Lost on Caudale Moor, well almost lost.
Our plan was to walk up Threshthwaite Mouth to Thornthwaite Crag and return via Caudale Moor and Hartsop Dodd.
The climb up to Thornthwaite Crag was steep but straightforward and after 2 hours and 2000 feet of ascent we were at Thornthwaite Beacon on the summit. Cloud had increased during the morning and we were now in mist but conditions improved as we descended to Threshthwaite Mouth. The climb up to Stoney Cove Pike was tricky with the wet rock and involved some mild scrambling. Caudale Moor is featureless and visibility was now down to 100 yards but we knew we had to follow the wall. We started to descend steeply which did not match up with where we thought we were. A quick check with the GPS revealed we were off course and following an unmarked wall down the south ridge.We retraced our steps and tried to locate the Mark Atkinson’s Monument which would lead us to our downward path over Hartsop Dodd. We must have passed within 100 yards of it at least twice before we found it using GPS bearings. However we could not find any trace of a path on the ground and with visibility down to less than 50 yards it was not worth risking an unknown descent.
We needed an escape route.
To quote Wainwright. " The best way off the top whatever the destination is alongside the wall running west – this continues without a break to the road near the Kirkstone Pass Inn".
We took this advice and trudged the two and a half miles to the Inn descending the steep slope down from St Ravens Edge. Unfortunately this had all been in the opposite direction to the car and we still had 4 miles to walk down the Kirkstone Pass.
Our planned 8 miles and 2750 feet of ascent had become 12 miles and 3500 feet of ascent.
Never assume you know where you are.
Check your map and GPS regularly
Always have an escape route.
Don’t forget your emergency Mars Bar.