31 October 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

... but only 55 days too early. It's Friday again so it means only one thing; more practical sessions for my Outdoor Leadership degree. Today was the first of our two walking sessions and it could have been the best weather for walking, and walking was probably the best session to be doing with the weather the Lake District has been experiencing for the past week. On driving into University, after spending a good five minutes defrosting the van, I was greeted with snowy tops on the Lake District's northern fells.

Driving into University on the Catterlen road to High Dyke with snowy views over Blencathra.

We were quickly on the road again, after having a briefing from our instructor for the day, heading for the southern tip of Haweswater. The plan was to ascend Long Stile from it's most north-westerly point right on the shores of Haweswater, with the final aim of summitting at 828m on High Street.

Looking north along Haweswater Reservoir from Long Stile.

From the very beginning of the day it was cold, but as we ascended the wind got much stronger and the temperature plummeted. However, when looking down the Haweswater Valley there was still patches of sunlight on the lower fells, and when looking up at the higher peaks you were greeted with rolling cloud and frozen, snow covered ground.

Ascending a snowy Riggindale Crag with Blea Water below.

When eventually the long ascent of Long Stile was complete, we were on High Street and in the clouds. Visibility was down to something well below 100m and through a bit of tuition we headed off for the summit following a little red compass needle bobbing around on its axis.

On High Street in the 'White Room' heading on a bearing to the summit.

Snowy shoes.

On reaching the summit we did not dwindle for any great amount of time, but instead, carried on along High Street before starting to drop down, along a path which ran, someway from the edge, along the top of Blea Water Crag.

Making a snow man above 700m somewhere on the top of Blea Water Crag.

The wind had really started to pick up now and at times there was nothing you could do apart from hold onto your hat, lean your body into the oncoming wind and walk in the hope that it would soon ease.

Crossing the outflow of Small Water on the descent back to Haweswater Reservoir.

When we eventually started dropping down the Nan Bield Pass we were out of the really strong winds and the minibus was in sight down on the shores of Haweswater. All that was needed was to skirt the side of Small Water and walk along the outflowing beck, which eventually converged with Mardale Beck just before entering Haweswater.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

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