Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Cumbrian Traverse - 16 June

More years ago than I care to remember we were tempted to try this on a day with an "improving forecast". Needless to say the forecast didn't improve and we were forced to abandon the attempt. Usually we try to have another go as soon as possible but this fell by the wayside where it languished until I started looking around for a way to celebrate a "not very big" birthday. Knowing a BGR contender who would be interested in a long day on the fells meant a I could avoid a solo attempt and all we needed was a "fair forecast". With only a couple of hours of rain and following wind forecast for Friday, 16th June, things looked pretty promising.

Broughton Mills to Wrynose Pass

Even at 06:30 on Friday morning it was obvious the forecast wasn't quite right - the "following wind" was blowing in the wrong direction but a cross wind wouldn't be that bad, would it? Peter and I set off in sunshine half an hour earlier than planned while Pauline and Peter's wife Sheila prepared to meet us at Wrynose Pass around lunchtime. The first leg went pretty well, through the Furness Fells to the Coniston Fells and down to the Three Shires Stone.
  1. Great Stickle
  2. Stickle Pike
  3. Caw
  4. White Maiden
  5. Brown Pike
  6. Dow Crag
  7. Conistone Old Man
  8. Swirl How
  9. Great Carrs
  10. Wrynose Pass
From White Maiden onwards we were above the cloud base for most of the time but by then the most difficult route finding was behind us, at least for this leg.

Wrynose Pass to Honister Pass

Having completed and enjoyed Leg One just a little faster than a 12 hour pace we should have been "quietly optimistic" about the next leg. The low, dark, heavy clouds sitting on the fells ahead of us suggested conditions were deteriorating, and they were.
Cold Pike was above the cloud base and before we reached Crinkle Crags the rain arrived and stayed with us until Great Gable. We missed a turning somewhere between Crinkle Crags and Bowfell and dropped about 500 feet into Upper Eskdale. This wasn't the best part of the day but we retained our sense humour and, eventually, found Bowfell. The reminder of the leg was uneventful and the rain relented so that we could eat before Great Gable. We lost about an hour overall on this leg, most of which was the error on Crinkle Crags.
  1. Cold Pike
  2. Crinkle Crags
  3. Bowfell
  4. Esk Pike
  5. Great End
  6. Great Gable
  7. Green Gable
  8. Brandreth
  9. Grey Knotts
  10. Honister Pass

Honister Pass to Keswick

After more food and hot drinks we were ready for the short, last leg into Keswick. With considerable relief we watched the clouds on Dale Head lift higher than the traverse we needed to find to reach High Spy. Conditions improved significantly and this last leg was a delight. Reaching the Moot Hall at 21:28 meant we finished 34 mile, 13,000 feet route in just under 15 hours, about an hour longer than we expected.
  1. High Spy
  2. Maiden Moor
  3. Cat Bells
  4. Keswick
Huge thanks to Peter & Sheila and, of course, Pauline for a truly memorable 64th.

Towards Caw
Morecambe Bay from Caw
Coniston Old Man
Towards Brim Fell

1 comment:

  1. A memorable day, wonderfully atmospheric shots. Quite a relief to see you both arrive at Honister given the huge deterioration in conditions