Thursday was a washout although all earlier days had wet spells, the rain was almost day long plus we decided that a rest day or ‘touring’ day would be had. Roddy and Patsy returned to the Honister Slate Mine and did the tour of the mine.
Me ? I stayed at base and just chilled, I wrote the first draft of the first post in this series of blog posts. I listened to a couple of ‘No Agenda’ podcasts and caught up on some emails.
The Tithe Barn was once again the choice for evening nosh but this time I decided more cider…….just as a research to find out if it tasted as good as back home. I’m returning to finish my research next year avec Katie.
The food again was most excellent and after saying goodbye to the lads who did us proud it was back to prepare for the next day.
I fired up the laptop and had a look around the Lakes and had a close look at hills with a relatively easy ascent, Great Mell Fell and Stony Cove Pike. Roddy and I discussed the various advantages of both and we decided to go for the six pointer Stony Cove Pike just south of Ullswater plus a wander through some of the best scenery the Lake District can offer.
The hill start point is next to the Kirkstone Pass Inn which I remember having bar lunches on more than one occasion in earlier visits to the Lakes. I think a bar meal treat for Katie the next time we are down plus Red Screes is just across the road, ideal.
Friday morning arrives and we pack our assorted kit including Roddy’s big tin case then say goodbye to Cockermouth and as every other morning it was off to Asda for one of their excellent breakfasts.
Eventually we headed back towards Keswick and the A591, the journey takes you through what I would call traditional Lake District scenery. First we passed through open countryside meeting the high steep slopes of Helvellyn running along the east side of Thirlmere, there looked plenty of parked cars and walkers at another expensive car park in the woods. Temptation of Helvellyn will have to wait until another visit but not the route up Striding Edge ( this is when I wish I was 20 years younger).
Before long Thirlmere was left and we soon approached the picturesque village of Grasmere where you guessed correctly Wordsworth and his sister lived at Dove Cottage, I did that tourist bit in the ’80s. Grasmere is in my thought the prettiest village in the Lakes and is worth a visit.
Heading quickly towards Ambleside as we left Grasmere we saw on our right Rydal Water which reminded me, yes Wordsworth resided locally at Rydal Mount, isn’t there anywhere he was that isn’t commemorated ? Wordworth ate chips here, Wordsworth had a pint here etc. All because he saw a field of daffodils whilst wandering lonely as a cloud, today he would have been given the best medical treatment coming out with that statement. (Wordworth fundamentalist please note that it’s meant as humour)
Arriving at Ambleside and as soon as, we were heading out on the Kirkstone Road which had given us a warning as we headed out-of-town, the first part of this road named ‘The Struggle’, up and up and up we headed up a 1 in 5 slope at times.
Slowly along a single track until we could see the Inn in the distance, the intelligent motorists seemed to be coming down the road. A left turn and we parked in a FREE car park, I’m guessing the Inn must own this and is good business sense if they do, a mental note to visit the Inn after the activation/ walk.
Boots on, walking stick..let me tell you the story about the walking stick.
I forgot one thing, a walking pole. I feel more comfortable using a single walking pole especially if I am descending, it helps this auld git. Roddy kindly offered use of a varnished wooden ‘real’ stick with a rubber foot which I proceeded to kinda wreck on the Scafell Pike ascent. I must get round to at least replacing this piece.
Everything checked and off we headed through a gate towards what is probably the steepest part of the ascent, this hill has only just over 1,000 ft of total ascent which after our outings earlier in the week was just right as it would stretch our legs but not be enough for to sit the 160 msl back home with achy legs.
Onwards up a few light scrambles until we stood on top of St. Ravens Edge where we headed along what I called a traditional Scottish hill path….wet and broken. Some welcome remedial work has been done by laying large flat stones as stepping-stones in the more muddy peaty boggy bits. Ascending at a good pace, we passed landmarks such as Pike How and then following a dyke eastwards after John Bell’s Banner and the climb now was much easier, it was now to find where the summit cairn was on Cauldale Moor ( its other name). We heard a station calling out on 2m from Snowdon in North Wales, I had first shot and worked him after a station had mentioned to him that I was calling him from the Lake District just over 170 kms away. No problems were had except I forgot to take a note of his name, signals and call signs exchanged, enough.
Reaching the summit cairn, it was time to take photos and just on the south side of the dyke, cracking views of the expanse of Lake Windermere spread south towards a wide Morecambe Bay in the distance. Excellent unexpected views. The nearby ‘Marilyn’ of High Street was tempting and the excellent ridge walk of Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke stretched to the south-east of us. Red Screes and its ridge south looked tempting for a visit next year.
It was sunny but a chill wind was blowing and as before I found a hidey hole about 40yards south of the cairn and I proceeded to first work Sue OHH in Lancaster before changing over to 4m FM and as normal, Colin UXH just to the south of us was first to reply to my call, Geoff WHA called in next followed by John TDM also from Penrith. Doug KLZ called me from Lancaster and next in the log was Patsy who was at the base in the FREE car park and discussed whether to have a celebratory pint in the Inn before we headed home, I needed no persuasion.
Colin UXH had said that a WOTA activation was taking place just to the north of us on Hallin Fell which overlooks Ullswater and I found Richard JTD/p on 2m FM and he was next in the log and my final contact was with Dave CRV in Heysham. I called after this but no more takers. I had spoken at length with the stations today as the earlier activations the weather was not at it best so it was good to have extended QSOs especially as we were heading home.
Packing everything away and heading down the track, we soon reached the scrambly bits again and as we were dropping down the last part of the descent, the rain could be seen heading our way from the valley to the north and as we were putting our bags in the car, a short burst of rain passed by.
A quick strip and fresher clothes put on, it was time to head to the Kirkstone Pass Inn. A cold pint of cider was enjoyed but sadly no scran was on offer plus the curry menu looked tempting but instead of waiting, we decided to head back home.
We headed down the pass reaching Patterdale and Glenridding before driving along the west bank of Ullswater and looking up to the summit of Hallin Fell on the opposite bank. We left Ullswater and sadly before long we reached the A66 and the short drive to the M6(North).
We got on to the M6 and headed north and apart from a quick leg stretch near Crawford, it was home.
The five days had passed too quickly and as we headed northwards, the sun shone mockingly.
My thanks to Roddy and Patsy for their company and suffering me for the five days. Roddy for his company on the hills and again to Patsy who manned the base and backup support. I would also like to say a big thank you to those ‘chasers’ who waited and worked us on each activation. I’ll renew contact in ’13.
It was back to ‘chasing’ the next day with a 10 point starter.
That is it no more Lake District ramblings from me…a wee bit in Sept Radio Days excepted..