Sue and I have just returned from a couple of weeks staying in Seatoller in the English Lake District. I used to camp at Seatoller thirty five years or so ago and it has long been just about my favourite place on the planet. For part of the time we were there we were joined by various family and friends and although the weather was rather variable, we did manage to fit in some good walking while we were away. Some highlights include:
Sam and I ran from Seatoller to the foot of Rigg Head and then climbed up on to the High Spy ridge and ran along Maiden Moor and Catbells and then into Keswick. If the truth be told, I was struggling on the last couple of miles, but it was a marvellous experience. I wish I had started running in the hills years ago. I might be a good deal slimmer if I had!
Bassam and I climbed up from Borrowdale onto Glaramara and then walked the ridge to Allen Crags and back down into the valley via Grains Gill. The walk up from Borrowdale was lovely, but the cloud came down on the tops and the long trudge along the ridge was hard going – but even in the mist it is a magical place.
Sue and I (with Bassam) tried to climb Eagle Crag in the Stonethwaite valley. It isn’t a very high hill, but we tried climbing it the day after a torrential rainstorm. All of the little streams in the valley were in spate and for long stretches, we were walking in water that was deeper than our boots. When it started to rain again and our tops were getting as wet as our feet, we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and went in search of tea!
The highlight of the holiday was a day spent on the fells around Grasmoor. I don’t think I’ve ever had such good visibility on the hills as we did then. The Pennines, the Scottish hills and the Isle of Man were all very clear and the Lakeland fells were simply stunning. I’ve never climbed Grasmoor before, but it was well worth the effort – and boy was it a lot of effort. Wainwright says there is a route up Red Gill to the top of the fell. Technically, he is correct, but for the last 500 or so feet there is no path and it is incredibly steep (see the picture at the top of this post). But once we were there, we had an amazing view and a good walk around Wandope and Whiteless Pike before dropping down into Rannerdale. Despite the dreadful ascent, this ranks as one of my best ever days in the hills!
One of the things that I have always appreciated about fellwalking is the way that people greet each other on the hills and perhaps stop for a little chat. This time around, I noticed that there seem to be more and more people who either don’t greet you, or who look rather embarrassed or even annoyed when they are greeted. What a shame.
Another shame is the rather prominent company who are based near the foot of Borrowdale who seem to think that Easy-Jet style bright orange lettering is an appropriate form of advertising in that part of the world. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to make a slate mine look tacky, but they have managed. I’m not going to dignify them with a link!