Sunday, 19 May 2013

Old County Tops fell race – 18 May

Poor weather but an improving forecast was the prediction for the day and the first part was certainly correct. Eventually the rain stopped and the sun almost appeared but visibility remained poor on all the tops, all day. I wasn’t sure about the likelihood of improving weather and so I left my camera in the car and that turned out to be a very good decision indeed.

20130518_006_OCT-11-EditFinal preparations

20130518_003_OCT-6-EditKit check

20130518_004_OCT-7-EditPike O’Blisco

20130518_001_OCT-3-EditNew Dungeon Ghyll

20130518_002_OCT-4-EditThey must be easily pleased here if a “Room Full of Mirrors” is a Saturday night attraction.

A tough old day it turned out to be, at least for Albert and I. Poor visibility is our excuse for not contouring High Raise and, anyway, there is a great descending trod from near the top. One way or another we were considerably slower to Angle Tarn than last year which meant the cut-off at Cockley Beck was going to be a real challenge. We had little idea just how tight this would turn out to be. Usually when a check-point closes, at the cut-off time, you can’t “arrive” and are timed out – here when the check-point closes you can’t leave. As we reached the road above the check-point two marshals told us the check-point would close in about 5 minutes and as we ran into it we were told 2 minutes, “You must leave within the next two minutes!” No misunderstandings about what was required here. Special thanks are due to the marshals who thrust tea, sandwiches and bananas at us before hurrying us out and on our way. Had I been taking photos on the way round we wouldn’t have had the two minutes, I am sure.

Back up into the low cloud and on our way to Coniston Old Man we found our pairs wandering around lost and although we tried a couple of other times to go seriously wrong we failed each time and finished in about eleven and a half hours to earn our t-shirts.


Huge thanks to Chris Lloyd as well as all the marshals and everyone else involved in making the Old County Top 2013 happen. People think we do it for the t-shirts – we don’t, it is Arthur’s legendary soup that makes it all worthwhile – thanks Arthur.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Belmont Winter Hill fell race – 11 May

“One To Watch” as far as I am concerned, so watch we did.


20130511_001_belmont-105“Warming Up”

20130511_002_belmont-5They’re Off


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Looping The Lakes – 04+05 May

The Rucksack Club May Bank Holiday Meet was a walking tour of the Lake District. Devised and supported by Mike Cudahy with assistance from Geoff Bell and led by Inken Blunk. Setting off into the rain very early on Saturday morning (05:30) I don’t think I was alone in wondering what we had let ourselves in for. Heading north through the Northern Fells we glimpsed patches of blue sky and by Grainsgill Beck the rain had stopped and the sun threatened to shine.




20130504_002_Lakeland Loop-2-Edit

The improved weather didn’t last too long and low clouds with rain returned to accompany us passed Lingy Hill hut and over High Pike before descending towards Fell Side. A westerly traverse to Green Head gave us access to Trusmadoor and the road through the Back O’Skiddaw to Keswick.

20130504_003_Lakeland Loop-7-EditDescending towards Dash Falls


20130504_004_Lakeland Loop-10-EditLow Clouds on Dead Crags

20130504_005_Lakeland Loop-12-EditNorthern Fells farm

20130504_006_Lakeland Loop-15-EditSt Johns In The Vale

Through Keswick to Rigg Beck and Sail Beck to Buttermere for Gatesgarth Pass and Ennerdale before the climb over Black Sail Pass for Wasdale.

20130504_007_Lakeland Loop-21-EditAt Black Sail Youth Hostel (Tom, Pauline, Helen, Joe, Andy and Inken)

Beyond Brackenclose the route passed Burnmoor Tarn on the way to Eskdale and finally below Harter Fell for Grassguards and the descent to High Moss, the club hut, for a meal and some sleep. By High Moss at 01:50 we had covered about 53 miles and a bit over 11,000 feet of climbing. Day Two was only a few hours away.

Breakfast and a leisurely start a little before 08:30 got the return leg underway. The Walna Scar Road set us on our way to Coppermines Valley, Tilberthwaite and Little Langdale.


20130505_008_Lakeland Loop-25-EditCoppermines Valley

Little Langdale, Great Langdale and Grasmere for the climb to Grisedale Tarn. Low clouds but little rain all morning became low clouds with a little rain after Grasmere until descending towards Patterdale when rain was blown away and replaced by some sunshine.

20130505_009_Lakeland Loop-32-EditRake Cottages near Patterdale

20130505_010_Lakeland Loop-40-EditSheffield Pike and Helvellyn

The tracks and paths through Greenside Mines took us to the high path around the head of Glencoyne and for Dowthwaite Head and eventually the two miles or so of the bog lying between the A66 and Matterdale Common.

20130505_011_Lakeland Loop-44-EditCrossing Sandbeds Moss

20130505_012_Lakeland Loop-46-EditWolf Crags and Matterdale Common

20130505_013_Lakeland Loop-47-EditAlmost back at the south eastern corner of the Northern Fells

20130505_014_untitled-50Done (done in) – self, Tom, Andy and Mike

We took about 33 hours walking to complete “Looping The Lakes” with a short overnight break at High Moss. Huge thanks to Inken and Mike for a really great Meet, to Geoff for helping with support and to Rae, Helen, Pauline, Tom, Andy, Joe and John for splendid company for some or all of the 81 miles and 19750 feet of climbing.