Memories from a trip to Patterdale - 2008
The stay at the Patterdale hotel during the big summer walk was
enjoyed by all so a three night visit was arranged for October.
A good number of walkers turned up for the trip - Sean, Alison, Dave, Macca,
Ken, Jon, Terry, Gordon, Jane and Harry and Shelley from the Blue Mugge.
This would be Harry and Shelley's first venture onto the bigger hills so an
exciting weekend was in prospect.
The initial plan was to drive up to the Lakes early on the Friday and take
in a small walk. The forecast wasn't good so the idea was abandoned and so
we all sauntered up in our own time. The abandonment was a good idea as the
weather was appalling - so appalling in fact that a severe weather warning
was in place for Cumbria!
Sean, Alison, Harry, Shelley, Jon and Ken met up in Ambleside for lunch a
small number of beers before heading off over the Kirkstone Pass and into
Patterdale. The journey was horrendous due to the heavy rain and at times it
looked like the road was impassable. The brave drivers ventured onwards and
before long we were checking in at the Patterdale hotel in readiness for
beers, food, wine and beers.
The forecast for Saturday was better but the flooded fields seemed to
suggest that a bad day was in prospect.
Unbelievably we awoke to a beautiful sunny morning.
The decision was made to tackle Helvellyn and take in the famous Striding
Edge. Terry had already walked the ridge twice during the week but had no
qualms in making it a hat trick.
Alison, Dave and Macca joined us with the 'hole in the wall' being the
likely end point - unless they felt like continuing onto Helvellyn?
Ken, Shelley and Harry enjoying the gradual ascent of Birkhouse Moor.
Harry is thinking 'how pleasant is this?'.
Terry entertains the team with tales of his previous heroics. Dave
Swarbs can be seen somewhere over Terry's right ear.
The weather was superb! We couldn't wait to get to the 'Hole in the wall'
where the real fun begins. Unfortunately Dave wasn't exactly sherpaesque and
a fair wait ensued at the 'hole' as Dave struggled to find any pace.
We all eventually gathered at the wall where the decisions were made as to
who would carry on over Striding Edge and who would walk back towards
Glenridding. Alison was tempted to join the main group and tackle the ridge
but her experiences on Fairfield earlier in the year coupled with a lack of
walking since then forced her to join Dave and Macca on the downward route.
Team Failure prepare to head back down. Dave is already on his way.
Onwards and alongwards we went - the indistinct ground between the hole
in the wall and Striding Edge was soon behind us and we reached the start of
Harry decided to let Sean onto the ridge first and then, as Sean walked on
the top of the rocky ridge, he exploded into an amazing foul mouthed tirade.
H wasn't happy - not happy at all!
Each member of the team found their own route over the ridge with some
opting for the ridge crest whilst others used the tracks on the northern
slopes. As we progressed it became apparent that a member of another walking
party had fallen and was been treated\comforted by fellow walkers. As we
walked above the victim we were told that he had fell and broken a leg so we
awaited the arrival of mountain rescue.
Walking past the injured walker didn't make H feel any happier. If anything
he decided to go 'for it' and complete the main ridge as soon as he possibly
could. At one point he followed Sean around a point where a greasy sloping
ledge had to be crossed. Sean decided that it could be too greasy underfoot
and that the final 'crux' step could result in a 10ft fall so attempted to
turn back and find a safer route. H decided that he was continuing no matter
what so continued over the crux and survived.
We had now reached the western end of the ridge and all that remained was
the final scramble down the rocky gully.
H and Shelley about to embark on their incredible tourette-fuelled
journey. This blurred photo was taken by Jon Gilson's .0002 megapixel camera
The descent from the ridge always appears a lot worse than it really is but,
as is now standard practice, Sean decided to get down quickly so he could
capture any falls on camera.
Ken descends carefully down the final gully whilst H, Shelley, Terry and
Jon look on. This is one of the few moments where sheer terror can be seen
on H's face.
H wasn't happy about this either so he decided to move Shelley along by
kicking her in the back. Just how many insurance policies has he got for
Jane was assisted down by a slim, muscle girt young lad, much to Gordon's
disgust, and at one point it looked like we were in for a mountain 'scrap'
when the young pretender gently caressed Jane's posterior over a tricky
rock. Luckily, Jon didn't mind Terry caressing his posterior during their
We all eventually reached the foot of the gully and ate our lunch on the
small flat section before the steep climb onto the summit of Helvellyn. The
mountain rescue helicopter had landed on the summit above us after circling
the area immediately above the fallen walker - what were they planning to
Lunch over and time for the enjoyable scramble onto Helvellyn!
Terry gives the mountain rescue team some valuable advice - 'You see
Penrith over there? Don't go to the market on a Friday as Saturday is market
day'. Meanwhile the victim was bleeding to death.
The mountain rescue team passed as we ascended and after a few minutes the
summit ridge was reached. The helicopter decided to leave the summit (and
nearly blow us off the ridge) and we watched as it flew into the distance.
'This is Tango, Foxtrot, three, seven, six - about to leave summit -
over, very windy - over, two overweight walkers seen in the vicinity of
Glenridding - over'
Summit team shot 1.
Summit team shot 2 - Gordon becomes the first man to successfully shit
on all of the Lake District's 3000ft summits. What an achievement! H had
shit himself on six separate occasions earlier in the day.
We walked off the summit and over the summits of Nethermost and Dollywagon
Pikes and then descended into Grisedale where we took the gentle route back
An excellent day's walking had been enjoyed by all.
H and Shelley ate breakfast and returned to Leek knowing that they
had safely conquered one of the world's most dangerous peaks.
The weather was OKish but appeared to be rather cloudy on the high summits.
The forecast was good however so team success decided to take on the High
Street range whilst team failure decided to tackle Gowbarrow Crag or, as
it's more commonly known, Grandma's peak.
Team success drove up to the Kirkstone Inn and into the cloud. It looked
pretty dank but we all knew that the cloud would blow off and present
fantastic panoramic views in all directions.
The cloud remained in place as we walked up to the first peak - Caudale
Moor. The going underfoot was slightly boggy and in complete contrast to the
sun and bare rock enjoyed on the previous day. A short march over to the
summit of Stony Cove Pike was next on the route before the 600ft drop into
Terry taking in the views on Stony Cove Pike.
The damp rocky descent required careful foot and hand placement and we were
all glad to reach the 'mouth'. Unfortunately a 600ft slog of an ascent
awaited which would take us onto Thornthwaite Crag where the weather would
hopefully turn for the better.
On we went, up and up, with only 20 metre visibility.
The walk was such a success that Sean decided to have a big smile.
The beacon on Thornthwaite Crag suddenly appeared, when we were right next
to it, and we decided to stop for lunch. The weather was still crap and we
had given up all hope of it clearing.
We took a bearing and headed for the next peak, High Street. The cack
weather resulted in us staying to the west of the summit rather than hunt
about for the triangulation point - we couldn't see anything so we ventured
northwards with the hope that the gradual descent would result in a view or
The original plan was to head over to Angle Tarn and remain above the valley
before eventually dropping steeply into Patterdale but due to the weather it
was decided that a descent to Hayeswater would be a more scenic option.
As we descended we dropped out of the cloud and finally enjoyed a decent
Jane marvels at the row after row of peaks in view. Jon maintains that
Jane told him to 'put that fucking camera away or I'll shove it up your
arse'. Very un-Janelike but the weather and the crummy ascents weren't going
down too well.
We stopped for a while at the side of Hayeswater and then continued to
Hartsop where the final stretch would take us into Patterdale. As we walked
up to the hotel the rain began and we bumped into team failure as we marched
onto the hotel car park. They had enjoyed a day of warm sunshine and even
had a tinge of a tan to brag about - bastards!
Descending out of the cloud towards Hayeswater. Is that the Ben?
Gordon's about to ask Jon if he's dropped one. Jane confirms that he
Both teams met in the bar and we shared tales of each teams walk. Team
success quickly described how we'd seen nothing whilst Team failure detailed
their day of never ending views and that the intense heat meant that they'd
walked in t-shirts for most of the day.
More food, more wine and more beer flowed - that was it, the weekend was