This has nothing at all to do with a couple of transvestite musical comedians. Many pieblog readers will be familiar with yer Birketts – lots of Lake District tops, some of which are obscure and some of which are famous. Not many will be aware of Synge’s list of Lake District tops and the reason for this is probably because they’ve only just appeared in www.hillwalking.co.uk as a tickable list. I won’t be collecting these avidly, although, where they coincide with a Birkett – and the two lists have a big overlap, then I’ll be smug enough to claim two ticks instead of just the one.
And so, me and superdawg parked the knipemobile in the little car park in the outer suburbs of Threlkeld. We should have parked by the old sanatorium, up the road, but in a moment of doubt, and not wanting to drive up the lane to find the car park full, only to lose the spot I’d just spotted in Threlkeld (outer suburbs), I parked up. This added roughly two miles to the walk and also, incidentally, allowed Bruno to do a huge poo just outside somebody’s cottage as they were gazing out of the window. I bagged it up, obviously and toted it up the road like a trophy, to be hidden in some pallets for later collection, as I would be returning this way later.
We plodded up the track overlooking Glenderatarra beck – a track which seems to have had some refurbishment since I was last here – I guess it’d be for the vehicles of the builders of the little hydro scheme which is being formed at the head of the dale.
After a short banana and coffee feast on a handy boulder, me and the dawg heaved our way up the hill on to the first top – the newly-listed Synge “Burnt Horse”. I wasn’t too disappointed not to find and singed ponies, but carried on steeply up on to the first proper top, Lonscale Pike. This had a bit of ice for Bruno to eat. And it was, frankly, nithering up here on a freezing wind which sought out any costume chinks or gaps. We batterred on into the hillfog, joining the path to Skiddaw which by-passes Little Man and just goes up into the snow and even more persihing conditions on the top.
The top of Skiddaw was busy and Bruno soon made friends with some walkers who may have had open lunchboxes. I got the bothy bag out and pulled Bruno inside for him to serve his proper function of being a furry radiator whilst I scoffed the cheese butty and more coffee. We didn;lt stay long. One of the walkers took our picture and we left Nothwards to find the corner in the fence which would mark our launch point for the navigation down to Hare Crag. We found it, took the bearing and hurtled off down the slippery hill, emerging at about 650 metres through the bottom of the hillfog, apparently on a good course for our target.
I joined a path/atv track and splodged down to Hare Crag – our Birkett target for today. It’s a heathery lump – not unpleasant and quite a nice place for a comfy snooze on a warmer day, but today was not the day for hanging around.
We splodged yet further downhill, crossed the boggier bit at the bottom and joined the track to Skiddaw House. This provided easy going, which was just as well because the light was just starting to fade by now.
Skiddaw House is PRIVATE, apparently. The YHA don;t want any casual visitors, even though they could probably sell loads of tea and buns and chocolate and stuff to the walkers on the Cumbria Way and the dozens of cyclists who pass this way in a constant dribble. The path is diverted away from any such temptations and so, following this, we were soon back at banana boulder.
It took a while to go properly dark and I sat and watched the hillsides of Lonscale fell for some reason. I could see a little black blob, which I supposed was a walker, although it didn’t move. I imagined that it was a bit stuck on the steep hillside and signalled to it with my Petzl, but got no response. Rocks don’t usually carry Petzl’s, I suppose.
We met a couple with a black crossbred labrador-type dog who was carrying a tennis ball. This chap was delighted to meet Bruno, who growled a bit and was presented with the ball in response. His owner declared him to be “not the brightest dog” she’d had. They had a little play.
This walk was 13 miles and 3800 feet up ascent, and a bit more than I’d planned, so it took me a bit longer than I intended. And yes, I did collect the bag of poo and put it in the bin back in the outer suburbs of Threlkeld. Here’s a map. This shows the intended start point not the actual one. And it’s otherwise 90%+ correct. (We did a few extra squiggles)