Friday, 30 March 2018
Messing About in Some Snow
We have several grandchildren staying at Pietowers at the moment and it’s my role (apparently) to keep them entertained in between hours of Minecraft on the Netflix, whatever that means.
The other day, we visited Gibson’s Cave at Bowlees where it’s possible to get behind the waterfall. This was followed by paddling in the beck (I kid you not) and hot chocolate and scones at the cafe. This, though, WAS NOT ENOUGH. So, we went in search of snow and found some large patches and drifts just over the border of Cumbria beside the road to Alston. Sproglets had a play whilst I guarded the car [!]. It was drizzling, though and. already wet from the beck at Bowlees, and, not really equipped for life in the snow, drizzle and nithering North Atlantic breeze, the antics turned to shivering competitions and were soon abandoned and we returned to the relative warmth of the knipetowers buttery.
Two days later, and equipped with coats, boots, trenching tools, gloves/mitts and an ice-axe and hats, we returned and a happy day was spent digging snow-holes (mine was the best!), climbing up steep snow (I was best at this!), sliding down again (they couldn’t compete with my epic slides!), discovering crevasses (I found the biggest/deepest one!) and, generally getting wet and cold (not me, I’m too clever).
Half-time was home-made very hot lentil and sweet-potato soup wot I made and butties and crisps and stuff like that.
No miles were done. There was no measurable ascent. Several tonnes of snow were shifted, much of it into boots and trousers for melting on the journey home and no significant injuries were sustained, apart from some borderline hypothermia which was treated back at Pietowers with a bathful of hot water, a small plastic boat and a small, yellow toy duck
I would expect the snow to be thawing now, but, apparently, this morning has added another three or four inches of white-stuff to the remaining patches. I say patches, but there’s elements of glacier in the stream-bottoms, the snow being covered up with layers of shale from floods and thaws and refrozen a few times into a hard, dirty ice and the drifts are twenty or thirty feet high and overhanging in places. It’s all good, clean fun and very safe, (well, fairly safe anyway ) though and run-outs were into soft cushions of snow/ice so, even short flights off overhangs were undertaken. And we even managed a couple of ice-axe braking practice runs. That was a short summer, though, innit?
This was my idea by the way. Just sayin’.