Saturday, 28 August 2010

Great North Fun Days 29 - 31


Pinned down by the weather for several days now.   All we can hear is a howling gale outside and rain lashing down.  “I’m just stepping outside” I said. “I may be some time.”  I retuned 45 minutes later laden down with croissant and fresh bread rolls this was, afterall, Ambleside and not the Antarctic.  But the weather has been pretty bad...

Striding Edge
We’re now firmly ensconced at the Ambleside Aire, a muddy field very central to Ambleside but in much need of some gravel or hardstanding to drive around in the field at the back.  The owner is lovely and the location and price are good, but the combination of British Bank Holiday weather, a large field and 20 or so motorhomes was never going to end well.  We’ve watched several MH’s get stuck already but there’s always someone on hand to help out, even if it is a small child on an impossibly small bike.

Yesterday we decided that if we’re going to ‘do’ the Lake District then we may as well ‘do’ it properly, so at the crack of dawn (well, maybe a little nearer to 9:30am) we set off for Glenridding and a hike up Helvellyn.  And we didn’t go the easy way either, oh no, we took the hard route via Striding Edge and just for good measure nipped along Swirral Edge to Catstye Cam while we were up there.  Then a long, long, looooong descent via Dollywaggon Pike and Grisedale Tarn before a nice long stroll along Grisedale Beck and back to Delores.  A grand total of 6 peaks and well over 15 miles of yomping, none of it flat.  We didn’t rush and were out there for over 9 hours, but it was worth it.  The views down over Ullswater were amazing, the rock climbing was fun and all that exercise meant I could scoff fish and chips in the evening with complete impunity.
Summit of Helvellyn

We’re not experts in the mountains but took plenty of sensible precautions which is more than I can say for many of the people we saw up there.  Luckily the weather was good, but there really is no excuse for tackling a peak like Helvellyn in flip flops (as we saw someone wearing).  If Mountain Rescue ever has to be called out for idiots like that I hope they send them a very large bill.  Mind you we saw plenty at the other end of the scale too, with some people well equipped enough to winter in the Antarctic.

Today we have spent the day nursing our aching muscles with a few gentle strolls around town in between rainshowers.  The Ambleside crowd is a curious one, a mix of proper mountain types, weekend walkers such as ourselves and confirmed townies with suspiciously clean walking boots hoping some of this outdoors stuff will rub off on them before they hop back into their 4x4 and return to the city.
The end of a long day.

The rain seems to have finally stopped now and the forecast is good for the next few days which is good news as we aim to tackle Scafell Pike on Monday.  We’ll give ourselves plenty of time again and take all the usual precautions plus a few more painkillers.  This evening we’ve discovered a marvellous sparkling wine & fresh strawberry drink which I’m sure will help our sore muscles no end but probably means I’d better end today’s blog here before I say anything I regret.  But you are all my beshtish friendssshhh in the whole world ever...