Sunday, 5 February 2012

Slip Sliding Away

Gummer's How Trig Point
I tried to come up with a really smart and funny title for today's blog, but this song has been in my head all day and so appropriate given what I spent most of the day doing...

Gummer's How Woods.
Having no real plan, apart from wanting to be out all day playing in the snow, I packed a vast amount of food and drink and we piled into the car.  Grange was fogbound but we had a hunch it might be an inversion and as we headed up the road to Gummer's How we were proven correct as we popped out into a gloriously sunny and snowy landscape.  There was a sort of a "mist sandwich" going on today, with lots of mist down in the valleys and lots of it on the tops of the high fells, but in the middle it was beautifully clear - if a little parky.

We were the first people up there and only had to share the fell with a few mildly startled cows, who frankly didn't seem to appreciate the gorgeous inversion in front of them.  We hung around for a while taking pics and surveying the distant fells deciding where to head next.  A big fell seemed pointless as we could see they had their heads in the clouds, so we opted for Loughrigg, although we've done it before we thought its central location would give us some pretty good views, even though we might have to dodge the crowds to see them...

Grasmere
Squeezing into a lay-by we set off, Steve marching purposefully ahead and me pelting him with snowballs.  Reaching the wooden bridge across the end of Grassmere we realised how right we were about the crowds, Loughrigg is a perfect fell for anyone staying anywhere near Ambleside and today it looked so wonderful that you can't blame everyone for wanting a piece of it.  Despite my grumpiness at having to share the fells with others it was actually quite lovely watching families out building snowmen, having snowball fights and generally enjoying the great outdoors.
Continuing Inversion over Windermere and Coniston

We wound our way up via the cave, where we found 3 people deep inside singing loudly.  They emerged a few minutes later saying how wonderful the acoustics were in there and we really should have a good old sing-song to try it out for ourselves.  Enthusiastic though I am, my singing voice is more howling gale than nightingale so I did everyone within earshot a favour and gave it a miss.

Not having a major summit in mind today gave us the time to wander around and explore the many corners of Loughrigg and we enjoyed a surprisingly warm and pleasant lunch atop Ivy Crag before weaving our way finally to the summit.

Making our way down was where the fun really started and Paul Simon's classic tune really could not have been more appropriate.  I have a lousy sense of balance.  Maybe it's hereditary, maybe it's psychological or maybe it's a result of my tiny feet, but whatever the cause, vertical is always a position which challenges me, especially when on icy paths angled 45 degrees downwards.  Eventually I figured that it was less painful to just sit on my backside and slide down than it was to try and remain vertical and fall down every few steps.  An unorthodox approach but what it lacked in elegance it made up for in efficiency  - check out the video if you don't believe me!

We made it back to the car just as the sun was setting where I finally got to rest my poor, sore and soggy backside and Steve finally stopped laughing.  I'm not sure if Berghaus clothing tests usually cover a 300m descent bum first but full marks to them - the trousers came through unscathed - maybe I should ask them for a job?