Lake District, 16-17th June 2018

The Lake District, 16th-17th June 2018

This weekend was only the second club trip for this CCCC hanger-on-turned-member, and it proved to be a very rainy weekend of mountaineering. Unsurprising, of course, for the Lake District. However, there’s still a full weekend’s worth of activities to report on since a little bit of rain wasn’t enough to deter us. The trip was attended by: Kirill, Sam, Anders, Charles, Graham, Andy B, Andy S, Ciaran, Sarah, Grace, Lydia, Pete and Steve.

Saturday saw most of us go for a long walk, while Kirill, Charles and Pete headed to Kendal for time at the indoor wall, followed by a couple of routes at Raven Crag Walthwaite in the afternoon. For the walking contingent, the day was sold to us as being easy and full of pubs – i.e. suitable for the day’s sporadic showers and low cloud base. This was an accurate description for the second half of the walk; the first half was a bit more dreich. Graham led us up onto Silver How, a low summit, but one around which the cloud was already firmly wrapped. A misty cairn was reached after difficult walking along on a direct bearing, as well as the group separating and managing to meet up again near the summit. Then it was off again along the bearing with thoughts of the pub in Grasmere growing louder in everyone’s heads.

He's really one step above the ground

Anders ‘climbing’ during the long, wet walk to Easedale

Still, this bracing walk between Silver How and Easedale Tarn definitely made us feel that we had earned our pints later on. And it wasn’t as bad for me as it was for some; poor Steve got very cold with his jeans, trainers and not-quite-waterproof jacket. He stayed put at the first pub, and made his own way back to the campsite in Langdale once he’d dried off.

The first pub to play host to this bunch of sodden mountaineers was Tweedy’s in Grasmere, where we stayed until the sun came out. The rest of the walk took us to Rydale (pub = Badger Bar) and then around the lake and back to Langdale (pub = Britannia), via some very exciting caves. So we earned the fourth ‘C’ in the club’s name. My favourite cave was one which was mostly submerged, with a lovely row of stepping stones to the highest, driest point of the cave.

Reflections in the half-submerged cave

The weather had improved a lot in the afternoon, but we were still treated to the odd shower. Inevitably, despite some among us having pre-cut vegetables (that would be Anders and I), we ate in the pub. The rest of the evening was spent in a different pub, Wainwright’s, playing our novelty card game, ‘Exploding Kittens’.

A glowering sky followed us around Rydal Water, intermingled with glorious sunshine

Sunday dawned grey and wet. There was much shaking of heads and wondering about indoor walls or driving to Yorkshire, and a scouting crew drove off to the café to see if they could access the forecast, there being no signal in the campsite. In the end, though, we just went for it, picking the easy-access, single-pitching crag, Raven Crag Walthwaite; warm weather and a drying wind meant that classic routes were surprisingly climbable, and everyone got at least two or three routes done there. Climbing as a three with Anders and Lydia, I pulled off the second pitch of our first climb, Route 2 (HS**). I was told that I missed all the good footholds lower down, since I’d over-relied on the higher handholds; a classic example of making things more difficult while on lead.

With spitting, on-and-off-again light rain, we went ahead with our second route of the day, Route 1 (S*). (Both routes are classics, and had bottlenecks, meaning that there was a fair bit of waiting around involved as well.) Anders led this one, pretty easily, and Lydia and I followed as the rain picked up. After a descent on wet grass in rock shoes that was probably more challenging than the route itself, we joined the others who had already bailed to the nearest café.

Meanwhile, Kirill, Pete and Sam had headed to higher ground, aiming for what was described as a ‘wet V Diff’, aptly named The Cambridge Climb. However, they decided against this due to the long walk in and the low cloud, and headed to Middlefell Buttress (D*), led by Kirill and Pete. This enabled them to get to Gimmer Crag, and they were then able to do Bracket and Slab (S***). Sam lead the drier first pitch, and Pete and Kirill swapped the the remaining pitches as the drizzle began. This slowed them down, but not enough to spoil their successful day.

As people fractured into groups for the drive back, some headed straight for Cambridge while others – us amongst them – aimed for another crag. Aided by Charles’ knowledge, we did another two routes of sport climbing at Giggleswick. That is, Anders and Charles did another two routes – I did only one, since ‘Ugly Duckling’ looked like so much of a struggle! Charles, on lead, fell off several times and Anders really had to pull it out to make it up. Very pleased, and very pumped, he then led most of an easier route for me, but couldn’t get to the final bolts, which were out on an awkward traverse rather than actually the top of the route. We sent Charles up it instead, and only after having done it did he see that a more sensible anchor had been placed at the top of the route, just out of eyeline. Graham, Andy B, Andy S and Grace also had some fun on nearby routes, until the rain caught up with us at this crag, too. A final stop in Bradford for curry, and then the long drive back to Cambridge: we got back at half past midnight, and slept well.

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