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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

High Street – The Riggindale Eagle and Bruno Eats The Last Bits of Snow

driver and navigator, bruno spots a pussycat.
In a casual moment somewhere towards the last dregs of the bottle of Californian merlot wot I got from Crook Boozerama, Bruno casually mentioned that a) It was time for his tea and b) He’d heard on Twitter that there was a still a small patch of snow on Mardale Harter fell and wouldn’t it be a good idea to go and eat it and generally rough it up a bit before it melts.
harter fell from haweswater
And so, the very next morning (That would be Monday), as I snoozed in the back,  Superdawg steered the knipemobile up over Killhope and Hartside to Penrith and down to Mardale to park prettily amongst crowds of youthful (and some not so youthful) backpackers with Very large rucksacks. There wuz fahsands of them and I remarked in these terms to a chap who’d parked next to the knipemobile and who was about to set off on a family wander around the hills with….family. We pontificated that it was probably something to do with the Duke of Edinburgh or some kind of Rucksack Rally.
polite group ahead
So, we set off in the general direction of Riggindale, passing through a polite group of about ten heaving along under their regulated and listed piles of official and heavy-looking gear. One lass thought that my suggestion of loading the lad at the front’s rucksack with extra boulders, since he obviously had some kind of energy-surfeit problem, was a good one. We had a brief discussion as to how this would be achieved and resolved to wait till he’d gone off for a wee, when the dirty deed would be done. Several handy stones were identified as being suitable.
high street from kidsty pike
Me and the Dawg  turned off up the steep path to Kidsty Pike, closely followed, at first, by another two similarly encumbered gangs of yoofs. But they ran out of steam quite soon  and stopped to look at maps and point at things. The first group only arrived at the top of Kidsty Pike as I left, having had lunch. Having still got bits of Man Flu (have I mentioned this?) I was a bit smug about this, what with being an old codger and so on.. but with only a range of weatherproof jackets and a flask of fair trade coffee in the rucksack and not having to navigate all that much, which takes time to do,  I was at some advantage, I suppose.
high street
I bagged Rampsgill head yet again and headed towards High Street, keeping to the edge for the nice view, when I spotted a large bird hurtling – yes, hurtling from the general direction of Rough Crag and , apparently, about to have a serious collision with the middle-level slopes of Kidsty Pike. Then, only a foot or so off the ground, it turned and sped along the contours, putting up several crows and a raven who then proceeded to try to mob it. It was last seen heading towards Haweswater. If this wasn’t an eagle, it was a bloody big buzzard.
kidsty pike
Well chuffed with witnessing these antics, we quickly bagged High Street and continued to Thornthwaite Crag for lunch in the sun and out of the perishing wind.
who will buy this jacket?
I have a PHD Minimus dryshell jacket for auction, compliments of Dawn, and I needed a picture or two for the walkersforum auction section. So I took a selfie. As a marketing picture, though, this was a failure. I will try again later this week. Its a crackin jacket, though….  ideal for the backpacking and generally keeping warm.
ill bell from harter fell
clearing the snow
After lunch we headed for Mardale Ill Bell and Harter Fell where Bruno’s intelligence (I use this word lightly and with only a tinge of sarcasm) proved correct and there was, indeed, a small and scruffy patch of snow, some of which he ate, some of which he dug up, and some of which he had a wee on. I expect that this small patch won’t be there for much longer. On the way, we met the family from the car park, but to my embarrassment, I didn’t remember them and had to ask if we’d met before… (dhuhh) (I’m very bad at names and faces, in fact, on really bad mornings, I wonder who that bloke is in the bathroom mirror…)
Harter fell came and went and we returned to the car park on the Gatescarth path – which seems to have been widened enough for an ATV , or, maybe , an adventurous 4WD. I don’t remember it being this wide.
small water... far away...
We did nine and a bit miles and 3800 feet of up. I was reasonably pleased that I could manage this after my recent decline (I did mention this, didn’t I?) and , maybe the loss of half a stone of wobbly stuff is a blessing as far as battling up contours is concerned. Its an ill wind, as they say in places where there’s not much else to do but trot out daft phrases…
Here’s a map.
high street

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AlanR said...

Cracking day Mike. Would have been a superb cafe akto trial opportunity with that hindsight thingy.

Reifyn said...

I wondered where the last bit of snow went: now I know that Bruno ate it.
Well I'm very interested in that jacket: at least, like most of your readers, I want to know from what university it got it's PHD from. It could be worth more if it turns out to be Oxford or some such. (And what subject is the doctorate in?)
The map calls that one place you mention Mardale Bell, but you wrote Mardale Ill Bell: how do you know it wasn't feeling well?
I do hope you'll be feeling better these days--and I'm glad you allow the dog to drive on such excursions as it will be less stressful.

Dawn said...

Fantastic Mike,it certainly seems you are recovering from the dreaded galloping lurgy. Nice one.

Mike Knipe said...

Alan - I suppose I could have done café akto .. maybe I can fit one in before may...
Reifyn - It's pronounced "Fddd" Its definitely mardale Ill bell, though - the Ill word is hidden under the triangle - it reappears at a higher magnification.
Dawn - Getting there - I've more contours to do tomorrow....

FellBound said...

This is a great route, Mike. In fact so good I am not surprised that even at his age the Duke of Edinburgh was backpacking in this area.