The Roaches

Memories from a trip to Keswick - 2010

February 2010 - The now annual trip to the Britannia flat was upon us after what was one of the worst winters for many a year. This year's lucky winners were Al, Jon, Dave, Macca, Mike and myself.

We'd hoped for clear sunny days with snow capped peaks in abundance but the forecast was for a generally dull week with the odd spot of rain - no snow!

Both Alison and myself turned up at the flat on the Sunday whilst the others were yomping around Derwent Water. Alison, and me to a lesser extent, had spent an awful night down in London suffering from violent sickness and diarrhoea. She recovered enough on the Sunday for the long drive from London to Keswick. My guts were 'rumbling' somewhat but I felt OK.


The weather was rather nice so we decided to take things easy with a walk around Grange Fell. Macca decided to have a 'camera' day so left us to snap a few shots around town.

We parked on the Bowder Stone car park and set off through the trees for the easy climb up to the first peak of the day, King's How. The path at times was slippery due to the hardening snow and ice but the ascent was enjoyed by everyone except probably Dave who had decided that the aid of a stick was necessary.

Dave's stick was the 'must have' item in the Lakes during 2010. His wank hat wasn't.

We missed the direct path to the summit so buggered about until we found an indirect route around the southern slopes. The view from the top was excellent and the click of cameras filled the air.

Al, Jon and Mike on the summit of King's Howe. Dave, Glaramara and Seathwaite Fell in the background.

It soon felt cold as we enjoyed our summit photo stop so we descended back to the col in readiness for our ascent to the next peak of the day, Brund Fell.

My stomach was rumbling on a worryingly regular basis. The horrors of Jon's antics in Scotland weighed heavily on my mind so the risk of expelling what could be large amounts of wind or large amounts of chocolate Angel Delight meant that I had to hold on and hope that the problem would be solved in a controlled environment.

We ate lunch somewhere between King's Howe and Brund Fell, got cold again, and carried on.

The climb up to Brund Fell between rocky bluffs was a pleasant experience. The views to the south were opening up as the skies cleared so all was well in the world.

Jon approaching the summit of Brund Fell. Great End, Scafell Pike, Lingmell and Great Gable can now be seen in the distance.

On reaching Brund Fell the plan was to descend to Watendlath and then head back in a westerly direction to Rosthwaite but it was decided that there was nothing of any real scenic value in walking to Watendlath so we walked past Jopplety How to reach Puddingstone Bank. The shorted route also reduced the risk of me creating my own unwanted puddings so the reroute was greeted with a 'thumbs up' by all team members (please note that I was not yet at the point of having to adopt 'thumbs up' tactics for other reasons).

Dave's magic stick let him down on a number of occasions during the descent which resulted in him hitting the hard frozen ground with a gut wrenching thud. Dave's thick wintery clothes created a protective barrier which saved him from breaking bones. Mike mentioned something about Dave having many natural layers of protective barriers which he believed was the real reason for his incredible high altitude tale of survival.

The walk to Rosthwaite was an enjoyable little meander with great views down into Seathwaite and the mightiest of the Lakeland peaks.

Dave, and his now weary, battered, stick and Jon on the descent into Rosthwaite.

We eventually reached the Scafell Hotel. This was great news for me as my controlled explosion could be triggered in safety. A couple of pints of beer were enjoyed before we set off alongside Firth Gill towards the Bowder Stone and the cars.


My strange rumbling gut resulted in me leaving half a pint (yes, I repeat, half a pint) on the Monday night and returning to the flat early. The rest of the night and Tuesday saw me sleeping bag and toilet bound as the worst period of the mystery illness ensued. The rest of the team decided to tackle Lord's Seat and Barf from Whinlatter and thus mirroring Dave and Al's enjoyable excursion from the previous year.

Apparently, I'm told, it was rather cold and a tad icy underfoot at times.

Al's only photo from the Lord's Seat walk. It was that cold she only managed to use her camera once. The shot above is of Grisedale Pike and Hobcarton Crag from near Lord's Seat.

Ongoing poorlyness resulted in me spending all Tuesday night\Wednesday morning stuck in my sleeping bag whilst the others enjoyed a night on the town. A mystery arm injury meant that Mike had to cut Macca's meat for him in a restaurant as he was unable to manage this himself.


After nearly two days in bed I felt well enough for a small walk on the Wednesday. Al, Macca and Dave decided to have a 'Keswick Day' whilst Jon, Mike and myself decided to tackle the awesome Castle Crag.

The weather was dull but dry.

We parked up at Rosthwaite and used the Cumbria Way path to pass Castle Crag to the west. In order to look at Millican Dalton's caves we ventured off route with the hope of continuing 'off route' to meet the summit path on the east side. After much pissing about on the northern slopes of Castle Crag we decided that there was no easy way of linking the two routes so we abandoned this stupid idea and returned, rather embarrassed, to the Cumbria Way track.

Mike arsing about on Castle Crag. Jon and myself were beginning to freeze again.

We made the small climb up to the small col between Castle Crag and High Spy at which point Mike, having had enough of Castle Crag, decided to continue on the path and meet back at the car.

Jon and I had missed the first path to the summit so ventured over fields to the beginning of the steep slaty zig-zag route leading to the top. It was rather icy and, too be fair, a bit slippy underfoot.

Jon poses majestically, wearing his new Rohan pants, on the summit of Castle Crag.

We yomped off Castle Crag and met with Mike who had reached the car a few minutes earlier. I was pretty tired thanks to my shittybout but hoped that a return to normal eating and drinking would put me right.


The weather was turning and it didn't look particularly welcoming on the tops. Al, Jon, Mike and myself decided to take on a 9 miler around Lonscale Fell, following the Cumbria Way out of Keswick and returning from the case of Blencathra on the old railway line.

I was feeling more able than the previous day so decided to push on with the first uphill section to see what was what. This proved that I wasn't feeling as good as first thought so decided to take it easy for the rest of the walk.

After meeting a few thousand sheep behind Latrigg we set off around Lonscale Fell before taking lunch near a stream below the western slopes of Blencathra.

Al and Mike on the Lonscale Fell section of the Cumbria Way.

We followed the path around to the Blencathra centre and then dropped down through farmland to reach the old railway. A pleasant couple of miles led us into Keswick and walk's end.

A gloomy view south to the Helvellyn range.

That was it - the end of the week! The forecast for Friday was poor so the annual flat tidy up commenced before we left for Leek.

Keswick 2010 will be remembered for the short walks, the poorlyness and the lowest amount of height climbed - ever!

Next year will see a return to the big hills, assuming we can get the flat again!


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