I hadn’t been looking forward to today for some reason, in fact I had contemplated not actually going. I suppose it was in part due to the fact that I had not at all enjoyed my trip to the Moelwyn’s four weeks earlier, I was still carrying the virus that had hindered me on that trip, and I simply was not feeling as fit as I had been in July and August.
Although the day would prove that my fitness level had dropped, I had a pretty awesome day, putting in the longest route since I wild camped onStyhead Tarn. I walked with Steve and Neil today, we jumped off the coach at Torver to get an extra half hour on the hill, and we certainly made the most of it. We followed a bridleway up from Torver up to a bridge by some old quarries, where we crossed the Beck.
We took a few moments after the bridge getting our bearings, ensuring we did not head straight to Coniston. Steve contemplated walking up some old slag heap that I really did not fancy being buried underneath. To be fair it was probably more stable than some of the crap we walked over on the Moelwyns. We proceeded to walk up alongside Torver Beck, until we came to the site of an old quarry, which had a fantastic little lake inside it, and a waterfall where the Beck ran in to it.
We followed the Beck up to the Walna Scar Road, where again we paused to find our bearings. In particular we were looking for the track that cut the corner up to the top of the Beck at Goat’s Water, and in particular, the bog. When we got up to Goat’s Water we sat and ate lunch for about ten minutes. Neil was surveying a scramble on Dow Crag that he went off to play with. The wind picked up pretty quickly, and I felt cold at this point. The early morning sun had now dissipated, and the cloud was hovering over us somewhat ominously. A family pulled up next to us and disappeared in to a poncho, leaving me quite jealous at this point.
Neil set off to play on Dow Crag, with the intention of catching up with Myself and Steve later on our route. I was quite pleased when Steve informed me that the pull up to Goat’s Hawse was the steepest climb of the day, as it looked far from formidable, especially with its dreaded zig zags! We were on the Hawse in about 10 minutes, and the rest of the day proved to be a very pleasant ridge walk very similar to the one that I enjoyed so much on the Carneddau.
We climbed the final 150m up to the top of Coniston Old Man at 803m, it was a doddle really, just following the ridge along. It was as busy a mountain as I have been on this year, a real pain to find somewhere quiet to water the grass. The weather was as bad at this point as it was all day. We were just momentarily in the cloud, and the wind and rain picked up. We bumped in to a couple of other club members up there, but paused only momentarily before retracing our steps north along the ridge. We had a very pleasant walk over to Brim Fell at 796m, the clouds had lifted somewhat, and the rain had become lighter. The view to Coniston once more became apparent, as the photographs show.
We descended at this point to Levers Hawse before reascending up Swirl Band past Little How Crags to Great How Crags. I had to fight my way past some dudes on the cairn eating there lunch so that I could touch the top! We persisted along Swirl Band to Swirl How at 802m, where we found females on the summit cairn, made a nice change. We descended down the Prison Band to Swirl Hawse. We had just reached the bottom when Neil caught up with us. We sat and paused for a bite to eat once more, this was at about 14:30, we had started at 10:45. Neil and Steve had a conversation with some more females that we had discovered, and I immediately developed the hic-cups, which incidentally I still had up to 21:00, much to the amusement of anyone within about 20 metres of me.
Being stood halfway up Wetherlam there really was little question that I would go up it, but it was much to Steve’s bemusement that he had spent most of the day persuading me to take on an extra top, the worm had turned! The ascent up to the top of Wetherlam at 762m is very gentle from this direction, and I very much enjoyed it apart from the hic-cups. I did regret not going on to tick Black Sails, but it will still be there long after I’ve gone. We turned South and followed the ridge along in the general direction of Coniston, before rejoining the path, and descending in the direction of Hole Rake. We avoided the bog, well Steve and Neil did, my boots tell a different story!, and joined a good track.
It was now about 16:00, we instantly increased pace, sensing a pint of Bluebird bitter was very close. I uncharacteristically paused only momentarily to take a picture of the spectacular, though gruesome, quarries on the East face of the Old Man. We were sat in the Sun by 16:00 drinking a pint, having returned earlier than most of our colleagues. With the coach being half empty we had a double seat each, I slept all the way down the M6, pausing sleep occasionally only to hic-cup. I feel very sore a day later, but I thoroughly enjoyed the walk, and hope for more like that in the future.