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10th July 2007.
Gary's Trip To Cumbria
A weekend of fell walking with the old man

This weekend I have mostly been . . .

. . . climbing Blencathra.

Myself and my Dad took a trip into Cumbria. After finding a place to stay in Keswick, The Portland Guest House.

Our Guesthouse offered fair trade refreshments so I was rather pleased with that. I highly recomend saying at the Portland if you travel to Keswick

We arrived on Friday night (somewhat later than planned because of the usual problems on the M6) and headed off to the Kings Arms Hotel for beer. Hmmm, beer.

Arising early the next day, we took breakfast, prepared our flasks with tea and then walked into Keswick for some supplies for our trek.

All set, we drove to Scales where we parked the car and started wishing for better weather. The weather forecast had been for heavy rain. Of course, we had the kind of luck that would mean for once, the met office had got it right, It was wet and visibility was down to tens of meters. We couldn’t see the summit of Blencathra for the cloud base. But we decided to push on and see how we got on. Until we get to the summit there are fairly well defined footpaths and little chance of getting lost or needing assistance.

The climb started well enough, steep for a walk and it got our heart pumping but nothing technical. Looking around as we ascended the side of the mountain we could see pockets of sunshine across the fells, we started to feel hopeful of better weather. The route took us past some great scenery and along side some rather sheer drops.

After a steep climb the terrain levels off and we traverse a very steep drop. This then rounds the mountain and follows a valley, offering some stunning views (when the mist lifts, that is). Walking for about another half hour or so we find ourselves climbing up a waterfall. The waterfall was looking quite impressive with the rain we had recetly had making it quite violent.

At the top of the waterfall we expect to see Scales Tarn. However the mist had really rolled in so it was obscured from view. Visibility was so bad we nearly walked into the tarn. We stopped to eat a sandwhich and drink a cup of tea. We did this sitting at the side of the tarn in the rain. For me, there's no greater feeling than eating outdoors in the rain. Don't ask me why, I find it quite a pleasant experience.

Setting off for Sharp Edge we start to have our doubts about scrambling the wet rocks and thought that maybe we should've taken the easier route to the summit from the tarn. At the foot of Sharp Edge we decided against climbing the rocks. The visibility was too bad and the rocks too slippy. A friendly climber pointed to another route around the edge which he claimed would bypass the rocks and had an easier walking route to the summit. What a lying toad he turned out to be! The route he sent us on traversed the side of the edge on a 10 inch ledge along a sheer vertical drop. About 15 minutes into this "walk" the path just dissapeared, leaving us clinging to the side of the mountain. So back we went.

Back at the foot of Sharp Edge we decide to head back the way we'd came. As we did this some of the mist cleared and we actually got to see the tarn.

The rest of the walk down the mountain was fairly uneventful, but still thoroughly enjoyable.

We arrive back at the car some 5 and a bit hours after setting off, both smiling like loonies.

Some photo's of the walk are included below for your pleasure.

A view of the opposing fell once the mist had lifted.

A look back down from Scales Fell

About half way up

Dad feeling chuffed at the climb so far

Dad taking advantage of a break in the mist

The waterfall taking us up to Scales Tarn

Somehwere here is Scales Tarn.

At the foot of Sharp Edge

Scales Tarn from Sharp Edge

Sharp Edge from Scales Tarn

Scales Tarn once the mist had cleared

Climbing back down the waterfall


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