Kidsty Pike, High Raise and High Street, 230510

Fabulous day. Got up very early and started walking at 10.20 after 2.5 hour drive which would have been less if Tebay services had managed to serve coffee a bit more quickly. UoB can serve coffee quickly so why are motorway services, nice or nasty, totally unable to manage it? I parked at Mardale, actually in the car park for nothing. It was straightaway very hot as I went round the bottom edge of Haweswater before climbing up the spur leading to Kidsty Pike. This is not where Alfred Pain-height’s ashes are scattered but people were pondering on where exactly they might be (Innominate Tarn, Haystacks). It took me a while to get up as being so hot slowed me down. I had my lunch on Kidsty but it didn’t draw me in the same way as it did Wainwright. This may have been because there was a man with a 2m white aerial sticking out of his rucksack with a big black telephone wire attached to a large handset. Why he needed a satellite phone was quite beyond me but he had a long conversation with “Manchester”. There are some advantages to my newly diagnosed deafness and being able to cut him out was a distinct plus! I bumped into various bods doing the C2C and many of these were Americans who seemed to be a bit surprised at how hard it was! I’m still trying to adapt and adjust to what is going on and doing this big long walk helped as I was able to forget the tinnitus for some of the time, and I really needed that respite from it. I think I can adjust to the deafness but this accompanying permanent state of white noise is making me feel quite mad and desperate at times. I moved on to High Raise which I preferred and is a short hop from Kidsty Pike. I could see a very long way but it was still pretty hazy. Then I took in Rampsgill Head, not knowing it was on Wainwright’s list, so another peak bagged by accident. I then went down and across to High Street which I love. Just thinking about Romans charging along the road. On the way I did my good citizen bit and guided a Coast to Coaster back onto the correct track. He seemed to have a terrible amount of stuff to carry, all dangling madly. I really worry about people who undertake the C2C and who think it’s going to be a doddle and that they don’t need to be able to read a map. After High Street I started on the descent of the ridge which was much longer and steeper and required more scrambling skills than I remembered. Still loved it! No good for any of my pals who find exposure and height challenging though. Went really fast for the last flat kilometre which was fun! Got back to the car at 4.30 and was home just in time for the Archers.

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

Chris and Jak’s Lakeland Adventure Monday 170510

Both woke quite early after a somewhat better sleep with the window open but perhaps not open enough as I had been pretty hot again. Bloody hell, middle age seems to mean not sleeping and increasingly losing my senses, that’s in the plural.
Breakfast time again. We picked up the usual cereals and juices etc. and then both asked for food that wasn’t exactly what was on the menu. C for bacon and me for ham and poached egg. We were both half way through eating our cereal when the hot food arrived and got plonked down so we had to finish off the cereal holding the bowls up. I don’t know why we didn’t protest and send the hot stuff back, really we should have done but I was so surprised it didn’t occur to me! It was nice but not massive in the portion department by any means. We picked up some flapjack to take with us just in case we felt a terrible urge to eat at any point.
Chris went off to use the pool and associated facilities again and I had another lovely shower and then went down to try out the Wii machine. I played some tennis very badly, no change there although I could see how it might possibly make me better at it. Good fun and confirmed that I don’t need to buy one! It said I had a fitness age of 80 which was mildly disconcerting.
Then we packed up and checked out, and whizzed into Keswick. Parked up by the lake and had a not very strong coffee in an old fashioned lakeside cafe. Then off for a tour of the lake by boat. This was lovely, weather was great. Back to the town for lunch, funny how quickly one gets hungry. Went into Bar 26, this was a very fortuitous move, nice cafe, nice food, nice loo! C had soup and a baguette and I had a lamb and mint burger, very tasty and nicely presented. Also good strong coffee.
It was time to hit the shops, and although it felt like we went in every outdoor shop in the town the best one seemed to be George Fisher. And thus passed several happy hours until we were shopped out and it really was time to go home.
We set off but only got to Tebay services where we just had to check out the opportunities for more spending. Got back to Tod by 7.00 and I was home before 8.00. A really great weekend with lots done and good weather all through. Thanks Chris.

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

Chris and Jak’s Lakeland Adventure Sunday 160510

Ennerdale Water

C and I both had a rotten night, too hot, too thirsty but I couldn’t face trying to locate my water bladder which was in my rucksack in the box under the bunk. Then our companions decided to rise early and took all their stuff out of the room and got dressed in the passage. They were doing the C2C and had masses of stuff to carry, huge cameras, books, make up. All I can say is they must be very strong. As they’d properly managed to wake us up by being so considerate we had a chat with them and they seemed a bit more friendly.

Two of the German men were in the room next door to us with the ok crim and the sick crim (self inflicted I suspect given the amount of beer he was drinking). The Germans had to have an extension cable going into the room for their breathing apparatus – they were also doing the C2C but with a Sherpa Van to carry their kit. The 2 women had moved the safety sign which had been put up so that people wouldn’t trip over the cable and helpfully propped it against the door into which the wire went. Sometimes I really do think some people have no sense at all.
C and I both felt very tired so we packed up and went down to breakfast at 7.30. I had muesli and yoghurt and we both had some cooked food, my veggie option not so good, in fact it had that old soapy taste of dried soup from the 70s. Also scrambled egg which I hadn’t asked for and which reminds me far too much of vomit. More toast, no marg for me, just couldn’t face it. We picked up some very nice flapjack and our packed lunches and headed out. The YH is convenient for getting food prepared but the quality is pants for the price. Also they say all their food is locally sourced, organic, fair trade but they are tied in to one supplier so this is bollocks. I’m now starting to think I don’t really want to stay in a YH again as I don’t sleep and the food quality is only ok. The packed lunch was ok but nothing to write home about. I checked out to see if we could camp at Black Sail for when we do our assault on Pillar but this is apparently not an option, so we’ll just have to carry our curries! Which were delicious in comparison with the YH!
We set off to circuit Ennerdale Water via the south side. This was a lovely walk and everyone else was coming the other way. Some people we saw twice. It looked like it might rain at one point but then it got really warm.
We stopped to eat our squashed sandwiches at the end of the lake near some swans. Then we trotted back around to Bowness Knot and the car.
A bit more pfaffing and moving of items from A to B and back again and it was time to head off to Bassenthwaite. We’d been out of mobile contact since Saturday morning when I’d very briefly got a signal but we still had to drive quite a way before a flurry of texts came whizzing in. It wasn’t very far to get to Bassenthwaite and the Castle Inn.
We checked in, sorted a table for dinner and then went up to our room, no our suite! I had forgotten we’d upgraded to a suite. Totally fab having an extra room. The bathroom was great, huge shower which I quickly took avail of. Then straight off for a swim, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. Chris ordered a bucket of ice and we put the champagne in and had a little aperitif while getting ready for dinner.
Dinner was nice, quite plain but good that you could really taste the food. Chris had something fishy and I had unidentified vegetable soup. C went for sea bass and me for lamb shank. We washed it down with some large glasses of Sauvignon. Both selected creme brulee for dessert. A small child came to look at us so I put my napkin and did the “how much for the little girl?” bit from the Blues Brothers. After all that we just had to polish off the champagne and then both so knackered it was time for bed.

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

Chris and Jak’s Lakeland Adventure Saturday 150510

Woke up very early, listening to the birds and sheep. Chris continued to sleep for some time despite my best efforts to rouse her. I was big time hungry so had a preliminary breakfast of muesli and yoghurt. Then she woke up and we had a cup of delicious coffee, now whilst this was very nice, I could probably have coped with a double ration of coffee bags or disposable filters so will go for one of those options next time to save on the weight of the plastic cafetiere. For our shared breakfast we had rice and curry sauce and more coffee! This was a great way to warm up and start the day.
C washed up and we both pootled about, the sun came out and we started to feel nice and warm. We struck camp (why to strike?) and set off back up the slope with somewhat lighter packs. We ambled back to the car, waited whilst some lambs got enough bottle to get past us and back to their mother, then squeezing ourselves under the bush again.
At the car, we had a great pfaffing interlude, dumping all the camping kit and putting in some youth hostel necessities. A bite of lunch whilst sitting on a log and then we meandered our way along the track to High Gillerthwaite youth hostel to arrive about 4.00.
We wandered in to wait until the warden arrived at 5.00. At the back there was a bloke lolling about on the grass. I couldn’t understand much of what he said, I thought Geordie, C thought Brummie but the main thing we both got was that his walking partner was ill with stomach upset. We both thought he was talking about a woman but this partner turned out to be a very big man who looked like he’d just left gaol.
We booked in with Tony the manager who was very friendly, I complimented him on having put up a poster for gay walkers. We ordered our dinner and packed lunch for the next day.
The hostel is small but very well situated, with great views to Pillar. The other hostellers were the 2 crims, 2 not very friendly women, a bunch of Germans with breathing difficulties and some mountain men plus a very nice man we both liked called Stuart.
C and I made our beds and got clean again. The hostel has a good standard of furnishing and decor, better than Boggle Hole in that respect.
Then it was time for beer and dinner. Beer was local and mostly named after fells. We shared a bowl of cheesy nachos for a starter which was ok. I had veggie chilli and C had meat, it looked like I had a better deal as I got a lot of veg in mine.We both had baked potatoes which were let down by the margarine spread – yuck – no butter available.
More beer and then we went out, mainly to escape the crims, for a walk in the Black Sail hut direction. Lovely evening, beautiful clear streams. Then back for more beer. I thought it would help me sleep a bit more.
So tired C and I toddled off to our bunks quite early, C in the top, me below. The room was for 4 people and she and I had arrived first and picked the best beds for ourselves. At least this time I didn’t have a hot pipe running down the side of the bed, however that didn’t stop me from being roasted alive. Foolishly I had dropped off to sleep before opening the window, although I did turn all the radiators in the vicinity off. No sooner had I nearly dropped off than the 2 slightly unfriendly women turned up to whisper but they did get to bed quite quickly.

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

Chris and Jak’s Lakeland Adventure Friday 140510

Floutern Tarn
Ennerdale Water

I didn’t sleep very well as was concerned about my rucksack being too heavy. I arrived at Chris’ house to find her still squeezing the kitchen sink into her rucksack. We set off and stopped at the services near Lancaster to take advantage of Marks and Spencer. We took advantage of a few other things and nearly froze to death waiting for our drinks at Costa Coffee, which wasn’t giving me any points for my Costa Coffee card. We both got nice healthy salads for lunch and filled wraps for the next day’s lunch. About an hour later we arrived at Bowness Knot car park which thankfully was free – I’m not sure what we would have done if a ticket machine needed to be fed with money over 3 days. We lunched before getting going.
We finally left the car park and plodded along the road, it was hard to get used to the full pack and various aches and pains came and went. Set off along the footpath only to find that it was obstructed by a fallen tree/bush. This meant we had to crawl through dragging our packs with us. We took it all slow and steady, stopping to watch shepherding by quad bike, motorbike and dog. Seemed to involve a lot of shouting for no particularly obvious purpose. No whistling or arcane gestures sadly. Whatever happened to “One Man and his Dog“? That answers that then, how weird it’s still going, bit like the Archers.
We continued to rise gently and reached Floutern Tarn at about 5.30. We were very careful about picking a camp site, and ended up close to the lake’s edge but not too close on a nice dry spot which was reasonably flat and a bit sheltered from the wind.
Next we pitched the tents which for me took forever as I’d put it away with some of the tent attached to the wrong bits of the flysheet. Chris got her Vango Banshee up pretty quickly. My Vango Spirit followed. By this time it was starting to get a bit nippy so I trudged back up the hill to find a phone signal, fabulous views across to Haystacks.
Returning to camp, we quickly got cooking. Settled on 2 curries and rice. This was just about the right amount of food and was hot and quick to prepare. Great. Then Chris came in my slightly bigger tent to do the crossword. Then although it was still light it was time to try and get warm enough to sleep. This proved hard for both of us, Chris only had a lightweight down bag with silk liner so she wore most of her clothes. I had a heavier weight down bag and was warm on top but my feet were like lumps of ice. Eventually when it finally got a little bit dark, I took my socks off and rubbed my feet together and then they got warm and I managed to sleep. My self inflating sleeping mat was good, a huge improvement on Karrimats.
I’m not sure how much less I would carry to keep the weight down, my tent is heavier than I thought, 3 litres of water is heavy but I used most of it. The most important thing we didn’t have was any rum!

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

Great Whernside 090510

Another late start, but much faster journey to get to the Dales. This time to Kettlewell, only an hour and a half and parked up for £3.50 (I know the car park fee is incredibly boring but I put it in so I have the right money the next time).
I really needed the navigation skills in the village as managed to set off very confidently up the wrong lane and had to retrace my footsteps to get to the other side of the stream. Once I’d done that it was a very obvious path all the way. I passed a small campsite which appealed to me as it looked very clean and neat and it had a sign with lots of NOs.
From there, a steady ascent across grassy fields along the top of the valley, quite steep drops to the side. Only a few well behaved sheep i.e. they ran away rather than at me, although I am now so wary of them.
The half way point was delightfully named Hag Dyke and was clearly showing as a building, this turned out to be a scout hut in a fantastic location, no neighbours anywhere in sight, overlooking the valley with only a track to reach it. It’s an old farm house and has solar panels and a wind turbine. Inside some scouting people were sitting enjoying a blazing fire. This took me by surprise as I thought they would be out scouting (for girls ha ha that is so bad)!
I climbed up a short steep section and stopped at the top to have my cheese and mustard sandwich. Then it was time for a good chunk of fairly flat ground with another steep section to reach the summit.
It got a bit cold and threatened to rain but held off for the whole walk. Great Whernside is 704m and Whernside is 736m which strikes me as a bit illogical but there you go.
At the top, 2 people were wild camping. They had quite a big tent so I felt a bit sorry for the bloke who was packing it up and looked like he would be carrying it.
Whizzed back down in half the time it took to get up. Had to go and look in the outdoor shop but managed to restrain myself from going mad.
This was the first outing for my new very light rucksack which is called Villain. It really is light and has a lot of bits and pieces to twiddle with and certainly did the job just fine.
Great walk, managed to walk away some of the blues of the last few days.

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

Night nav on Blackstone Edge 07/05/10

This one is specially for Peter M!
This was a welcome relief from the real nastiness that’s been exposed because of the E word. I was in good company and we didn’t even touch on it.
BB met me and CD at the biker pub in Littleborough. BB assured me that the bikers were mature and quite nice really. Sadly just these ones were not very handsome, well there was one who I wouldn’t have pushed out.
After a quick meal and change of clothes, CD and I drove up to Blackstone Edge and parked up in the layby at 8.30. It was very cold and windy so we headed off first south along a good path and then east along a less good one, all in daylight. We had to go fast just to keep warm, and this was with both of us wearing 4 layers. As we approached the road, we could see the moor was on fire but we worked out it wasn’t blazing just where we were going and also that the wind would be taking it away from us.
By the time we got to where we had to cross the road, the light was going and here we made our first mistake, by thinking we were further down than we were. This meant we were not the side of the gully that we thought so we did a quick change of plan to follow the gully. We stood under the pylons in the dark trying to take a bearing, Cath convinced the electricity was affecting her compass but actually it was her phone. Basically we stomped around in the clumps and dips for a while  and eventually reached the top of the gully.
We had decided to aim for a spot height, however both forgetting or not seeing that there was a water way to cross! Another change of plan, to handrail along the drain which we did, using timing and pacing. And then lo and behold, in the middle of all this nothingness, was a little footbridge and post to cross the drain. So we did, then more pacing to find the spot height. This was harder to locate as the local map is marked in 5m contour intervals and so a spot height would be hard to find in daylight let alone at night.
We next headed due West for another drain with a name like Cold and Windy Drain which we found although it was about 20-30m beyond our estimation. We followed this drain to the fence whereupon Cath said “what’s that white line?” “it’s the road!” At this point, she decided to roll around on the tussocks. First Aid was not needed. I dazzled some cars with my beacon headlight and soon got back to our cars. It was nearly 11.30 by then!
When I got home I was so cold I had to put the heating on, make a hot water bottle and drink whisky. I didn’t really warm up properly until lunchtime today!

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