Saturday 4 March
Distance: 10 miles (3300’ of ascent)
Weather: Snow, low cloud, high cloud, sunshine and hail
Sunday’s outing was a walk I’d planned for our trip in December, but the weather didn’t oblige on that occasion. The last forecast I’d seen (on Thursday afternoon) suggested that Sunday was going to be dry and increasingly fine, so whereas Friday and Saturday had been planned at the last minute, on Sunday we knew exactly where we were going.
What I didn’t expect, when Mick drew up a blind and peeped outside, was to hear an exclamation of ‘Oooh, snow!’.
The snow continued to fall as we set off for our first target of the day: Hartsop Dodd. There are a few possible routes up Hartsop Dodd from Sykeside. Perhaps you might guess, from the titles of this set of posts, that we opted to attack it head-on. My goodness, it was steep!
Even with a bit of slip-sliding around, the effort didn’t feel anywhere near as arduous as the previous two days, which was a good thing, considering the day ahead of us!
Whilst Mick informed the world of our location, I swore and stropped as I tried to free a stuck zip on my trouser pocket; it wouldn’t have been so bad if the pocket hadn’t been open when it jammed!
The walk up to Stony Cove Pike was unremarkable, particularly as we ascended up into the cloud, but from there to our next objective was more memorable for the snowy-scrambly descent down to Threshtwaite Mouth (which we hit just at peak time of day for big groups to emerge there from the north).
Our descent down to Threshthwaite Mouth. It doesn’t look that snowy on the photo, does it?
Thornthwaite Crag is topped by Thornthwaite Beacon, which aside from being a notable landmark, also serves as a good windbreak for a lunch break, provided that someone hasn’t beaten you to the conveniently placed rocks on the lee-side. Unfortunately for a good handful of other people, we had beaten them to it. We were smug; they all skulked off to find alternative windbreaks.
I have no recollection of taking this photo!
It seems that our next top was not on the popular route. In fact, footprints in the snow would suggest that only three other people had been that way earlier in the day, but for the length of detour involved we didn’t hesitate in popping over to Mardale Ill Bell.
High Street was a rather more popular top; not quite teeming with people, but a good handful within view both ahead and behind. I was particularly pleased to be there as I had included it on a planned trip which didn’t come to fruition a few years ago, so I felt I was overdue a visit.
Then we had but one top left: The Knott. It hailed on us on the way up there, before the hail gave way to snow showers, but it seems that we were right on the edge of the weather as to the east it looked like this:
Whereas to the west it looked like this:
From there it was down, down, down to Hayeswater, where the view was a bit different two 48 hours earlier:
Stopping for second lunch just by the dam of Hayeswater I was happy indeed to find that I wasn’t tired! In fact, if someone had told me that I had to go over another hill to finish the day off, then I wouldn’t have been horrified at the notion. Quite why I’d been so exhausted the previous (unarguably easier) day and yet felt fine after this outing, I have no idea. Certainly nothing that I can put my finger on.
It was then just a hop and a skip down the valley to Hartsop and another hop and a skip down past Brothers Water back to the comfort of Colin. By the time we got there the sun was blazing down and the snow was making a hasty retreat:
Here’s the route we took, as recorded on the Garmin Gadget:
And that was that. Our Gradual Gradients Are For Girls outing was over (and my very-aching body was going to be given the chance to recover – I really am very unfit just now!). The 10 Wainwrights we’d added to our tally means that we’re now a quarter of our way through the Wainwrights. Not that we’re counting, or bagging, or anything…