I don’t know why I suddenly decided to climb Cross Fell. It must have been lurking in the undermind.
And so, armed with a cheese and onion flan (only Southerners and the genetically effeminate eat quiche), a fine banana a mince pie (we still have lots) and some fair trade chocolate, the knipemobile screeched to a halt in a shower of flying pebbles in the turning circle of the unoccupied holiday cottage village of Kirkland, on the windy side of Cross Fell.
There’s a nice bridleway which goes to Garrigill from here and it is this that we slipped over and nearly cracked both wrists on, and, after being suitably punished by an attack from superdawg using his ice-crunching powers, we followed gingerly through a fierce but brief snowstorm towards Gregs Hut. Gregs Hut is named after a famous North-East pie retailer. The extra “G” was lost during the doomsday survey.
Historical fact #1
There’s no need to go as far as Gregs Hut, though, so we didn’t. Instead, just after tiptoeing over some well frozen but still somehow wobbly bogs, we turned off over the moor to the scree and snow slope that guards the equally frigid summit area.
Any thoughts of having a bit of a tarry in the summit shelter soon faded as the nithering wind discovered the chinks in the seventeen layers of thermal liberty bodices and merino stuff as I sat and scoffed the quiche..er.. flan. Bruno helped, in view of the urgency of avoiding a slow but probably quite enjoyable death from hypothermia and we soon sloped off and slithered off down the Pennine Way to find bridleway number two, which took us pleasantly back down the hill.
We had a brief stop in some brief sunshine in a little shelter on the edge of a view of Eden, but we were soon off again.
Just before we got back to Kirkland, I did notice some ancient ploughing terraces, and, found later, that these were, in fact the “Hanging Walls of Mark Anthony” Bugger all to do with Mark, actually, and much more likely to be lychets – terraces on a hillside created by repeated ploughing. These things are all over the Pennines, as it happens – some really good ones at Eggleston in Teesdale. They’re quite good for botany because the plants on the little scarps are different from those on the flats. Have a look next time you find rows of long, green platforms on a hillside.
Anyway, we did just under 9 miles and 2300 feet of up.
Be a man, scoff some flan. Just a tip, there.