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" Seafarer's 24 Peaks Challenge 2015 "

Date & start time: Saturday 11th July 2015, 11.05 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, Esk Pike and Bowfell on the return.

Walk details : 11 mls, 3800 feet of ascent, 11.25 hour day with 5.5 hrs walking.

Highest point : Bowfell,    2,960ft - 902m

Walked with : Myself and Dylan, plus 13 teams and my marshalling colleagues.

Weather : For me, dry to start the day but with low cloud, clearing slightly but very windy at Esk Hause. The heavens opened on the way down (9.30 pm) as it got dark.

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A second mountain challenge, just one week later than the last, found me on Esk Hause once again. 

Different weather, different people but the same idea.

I feature at the end of their first day on the fells, just half of their weekend challenge to climb 24 of Lakeland's highest peaks.

The 13 teams all hail from the international, commercial maritime sector and are raising money for the Seafarer's Charity

All the time they are challenging themselves to complete this significant double traverse of the 24 fells

from Buttermere to Langdale, then on Sunday from Red Screes to Helvellyn.

What a beautiful morning . . . last Saturday it was pouring with rain, this Saturday the early morning cloud and light rain left early

and it summer-like once again.    Let's hope it stays that way.

I meet the Organisers Ian (and Mrs Ian) setting up the radio communications mast at Stool End

I collect my handset and team sheet from them today

which saves a lot of extra driving.


There will be thirteen teams of four on the fells

and I have to see them through Esk Hause

and safely on their way over Esk Pike and Bowfell

to finish here in Langdale.


The time is . . . 11.07 on the farm clock.

Stool End Farm . . . looking lovely in the sunshine.

The open skip is a garage for their quad bike and I briefly chat with the farmer about the foot bridge up the valley that is being repaired.

I need to reach the main Mickleden Valley path on the other side of the river

so use the 'permitted footpath', the green farm track through the fields.

The Langdale Pikes and in particular Pike O'Stickle and Gimmer Crag are looking lovely this morning.

The bridge has had work done on it this week so it is not by any means an abandoned project.

The problem has been finance . . . the National Trust don't own the valley (it belongs to the Lowther family I believe),

the National Park is short of funds and the farmer cannot commercially justify the re-build.

Still he is working away slowly . . . and gradually it will be returned to working order for the likes of you and me . . . and his sheep.

Recent earthworks done just this week.
In the mean time I rely on waterproof boots, Dylan doesn't care.
There are plenty of folk walking the valley this Saturday morning . . .
. . . enjoying the views of the fells as we pass close by.

The valley is punctuated by the sounds of two farmers and their dogs gathering the sheep.

Cries, whistles (and the odd swear word) can be heard as the sheep and their now-mature lambs are gathered off the steep fell sides.

My companion today is Dylan,

Harry having been retired from active marshalling due to the long days and the occasional need for flexibility and speed.

I'm heading left.

The valley (and the photos) have a really green summer tinge in today's morning light.

I can't really call it sunshine as there is still a covering of mist and low cloud over the high fells.

The forecast talks of rain to start, clearing midday, turning wet later towards dusk.

With time in hand I take a slight diversion to look for the "Packwoman's Grave" mentioned in the Wainwright books.

Each time I have climbed the Rossett Gill zig-zags I have tried to work out where it is, looking carefully to where a lonely traveller,

perhaps in the midst of a bad winter, strayed from the path, collapsed and died, only being found months later when the weather improved.

Today, with hints from our friend Maggie I found the site and paused a moment in remembrance of a person I never knew.

If you want to find it then you have to cast your mind back to what the path was like over 200 years ago.

Wainwright did not disclose its location, I'll not give you a grid reference either . . . you must search for it yourself to fully appreciate the location.

The top of the old Rossett Gill path joins the current path after a steep and rough scramble amongst the boulders.

Over the top . . . and down the other side.

Angle Tarn was looking grey, the light now being defused by the overhead cloud over the fells.

An infinity pool and small hanging boulder on Tongue Head.

The second dip is the top of Allen Crag Gill, the second tributary of Langstrath.

There is no glacial lake here, just a backing up of the stream to form a small tarn, hardly big enough to feature on the map.

Up the final steep slope to Esk Hause.

It is out of the cloud this week so the shelter is easy to find.

I grab a seat for a spot of early lunch . . . and Dylan and I are joined by others.

New people and new dogs to talk to !

There's an orange marker at the cairn next to the shelter (it's an inflated Sainsbury's carrier bag - simple but effective)

and two other guys with radios, marshalling another event . . . it is the day of the Wasdale Fell Race

I set up my shelter up on the hause . . . but in a slight hollow up towards Calf Cove.

The shape of the fabric and bent poles gives a clue to the strength of the wind.

I settle in for a period of relative in-activity . . . but there's no rule to say that you can't enjoy the view !

For devotees of the fells, spot Skiddaw and Blencathra in the distance above Borrowdale and Derwent Water

Allan Crags and Glaramara in the centre and the Langdale Pikes just remaining out of the slowly lowering cloud base away to the right.

Before my first team comes through the leaders of the fell Race run past in the opposite direction.

This was Ricky Lightfoot, who went on to win in a time of 3 hours 57 minutes. 

Closely followed by Ben Abdelnoor . . . seen here being encouraged on by Dylan.

Apparently Ben completed the race just 30 seconds behind Ricky, by about the margin you can see in this photo.

Amazing times for this 21 miles horseshoe circuit of the Wasdale Fells.

As the day progressed so the runners ran or jogged, even occasionally walked past my shelter.

First lady I believe . . . in which case this is Jasmin Paris who came home in a time of 4 hrs 14 minutes.

This gentleman recognised me . . . which was a bit surreal !

If anyone knows who it is, please do let me know.

About 100 runners took part in this classic fell race . . . for full results click here

- - - o o o - - -

My first team through arrived at 3pm . . . Team Mauresmo (The Teekay Shipping Co.)

[ All the teams had been given Wimbledon and tennis related names this time.]

As time went on the forecasted poor weather began to arrive.

It was difficult to differentiate between teams and the many groups of walkers out on the fells today.

Sometimes it was difficult to even see the people approaching.

Gradually twelve of the thirteen teams came and went . . . a good performance given the length of the event.

I waited for the last one to arrive, but they changed plans and walked out to Seathwaite Valley via Grains Gill.

That left me free to make my way home . . . but not before my final task of the day . . .

to sweep through Esk Pike and Bowfell making sure all the teams were successfully off the fells.

It was very different weather from last week . . . hold your cursor over the picture to see how different.

Photos on the tops were in short supply due to the weather.  I met one team at Ore Gap and another with my colleague on Bowfell,

but again conditions were not suitable for the camera.   On the way off the summit we passed what may have been familiar faces.

 That sheep and lamb had remarkably similar looks to the ones up here last week.

Hold your cursor over this picture again, to decide for yourselves whether they were the same pair !

Roy and I gathered teams Davenport and Team Sharapova together for the misty descent from Bowfell.

A quick photo call somewhere just below the summit.

Two hours later, after a slow but careful descent of The Band

both teams were safely down and away

to their overnight accommodation in Ambleside.


Unfortunately as dusk fell, so did the heavy rain

and our last team home, like ourselves,

were rather damp to say the least.

Too late for a meal on the way home today . . . an extra Cliff Bar or two on the way down would have to suffice.

After a hot drink when I got home I was ready for bed . . . after all I had to be up at 9am for work.

The 13 teams in Ambleside would, however, be awake by six and part way through their next fourteen peaks by the time that I got to Keswick.

Respect !

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220 compact camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . dog's dinner for Dylan and an extra energy bar for me.

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Previous walk - 10th July 2015 - Ling Crag and High Nook

A previous time up here - 12th July 2014 - Seafarer's 24 Peaks Challenge 2014

Next walk - 15th July 2015 - Angle Tarn Pikes with Jo