Snow, hail and wind in Keswick

Back a little early from the Lakes.

Firstly, a little confession. I didn't camp due to the hugh amount of water lying in the valley. I therefore stayed at the Dollywagon Guest House in Keswick - big ups to the hosts, great b & b with local walking advice and price. Yummy breakie too.

Anyhows, with the change of accommodation came a change of route. A quick map session in the Dog and Gun lead me to the decision of trying Skiddaw. That was that.

Left the car parked by the Ravenstone Hotel and walked up Longside Edge. Whilst it did take a lot of effort to gain the height to get on the Edge, the intitial views over Bassenthwaite were well worth it. The edge it fairly easy, no technical work, and the path dodges from left to right side of the top. The wind was blowing even from about 300m, and each time the path went to the right, the wind hit again.

As you continue past Ullock Pike, you get to final part of the ridge hitting Carl Side - a broad fell top with possibly the smallest cairn I have ever seen. It was at this point that I started to worry about the wind, it was srong here, and I had another 200m of ascent left. This ascent was up quite loose, sometimes ash like scree - one step forward, 1/2 a step back. And step by step, the wind's strength grew.

Just as I thought it couldn't get any stronger, I reached the plateue and a hugh gust pushed my uncontrollably about 2 metres. I could see the Northern top, and I decided immediately, that I would do the summit and retrace my steps back to Carl Side, rather than cover the entire plateau for the possibly easier descent. I think I made the right decision, i had to lower myself to reduce wind profile as the gusts were the most powerful I have experienced. 20 minutes later, I was coming back back down the scree slope. It was too windy to use the poles, I knew I wouldn't be able to place them at all.

However, as soon as I reached Carl Side, they came out and I got some descent speed and momentum down to Millbeck where I saw some wallabies at a farm! A simple 3 or 4 miles got me back to the car. All in all, a fairly easy walk considering the ascent, which was only made difficult due to the wind. I even had my obligatory walking in marino base layer moment whilst walking back to the car.

The evening saw me back in the Dog and Gun for Sundays walking decision. I knew it was going to be windy, with possible snow. So Catbells, and possibly High Spy were the choice.

However, in the morning, I woke to a fair amount of snow. However, I could see much more snow away from the Derwent basin, so decided to drive down to Grasmere for a sprint up Helm Crag. Again, an easy walk up, until I got to the summit, the wind blew strong and fast, but the weather was generally ok until I took my last planned photography. Suddenly, I was blasted with fast moving hail, to the point it reached over my glasses making both eyes water. I immediately packed the camera and tripod, and descended quickly from the summit to a dip where i could get enough shade to get the waterproof top on, poles out, gloves on and camera packed properly.

Again, with poles in hand, i managed to descend in only about 20 mines, having chatted to loads of people walking up, including one guy whose torso garments were limited to a shirt and woolly jumper - interesting choice given the heavy rain, snow and hail. Anyhow, 2 hours it took for the entire walk. I was happy with the photos, and views over Easedale and significant snowfall on Helveyln. The biggest regret was that the wind hadn't been that strong over night, and the planned Angle Tarn camp would have been appropriate. Still, better safe than sorry.

comments powered by Disqus