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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Helvellyn–Don’t Forget Your Gloves (dhuhh)

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Just before we left Pietowers for the fleshpots of Thirlspot, LTD di fcheck with me that I’d got everything – bonio, chewsticks, warm blanket for in the car, hat, butties, gloves….   “Yes, yes, stop nagging , pup.” I told him and we drove for an hour and forty-five minutres up Weardale, over the hill to Penrith and along the mad bit to Thirlmere where we parked prettily and cheaply not very far from the United Utilities seven quid layby just up the road. Seven quid?
Anyway, the plan was to bag a Synge first – one called Swirls. It’s in the forest just above Swirls car park, in fact. I mention this merely as a navigational clue for those who need clues.
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After this, we would lurch in an undignified manner up steep and stony slopes to Browncove Crags – another Synge wot I’d probably walked past a few times. And then, should circumstances allow, we would heave our aged and creaking and wobbling bodies (it’s quite hard to do both things at once, folks) up on to Helvellyn and then have a little saunter or stravaig along as many tops as we could be arsed with in a roughly Northerly direction before returning smugly and with aching knees to our transport.
This went well at first.
We bagged Swirls pretty easily and progress to Browncove Crags was slow but steady but increasingly cold. (Or should that be decreasingly cold)
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The first of a series of vicious little squalls blew over from the approximate direction of the Isle of Man. These got wetter and windier as we gained height. LTD didn’t like this at all. Not at all.
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Soon, or maybe more truthfully, having bagged several lumpy eminences along the ridge,  eventually we acheived the summit of a claggy Helvellyn  and lunched briefly and a bit shiveringly in the cross-shelter there. It is here that I discovered that my gloves were not in my pack and were still, probably in the backpacking pack I took to Wales.
The weather cleared for an instant as we passed Swirral Edge but got worse again a few minutes later and clagged in and got cold again.
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LTD suggested that this wasn’t much fun and wouldn’t we be better getting ourselves into a nice, warm car. And, after passing over a wind-blasted horizontal-rain-lashed Whiteside, I agreed and we set off down the hill back to Thirlspot. We’d done 7 miles and 3200 feet of ascent.
My boots leak too and I should reproof my jacket before long.
That was a short summer.
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6 comments:

Meanqueen said...

I remember the cross shelter. It was claggy when I went.

Dawn Linney said...

Sounds like a good round. Maybe it would be better to keep gloves in both rucksacks?. Nice one though.

Quinn said...

I am one of those talented few who can creak and wobble at the same time. Not sure I ever do only one at a time, now that I think about it.
Those pictures do look a bit grim...is summer really over though? Do you ever get a precious, brief reprise, like our "Indian Summer" here in New England?

Mike Knipe said...

It's often claggy up there Ilona! Last 2 times I was there, though it was a lovely, sunny, day and it was covered in snow. And I left my crampons in the shelter and some prune advertised them a bit later on walkingforum.
I have a new pair of gloves now, Dawn!
Quinn - British weather can do anything at any time. This time last year it was very hot. At the moment the wind is coming from the approx. direction of Iceland, but next week it could come from the Azores... and its likely that one or two ex hurricanes will brush past in the next week or so...

John J said...

You should have said, you could have borrowed a pair of my gloves.....

FellBound said...

That seven quid car park used to be free. I often used it. Then some government flogged our water boards off. Part of the deal was that they were supposed to maintain access to their land. United Utilities have a funny way of demonstrating that commitment in Cumbria.