This was so different in so many ways. The weather was great all day apart from a little bit of mist on the top, it was warm and sunny and there was no rain. I left home just after 7.30 and was on my own so travelled faster arriving at the NT car park at Dungeon Ghyll at 10.00. It was already bursting and I was the last person to park, very unlike the half dozen cars parked up last week. Clearly Bowfell is a fair weather walkers’ mountain!
As I did the 1.5 km walk in to the start, there were no seagulls on the meadows. Maybe they were after very juicy worms in the damp last week? Got to the farm, here the place where the people in red had been doing very serious weird things had been turned into a campsite although everyone seemed to be leaving. Next I got to the farm and what had been Dobbin’s stable had turned into the Hillbillys bar. This was a big surprise as I had been going to have a chat with Dobbin but he wasn’t home. The stable had been transformed, they must have given it a very good and thorough mucking out as it was unrecognisable.
I’d spent Saturday unable to put any weight on my right knee and had struggled to get up and down the stairs, so I strapped up my knee quite tight. I took it fairly easy on the first steep part of the ascent and had rests as necessary. At first I wasn’t sure it was going to hold up but then it didn’t seem to be getting any worse and I decided it was OK to continue.
The parts I’d fairly skipped up last week seemed to be most arduous but this was mainly down to the heat. I do prefer a lack of it so why am I climbing the biggest mountain in Italy in July? At least it won’t be hot on the top.
At one stage I seemed to be playing leap frog with a man and boy. At first I thought they were father and son. The boy was like a gazelle, terribly thin and long long legs. Then they skipped off piste and I wasn’t so sure about the relationship anymore. I think this was gay extra mural activity!
In the good clear light it was very easy to see the start of the Climbers’ Traverse, plus the enormous cairn is a bit of a giveaway. I can see why I missed the path in the mist but we were very wise not to even try this last week. It climbs steeply and then skirts around with a fair bit of exposure. Wainwright makes very light of it but I can’t think of any of my regular walking companions who would be able to do it. It was pretty exciting and makes you know you are on a mountain.
I then came across a couple who were looking for Cambridge Crag and the River of Boulders. The woman was a bit gung ho and told off her man for messing about reading where to go in the book. I decided to leave them to it – they went off back the way we had all come. I used my brain to locate the path, the bottom of the Great Slab and the path up the boulders. One of AW’s unmissable features was the spout of water coming out at the bottom of the crag. This was not happening as it’s been so dry. I also noticed that where Chris and I had heard lots of running water last week, I couldn’t hear any at all this week.
The pair then caught me up and the woman patronised me and gave me some advice about using poles (bloody hell, if anyone else tells me what to do with my poles, they are looking to get one round their neck!)
At the top of the Great Slab, I turned right and quickly got to the top of Bowfell. It’s very rocky at the top, and guess who were sitting on it. I stopped for 10 minutes to eat my lunch and then started down at 1.20.
I went down the easy way via Three Tarns, there are only two visible as one has dried up, not sure if it’s quite ready for a renaming but there are definitely signs of drought in the Lakes.
An uneventful descent and got back to the car really fast at 3.40.
I seemed to come across lots of people who didn’t return my hellos. Maybe they weren’t loud enough. I swore at them all quite quietly once I’d got past them!
Got home by 6.10 with a completely recovered knee!
|Start of the Climbers’ Traverse
|River of Boulders
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.