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" Water Aid 24 Peaks Event "
Date & start time: Saturday 4th July 2015, 10.45 am start ... for me.
Location of Start : Stool End Farm, Langdale Valley, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 277 057 )
Places visited : Mickleden Valley, Rossett Ghyll, Angle Tarn, Esk Hause, Calf Cove, Great End, Esk Hause, Esk Pike and Bowfell on the return.
Walk details : 9.8 mls, 3800 feet of ascent, 9.5 hour day with 4.5 hrs on the move.
Highest point : Great End, 2,984ft - 910m.
Walked with : Myself and Dylan.
Weather : Rain to start the day,dry but low cloud at my start time, clearing but getting very windy.
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Saturday I was helping out as safety crew on a mountain challenge
which saw eight teams of four trying to climb 24 Lakeland Peaks over this weekend.
I feature towards the end of Day One, my three peaks and 10 miles being just a small part of the overall event.
The next task of my day was to drive past Ullswater and up the Kirkstone Pass to collect the radio and team sheets for the mountain day ahead.
A colleague is getting them to the car park there at about 9am.
- - - o o o - - -
I arrived at Kirkstone early and took a short stroll 'sans camera' but 'avec camera-phone'.
I've never been to this landmark rock found on the pass above the roadway.
Dylan enjoyed the freedom of an early walk rather than be cooped up in the back of the car any longer.
[ In case you were wondering, Harry is staying with Joan, a neighbour of ours back in Loweswater.
He has been retired from marshalling duties due to the extended time and distances involved in these events.]
The forecast is for a damp start getting finer as the day progresses . . . so far they are correct.
This is Langdale on a damp mid-summer morning. The Langdale Pikes and the other high fells are shrouded in mist.
I park at the end point of the event . . . the organisers would congregate here later.
Which way do we go now Dylan ?
From Stool End Farm we take the path on the outer side of the wall, back into Mickleden Valley.
I need to cross onto the other bank to join the main valley footpath.
Unfortunately the bridge is out . . . it is being rebuilt and only the girders are in place.
With the river levels fairly low I walk, or should I say wade across the top of the weir in the background.
Wet boots but dry socks fortunately.
The sheep fold at the head of the valley.
Dylan crossing the bridge over Stake Gill, the stream that comes down from Stake Pass.
The couple in the picture are setting off towards Langstrath, I'm going left towards Rossett Ghyll and Angle Tarn.
Topping out on the hause between Rossett Pike and Hanging Knotts.
The weather behind is showing signs of that forecasted improvement.
Angle Tarn Outflow.
There are several groups of youngsters here. The girls huddled in a group, their packs discarded temporarily either side of the path.
The boys are huddled near a single tent, out of sight on the grass bank alongside Angle Tarn.
A wider view of this classic upland tarn . . . the cloud has lifted slightly but it still hides the high summits of Hanging Knott and Bowfell.
Hold your cursor over the picture to see what can be seen on a brighter day.
I arrive at Esk Hause in good time, but the final part of the climb has been into the clouds.
Dylan has befriended a group of three, Jeff, Katie and Simon. We would meet again in Keswick on Monday at Fisher's.
They are walking what I call the "Three Hotels" walk . . . Rosthwaite to Langdale to Wasdale and back over three days,
except they are using a mix of accommodation rather than the three famous hotels for their overnight stays.
We discuss their route onward, modified today by the conditions on the high fells.
After a quick sandwich I part company and head off, up to Esk Hause itself.
There are plenty of people about, several fell walkers heading to or from Scafell Pike
and this group disappearing into the mist, fell-running their way through Esk Hause, probably on a "Bob Graham" attempt.
The teams have been delayed by the poor weather earlier today so I move up to the Calf Cove crossed-shelter for the rest of my lunch.
It is calm here, sheltered from the increasingly strong winds. Dylan searches for somewhere for me to sit.
Theses two shelters, like the similar one on Helvellyn summit, were probably built to shelter the Victorian ponies and their handlers
in the days when "tourists and Lakeland visitors" were transported onto the fells on horseback. A clue to their origin is the iron ring in the rock
in the foreground, probably used to secure the bridle of a horse or pony. Hold your cursor over the picture to identify the rock.
As I waited, you could hardly say relaxed, the strong wind gradually blew the cloud away
and the panorama of Esk Hause and surrounding fells was revealed.
With the sun fully out and the teams sufficiently far away, I had time to bag one extra summit before they arrive.
I leave the shelter to the sheep . . . sorry no crusts of bread left . . . Dylan ate them all !
High above Calf Cove and the clear air reveals several groups of walkers on their way to the summit
or returning via Great End on their way back down.
As I climb the last few hundred feet to my highest peak of the day,
the view across to Lingmell and the Corridor Route is revealed below me.
From the northern summit there is a fine view down to Styhead Tarn and Seathwaite Fell below.
Great Gable is still just in the cloud, Borrowdale ahead and Keswick in the distance, are bathed in sunshine.
My colleague Paul has been 'resting' on Great End since 9am . . . too windy for a tent, he's found shelter amongst the rocks.
He is busy coordinating the radio traffic between the teams, the marshals like me and Challenge Base.
The radios need virtual line-of-sight to work and so a relay at this central position is essential to co-ordinate the information.
Still, now the cloud has lifted he has a reasonable view of Keswick and Derwent Water at last.
It is time I wasn't here . . . I need to be down there . . . back to Esk Hause.
In position once again for the arrival of the first teams . . . Esk Hause looks a totally different place in the sun.
The picture fails to tell the full story . . . it is far too windy to pitch my small shelter here.
I retreat to the base Esk Pike and find a sheltered spot at the foot of the crags.
- - - o o o - - -
The first team through . . . Minute Man . . . the teams have a space-exploration type of call sign today.
It is July 4th and so the leggings and hat reflect the American Independence Day connection . . . or maybe not !
Delayed by poor weather this morning, the team is nevertheless keen to continue,
so I confirm their route over Esk Pike and Bowfell is clear and they set off, accompanied by a fifth member for a short distance.
The second team through is Athena, they too are looking keen despite the earlier early morning setbacks.
- - - o o o - - -
Six more teams to go but due to the lateness of the hour and the the reality of more big walking tomorrow
the remainder of the teams were advised to cut short their walking today and head down to Seathwaite.
Under their belts today were the peaks of Haystacks, Green and Great Gable, along with Lingmell and Scafell Pike (out and back
via the Corridor Route). They still have the walk down Grains Gill to Seathwaite . . . a good day on the fells whatever you say.
That left me clear to return to base, in my case a walk out over Esk Pike and Bowfell back to the Langdale Valley.
As I leave the sun shines nicely on Sprinkling Tarn and the lumps and bumps of Seathwaite fell.
Heading upward now, following the teams across today's final leg of the event.
Bowfell is famous for its "Slab" . . . but Esk Pike has a similar, if smaller and more horizontal rocky landmark.
In the background, Scafell Pike, successfully summited by most teams today.
From the top of Esk Pike there's a slightly misty view down into Upper Eskdale,
the infant River Esk snaking its way across Great Moss, as the Upper Eskdale Valley is known.
As I leave Esk Pike the Athena team radio's in from the final summit of Bowfell, seen here in middle distance.
Dylan and I will be walking out on our own today . . . but not a problem . . . I'll be following behind them if they need any help.
Our route takes us down to Ore Gap.
The hause below has traces of red soil . . . perhaps it should have been called Iron-Ore gap.
This distinctive patch of red is always a comfort to find . . . a confirmation of position if visibility is poor.
The trek poles get a brief rest as I summit Bowfell.
I'm looking south-east here, with Windermere to the left and Coniston Old Man to the right.
Zooming in on Wetherlam, Coniston OM and Dow Crags
. . . seen above the undulating, craggy ridge of Crinkle Crags.
Is that a yawn from tiredness or is he just bored with me taking photos ?
Whatever . . . here's the view from the top at the end of this fine afternoon.
I thought we were alone . . . but no.
This Herdwick lamb, hiding behind his summer sunglasses, is with his mum who is taking advantage of some meagre summit grass.
Heading down now, the summit rocks suddenly giving way to a clear area of sloping rock.
This is Bowfell's Great Slab, falling away to infinity, dropping into the abyss of the Langdale Valley far below.
Three Tarns . . . sufficient water this summer to keep them full.
Heading down The Band, the spur down to the Langdale Valley
and to Stool End Farm, still a mile or so further down the fell . . . the fells, Pike O'Blisco and Wetherlam.
Late sun catches the summits of the Langdale Pikes as we continue on.
Journey's end in sight . . . at the blue tent down in the farm below.
The two teams and my colleague Roy have walked down from Bowfell together
and I catch up with them just as they get to the farm.
The teams are greeted . . . and applauded in . . . by the Challenge organisers.
Time for them to relax now . . . and then be transported by road to Ambleside where they will spend the night.
The sun shines one last time . . . almost as an apology for the atrocious weather handed out earlier in the day.
- - - o o o - - -
Time for me to part company too . . .
One last thing to do . . . Dylan has been fed . . .
so it is my chance to enjoy an evening meal at the Wainwright Inn on the way home.
- - - o o o - - -
If anyone has pictures of the other teams, or of Day 2, that they would like to share
please do get in touch and I'll add them to this report.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: All but one pictures taken with my Canon 1100D Digital SLR.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . that final plate of fish and chips !
Previous walk - 30th June 2015 - The Garden and the Planets
A previous time up here - 12th July 2014 - Seafarer's 24 Peaks Challenge
Next walk - 10th July 2015 - Ling Crag and High Nook Tarn