Having not quite finished the huuge bottle of gin used for soaking the sloe berries wot I got from Wolsingham and The Lleyn, I got up a bit late. I blame the dog for this, since he didn’t have his usual early morning wee in the back yard, preferring to lay on his back with all his legs in the air next to the radiator. So we turned up a bit late in Borrowdale and parked for three of your Queen’s pounds in the car park of the Scafell (Country) Hotel (They like to add the word “country” to hotels and inns in Cumbria since this doubles the value of a bed night)
It was a sunny and frosty morning, except in Borrowdale where, at this time of year, the sun never touches large areas of the valley floor, thus ensuring a permanent white and glassy sheen to anything that doesn’t move for half an hour.
We plodded up the dale, taking a gentle right-hand path alongside Greenup Gill which will be very familiar to Coast-to-Coast walkers. This path goes to Grasmere and hits bright sunshine once out of the shadow of the beetling Eagle Crag (where I once lost a pipe – if anybody finds it, you can have it as I’ve given up smoking)
Eventually, we turn up at the foot of Lining Crag – the target for today. This looks enormous from the bottom, but turns out to be a pussy-cat. Bruno likes pussy cats by the way, specially the ones that run away.
Aaaanyway – the path to Lining Crag is steep and icy and a bit slippery, but we’re soon on the top where there’s a bit of a view. We scoff my lunch, during which most of my Lancashire Cheese butty has disappeared. Bruno looks a bit guilty for a short moment, avoiding my accusing gaze. he’s obviously in cahoots with my cardiac nurse. I resort to my banana. Bruno resorts to trying to look cute.
We continue up to Greenup Edge where all is frozen ,except the bogs and head South up to High Raise. Most of High Raise has a thin cover of snow and a fair amount of ice and the grass is feathered with blades of rime. After skidding about a couple of times, I use the khatoola spikes, mainly for dignity. Bruno has his own spikes. One or two people descending don’t have any spikes and are proceeding gingerly.
The top of High Raise has another cracking view of snow-covered tops and a bit of hill-mist floating around. But it’s late and the sun is determined to hide behind Bow Fell, so we head down to Stake Pass, out of the snow and into the shadow and the biting cold of Langstrath.
It goes dark.
We defrost the car and go home.
We’re both glad we got up!
10 miles and 2800 feet of upnessity. And we bagged a Birkett – only 33 to go. (One of these is Pillar Rock – this may mean that I probably won’t complete the Birketts, being a scaredy cat when it comes to falling off Pillar Rock) (I probably need a patient friend with a strong rope and some tranquillisers)