resulted in a bruised elbow I really didnt want to go down again (little did I know then what was to come later yikes!)
Cold pike summit was a bit like the previous one in that each time we thought we were there we saw the dark looming shape ahead which told us we had a bit to go yet but finally we reached it and were awarded with the same mind blowing views as before. 360 degrees of nothingness. We could only imagine the sights that lay beyond the bleakness and we'll just have to go back on a clear day to get the rewards for the climb.
The first Crinkle was found and the path lead us up to the top and over quite easily. The wind by this time had taken hold and it was cold, cold enough for me to put my gloves on. I was also aware at this point that I hadnt really eaten much this morning (or was it afternoon by now?) and a stop would need to happen soon to eat more for energy sakes than anything else. 4 more Crinkles and the rest of the days planned peaks meant I needed to fuel up. I hadnt had the luxury of the manly protein shake lol! So it was decided that we'd stop for 1st lunch under the bad step. Much chuckling was done about the step staying in place and not falling on us but it was a damp and dreary lunch stop surrounded by walls of wet stone that would have to be surmounted at some point.
The story of the naughty step by Lynne Watson, age 45 (nearly didnt make it to 46)
The way up the bad step looked hard mostly because I couldnt see anywhere to put my feet or hands. The steps up through the rock just seemed too big for me to get my legs up onto. Body pressed against the hard and wet rock I moved slowly up the side of the rockface and took a few steps up. Reaching up and over the top bit to find somewhere to grip with my hands so I could pull myself up I just couldnt find any purchase at all. My gloves were slipping on the wet stone. My left foot was balanced on a small round knobbly bit of rock and my right leg was on a wet ledge. My hands still found no solid crevice of rock to give me any stability and I simply couldnt see anyway I could get my foot onto the next ledge. My legs simply werent long enough and I couldnt pull myself up because I could find no hand hold for my hands. With one final bit of effort to get my leg up to the next ledge the other leg slipped off the crevice and I fell down the full length of the rock face. Probably only about 10ft but as I fell I wasnt sure where or how I'd land and was terrified I'd bang my head. As it was I landed at the bottom in a sort of roll and after the initial few moments of shock I realised that I hadnt hurt myself much at all. My knee hurt but nothing else and I couldnt feel any broken bones or anything that hurt more than a bruise. I was extremely thankful at that moment and thoughts of what could have happened make me feel unaturally vulnerable for a moment. A lesson learned today. Just because its there doesnt mean you have to do it. Wet rock is dangerous and care and sense must come into this activity we love so much. Today I was lucky. I escaped with nothing more than a gash on my knee and a few bruises but it will make me more cautious in future.
After the drama of the bad step we continued on in our journey over the crinkles. The weather lifted just a bit over crinkle 4 or was it crinkle 5......so many crinkles so little time. In the mist all those darned crinkles looked the same and I cant wait to get back to them at some point in the fair weather and see those views.
The first and only bit of blue sky in the day!
The rest of the day's plans had to be amended as we would run out of time to do the whole circut planned. The bad weather meant it would be darker earlier than usual and that meant that we only had a few hours of daylight left. So sensibly we decided to head downwards before tackling Bowfell and headed down the path (where we paused for 2nd lunch) that would lead us back to the campsite.
The route down gave us views of the peaks we'd been on earlier in the day. We saw the routes we'd taken and were on the lookout for alternative routes for another day in the hills.
The view over to Red Tarn where we'd been that morning and the flanks of the mountains we'd climbed.
One final look back to the crinkles which look so splendid sitting there proudly in the valley we continued to venture down the rocky path. One strange thing we noticed was a few people heading up the path at that time of the day. The weather again was closing in and one man that passed us with his family had sandals on and his family had nothing more than trainers and kagools. Madness, the light was fading and within an hour it would be nearly dark and there he was with his family heading up. Cuckoo!
I enjoyed my first foray into the lakes very much and hope that I'm back there soon.