Wednesday, 6 January 2010

A very slippery Circle

The big trick in the snow is to stay warm, even as a kid if i got cold I'd stop playing out and warm up my pained fingers in front of a coal fire..........while crying. Cold fingers getting hot is second only to an abscess and soooooo far ahead of childbirth in the pain stakes.

Me and Craig were planning to be up in Keswick for three days ticking off a number of Wainwrights in the process of plodding around. Day 1 was a reasonably early meet up at Castlerigg stone circle walk 5 miles and then head off to Lattrigg. In truth the chance of both was looking a bit iffy even during my usual preparations for walking. I'd spent at least 5 hours the previous night with clothes, maps, food, bags, boots, cash, tickets, got so bad that my youngest daughter lost it in the end with a great put down.....

'stop now dad! What are you doing? entering a sandwiches and best routes competition'. (you need to adopt sarcastic inferences for that part).

I stopped immediately. Until the little blighter went to bed and then I just threw everything else in the car. Normal service resumed.

The forecast overnight snow was a small threat, but hey I've got a car that's issue for me. At least I thought so until I arrived at the M6 north of Lancaster, it was down to one very snow covered lane and as the BMW 30 yards in front of me glided off onto the hard shoulder I gripped the wheel just a bit tighter.

Craig on the other hand and in the dodgiest snowmobile ever, had gone over the A66 in double quick time and was sunning it in Penrith. About 45 minutes late I arrived in Keswick and promptly slid backwards on the first hill...time to park up. Another friend Chris and his pal Bill were joining us for the day and had also (thankfully) struggled on the same hill so parked up behind me. Oh and there was Craig's car. Gear on, we headed to the circle meet point in the falling snow.

I've never seen Castlerigg stone circle before, but its definitely worth a visit, 4000 years old too.

We took pictures and fed the robin

Chris was having the usual bloke phone nightmare. Ideal for texts and speaking into, beyond that bloody hopeless. 10 minutes later he'd found the camera

Now I've explained the haphazard nature of my packing and then the phone call 15 minutes after leaving home had thrown me out of kilter. Ok so I left all my fruit and snacks that I'd bought 'just in case'. As a consequence a few other things were to go astray. I'd left my GPS in the car, well I had until I was halfway around and Chris spotted it in my rucksack pocket....he hardly mentioned it again.

My map reading for the day could at best be described as spontaneous and at worst bloody awful. Dropping the map on the floor and leaving it 500 yards back along the track didn't really help. We got to a saddle in the hills and I picked the wrong directions by 180 degrees. This is the view from the saddle, it's probably Thirlmere, but honestly it could be Loch Ness

We then came back down via a slightly different path to exactly same point, I refused to believe the footprints were ours and wanted to go 180 degrees wrong again. Still Bill was a tracker so thankfully he identified our boot prints, in hindsight the clue was probably that we were the only people on High Rigg Fell that day. Still at least I wasn't wearing this hat.

From the top we headed down out of the wind to find a spot for lunch near St John's in the Vale Church. Or better still as Chris pointed out 'they are a sanctuary' therefore 'inside the church'.

I'm not sure how far his sanctuary line would have gotten him had the old Vic caught him in the pulpit delivering a sermon according to St Chris of Stockport. Usual fodder for lunch except for Craig who had the beaniest bean soup I've ever seen, he did confess later to adding extra beans. There was sure to be payback at some stage. Lunch over we headed over Low Rigg and via a circuitous route back to the Stone Circle.

Looking across at Blencathra (probably) in sunshine.

Throwing walking poles over stiles seemed to be the order of the day, until Chris threw his first and we went for the walk up the wall passed the style without the going over it option. For a brief moment he nearly bought it...

I went walking (very tentatively on an iced lake).

And after this we dodged the boy racers sliding around the country lanes in their mums cars. As we passed the parking spot next to the stone circle it was filled with a few mini buses, I think we were all trying to figure how they made it up the icy road and the hill that had defeated us earlier. Perhaps a further clue in this photograph.

It wasn't he most strenuous of days out, but really good fun with some top banter. We retired back to our hotel for a swift beer, a bit of a warm and a chat. Did I mention Chris was red carded for falling over on a pavement? Just after this picture was taken.

He's a bloody liability Bill, it's a good job you were there to look after us all.


Craig said...

Excellent write up of a very good day out. When I mentioned to my Mam that we had been to the Stone Circle, she commented that she hoped that we didnt touch anything that we werent supposed to.

I think she had visions of turning on the news and hearing that they had collapsed like a row of dominoes due to reckless feeding of the robins.

PaulB said...

again (and i could say this quite a lot) you do have previous. from loo seats to ducks bills.