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Sunday, 20 September 2015

A Week in Ennerdale and Eskdale

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This could be a bit of a challenge – fitting in a week’s wanderings into a blogpost, but here goes anyway.

The idea behind this tripette was to finish off the four Birketts I had left, not including the fifth Beatle Birkett, the undoable (for me anyway, not without lots of help anyway…) Pillar Rock, the mere thought of which has me with wobblers.

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The first of the four was to be High Hows (Lamplugh) which is quite near Ennerdale and not too far from Low Cock How – a campsite I’d enjoyed on my Coast to Coast jaunt.

And so, me and Lucky headed off through the North Postern Gate of Pietowers for the collection of Dawn and then up the A69 to somewhere else and eventually to Low Cock How where we pitched on the soggy lawn. An evening expedition to High Hows (Lamplugh) was quickly organised. Now High Hows (Lamplugh) has a bit of a reputation for being defended by a farmer who has a low opinion of walkers in general and, more particularly of those out to bag HH(L).

So we went round the back, through the midgies and the trees and over the spiky fence and through the landmines and the caltrops and the trained killer budgies and all that – without incident.

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Next was Lingmell – a minor nobble on the side of Scoat Fell which we approached from Ennerdale. This hillock is defended only by very steep bracken and a bull with a ring in it’s nose. Happily for Lucky and luckily for Happy, it wasn’t at all interested in us as we passed by within feet of it’s huge and sharp horns and the steam emanating from both it’s nostrils and it’s huge backside at the same time.

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After Lingmell we heaved ourselves up the ridge and across to the Haycock/Scoat Fell col and thus to the top of the Fell. We returned via heathery and brackeny slopes which went on and on and on in a downwards direction causing some significant pain in the thighs, knees and bumpsadaisy.  I had some “special medicine”  back in the tent which dealt with these aches and pains successfully, though.

Next up was Great Bank – a precipitous height overlooking Miterdale and surrounded by deepest dark jungle occupied by tigers, remnants of two misplaced units of the Viet Cong and a forestry commission tree harvesting team, two of whom are reputed to have specially bad tempers and are prone to some Very Bad Language.

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In preparation for the assault on Great Bank, we removed ourselves to Fisherground campsite in Eskdale and explained our compex plans to the Warden On Duty, who charged a reasonable price.

The assault on Great Bank failed, I’m afraid to say. There were notices which indicated that the area was closed for harvesting and that open access was suspended till after Christmas and that the Viet Cong had already mounted a mortar attack on some walkers that very day. Nevertheless, we pressed on past the “You can’t go any further than this” sign, just after being passed by a forestry commission vehicle retreating at some speed from a large tiger somewhere up in the trees. Finally, the Tin Hat had been placed on the head of our attack by a second FC vehicle which we avoided by hiding in the bracken. So I called it off to fight another day.  Research indicates that the hill is a bag of poo anyway and can wait till I have nothing better to do next March.

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Then, next morning, we caught the La’al Ratty up to Dalegarth and wandered up through more jungle and rocky bits to the stupidly beautiful Great Moss, girded, as it is, by rocky and spikey mountains and roofed , at night by the darkest of skies sparkling with the full set of stars and other stuff. Oddly enough (maybe not) several people were noted to be wandering about in the darkness during visits from Mr Bladder.

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In the morning, I had Pike de Bield to bag and Dawn walked with me and Lucky for a while in the general direction of the ridge up to Esk Pike, but decided to wait for me to finish it off. The ridge is a grassy plod at first but soon morphs into a delight of rocky tors and, at Yeastyrigg Crag, it gets narrow-ish, specially when smothered in one of the clouds which were drifting about that morning.

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Pike de Bield, it turns out, is a delightful top perched on a rock overlooking Great Moss and with a fine view of the Scafell range. A cracking lookout and a place to spend some time considering how best to seriously damage an Asda value milk chocolate bar.

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I retraced down the ridge to find Dawn pretty much where I’d left her and we paddled through the bog back to the tents for a bit of brewing up and Not Doing Very Much.

At some point we decided to move down to Lingcove Bridge, partly to cut a bit off next day’s walk, but also to give an opportunity, perhaps, to take advantage of some of the superb pools down there. So we left.

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Not long after we’d arrived and pitched camp, it started raining. Then it rained some more and kept on all night, often heavily, sometimes torrentially, and always noisily, along with the roar of the becks and waterfalls which developed.

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In the morning it had stopped but the becks were happily roaring away in some kind of watery frenzy and not really safe for anybody considering a bit of a dip. Lucky decided that it was probably still raining anyway, or it was just a temporary halt to the downpour, and refused to get up out of bed. He’s a teenager, really, though, y’know, so….

So we walked back to Dalegarth, had tea and a cream scone and returned to Fisherground on La’al Ratty – an excellent service for yer walkers, I have to say.

And that was that. The tents have just about dried. The undies and socks are in the wash. I managed to lose 1.5kg.  Lucky is happy, the Great Bank Viet Cong are having peace talks in Paris and the UK press are having hysteria about Jezza Corbyn (this developed whilst we were up Ennerdale, apparently) So, it’s all good.

We did about 35 miles altogether. (Dawn’s device will likely have recorded more than this by the way)



Dawn Linney said...

It was a good trip Mike, enjoyable, many thanks.

Andrew said...

Good job that farmer at HH(L) didn't spot you! It's always very satisfying to bag something in circumstances such as that I find.

Anonymous said...

Great shots of the fells. Sorry about the viet-cong.