Sorry about the weather …
Published 28 August 2016
My previous blog was called “Summer is Back” because I wrote it after several days of good weather but the following day we had torrential rain which caused floods and chaos all over the county. Campsites were washed out, roads were blocked and long planned events were spoiled or cancelled. I also read that in Glenridding the latest rain undid some of the ongoing repair work for the December 2015 floods.
I don’t think that my poor choice for a title was responsible for the rain but if it was then I hope that all those affected will accept my apologies.
This has been a busy week with guests on consecutive weekends and because we are nearing the end of our stay we are starting to make plans for our return to Sussex.
Also I completed my 100th Wainwright of the summer (bringing my overall total to 140). The record for climbing all 214 Wainwrights is 6 days 13 hours so my achievement of 100 in five and bit months is pretty modest but it is a milestone and as such I celebrated it mildly.
20 August 2016; Buttermere
We had guests for the weekend who got up at 2am to drive here from the midlands; arriving at 8am just as the rain started. After making such an effort to experience the area it was only right to take them out so in full wet-weather gear we set off to walk around Buttermere. The rain was torrential, the wind was whipping up the waves and Sourmilk Gill was looking very dramatic.
We braved it for over an hour but eventually abandoned our plans and walked back the way we had come. We threw all our wet outer clothing into the boot of my car and came home to a late lunch of pasties which somehow survived the adventure and returned to be heated in the oven, followed by an afternoon of Olympic TV.
After nearly a week my car boot still smells but I have no doubt that Sue and Andrew will, for the wrong reasons, remember their first experience of the Western Lakes!
21 August 2016; Wasdale Head
All our guests have to experience Wastwater and Wasdale Head. There is beauty in every corner of Cumbria but this has to be one of the most dramatic. We treated them to our usual flat walk and a short climb to Ritson’s Force which was in full spate following the previous day’s rain.
22 August 2016; Blake Fell
After a wet morning I made the short drive to Felldyke to re-climb this fell which was shrouded in mist when we climbed it in March. A much warmer day and the vegetation had changed considerably in that time. What was the same was the mist at the top although I did manage a shot taken from the dip between Blake and Sharp Knott.
23 August 2016; Black Sail Pass
We have more guests this coming weekend and Phil is keen to climb high whereas Trudi prefers to keep low. Julie will be the low-level guide so we walked from Wasdale Head to the top of Black Sail to remind her of the route and to check the water levels in the becks, in particular Gatherstone Beck which has to be crossed by stepping stones. As expected the water levels were high but we found an alternative crossing further up the gill should the stepping stones be impassable this weekend.
24 August 2016; Bike to the seaside
Later today I will be dismantling and boxing my bicycle because it is going back to Sussex next week. The day was an absolute scorcher so for my final Cumbrian ride I went to St Bees beach and then over the downs to Whitehaven harbour. I have enjoyed my rides to the seaside and I must make the effort to cycle to Brighton after we return home.
25 August 2016; Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell, High Seat, High Tove and Armboth Fell
At the start of the day I had climbed a total of 135 Wainwright’s of which 95 had been scaled at least once this year. I selected these five as they gave me a reasonable chance of reaching 100 this year.
After two days of wall to wall sunshine the day dawned overcast with a possibility of heavy showers in the afternoon. Fortunately the rain stayed away but there was plenty of water underfoot because the ridge along from Bleaberry Fell to Armboth Fell and beyond was very boggy. For a long time I managed to keep my feet dry but on one particularly difficult stretch I tried to leap across and ended knee deep in peaty water. Because I was wearing shorts I did not have a problem with wet trousers but much of my clothing smelled awful and I was banished to the shower upon my return home – my socks were detained in the primary decontamination area (downstairs facilities, located by the front door).
Armboth Fell is 479m high and by height ranks 182 in the list of Wainwrights but for me it was special because it was my 100th Wainwright of the year. Some might celebrate with champagne but a mug of tea and a rock bun in the tea garden at Watendlath was far more welcome.
With many tourists in the area and the wet weather last weekend the local Mountain Rescue teams have been very busy with 25 call outs in one week alone. Thank you to all who have already donated to my appeal on behalf of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association. If you wish to add to this appeal the link is: