The Easter weekend was dedicated to the Lake District, meeting up with friends to get on the fells and recce the route for the LD Ten Peaks Challenge, which takes in the ten highest peaks, covers c. 73km, with over 5,600metres of ascent, in under 24hrs. Something we were pondering about the of doing in the Summer. The forecast was looking pretty sketchy, but hey ho....here we go:
(For more info about the LD Ten Peak challenge see http://www.lakedistrictpeaks.co.uk/10-peaks.html)
Friday 6th April 2012:
Having had a day to kit sort and get prepped I made way up to Seatoller arriving in time to meet up with folk in the Riverside Bar, for a few cheeky beers and a game of Top Trumps (it’s addictive!) It was always on the cards (excuse the pun) that the Easter weekend would be a busy one in the Lajkes and this was supported by the great atmosphere in the bar which was packed with walkers, climbers and general windswept, ruddy cheeked folk donned in a vast, colourful array of outdoor apparel. After much chat and once we lost interest in Top Trumps we headed to Seatoller Farm Campsite (Grid Ref 245135) where the group had stayed the night before to hit the hay. Having arrived in the rain and decided to go to the pub straight away rather than put up my tent, I decided that I may as well sleep in the steel tent, aka my car.
Once up we brewed up and had breakfast before we set off from the campsite at 09:00 making our way toward sour milk gill which we made our way up alongside, with a wee scramble here and there, and over Gillercomb, before ascending a little, prior to making our way up to Green Gable (801m) summit. The weather provided low cloud occasionally breaking to a magnificent view across to Derwent Water & Skiddaw. Once at the summit, the cloud had shrouded , so there was minimal visibility apart from brief openings in passing cloud to see the looming summit of Great Gable (899m). Having made our way across to Great Gable, where we were surprised to see a group of 30+ strong Irish walkers all in good spirits, and again with visibility poor at summit a brief photo stop was had before making our way down to Styhead Tarn were the Mountain Rescue stretcher hut is based. The cloud had lifted at this point so views across the valley were good, with the Seathwaite Fell and surrounding lower peaks to the East as well as Lingmell clear. Great Gable still held it’s summit cloud as well as Scafell Pike (978m) which wasn’t a surprise really.
With a 07:30 awakening, and a head stuck out of the tent to survey the morning’s weather, it wasn’t the sunniest of weather as desired, with more low cloud, poor visibility & slight precipitation . Once up it was breakfast & brew before packing up before heading off at a leisurely 09:00 toward High Raise (762m) via Lining Crag. At this height there was still the low wet cloud, so visibility continued to be poor especially up toward High Raise summit, where we had to walk on a bearing for most of the ascent and descent to ensure we kept on course. On descent we decided it was easiest to follow close to Flour Gill down the valley, rather than go across country, and we were actually glad that we did as Flour Gill is really quite lovely and had the interesting feature of old building ruins tucked nicely in one of the its snaking bends.....well, to be honest, as we hadn’t seen much for a few hours we probably got more excited about this than we would have normally (a sign of civilisation after several hours of not seeing anything apart from rock and cloud!). The gill took us all the way down to the pickup point at Steel End car park, at the south point of Thirlmere Reservoir to which we arrived at 16:00 ready for a good cuppa and a big plate of hot food, which we accustomed after a drive to Keswick at the Ramblers Tea Room (which I can highly recommend for darn good veggie food that would turn any meat eater!).