The temperature difference between County Durham and Buttermere was eleven degrees centigrade today – minus 5.5 at the bridge over the Wear at Witton and plus 5.5 at Buttermere. There were still flows of ice over the Whinlatter road, and the Buttermere – Newlands road was closed, which caused a bit of delay at the start.
But eventually, me, the dawg, the bro and his Dutch/Irish co-walker Rea (not sure if that’s the correct spelling) slithered off over the icy path to Scale Force and over the slightly less soggy bit on the left hand side of the Very Soggy bit to the steep little climb up to Floutern Cop – a mainly grassy but distinctive nobble which is a good place for lunch as it provides effective shelter from a nithering wind blowing over from the Isle of Man.
It was about this time that we realised that we didn’t have enough daylight for our original plan which was to climb Great Borne and Starling Dodd, along with three minor lumps, so we went for Banna Fell, which was on the original itinerary. Banna Fell is a nondescript bit of moor with a good view of the foot of Ennerdale. And then we retraced for a bit, but skirted around the side of Hen Comb by a descending traverse, then up for the bagging of Scale Knott, which is but a pimple on the side of melbreak, but with a very fab view of Grasmoor and Crummack Water. It was on this traverse, that Bruno demonstrated his fence-jumping skills, sailing over top wires and landing gracefully and without breaking step, but coming a cropper when crossing the beck by a misjudged leap to the insufficient extent of his retractable lead and receiving a chilly dunking in a small pond as a reward for his lack of planning and, frankly, for being a clever dick.
Back to Buttermere by the outward route – there’s a path from Scale Knott to Scale Force.
We did nine miles and about 2000 feet of upness, and bagged just three Birketts, bringing my Birkett Bagging Total to 482 Birketts out of 541. Unfortunately, the final digit (a “one”) will be Pillar Rock. I am unlikely to be able to bag this, partly because at this rate, it will take me another ten years to bag the rest of the unbagged ones, and partly because I iz a wimp when it comes to climbing about over beetling drops. So, I’ll never finish the Birketts. But am I bothered?
Incidentally, the two pubs in Buttermere were firmly closed, but we did spot this sign outside one of them. Six quid for a bacon butty! Six quid!
Locally sourced bacon, though. And it’s in a rusty bun…. There must be a supermarket selling bacon and rusty buns nearby – probably in Cockermouth or Whitehaven…
Six quid…! Some kind of joke, surely….