Journeys in the hills and mountains
So, I know I’m a little behind with things here. Suffice it to say that it’s been a busy couple of months with rare moments to escape to the hills. That said, I have managed three trips (plus a trip in early January) with CUHWC this term, and my trip statistics with the club are looking fairly healthy. More worrying was the realisation that I’ve climbed three munros in the last 11 months, something which I’m planning to rectify over the Easter holiday.
For those readers not familiar with Cambridge terms, Lent (which is preceded by Michaelmas and followed by Easter) runs from January to March. After returning from my windy new year in the Highlands, I joined CUHWC for their annual trip to Seathwaite in the Lake District. This was, as always, an excellent trip, with slightly better weather than we had experienced in Scotland. On Saturday I walked up on to Green Gable via Base Brown, before continuing over to Fleetwith Pike. We descended to Honister and then down to Seatoller. The following day saw worse weather, but I nevertheless headed over to Crummock Water to climb the hills around Whiteside. The weather got the better of us on this one and we returned around lunchtime to warm tea in High House.
And that was it for January. February saw two trips for me, though I missed out on the CUHWC trip to Snowdonia at the start of term. The first trip was to Dartmoor, back on my old stomping ground. The trip was very small due to the size of the bunkhouse. I walked north from Postbridge on Saturday, before joining my father on Sunday to walk east to Grimspound before heading to the Warren House Inn for lunch. On both days the cold but dry weather made ideal walking conditions for Dartmoor, with most of the bog frozen hard.
My second trip of term was to Patterdale in the Lake District. Returning the glorious George Starkey Hut, owned by the Association of British Members of the Swiss Alpine Club (ABMSAC), we were greeted with the full range of weather. On Saturday I led a small group up Striding Edge to Helvellyn, where we sheltered from the wind in a shelter for lunch. The wind picked up a lot as we continued north along the ridge, and the hail made it rather unbearable, so we descended from Grisedale Tarn back to Patterdale. Knowing that Sunday would be lost to work, I joined Peter and Becky for a night-time ascent of Place Fell. Setting off from Patterdale at 10pm, we arrived on the summit around 11pm and were back before midnight.
The third CUHWC trip of term for me was the day trip to Crowden, and the comparison with Patterdale could not have been more pronounced. Rather than wind, snow and hail we were met with glorious sunshine for most of the day and a gentle breeze to keep us cool. Setting off from Crowden, I walked with a large group (a “faff” of hillwalkers being decided on as the appropriate collective noun) up to Bleaklow Head. After heading out to Higher Shelf Stones to see the crashed B-29, we continued east along the ridge, before descending down to the reservoir and back to Crowden.
A rather fun Lent Term in all, my only disappointment being that I am unable to attend the Easter trip to Snowdonia due to commitments at work. I am, however, planning a week in the highlands of Scotland over Easter weekend, hoping to do some work on my munro tally.