The Roaches


Memories from a trip to Keswick - 2011

March 2011 - Another week at the Britannia Keswick flat was enjoyed my Al, Swarbs, Jon, Sarah and myself. The forecast for the week was excellent so plans were made for a great few days of walking.

Geraint had arranged to sleep over on the Monday night so a couple of walks were planned with the Grunt.

SUNDAY

Nothing too adventurous was the plan for the Sunday so we decided to take a quick 9 miler around Derwent Water from Keswick. The weather was dullish but we enjoyed a good walk thanks to a sarnie and a couple of pints at the Lodore Hotel.



A moody scene over Derwent Water.

MONDAY

Jon and I met Geraint at Rosthwaite where I'd paid £6 for a day's parking. Geraint knew of numerous parking spots along the road to Stonethwaite so I'd pissed £6 up the wall.

Alison and Dave were to tackle Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell whilst Sarah had awoken with a swollen ankle so was to spend the day enjoying the delights of Keswick.

Our plan was to tackle the grade 2 scramble up Cam Crag and continue over Glaramara and Allen Crags. The weather was bright but the tops were covered in cloud. The forecast promised clearer conditions as the day progressed so we marched down Langstrath in the hope of a bright sunny day.

After a couple of miles we headed uphill to the base of Cam Crag ridge and Geraint proceeded to seek out the route. This looked like being fun.

The scramble went pretty much as expected. Geraint's climbing skills came to the fore as he powered over grade 2\3 climbs. Jon followed Geraint for the majority of the route whilst I pissed about looking for the routes suitable for 17 stone blokes who can't lift their knees up to their chests. At times though the non-rock route was just as problematic due to an abundance of wet rock, steep grass and heather as was the case in Scotland the previous year where Jon and I wimped off the rocks to look for alternative side routes. The plan was that any fall would result in a steepish grassy bounce rather than an instant head splitting rock smash.



Geraint on the steepest part of the Cam Crag ridge. Jon and I watched from the Chicken Ledge.

My lack of movement meant that Geraint had to point out decent holds that could be relied on. The hands part of the scramble was OK but the need to lift the legs onto decent holds and pull off was proving to be troublesome.



Jon had had enough of life and was about to jump.

We reached the top of the climb and enjoyed a rather claggy view of nowhere in particular. We couldn't see the top of Glaramara but the odd moment of brightness promised better things to come.

It didn't get any brighter.

The top of Glaramara is one of those areas which is best left alone in mist but nobody was in the mood for turning back so we compassed onwards in the hope that the cairn would magically appear. The first error was to mistake the top of Combe Head for Glaramara so a quick GPS check was made which confirmed our location. We continued in the clag and eventually came across the rocky rampart which defends Glaramara from northern invaders. We then made our second error - carrying on!

After peaking on Glaramara we took a quick bearing south towards Allen Crags but the worsening clag resulted in us heading slightly too far to the west so a short route amendment was made in order to get back on track. We hit the 'path' and bimbled over to Allen Crags. Waterproofs were required as the cloud contained increasing amounts of water.

We reached Allen Crags and descended to the always busy Esk Hause. Except today there was nobody around - not a sausage. After deciding that we couldn't see any further than 50 yards another quick compass check was made and we marched on to Angle Tarn where we would veer north back into Langstrath. The long walk down Langstrath isn't a yomp thanks to the variable quality of the path. My gaiter ties decided that tying my legs together would be a good thing which it wasn't as it resulted in numerous trips.

We eventually reached Geraint's car and headed back to Keswick for beers and nosh.

Meanwhile, Al and Dave had conquered Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell but had failed to summit on High Seat due to worsening weather conditions.



The pig on Bleaberry Fell with Derwent Water and Skiddaw in the distance.



Dave poses at the same spot.

Beers and curry were enjoyed in Keswick by us all. Where to tomorrow?

TUESDAY

The weather was gorgeous. Jon decided to take break and spend the day with Sarah and her fat ankle while Dave decided to spend the day with Dave and his fat ankles.

Al, Geraint and I decided that a trip to the rarely visited northern fells was the order of the day so we drove to Mungrisdale with the aim of doing Bannerdale Crags and Bowscale Fell.



The old mine road leading to Bannerdale Crags.

We'd all made the mistake of wearing too much as the weather was superb. The long gradual plod up to the col between Bannerdale and Bowscale seemed hard work after the previous night's ale and curry so a rather sedate pace was set - apart from Al that is who decided to power on up.



Al and Geraint on the path up to Bannerdale Crags.

The view from Bannerdale Crags is interesting in that there's a great vista over to the Pennines and to the east a 'different' view of Blencathra.



Geraint with Blencathra as a background. Sharp Edge can be seen to the left with Foule Crag rising behind it.

We retraced our route along the edge of Bannerdale Crags and marched up the grassy slopes of Bowscale Fell.



You know who on the summit of Bowscale Fell (2306ft).

We descended north towards the hollow of Bowscale Tarn and then headed steeply down towards the tarn using a faint path that zig zags to the east.

Bowscale Tarn is a peaceful yet impressive spot and thanks to the excellent weather resulted in a good long moment of contemplation. The frogs were in fine voice as we looked over the sunlit water.



Bowscale Tarn from above. Can you see the frogs?

After enjoying our mini-break we set off around the hill and followed the road back to Mungrisdale. On reaching the village what would be better than enjoying a nice pint of Robinsons at the Mill Inn? Nothing, so we had one! We sat by the stream and enjoyed the summerlike weather to the full. We said our goodbyes to Geraint and returned to Keswick after an excellent day's walk.

THURSDAY

The initial plan was to tackle Great Gable from Seathwaite but as I was Gabled to death I put forward the idea of Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike. The group decided that this was a good idea so we all packed into Jon's car and headed off over the Honister Pass to Gatesgarth Farm.

Sarah's ankle was feeling OK so the famous five were back!



Sarah, Jon and Al on the path to Scarth Gap. Haystacks looms in the background.

The weather was excellent as we climbed to Scarth Gap. On reaching the gap we rested for a few minutes before taking on the final scrambly climb onto Haystacks.



Jon directs Dave over the rocks. This scene was similar to that with Geraint and I on Cam Crag a few days earlier.

We took lunch on the top of Haystacks with excellent hazy views of Great Gable and Pillar as our treat. This was proper shorts and t-shirt weather and we all looked forward to the bimble over to Fleetwith Pike.



Packed lunches being shown on the summit of Haystacks.



Sean's innominate bone as seen next to Innominate Tarn. A rather unfortunate shot from the lens of Dave. It would have looked a lot worse if Jon had stood slightly closer.

We walked over Haystacks and descended gently to the head of Warnscale Bottom before using the unsightly quarry tracks which headed up to the top ridge of Fleetwith Pike. Dave was offered the chance to abort at this point but bravely, thanks to my excellent description of the climb ahead, decided to carry on. Dave was only interested in the detail of the climb so I felt no urge to describe descent.

The summit of Fleetwith Pike is always a great spot thanks to the excellent views down towards Buttermere and Crummock. A quick rest stop was taken before the steep descent down towards Gatesgarth.



Alison enjoying the soft grass of Fleetwith Pike.

I think it's fair to say that Dave didn't enjoy the descent. The numerous rocky scrambles and gravelly path weren't to his liking but none of this bothered Al who rifled down the ridge with ease. I followed Al (from a distance) whilst Jon and Sarah escorted Dave.



Zoom on! Jon and Sarah keep an eye on Dave's descent of Fleetwith Pike.

We decided that a pint at the Bridge Inn was on the cards after another thoroughly enjoyable day. Jon took the Newlands route back to Keswick before enjoying a night of ale and nosh (again).

An excellent week was enjoyed by all. Same again next year please.

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