Trip report Lakes 30th June and 1st July 2012
The path is a good one on the corridor route. Rocky scrambles in places, fine views. The steps before me would take me up onto high summits and wonderful vistas on a clear day. Today the stream crossing the path was in flood, the steps ahead funnelled water down from higher above, creating another stream. Rain lashed me, everything was soaked; typical Lake Land weather.
I had timed my arrival on the Saturday, I hoped, to allow me to start my walk as the rain cleared. Hope is always good; if not we would believe the weather forecast and never go walking.
I had a brief look around town with idea of buying a trekking umbrella. Rohan shop, "Just sold the last one, try Fishers." Fishers: "sold out". I walked back to the car, I noticed a new shop selling, surprise, surprise, outdoor gear. This one also had a big display of axes! What the heck! It's the Lakes, not the Yukon.
I shouldered my pack, and left town. Passing a visitor who the words 'excuse me' seemed lost on.
The rain stopped. I walked to the Allerdale Ramble, heading down Borrowdale. Dark clouds cast shadows over the fells, which were a sea of green from the seemingly constant rainfall of late.
Duke of Edinburgh participants lined the trail. Big packs, and at their young age it would be big adventure. "Good luck," as I left them behind. At one place on the route the path has a high and lower section. Fallen trees forced me to go through soaking wet bracken to gain the higher path.
I was making good time, the odd shower found me covering the camera up, as well as pulling the hood of my jacket up.
Borrowdale is a majestic valley; native woodland trees line the slopes. My thoughts turned to my up-and-coming USA walk. Treelined trails galore where I was going, I was looking more and more forward to it.
I passed Castle Crag, then down to Seatoller. Rosthwaite Fell and Glaramara dominated the landscape. The dull, overcast sky refused to clear, marring the scene somewhat.
Where the road crosses a bridge I took the track down to Seathwaite. I hoped the cafe was open, but I found that it had closed in the years since I last came this way. A junior member of the owning family at the farm had opened a tea shack. A drink and chat with day walkers gave a brief stop.
From there I took the tourist route up by Stockley Bridge. I went up hoping the cloud base would lift, as well as the rain hold off.
I could see the rain and cloud lashing in on the higher fells. I would not normally seek to camp at Styhead Tarn. A camp spot too much used and too many pass by doing the Three Peaks Challenge, but I had little option tonight. It gave shelter from the worst of the weather. I pitched, cursing as I broke a V peg on the rocky ground. I got water from the higher streams and witnessed another group pissing 10 ft from the stream flowing in the tarn.
W*£@&£$ the lot of them.
I chatted to some climbers who seemed to care about the hills and leave no trace. Sunset was dull and uninspiring. I turned in for the night. I was disturbed, time to time, by groups of Three Peaks participants shouting in the dark as they went to summit Scafell Pike.
I awoke to rain. Showers were the forecast: persistent rain was the reality. Heavy gusts of wind blew the sides of the SoloMid in against the inverted trekking poles which held its shape. Glad I didn't have a DuoMid, on which the sides would not be so well supported.
I packed, mulled over my plan of doing the 3000ft peaks, then left. I took the Corridor Route. Classic route, stunning views as you walk it on a clear day. Today I was alone on it, rain lashing me as I walked. I made my way up. I stopped to take a photo, hoping to show the waterfalls. I then kept moving to the top of Piers Gill. This notorious place has a history of people thinking it's a safe way down in bad weather, where in truth it's a trap.
I took my phone out to check the time and got it wet. It turned itself off as I tried to check the track log of my route for my Social Hiking maps. I cursed, but gave up trying to turn it back on. Back to map and compass time. I kept going up. A stream crossing the path was in flood, the steps ahead funnelled water down from higher above, creating another stream; everything was soaking wet, me included.
I picked the path up at the notch, col, saddle, hause, bwlch or what ever name you give a col to strike to the summit of Scafell Pike. I met a group of day walkers coming. They told me it was wet up top. It was wet right where I was standing. I could not get any wetter unless I decided to swim in a tarn. I made the summit, alone, no views and soaking wet. Waterproofs have their limits. Today's weather exceeded the ability of them to cope.
I recall a wet TGOC 2011. I don't recall the chest pocket allowing much water ingress. Yet on the summit the pocket on my hardshell was full of water.
With no views today my memories of days gone by painted a picture, giving me something to think on apart from the dire, wet, litter-strewn scenery I had. The day of perfect sunshine backpacking at the end of a three day trip in the snow. Mike and myself had the summits all to ourselves. The morning when I pushed hard to bag a view. I did have all the views until 200ft from the summit when the mist rolled in front of my eyes. The times I have taken YMCA residents up here. Good memories. Today's was relegated to the lower shelf of them
I decided to go out via Broad Crag. I descended, wet slippery boulder fields and rock to cross. Back up the slope to Broad Crag. Along towards the pass to Esk Hause.
At Esk Hause I was below the cloud base. I had some views, but the rain was hammering it down. The streams that flow into Allencrags Gill had burst their banks, forming a small tarn. I went from there to Angle Tarn. It rained harder. Two fell runners came past.
I looked ahead to the area I hoped to go to: thick cloud clung to the fell side. I decided to go down, change of plan was needed. The path into Langstrath made for a fast descent. Slowly the visibility got better. I had light rain briefly. I also made a mistake: going too far down. At the bottom you cross the beck. Today the beck was a raging torrent. Crossing here would be suicidal. I went back up. I found a spot to cross, a calm pool of water: lean across, grab large rock, into water thigh deep, pull and across, out other side.
From there I followed the path to join the Cumbria Way. I met a couple planning on camping high. "Good luck..." I pushed on down the valley. Briefly the weather relented.
Camera out, I took in the views. It was the best I could hope for today.
The rain did not relent. It came back in. I hurried along the valley. I stopped once more to take a photo of the waterfalls. Then moved on.
Rosthwaite has a cafe. I got into it, a drink, hot food enjoyed. Plan B time. I took the bus later to Keswick. Maybe the Eastern Fells. I checked the forecast. More of the same in the morning. I was soaked, the views crap. My plan B was to start the car and go home.