Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
The plan for the weekend was a trip to the Lake District with my mates. This time of year over the last couple of years we have had some great weather and winter conditions. This year, numbers were limited by family commitments; tickets to see Billy Connolly and I suspect a scan of the weather forecast. So just three of us arrived through the storm to enjoy the snug hospitality of Borrowdale Hostel on Friday night. Dick and I had arrived that afternoon and attempted to do a short walk up Eagle and Sergeants Crags from Stonethwaite. Horizontal rain and very wet conditions underfoot meant that for a change we took Wainwright’s advice; “in bad weather the climb should not be attempted…”.
Saturday started as wet and marginally less windy. Rather than fight the conditions on the high fell tops we stuck to the lower fells of Borrowdale. It was a steep climb through the woods up Willygrass Gill to the lonely Dock Tarn “a jewel deserving a better name”. I can’t continue writing without a snigger at the name of that gill. So having got that out of my system, I can record Willygrass was in spate, more a waterfall than the babbling brook it must be in August.
Just up from the tarn is the summit of Great Crag, more of a modest fell from our way up. We didn’t want to stop, the gale was battering the rain into all of our uncovered places. But the essential summit photo was needed, the damp camera just managing to capture us hanging in the breeze. Below the summit knoll a signpost pointed to Puddingstone Bank. This was not shown on my map but seemed to be in the right direction. We didn’t find the puddingstone, but we splashed through the water filled paths across to Grange Fell. On top of the first highpoint we met another group of (damp) walkers, who confirmed that this was indeed the official top of Grange Fell, aka Brund Fell. So that was # 138 and second for the day.
Heading across the fell to the road at Grange, we took in the more prominent top of Kings How, scene of a family walk some years previously, notable for Sarah actually reaching the top. Looking east to the third knoll on the fell the pink colours of the Silver Birch; the deep browns of the dead bracken contrasting with the bright green all called out for an attempt to capture it in a photograph. Even tweaking in my photo software doesn’t bring out the colours close to the emotional scene we shared.
Picking our way carefully down the wet and slippy path through the wood took us to the road. Across the bridge to Grange, with the river lapping well up its piers, we had hoped refreshments would be available in Grange village, but this Saturday all was locked up.
Recent flood damage to the path and surrounding fields was obvious as we walked alongside the river track to the hostel. Castle Crag loomed above us. A tentative plan of mine was to eventually finish collecting my Wainwrights fells on its top. Castle Crag is a common one to end on, being the lowest in his books. But you never know what’s going to happen, so Mike and I belted up to the top. It was still heavy rain so we didn’t spend long enjoying its splendid position. Grabbing the photo evidence, we skipped down the scree to pick up Dick and head back to the hostel for a splendid tea and cake.
In those conditions, that was a good day out, ticking off three fell tops, and having a good stretch of the legs in the wonderful scenery. I do like Borrowdale.