My walk this week was in the Lake District where I accompanied Les and Gordon on a recce for the next walk with Crosby Rambling Club. We parked in Keswick and set out towards Portinscale. We could see Causey Pike ahead. It seemed a long way off.
Conditions were perfect, warm sunshine and not a cloud in the sky, as we headed south on the Cumbria Way. The path ran alongside Newlands Beck and it was lovely with just the sound of the water and the wind.
We began our ascent from the village of Stair. 1300 ft of ascent along a mainly grassy path. It was very warm and soon our fleeces were discarded.
The path became steeper as we headed for Sleet Hause.
Looking back we could now see the snow-capped peaks of the Lakeland fells.
We stopped for lunch at Sleet Hause where the gradient levelled out. The view was brilliant. We could just make out Derwent Water below us. I have stitched three images together to try to show the scene.
We now had the final push to the rocky summit of Causey Pike at 2035 ft.
On the journey up the motorway I had been reading my copy of ‘Wainwright’ The north western fells. He said “ The final rock tower requires the use of hands. It is easy but no place for fooling around” I wish I had not read it as it set the seeds of doubt in my mind. I am not as agile as when I first climbed Causey Pike in 1994 and can no longer cope with any exposure.
I managed the first section but then could not go on. My eyes and brain were just focussed on the drop by my side. I decided to go back thus breaking one of the Golden Rules. Never split up leaving one person on their own. But we would keep in touch with our mobile phones.
My plan was to contour round the summit and then climb up to re-join the others on the ridge. However the going was tough. I battled through heather over very uneven ground gradually losing height.I tried to climb up to the ridge but it was impossible as it was defended by rocks and I had no alternative but to make my way carefully down to Stonycroft Gill and the miners track. I managed to cross the gill and it was time to contact the others and let them know where I was.
Problem. There was no signal. We had broken rule number 2. Never rely on your mobile phone to get you out of trouble in the mountains.
We were all due to meet on this track and I was sure I was ahead of the others so I turned left and headed up the track to meet them. After half an hour my phone rang. I had a signal. “Where are you”. After swapping coordinates we realised we were nearly two miles apart. They had got down to the track before me and for the past half an hour we had been walking away from each other. Reception was patchy but they agreed to stay put while I came down as quick as it was safe to do. After meeting up we then had a leisurely stroll back to Stair to join our outward route.
We had “lost” an hour were late returning to our car. It was a good job we were now in ‘British Summer Time’ and had plenty of hours of daylight. But no time to stop for a pint.
When I got home I had a red face. Was it embarrassment for messing up the walk, or was it sunburn?
11 miles, 3600 feet of ascent.
No wonder my legs ache.
Another little adventure and some lessons learned.