Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
All week the weather looked promising for the weekend and then it snowed on Friday, with a frost in the evening; I knew it was going to be a good day.
I hadn’t been up in Coniston for a few years, so Coniston Round was the plan. For some reason the central Car Park was closed, but I saved a few pounds by parking up the road next to the Sun Inn. The road was icy, so full winter gear was packed, although with a perfectly blue sky to the east, no wind and a temperature just above freezing, it was down to just a fleece for walking in. The snow was down to around 400m, soft and easy for walking.
Looking to the south there was a pink tinge to the sky underneath the slight hazy cloud cover. The sun was hidden by the thin cloud giving the hills an even cream hue. These were conditions I couldn’t recall seeing before and proved very difficult to capture in the camera. Across to the East, there was clear sky and a crystal clear view. One could see for well over a hundred miles, just making out North Wales beyond the plumes from the power stations on the horizon. The Howgills, Ingleborough fells and North Pennines were clear and white and the Isle of Man hung in the Irish Sea, floating above Ulpha Fell.
From the quarries on the path up, I took the direct route, partly missing the main path as it swung north, but also amusing myself following a group of mainly ill-equipped students as they fought the snow.
It seemed like there were more dogs than people out for walks on the summit, so it was a relatively peaceful break for a brew of tea and an attempt to capture the views with my new camera. (A review of the Lumix G3 will follow in due course).
It wasn’t a dangerous ridge walk across to Brim Fell and Swirl How, the cornice was small and easily spotted, and the ground not yet iced up enough to make walking difficult, trekking poles rather than crampons. It was little more crowded on Swirl How, but there was plenty of room beside the summit for a sheltered lunch stop. Last time I was at this spot it was difficult to stand in the gale, which led to navigation problems and a hasty retreat down Prison Band. Today the band was more alpine, and fun to descend, the snow providing a soft hold for the feet, and almost an easy glissade in places.
Up to Weatherlam, (my 79th Wainwright since I started counting again), passing a group struggling in balled up crampons and wondering what to do with the ice axes. Another great view from the top, with a clear view across to Grisedale Hause between Fairfield and Dollywagon Pike, and the line of the Pennines spread all across the east.
It was now a gentle walk back down to Coniston, mainly finding my own way across the virgin snow. There was time for a Pint and packet of peanuts before I made my way home after an excellent day.