A Windy Hill Top – Part 2 of Weekend in the Lakes.

Right lets climb some mountains. We are after all surrounded by the beasts and whats the point of going to Lakes if you’re not going to climb anything. The original idea was to climb the Pike from Great Gable but with the recent dumps of snow the reports were still showing that both peaks were hiding beneath snow drifts and Great Gable was a little icy on some of the more challenging sections of her back.

The back up was to concentrate on the Coniston Fells. I’d already done the Old Man and some of the others to the south, but both of us had failed to do Wetherlam. Once told by a friend this mountain is off the tourist trail but can be reached via several routes.

As we started the walk, the word of the day was ‘Up’ followed by ‘Steep’ Straight away we were climbing through disused mines and quarries and before we knew it we were trekking our way down to the river bed through a forest only to climb out of the gorge to a field of sheep on the side of a hill. As the trail rounded around a corner we found ourselves with Wetherlam looking down on us from the left.

At this angle she looked like any other mountain, a sheer cliff face with a ridge over looking a valley floor. But as the path took us in a kind of horse shoe route up and down to her base, the true scale was revealed.

This was not going to be a usual ‘stepped out’ climb of the lakes. It was not going to be a steep walk. This was a scramble, this had scree, and as the clouds wrapped around the peak and the wind blew in the mist to haze our view of what lay ahead. We began with earnest to climb.

The start the hike was as you find on Crinkle Crags, or climbing to the summit of Bowfell. Steep rocks, with a kind of worn path leading you to the summit. From the start we spotted cairns every couple of meters suggesting this was not the straight forward walk we thought. Before long we had broken though the mist and clouds to find that the path we were following which zig-zag its way up the side was slowly being blocked and cordoned off by snow.

The sheets of snow that prevented us from continuing were just that. The water that was running down the mountain was melting the snow from the bottom up so what you had was a sheet of thick snow bridging across rocks leaving often large voids beneath. It was at this junction I thought best to turn back but my walking buddy found a way.

So we scrambled around snow covered path to find the path further on ahead. All the time trying to spy the next cairn and find a safe route to it. Say what you like about them, but these piles of rocks have helped me to navigate my way to the top and back down again several times when the path and visibility has not always been great. Onwards we trekked  and as the scramble turned into a bit of a rock climb as the steep path turned into a sheer climb, we hugged the rock face shouting warnings of scree as we clambered nearer to the summit.

The top of her was patched up in snow and as we navigated around the snow drift to attack the summit from the south we found that the wind carried us up to her crown. The wind ripped and roared past, over, below and through us, and with every gust it tried to push and shove us over in a playful spirit but with sense of underlining menace . Occasionally the wind would  get a little more frustrated that we were not playing and decided to out right attempt to blow us off the mountain in angry from s refusing to play its games.

The original idea of the walk was a circular one, taking in several more peaks before we returned to the car and as we headed east to come off her snowy peak we encountered several snow drifts, some on the edge. The wind was not getting restless at beating us black and blue and the wind chill was not adding to the fun. We decided that the only safe way back was the way we knew and to head on down. As we descended the cloud broke and we saw snow filling the ridges and troughs, giving the impression that the mountain top was flat like a dining table. While we were sticking to the path and making sure we were with insight of cairns we both agreed that we could have easily strayed away and  seeing how the snow was bridged further down the hill-side with the water melting the drifts from bottom up we knew we had made the right choice. None of us knew this mountain and I didn’t want to dance along on the carpet of snow to only to be buried at waist height, or sink into a tarn, swamp or bog.

I think that while the day was filled with excitement, the fear factor was stronger than when I walked Grib Goch, and there was something about the fairy tale opening of the walk with the empty mine shafts and blasted   out  quarries that nature had reclaimed which slowly changed into the bleak stoney atmosphere of a foreign planet with a mix of climbs as we grew closer to her summit.

The Lakes has always been a place at the bottom of my list. But the more I visit and the more I bag, my opinion of the landscape looking samey changes. But with the scrambles and scree this makes yet another Wainwright and mountain that makes me want to visit the Lakes more.

Long Time no Bore

Well Hello all, I am still alive and at the moment still in the UK but will be going to NZ soon as I now have a Visa and have set a date, just need those plane tickets and some spends and then it’s NZ here I come. So how you all been? I hope you have been keeping well. I have still be running, and after my last 10K I did take some time off and am now in a little bit of a flap as I only have 9 weeks till the Snowdon Marathon and to be quite truthful am a little nervous over it as I have done zero training. I keep telling myself I have the miles in my legs and no the distance. I am somewhat thinking it will be like my 2nd half where I did no training or long runs what so ever and felt it easier than the first first half. I know I should not be going down this line of thought but I dod have the miles in my legs so within 8 weeks I can get some long runs in to remind my body what to expect.

So what has happened in the meantime. Well the Olympics were on telly and I managed to get the place I worked to allow me to watch every last-minute of the action. On the night of Mo’s 10,000  victory we were all sat in the green-room cheering on the Mobot. When he won the 5,000 I think I screamed my apartment block down. I have always found Mo an inspiration and someone to admire and seeing him get the double, word can not express how I felt.

I have also moved house, due to a leak in my last flat that no party seemed to be interested in getting sorted, so with the waterfall pouring through the light fitting filling a 5L bucket every 10-14 hours and water cascading down the walls it wasn’t long till the mold set in, and boy did it set in. That evil black and green mold even covered walls in other rooms that weren’t close to the original damage and it wasn’t just walls the spores liked attached themselves to0. Clothes, books, shoes, doors you name it and we probably had it cultivating there along with a load of what we think were drain flys (basically looked like small moths). Again the estates decided that this was not worth bothering about so we acted with our feet and walked.

So apart from work, and the running I have not done much. the other week I did some camping in the Lakes and bagged another 12 peaks over the course of two days which was nice. But my life at the moment is mainly work to save up for the plane tickets and pay the tax bill before I leave.

I suppose the other news is that I have been seeing a Physio who is making me touch my toes. I have a weak hip as we all know from previous posts, but it is also locking out which prevents me from bending to touch my toes. He has been working on my core and stability to strengthen and unlock the hip while making me a better runner. This is off course a whole blog entry in itself that when I get round to it will write it up as I am sure you are all so interested.

Oh well off to spend my Bank Holiday running around Heaton Park and the streets of Manchester to get those miles into my legs.

See you soon.

Wales has Competition

Well I never thought I would hear the day when those words would be spoken by me. But over the past two days i have been exploring the sights of North Yorkshire and by George there are a lot and they are extremely picturesque.

Now living in Manchester I am lucky as I have all of this on my door stop. If I fancy a nice walk in the Lakes, Snowdonia, Peaks, Moors or the Dales then all I have to do is drive a maximum of two hours and I’m there. Now if truth be known I am not a fan of the Lakes. It’s a little bit like Scotland all style over context. It’s the same. Oh look yet another big rolling hill with a lake. Granted it is nice, but there are no natural wonders or none that I have been shown yet.

Well I was about to see several at the weekend when I headed out towards Malham. As well as having a lovely walk, I saw a Limestone Pavement, plenty of waterfalls, several large caves, dry stone walls from hundreds of years ago and what seemed to be an untouched landscape.

I can not write what I saw so instead I have included pictures and links. To be honest you have to experience this for yourself.

We start off we the Limestone Pavement where one of the Harry Potter scenes was filmed at Malham Cove

Then we move to Gordale Scar

Finally before I headed back to the car I saw Janet Foss

What I didn’t realise was that the walk i had just done is the one recommended in the guide books. Its all very clear and is pace is very well signposted which is rather good as I didn’t take a map. I know my bad.

All in all it was very nice and greatly enjoyed the day and seeing the natural wonders of the North Yorkshire.

Getting people running and being beaten to it!!!!

Well I run. We all know that! All we have to do it sift through the pages on the blog to see how much running means to me. The trouble is that other people and by others I am referring to a class of people who I spend several hours with. In simple terms my friends; they do not fully appreciate the running bug. While some have trained with me and have ran the Manchester 10K others can not be bothered or have left there running shoes hiding behind the sofa or scared on a bus doomed for the lost property bin. This may be unfair and is done in jest but I find it hard to get people to train with me. Not because I’m good or quick but because I am always training for some race so have to be strict about the time or length I spend running. But once a week in my schedule I do enjoy a fun run where time and distance are not a factor it’s just getting out there.

I have made it my mission to get people running and not because I care about their health but because I want company on my runs. There’s only so much music you can be forced to listen to on a long run and having some one who you can talk to and keep you company makes the run that all more enjoyable. As running can get lonely and it’s always fun to have some one to share the experience or shake up your routine that you become set in.

Now this is about how I have got one of my friends into running.  I know that this person reads this blog occasionally and might thumb through this post and feel that it is a little one-sided or indeed feels that it is not how it happened. But I’m the story teller so I have control of the events on how I recall them.

Therefore when I talked about running to a recent friend while driving to Wales/Scotland or the Lakes for our 3 peaks weeks he responded by saying he wants to try it, but he gets to out of breath or tired or can’t be bothered. I informed him and he may feel free to correct me here, as I may have imagined this conversation, but I said slow and steady. Run for a bit, walk for a bit. The aim is to run non stop for whatever time but your goal should be to be out there on the street for 20 minutes with running or walking. Then you can build it up and you won’t lose sight of the goal as you won’t be tired from pushing yourself. Three or four runs on he has run 5K in 32 minutes, well some of it walking. it just goes to show that anyone can run, you just need to build your body up to it and being that a large majority of people would be happy with a 30 minute 5K I think well done to him.

The post title refers to him blogging about his achievements before  I can brag about my involvement. But he does mention a friend was one of the driving factors. I like to think that friend was me. And the best part of it, is he is enjoying it so hopefully I will have yet another running partner.