31 May 2014

5 peaks, 100th Wainwright & The Roof of England

Today would be my 100th Wainwright and as much as I wanted a "key peak" to be my 100th we chose a route the included Scafell and resulted in Lingmell being the 100th.

6.30am out of the house, food and water packed as well as the obligatory layers as we werent sure what the weather was going to throw at us today.

Parked at Seathwaite we made our way along the path through the valley that would take us up to the base of the first peak of the day.  Great End.
The path rose gently and the closer we got to the point where all the paths converged it seemed like a bus had pulled in and there were people everywhere.

We had first lunch at Great End but keen to push on and get the 2 Hewitts done (Broad Crag and Ill Crag) before the big daddy  - Scafell Pike. 
Both Hewitts were easy enough and sitting atop Ill Crag we could see clearly over to Scafell and what seemed like hundreds of ants up top, those ants were in fact people.  It was swarming with folks.

 The walk up seemed quite steep and it was a bit shaley (remineded me a bit of bristly scree) but soon enough you we were on top and I had to practically elbow my way through to the stone top to stand atop the highest mountain in Englandshire!

We didnt stick around long and started to make our way down the path.  Lingmell stood before us and I started to get a bit excited about its significance.
On the way down we met Callum (seen in the above picture in Orange) who was raising money for charity by doing the 3 peaks challenge - 3 peaks in 3 days.  He'd completed Ben Nevis the day before, today was Scafell Pike and Sunday he was off to Wales to conquer Snowdon.  Only 9 years old and raising money for a school friend.  Read about his journey here - http://www.callums3peakchallenge.carboncookie.com/

On the descent of Scafell it was nice to veer away from the crowds over to the base of Lingmell.  There were a few people coming off Lingmell but only us going up so much quieter than its neighbour Scafell.

Before long we were on the top and it felt good.  100 Wainwrights in total which I think is quite an achievement.  That coupled with the additional Hewitts I have in Wales and Munro's in Scotland make my peak tally quite impressive by all accounts.  Well I think so at least.

The sun was finally starting to come out and the light was suddenly great for pictures.  Back off down the corridor route to Seathwaite was spendid with Great Gable, Green Gable and Basebrown off to our left.

Before long we were back at the start of the path and had just the final mile to go along to the car at Seathwaite.  What a great day, yes my knees played up a little, but all in all it was a fab day, met some great people, climbed some spectacular mountains and that makes me Happy, Happy, Happy !

26 May 2014

Dressed knots and squeaky shoes !

Today brought us to Windgather Rocks for our first venture into outdoor rock climbing.  We've been members of the Manchester Climbing Club since the beginning of the year and finally we get to test what we've learned on real rock and what an experience that turned out to be.

2 instructors, 2 nice ladies and Chris and I met at the foot of the rocks and after a brief introduction whilst hoping the rain would stay off we popped our shoes and harnesses on and we were ready to go.

The first climb looked tricky as it had a chimney type element at the top of it but for me I couldn't even get onto the rock.  The first decent foothold seemed too high up and I was instantly thrown into a world where I'd have to trust 5mm width of rock and my lovely evolve shoes which would keep me pinned to the rock.  Hand holds were different and there were very few grips where you felt you had a good hold.  Infact we learned very quickly how to use the rock by twisting our hand in crevices to give us more support but it was tough.  Not having pre determined hand / foot holds was a new experience and just trusting your feet and equipment was taken to a different level.

I made it to the top of the first climb even though there were moments when I was convinced I couldnt go any further.  A little bit of coaching from one of the instructors and I found myself going higher and further up the rock much to my surprise as anyone else's.

The second climb seemed a tad easier, there wasn't the enclosure of the chimney structure that forced your body outwards but there still were some tricky bits to overcome and again with the help of the instructor I was thrilled when I touched the caribiner at the top.
A few more times up different routes and my hands were aching, shoulders aching but a nice level of self satisfaction at having acomplished something really cool (well in my book anyway)

The evening soon drew to a close as a cold wind started biting as the sun went down behind the clouds.  What it did give us was the most fabulous sunset and rays threw themselves over the rocks making them look like something out a hollywood western.

Great evening, great company, great instruction..............Lets do that again and Soon ! 

05 May 2014

Lakes Day 3 - Forced Gowbarrow

*** No pictures in this blog entry as my camera was not playing ball ***

Our last day of Bank Holiday Camping in Glenridding and after packing up the tent we headed up Ullswater towards the National Trust Car Park for Aira Force. The plan was to have a wander up to the waterfall and then onwards and upwards to Gowbarrow Fell, another wainwright to tick off the list.

Car parked and boots on we ventured up through the beautiful forested area with all sorts of trees throwing light all about and giving the feel that you were in some magical mystical land.

Unfortunately I wasn't feeling very magical and mystical and had no energy whatsoever.  My legs felt like lead and I think the past few days were catching up with me.

The falls were beautiful and we didn't hang around as we had a wainwright to bag.  Following the map we made our way up and out of the waterfalls and wooded area onto the soft ground of the hill.  The main path was up the side of a wall but true to form we took the harder route and went straight up for a bit.  It wasn't that steep but it certainly made things interesting.  I think I saw a stoat!

Soon enough we met with the path by the wall and continued up that until we reached a newly laid path of rubble and rocks.  There seemed to be a lot of work going on with the paths as big bulk bags of rubbly stuff were dotted around and the good news was I'd found my legs and some extra energy from somewhere and started to enjoy this walk.

Up a little bit more and we saw the trig point which indicated the summit and what a lovely summit it was.  A nice trig and 360 views from Blencathra right round all the fells in the area.  Stunning!

Back down the path it wasn't long before we were back at the waterfalls and had time this time to stop and watch as the water cascaded down all the beautiful rocks.
The sun even decided to come out then and before long we were back at the car and heading for home.

9 wainwrights, 3 hewitts, 1 force and mouse and a wee stoat and it was a brilliant Bank Holiday Weekend.

04 May 2014

Lakes Day 2 - Beautiful Beda

*** No pictures in this blog entry as camera kaputt! ***

Day 2 of our Bank Holiday Camp in Glenridding would take us up a previously missed hill - Beda and then over to Steel Knotts.  Again the weather was particularly kind to us and it didn't seem as cold as the previous morning.  To start our day we had a wonderful breakfast in the Glenridding Village Hall where there was a Sunday Big Breakfast to raise funds for the hall. It was like stepping back in time with village hall benches and chairs and cups and saucers but the breakfast was fantastic and the lady in charge was charismatic to say the least.

So after our feed we were off and about again from the campsite and up and over the pass between Plaice Fell and Angletarn Pike.  The path was fairly apparent and flanked the mountainside, raising gently from the valley below.
It wasn't long before we could see Beda Fell in the distance and the undulating ground that would get us there.   Beda itself was a lovely walk up and the views as with any high walk were wonderful.  The High Street Range to our right as was The Nab.  Plaice Fell to our left and Hallin Fell with its peculiar pillar top right in front.

Beda was lovely.  A nice top with a cairn to boot on another wee peak and a lovely path down into the valley before the gentle traverse round the flanks of Steel Knotts before turning back and following the path up to the summit. A lovely big piece of rock on the top which was a bit airy but fun to get on top of after a nice gentle wander over some flattish ground then a steep path right up to the top.
After being blown about by the wind a bit we ventured over and down the path that would lead us back to Howtown to catch the boat back to Glenridding but not before we'd stopped off for a wee drink in a local bar.

Day 2 was wonderful, the weather held for us and the walk was lovely.  We did, for most of the day have a good view of "The Nab" which we missed before and would return to do another day.

03 May 2014

Lakes Day 1 - St Sunday's Crag Sorted !

Bank holiday weekend camping in Glenridding meant that we had 3 days to play with and the plan for day 1 was to take in the summit of St Sunday's Crag along with a few others of course.  Starting with Arniston Crag, Birks, St Sunday's crag, Fairfield then coming down via Hart Crag and Hartsop Above How.  A full day out indeed.

We walked from the campsite, which was nice, after a breakfast of porridge for me and beans and sausages for Chris.  Camping isn't camping unless there are beans and sausages involved.

We made our way up to the little craggy summit of Arniston Crag in good time and the weather was decent. Not sunny and a bit of a bite in the wind but not too bad all round.

The next stop was Birks and what a boring summit that was.  A steepish slog up the side of the mountain and a flattish grassy plateau like summit.  But it was a tick and a tick that got me closer to my 100th Wainwright.

St Sunday's Crag was a pleasure to walk.  A mixture of gravel path and craggy scrambly bits made the upward journey much more pleasant.  It was hard work and the biting cold wind, if it got you, tore right through you.  Good job we had layers as the previous nights camping had left me chilled so I was feeling it more than usual.

After a bit more effort we reached the summit and it was quite busy on that route today.  The views were as always spectacular and we could see clearly the remaining route of the day.

We didn't hang around long on the top but started on the downward path that would take us down and up the side of Fairfield.  A quick bite of lunch (meats and cheeses) and the discovery of some odd garments and we were on our way up the beautiful path that clambered through rocks and big steps up the side of the hill.

The top of Fairfield was confusing.  So many cairns at a similar altitude.  Which one was the top?  We touched every one just to be sure.

Across the summit of Fairfield we could see the other horseshoe leading down into Ambleside but we were taking a left turn before that over to Hart Crag and our route downwards.
Quite a nice path down, nothing too taxing.   A nice bit of scrambly bit and a decent path.  A perfect end to a perfect day and before long we were back at the road and pulling our tired legs along towards the pub.

Hurrah for the White Lion.