Ignoring, or , rather, avoiding the weather forecast may be a risky strategy when intending to have a walk in the Lake District. The problem is that at the moment, all of the forecasts are so dire that if I take any notice I’ll never get out for a walk, then I won’t use any calories, then Eunice (the Fat Nurse) (not the fat nurse.. the nurse for fatties..) will not be happy and I have an appointment with her tomorrow afternoon….
So, on a grey but dry Sunday morning in Crook, I headed the knipemobile West up Weardale, over the hill (frozen this morning) to Alston, Penrith and Martindale to the little church on the hause above the windy road with the hub caps (this last phrase translates really well into a Welsh place name, by the way)
There’s a path from the other church in the boggy valley with the yew tree which heads up to the High Street roman road and passes very very close to Gowk Hill, an unbagged Birkett, in fact the only unbagged Birkett for miles and miles…
I lost the path early on and found an interesting slate quarry/hole instead. This navigational challenge was soon resolved and not too long later I was standing proudly on the unremarkable summit of Gowk Hill. Bagged. Ding!
A good path took me up onto Red Crag where it was cold and with just a hint of snow in the wind, and then on to High raise (the Mardale one, other High Raises are available…) where it was sleeting and hailing a bit harder, followed by Rampsgill Head (nithering drizzle) and down to The Knott (cloud base starting to touch higher hills). This deteriorating weather gave me a
really good excuse good opportunity to practise finding a quick way off the Fells instead of heaving the aching legs and body up Rest Dodd.
So I followed the path to Angle Tarn and crossed the grassy ridge to find a sheltered path by a wall leading down into the cosy depths of Bannerdale. It wasn’t that cosy, really, in fact, by this time it was chucking it down in a very Cumbrian kind of way. The next few miles were only glimpsed beneath a hood through drippy specs. A farmer with two dogs was very chatty about it all and mentioned how it had seemed to have warmed up over the last half hour… I don’t think it had, really, to be honest…
We returned damply to the car after about five hours, half of which were specially wet hours.
The drive home was interesting too. It seems that the Helm wind may have been blowing today. An HGV was wheels-up in a field and we all got buffeted around.
The walk was about eight fathoms. (11 miles)