9.5 miles of walking, 4 peaks and reduced daylight meant only 1 thing, a very early start. So, at 5am the alarm went off and by 5.30 we were out the door and heading north in the darkness.
We arrived at Glenridding at approx 7am and it was still a wee bit too dark to set off so I had another 10 mins snooze and before long the light was starting to appear over the hills. Boots on, bags packed we headed out in the dim light towards the path that would take us up to Helvellyn. I swear on the first part of the path up I was still half asleep and it took me a few mins to come-to!
It was a path we'd followed before and as we ventured up it got lighter and over to the left and it wouldnt be long before the sun popped behind the high street range and sure enough very soon we were witness to a glorious sight as the sun illuminated the surrounding hills and cast a deep orange glow all around. On the last day of November having such a mild day with full sun was just brilliant.
Our first peak of the day was Birkhouse Moor which was a top we'd missed on previous visits. Funnily enough the summit was only about 50yds from the path but as we'd never been up there on a clear day like this we'd missed it previously, not today though. We happily skipped over the moor to touch its cairn.
Striding Edge is glorious, a thin path of spiky rock with a steep rocky climb at the end to the summit. Words cant really describe it so here's a couple of pics which help get a sense of the task in hand. Brill stuff!
The walk was lovely and cloud swirled in and out. There weren't that many people around but today there seemed to be more mountain bikers than anything else. I just cant see the point of carrying a bike to the summit of a hill only to ride it down again. I enjoy being out on my bike but this seemed a lot of effort for a few moments of wheeeeeeeeeeeeee.
So there it was the last top in front of us and the cloud had moved away leaving us again with a clear bright day.
We chatted to a nice couple at the top of Raise who were, yes you guessed it, on their mountain bikes and just as we were leaving the summit we turned round and caught a glimpse of a Brocken Spectre an absolutely glorious sight and not one I've ever seen before. I tried my best to catch it but I think it was fading a bit when we saw it so just got the tail end of it. Awe inspiring none the less.
One of the perils of walking at this time of the year, especially when its so mild is that the conditions underfoot, in some areas, can be damp so when we came across a particularly boggy bit and I was looking for a place to cross Chris, in his wisdom (and believe me he's usually right!) said, just run across. So I did and was promptly halted when my foot and leg sunk deep into the bog, propelling me forward and leaving me very wet and dirty indeed. Drat! this was not good, I wasn't hurt but I was wet, muddy and uncomfortable. It took me a few mins to recover my composure and actually see the funny side of it. You never see Julia Bradbury covered head to toe in mud, do you?
Drama over we continued downward and as the sun started to slip behind the hills we remarked on what a good walk that had been. It was only 3pm but already we were losing some light. We'd not seen any wildlife to speak of today, apart from a distant buzzard in the morning and a little mushroom that I accidentally stamped on but the juniper bushes on the path towards Glenridding were a wee bit picturesque, so here's my contribution to flora and fauna today.