22 March 2010

Who turned out the lights?

The weather has definitely changed of late, meaning that much of the rock in the Lakes has taken on a damp, greasy feel, which has made climbing almost impossible. This has not really been a problem; I've been too busy to think about getting out on the rock. Instead I've been spending a lot of time on the fingerboard in between bouts at the laptop working on assignments or training for half a day at the climbing walls of Carlisle or Newton Rigg.

A shower coming in over Ullswater.

That was what happened this morning; a session at the Carlisle climbing wall. However, in the afternoon I headed down south to Newton Rigg, the university campus, for our final Practical Outdoor Activities session of the year. The activity was walking, but the idea behind such a late start was that we could get some night navigation practice in.

Looking down Ullswater to the Helvellyn Massif.

Obviously we were out on the fells, on the north-east shore of Ullswater, before it went dark so to occupy the time we practiced some group management skills for moving over steep ground until it went dark. What was nice about this was the ease in which you could watch the weather systems moving in from both the south and the west.

Looking to make a descent of Auderstone Crags on the western flank of Askham Fell.

It did eventually go dark and after strapping on a head torch we were off tacking back and forth across Askham Fell pacing out distances, whilst trying to religiously follow a bearing in the hope of finding a border post, or a disused reservoir, which turned out to be an old rusty iron pipe, or a cairn on a distinct mound.

Working out the direction and distance to our next point under the light of a head torch.

After we had exhausted the navigational possibilities on the fell we headed back to the shore of Ullswater, where we had begun. and headed for home.

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

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