: A Day Of Surprises
3rd July 2019
first surprise was that when we parked at
Seathwaite (Borrowdale), Martin and co.
were nowhere to be seen.
and waited but there was no sign of them.
There was no telephone signal so we
were not able to contact them.
beginning to contemplate at what time to
assume that they were not coming or had
gone to the wrong Seathwaite and if we should
then commence our expedition without them.
had a better idea. “I’ll go to the
pay car park and see if they are there!”
“Don’t be daft,” we said in unison.
“After the comments he made recently
about outrageous parking charges, Martin
isn’t going to part with a fiver unnecessarily,
even if he does split the cost with Robin
and John.” However, off he set and,
to our further surprise, soon reported back
they had indeed paid and had been waiting
for us to come and do likewise. We
were now somewhat behind schedule which
might yet present a problem for Mike as
he had to be home early.
all this had being gone on, I had a second
surprise. I found a small carabiner
lying in the long grass. That could
come in useful, I thought.
number three was how hard I found the climb
up by Sour Milk Gill in comparison to Stan,
normally a slow starter, who romped ahead.
I should have read the report on our
previous visit, twelve years ago.
fourth surprise was when someone (Martin?)
found a camelback mouthpiece. “This
looks like yours, you must have dropped
it,” he said. It did so
I put it away for when thirst struck. Actually,
given the heat, that wasn’t long but when
I took the tube out of its resting place,
its mouthpiece was intact. The one
found was not mine but it might sometime
could come in useful, I thought.
the path to the Hanging Rock was more of
a challenge than a surprise but it was a
bit tricky. It was a steep little
scramble to pass under and round then gain
the high ground. Things were getting
a bit easier now and by the time we reached
the summit of Base Brown I was feeling much
stroll over to Green Gable was relatively
easier. Beyond, we could see its Great
On the right, we could clearly
see Haystacks and last week’s targets.
drop down to Windy Gap was more of a frustration
than anything else. It just meant
more climbing to do on Great Gable.
the climb wasn’t that bad. I thought
it could be scree but it was more like easy
scrambling up a well-defined route through the rocks.
I made a much better job of it than
12 years ago.
conference at the summit.
Mike had to be
home early and Martin had volunteered to
get him back in time. Robin and John
had long distances to travel and their car
was at Martin’s house. Consequently
they all opted not to tackle Kirk Fell,
the fourth Wainwright
of the day. Stan and I were eager
to visit it as this was the way to avoid
the steep climbs from other directions and
if we didn’t do it today, it would be a
long car trip sometime for just one hill.
Brian decided he would join us.
soon “us” became “them”. The drop
off Gable to the north-west became increasingly
steep and too worrying for me. He
who looks and runs away lives to run away
another day. I chickened out. That
was not a surprise. It just means
that Stan is now one Wainwright ahead of
me. I climbed back to the summit where
the others were enjoying lunch in the sun.
retreat to the pass was a little trickier
than the ascent but not a great problem.
The Aaron Slack descent from there
to Styhead Tarn was on very scree-like zig-zag
path and I really enjoyed it. For
secret with ball-bearing surfaces is
to keep your speed up and to slalom down
the hill, turning at the edges where the
bigger stones are to be found.
any conscious decision being made (as far
as I know) the group crossed the stream
by the footbridge and descended Styhead
Gill on the east side. This should
have been much the easier route but poor
Martin was surprised by a nasty tumble on a rock that
was unkindly hiding in a shadow from the
bright sun. It was a reminder to make
sure that between us we have some elementary
first aid kit. Fortunately Robin had.
were no further incidents as we returned
to Seathwaite and the car. Good time
had been made and Martin would be able to
get Mike home on schedule. I was under
no time pressures so I decided to wait for
Stan and Brian to turn up. That was
about an hour during which period came the
final surprise of the day. I saw something
bright and shining in the path. On
closer examination it was a familiar object
but not one left by us. A sparkling
brand-new £1 coin. That could
come in useful, I thought.
Stan and Brian eventually appeared and I
told them this story, it was no surprise
what they told me I had to do with
it. Consequently it was no surprise
to find it being put to good use at the
Traveller’s Rest. It’s just a pity
it hadn’t been a £20 note!
Wednesday 3rd July 2019