Honestly, my thought process was sound. 'Peter meet us at the hotel, that way we'll all be together if we get stuck in snow on the way to the mountain meet point'. Brilliant, unless of course you can't get off the hotel car park. It wasn't quite that bad, but it did take a good 30 minutes to get back up the hill and onto the main road through Keswick.
Having had a second experience of exec cars in snow we decided to park in a lay by exactly 2 yards off the main A66 about 2 miles North West of Keswick. (or about 11 miles by my GPS measurement...more later). We were at the tip of lake Bassenthwaite and the mist floating across the water was the first sign that this was going to be a good morning for photographs. If you notice any of your photo's on here, they're not, they're mine and I was stood right behind you taking the same picture.
From the car, passed the church along the snowy roads and to the bottom of Barf. The original plan had been to do 5 Wainwrights today but we were at least 45 minutes late already and we were bound to find some deep snow later. The route up to Barf is well signposted and really clear, 15 minutes later about 1/10th of the way up the hill we were already clambering over barbed wired to rejoin the path on the other side of the stream!. Really I'm going to start paying more attention soon.
The climb was at first steep, then steep and slippery, then really silly as we ploughed through thigh depth snow at the forest edge. All good fun though and we'd made a couple of new friends who overtook us on the way up and stole some of Peter's pastilles. The really great news for everyone was that map reading was no longer required as I confidently said 'this way chaps' and followed the footprints. Everything started to slow down now, not because of the steepness but because we were starting to get clear views of a full cloud inversion over the northern lake district.
The sun was shining and the views across the valleys was immense. I could have stayed for hours. Mr Photo chap obviously planned to do so as he started unpacking his rucksack and donning enough gear to open a new Barf outlet store. His picture of us with my battered camera wasn't bad at all, that's that bloody tricky hill Dodd in the background. (with a couple of others!).
Still it was his first inversion ever and he was going to make the most of it. That's if the boys would ever leave him to get on with the job. This picture is taken from the top of Barf 15 minutes later while they were still yacking.
From here a clear walk to the top of Lords Seat and now only one step of footprints to follow, this was potentially tricky stuff. I was further distracted by Craig, now wearing the most ridiculous pair of welding glasses as protection against the sun.......you should try them out in Courchevel 1850 mate, very popular with the ladies this season I've heard.
A bit more playing around in the snow and we reached the summit somewhat later and a bit more tired than expected.
And then a bit more playing around
The weather was starting to look threatening from the west too.
A bit of astute map reading and we were off on a short cut to Whinlatter, this effectively meant following a fence downhill for a mile or so.....again tricky stuff. We played ten pin bowling, goalkeeping practice and how to kill Photoman with an icicle.
I was slightly concerned that both Craig and Peter knew this was the perfect murder weapon. Time to get a move on.
After more playing around and building snowmen the weather turned even more wintry and it was starting to feel gloomy. Still this is the proud father of Snowmancity
It's a lot more difficult to judge timescales and distance in the snow (no really it is , that's not preamble for another error) so we opted for the forest tracks back to the car 4 miles away (10 by my GPS) rather than an indeterminate sojourn to the top of Whinlatter. I was really enjoying this section of walking, slightly uphill, not too steep in powder snow and pushing on at a reasonable pace. It felt like the middle of nowhere as the snow continued to fall in the silence, UNTIL family bloody jog bods appeared RUNNING through the deep snow. There were at least 3 generation maybe 4, it was difficult to tell by the blur that went passed. Shoulders not quite so perky we made the highpoint and then headed downwards through the forest following a very strange single ski track.
At the bottom we ducked through the go ape area, making monkeys, avoiding the parkie and playing on the toys. The rest of the walk was a very pleasant downhill, oh yes with just one last quick double back for posterity. We were definitely on the right route though as this is the church we saw earlier.
Peter opted for a direct route home as the weather was threatening again, we on the other hand headed directly to the pub....just in case.
And finally check this in close up for a GPS plotted route, honestly I wasn't drunk. Possibly not exactly 13 miles then!