I'll get on to 'him' later, but in the meantime a few other rules, regulations and bloody obvious truisms could do with further investigation.
If the average speed cameras on the M6 are working then I'm probably in for a hefty fine a best, if the highways agency processing department are running a few months behind then my best hope is to head for the border (at 49.5 mph). Despite a slightly late start we were in the car park in Kirkstone Pass bang on the allotted hour with only a slight wheel spin into the car park to beat the clock. A magnificent seven turn out with some faces I hadn't seen for a while, it already had potential to turn silly. Today's plan was a kind of horseshoe walk but with a pub right in the middle. (now that would be a good law for all walks).
There had already been some debate about clockwise or anti clockwise as the optimum route. We opted for anti clockwise on the basis the first climb was less steep.
We set off and as we passed Brother's Water, looking at High Hartsop Dodd I was beginning to think 'it didn't look that steep last time I was here'. Mind you, I wasn't climbing it last time I was here.
We should really find a solicitor to walk with us who knows his stuff (I know it could be tricky but they must stop writing letters eventually and they can't all be making it up). I reckon I'm qualified enough at the Bar to be pretty certain that building a cesspit in the middle of a public footpath is a bit out of order. To then encourage your cows to swim in it and fence all the walls around it is just evil. Mikes southern nostrils really weren't up to the challenge. I'm still not sure it's a good enough excuse for the prissy pose though! It's worth double clicking the picture to see his facial expression as he turned back.
Robbo's dalliance prior to the cesspit meant we could record him trying to avoid landing in the stuff.
After the e=mc2 stuff, Newtons Laws of Gravity are probably the best known of all the natural scientific laws. Other than 8 pints + = kebab NOW.... obviously.
Then why is it that I'm always surprised at just how knackered I get going uphill, moreover looking back at the photo's it seems that we reached the top (of what is surely one of the most strenuous climbs in the lakes) in perfect height to weight ratios. Skinny Mike and Ray at the front, party Robbo and Jim at the rear. I was somewhere tucked in the middle ....about 5 yards in front of Robbo. I think we were all relieved when we reached the top, I was also pretty pleased I hadn't persuaded any beginners to join in, I might have succumbed to the punch in the gob law.
And so from here we headed along and slightly up to Little Hart Crag. All going quite well. Two laws were about to synchronise in perfect harmony to put a different slant on the whole day.
1) If you leave your gaiters at home and walk in deep snow you'll be sorry AND 2) never make the same mistake twice.
Rule 1 - For the first time ever I was gaiter free, honestly I wear them with shorts some days, even when I'm just nipping out for a paper, it was inconceivable that I would forget them, especially on a day when I was wearing my 'wide top Brashers'.
Rule 2 - And last week we'd taken a shortcut through the snow only to end up waste deep in it and absolutely shattered after dragging ourselves through it. The trouble is, that it's very tempting to avoid gaining too much height when you can cut cross country and avoid the ups and downs. We couldn't even claim ignorance as an excuse as we ploughed into the first snowdrift and bog mix, still we were 7 blokes and not one of us was ever going to say lets turn around and do the sensible thing. Note for future walks, always bring at least one female along.
With almost perfect timing the snow that had melted through my socks and into my boot also started to squelch and it was getting colder. In another 15 minutes we were starting to split into groups each trying desperately to find a snow free track to Middle Dodd. Well there wasn't one! Mike demonstrated his ridiculous levels of fitness by performing his walking on air trick and arriving at Middle Dodd 10 minutes ahead of everyone. Ray would have been right behind him but for the foot in the hole incident, in all seriousness if he was solo walking he may have been in real trouble. Either he really did jam his boot under a rock buried deep in the snow or he was faking it to stop the lardy brigade overtaking him.
As we left Middle Dodd to make the ascent to Red Screes I was having my own Heather Mills moment, ie I was particularly miserable and couldn't feel anything under my right ankle. My soaking boot had frozen as we'd gained altitude and the temperature had dropped, I normally a cheery sort, but I was having a major sense of humour failure. 15 minutes of gritted teeth lone walking and I reached the highpoint of the day. Still with gritted teeth!
I'm sure Red Screes is a major climb at anytime of the year, but by the route we'd chosen and in the conditions we'd found, it was a heck of a challenge.
Suddenly the pub was in site and the party was about to begin.
For those who don't know, Red Screes is a tad steep on the north side and in the remnants of last weeks snow it was a bit bloomin dangerous stepping down up to your knees. Twisted limbs were only one hidden rock away. New rule, if in doubt, take to your arse! .......whatever you do, don't drink before applying that rule and be very careful what the circumstances are. These were perfect conditions though, steep slopes just enough snow and stacks of straight runs for sledging.
we snowballed and we had an absolute hoot all the way to the bottom. Definitely my favourite downhill from a mountain so far. And that, should have been that really, the snow had slowed us down so much we wouldn't have time to make the second part of the walk so the escape route via the pub and down the road back to the cars was calling. That was without the intervention of Judge Dread. What a bloke was doing with a pair of binoculars outside a closed (Yes for the second time in 3 weeks CLOSED pub) looking at a mountain covered in mist for hours on end just befuddles me. This is pretty much how the conversation went
'alright lads'........... 'erm, alright mate, hello nice afternoon'
is it? 'I'VE BEEN WATCHING YOU'............'oh'
'Yes, and you were a menace to the mountains, and your sledging was causing a huge avalanche risk' .....I already had him down as a nutter at this point but on he went
'and wearing shiny trousers makes it worse' (this must be one of the great unknown laws of avalanches), I'll certainly remember not to wear my spangly dancing pants when I'm walking in snow in future, you can't be too careful.
The two highlights though were 'I'm a spotter for mountain rescue' NO such JOB
and Rays' 'it wasn't me', that was brilliant! you must have an older/bigger brother Ray who landed you in it all the time when you were a kid.
In the end we just got bored with the lawman and drifted off into the sunset in search of a different saloon.
Luckily halfway down the pass the second one was open and we managed to grab some hooch. The medicine worked well and my foot recovered, I have a new law now; a pint of cider a day keeps the frostbite away, and I'm off to test the theory in my front room. Next time we'll do the route clockwise, sneak up on old grumpy draws and pelt him with snowballs. Unless that's a bit immature?