Saturday, 28 November 2009
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Sunday, 8 November 2009
I have a pet hate of categories and boxes, they encourage prejudice, they limit expectations and they can define behaviour. The latest one to attract my attention is the DWP report (It's Dept for Work and Pensions for now, although it will probably be something else by the time I post this) about ageing. It's conclusions on the UK peoples attitudes to ageing are
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
The last time I camped in Langdale about 4 months ago, I think the remnants of Hurricane Herbert had focused its final effort at flattening the crinkles out of the crags. We had hail, rain and 60mph winds and were forced to retreat when only about 100 yards from Crinkle Crags when one of our group was lifted off the floor.
Having seen the post for an early September meet I bravely / foolishly (delete as you wish) thought ‘lets get everyone back together' and ask the families this time. Luckily the weather fairies decided it was our turn for the sparkledust and delivered possibly the best weekend of the summer.
Having not stepped backwards quick enough during the volunteering for jobs, I’d managed to book the Group Field at Langdale. I kid you not, within 2 minutes of booking some smart Alec I know did the ‘ooooooo you don’t want to do that, it floods you know’. So armed with flippers and a snorkel I arrived early at the site having booked a day off in the sunshine. Tents up by 1pm I figured I really should wait for folk to arrive rather than marching up the nearest hill. I was in the prone position laying in the sunshine listening to The Bhundu Boys with a can of cider by my side as team leader Radder turned up.
Friday turned into a lovely to meet people afternoon with plenty of looking at the hills and chatting to Stella.
With 100% predictability the afternoon morphed into the evening and suddenly we were sat in the ODG and well into the swing of things by the time Robbo and Wendy arrived. Never one to be daunted by a task, Robbo took on the challenge of catching up with the rest of us. Jim arrived even later having erected his 4ft square wendy house to sleep in! Top marks went to Ray who appeared early the following morning bright as the sunshine on the hillsides and ready to walk by 9am. Bottom marks to Radders who was less than 100% on Saturday morning.
Ray, Jim and Karin marched off in search of Scafell or as far as they could go in the heat whilst I awaited more friends and family. Radders snored.
Vicki, Tom and John took the option of joining the party team to the top of Pavey Ark with Robbo, Wendy , my family,various pals and a dog. Radders snored
11.30am sharp and over to Stickle Barn, although it was open, we managed to get everyone past the door and upward. The first section of the climb was stifling due to the late summer sun combined with the lack of breeze in the Ghyll. It took Ossie (Tim’s dog) to show us the benefits of cold water, suitably soaked in cold water everyones mood improved and we made our way laughing up to Stickle Tarn.
After a fairly swift lunch the group split into two
The Jack’s Rake – we’ve never done it before, but our bloke ego’s know nothing better group
Round the side route – we’re women and it ends up in the same place 'why on earth would you do anything else' group
Except for Tim who went to the assistance of the helpless women …….JOKE.... he’d been before so offered to lead the group.
There was a modicum of huffing and puffing up Jack’s Rake, ok it’s a bit steep in a couple of sections but on a dry and windless day like today it’s a brilliant scramble and fairly low risk.
We all made it too the top, I think John had a 3 course meal on the way up but eventually popped his head out and on to the summit. Don't you just love it when summits are hogged by noisy groups taking loads of photographs.
The group then made its way across the tops and then down the valley, while various sad people (mainly me and Robbo) went Wainwright bagging).
Pam was showing the breathtaking view to the children
An hour later there were lots of novices with tired limbs in the pub, but to a woman / man all really chuffed with the days accomplishment.
Only one thing to do now……freshen up and back to the ODG to meet more friends.
Oh except the showers weren’t working! Don’t worry we decided to sit outside the pub so as not to offend the locals.
Friday, 21 August 2009
Pitching by the river had afforded just the right level of white background noise to eradicate errant snores and excitable children – the noise of them, as opposed to the drowning of the brats.
Yet another inconsequential tangent – but SLF released a brilliant tune on their first album called White Noise. They managed to include the words Paddy, spud thick mick, nigger and paki into 3 verses all in the cause of anti racism and good on em for it too. Needless to say everyone except John Peel missed the irony and it was promptly banned from all radio stations this side of JoBerg.
Oh yes back to base camp, everyone was up bright an early to see a swansong performance of ‘cook and go’ which was only slightly dampened by the rain and the lack of buns for the bacon! Still the butty van on site came to the rescue.
Shad did his usual one look at the grey skies and slunk off back to Stoke. Just for once this may have proven a correct decision as a slight drizzle was soon to turn into an all out deluge.
Why have 1 coat when you can buy 6 off ebay (don’t get me started on tents and houses) and so Craig is resplendent in his huge Rab jacket which looks like it absorbing the clouds one at a time. The plan is to climb Angle Tarn Beck up to Angle Tarn and then pick off a few Wainwrights in a circular route back to the car. The climb is at toughest a grade one scramble and provided you avoid the water then probably just a steep hill.
There was a moment halfway up when Craig give me the ‘you bastard’ look before saying ,’just for future reference this is too much climbing’. Ok it was quite steep but it certainly wasn’t dangerous and I think perhaps a combination of reduced incline and improved fitness may result in a huge outbreak of happiness. We’ll find something in the middle for
A good distance between me and 'the look'
Halfway up the waterfall I spotted an otter bounding up the opposite bank which is a first for me, Beechy and Craig due to strategic positioning further down the hill managed to watch the beast shooting back down the waterfalls probably just for fun as there can’t have been any large fish in the beck. Up and up we went in the pouring rain…..it was pretty heavy by now but at least it was warm.
Angle Tarn itself is a really beautiful place even in dodgy conditions with its three small islands set across its midrift. We decided to stick to plan and head south into the wind and the rain………………30 yards later we called this as a stupid idea and headed north with the rain at our backs. One slight detour for me to go hill ticking up Angle Tarn Crags, (which was bloody mental as the wind must have gained 30mph in about 30 metres of height) which I virtually had to clamber on all fours to reach and we started heading downwards.
It was a pleasant enough descent with two noteworthy moments
We were boo’ed by a group of thirtysomethings from a path above us which they thought was hilarious, until I started chucking rocks back at them! And then the best bit
Two fairly young walkers passed us and then stopped Craig to ask directions, nothing personal mate but I’m pretty sure you weren’t carrying a map and had little knowledge of the localle. At the point they asked ‘which is the best path to get to Helvellyn’ I think I would have taken their dinner money off them and sent them home. Wrong mountain range, wrong direction and just wrong except as everyone commented, his girlfriend was very pretty.
We made it back along a gorgeous and flat track to the car just as the rain abated. Still its always fun being on the hills with your mates even if the weather is crap. I’m going to test a variation of this theory with my family in a few weeks time.
Sunday, 26 July 2009
It's the classic Glastonbury complaint or rather complaints although fairly serious liver poisoning could probably be added to the list. Feel free to comment on any others. (yeah I know la la lala lala lalala la Hey Jude is not for inspecting tonsils).