While I was on holiday in Austria the U K was in the grip of a heat wave with hardly any rain for a month. But, at the weekend the weather broke and parts of the country had torrential downpours. I was due to go walking in the Lake District the following Monday. What could I expect?The forecast was not looking good.
Malcolm, Les and myself were off to Grasmere to do a reccee for a future walk with Crosby Rambling Club and it was overcast but very warm as we set out. We followed the popular path heading towards Easedale Tarn and could see the waterfalls in the distance.
Sour Milk Gill which a few days ago had been just a trickle was now looking really impressive.
It had been spitting with rain but by the time we reached Easedale Tarn it had stopped and the sun was trying to break through. We could have a rest by the tarn and enjoy a coffee and admire the view.
We continued past the tarn and began the climb up the the ridge that leads to High Raise.
It was hard going especially at one rocky section that involved a bit of mild scrambling. No problem if you are young and agile. Neither of those apply to me. At one point I just could not raise my leg high enough to gain the next foothold. I had to use my knee. Of course you cannot push off your knee and next minute I was down on both knees. It had started to rain again and the rock was wet and greasy. I felt myself slipping back. I hung on with one hand whilst my other hand grappled with my walking pole. Help !!!. I managed to sort myself out but my heart was racing.
The gradient eased and after passing Belles Knott we decided to make a short diversion to visit Codale Tarn. Another bit of excitement as we crossed a swollen stream.
By the time we reached Codale Tarn it had stopped raining and we could sit and enjoy our lunch.
It was so peaceful and tranquil at Codale Tarn. There was no sign of any man made activity. The scene can hardly have changed in centuries.
We reached the ridge at the ‘Pile of Stones and changed course to head south east towards Blea Rigg.
The footpath goes either side of the summit but we wanted to get to the top. It was a Wainwright that we had not done before. Blea Rigg is only 1776 ft in height and the summit is not very impressive, just a small cairn but it is worth doing for the view.
Our plan was now to descend via Great Castle How and Lang How. Wainwright described the path as being indistinct. I would call it non-existent. To make matters worse it had started to rain, a real downpour. We made it as far as Lang How but then things went wrong.
We are all experienced walkers, well equipped, each with a GPS which told us first that we were too far to the left, then too far to the right. We stumbled down the mountain walking through waist high bracken which was only too ready to shed its water on to us.
We made it down to the car park in Grasmere by which time we were all soaked. I had taken no more photos. My camera was stowed away inside my plastic lunch box, the only place that was still dry. Fortunately we all had spare clothing in the car. Mine were an old pair of paint splattered track suit bottoms and an old T shirt. We all looked a sorry sight. We considered going for a pint before we started back but I doubt if there was a pub that would have let us in.
We had been walking for almost seven hours yet had covered just nine miles.
I think we will have to revise out route before we bring a party up here.
One of those days that you put down to experience and learn from.