Sunday, 4 November 2012

That's no way to treat an Old Man.

Today was gorgeous, glorious, amazing and lots more besides.  We took a wonderful walk up the Old Man starting from Torver.  (I was going to put "starting and ending in Torver" but realised that if it started there then there was a pretty good chance it would finish there too.  No guarantees mind...)  Anyway, we made our way up via the quarry and then opted for the Goat's Water route rather than the Walna Scar route and very glad we did too, it was a little bit quieter and way more dramatic.

Dow Crags

Dow Crags in colour!
Hiking in the snow is challenging and should only be tackled when wearing the appropriate gear, however today we passed several groups of people who, between them were not in possession of the following items:

  • Back packs
  • Maps
  • Waterproofs
  • Appropriate walking boots (we saw trainers, wellies and loafers)
  • Compasses
  • Torches
  • Food
  • Drink
  • Appropriate walking clothes (denim jeans and a denim mini skirt coupled with leggings)

They did however appear to be in full possession of an overly optimistic sense of their own mortality.  Seriously, show the Old Man some respect!  The thing is, should we have said anything?  Chances are we'd have gotten a mouthful and we know that at least one of those groups got down uninjured (see later).  Kind of like smokers - we know it's dangerous but everyone thinks it won't happen to them because their "Great Aunt Mildred smoked for 50 years and died aged 99".  I just sincerely hope MR read them the riot act when they require rescuing.

Steve over Goat's Water

Old Man Ridge

Old Man Summit

We weren't alone. This was our first clue...
So, time to descend via Low Water and that's when the trouble started.  Am I the only person who prefers going up to going down?  Give me a hard ascent any day over a slippy slidey route down off a fell.  Wetherlam, Fleetwith Pike, Skiddaw, Loughrigg; I've slid down them all, and today I added the Old Man to my list.  I have a *very* poor sense of balance at the best of times and the snow and ice really wasn't helping.  Anyway, I tried to make the best of it and have some fun...

The most embarrassing/ annoying moment of our descent was when we were overtaken by one of the ill prepared walkers we'd seen earlier wearing jeans and white trainers.  Oh the ignomy.  Still we slithered onwards and, pausing only to argue fiercely about the route when either a farmer or the OS were at fault for leading us to a dead end, we found our way back to the car just as darkness was falling.  The first proper winter day in the fells this year - bring on the rest!


  1. So jealous! I've seen plenty of great photos on FB & Twitter of superb conditions - winter is my favourite season - it's a good time to bag the boggy outlying summits!

    Lucky your bumslide didn't cost you some new clothing!

  2. Thanks. Bum slides have cost me plenty of clothing in the past. Was lucky today.

  3. Walking on Sunday was superb! You're absolutely right about having the correct equipment and it's amazing how many people don't carry it. You're quite right not to bother challenging them about it, you never know what the reaction will be.

    MRTs rarely dish out scoldings these days because they don't want people to be afraid to call them out. Even so, they give the rest of us a bad name.

    Sliding down snowfields on one's backside is a perfectly acceptable mode of descent, closely related to the rather more graceful glissade. Recommended that the slider wears waterproof trousers though! If it's any consolation, I must be the worst downhiller in the world, or very nearly. Ascents are no problem, at least not until the thought "How am I going to get down this?" pops into my head anyway!

    Happy walking!


    Nick Rose

  4. Thanks for that Nick - I know it's best to stay quiet but it's hard sometimes...

    Also good to know I'm not alone in my slow descents. Most of my trousers have holes in the backside! :-)

  5. Hi Beth,
    Great blog! Im off up Dow Crag tomorrow and hope there will be a dusting (or more) of snow. I will be wearing my converse trainers, jeans and a t shirt or, far more likely, will be doing my impression of the michelin man. Honestly these people who just wander the hills unprepared ... grrrrrrrrr.
    Anyway about coming down, I agree it is far worse. One of the scariest things I have ever done was come down a frozen Rigg Head Quarry (off High Spy) it felt like if we had slid wqe wouldnt hae stopped until we reached the bottom.

  6. Thanks - they drive me nuts! How was Dow Crag?

  7. Dow Crag was amazingly good! Really enjoyed and I always like fells that require a little light scrambling to get to the top. Pity there was no snow but cant have everything :)

  8. Just wondering if you made it up there in the snow this past week or so?