Training for Mont Blanc

St. Sunday Crag 090809
Parked in the hotel car park at Patterdale. £3 for the day.
From Patterdale went through field with cows all lying down. Then up Thornhow End and Harrison Crag, no scrambling. Whilst stopped for short break, 2 women came past with concerns about the bull in the field who had been lively on their way up. I reassured them that all the cows were lying down and that I hadn’t spotted a bull and then forgot about him!
Carried on along the contour on the side of Birks and then up along the ridge to St Sunday Crag. There was one man and two girls on the summit, well we all arrived at the same time and all looked a bit like we wished the others weren’t there. I stuck it out and had my lunch in peace on the top! Whilst there a flare went up from the sheer scree east side of Helvellyn and a helicopter spent a lot of time trying to do something. I found out afterwards that a woman had fallen 3 metres from the top path onto a man on the lower path. She had hurt her leg. She also managed to get herself to hospital after being rescued. Given that the Mountain Rescue is a charity and receives no government funding, it seemed a lot of effort for someone who was walking wounded.
I went across to Gavel Pike as it was about a hundred metres away. It was a lovely spot, quite different, and worth the short hike. Then cut back to the main path and returned the same way.
When I reached the field with the cows, the bull was up and about, he was a very big chap in every way. I just said hello as I had done before and gave them a good wide berth. No problem.
High Street 020809
Parked for free on the road at Mardale. It was a bit busy here but then Julia Bradbury had been on the TV going up High Street earlier on in the week. After all, that had made me think of it too.
First turned towards Haweswater to reach the far end of the ridge. Then up along the ridge all the way to the top. The ridge is quite craggy and scrambling is needed. Could be a bit scary to those who don’t like heights. The top is fantastic, really does look like a Roman road, which it is, from I think, Ambleside to Keswick. Lot of effort up there in a toga I can tell you. It was very nippy and I had to put various winter layers on. Bit busy on the top.
Went across to Mardale Ill Bell and then down the Nan Bield Pass. Pleasant route via Small Water.
Shipman Knotts and Kentmere Pike 260709
Parked for free at Sadgill.
Took the path towards Stile End. Then turned off right to ascend. Quite a lot of scrambling on Wray Crag to get up to Shipman Knotts, by this time in thick mist so have little idea of what it looked like. Continued up following a wall and then fence which I kept in sight. There was one bit when I couldn’t see the handrail but fortunately this part was served by a good path. Got to Kentmere Pike and have no idea whether it has a lovely view or not. Very wet indeed.
I met 2 people on this walk. The cloud lifted a bit on the way down and surprised me with what was there, i.e. lovely views across to Longsleddale but quickly shrouded again.
Grey Crag and Tarn Crag 190709
Parked for free on the roadside at Sadgill which is at the end of Longsleddale. Very small road to get to it and Sadgill literally is the end of the road.
Straight up from the road onto the fell, through a lot of very high bracken, up what AW calls an easy gully, ha ha, there is no scrambling but it’s quite wearing. Onto Great Howe and across to Grey Crag. So far so good as good weather but would be hard in mist with no marked paths. From Grey Crag (the E in GrEy very important as there is another fell called GrAy Crag), I could see Harrop Pike was only a couple of hundred metres away so skipped over there, then skipped back and across to Tarn Crag. Then I decided to head back and thought I would go a different route from that planned. Over confidence rushing in here having detoured to Harrop Pike. I tried to get down but it was too steep, didn’t panic, just came back up again and went off an easier way, and followed the fence line across and then back over to just below Great Howe, some very steep bits where I had to hang on to the fence. It was ok and I found a handrail of a wall I recognised and then was back on track. Got back to the car and felt in trouser pocket for the keys, pocket was unzipped and no keys in it. So gave myself several moments of sheer unadulterated panic. Then remembered they were where they always are, on the key ring in the rucksack. Lessons learnt – make plan and stick to it, don’t go off piste unless completely sure of navigation. Be fully prepared and confident in knowledge that I can accurately navigate and not make mistakes.
Red Screes 110709
Parked in Ambleside in the college car park, opposite the main car park. £6 for the day. The route went up the Stock Ghyll waterfall which was nice but quite busy. I didn’t really need to do it to get onto the hill. But once past, a pleasant route up Red Screes. Notable for the big walls. Also no actual scree slope to cross, that’s on the east side, and yes the stone is red.
Quite a long old trudge up to the top but once there, the delight of reaching the trig point and then the reward of the view to Brothers Water. Fantastic and a surprise. Had the summit to myself. Came back down the same way.
Scafell Pike 010609
Parked in the free village car park at Wasdale Head. Went into tiny little village church, very sweet and cool. Headed on up along the valley. Whilst having a rest got interrupted by a man from Bangor who wanted to chat, at this point I managed to be quite pleasant to him but he was clearly quite needy.
Further on up the road, he had stopped just where I needed to, it being a very hot day and I had to do a reccy. Then 2 more people who wanted to chat to him came along, the man of the couple was a bit weird and asked me what I was laughing at in a very defensive way i.e. hostile. I decided I didn’t need any of it or them and so left them all to it, after all my walk was nothing to do with any of them, and I’m not a social worker.
I went up the corridor, a nice interesting route with a bit of low level scrambling. Stopped again for my lunch and they all went past so I happily ignored them. Carried on, the worst bit was the scree slope to get to the top but that done and then I was there, on top of the highest mountain in England, along with a great many other people. Needless to say, the man from Bangor, who I thought I had lost, appeared with another new friend. He asked me if I’d worked out a route down for US. At this point I said I’d found one for me and that he would have to find his own, I know it was rude but then so was his imposition on me.
Came down the west side which was a nice easy route, I had no idea it was there! I’ve done the big one now and feel no need to repeat it. Bit like Snowdon really, there are lots of nearly as high mountains without crowds or indeed loonies. I will go up Ben Nevis just to be able to say I’ve done the 3 Peaks and I am quite happy that Snowdon was done with the assistance of the train. At least we did walk all the way down it!

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Advertisements

Author: Jak

Mountain Leader.