The Roaches


Memories from a trip to Keswick - 2008

The Britannia flat once again hosted a spring visit to the Lakes. This year's lucky attendees were Sean, Alison, Macca, Dave, Mike and Jon.

The weather was fantastic, until the Thursday, which meant that we were able to walk from Sunday - Wednesday in glorious sunshine.

SUNDAY

On the Sunday Macca, Dave and Alison decided to walk 'somewhere' around Walla Crag but Dave's 'fixed' map reading error meant that they were back in Keswick at lunchtime - Quitters!

Sean and Jon decided to make the most of the weather and walked from Gatesgarth to Red Pike, High Crag, High Stile, Seat, Haystacks and descend over Fleetwith Pike.



Looking back over to Red Pike from the slopes of High Crag. Mellbreak and Crummock Water can be seen in the distance.



King Jon of Buttermere surveys his realm after Sean had slat his wonky cuffed Berghaus waterproof down in disgust.

Sean and Jon returned to the flat at approx 17:00 to a worried Alison who thought we'd both died on the hills. Her concerns may have been linked to the fact that her three mile spaz walk meant that she had already spent over 5 hours in the flat and had failed to realise that bigger hills take more time to conquer.

MONDAY

We awoke on the Monday to another excellent morning's weather. The plan today was to have an easy stroll up to Cat Bells and force both Macca and Dave to get a bit of uphill work under their belt.



Cat Bells, Maiden Moor, Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson from Skelgill Bank. The weather doesn't get much better than this!

We reached the summit of Cat Bells (1479ft - without oxygen) and relaxed on the sunlit slopes. It seemed too early to venture back down and so, with the superb weather in mind, we persuaded Macca and Dave to hit the next peak along the ridge - Maiden Moor, a 1889ft tall giant.



Jon, Dave and Alison take in the view to the west of Cat Bells.

On we went, the small climb to Maiden Moor was quickly over and once more we sat and enjoyed the stunning views. What could possibly top this thought Dave and Macca? How about carrying on to the cairn on Blea Crag thought Sean? Hhhmmm, replied Dave.



Macca, Alison, Dave and Jon on Maiden Moor. We can't climb any higher than this? - surely.

The cairn on Blea Crag stands at 2038ft and so on we went. Macca and Dave were now in their stride and nothing could stop them from reaching Blea Crag in record time. The final peak of the day had succumbed to our physical might - we were heroes.

'We may as well carry on to High Spy' said Sean. Dave scowled whilst Macca just farted (a common response from the Macca during the week).

High Spy is a massive 2136ft high (that's 100ft higher than the mighty Kinder Scout) and so Dave was entering new territory. Could we do it?

After a short period of puffing and chuntering the final, and highest peak of the day, was ours. Tears flowed and flowed as Dave realised he'd shattered Bella Emberg's record time of 3 hours 19 minutes by nearly 53 seconds. Staggering, simply staggering!



Jon, Macca, Alison and Dave pose in front of England's highest and baddest mountains. Dave didn't fancy the 900ft climb to Dale Head so this was the last peak of the day.

The walk back to the car was an enjoyable affair and we all decided that the Italian restaurant would be a good way of celebrating a fine day's walk.

Mike arrived in the evening and so we prepared for the following day's walk with much anticipation.

TUESDAY

A terrifying injury to Macca's back, caused by passing a book over the coffee table to Dave, rendered him unfit for the walk. This injury was sustained magically after realising that a WiFi connection could be found in the flat and that Facebook was now accessible. Are you all thinking what we're thinking?

The weather was glorious so we decided to venture to Seathwaite and have an easy day's walking to Styhead Tarn and over to Sprinking Tarn before dropping down Grain's Gill.



At the Styhead stretcher box.



Alison races down Grain's Gill. Derwent Water and Skiddaw are seen to the north.

Another enjoyable day's walking was over. The forecast suggested that Wednesday would be the last good day so we planned our walk whilst enjoying the fare in the Bank Tavern.

Would Macca return to the fold or would he spend another day sat naked with his laptop?

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday's weather was even better than expected so we decided to tackle Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson. Dave and Alison decided to give the walk a miss but Macca decided to make it a merry foursome.

Off we went!



Looking down the mine road to the day's summits. Mike thinks he's seen a scramble on the far ridge.

We climbed to the summit of Dale Head via the mine workings and traversed across the north face to the east ridge (seen in snow to the left).



The boyz on the summit of Dale Head (2470ft) with Bowfell, Esk Pike, Great End, the Scafells and Great Gable in the background. Time for lunch!



The summit of Hindscarth with Dale Head in the left background.

The 550ft climb from Hindscarth to Robinson was enjoyed by all. A quick photo shoot ensued and we braced ourselves for the scrambly descent back to Little Town.

However, we were all sickened by a disgraceful act of childishness by Jon which nearly ended the life of Macca. In an attempt to smash the ice on a small frozen tarn Sean decided that a few stone throws were in order - the attempts were futile as the ice was too thick for the meagre summit stones on offer.

Jon decided that a larger stone would probably do the trick so launched a stone towards the tarn. The only problem was that the throw was typical of a member of the Caverswall Sunday cricket team and so it arrowed, almost vertically, in the direction of Macca. Jon, realising his mistake, and Mike, smelling death, let out a ghoulish cry of 'MACCA' across the summit. Macca, wondering what all the fuss was about, looked around and continued to walk along the path but then stopped suddenly as the stone bounced on the ground a few yards in front of him. Macca looked up, farted, and carried on as if nothing had happened.

Jon put his shoulder back into the joint and we carried on towards the crags of death.



Robinson, the last peak of the week. Right then, who fancies a little scramble or, a large rock in their head?

We descended down Robinson's north east ridge and soon reached the three rock sections which require the use of hands, feet and arses to descend safely.

Sean sped down first to assist the otherstalk the others down provide useful advice get his camera out in readiness for a fall and watched the resulting mayhem.

Jon followed and assisted Macca down, who was impeded by his walking poles, and we then awaited Mike.



Jon wonders why Sean is taking photos.....



....of Mike, not looking too happy up there.



Jon tells Macca where to descend whilst Mike 'bums' it down in the distance.

To be fair, the scramble went a lot better than expected - nobody died or suffered a serious injury. My mix up between left and right caused the odd scare but overall the descent went to plan.

I knew Macca was still alive by the constant clanking of poles on rock and Mike's 'I'm falling' shout seemed to suggest that he too was still with us.

After the scramble all that remained was the descent down steep grass to Low High Snab. Macca didn't enjoy that bit. A couple offered to take a photo of Jon and Macca (due to extreme ugliness) but they declined the offer.

An excellent walk was over, as was the walking for the week.

Next year - who fancies Scafell Pike?

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