27 November 2008


Like mentioned in the past I don't have lectures on a Thursday so I am pretty much free to do what I want, when I want. With the lack of rain in the Lakes I didn't have that much motivation to find a paddling crew for a descent of what would probably be some lubed up rocks. Instead I headed into the fells for a chance to stretch my legs, and log a few more mountain days to help fill my Mountain Leader logbook I received a couple of weeks ago. I found what looked like a nice walk on one of the many websites dedicated to routes in the area and then checked it out on the map. The aim was to summit three peaks all above the 650m mark all on my bill so I had to rely on my own navigation skills. This meant that first of all I would tick off Little Man (865m), then Skiddaw (931m) and finally Sale How (666m) before traversing around the foothills of Lonscale Fell via Glenderaterra Beck.

A monument on the hill sides above Whit Beck.

The weather was far from ideal on the ascent up to Little Man with strong winds and ravishing rain, which stung any exposed flesh. I reached the top of Long Man and decided that climbing a further 60m+ to the top of Skiddaw, whilst on my own, was not the best idea in the present conditions. Instead I descended down to the col between Long Man and Skiddaw, then tracked out east. Now away from the ridge line I was protected from the strong westerlies and could pace out, in low cloud by compass bearing, across Skiddaw Forest, ticking off Sale How before reaching the Cumbrian Way. This would take me down Glenderaterra Beck and around the front of Lonscale Fell, back to the van.

Looking north-east from Skiddaw House as the sun starts to burn through the cloud.

The weather improved somewhat and I beat away from the Cumbrian Way so that I was closer to the falling water in Glenderaterra Beck as I had read that it was possible to paddle much of the length of this mountain stream. It was definitely too low for a run today, but I suppose under heavy rain it could bring it up enough to warrant the 2.5km walk in with a boat for the grade 4 descent.

Looking down the Glenderaterra Beck valley to the Helvellyn range beyond.

The Glenderaterra Beck Valley in the foreground, with Low Rigg and High Rigg in the middle ground and the Helvellyn range in the background.

The afternoon sun burning through the clouds over Derwent Water and the north-western fells.

All in all it wasn't such a bad day. The weather was far from ideal for my first solo walk, but I suppose that added to the fun of it all. On the positive side, at no point did I get lost, and I could have pointed out, on the map, where I was at any given point. It's something I'll definitely be repeating when there's no water in the rivers and there's no one around to head out for an adventure.

Right now I'm in the library on campus using the wireless technology that has just been installed, waiting for the climbing wall to open so that I can go and help out supervising a group. This is for the group supervision section of my Climbing Wall Award logbook. It seems, right now, that everything I do in the outdoors - be it climbing, walking or paddling - has some ulterior motive; mainly ticking boxes and filling pages in NGB logbooks. I suppose it's got to be done if I want to forge ahead and have a career in the outdoors.

It's Shap International Kayak Film Festival this Saturday so a chance to watch some paddling porn, party and then maybe some boating on the Sunday after a night spent in the van. Should be good.

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

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