Saturday, 12 April 2014

A real walker at last....... April 11th
One of the delights of the Saturday Times is the adverts at the back for such luxuries as a walk in bath. The ladies who appear in the ads.  always wear swimming costumes. Is this a rule to obey as you get older, bath in your bathers? Wouldn't it be better if they were wearing a bath robe? Then there are the trousers with "comfort waistband" i.e. you are getting old and fat. Best are the ads for chair lifts. I once made use of one to get my brother in law's washing machine from the ground floor entrance to his upstairs flat. Balanced precariously on the chair and with me climbing beside it we just made it on the good old Stannah. Which brings me to today's walk, eventually.
  For my first walk as a 70 year old we have chosen to climb Helvellyn from Stanah near Thirlmere.
To get there from base take the A69 west to Carlisle (or go over Alston for a pretty drive), M6 south to Penrith, A66 west to Keswick for a grade 9 bacon butty at The Coffee Lounge (first car park you come to) and then head for Windermere on the A591.  There is a pull in at Stanah for half a dozen cars. The map to use is OS Outdoor Leisure 5, English Lakes North East Area 5 and the car park is at NY 317189.(approx)
There are five of us out today, Ben, Brian, Harry, Dave and me.
At the car park look for Stanah Lane between two of the small number of houses in the hamlet and off you go.
                                                       The inevitable.
This walk is easy to follow as it is very popular and the track is well worn. Going up the lane we came to, and climbed over, a stile, correctly spelled for once. From here the path follows the side of Sty Beck and climbs very steeply. In the first few yards it passes a pretty waterfall, well worth a photograph.
                                               Don't go near the waterfall.
   We followed the path, getting warmer and warmer internally and colder and colder externally and still climbing to Sticks Path. Unmistakable it is a cross roads, or cross path, and the route we followed turned right, roughly south in the direction of the first bump of the day, Raise.  A raven sat nearby on the summit rocks, unmoved by the number of walkers.
                                                        Bird of the blog, the Raven
Continuing in a southerly direction we came to Helvellyn summit. I think this is the most beautiful bump in the Lake District. It offers spectacular views all round as it towers over Red Tarn and the usual approach of Striding Edge. To the east are the Pennines and to the other three compass points the lakeland hills. And some snow remaining. This year it was reported that up to twenty feet of snow fell in places on Helvellyn and the skiers had to dig their hut out.
                                                  Approaching Helvellyn
We declared a Herbie Spot at the large cross shaped shelter near the summit and joined a host of teachers and students (it is Easter holiday time) for lunch. Treats of the day included Mrs. A's excellent cherry and almond cake, Hobnobs with chocolate, ginger biscuits and slices of my birthday cake. (see last blog) Plus a sandwich and coffee.

On top of Helvellyn
Moving on we walked up Nethermost Pike before reaching Dollywagon Pike, last bump of the day. From there we headed down the zig zag trail to Grisedale Tarn.

                                                   For Kathy from Goole, you are not forgotten
                                                     Grisedale Tarn.
Rounding the tarn we paused for a while at the hole in the wall, a mistake it later transpired, before heading down hill. At a fork in the path we followed the right prong and walked down the Great Tongue, stopping to chat with a couple of young men walking the Coast to Coast. Another mistake.
Minutes from the end of the walk we watched the famed 555 Lancaster to Keswick bus pass by, not another for an hour. What to do? Spend the time in the Travellers' Rest pub with a pint of Jennings or coffee. Aussie Briggs and I tried to buy a pint in this pub on a school trip up Helvellyn when we were fourteen. We were offered Orange juice.   As we waited for the bus an hour later an RAF Hercules flew low overhead, banking round the valleys. And as we waited for the bus Ben looked at my rucsac and neatly arranged but collapsed walking poles and said "Mike you look like a real walker" I think that's what he said. 65 years since being dragged round the moors of Silsden by my mother, a real walker at last!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                                                  Hercules, couldn't get the camera out quickly.
We took the bus back to Stanah, changed, called at the Salutation in Threlkeld for another pint and headed home.

                                                            steps                         miles
LIDL  3D                                             20677                          9.32
Dave's 3D                                           23981                           11.35
Dave's LIDL USB                               25041                           10.28

OUTDOOR GPS                                                                       9.1
Brians GPS                                                                               9.1
Ben's Bragometer                                                                      9.1
All new Garmin (more later)                                                     9.1
Gadgie distance 151 miles
Both maps; Contains OS data copyright. Crown Copyright database right 2014

                                            Lakeland views and a Herdwick sheep