The Roaches


Memories from a trip to Patterdale - 2008

The stay at the Patterdale hotel during the big summer walk was enjoyed by all so a three night visit was arranged for October.

A good number of walkers turned up for the trip - Sean, Alison, Dave, Macca, Ken, Jon, Terry, Gordon, Jane and Harry and Shelley from the Blue Mugge. This would be Harry and Shelley's first venture onto the bigger hills so an exciting weekend was in prospect.

The initial plan was to drive up to the Lakes early on the Friday and take in a small walk. The forecast wasn't good so the idea was abandoned and so we all sauntered up in our own time. The abandonment was a good idea as the weather was appalling - so appalling in fact that a severe weather warning was in place for Cumbria!

Sean, Alison, Harry, Shelley, Jon and Ken met up in Ambleside for lunch a small number of beers before heading off over the Kirkstone Pass and into Patterdale. The journey was horrendous due to the heavy rain and at times it looked like the road was impassable. The brave drivers ventured onwards and before long we were checking in at the Patterdale hotel in readiness for beers, food, wine and beers.

The forecast for Saturday was better but the flooded fields seemed to suggest that a bad day was in prospect.

SATURDAY

Unbelievably we awoke to a beautiful sunny morning.

The decision was made to tackle Helvellyn and take in the famous Striding Edge. Terry had already walked the ridge twice during the week but had no qualms in making it a hat trick.

Alison, Dave and Macca joined us with the 'hole in the wall' being the likely end point - unless they felt like continuing onto Helvellyn?



Ken, Shelley and Harry enjoying the gradual ascent of Birkhouse Moor. Harry is thinking 'how pleasant is this?'.



Terry entertains the team with tales of his previous heroics. Dave Swarbs can be seen somewhere over Terry's right ear.

The weather was superb! We couldn't wait to get to the 'Hole in the wall' where the real fun begins. Unfortunately Dave wasn't exactly sherpaesque and a fair wait ensued at the 'hole' as Dave struggled to find any pace.

We all eventually gathered at the wall where the decisions were made as to who would carry on over Striding Edge and who would walk back towards Glenridding. Alison was tempted to join the main group and tackle the ridge but her experiences on Fairfield earlier in the year coupled with a lack of walking since then forced her to join Dave and Macca on the downward route.



Team Failure prepare to head back down. Dave is already on his way.

Onwards and alongwards we went - the indistinct ground between the hole in the wall and Striding Edge was soon behind us and we reached the start of the ridge.

Harry decided to let Sean onto the ridge first and then, as Sean walked on the top of the rocky ridge, he exploded into an amazing foul mouthed tirade. H wasn't happy - not happy at all!

Each member of the team found their own route over the ridge with some opting for the ridge crest whilst others used the tracks on the northern slopes. As we progressed it became apparent that a member of another walking party had fallen and was been treated\comforted by fellow walkers. As we walked above the victim we were told that he had fell and broken a leg so we awaited the arrival of mountain rescue.

Walking past the injured walker didn't make H feel any happier. If anything he decided to go 'for it' and complete the main ridge as soon as he possibly could. At one point he followed Sean around a point where a greasy sloping ledge had to be crossed. Sean decided that it could be too greasy underfoot and that the final 'crux' step could result in a 10ft fall so attempted to turn back and find a safer route. H decided that he was continuing no matter what so continued over the crux and survived.

We had now reached the western end of the ridge and all that remained was the final scramble down the rocky gully.



H and Shelley about to embark on their incredible tourette-fuelled journey. This blurred photo was taken by Jon Gilson's .0002 megapixel camera.

The descent from the ridge always appears a lot worse than it really is but, as is now standard practice, Sean decided to get down quickly so he could capture any falls on camera.



Ken descends carefully down the final gully whilst H, Shelley, Terry and Jon look on. This is one of the few moments where sheer terror can be seen on H's face.

H wasn't happy about this either so he decided to move Shelley along by kicking her in the back. Just how many insurance policies has he got for Shelley?

Jane was assisted down by a slim, muscle girt young lad, much to Gordon's disgust, and at one point it looked like we were in for a mountain 'scrap' when the young pretender gently caressed Jane's posterior over a tricky rock. Luckily, Jon didn't mind Terry caressing his posterior during their descent.

We all eventually reached the foot of the gully and ate our lunch on the small flat section before the steep climb onto the summit of Helvellyn. The mountain rescue helicopter had landed on the summit above us after circling the area immediately above the fallen walker - what were they planning to do?

Lunch over and time for the enjoyable scramble onto Helvellyn!



Terry gives the mountain rescue team some valuable advice - 'You see Penrith over there? Don't go to the market on a Friday as Saturday is market day'. Meanwhile the victim was bleeding to death.

The mountain rescue team passed as we ascended and after a few minutes the summit ridge was reached. The helicopter decided to leave the summit (and nearly blow us off the ridge) and we watched as it flew into the distance.



'This is Tango, Foxtrot, three, seven, six - about to leave summit - over, very windy - over, two overweight walkers seen in the vicinity of Glenridding - over'



Summit team shot 1.



Summit team shot 2 - Gordon becomes the first man to successfully shit on all of the Lake District's 3000ft summits. What an achievement! H had shit himself on six separate occasions earlier in the day.

We walked off the summit and over the summits of Nethermost and Dollywagon Pikes and then descended into Grisedale where we took the gentle route back into Patterdale.

An excellent day's walking had been enjoyed by all.

SUNDAY

H and Shelley ate breakfast and returned to Leek knowing that they had safely conquered one of the world's most dangerous peaks.

The weather was OKish but appeared to be rather cloudy on the high summits. The forecast was good however so team success decided to take on the High Street range whilst team failure decided to tackle Gowbarrow Crag or, as it's more commonly known, Grandma's peak.

Team success drove up to the Kirkstone Inn and into the cloud. It looked pretty dank but we all knew that the cloud would blow off and present fantastic panoramic views in all directions.

The cloud remained in place as we walked up to the first peak - Caudale Moor. The going underfoot was slightly boggy and in complete contrast to the sun and bare rock enjoyed on the previous day. A short march over to the summit of Stony Cove Pike was next on the route before the 600ft drop into Threshwaite Mouth.



Terry taking in the views on Stony Cove Pike.

The damp rocky descent required careful foot and hand placement and we were all glad to reach the 'mouth'. Unfortunately a 600ft slog of an ascent awaited which would take us onto Thornthwaite Crag where the weather would hopefully turn for the better.

On we went, up and up, with only 20 metre visibility.



The walk was such a success that Sean decided to have a big smile.

The beacon on Thornthwaite Crag suddenly appeared, when we were right next to it, and we decided to stop for lunch. The weather was still crap and we had given up all hope of it clearing.

We took a bearing and headed for the next peak, High Street. The cack weather resulted in us staying to the west of the summit rather than hunt about for the triangulation point - we couldn't see anything so we ventured northwards with the hope that the gradual descent would result in a view or two.

The original plan was to head over to Angle Tarn and remain above the valley before eventually dropping steeply into Patterdale but due to the weather it was decided that a descent to Hayeswater would be a more scenic option.

As we descended we dropped out of the cloud and finally enjoyed a decent view.



Jane marvels at the row after row of peaks in view. Jon maintains that Jane told him to 'put that fucking camera away or I'll shove it up your arse'. Very un-Janelike but the weather and the crummy ascents weren't going down too well.

We stopped for a while at the side of Hayeswater and then continued to Hartsop where the final stretch would take us into Patterdale. As we walked up to the hotel the rain began and we bumped into team failure as we marched onto the hotel car park. They had enjoyed a day of warm sunshine and even had a tinge of a tan to brag about - bastards!



Descending out of the cloud towards Hayeswater. Is that the Ben?



Gordon's about to ask Jon if he's dropped one. Jane confirms that he has.

Both teams met in the bar and we shared tales of each teams walk. Team success quickly described how we'd seen nothing whilst Team failure detailed their day of never ending views and that the intense heat meant that they'd walked in t-shirts for most of the day.

More food, more wine and more beer flowed - that was it, the weekend was over!

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