LMG Report March 2010

For its first 2010 outing, the Club returned to old stamping and drinking grounds in and around the market town of Keswick, in the North Lakes. We rented a house in Eskin Street which offered comfortable accommodation to a party which grew to eight of us by Friday evening.  Five members travelled down from Scotland and London on Thursday to enjoy an extra day on the hills, ending in collection by Ian Leslie’s BMW from the eastern shore of Derwent Water late on Friday afternoon.


The Eskin Street kitchen was well appointed, with a huge stove that would not have seemed out of place in the boiler room of an ocean cruise ship. Certainly, it produced enough heat to keep the smoke alarm in the hall of the house merrily burbling away, and inspired the preparation of evening meals in-house on Thursday and Friday. There seemed to be less drink taken than on some occasions; on Saturday evening much time was taken up wandering round Keswick looking for an uncrowded pub serving beer to satisfy the discerning drinkers among the party, somewhat to the frustration of the “any old metal polish will do” brigade! A hopeless task. In the end we bought ourselves fish suppers and returned to the house to watch “Match of the Day” on television.


The walking was memorable. The clear, crisp and for the most part sunny weather, coupled with complete snow coverage above about 1500 feet, produced broad smiles from our party and any others we came across on the hills. Views from the tops were truly memorable, extending from Morecambe Bay to the Solway Firth and including many of the principal peaks of Lakeland.


On Friday we took a morning bus from Keswick to Grasmere, from where we walked up to Easedale Tarn. Then up into the snows on Blea Rigg and northwards towards Derwent Water along the ridge lines. Tops visited on the way included Sergeant Man, High Raise (762m) and Ullscarf (723m). Losing height, we dropped down to Blea Tarn and found a steep path to the National Trust hamlet of Watendlath. From there we followed a path beside a feeder stream down to Derwent Water, where after 12 miles and some strenuous ascents and descents we were delighted to be swept up by Ian.


On Saturday we took cars up Borrowdale to Seathwaite. Setting out from there, we walked up to Styhead Gill and then took the Corridor Route under the cliffs of Great End. On the shoulder below Scafell Pike the younger members led by Steven Tolson, headed  first up Lingmell, whilst  the superannuated section, led by Harry Critchlow, turned left directly up to the highest point in England (977m). Eating our packed lunches on this summit, we looked out over the Irish Sea and the Isle of Man, and felt very lucky to be there. On the descent to Ill Crag, both Steve and Harry took tumbles on a steep pitch whilst leading or guiding; luckily without sustaining injuries. As we headed down and round the eastern side of Great End we watched climbers descending Central Gully on the points of their axes and crampons, like flies on a wall. Finally a path beside Grains Gill back to Seathwaite.


Sunday saw a party of us walk round the shore of Derwent Water to Hawes End, and from there up to Catbells (451m), Maiden Moor (576m) and High Spy (653m), before descending towards Rosthwaite and Grange, where tea was taken in the Grange Café before the drive home.