We drove up on Friday night after a birthday tea and cake for Bob. The best card was from his brother " 70 is only 21 (degrees C)". We had planned a big route and were in bed early ready for our early start. It took minutes to move the van to the farm at Town Head where we settled down for breakfast. £1 for a days parking seems very reasonable. We set off up the lane and then headed up the steep hillside on some very easy zigzag paths. We were on Helm Crag before most people were even out of bed.
After a quick play and scramble around on all the rocks we set out along the ridge to Gibson Knott which seemed a bit insignificant. I took us on a short detour to Rough Crag and then on to Calf Crag where we nearly caught up two runners on a BG recee. Dropping to the col and Mere Beck we got wet feet and it stayed that way even as we climbed. With heads down we climbed and climbed some more..... and then realised we were almost at Sergeant Man. Oops that was not the plan. We shot off downhill to Tarn Crag and then headed south to Coledale tarn.
Three tents were wild camping here and it was very still and peaceful. Heading up to Blea Rigg we started to meet other walkers.
The views were now great , especially into Pavey Ark and the Langdale Stickles. Now we did head for Sergeant Man and the summit was now quite crowded. There was also a control for the GL3 day event which we then had to explain to the other walkers. I had thought GL3D was quite expensive but Bob thought otherwise so maybe we will do it next year. The next section was going to be easy as the out and backs were over and we were up on the ridge.
It also got even more crowded but I suppose it was Bank Hol weekend and we were above Langdale. We contoured across to Pavey Ark and then Harrison Stickle quickly followed by Loft Crag (Gimmer to climbers). We got a bit separated here as I got the bit between my teeth and Bob slowed down.
There were plenty of views to drink in and past mountain marathon routes across this area to reflect on so I did not mind. Looking back at Gimmer I could see climbers but it must have been chilly. Pike of Stickle has a little scramble to the top but we did not linger in the wind.
|A great Birthday treat|
The cloud built up at this point and we had a few spots of rain. Fortunately it came to nothing but it did make me want to push on. We knew the next leg would involve a drop and a climb; there was no alternative. We hit a great line just west of Cat Gill and the rocks. It was very steep and there was no path but it led us perfectly to an easy stream crossing. It avoided The Bog and the climb onto the Steel Fell ridge was very gentle there. Despite avoiding The Bog it was still wet underfoot until we gained the fence and stated to climb to the summit cairn. It was warmer now we had dropped out of the wind and the threatened rain had disappeared.
My knee complained badly as we descended the nose all the way down to the lane but it had been a great day out. 16 Wainwrights for Bob as his birthday treat!!
Sunday was spent helping at the Northern O Champs that our orienteering club were organising. Neither of us were planning to run, just a day of volunteering. I had a rather nice job of manning the road next to assembly. Not lots to do really and a great place for meeting lots of friends. We were one of the first there and I knew by the time Bob and Chris etc had done download all day we would be one of the last to leave. It drizzled miserably for some of the morning and the cloud was very low but it could have been much wetter. I did not really regret not racing as I seem to damage ankles when I take my eyes off the floor to run and study the map. Instead I collected some controls at the end of the day and David kindly gave me the ones on the open fell which were relatively straight forward and gave me lovely views across Windermere. The last time I had been on Blakeholme was the fell race where you row across the lake, run up and down and then row back. It was years ago now. Eventually all the gear was collected in and we were free to leave. We drove to Walna Scar road for the night. It is a favourite of ours and was wonderfully quiet.
|I had never noticed this before?|
The overnight light rain stopped by morning but the cloud was very low. Bob decided it was so low we should do our planned route backwards. I wasn't at all convinced but I think my cold and sore throat were making me grumpy. It seemed a long time to climb to the col and then drop all the way down to the Duddon Valley. We crossed the fields and aimed for Birks where the forest felling had not been quite so destructive as at Grassguards. Now there was a big climb.
Brim Fell was calmer and we stopped a few moments before our last peak of Coniston Old Man.
|Old man on Old Man?|
We quickly overtook a descending party and struck due south on a route we had never tried before. We arrived at the quarry area and carried on. Bob moaned his feet were wet again but it was a nice grassy descent and dropped us nicely onto Walna Scar road with just a short section to retrace back to the van. What a joy to be able to climb into the van, make a brew, sit with the door open and soak in the view, have a bite to eat, get changed.... and then think about driving home.