With less than a month to go before the Patterdale Parish Boundary Walk, it seemed only right and proper that a little bit of training should take place. In addition Luke (he of the “how bout we do St Sunday Crag” from last years training walk) was staying for the week with his family. So I tried to muster the usual crew. Chris and Scruffy were of course up for the challenge, whereas Mountain Mike was too busy tidying his walking sock drawer – no doubt saving himself for the main event…
We planned to do the reverse second half walk, and then tag on the 7 miler at the end giving us a “pleasant” 21 miles or so. In face the route we actually took was:
As you’ll see the weather got the better of us in the end!
Kilbert How Ascent of Place Fell
It all started pleasantly enough as we climbed Kilbert How – although of course I soon realised it’s a bit of a trek getting up that route. Still plenty of excuses to stop for a breather and take some pictures….
No problems of course for Scruffy and Morgan who scrambled up with their usual gusto hoping to find the remains of a dead animal to keep them amused.. Anyway after much huffing and puffing on my part, and some easy strolling for Chris and Luke as we neared the summit of Place Fell we felt the first spots of rain. Cue donning of waterproofs and the certain knowledge on my part that I would be sweating even more profusely as the day worse on…
Once on the summit the wind and rain increased. You can always tell it’s going to be a bad day when trying to light your summit top fag is a problem. Well today was going to be such a day.
Heading to Angle Tarn
Beating a hasty retreat down the path to Boredale Hause we thankfully dropped out of the wind but could see the mist rolling in to High Street. Nothing like knowing what you’re going to be walking into.
We passed Boredale Hause (always a difficult point knowing I’m just 15 minutes from home..) and carried on to Angle Tarn. By now the rain was “persisting it down” to put it politely and the wind was getting up. Even Angle Tarn, usually a magical and beautiful place looking a little dismal and uninviting. The proposed lunch stop there was abandoned in favour of heading on for some shelter further up the path.
We eventually climbed up and found a wall to shelter (sort of) and stopped for lunch. The rain continued and as you can see from the photo below the mood in the group was not one of joy and exultation. Except for Morgan. For him the conditions were ideal – nice and cool, plenty of water, and strong winds carrying all sorts of exciting smells in his direction. So much so that he decided to sprint off during lunch and head back 300 feet down the hill we’d just come up to go and be “friendly” with a couple of fellow labradors out for a pleasant stroll. Needless to say I then had to charge down the hill after him and prise him away and drag him back up to where I’d started. Not amused….
High Street to Thornthwaite Beacon in the Mist
Having calmed myself down sufficiently to continue we set off again. By now the rain and mist had merged and as we got onto High Street visibility was down to 20 yards or so. The wind starting howling in from the east and we trudged on towards Thornthwaite Beacon. Morgan disappeared for about 20 minutes at this point into the mist – all I can do is apologise to whoever or whatever he harassed…
After much slogging we finally made out the faint outline of Thornthwaite Beacon – a “welcome” sight in as much as it meant the end of the trudge along High Street, but of course it also brought on the anticipation of an unpleasant descent and ascent if we were to continue our proposed route to Kirkstone. Time for a rethink…
While I had my usual reviving Marlboro Light Chris and Scruffy decided to head down the Beacon. As Luke and I descended Scruffy loomed out of the mist to greet us and for a moment we had visions of finding Chris rolling around at the bottom of the slope. It was an unpleasant to put it mildly…
Time to Head for Home
By the time Luke and I arrived we had all decided that enough was enough. Time to head off the hill back to civilisation. The plan was to head down to Hartsop, blag a cup of tea with Stephen Gorton – Boundary Walk supremo, and call for a lift home. Sounded like a fine plan…
The descent to Hartsop was almost as unpleasant as the rest of it. Slippery path, leaving rain, boots utterly drenched, and even yet another close encounter of the dog kind for Morgan, which resulted in me losing my cool and my balance and slicing my hand open on a rock. Suffice to say by the time we made it to Harstop sense of humour was in short supply.
By now the rain was so strong that when I attempted to light a fag outside Hartsop it almost instantly drooped and fell apart. Not good. Our lame attempts to seek an easy way home via a lift then began. First Mr Gorton was not at home (out walking the West Highland way apparently – how dare he!). Obviously no mobile reception in this part of the Dale so we aimed for the phone box outside Hartsop. But wait – that one had been knocked over a few years ago and never replaced. How about trying to get a signal in the Hartop bus shelter – no go there – two alsatians were taking cover and I was not about to be embarrassed by Morgan again. So we headed for Cow Bridge where Chris said he sometimes got a signal is he stood on one leg by the lucky stone. Needless to say he didn’t on this particular day (although we subsequently found out he’d actually got through to home but all they could hear was some odd boke’s deep breathing…). On to Deepdale and another phone box (I know it’s close to home but we were desperate). Dog around for some change – and what do you know – a phone box that doesn’t accept coins – what the **** is that all about?!?!
So we walked home. Enough already. Maybe we should have listed to Mountain Man Mike and tidied our sock crawers instead..
Anyway let’s hope the weather is a little kinder for the real walk on the 7th July!!
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