Friday night saw us travelling up to the Rucksack Club’s Lake District HQ in the Duddon Valley, High Moss where we met up with our Leader and fellow contenders for tomorrows expedition. Two stalwarts of this kind of affair Paul and Wade were missing, the former attending a wedding in St Ives and the latter according to Geoff was ‘Losing the will to suffer’. Need I say more!
A fitful night’s sleep was had listening to the howling wind and rain outside but the forecast promised a bit of a respite for tomorrow. Rising at 4.15am for a 5.00am departure for Keswick gave us only a brief shower and we set off not long after 6.00am in dry conditions but with a concerning headwind.
Leaving High Moss 5.00am –ish – Geoff, Ros, NLN, Keith and FSS – Helen would join us at the Moot Hall
Moot Hall, Keswick just after Six o’clock with Helen (Keith parking car)
On leaving Portinscale and approaching the suspension bridge we were surprised to be met by throngs of folk, breakfasting, messing about with canoes/bikes/running kit. Apparently they were all engaged in a multi-sport Coast-to-Coast and had just paddled down Derwentwater and were readying themselves for the next leg on bikes – amazing what we all do for fun.
Dramatic scenes over Derwentwater from Cat Bells heralded the first heavy rain. But soon, having traversed High Stile etc we were dropping into Honister, where Rae had warm drinks and food ready for us.
Support HQ manned by Rae Pritchard, with Meet leader Ros Murray and Helen
Looking down Ennerdale with Buttermere and Crummock water to the right
Upwards and onwards to Sty Head over Grey Knotts, Brandreth and Green Gable then Bow Fell over the Crinkles to the three Shires Stone for extremely welcome hot soup and sandwiches.
Glorious run off Green Gable
The worst of the weather on this leg forced us below Swirral How, before traversing Brim Fell where horizontal hailstones and gale force winds buffeted us to the ground at some points. Too dangerous to contemplate the summit of Dow Cragg, Ros guided us expertly along a rising traverse to Goats Water Hause and then White Pike to Broughton, where rice pudding awaited.
Dow Crag – click on full size to see the two climbers half way up one of the gullies towards the bottom on the right
From Broughton it was a simple matter of following the coast, over the sand dunes, through the marshes and along the beach to our destination at Barrow. As our leader warned us, its longer than it looks. I say simple because the five of us were just following Ros’s headtorch at this stage. Five hours later we arrived at the Town Hall in Barrow, attracting quite a bit of attention, not being dressed in the manner of most of the Saturday night crowd on what the locals refer to as the ‘Gaza Strip’. Geoff described the town centre scene as ‘Vibrant’ which rather captured it.
Made it! – Barrow Town Hall just before 1.00am
Six started, six finished – Ros, Keith, Geoff, NLN, Helen and FSS
Total time 18hours 39mins, 10,000ft climbing, 46.6 miles covered.
Conditions – heavy showers (some hail), bright intervals, constant strong winds. A great day in the hills.
Not out next Sat, doing Where Eagles Fly – see earlier post.