9th May 2015
What a day!
This was a walk that didnít seem as if it was going to happen as I was driving from Northumberland to Keswick. The rain was lashing down over the Pennines towards the west. I even stopped in Brampton to discuss with Jon whether or not it was going to be safe to take a party onto the high fells.
The weather forecast didnít help much as it said that things would get worse before they got better. So fearing the worst I arrived in Keswick to meet up with John and Julie, my excellent supporters, to make the decision that we were going to call it off. The rain had begun to ease as we walked up to the meeting point above Latrigg and by this stage the odds had improved to 50/50 that we might, at least, be able to start the ascent of Skiddaw which, like all the fells was shrouded in mist.
A discussion with the group of determined, well equipped and experienced walkers led to the decision that we would start up the first slope of Jenkins Hill and take it from there. The mist was down to about 300m and once we were in it the visibility was poor but the expected rain was holding off so we just plodded on and on and on up the steep and steepening slope until somewhere in the swirl the gradient eased.
With the walking easier and despite the falling temperature we just kept going, everyone was in good form and making good progress. Ironically we probably stopped less that if it were a glorious day and it was a bit of a surprise when, all of a sudden, the summit trig point appeared through the mirk. It had taken us 2 hours to complete the climb which was some going. I allowed the group 5 minutes for a quick bite as we sought some protecting from the wind on the summit in rudimentary shelters. The temperature on the summit was close to freezing and all were keen to get moving again.
The descent meant that the wind was behind us and each step downwards took us out of the mist which was beginning to break up. This is one of the glories of the Lake District fells that you can spend hours toiling away in misty mirk and see nothing but your feet and then suddenly you get a glimpse of the most breathtaking views. In this case we got Derwent Water with the pretty white buildings of Keswick glinting way below us.
Descending further we came out of the mist completely and had the most spectacular view of Catbells, the Newlands Valley, the long flattened ridge leading from Threlkeld across High Fells and Raise on towards Helvellyn, and down into the jaws of Borrowdale. This view has to be the cure for many ills – it certainly was a reward for the determined and adventuresome who come out in challenging conditions.
What a day!
Thank you to John and Julie for their excellent support and to each member of the group who made the day enjoyable. It was a pleasure to meet you all and I look forward to our next challenge – Helvellyn….
Northumberland Coastal Challenge Walk 2015
On Monday just under 300 participants took part in the 26.2 mile Northumberland Coastal Challenge Walk.
After checking in at Alnmouth all the walkers got bussed up to Budle Bay, North of Bamburgh. From here everybody started off with a stuning walk along the Northumberland Coastal Path.
Well done to everybody who took part.
Please enjoy the pictures and YouTube film from this great day.
South Middleton to Wooler May 2015
The forecast for days had been heavy rain and no matter what steps Sundance used the rain god was determined to have the last laugh.
Woke up front windows dry hopeful went to the back windows rain spots all over and constantly being renewed, weather forecast had got in correct.
We all met up at Wooler Common car park and immediately put on full waterproofs and jumped on the mini bus only for Mike to discover he had misplaced his GPS after a frantic search of his rucksack and van it was on the ground just under the van. We could at long last go.
We arrived at South Middleton made sure we were wrapped up against the wind and rain and set off. Fortunately the wind was on our backs as we plodded on wards to the ruins of Old Middleton. After a steady climb we wandered in to the mist, we all hoped that Mike new were was going! Mike did and as we descended we came out of the mist to the valley below was the one we wanted to be in.
After a short walk along the road we stopped in a sheep stell for lunch. Of course it was still raining.
Afteer a quick lunch we head up the Hawsenburn until the track swung away and headed over the ridge. The next port of call was the old farmstead at Broadstruther. Unlike Old Middleton this was in good repair.
The route now went downhill but unfortunately we were now walking into the wind and rain. After crossing the Carey Burn we climbed up out of the valley back into the mist before dropping down back to Wooler Common car park having passed Wooler Common Farm.
It had now stopped raining!!