The Roaches

Memories from a trip to Keswick - 2016

February 2016 - It was back to Keswick for our annual late winter trip to the Lakes. Me, Al, Swabs, Jon, Sarah, Gordon, Jane and Ann were this year's lucky guests but the terrible flooding inflicted on the Lakes in the preceeding weeks threatened to make this a difficult week. Terry and Mark would pop up for a few days and hopefully enjoy a few small walks.

SUNDAY - Walla Crag from Keswick.

The forecast was for dry weather in the morning but turning to heavy rain by early afternoon so a decision was made to take an easy walk from Keswick and hopefully be back before the rain hit.

The choice of walk was the easy climb to Walla Crag from Keswick with a decision to be made as to where we'd go from there.

Team photo, minus Alison, on the way to Walla Crag. Ann strikes her action pose while the rest of us look a tad blank. Dave looks at cows.

Evidence of the recent storms were visible on the early stretch of the walk but on reaching open ground all was good underfoot. We were expecting incredibly wet ground but as the slopes are steep the rain water had obviously used the streams and rivers as the quickest way down - to Keswick!

Young Alison with the slopes of Lonscale Fell and Blencathra in the backgound. The ground's getting wetter.

After negotiating a few rather saturated sections we reached the enjoyable path that skirts the western edge of the hill and took in the views over to the Derwent Fells.

Alison and I reached the top and noticed that it was rather breezy. The decision to take on a smaller hill looked like being a good one as  the higher fells would have been troublesome if the strength of the wind at 1234ft was anything to go by.

We dropped off the summit to escape the wind and waited for the others to reach the summit.

Our hero on the breezy summit of Walla Crag.

A decision was made to continue south and head for Ashness Bridge rather than trapse across the potentially boggy tops on the central fells. What could go wrong?

Well, nothing initially. Apart from the odd very light shower all was good but we ensured that each step was firmly placed as the downward facing slopes and the wet ground could result in a fall. Which it did.

Dave entertained us all with a splendid downhill arse splash as he disappeared from view at light speed. On eventually finding his feet and reaching the rest of the group the result of his fall was clearly visible.

Dear me David. What have you done?

We used what parts of the lakeside path we could and returned to Keswick without any further incidents. Terry and Mark had hit town so a night of eating and drinking was in store.

Mark tries it on with a couple of randy cougars in the pub.

The forecast for Monday was pretty crap but we were going to walk no matter what.

MONDAY - Langstrath from Rosthwaite

On arriving at Rosthwaite all seemed OK from a weather perspective but the situation slowly worsened as we entered Langstrath itself. Dave decided to take a break today after taking a but of pisstake over his fall.

Terry and Mark joined us for what turned out to be an easy but incredibly wet 4 miles. At times the paths were like streams so the result of the recent downpours was clearly evident.

On reaching the cars the weather was as forecast: grim. So it was back to Keswick for a shop, drink and eat.

WEDNESDAY - Seathwaite Fell

The Tuesday forecast for rain turned out to be slightly off the mark but the forecast for Wednesday, and the rest of the week, was excellent.

We arrived at Seathwaite in beautiful cool sunny weather with the aim of knocking off the shy Wainwright of Seathwaite Fell. A hill many of us had walk past on numerous occasions on the way to bigger and better things.

No Dave again today. Terry and Mark were on their way home.

looking up Grains Gill from Seathwaite. This would be our route down later in the day.

The climb up to Styhead was an enjoyable one and the views from the stretcher box over to the Scafells was superb.

Sarah pulls a face as Jon corrects her knickers - 'oooh - down a bit'.

Team photo, minus me, at the Styhead stretcher box. Lingmell is the peak in the background.

An attempt to persuade a change of plan and ascent Great Gable was rejected by the team cougars so we stuck with our original plan.

The next stage of the walk was to ascend up to Spinkling Tarn and head over to the lumpy summit of Seathwaite Fell. As we ascended the wet ground was replaced by snow with patches of ice. Time for the spikes!

The team like spikes. It means that it's icy and snowy and wintery and adds a feeling of mountaineering bravery to the day. The weather was now superb and the views opened up to Great Gable, Great End, Wasdale and over Borrowdale and Derwent to Skiddaw. This was good.

Yewbarrow, Seat Allan, Red Pike, Kirk Fell and Great Gable from the ascent to Sprinking Tarn.

Alison was called back as she powered on ahead but failed to realise that we had to turn off to reach our destination. After a few ups and downs we finally reached the summit of Seathwaite Fell and, for all of us, a new Wainwright was conquered.

Gordon and the rest of the team make their way over the bobbles and knobbles of Seathwaite Fell.

Gordon, Jon, Sarah and Jane on the summit of Seathwaite Fell.

Lunch was enjoyed in wintery sunshine with great views over to the cliffs of Great End. The munching was interrupted for a moment as one of Ann's plastic bags blew into the distance which was followed, rather surprisingly, by Ann. Ann's insistence on not wanting to leave any litter on the hill resulted in her starting off on what appeared to be a futile task as the abundant crags and tarns would surely result in the bag being lost. To Ann's credit she returned with bag in hand.

The final short climb to the top of Grain's Gill was next.

Sarah and co march upwards. Esk Pike and Great End are the two peaks in the photo.

Grains Gill is always a pain to descend when it's wet and, as the Lake District Paths of Death team have performed their magic on long stretches of the path, the chances of falling have doubled.

The deep snow and the threat of falling into the gill itself meant that care was required on the initial descent. Any fall could see you sliding over the edge of the gill and onto the rocks below.

Descending Grains Gill with Skiddaw in the distance.

We reached Stockley Bridge without losing any team members so there won't be movie called Grains Gill which shows the horror of seven people dying in a snowy wilderness.

It had been a great day but a shame that we didn't attempt one of the taller peaks that were within our grasp.

THURSDAY - Buttermere for Sean and Al. Latrigg for the others.

Here's a few shots taken in Buttermere which was Al and my destination for the day thanks to me having a stinking cold...

High Stile and Red Pike.

Arty lake shot.

FRIDAY - Brandreth and Grey Knotts from Honister.

I still felt like crap but this was the last walking day of the week. Should I or shouldn't I?

The rest of the team couldn't make their minds up as to what to do and neither could I but a very late decision was made to hit the hills despite the lurgy. Al and I decided to drive up to Honister and take an easy option to Brandreth and Grey Knotts, the latter that I last ascended in 1988.

It was cold again but visibility was good.

Turning off at Drum House towards Brandreth.

Despite feeling like shit we managed a decent pace but the icy pools on the way resulted in a tortuous route being taken to reach the fence that leads to the summit of Brandreth. The views over to Pillar and Buttermere were amazing.

Pillar, Haystacks, High Crag and High Stile.

The snow deepened and the wind increased as we ascended the slopes to Brandreth. The snow was also turning to ice so the final few steps to the summit were completed with the aid of spikes.

Looking down the Brandreth fence towards Ennerdale and Ennerdale Water.

The walk over to Grey Knotts saw us coming across a bloke and his sons who had a rough idea as to where they were and an even rougher idea as to where they wanted to walk to. I passed on some advice and continued to the top of Grey Knotts.

The initial descent off Grey Knotts towards Honister. Dale Head and High Spy in the distance.

Rather than head back over to the Drum House path I decided to take us back to Honister using the 'direct' route. This turned out to be something of a mistake as the steep wet slippery path (where there was a path) and the mossy terrain resulted in slow progress. Al certainly wasn't enjoying this and the odd nose bleed only added to my joy.

After 1200ft of shitty descent we reached Honister and enjoyed a cup of coffee.

That was the end of our week walkingwise but it'd been another good'un. Fish and chips completed the evening before we all headed home on the Saturday.

Thanks to Gordon and Jane for organising. Same again next year?


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