Keswick November 2019

Friday 21st

Nice easy journey. Nowhere to park near my B&B. Cold room. Lots of rules including no visitors so this put paid to Cath and me doing web things on the laptop.

I booked a table at Merienda restaurant. Walked the whole 5 minutes into town. I’d thought Keswick in winter would be nice and quiet. But no, it was a living hell. Christmas lights switch on, people shuffling along when not at a standstill, swaying to a choir singing Status Quo songs at great electronic volume. How could that possibly be good?

Merienda was a haven of peace despite the racket outside. I had baked trout which was excellent. And a Moretti beer. Popped back to the B&B stopping briefly in the rain to chat with a woman who said “Hello, the Titanic was hit by a burger!” I managed not to roar with laughing, we had a short chat about the programme at the cinema and off I went. Returned a little while later to meet Cath at the Square Orange and drink another beer. I’d last been to the Square Orange with Chris in April 2014, that was our last mountain adventure together. The Titanic burger woman was in the bar.

Saturday 22nd

Smoked salmon and scrambled egg for breakfast. Asked about the woman we’d met last night, it turns out she is a much loved local character called Mary and often engages people in conversation for hours at a time. I’d been fairly assertive with her. The locals look out and after her.

Attended a workshop on weather with 2 men from the Met Office. Boy oh boy this was hard work. So what I learnt is that everything brings about rain in the end. And there is a line called the snow line above which there is a 50% chance of snow. Tuna for lunch, that’s 3 fishy meals on the trot.

Christmas dinner, I went veggie. Nice nut roast. Then some beer. Back to my B&B to find a parking spot next to it. My room much warmer so glad that I asked them to sort it, they had to fill up the pressure, something I’m very familiar with doing!

Sunday 23rd

Latrigg

Contours only workshop. Into Chris Ensoll‘s car for 10 minutes. First half hour was guidance on how to move on steep slopes, really useful advice on how to be more efficient moving. The maps have nothing else on them except contours and grid lines so you can tell which way is north.

Great day in the Newlands valley finding tiny gaps between the crags to climb up and up. We ended up overlooking Cat Bells which was the last mountain that Chris and I climbed together. Still so much in my heart. My best buddy. So many adventures, she trusted me and we always got back down ok. A few months earlier before illness came to fuck us all over we’d climbed Sheffield Pike and ended up getting down in the dark but she still forgave me. It wasn’t her last mountain but it was the last one that was a lot of fun. Cat Bells in April 2014 had been pretty awful although I couldn’t really say that at the time. She’d had to stop every 10 metres or so because she had no breath to get up there but she wouldn’t accept the get out of jail free cards I offered. Such a tough stubborn old girl! Of course I’m glad she did it because she must have been worried about what was starting to go wrong.

I learnt I’m really not too bad at navigating after all. Saw Cath before we both departed for home. Back via Tebay services.

Cat Bells

Lakes August 2018

Weds 15th

I got to Monk Coniston early enough to settle in to my room in the cottage and plan my walk for the next day.

HF had sent me a voucher for a free bottle of wine so I made a start on it. Dinner of chicken with Parma ham, a bit tough and then ice cream.

The HF inter house quiz was on and the team I was in won in this house. We each got a cloth bag prize!

Thurs 16th

Breakfast of poached egg and sausage and a croissant.

I drove to the end of Langdale and parked off the road. Rain was on and off. Walked up to Pike of Blisco. Some short scrambling sections. Very windy at the top. Started to go to Cold Pike but retreated because the weather was so unpleasant I wasn’t enjoying myself and it was a long detour. Down via Oxendale, last walked with Chris when we did the ruddy Crinkle Crags.

Back to a hot shower and a local produce dinner. More wine (same bottle). A vegetable soup, a mini Cumberland sausage, salt marsh lamb, very tender, with creamed potato and half a parsnip, a dessert trio of sticky toffee pudding, cold, not my favourite at best of times, Kendal mint cake cheesecake which was nicer than it sounded and a lemon torte which was delicious and which I wished had been my entire dessert.

Chatted with Sally while we nibbled cheese and biscuits.

Went to bed early and fell asleep straight away.

Coniston

This woman is in the garden at Monk Coniston and I had to keep walking past her. Something seems to have slipped a bit…

Fri 17th

Breakfast, surprisingly hungry. Fruit, yoghurt and granola, hash browns, poached egg and beans and toast.

Parked up on road in Coniston. Had no change or inclination to pay £7 in car park.

2.5 hours to reach the summit of Old Man of Coniston. This is another hill I’d done with Chris. Stayed mainly dry on the way up but hideous weather at the top. V poor visibility. Went to Brim Fell but abandoned the idea of a circuit because I couldn’t see enough. Returned to the Old Man for a bit of shelter and met Sally and her 2 friends. They decided to return the way I and they had come up so I tagged along.

Not far down Jenny twisted her knee. She kept going but very slowly. One of the HF groups passed us and advised that we call Mountain Rescue. Sally and I were reaching that view also. I rang 999 and asked for Police Mountain Rescue, a very calm woman took our grid reference and description of where we were. We kept going. After a while the Coniston MR team rang us and said they were on the way, another calm chap who said they could drive up quite a way and they would ring from Crowberry Haws. We kept on. Then hooray, heard a siren. Before long the team of 8 arrived and stretchered Jenny down to their Land Rovers. Sally, Abi and I walked to the Land Rovers. Once the team arrived with Jenny, they unstrapped her and got her into the warm van. Then they all pitched in did fiddly weaving with all the stretcher straps. The team gave the 3 of us a lift down a very bumpy mine track. It was all done extremely efficiently and kindly. An ambulance was waiting for Jenny on arrival at the MR base in Coniston, she was whizzed off for x-rays at Barrow in Furness hospital. Abi went to her home in Coniston. Sally and I were given hot drinks and Mars bars in the MR base.

The weather had deteriorated from about midday. Certainly all my gear (summer showers rating only) was soaked by the time we got back so there had been a real risk of hypothermia at the speed we were going. Fab HF drying room sorting out the wet gear.

Finished off my bottle of wine. Dinner of fresh tomato soup, home made pizza with potato wedges and coleslaw, raspberry creme brul√©. I’d originally asked for small portions but after our adventures I was very hungry. I had a half of beer watching a game of skittles! Yes indeed!! I did 10 pin bowling when I was 16 but was terrible at it then so didn’t even try it.

Mine workings

Low Water, not visible at all on our way back down

Cairn on Brim Fell

Hats off to these people

Sat 18th

Sally updated me that Jenny had no broken bones or torn ligaments, muscle damage so that should heal more quickly. She also got a lift home with the doctor who treated her!

After breakfast I went to Windermere and looked at an exhibition about the Windermere Boys (and girls) who were housed briefly in Windermere after leaving the Nazi concentration camps as orphans. An impressive exhibition in the library.

The rain had dropped off and I did think about walking up Lingmoor Fell but decided to go home.

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