Monday, 7 November 2011

The Truth about Hiking.

Saturday's hike was a 7 hour extravaganza up and around the Tilberthwaite Fells.  We kicked off in Tilberthwaite, nipped up and over Great Intake, down to Greenburn Beck, then up along Wet Side Edge and around the Carrs.  We then whizzed over Swirl How before dropping down through the Prison Band then up and over Wetherlam and back to the car.

Doesn't it bother you when all the route reports you read make every hike sound like something straight out of The Waltons?   I have, therefore, decided to start a new genre of hiking blogs and will be adding a little more realism.  Our route for Saturday can now be described thus:

We kicked off in Tilberthwaite and at the first fork had a bit of a disagreement over the route.  We bickered our way to the top of Great Intake before making up and enjoying the views.  After slithering down through mud and sheep s**t to Greenburn Beck we headed up towards the old reservoir before nearly breaking our necks hopping across the stream.  We then bravely forged a new route to the top of Rough Crags (henceforth to be known as the "rough route for rough hikers") before keeling over in a sweaty heap and devouring lunch. 
View from Great Carr
As we surveyed the roller coaster route ahead of us we enjoyed a lively discussion pertaining to the fact that I merrily ignore contours when planning routes.  My defence "but it looked like a nice circular route" apparently carried little merit.  Continuing upwards we waded through Wet Side Edge (a more appropriately named fell I have yet to find)  and sidetracked ourselves by inventing new walking songs, a game which left me with that old Mud classic Tiger Feet wedged firmly into my brain for the duration of the hike.  Don't ask.

Reaching the top of Great Carr we paused to enjoy the view.  Well we mainly enjoyed the view.  The part we didn't enjoy quite so much was the drop down to Prison Band and the hike back up to Wetherlam which lay ahead of us, but with the sun sinking and no alternate routes available we pressed onwards.  About two thirds of the way up Wetherlam I decided that I wanted to be at the summit for sunset so upped the pace much to the delight of Steve.  We got there just in time but were both panting so hard that most of the pictures were blurred.

And so to the final descent.  With the light fading fast we joyfully realised that our chosen route down from Wetherlam was not the lovely clear footpath as marked on the map, but was instead a rocky plummet, and at this point we adopted two different approaches.  Steve maintained his calm and dignity and slowly picked out a sensible route down whilst I opted to tear vertically down the rock face slipping, falling regularly and swearing loudly.  We both arrived at the bottom at the same time but only one of us still had the backside in their trousers.

It was now completely dark so the torches were deployed.  Hampered by the fact that my compass had packed up somewhere between Swirl How and Wetherlam I had decided to navigate using the stars and poured withering scorn on Steve's suggested route.  I agreed to go his way for a while smug in the knowledge that he'd soon be begging me to tell him more about The Plough.  Five minutes later, having arrived at the exact spot we needed to be I muttered a begrudging apology as he helped me over a stile.

As we made our way back down to the car we paused to admire the stars and the many fireworks going off in the distance.  So we'd been out a little longer than we planned, so what?  I'd rather be lost on a fell in the dark than be subjected to most Saturday night TV, unless of course the bring The Waltons back.

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