|Skelgill Bank with Bassenthwaite Lake behind.|
We'd decided to take Delores up and camp for a few nights to save us the one hour each way drive but as we drove through the biblical downpour on Friday evening the plan seemed rather less brilliant. We found the site and parked up easily enough, but as we sat huddled in the van listening to the rain drilling holes in the roof we couldn't help remembering that there was a perfectly good house fewer than 60 minutes drive away. I poured myself a large glass of wine to rule out any possibility of a break for the south. The next morning didn't so much dawn as bubble to the surface, with the pouring rain now being given a little more "oomph" by the prevailing gale. I called Esther and agreed to postpone the maiden hike until Sunday and we instead spent the afternoon tucked up snug and dry eating cake and drinking tea (or "carbo loading" as I like to think of it) with our good friends Caz & Ian.
|On the top of Catbells|
I'd like to tell you that Sunday arrived a little more quietly than Saturday did, but the thing is we'd camped on a working farm. Now this may sound very "Famous Five" but the reality is our hardworking farmers are up bright and early 7 days a week and the combined chorus of dogs, chickens, cows and sheep had Steve convinced we were in the middle of a real time re-enactment of "Old MacDonald had a farm". There was a definite "swear, swear here" coming from Steve's side of the bed at 5am.
Having stuffed the rucksack with just about every available foodstuff we owned we headed off to collect Esther. I was very mindful of the fact that on this walk I wouldn't have the luxury of bickering with Steve about which path we should take; I was going to have to be responsible for an inexperienced hiker so, mindful of this fact, I packed an extra pack of peanut M&Ms in case of emergencies. Steve deposited us at the foot of Catbells and we were off!
|Views back up the valley to Dale Head|
By the end of the hike the skies had cleared and the weather was on its very best behaviour with the nearby fells all clamouring for our attention. All around us tired hikers were making their way back to their digs with full cameras, empty stomachs and heavy legs, but none of us was too tired to re-tell the tales of the days adventures, accompanied by a cold pint, a hot dinner and a great big grin.