DATE                            11.05.12

DISTANCE                   8.8 MILES

WEATHER                   WET , WINDY , SNOW , SLEET & SUN

START / FINISH          GLENRIDDING YHA CAR PARK

Helvellyn

Before I get to carried away with this trip report, I would just like to say how touched I  was by the amount of support that I received by some very nice people (well I’m  touched anyway)   , to start with my old walking partner (Cheviot stroller)  got out of bed early drove to our pick up point . Only to let me know that she was unable to join me today because of a poorly rib. Then she proceeded to give me a dish full of sweet treats for the walk, so thanks Yvonne that was really nice of you and hope the rib heals sooner rather than later.

The duty manager of the Helvellyn YHA went above and beyond what was required from her not only letting us know about conditions up on the summit but also for giving us the secret code so we could let ourselves in and make a hot drink if we returned early and there was no one in, lastly she asked for our mobile numbers and our expected return time so she would contact us if we where late. I don’t know what would have happened if we where late I fully expect to see the cavalierly charging up the mountain to our rescue and for the wonderful welcome we both received on our return . In fact all the staff made us feel welcome and we weren’t even staying there.

Then I own another thanks for John (brandywell) for some info that he sent the Big man AJ about a certain section of the route that I would have to do as there wasn’t an alternative , just letting me know Before I committed myself . Thanks John it was really appreciated.

And lastly big thanks for the big man himself Dave (AJ), who kept up the banter, did his best to shelter me from the really strong winds, never once complained that the pace I was walking was silly slow or look at his watch . And gave me the encouragement to say “this is pointless let’s get off this bloody mountain before we freeze to death” without feeling a failure. ……..Cheers mate

Right the walk, I didn’t have a route planned I was going to leave it Dave, he had been up there before and knew about my limited ability, but it was very flexible.

We parked up and set off from the Yha at Glenridding, we both knew that it was going to be a wet day by this simple fact it was raining and had been raining for the last 24 hours or so in fact I had even taken the steps of packing a snorkel and flippers into my rucksack.

Our outward route was along to Glenridding common, up the side of what I think is red screes, Whiteside bank, Lowerman, and Helvellyn.

Whilst we where up there I also wanted to have a closer look at Swirral edge, and striding edge just to see what they are like in the “flesh”.

Then the return leg was going to be back via raise, Sticks Pass down the gill to Stang end and back down via the old mine ruins ……………However things change.

The first thing we noticed was the lack of views as we started to gain a bit of height, added to that the wind was picking up, nothing to get concerned about at this stage, as we got higher the rain duly turned to snow and sleet and we couldn’t see 30 foot in front of us,

 not overly concerned as it is a very well used path (or should I say track) then we where in the clouds and I saw bugger all , constantly buffered by the wind and treated to some stinging sleet , but that didn’t matter we where doing the business and I was heading up (hopefully in the right direction) towards what was an impossible dream or so Ithought only a year ago I was going to get to the trig point on Helvellyn and nothing was going to stop me certainly not a bit sleet and snow . Yes I was disappointed that I couldn’t see twenty foot in front of me then a ghostly figure appeared out of the swirling clouds and informed us that we only had another five minutes till we reached the summit.

 (it turned out to be closer to twenty minutes) but suddenly we had made it. I really couldn’t believe it, I suppose not being able to see anything confused me as to how far I hade gone up.

Then just for the shortest period of time the weather gods must have taken pity on me and I was treated to a few tantalizing glimpses of the surrounding hills as the clouds blew clear and wow I was impressed………….This is what it is all about .

Lunch was had in the cross shaped shelter and time to make a few choices, we where both hoping that the clouds would blow clear, I was desperate to “see some more of the views” the weather forecast stated that it would clear in the early afternoon, (eh! it was well into the afternoon by now) we couldn’t hang around too long as we where both wet and it was a bitterly cold wind (eh! its may). so we (well me) decided to walk along the ridge towards Dolly Wagon Pike, AJ agreed (he was taking his role as care work very seriously) and hope that the cloud would start to clear, it wasn’t to be if the truth was know it just got worse, on arriving on Nethermost pike I decided that we could be in Safeway’s car park for all we could see and as we couldn’t see bugger all and it was pointless to continuo.

So we turned around and started to head back, during this time the wind really started to pick up (we later found out gusting up to 50 mph) with horizontal snow and sleet, really made my life rather difficult, the big guy did his best to act as a wind break for me but for the next mile or so I will admit to the fact I was struggling, I couldn’t see anything, I could hardly walk more than twenty paces without having to stop, to regain my strength. Where we were there was no place to get out of the wind so it was a long long slow slog.

My famous words:-

“This is pointless let’s get off this bloody mountain before we freeze to death”

As luck would have it we had the chance to start cutting down off the mountain, it meant changing our planned route and cutting down the same way as we came up, but for once I didn’t feel bad about it, AJ agreed (I think he was a bit concerned about me at this stage) but it was the right for the conditions.

Once we dropped down as little as one hundred feet or so, the wind dropped and we where able to have a sit down and I had a chance to recover a bit. Phew!!!!.

At this point of time I had very strange mixed emotions bouncing around my head , yes I had got to the trig point (happy boy) , pity I saw next to nothing , sadness that I was forced off the mountain and a bit of anger at myself for being so weak  and struggling in the wind . However no one can be down when in the company of Dave and very quickly we both recovered our sprits THEN …………………………………

THE CLOUD STARTED TO LIFT.

 And the views started to open up. (Better late than never) if I had the strength I would have gone back up, but I couldn’t   I was all but done in and needed more time to recover. so we headed down enjoying each others company and the tremendous views , we decided to pop down and have a look at the old dam and then a slow leisurely walk back , with the sun finally coming out and bathing the fells in sunlight changing not only there color but giving them a warm welcoming feel .

How ever the weather gods still had one more trick to play on me on approaching the old mine ruins the wind went silly and started gusting and I would have been blown over, however the big guy was there and quickly came to the rescue again.

On arriving back at the YHA we was greeted by the lovely young lady and asked why I hadn’t answered my phone. (Sorry didn’t hear it ringing) but I was touched that she cared enough to have even bothered.

 Then it was time for coffee with apple crumble and ice cream for me and sticky toffee pudding with ice cream for Dave. A good and proper way to end a fine and different days walking.

Cheers Dave it was a good adventure today role on our next one.

As per normal a few photos :-

 A SMALL WATERFALL AT THE MINE RUINS .

HEADING UP & LOOKING BACK

STARTING TO GET A BIT MISTY.

LOOKING DOWN TOWARDS THE OLD DAM.

AND THATS IT NEXT TO NOTHING TO SEE.

DAVE .

OUR ROUTE.........WELL MARKED OUT WITH BABY CAIRNS.

WE ARE NOT ALONE .

LOOKING OVER THE EDGE , YES I KNOW IT THERE SOMEPLACE.

ERRR THAT WAY I THINK (NOTE THE DORKY SUN HAT)

WAIT .......THE CLOUD IS LIFTING ................

LOOKING DOWN AT SWIRRAL EDGE.

OVER THE TOP AGAIN .

A VERY HAPPY ME.

A FEW MORE PHOTOS BEFORE THE CLOUD DROPS AGAIN.

TAKEN ON MY WAY TO STRIDING EDGE .

DAVE, LOOKING FOR THE LAST TIME.

OUR WAY AHEAD.

DUE TO THE WEATHER THE CAMERA WAS PUT AWAY TILL WE GOT DOWN OFF THE MOUNTAIN AND OUT OF THE WIND . FIRST PHOTO SHOWING THAT THE CLOUD WAS STARTING TO LIFT OR WE WHERE BELOW IT.

LOOKING DOWN AT THE OLD DAM .

TAKEN AT MAX ZOOM LOOKING TOWARDS SOME SUNLIGHT.

BROKEN DAM.

CATSTYE CAM STANDING ABOVE THE DAM.

LOOKING BACK ALONG THE VALLEY .

SMALL WATERFALL ABOVE THE OLD MINE RUINS.

Day after feelings:-

Thought that I had died when I woke up first thing this morning, but once I got moving I was fine. (Plus a couple of pills)

A bit disappointed that couldn’t really see a great deal on the top. (But that’s the lakes and its weather)

I feel that despite the shocking conditions up there and my lack of strength I think that I archived something and shouldn’t be too hard on myself.

Roll on my next days walking .

This will be a hard act to follow.

LAKE DISTRICT