And so, it was Thursday and we repaired once again to the little car park by Wha House.
Bag number one was close by – Goat Crag – a brackeny, rocky lump typical of the brackeny rocky lumps that bejewel the sides of Eskdale, in fact. There was some slight scrambling. Lucky enjoys slight scrambling, apparently although he occasionally runs too far up a slab before falling off.
Goat Crag has a sister - one Bull Crag. Bull Crag is slightly smaller, and only a couple of hundred metres away but is packed with excitements. Bull Crag has crags on three sides – some look quite difficult, but many appear to be eminently scramble – or, at least by easy graded rock climbs (by “Easy”, I mean “Difficult” and it’s possible that only rock climbers will understand what I mean. I mean “Difficult” is fairly easy. It only gets difficult at “Very Difficult” and only very difficult at “Very Severe”. This may be open to some debate. Anyway, me and the dog skulked around the back. Lucky is good at skulking due to his collie genes.
We then progressed over more mixed ground to the very lovely and superbly perched above a little blue tarn Whin Crag. There is no whin on Whin Crag, so you don’t have to pay (No Whin no fee… arf…sorry, it’s the ,merlot… koff….) Its a lovely spot, though, even though the actual top marked on the map doesn’t actually appear to be the top.
Upwards to Dawsonground Crag at 397 metres. Another rocky jewel with a small cairn and an ideal spot for a pre-lunch snooze, followed by lunch, followed by a post-lunch snooze in the warm sun. Readers should note that it’s always warm and sunny on Dawsonground Crag.
Next – across a small depression, treated by a few sessions of cognitive therapy, came Cat Crag where there are no cats either.. This is yet another rocky lump with a cracking view (will this joy never cease?) (Who said that…?). From Cat Crag, the next target looked a long way. No, I mean a LONG way. With a lot of up. I mean it looked hard, what with my legs and everything…
High Scarth Crag at 487 metres would be the highpoint of the day. It had a footpath heading towards it. This would make easier going for a while. I encouraged Lucky to go in front and engage “pull” mode by using encouraging words concerning pussycats, wabbits, sweeties and biccies. This didn’t work. he has no idea what I’m on about, in fact, and probably just thinks I’m indulging in some senile rambling. Any human witnesses would probably form the same opinion but there was no-one else around. In fact I only met one other walker yesterday, come to think of it.
The slog continued. I left the path at a boulder and took to the slopes of High Scarth Crag. It was easier than it looked and as I reached the top, I was provided by a superb surprise view of the huge and beautiful corrie which has the Scafells on one side and the Crinkles on the other.
Sometimes you’re really really glad you made the effort.
High Scarth Crag was a bugger to get off safely and in the correct direction for Silverybield Crag, although I did make a bit of a meal of it and really should have just followed the ridge along to a small corrie. I crossed another path and heaved my aching legs up the few steep contours of Silverybield. Another superb view presented itself. Yet another.
From Silverybield, heading South, there’s a knobbly ridge containing five large rocky knolls. This was my intended route, but, frankly, I was shot. There was little left in the little legs and Lucky seemed to be feeling a bit jaded too – although its a bit difficult to tell since he falls asleep every time I stop.
So, feeling somehow guilty, I abandoned the lovely knobbly ridge for another time (I don’t expect its going anywhere faster than the current rate of continental drift) and took to the nice, easy footpath heading South.
The easy ground let me recover a bit and finally, I decided on one last top – Brock Crag. We circumnavigated a herd of cud-chewing Galloways (Lucky had a little growl) and contoured around to the top. On the Southern edge of this hill came the last surprise view – a fantastic vista of the length of Eskdale. Unfortunately, it was getting really hazy, so the picture I took doesn’t look much.
I celebrated by skidding on the stones on the steep path and landing on my backside, pinging the retractable lead into Lucky’s bum at the same time, and with a clatter and an “Hoy!” or something, scared the dog witless.
At this point I made some kind of really serious navigational error and found myself once again in the beer garden of the Woolpack Inn clutching a pint of cold lager shandy. I must have gone round in a circle somehow. It happens. In the mist.
Today’s walk outline spells the word “Onomatopoeia”. Quite a complex route.
Eight tops, though… a simplified version of the route appears below.