Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Harriers on Hindscarth

Our home for the weekend- the Bridge Hotel.

Sarah and I arrived at the Bridge Hotel shortly before dusk on Friday. After two days of sitting on my bum on trains and in conferences, I was ready for some exercise! We'd just missed the scheduled evening run round the Lake, so we took ourselves for a little wander around the shore. We didn't go far as it was soon dark and we needed to get showered etc before dinner.

At dinner time we sat with Bryan, Claire, Martin and Jane. I had prawn and salmon mousse, followed by roast duck and it was all lovely, the pudding however was too much and I struggled to finish it. A couple of beers topped off the evening before retiring to our cosy rooms.

Saturday - Up and on early ready for the pre-breakfast lake run. We set out before dawn heading in a clock wise direction around Lake Buttermere. The pace was brisk, the air surprisingly warm for both the time of day and the time of year! The fast lads took a detour with a sharp climb from the lake and back down which they all seemed to thoroughly enjoy!

The only problem with all this, is that we all pile into the shower at once... I'd got as far as applying soap before I ran out of water! Cue scraping it off with a damp flannel. I found out over breakfast I wasn't the only one! Sarah had the right idea and waited 15 mins or so and got a proper shower.
For breakfast I sat with John, Nicky J, Carol and Pat. I had yoghurt and muesli followed by smoked haddock with poached eggs, breakfast of champions!!
Setting off on our walk Saturday morning.

Little chapel near Little Town.

Surrounded by fells. Left- Hindscarth. Middle, foreground- High Crags. Right- Robinson

Next we got ourselves arranged into cars and headed over Newlands Pass to the village hall at Little Town for the start of our walk. We started out along the road until we reached the farm at Low Snab, here it all got a little uphill! We clambered up the eastern flank of what would eventually become Hindscarth. First ascending Pan Holes to reach Scop End. At times we had to clamber up wet slippery rocks, taking our time over hand and foot placements. Still, it was good fun and got the heart racing a little! It was easy to pick out the surrounding fells, Catbells and Maiden Moor to the east, the vast bulk of Robinson in front to the west.
Climbing up Scops End.

Steve B on the rocks!

Part way along the ridge.

Bit more climbing to go yet...

On the final push up to Hinscarth summit now.

Hilary is almost there.

We regrouped on the lower ridge before skirting around (thankfully not over!) High Crags. Here was a flatish area so we stopped for a bite to eat, in my case hot cross buns supplied by Sarah and a flask of hot chocolate. Here the weather closed in and we had to don our waterproofs and gloves. The final climb onto Hindscarth summit was straightforward. I thought this was a 'new' Wainwright for my list, but I have since realised we were actually up here last year, oops.

Hindscarth summit

John and Matt check out the views.

Claire and Bryan join us at the top.

Say cheese Hilary!

Sarah, Lorraine and Sarah!
Descending from Hindscarth to skirt around the head of Little Dale, before a stiff climb up and onto Robinson.

Harriers on Robinson

The long descent onto the sponge that is Buttermere Moss.

A little mist swirled around to create an atmosphere on the rocks high above the valley. It was quite cold, so we started off in smaller groups so no-one got too cold waiting. A long descent onto Buttermere Moss ensued, it was steep in places. The Moss was, as usual, very wet indeed. As I had made most of my journey by train, I hadn't brought my hiking boots choosing instead to walk in my trail shoes. While these are light and very comfy, they are not at all waterproof and very quickly my feet were totally numb from the icy water sat on the Moss. Thankfully, it's not far and we passed to the right of High Snockrigg and missed the main path down! To get back on track, we contoured around the edge of the bank, most uncomfortable on the ankles, before picking up the correct route. Gavin hung back so later parties didn't make the same mistake. The descent from High Snockrigg to the road above Buttermere is very steep, but we made it without further mishap.
Down the road and into the hotel.

I debated whether to take part in the Honister head torch run. I have done it twice, I was a little tired, quite hungry and was comfy sat on my bed eating crisps and drinking hot chocolate...
I put my running gear on, still debating what to do when I was sat in the lounge with my trainers and head torch in my hands!! Ever the glutton for punishment, I thought it was best if I went for it!! My trainers had been stuffed with paper (thanks to the resourceful Booths!) and sat in the drying room so although they were still a little damp, they were at least warm when I put them on.
Rob and Sarah are both nursing ankle problems, but wanted to run so they headed off in the Ute and joined us at the far end of the Lake as the climbing got serious. The fast/stronger lads at the front ran most of the climb up the miners path, those of us further back walked briskly with the odd jog when we realised Rob was looking!! This path runs from the road at the far end of lake, around Warnscale Bottom before sweeping sharply uphill to meet Dubs Hut, an old slate miners hut now used as a bothy. I think in the day light, this trip would be terrifying, but the dark hides the big drop and rushing waters of Warnscale Beck below. We slower runners, made it to the hut pretty much without stopping. We had to have a nosey inside (and shelter from the rain for a moment) where Sarah produced a stick of liquorice which was shared between the group. The track is easier underfoot now, but still uphill as it winds its way through the tips and workings of the slate mine. Almost the last obstacle is a big heap of slate chips which we have to traverse, it's easy to loose sight of the head lights in front here and it's important to stick together. Once safely onto the mine road, we spread out as each runner took delight in the downhill! This is where we find the final obstacle in the form of metal draining gullies across the road... We all made it down without tripping over these structures and found Matt and Paul G waiting for us in the Slate Mine car park, heated seats on and ready to go!!
As is traditional, we all piled into the bar and downed a pint a piece before getting showered and warmed up. I knew it was the right thing to go on the night run!

While in the bar, I'd spied Mark tucking into pasta, I hoped it was on the restaurant menu and indeed it was! Vegetable linguini in a pesto and parmesan sauce, it was lovely and just what I needed. Followed by a lighter dessert this time of lemon tart with raspberry sorbet.
We retired to the lounge to while the evening away with beer and giggles.

Sunday - I greeted Sunday with the usual hangover. Sarah decided to miss the morning run due to her ankle, so I got dressed and slipped downstairs. My still damp trainers were waiting for me and we turned out into the pre dawn light for a hilly wake-me-up kind of run. Along the road to the little car park at the base of Rannerdale Knotts, then we pick up a bridle path which skirts the Knotts before a beckside climb through High Rannerdale. As usual my churning stomach, pounding head and weary legs made this fairly gentle ascent bloody hard work! One day I'll run this sober and appreciate it a little more... At last we reached the path junction on the flank of Whiteless Breast, after regrouping we set off on the fast grassy descent, straight down into Grassgarth Coppice. The last bit through the Coppice is my favourite bit, over rocks and tree roots hidden in the fallen leaves, gradually dropping to meet Mill Beck. At the bottom, myself and a few others went into the beck to rid ourselves of mud and ice our limbs. Steve had to go the whole hog with a swim under the bridge!!

Another quick shower and I was refreshed and ready for a fry-up!! Sitting this time with Sarah, Lorraine, Richard, Brett and Naomi.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Always sad to say 'goodbye' but we'll see each other soon enough at club!
Some people went straight home, a few stay on for a walk around Crummock Water to the pub at Kirkstile and Sarah and I decided to do our own thing. We clambered up the side of the falls at Sour Milk Gill to find a geocache. The GPS on my phone bounced around a bit, but eventually (much to Sarah's excitement) we found the pot of treasure under some rocks. Then we took a walk in the glorious sunshine around the lake, one last cup of tea in the café before finally heading home.

Looking down Sour Milk Gill

Geocaching - Found it!

Sour Milk Gill from below.

High Snockrigg from across the lake.

Especially for Coach Sonja- Sarah scooting on a log!!

Sunny lake scenery.

The teashop was full of baubles!

I can't recommend the Bridge enough, the rooms are really nice, the food is fab and the staff are really friendly and enjoy a bit of banter with the guests. Can't wait til next year now...

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