It was time to head down from the Scafell Pike summit area as the cold wind which accompanied the rain and lastly the hailstones could return.
As we set off from the trig point, another horizontal hailstorm hit us straight on and this one was ‘stingy’ to say the least. Luckily it never lasted long and it was time to pick our way down through the rock strewn hillside, cairns are built at roughly 25m distances which are I imagine very handy in poor visibility. The path in places is broken but due to repaired sections it makes descent easy and especially as you pass Brown Tongue where a stepped path was built. We soon exited the rough top section finding ourself on a good path which then zigzags down towards the Hollow Stone area.
It was time to make our way across this rocky area with a distinct path passing through and we decided to head down Brown Tongue and slowly we made time walking down what in places was a steepish grass ridge. Roddy had called me and pointed out a dismantled wooden hut lying piled up and one side being used as a ‘bridge’ across the nearby gill.
At our crossing point, it was time for a break and a last look back at what had been a day to remember. A Toffee Crisp and a swig or two of water then it was off back to our pick up and Patsy UPG waiting on us at the expensive car park. Looking towards Wasdale Head I saw a heavy shower quickly heading down our way, Patsy had noticed this and headed to the road end where we made the Discovery just in time.
On the drive back to Cockermouth, a reflection on the day spent ascending England’s highest top left a satisfying feeling, anything else this week would be an anti-climax but I was looking forward to our other intentions which included my favourite view in all of Lakeland, more on this later.
It was time to get the dirt and cold of the day washed out and after a preening session, it was a ‘where are we eating tonight ?’ and after a long day, we decided locally.
After finding a parking place, we headed towards the town centre and Roddy and Patsy got talking to a couple of locals who recommended the Tithe Barn and it was off to find it. A look at the menu plus a cold pint of cider ready to be devoured, the food arrived and this did not disappoint, excellent scran and we headed back the next two evenings as well. The Steak and Ale pie was excellent, give it a try if in the area.
A pow wow was had later that night when we returned to our ‘base’ and we decided that next day, we would attempt a ‘dual’ activation but with a twist, Roddy would get dropped off at Newlands Hause and ascend Robinson and I would be dropped at the top of Honister Pass and ascend an old favourite, Dale Head. Both hills have an ascent of just over 1,400 ft and Dale Head was straight up with no relief and as I headed up, the odd shower passed over and as I had a quick drink of water, I was joined on the ascent by another lone walker, this made the ascent more enjoyable as the main topic was local walking in the immediate area.
The summit with its distinct cairn was soon in sight and I said goodbye to the woman I had made the ascent with. I made contact with Roddy who was about to walk along the last ridge to Robinson’s summit cairn, at this point I was almost caught in a downpour.
I took shelter hiding (yes, me!) behind the tall cairn and enjoyed a scran break. A couple appeared and started talking to me and the bloke started pointing out something about me and I thought..mmmmm? It transpired my Morton tammie made him laugh as he was originally a Greenockian and still followed the teams fortune from way down south.
The rain moved away as quick as it appeared and I got busy setting up the 4m JPole but first making the STS with Roddy. I made contact with Colin UXH and Sue OHH.
I then called out on 4m FM and instantly Geoff WHA from Penrith was in the log followed by Patsy UPG who had based himself in the valley below took a break from working HF to talk to me. Next was Clive FZH from the Isle of Whithorn across the border in Scotland. Colin UXH had called in this time on 4m before my last contact for this hill, John TDM in Penrith nipped in to grab the points. The weather by this time was starting to become showery as I packed everything away and I called Roddy who was just about to do the same.
I headed west along and dropped down Hindscarth Edge mulling over whether I should nip on to Hindscarth to activate the WOTA hill but I thought if the weather was going to come in that a quick activation of Robinson could be in order. Heading slowly down what was a good descent path and as I made my way past the path to Hindscarth, clouds came scuttling up from Honister Pass.
I carried descending Littledale Edge. I met Roddy on the level section of this ridge and soon I left him to ascend and walk along the hilltop until I reached Robinson’s summit cairn. This was exposed to the weather which I could see racing this way so I huddled down behind the cairn.
I made contact with Roddy first and said I was thinking of working whoever I could then heading down to meet them at Newlands Hause.
As on Dale Head, I worked Colin UXH and Sue OHH before I headed to 4m FM. The aforementioned Colin called in and as on the earlier hill, Geoff WHA and John TDM called me from Penrith. Final contact was with Derek MIX whom I have spoken with from earlier activations, most notable was a STS from Ben Lawers to nearby Pillar which was hidden in the clouds to mejust to the SW of me. I called a few more times and had no come back.
I contacted Roddy and he was ready to head down and get picked up by Patsy and then head for me. I packed everything away but as this was a handheld only activation, it never took me long. I followed the path back off the summit and headed to find the path down towards what I was warned was a wet and boggy Buttermere Moss and even though I found the path through the moss, I found Roddy’s warning was correct…boggy !
The soggy underfoot conditions disappeared as I crossed High Snockrig I followed the path until I could see Knott Rigg which was my mental guide, a steep descent found me waiting at the car park for my lift, I had come off the hill in what was fast for me and later I got picked up. The lads had not reckoned on me being so fast and had wandered into the Honister Slate Mine whilst the auld bloke got battered by wind and rain (dramatic effect). I had spoken with a cyclist who had climbed non stop up from Buttermere and I think his pal was swearing under his breath as he topped the hill.
Another day on the hills and with Scafell Pike done the previous day I had managed without any comeback a double activation, a first for me.
Back to base and after a hot shower and a change of threads, a decision made to head back to last evenings venue.
It was excellent and more cold cider to celebrate.
Thursday was looking looking poor weather wise so a day off…
Scafell Pike…originally one of the ‘Fells of Sca Fell‘ and was erroneously named on an Ordnance Survey map as Scafell Pike and we assume Wordsworth never ‘climbed’ it as no visitor centre on top (tongue in cheek, folks) although his sister Dorothy did !
Dale Head ? obvious if you look at the map
Hindscarth…’pass used by the red deer’
Robinson…allegedly named after a Richard Robinson who bought lands in the Buttermere area centuries ago.
More to follow…..
Boy ! I’m really kicking the erse out of this, please vow you displeasure below.
My thanks to all those sites I have linked to…a full thanks on the final post.