Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Truth About Hiking Part 2. Preparation.

Cairn at the top of Holme Fell
Maybe it's just us that manages to make a meal out of preparing for a hike, I don't know, but it does seem an awful faff every time we're trying to get out of the door.  Take this morning for example, it wasn't an early start and we were only doing a short hike, but boy did we manage to faff.

I fell out of bed around 9:45am, stuck the kettle on and settled down with a coffee and an OS map.  By the time Steve joined me 10 mins later I'd decided that Holme Fell and Black Crag looked like a good idea today on account of the fact it was blowing a hoolie outside.  Whilst he finished his coffee and brekkie and perused a copy of TGO (who said men can't multi task!) I sorted the food and the flasks, whilst simultaneously getting dressed and eating brekkie. I then did the washing up using the hot water I'd used to warm the flasks before quickly clearing the cat litter. (Women can multi task and save the planet!)

Finally tearing himself away from TGO Steve then organised his camera bag and clothing and sorted out the waterproof trousers, mine being easy to spot on account of the "invisible mend" (bright blue gaffa tape over the hole I created plunging down Grey Crag on my backside.).  By now there were piles of food and clothing in the kitchen and hallway so time to start stuffing bags.

Spotted this little fella near the top of
Holme Fell.
Bags duly stuffed I then zoomed around the house a couple of times locking doors, locating the waterproof map case, hunting the charger cable to the mobile for a spot of in-car charging and making sure the cat had food.  Meanwhile Steve started ferrying assorted piles of waterproofs and boots into the car, this he accomplished quite swiftly before plonking himself in an armchair and mocking my continued circuits of the house.  Eventually we piled into the car and headed off.  About 1/2 mile up the road Steve somewhat sheepishly admitted we'd have to turn around as he'd forgotten to put his walking socks in.

Surprisingly we made it to Yew Tree Tarn before lunch, and then began the hardest part of most walks, finding the starting point.  The route around the tarn was easy enough to spot but it took a few goes for us to locate the path up Holme Fell, this sort of hunting is not helped by the fact that I am the most impatient person I know and within 5 paces of where I think we should be turning off I start attempting to scale walls and crawl through bogs.

Rainbow. Taken from a bog somewhere near
Black Crag...
We soon whizzed up to the top of Holme Fell where we got blown sideways whilst drinking tea and scoffing shortbread fingers. (Another thing I love hiking - I can stuff biccies with complete impunity!).  We headed down via Man Crag along something which was once a path but which was now a pretty stream complete with rapids and waterfalls.  Our route then took us up to Oxen Fell High Cross and then up to High Arnside farm where we promptly lost the path before finding it again hiding behind a wall.  At this point a sharp shower blew through leaving behind it the most wonderful rainbow - see, there's an upside to everything.

We quickly got to the top of Black Crag and were blown sideways again whilst this time scoffing tea and a slab of malt loaf which was over a month past it's sell by date, but as malt loaf has a half life rather than a shelf life I think we'll be fine.  Have to say the views from Black Crag were stunning and we've named it "4 lakes fell" on account of the fact from the summit you have clear views of Windermere, Esthwaite, Coniston and Tarn Hows.

The route down was pretty straightforward, mainly retracing our route up but with fewer bogs and more footpaths.  We were soon back at the car, restuffing it with assorted muddy waterproofs and boots before heading home.  Once home the faffing began all over again; wet clothes here, muddy boots there, flasks to be washed, wrappers to be thrown away and, most importantly, coffees to be made, tea cakes to be toasted and feet to be put up as we sank into the sofa.  The best things in life are always worth a little effort, don't you think?
Sun through the clouds over Coniston.