Saturday, 21 March 2009

Along With The Ticket Came The Wind

So last weekend I headed out as planned. The last minute change of plan was in my favour as it saw me on the hill a week earlier. The Gods must have laughed as I foolishly joked about them asking for their gift of the early outing back. Gutted is all I can say right now.

I headed up to Grasmere with a laid back attitude…..the work was short and I had time to play with for a change. I parked the car and wondered out of the village with a look of glee on my face….that was a mistake!

Brinhow_crag

The path running along Sour Milk Gill

I walked up to Easedale Tarn via the path running by Sour Milk Gill, which was thundering down the hillside with some gusto. I decided to stop for lunch by the tarn and it was here where the cracks in the trip began to appear! Once at the tarn I felt the wind, which was really whipping across the water at this point. It wasn’t in any one direction so trying to keep the mini atomic going proved a little difficult to say the least. I used half a blue meths bottle just boiling 350ml of water! I tried sheltering behind a considerable rock but the wind won out – as it usually does!

grasmere_from_Sourmilk Back to Grasmere from Sour Milk Gill

eagle_crag_from_easedale_ta Eagle Crag and Belles Knott from the path alongside Easedale Tarn

Despite the stove problems it was nice to sit back and take in the view. Lots of people passed by in both directions and besides the wind the weather was nice. Good rolling clouds surrounded by blue sky made for some nice photos. I packed away and headed up the pack via Belles Knot and and Eagle Crag.

slapstone_edge_from_easedal The view to Slapstone Edge at Lunch

The route is full of interest with the tarns, the stepping stones across the boggy sections and various streams. I passed a fairly big group of woman descending the path who stopped and chatted. The warning signs were there now that I look back and remember them all grimacing when I mentioned camping at Harrison Stickle – their faces still mostly covered by hoods despite being well of the summits! It became apparent that it might be more lively up there than the forecast had suggested! I continued on with a view to weighing up the options for shelter etc once I’d got nearer to Harrison Stickle.

back_to_easedale_tarn Easedale Tarn and Grasmere from Blea Rigg

As I came over the top of the path to the rough plateau above Blea Rigg I was blown over and caught completely off guard. I righted myself and checked nobody else had seen me make an arse of myself. I took a few photos whilst leaning into the regular gusts and I deciding that the Pavey Ark ascent to Harrison Stickle might not be as enjoyable in these conditions and instead headed north west to High Raise

stickle_tarn_pavey_ark Pavey Ark and Stickle Tarn from Blea Rigg

I could barely walk the wind was so strong, which was quite exhilarating and a bit knackering at the same time! I knew before I even got to Harrison Stickle that I wouldn’t be pitching my tent but I just couldn’t let it go until I got there! There was no shelter from that wind and I had concerns about the tent for obvious reasons. 

easedale_tarn_flareSetting sun over a blowy Easedale Tarn

I eventually took the decision that the wild camp was off and made a sulky descent back into Grasmere. This is the first time I’ve had to abandon a planned wild camp , which at the time I found very disappointing. However, looking back it was absolutely the right decision and at very least I’ve found a rewarding and dramatic route to return and try again.

6 comments:

Martin Rye said...

Shame you could not get a wildcamp in. Real time decision making is a skill learnt on the hill. Come in handy that experience. Fab walking there for sure.

David Albon said...

We were no so far from you on the Saturday on our 'Wasdale to Wasdale' walk. Camped lower down at Sykeside campsite on Friday to avoid the worst (& some other campers tent was wrecked by the wind there!) and settle for the Scandale Pass & on to Langdale sat night. Even so, we nearly got blown over a couple of times. Thankfully, Sunday was better and we got up Bowfell, Esk Pike, Broad Crag & Scafell Pike then down to Wasdale.

And this week's weather has been perfect ...

Cheers, David

The Dude Abides said...

Hi Martin, it was a real shame but as you say its all experience. Nice OMM vest by the way....

Hi David, sounds like you still managed to make the most of your trip despite the weather. In places I found it to be fine but on the tops it was just a bit too much to pitch. I was considering a lower level camp but it just didn't seem enough after working myself up to a nice high pitch. The weather today has been amazing and so I'm even more gutted !!

Nigel Gray said...

You can't beat real time in the hills, great experience whatever the weather! Treat the trip as advance reconnaisance - better some real-time planning while being there, than sat at home poring over MemoryMap as I've been doing for the past few days. I've got itchy feet planning a wildcamp weekend in Wales in mid April. I do need to get up to the Lakes more though.

Ron Bloomquist said...

So, where are you?

Almost a month since your last post.

Your fan is waiting!!

The Dude Abides said...

Hi Ron,

Yes, sorry it has been a while.

Things have been a little busy here lately, though I am just finishing the write-up of a trip in the Yorkshire Dales.

Once I've resized photos I'll post that up - perhaps on Thursday?