Present: Martin (organiser), Olga, Sarah, Bruce, Sue, Steve V, Andy M, Si

Only 8 people made the journey to the Lakes and Bowderstone Cottage; on the positive side, it meant we had plenty of room to spread out all of our wet gear in the hut. This was a necessity right from the start: the previous week’s springlike weather meant nothing as it started to rain the moment we passed the “Welcome to Cumbria” sign on the M6. Those who arrived first got the fire going, which was an excuse for Si and Bruce to get all back-to-basics with an axe and some wood. Steve was last to arrive at about 1.30am; lugging all his gear 600m up a track in the wind and rain wasn’t enough for him, and he opted for some night navigation practice and a long route in.

On Saturday the rain had temporarily ceased, so we had a bit of a play on the Bowderstone (getting all of two feet off the ground; the steps were a much easier option) before setting off on various walks. Steve had another day of navigation in the Borrowdale Fells (you’d never guess he had his ML test coming up), while Martin and Olga walked up and over Catbells from Rosthwaite. Everyone else drove to Seathwaite and walked up to Styhead, where the group split. Sue, Sarah and Bruce went up to Sprinkling Tarn, looked at where Glaramara would be if not for all the cloud, and came back down via Grains Gill. Andy and Si picked up the climbers traverse path on Great Gable, which should have taken them to Napes Needle but the weather clagged in and they missed it, having traversed too low. They then cut down to Wasdale and came back up to Styhead pass, thoroughly drenched. Occasional gusts were almost taking them off their feet and the waves on Styhead Tarn made it look like an average summer day in Margate. The final stretch down to Seathwaite was tiring, and they appreciated Bruce and Sarah sacrificing a potential few hours in a tea shop pub drying off and patiently waiting to provide a lift back to the hut.

Despite the weather, there were quite a few people out, some of whom weren’t exactly equipped for the elements. Our particular highlight was on the way up to Styhead, when an elderly chap and his wife asked to consult one of our (five) maps, because they wanted to go up Glaramara but had lost their map…

The evening was quiet, as we recovered from the day and attempted to dry out and keep warm in the hut, and it wasn’t a particularly late night. The weather got worse during the night, and the hut’s shutters got somewhat active, especially the one right next to Si’s head.

Sunday brought snow, the most vicious downpour saved especially for the 10 minutes when we were taking all our gear back down the track. There was still an opportunity for another go on the Bowderstone, though.

Photos are all courtesy of Andy M; click on a thumbnail to see the complete picture.

Cold and wet at Sty Head

Nurse, we’ve got a bleeder!

Scrambling on Climbers’ Traverse

Andy on the Bowderstone

Bruce, cranking hard

Si on the Bowderstone

Sarah Davies, Andy Miles

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