ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN
Monday, 20 October 2014
ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREENSunday was not so nice a day weather wise in the Lakes but we knew that on Friday heading off. It was supposed to be a day of intermittent drizzle and low clouds on the higher hills, again conditions that can make most of upland Scotland seem bleak and utterly miserable but just turns the lower bumpy hills in the Lakes into a pastel misty wonderland. Secretly, I actually enjoy conditions like this down here sometimes as it means my suggestions get listened to, where they wouldn't otherwise, in company usually fixated on high level mountain bagging.
"He's not right in the head that guy!" has been muttered several times in the past by reluctant mountaineers following in my wake, embarrassed by the indignity of embracing pursuits like crawling down random holes in the ground, mingling with ramblers, or trying out a juvenile DIY death slide down a slope on an old car tyre with obvious relish and no sense of shame. In short I've never grown up and don't intend to start anytime soon.
"Aw C,mon. We're mountain men!" They complained. "Where are you taking us now!"
"Izzy wizzy. Let's get bizzy." I replied cryptically, pinching Sooty's line, uttered whenever he waved his wand and performed a magical illusion, with a mans hand up his bottom. Well, I think it was his wand.
With steep bare cliffs, long tunnels, some mild scrambling, and even serious bolted climbing routes up the walls we left the ramblers behind and entered the realm of mole men.
I like the Lake District. So much to do in bad weather. I used to own the well known yellow glove puppet as a nipper and got fairly good at all the gestures with the wand. Never liked Sweep for some reason and buried him in the garden. Well, I think it was Sweep... it was so long ago. Did Sweep have a tail and bark a lot in an irritating manner?
Yin and yang...light and dark... it's all good.
Sunday, 19 October 2014
ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SIZEIt was a weekend trip to the Lake District that was keenly awaited by certain members of our club. The Lake District is a funny one in that it seems to polarise the views of Scottish hill walkers and mountaineers. Some people dislike the ever present crowds, the chocolate box scenery, the fact that it's in England, the extortionate parking fees for some of the more popular car parks, and the perceived "tamed" nature of the landscape much beloved by painters, poets, artists and ramblers groups. I'm firmly in the camp that love the place but maybe the reasons listed above were partly responsible for the low turn out for a hut near Langdale that sleeps more than a dozen. That and a poor weather forecast for our first winter meet of the season. Alex taking in the view on the balcony of our hut for the weekend. This building sits in a side dale/valley high above Langdale itself.
Myself, Alex, Graeme, Grant, John and Alan spent a pleasant Friday night in the hut then went to sleep with the sound of lashing rain and blustery conditions. Normally in Scotland a poor weekend weather forecast as bad as this one would be greeted with gloom by most of the folk going away on a trip north with thoughts of miserable knee deep bogs, soaking clothes, boots and socks wringing after a short time, wading bridgeless rivers, and dismal views of bits of hills through the murk. The Lake District is civilised however and you are never far from a well made network of low level paths, interesting landscape, small attractive towns and villages and even underground wet weather alternatives. These days I mainly leave Scotland and the Munros for the English hill going folk who seem to relish wild and challenging conditions in a grim empty bracken infested landscape. Scotland for the English- Lake District for the Scots I say now I'm older and wiser :o)
Alex had a big day planned with a bagging round of the Pike then Great Knott, Long Top, Crinkle Crags, Shelter Crags and ending on Bow Fell, 902 metres. Graeme and Grant didn't fancy this with the present wet weather conditions and had a longer lie in before completing the same traverse slightly later, once the weather improved.
The infamous "granny stopper" of the "Bad Step" a tricky, heavily polished, obstacle on the traverse along the ridgeline.
As luck would have it the slightly lower rock pyramid of Bow Fell was clear and sunny and all of us were knocked out by the stunning nature of the surrounding landscape and the sheer expanse of naked rock on show. It reminded my of the Skye Cuillin in places and the Steeple-Pillar Traverse was the same last year. Hardly a blade of grass in sight.
The delightfully rugged summit of Bow Fell.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=344 Great list of routes at every grade and small slide show of good climbing photos here. Love the one with the climber facing the sheep looking down the route. Click on the white arrows in the photo gallery.
Alex and I climbed Middlefell Buttress, a so called Diff with a desperate direct start, years ago here and it felt about VS in places due to the polish on the holds. You could see your reflection in the rock looking back at you and the expression was a mixture of worry and laughing disbelief.
Video is another tune by the Smoke Fairies recorded over in Dingle in Ireland. I like the interlinking guitar and vocal folk harmonies of this pair.