DISTANCE Just under 10 miles
WEATHER Bright to start with then wet
START / FINNISH Roadside parking just outside Elterwater
To say that I was looking forward to this walk was an understatement, first walk in a new area, upping the type of terrain slightly and not only walking with my regular walking partner Yvonne but I was walking with the legend himself Dave, the only downside was the typical weather, as you know its been really pants now for ages, grey low cloud and constant rain, not what I wanted. So after consulting with the all knowing Goggle weather god a day was decided and that was that , times and meeting places where agreed and off we set .
The view from the car .
The route had been left to me to sort out , and I wanted to treat this walk as a mooch around to see what is possible and what wasn’t possible for me to do , there was a couple of places that I wanted to get to but other than that it was purely a suck it and see approach . I did a small amount of homework on the route and printed off a couple of maps that I e mailed to Dave and Yvonne and was touched that they had that much faith in my navigating skills that they didn’t bother to bring them along (or was it a case of couldn’t be bothered ) anyway all thing s got off to a good start , the weather was spot on , we all met up at the right place at the right time , I made coffee (the only way to start a walk ) Yvonne even brought a spare cup for Dave (what a creep she is at times ) and off we set .
Our route roughly was meet up at Elterwater then head up (gulp) along the footpath over Walthwaite Bottom up Hunting stile crag turn a steep left and up again to Dow Bank (by this time I was on the point of seriously thinking that I really should get some more air into my lungs and take more notice of the contour lines on the maps when I am picking routes) from this point it was more lung bursting uphill over Spedding crag then my plan was a walk along heading roughly in the direction of Harrison Stickle , using the huge rock face as a focal point , following any footpath or sheep trail that headed in that direction , so off we went Lang How , Raw pike , little castle How Great castle How , Blea Rigg then down to Stickle Tarn for lunch and a chance to see the path way that had been muchly (is that a word ?) talked about Jakes rake one quick look from the far side of the tarn confirmed that Jakes Rake would be a no go for me, however looking at the paths that went around Pavey Ark I feel certain with a bit more training that I might be able to reach the top of this impressive rock and even go on to reach the tops of the “Langdale pikes “(something to aim for eh?).
Dave , Yvonne and Arty leg .
What I haven’t mentioned was the weather, we had a good start but as the day went on, the cloud dropped, and it went from a light wet mist / drizzle to full blow downpour naturally cutting down the views, but we had had a good few hours so I couldn’t complain. But it did mean the waterproofs went on and I started to sweat again. After saying my good by’s to a rather cloud covered Stickle Tarn it was time to cut back down , this was something I wasn’t really looking forward to , the route was down the never ending stone /rock stairs along side Stickle Gill all the way down to the bottom .
Looking down gulp!
I think poor Dave suffered more than what I did..............
with every stumble or wobble I had he seemed to be ready to leap to my rescue and several times I saw panic on his face, yvonne of course was use to my shocking down hill technique and was poised ready with her camera ready to catch the moment I fell, however being the trooper that she is, she readily agreed to take lots of photos on the way down simple because I wasn’t able to .
In fact I was running on pure adrenaline by now and couldn’t do anything other that plan and execute my next few steps , after a couple of what could have been nasty slips I noticed that there is a certain rock that when wet was very slippery and that I should avoid stepping on it at all costs , this of course limited again where I could put my arty leg down and slowed my decent down even slower (sorry guys) and naturally the rain started with a vengeance , but I had to go down this path so it was a case of get on with it and I have to be honest as crazy as it seemed I was enjoying myself , it was raining , the steps seemed never ending and the valley floor wasn’t getting any closer but I loved it , (I wont go back down this way ever again) but right now at this time I loved it , I couldn’t help but think of the Doctor who told me “on a good day you should manage to get to the local shops and back” LOCAL SHOPS INDEED !!!! And as normal my world suddenly gets very small just a few meters in front of me a few steps, then a few more, forget about my friends that are with me, forget about the weather, forget about the cramp in my good leg …..there is nothing that can be done at the moment , thank god or anyone who is watching over me that my arty leg is doing what I want it to , I find myself talking to myself giving advice as to where to step or what to do , (if anyone saw me they could get me committed no problem ). Every now and then I stop and look in front and the path ahead, after what seemed like a life time I am nearing the bottom, this I have found is the most doggy time for me, its so easy to think yeah ive made it and fall down, the pure adrenaline suddenly stops, my senses that have been working overtime suddenly stop and for the last few meters it takes every bit of will power to stay focused other wise I will fall , and as I have said I don’t mind the fall but when its on rock or stones it tends to hurt and I am a wimp so I would rather not fall .
After what seems like a life time we finally make it off the rocky path onto flattish level ground and I can relax , it takes a good twenty meters or so before I can even start walking with “two “ legs again as my real leg has tensed up so much it doesn’t want to relax the calf muscle that has almost locked solid , its going to hurt for a couple of minutes but things will be fine , looking around I see relief written all over Dave’s face , and I know Yvonne is happy and that she snapped some good photos coming down which she will share with me , the photos mean a lot to me as they are reminders of what was a brilliant day and on a bad day at home when my mobility is non existent I will look back at them and thing s wont seem so bad .
The heavens have opened up and I start to notice things like this again, and also how late its getting (sorry guys I know I was slow getting down) I suggest we stop for a coffee at the pub (new hotel) and maybe the rain will stop when we are indoors, we all agree, I know that I need a small sit down and the coffee will pick me up I just hope the others do as well.
Over coffee we talk about the rest of the route, the shortest way and quickest would be along the road, but somehow that doesn’t feel right with me and we agree to stick to the plan and cut over the river / beck and join the Cumbria Way back to Elterwater and the cars . it means a small bit of up and down and some more walking over rough and stony ground but it seems the right thing to do, other wise I feel cheated (I keep these thoughts to my self I think most people think that I am crazy already) I will admit to being totally knackered by now and the last mile was a real struggle and I had to dig deep to keep going. But as always the lakes did there best to help me along with some breathtaking views opening up with the breaks in the clouds.
We reach the cars and I am so happy but knackered Yvonne makes the coffee and hot chocolate for Dave and dishes out some home made cakes, a right proper way to end the walk. A look at the GPS just under ten miles with 2500 foot of ups and downs, yep not to shabby.
Thanks guys it was a good one.
A few photos enjoy:-
Heading up towards Dow Bank
Me thinking what am I doing here.
Not sure if this tarn even has a name .
Looking back down towards Elterwater.
Looking back .
Dave and yvonne .
Not sure where this is but it means more lung bursting up ugh !.
At least the paths winds it way up.
One of the locals .
Small waterfall at Raven Crag ?
I think I am looking towards Heron Island & Rydal water.
Looking back down towards Elterwater ?
Again looking ahead towards Pavey ark / Harrison Stickle.
Looking down into the valley.
Looking back towards another old tarn.
Looking ahead .
Not really sure what or why .
At this point I dont know what I am looking at.
More up ..............sigh!
Looking over the other side at Easedale Tarn.
yet another unnamed Tarn.
Yvonne leading the way.
Slowley getting closer.
But still yet another small hill to get over.
And now the fun starts as the cloud drops down.
Just past Blea rig and time to start dropping down towards Stickle Tarn.
Even with the cloud its impressive.
Closer showing Jacks rake!
Yvonne and Dave heading towards the tarn.
Looking back , pity about the cloud.
Crossing over , you will note that Dave didnt offer to hold my hand!
Last look back , I bet its stunning in the sun light.
Now the fun starts for me.....Heading down.
A few photos as we head down.
Now at the bottom looking up at the cloud covered hills.
Now on the cumbria way looking back across towards Stickle Gill.
Low Cloud cover.
A few more photos from Yvonne when Icouldnt take any ...........Thanks Yvonne .
"MADE IT YEAH!!!!!"
Day after thoughts
Home, bath and straight to bed with a couple of painkillers and a death like sleep.
Pop a couple more painkillers first thing in the morning, stiff and ache all over I think this is the worst I have ever been,(I MIGHT BE DEAD AT THIS TIME I FEEL LIKE I SHOULD BE) I have a nasty bruise right where the plastic socket fits under my bum cheek and that’s going to cause me no end of grief for a while ……………But it was worth it .
Thanks guys it was a good day.