A few words on my recent trip to the Lake District
A few people seemed to take an interest in my last post talking about my holiday plans so I thought I’d follow up with a few words on what happened. I checked out the Mountain Weather Information Service website (www.mwis.org.uk) the evening before setting off to plan the walking activities for the next two days. It turned into a funny one as the forecast on this site was contrary to what was being predicted on the Met Office website. The first day was supposed to be a a little wet with a few thundery showers and a threat of lightning. The second day was supposed to be dry in the morning with the potential for rain in the afternoon. Not liking the idea of being stood on top of a hill with lightning strikes all around me I decided on a trip to Keswick first then spend the second day walking the three hills closest to the camp site.
The three hills were of interest to me because they are on the list of 214 ‘Wainwrights’ that I am slowly ticking off during my frequent visits to the Lake District. For those of you not in the know Alfred Wainwright is a legend in walking circles as he spent a life-time walking the hills of the area making hand written notes of his journeys alongside drawings to describe key features when navigating. These notes, that he compiled between 1952 & 1966, became a series of books that are still being sold today. It is now a thing to walk all of the hills mentioned in his guides. I’m about 80 through the list.
To cut a long story short the weather didn’t work out as planned. The tourist videos sell the Lake District as an area of outstanding beauty (which is true) bathed in permanent sunshine (not always true) but the reality for walkers is a little less sexy. Sometimes the hills extract their pound of flesh and you have to pay the price to enjoy this wonderful area. On the Wednesday morning the weather was overcast with the distinct threat of rain in the air. As you can see from the photo at the top of this post the weather closed in and clouds swamped the hills. The rain got increasingly worse during the steep direct ascent of the first hill (Little Mell Fell) and the picture below gives you an idea of how wet it got.
For the record I didn’t leave my wife at home and she is the mystery figure stood alongside me. We took shelter in a plantation as the rain got really bad making a cup of coffee on our way to our second target Gowbarrow Fell. Thankfully the rain started to die away as we began our ascent and having reached the top we could start to see Ullswater below us. The following photo was taken on the way down and you just about make out the last wisps of cloud in the background.
We had considered calling it a day before starting on this hill because the weather had become so unpleasant. However as the cloud continued to clear and we could for the first time see the final target for the day (Great Mell Fell) and the lowlands surrounding us for miles. We therefore decided to push on and made the 45 minute walk to the base of the final hill. As we approached we thought it looked like a relatively gentle slope right to the top … whoops. Check out the photo below.
I think this gives you an idea that after the best part of five hours walking we were facing another slog up a steep hill. It wasn’t much fun but the reward was an amazing view of the mighty Blencathra. Only thing left was an hour and a bit walk back to the camp site and an exciting tea made up of tinned food warmed on the stove. Anyway, hope you enjoyed my little talk and below is the final picture of the aforementioned Blencathra.