Sunday, 2 March 2014

Powder snow in the Helvellyn Massif



We were in the car park at Greenside Mine by 08:50hrs.  By the time it took to get the the gear on the car park was full,  but at least the heavy sleet shower had stopped.


Catsycam looking wonderful under the cover of snow.


Round about now I'm wondering why I kept my fleece on under the cag.  I sure as hell am not going to stop and take the sack off.







Eventually we arrive at the hut.  In the distance the people who either set off earlier or overtook us on the way up are digging out the tow.




After some tea and sandwiches in the hut I start doing some runs "Way Out West. " There is 50 cm of powder on a firm base and even I can do some nice turns.


It's a good job I have my Aldi helmet on as the snow is so deep some of the pylons are almost buried and  I keep banging my head on the cable.


After picking up the rucksack from the hut and giving the camera to Dawne I head up one last time to ski down as far as possible.


Dawne photos me as I get lower trying to avoid the grass and rocks.  This is actually great fun and beats walking any day. 


A great day out with the Lake District Ski Club. http://www.ldscsnowski.co.uk/

We rounded off the day with some very strong coffee and a toasted teacake in Glenridding.



Saturday, 11 January 2014

Allen Crags



The snow is probably deeper on the eastern fells but I can't be bothered with the longer drive.  So I end up at Seathwaite with no particular objective.  As I leave the farm yard Allen  Crags appear.  The  crag below the skyline,  looks like there's a diagonal rake below it.


And it's a lot more interesting than that terrible man made cobbley path that they seem to go in for in the Lakes.


Must have mis heard the forecast as I thought it said sunny frosty start.  It's cloudy and windy and I have to put my buff over my head to stop the hat blowing away.


There's a wonderful shelf running around Allen Crags with little tarns dotted along it.


The weather  clears a little to reveal Great Gable and Sprinkling Tarn.


Another tarn on the shelf.



View down the other side to Langdale Pikes where a friend from work, Dave McGregor was walking today.




There's a shower coming in as I head down. By not crossing over to the main path and by zig zagging through the crags I get down to Low How and manage to avoid the cobbley path for quite a distance.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Arnison Crag and Hexamid Trial



It's after tea when I get parked up in Patterdale and head up Arnison Crag behind the hotels. Instead of keeping to the wall side I stupidly head for the ridge and pay the price of wading through deep bracken. It's getting dark but I need to keep going to finally find water below  Trough Head in Hag Beck.


Dawne has given me some pre cooked stew to heat up for my tea .  This is not a success as my cooking system is designed for boiling water, pouring it on a dried meal and leaving it in the pot cosy for 20 mins.  Thin titanium pans and thick stew don't work on an uncontrollable meths stove.


The tent performs well as it's quite windy in the night.  It has an open mesh floor which is  draughty.  So maybe if it was raining it would blow through.  The draught did seem to prevent condensation on the single skin Cuben Fibre.  At 500g the tent is very light.  I've used my Leki pole as the support, but had to lengthen it with a home made section from an old Black Diamond pole.



Next morning after 2 bowls of porridge I power up into the mist on the east ridge of St Sunday Crag.





No views off the summit but as I head towards Birks I get a super view of  Nethermost Cove.
A knee jarring descent off the end of Birks sees me quickly back at the car and home in time for dinner and cutting the grass in the afternoon.




Sunday, 8 September 2013

Cam Crag Ridge and Z Packs Hexamid.


A bright and breezy morning and heading up Langstrath for Cam Crag ridge.  The idea is to drop down into Comb Gill and put up my new tent.  Have n't had time to sleep in it yet but want to see what it's like in the field.  It will be somewhere to eat my sandwiches in.


I head left off the path to scramble up a little gill.



The ridge ahead is a classic grade 2 scramble originally classified as a moderate rock climb.


I've just done the introductory buttress and am sat having a rest when a head appears over the rocks and it's an old friend: Murray.
He's with some other lads and they've bivvied in the shelter below the crag.


After a chat I let them get on with the next buttress as they will be far quicker than me.




As I reach the top it's already clouding over and I make a steep descent along the edge of  Dove's Nest into the Combe.

The bottom of Combe Gill.


 So I ordered this tent/tarp from the USA earlier in the year.  It took 5 weeks to come but is an incredible piece of technology.  I've gradually lost weight with my tents, Akto 1600g , Power Lizard 1100g,  but Z Packs Hexamid above is only 454g.
So I'm just having my dinner in it and seeing what it's like.

 I've got the beak, the cuben ground sheet and complete bug protection.  It probably does not cope with wind like the Trailstar but  for summer use I'll give it a go.
I could not see the point of forking out for  the Trailstar as  according to my reckoning by the time I'd added a nest or bivvy for bug protection and included the stakes I might as well use the Powerlizard.


So I'll need some practice at pitching it correctly as I had a crease in the back.


I may need to find a way to extend the trekking poll as it was way beyond it's limits.

Well it didn't leak, I just need some time to try it for real.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Pennines. Last Days


As I pack away the tent it's damp and drizzling. I need to get to Middleton in Teesdale Coop for supplies. A scone and coffee wouldn't come amiss either.


This section is mainly rough pasture or hay meadows. There's lots of bullocks in the fields.  Mostly they ignore you but I found  them a bit intimidating when they stand in a  heard right in front of the stile you are heading for.  Wall climbing became my speciality.


Middleton in Teesdale.  Half day closing, despite being 10:30 ish  half the shops were shut.  Maybe that's what it means.


The Tees is a big river and the path follows it for miles.  There are lots of flowers and spectacular water falls.


Eventually a roaring can be heard and I turned a corner to the site of Cauldron Snout. Special.


It's getting late and I want to get beyond the farms to camp.  Maize Beck looks promising.  The far horizon is High Cup.  Hopefully I won't need to go that far.


Oh yes I do.  The midges are terrible by the beck and there's no wind. At High Cup there's a breeze, well half a gale actually,  but no midges.

How far can I walk in a day back packing ? I now have the answer. 29 miles, never again.

This is all worth it as the next day is beautiful.



Just after this I tip the whole bowl of porridge in the gravel.  So when I get to Dufton walk the half mile into the village as last time there was a shop.  It's now gone.  So I had to walk to the train in Appleby  hungry.

I can't see any reason for anyone doing  the Pennine Way for going all the way down to Dufton just to climb back up to the escarpment to go over Cross Fell.  I would just keep height and walk around the plateau.


Last twist, I'll get some breakfast in Appleby but as I pass the station to get there I  just check the train times. What time is the next train to Carlisle?  3 minutes time.  Bugger.