Wednesday 2 August 2017

Rain forecast above 400m, red warning for phones

The combination of a car park within driving distance that we'd walked past earlier, and the alluring prospect of ticking off a bunch of peaks led us to this walk.

Difficulty: 5                                                                     
Walkers: Tim, Caroline                                                            
10:25, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (181)                                                 
11:51, 3.7km 1h25 553m, The Knott (739, Wainwright)                               
12:22, 5.4km 1h56 642m, Rampsgill Head (792, Wainwright)                          
12:24, 5.5km 1h58 642m, Rampsgill Head (792, Hewitt)                              
12:39, 6.4km 2h13 692m, High Raise (High Street) (802, Wainwright, Hewitt)        
13:01, 7.4km 2h35 733m, Kidsty Pike (780, Wainwright)                             
14:00, 10.3km 3h34 885m, Rest Dodd (696, Wainwright, Hewitt)                      
14:41, 12.3km 4h15 906m, Brock Crags (561, Wainwright)                            
15:54, 15.3km 5h28 919m, End (179)                                                

Starting from the car park the far end of Hartsop, we headed up the valley towards Hayeswater and up the hillside to the left.

After looking around the Filter House on the left of Hayswater Gill, we crossed over.  Down here it's all quite bright!

Caroline and The Knott, after the fairly steep climb up the side of the hill.

From The Knott, looking towards Rest Dodd and The Nab just getting the last of the sunshine.

Following the Coast to Coast path, we got an advance look at Kidsty Pike, twas to be the last we had around there...

Rampsgill Head, writing this several months later I can't now recall whether this is the Wainwright or the Hewitt.  I'm guessing since it's got a proper cairn marker it's the Wainwright!

With the vain hope that conditions at Kidsty Pike would clear up we headed north to High Raise.  At this point we did have a slight disagreement about the correct direction to leave, very easy to get confused over which direction you came in from given the lack of landmarks or any kind of real slope to get your bearings.  Thankfully the compass didn't lie.

Now at Kidsty Pike, and after looking forward to the view down to the south we were sadly disappointed.  It was really raining quite relentlessly, and had been going on for long enough by now that it became easier to accept that it wasn't actually going to clear up.

We walked back the way we had come via The Knott and then turned northwards towards Rest Dodd.  Another hour in the rain ticked off.

Now at Brock Crags, with some actual navigation to do - comparing the walls and paths to the map to make sure we made it safely to the Wainwright over the various lumps and bumps on the way.  Still raining.

We descended, to be honest we lost the path at one point, but was able to track the route by matching the stony outcrops to the map and was able to easily rejoin slightly lower down than we were aiming for.  Coming lower it decided to actually stop raining, after raining continuously while we were above about 400m.  The sad footnote to this route is that taking this set of photos sadly was too much for my poor phone, which gave up the ghost on the start of the long drive back to Birmingham.  It was pretty sad, since we were going to listen to an audiobook off my phone.  It was less sad since I got to buy myself a new phone - which is hopefully more waterproof! 

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Blencathra the fun way

These set of 5 peaks looked tempting, and within striking distance, so with a slightly lower forecast percentage of rain we set off to the North.

Difficulty: 7
Walkers: Tim, Caroline
10:27, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (229)
11:39, 3.7km 1h11 328m, Souther Fell (522, Wainwright)
14:24, 11.7km 3h57 923m, Blencathra (868, Wainwright, Hewitt)
15:14, 14.2km 4h46 936m, Mungrisdale Common (633, Wainwright)
15:57, 16.8km 5h30 1022m, Bannerdale Crags (683, Wainwright, Hewitt)
16:35, 18.7km 6h07 1097m, Bowscale Fell (702, Wainwright, Hewitt)
17:59, 22.6km 7h31 1113m, End (230)

We parked at Mungrisdale, in the car park outside the village hall.  We were aiming to cross the river at a footbridge to the south of the car park, but it was still missing after flood damage from a few years earlier, so we walked back up past the car and over the road bridge and pass the Mill Inn.

We walked along, before finding the (fairly disused) path up the fellside.  The views to the south saw that rare blue sky phenomenon!

Now at the top of Souther Fell, not a particularly remarkable summit, but pretty expansive views.  Somewhat worryingly that blue sky wasn't anywhere to be seen.

Now at the south end of Souther Fell, we could see the shape of the walk to come - dipping down and then following the left side of the valley up towards the distant top.  Which was clear of cloud!

Alongside Scales Beck, with Scales Tarn just over the ridge.

Panorama at Scales Tarn.  Blencathra opposite, and there are two ways up.  Now I'd done my research and given the lack of wind & rain I was determined to give Sharp Edge (on the right) a go - Caroline passed, choosing to go up the left path.

It was a sharp as they said!  Very enjoyable, if I had the nerves to take them I could think of some girls that would have loved this.  I did overtake the group ahead - two kids ambling along, and the father patiently helping his wife along.  I felt for him.

Views looking back down. 

The fun bit, where mere walking along balancing with sheer drops on either side turns into how close can I get my face to this rock.

Blencathra, with a commanding position looking south.

Feeling flushed with our successes, and the lack of rain, we took a detour towards Keswick, to get the view over to Derwent Water.

Coming back up towards Blencathra again. 

And this is where we did our typical 'get the other Wainwrights as we're close'. This is Mungrisdale Common, a nice wander over from Blencathra.

And now back up to Bannerdale Crags.

From here we followed the ridge around, the ground getting soggier as we went.

There was still grass in evidence, sticking up from the main ingredient that the hillside was made from.

Finally we splashed over to Bowscale Fell.  I think it's fairly conclusive evidence that I tend to walk faster than Caroline.

Wandering down back to Mungrisdale and the car the green valley floor opened out as we picked our way through the ferns.  Which were soaking wet.