The English Lake District in Spring. Romantic and attractive. Three years ago we had a weekend in Langdale. Last weekend in March. About 10 of us, family and close friends. Glorious spring weather. Walking. A bit of climbing. Sitting outside with a drink after dinner. Glorious.
What could be better than to repeat it this year? Off we went on Friday. And we had a nice walk up and round Stickle Tarn and Harrison Stickle. A bit of scrambling for those who like that sort of thing, and a snowfield to negotiate for the rest. Back down on a path directly above the waterfall of Dungeon Ghyll. Marvellous.
Saturday? Buckets. Absolute downpour. On and on. Well, we went to Coniston and visited Brantwood, John Ruskin’s house, and in the afternoon went down the slate mine at Honister Pass. Both well worth doing. John Ruskin was, among other things, a social reformer who managed to ameliorate some of the worst excesses of British 19th century capitalism. We could do with someone as effective as him in these days of zero hours contracts and the like. Honister was reopened by Mark Weir 15 years ago and provides much needed local employment. And we did not get completely soaked getting to and from the car.
Sunday also appeared somewhat inclement. However Little Langdale beckoned, followed at 13.00 by the Elterwater fell race. 4.7 km, 396 m of climbing. The weather had dried up. After the junior races, around 100 runners, straight up the hill and then straight back down. Hands and knees stuff going up, then an exhilarating and in parts somewhat frightening descent.
The main steep section came about halfway up. I do enjoy going past other ‘runners’ on this stuff, and I managed to get past about 7 or 8; then the terrain levelled off for quite a while and I was sure they would get me back, but no one came past. After this, I actually managed to get past one lady on the way back down and only two runners passed me on the descent, so I was pretty pleased with that. Guess the family cheering me on must have helped.
Rather sloppy underfoot, which is OK when it cushions your fall, but which adds to the anxiety when it’s a surface with lots of smooth slippery rock. The conditions were rather like Friday – some wind, good visibility, not raining.
64 to do.