Sunday, April 30, 2017

cam crag


  • We got dropped of at Stonethwaite  and followed a path through Langstrath valley to a path that lead out the valley onto cam crag. We stopped at some boulders and looked for a secret cave witch was also a bothy. We kept on walking to cam crag when we finally got their and got geared up.We started moving together and scrambling up the route when we finally finished the scramble and walked down back to the valley.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter in a lake District Hobbit Hole

Easter had arrived and it was time for a few days in  the lake district. After an excellent one night stay last year we returned to the  Quiet site at Watermillock by Ullswater.
The quiet site have increased the number of hobbit holes available with  a sleeping area for 5, a toilet, electrical power, and sink these provide a very comfortable camping experience. My position was in the covered porch which is the cooking and eating area.
The weather for our first day was forecast to be very good on a suggestion from a climbing instructor at Awesome walls in Sheffield we decided to try Cam Crag ridge a Bentley Beetham route in the Langstrath valley, Borrowdale.

We were dropped off at the village of Stonethwaite on a beautiful bright morning, we made our way along the Cumbria way as far as Blackmoss pot.

Black moss pot is a well known spot for wild swimming the water rushes down the narrow ravine, the pictures above illustrate the deep pool. People love to jump in and swim particularly after long hot days of fell walking.

From here we headed up to Cam crag, I checked the scrambling guide which indicated I had already done the route with Gordon in 2001. On our way we searched the area for the bothy in the cave, Keisha and Louis were thrilled when they located it.

The rock was in excellent condition and there are many lines to scramble on, its quite easy to escape any difficulties. This was an excellent opportunity to enjoy a fabulous scramble and to practice some ropework, moving together Alpine style (see references at the end). However, there is no substitute for practice and experience. Keisha and Louis moved together with great skill and practiced making natural belays using slings and boulders. On harder sections both Keisha and Louis followed the safe practices for attaching to the belay and proceeding to climb.

We had spent quite a lot of time exploring and scrambling we had to head straight back for out lift from Rosthwaite.

Back at the hobbit hole despite having had an energetic day there was much high jinx!

The following day was cooler and not as bright a good day to recce a section of the lakeland 110km Ultra trail challenge.  Whilst I was running from Ambleside to Askham everyone visited the Lowther castle near Askham. As well as playing in the grounds they tried the easter egg hunt, this involved a lot of running around and clue solving for Keisha.

Is was womderful running from Ambleside through to Troutbeck, Kentmere and over the steep Gatesgarth pass to Mardale head. Beautiful lakeland villages and exciting fells. I plodded steadily along topping my energy levels using tailwind. The weather was much brighter as I ran along the shore of the Haweswater reservoir much flatter here and I easily made my way to the village of Askham although its flatter you miss the ups and downs of the fells, did I really write that!

We had an excellent week of running, walking and eating good food. A favourite walk was up Little Mel fell, not far from the campsite. After packing up on our final morning we walked from the quiet site to the Aira force waterfall. After accepting that it wasn't bad refusing a lift from the car we enjoyed our walk along the Ullswater Way, counting slugs as we went along. We were all thrilled by the high point of the route (shown below). We finally arrived at Aira force after 86 slugs!


Sunday, April 2, 2017

110km Lakeland Trail Challenge: University of Sheffield Scanner Appeal

I have been training for a few month now to do the lakeland 110km Ultra trail challenge. I've been wondering what madness encouraged me to do this! A bunch of mates that love the hills and another that are passionate about fell running I guess the mixture leads to this rather unfortunate consequence. Hopefully all is not as it seems.

It turns out that this race takes place on the same day as The University of Sheffield's Big Walk Appeal raising money for an MRI-PET scanner, further details are on my fundraising page.

In order to complete this 110km trail run with 14000feet of climbing  I've been doing a lot of distance averaging around 60miles per week with upto 5000 feet of climbing. The missing element however is the lack of training on the lakeland fells.

Training usually consists of an easy....ish midweek with two long distance runs  at the weekend typically 20 miles one day and 15miles the next.  Continuing with this pattern I headed to Wasdale in the lake district for two days of quality lakeland hill training.

I stayed at Wasdale Hall youth hostel unfortunately my training buddy couldn't make it because of an ankle injury...  just as well he's too fast for me! Seriously the thought of an arduous couple of days solo in the fells raised many concerns. Fortunately the weather outlook was fantastic I decided to stick to the original plans.

I set off from the National trust car park at the end of Wast Water on a most glorious morning. A steady jog along the Moses trod path to Sty Head tarn and I dropped down to Seatoller. After around 10 miles I arrived at the start of my day heading out from Rosthwaite up Greenup Gill. The day comprised the following series of hills High Raise, Sergeant Man, Thunacar Knott, Harrison Stickle, Pike o Stickle, Rossett Pike, Bow Fell, Esk Pike, Great End, Ill Crag, Broad crag, Scafell Pike, Scafell and back down to Wasdale.

The route was magical the most exciting parts were the scramble up Bowfell this an almost direct from the connecting ridge of Rossett pike. The scramble up Bowfell was so exciting, the evening before a checked the map and a couple of Wainwright's suggesting that my proposed route was not a good idea. However, in my travels a fellow walker provided me with some clues about the correct line to follow. Except when scrambling and on really steep bits I managed a steady jog until broad crag at which point I felt quite depleated of energy, dizzy and dehydrated! Dropping down from scafell pike to Mickledore I descended to Foxes tarn to start a safe ascent of Scafell (i.e. avoiding Broadstand). I staggered up Scafell no energy left. Tge route finding was quite easy. As the pace demonstrates I really am not up to this 110km lakeland challenge... it will certainly be interesting. I've probably exagerated here with the mention of exaustion on Scafell I walked up at quite a respectable pace and sure on the way down I was no iconic fell runner like Joss Naylor once again I made way down fairly easily  over steep loose areas of scree a pair of walkings would have been handy!

The second day seemed quite daunting with a start from the same place and heading directly up the steep side of Yewbarrow.

I had to start early because I needed to be back home at a sensible time the weather looked as though it was about to change. I'd eaten quite well the evening before so actually felt quite good I headed up the side of Yewbarrow trying to move as briskly as possble and made quite quick progress. Clearly the ease with which made this demonstrating that the day before I just didn't try hard enough... I have little spirit, drive and energy. It was much colder today and I jogged steadily along the ridge there was some fantastic scrambling down before beginning the ascent to red pike. With a pull up to Scoat fell the clouds gathered and the wind gained in strength. Another scramble along to the summit of Steeple added yet more entertainment. From here I continued to Pillar. I was a bit unsure about the route up the steep side of Kirkfell I decided on energy conservation and chatted my way up with a gentleman from Wigan a very fit 73 year old who told me about various adventures. From Kirkfell Great Gable looks simply marvellous it's a favourite mountain of mine and today it lived up to all expectations. I descended via the Aaron slack path to Moses trod and returned at a steady jog to Wasdale. 20 beautiful hills and almost 40 miles in two days I guess that's sticking to the training plan. If I recover from this then it'll have been successful (training wise) it's certainly successful from my tour, I feel blessed to be able to get out to explore these most marvelous mountains.