Lake District

Present: Claire (organiser), Alan, Keyna, James, Andy, Debs, Sue, Tom, Maggie, Belinda, Shannon, Annie W, Pokey, Annie P, (Izzy & Sam), Richard, Fiona, (Tavie), Dave, Nicola (Maddie). Plus: Paula, Trudi and Georgie staying in a B&B in Keswick

Location: Blencathra View Barn at Rookin House Farm

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It was too good to hope for a repeat of last Easter’s fantastic weather, but we didn’t do too badly for the Lakes! Friday saw the bulk of the group set off across the fields to Mungrisdale, though our destination Blencathra was hidden in cloud. At the village we had the first split in the group, as the advance party were supposedly waiting to regroup OUTSIDE the pub – hmmm, the rest of us walked past (no sight of them) and onwards and upwards without them. Later, whilst the new advance party were high on the ridge to Bowscale Fell the others were spotted walking through the village and off in the wrong direction – several whistles and shouts got their attention, and Keyna led them straight up the side of the ridge panting and wheezing to join us! Between Bowscale and Blencathra there was a second split, where Maggie convinced Sue to take a “short cut” with her, avoiding the climb of Blencathra. The remainder battled with the wind and rain, to quickly reach the summit and onwards along the ridge finishing in Threkeld. Claire then led everyone to the bus stop announcing it would arrive in 7 minutes. Richard responded that there was no chance in hell a bus was ever going to turn up. Sure enough 7 minutes later we were sitting on a warm bus back to Troutbeck with very smiley faces. Not so Maggie and Sue who trudged on in the rain arriving back an hour or so later to find the rest of us showered, changed and drinking beers in front of the fire!

It was also James’ 50th birthday, and Keyna had arranged for everyone to dress up in cowboy gear as a surprise. The boys took James down the pub, whilst the girls prepared for the party. James arrived back to a rendition of “Born in the USA” from a room full of cowboys/girls, USA flags, and party banners; it really made his day. Alan, Claire, Fiona, Richard, Nicola and Dave presented “la raclette” for dinner – and there was a very special birthday cake from Keyna.

There were a few hangovers on Saturday and confusions on who was doing what. Claire’s attempts to gather a group to go walking at 9am failed. When we eventually attempted to leave Keyna came running the barn out and had to flag a car down. Then after leaving but having to return to pick up the correct map, we found a very disappointed Richard standing at the door. Eventually all the right people turned up at Seathwaite to commence the walks. The cloud was high and it was dry so a good day for big summits. We all set off together up the valley towards Great End (as we could not find the intended path up Glaramara). Team Andy (which then got taken over as Team Maggie) also included Trudi, Georgie, and Tom, and they successfully summitted Scafell Pike via Broad Crag and down the corridor route to Styhead Tarn. Claire, Alan, Keyna, Belinda, Paula, Sue, Richard and Pokey summitted Great Gable after a diversion up the lovely Seathwaite Fell, and then returned along the ridge via Green Gable and Base Brown. No official route comes down from here, so Keyna opted for a direct route again, followed by Sue, whilst the rest of us traversed a safer route. It was then for a well earned pint in the pub, before returning to a massive pot of lamb and noodles prepared by James, Andy’s chicken and vegetable curries and Shannon’s infamous prize winning chocolate brownies.

On Sunday the cloud was very low, so several groups formed to do some low level walks, mainly around Derwentwater (except Keyna and James who sailed a boat across it). For others their walks also involved the delightful passenger boat. Claire, Alan, Trudi, Shannon, and Annie did attempt to go high, but got as far as the summit of Catbells before retreating back down to the lake. Pokey cooked his famous roast (for 21 of us) which was stupendous, followed by more chocolate brownies, this time from Sue, and cheese from Paula (which had been rescued from Trudi’s broken down car on the road to Carlisle).

By Monday, the low cloud also included persistent rain, so the most anyone did was lunch in Keswick, before joining the 200 mile traffic jam back down the M6! A different experience to last year’s visit here, but enjoyable all the same.

Belinda (pics) and Claire White (words)

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