The weekend may have been rather damp but as usual, CMC spirits were high and 11 club members had an active weekend at the Smithy Gritstone hut in Thirlmere.
Some of us made the most of the Friday’s sunshine; Wardy cycled 17.5 miles (2850ft ascent) from Langdale to Coniston via Little Langdale and Tilberthwaite . Martin and Giles walked up Steel Fell to Helm Crag from Grasmere. Flo and I cycled a 17.8 mile (2560ft ascent) circuit around the back of Skiddaw from Threlkeld, repairing a puncture on route and still getting back in daylight !Everyone had arrived at the hut by the evening allowing time to catch up and consider options for the weekend.
Saturday’s weather was as forecast …. wet and windy. Undeterred, Dick, Barbara, Paul, Michael, Giles and Martin decided to walk to Keswick via High Seat and Bleaberry Fell. The road on the west side of Thirlmere is still closed to traffic and in places quite tricky for pedestrians to pass. Careful route finding on the hillside took them under, over and around massive tees uprooted during March storms. After refreshments in Keswick, they caught the bus back to the hut.
Wardy, Paul, Antony, Fiona and me, cycled a 10 mile circuit on bridleways to the south end of Thirlmere then back on the west side of the reservoir. Three high wire barriers on route meant bikes had to be passed over walls and under fences…. would have been tricky without Paul and Antony’s help! Almost back, we crossed the dam where unbelievably one of two sheep in a frenzied state ran up the sloping dam wall and leapt into the choppy reservoir. It survived the 12 ft drop and managed to swim to a rocky island where Antony kept a close eye and alerted the farmer – hopefully it’ll have been hoisted to safety by now.
Our communal meal was a the usual feast with contributions from everyone and a joint effort in the preparations. In the cosy dining area with the log fire blazing, and all doors open to let the heat out, we tucked into nachos and trimmings, chilli and a delicious selection of apple desserts.
The weather on Sunday was a little better in the continuous rain had changed to drizzle! Paul and Antony ran a wet and windy 6 mile loop on Wansfell on route home. Martin and Giles walked to Swirls and back along the lake side and
FIona, Dick, Barbara, Paul, Michael and me went for a wander over High Rigg – atmospheric views over Skiddaw to the clear weather beyond.
There is no doubt that Langscar’s ‘attraction’ of easy access is countered somewhat by its potential for a ‘fatal’ outcome as boulders large and small hailed down on us from above. Nonetheless, adorned with hard hats (except for Keith whose head is hard enough anyway) we tackled V Groovy (S) and Crown of Thorns (VS **) before deciding that a top rope was the only sensible option if we were going to continue.
Numb Fingers (VS 4b) probably deserves a *, while The Tower (F6b) and Lurcher (F6c) proved wildly overambitious.
While Boris Johnson was delivering his rebuke of the Chequers Plan and with gusts approaching 30 mph, ‘Br’exit was inevitable and reentry to Langscar was negotiated for next Wednesday. Returning to Woodcutters enabled a few more ticks to be had which included Are Yew In (5b), Are Yew Out and Dodgy Brexit (6a+*). Two remainers had belated Birthday Surprise (5b) and Ben Hur (6a**) was defeated before Three Steps to Heaven (5c**) heralded an early departure to The Talbot.
I little bit of wind and rain was not going to stop the dynamic duo ( The Double ‘A’s) from getting onto the rock this weekend, albeit another visit to Giggleswick. Slippery slopers gave an additional dimension to Three Steps to Heaven (5c**), Centerpiece (6a*) and Debbie Direct (6a+**). To the left of Woodcutter’s Buttress are a number of recently added lines that remain unnamed (5c/6a*). The Main Area offered up First Plaice (5) and the now bolted Moribund (6a+*) and as the mist swept in from the west, we got to the third bolt on September Flake (6a+***) before progress was brought to an abrupt and wet end and the maillon was deployed.