Low Pike, High Pike, 27 November 2011

Parked up in Ambleside for £6 for 5 hours. Bit pricey. I left the car park just after 11.00 and quickly found my way, always the hardest bit when starting off in towns. The Nook takes you along a lane which has several boarded up old buildings which appeared to be part of the University of Cumbria. It’s about a kilometre to Nook End Farm which also appeared uninhabited but they had left their outside lights on. You have to walk through the farm and then very soon you are at Lower Sweden Bridge which is to do with swithins although other than the saint, I’m not sure what they are. I did a bit of leap frog with a couple who annoyed me because I didn’t want to do that, but I soon left them behind. Going to the gym every day for the last week has paid dividends and I felt quite fit. It was pretty cold and windy but I stayed on the east side of a very tall wall which goes all the way up and it was a good windshield.
I was looking for what Wainwright describes as a “Bad Step” but didn’t see it. It made me think of the Hillary step but I’m not planning on going looking for that!
I got to Low Pike after a bit of scrambling and had a chocolate biscuit. I was wearing lined trousers which was just as well. I’d put them on after seeing the forecast that said on the tops the wind chill would be -15C.
Just before the land of bog I climbed a stile that had been constructed for giants, I consider I’m fairly averagely proportioned but I could hardly hold the 2 sides at the same time and the steps were also very deep. Then the huge expanse of bog which was quite hard to work through, but there are helpful signs saying “Deep Bog” and pointing the hapless walker to yet more bog. Considering this is part of the Fairfield Horseshoe, this section really needs sorting with stepping stones. I managed only to get a few footfulls. I also made a mental note not to be returning in the dark for this section.
At High Pike I got out of the wind and had my lunch of pate in a garlic pitta bread. It was still very cold with the wind. After wrapping up I decided to head back down as it was just too cold and windy to be much fun, I momentarily pondered how to deal with frost bite but soon warmed up my hands with the exercise. As I had remarked to Becks only the day before, on her not reaching the top of Cadair Idris, “the mountain will always be there”. Except of course if you live in the Appalachian mountains where mountain top removal has being going on for the last 50 years. I just find this thought so upsetting. After Carol and I watched Bladerunner last weekend, I checked up to see what Daryl Hannah was up to these days and found that she has been arrested several times for protesting about various environmental outrages including mountain top removal. Oh and Bladerunner is dire. What a gloomy film, it hasn’t improved in the 30 years since I last watched it.
I would probably have done more if it had just been one of those factors (cold or windy). I only had a few little bits of rain on me during the walk. My new hat works very well as it covers my ears, mad that I’ve been wearing an ineffective hat for so long.
On the way down I came across a few pounds and 3 keys. I was in a bit of a dilemma as to what to do with these and in the end I left them there on the grounds that if I had lost mine, I would retrace my steps to find my things. I hope the people to whom I think they belonged did that. I decided that taking them to the police probably wouldn’t help much.
On my return route, I located the “Bad Step” as I took a slightly different route and then came upon it and was glad that I was just going down it as it would have been quite hard to get up it, not possessing the giant arms and legs.

Back at the car, I changed my footwear and then went to the loo in the car park and although it was still light outside, there was no light inside so this was a real lot of fun. I had a quick look in the shops but failed on that particular mission so went home for a warm up.

Looking back at Windermere
The wall
Looks innocuous but made for giants
Back towards Low Pike
My picture to echo Wainwright’s drawing of the same. Note horizontal courses of stones.
Ray of light
Low Pike again
Blasted bog
Oh yes, and where exactly is the path?
The Bad Step looking really harmless
My actual ascent, not having noticed the Bad Step
Some colour at the end of the day

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