Sunday 27 March 2016

Causey Pike & Sail

This was the second day, and after the disappointingly short walk of the day before we were going to take full advantage of the nicer forecast.  This was the first walk we were able to do from the house - we'd partly picked the location since we didn't have to drive everywhere.  This was is a kind of circuit, picking up Causey Pike and Scar Crags, and returning via Outerside and Barrow.

Difficulty: 5
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Isabelle (13), Grace (11), Evie (8), Poppy (5 1/2)
10:53, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (198)
12:46, 3.4km 1h52 470m, Causey Pike (637)
13:25, 4.7km 2h31 569m, Scar Crags (672)
14:15, 5.9km 3h21 726m, Sail (773)
15:10, 8.2km 4h16 807m, Outerside (568)
16:24, 10.4km 5h31 893m, Barrow (455)
18:05, 14.9km 7h11 992m, End (188)

We started with cloudy but bright skies, a refreshing relief after the wind and rain of the day before.  A gentle walk north around the end of the ridge to start with, 

Causey Pike is quite a rocky peak on the top of the ridge, very easy to spot from a distance.  By the time we were climbing up here the snow had started, this picture at the top of Causey Pike is a great illustration of how we spent quite a bit of that week - completely covered, with pretty much only eyes visible.  Only Caroline would show her face!  For kids walking in these conditions you really need full waterproofs with hoods, hats, neck warmers than you can pull over the mouth & nose and waterproof mitten gloves.

Walking along the ridge got us to Scar Crags, that first snow shower had passed, although the wind remained.  Still, fairly good visibility, although clearly not a great day to go much higher...

View the other way from the same point - this time looking back to Derwent Water and Keswick beyond the ridge we can come along.

Another picture from the top of Scar Crags, looking west towards Sail and Eel Crag - you can clearly see the zig zag path going up Sail and the dusting of snow.  You can't see the wind :)

From Scar Crags you walk down to a saddle point before that climb up to Sail - the plan was to turn right and go onto Outerside.  We got there and it was snowing again, but found a little bit of shelter to have a very quick lunch stop.  Filled with new energy we were keen to go the extra mile and tackle Sail!  Well, that's not quite true - Caroline and I were keen, since we were there, and how bad could it be?  I think none of the girls were keen to do Sail, and it took a bit of persuading (read commanding) before we started the ascent up that zig zag path.

It was the kind of walk that we made sure I was holding Poppy's hand.  Each zig and zag would change the conditions - either snow at high speed into the face, and a struggle each step to make any progress, or the brief respite from the wind in the face but a struggle to keep upright and hard work to keep climbing.  At one point on the way up Poppy was crying quite badly, and I don't really blame her - however I explained in no uncertain terms that we were going to do it, and that she would be okay.  At this point she stopped crying, but was far from her normal chatty self as we both battled the conditions.  It was a mixture of snow and hail, although at the kind of wind speeds the snow feels bad enough on the face.

You can see a mixture of emotions on this picture at the top of Sail!  By this time the snow had stopped at least...

One thing that amazes me is how quickly they bounce back!  We managed to get Poppy chatting again quite happily, and by the time we descended out of the clouds to take this picture she was (once again) showing Evie a clean pair of heels.

Returning to our lunch spot we walked up the shortish climb to Outerside, eschewing the path that skirted around the bottom to Evie's annoyance. This picture is again looking towards Derwent Water and Keswick, with Skiddaw's snowy peak almost visible under the clouds.

On the walk across to Barrow quite an amazing thing happened - Evie (normally the most hard work of all them all) was really happy to walk with Poppy and sing songs together to encourage her.  It was really great to see them working together, even if they were both quite a way back!

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