Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
I’ve been close to the top of Great Carrs at least a couple of times before. Once when caught out in a gale on a Coniston round we inadvertently ended up at the memorial to the Halifax bomber crash. Then we quickly retreated back down via Swirl Hause. On a later trip my brother and I scrambled up the front of Troutal Fell to Grey Friar before heading round the fellside to the Old Man. Both times I missed the summit of Great Carrs. So it has remained uncompleted on my Wainwright list.
The remains of Saturdays thunderstorm hung around during that night. Morning mist was almost down to the road so it was time for some tough navigating up and across the pathless and complex terrain of Troutal Fell. We took care to avoid the crags and the natural pull to the steep ground above the Tarn. Mist lingered until we met the easier ground, then finally clearing to reveal summits of the surrounding Consiton fells. All that hard climb was now worthwhile, superb Lakeland views had opened up for us. Remains of the drifting mist and clouds across the summits gave great depth to the views. Dropping the bags at the top of Grey Friar, we enjoyed a breather and the view. A group from Leeds joined us; we had met them yesterday on Green Crag and later gave up our seats in the Newfield Inn for them.
The slight drop and pull up to the top of Great Carrs passed without any trouble, although we unexpectedly met up with Nas on the summit, who had been given directions to avoid the top and meet us later well down Wet Side. That was Wainwright number 149. That’s 70%!
So all three (4) of us headed off down Wetside, which is not wet and has a fabulous view into Little Langdale. For a Bank Holiday weekend, Wrynose pass was quiet, so we didn’t have to risk our lives avoiding mad motorists as we strolled down the road to the Blea Moss path.
This was also unexpectedly dry underfoot with views across to Langdales opening up above. Blea Tarn was calm and still, the water giving mirror-like reflections of the fells all around. It was tempting to pick out a camping spot beside the tarn. Just inside Access Land and with views to savour we kicked the idea around before deciding to go no further. Tents were set up in the woods, for a relaxing evening. Not very wild camping but one of the best positions I’ve pitched in.
I have to own up to lighting a fire but did keep it under control, despite Nas loading large logs and wet branches on it. This threatened to give our presence away to most of Langdale. The warth gave us the opportunity to dry off the socks and boots.
“Nas, your boots are on fire”. “Nah, its just steam”. “Nas! Your boots are on fire, there are flames!”. “Oh heck”. Cheap leaky boots are not fire resistant either… (I had permission to use this anecdote, see comments to last blog).
A glorious sunset with a touch of Whiskey from the hip flask made this such a great evening.
Next morning the rain returned, starting just as we dropped the tents. Careful examination of the map showed a path from the Tarn heading up through the woods onto the lower slopes of Pike o’ Blisco. This path soon disappeared into the bracken so we went through the fell-wall gate and set off up the fell side. As the rain got heavier, the cloud came down and we had to micro-navigate across complex terrain again. Steve’s GPS watch helped us across the area, we missed some features and found others unexpectedly. Anyway we made it across the shoulder of the Pike, picking up the Wrynose path just where we had planned, by the sheepfold. Some pretty tough Gold level navigating. I would not want to be here for an assessment.
Now it was a march down a wet road to Cockley Beck and along the Duddon river away from the road back to the car. All four of us pretty wet by that time. Nas wrapped his burnt boots in a bag and left them in the first bin we passed on our way home .