Monday, 18 March 2013

Lake District Ski Club

It's raining and there's only 2 other cars in the car park at Greenside Mine.  I've rung the snowline and Bernie's reassuring voice has told me the tow will be running so I head slowly up hill.

The car park at the youth hostel is full of cars as people head for Helvellyn.

Heading towards the chimney I spot a figure in the distance heading the same way.

The skies clear a little to reveal the much underrated Catstye Cam.

The snow is quite deep on Raise as I round the corner and see the tow ahead.

I get changed in the hut and try to dry off my sweaty face and steamed up glasses before heading for the top to make some tracks.

The club hut and tow.

Cool shades.

At the end of the day I take the tow to the top and ski down the ridge.  The idea is to get as far down as possible to save carrying the skis.

Two other members manage to ski across heather and get 50 yards lower than me.

It's just a struggle down the steep hill to the car with a wonderful view back up the valley.

Monday, 11 March 2013

No Added Sugar

Sunday I'm off to see my mam in Tebay so the walk has to be Saturday.  It's overcast and the higher fells look like they have fresh snow disappearing up into the mirk.  I'm the second car in the car park at Chapel Bridge, Little Town.  I follow two blokes heading up beside Scope Beck.

I've chosen this route as I have only ever looked down on this valley from the ridges above.  One of the big motivations  for me is seeing what's round the next corner. With that in mind I follow the beck up rather than the path.

At a slanty waterfall I have to bale-out up a gully to the right.  The grass is steep so I'm careful as no-one knows I'm here and a slip might be awkward.

Regaining the beck above the impass I make a note to come back in summer and see if its possible to scramble up the falls.  Having said that I'm always spotting crags I want to climb, corries I want to camp in, gills I want to explore....

Above the falls it broadens out into  a flat hanging valley.

I  sit behind the wall of a sheep pen to eat my dinner.  The fruit sandwiches might not have been the best idea.   The ultimate (no added sugar) jam.

Up on Littledale Edge it's a bit wild.

I drop down the side of Tongue Gill, in a hurry now as I'm supposed to be fitting a bathroom light switch for a customer in the afternoon.

Stayed on my feet all day only to do a head first as I'm walking down the track back to the car.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Scafell Pike

Overcast but no wind as I drive along Wastwater.  It's been a long time since I tackled Scafell Pike from this side via Hollow Stones and Mickledoor.  I usually do the Corridor Route or from (in my opinion) the best route from a camp beside the Great Moss in Eskdale.

As I get ready at the car park an old timer like me sets off with full winter kit whereas some young lads in the next car have neither axe nor crampons.  As I approach the back wall of the corrie I put on the gear.  Most people have headed for the easier route from Lingmell Col.  I eat a Greggs bacon sandwich purchased in Egremont and watch as a couple struggle up the slope in bendy boots.  The route follows the slanting gully at the lowest point on the skyline.

On the ridge there are 3 lads eating chocolate in full gear plus helmets.   They 've  come up the same way as me and are outraged by the couple in the bendy boots who were apparently on all fours and just made it because of the bucket steps in the nevee from previous walkers.
Not one for paths I head off right walking over a completely drifted over Broadcrag Tarn and some easy snow ramps to the summit.

I sit in the lee of the summit and feed a chicken sandwich to a beautiful raven.  About 30% of people on the top have the correct gear for snow and ice.

I head for Lingmell, there are crowds coming up this way.   Mostly without gear and slipping on the steeper slopes just before the plateau.  There's even a couple in shorts.  No wonder the press have a field day when there's an accident.

As I walk down the Lingmell ridge,  boy does that do your knees in,  I look across at the ascent route and remember in my holier than thou outrage  that actually for the first 20 years of my walking career I probably didn't have crampons either.  Nowt worse than a hypocrite !

Talking of hypocrite I'd better not call at a caf on the way home as  I've already had a bacon sandwich and I'm supposed to be on a diet.