A report by Dave Miller
First of all an apology. I didn't know I was in the frame for these notes before the walk so I didn't do any counting of people for the record (I think there were 14), nor pay particular attention to the goings on of the day. Having said that, here are the highlights as I recall them.
We met in the car park of the Patterdale Hotel where a few of us had stayed overnight. The weather was absolutely glorious and stayed that way all day. If anything it were a bit 'ot.
Lindsay and Ian were at the hotel on Saturday night as were Vanessa and I, but due to lack of forward planning we didn't meet up until after dinner. That did give us a spread of experience though. Vanessa and I ate in the White Lion pub a few yards down the road while Lindsay and Ian ate in the hotel. I think the pub won with better beer and cheaper food, but for future reference our hotel room was clean, bright and comfortable, and breakfast was adequate.
The walk was a circular tour first taking in St. Sunday Crag. As we slogged up the hill we could hear the baying of hunting hounds penned up in the valley below. It was so loud it nearly drowned out Nigel telling us all about his new skis. It certainly says something about someone's fitness when they can keep talking all the way up a 700 metre ascent. On second thoughts he must have stopped once as I heard my first year 2000 compliant Cuckoo. Only kidding Nigel!
From St. Sunday Crag we dropped down the ridge and then back up onto Fairfield. I'm not really sure where we had lunch. It was a kind of ongoing affair with various short stops for snacking out.
Up on Fairfield a new sport was invented. That is to say the process and rules were mapped out but nobody actually took part. Cairn relocation was the idea. Thinking about it, perhaps it would have been more in the interests of science than sport - you know, if it takes 14 people all day to move a whacking great cairn 10 metres then how long.............
Anyway, needless to say energy was saved for more pressing requirements like getting back for a pint and the cairn was spared the indignity.
After Fairfield we entered the "it's downhill all the way now" stage with a climb up on to Hart Crag (where did that come from?). From there a pleasant stroll along Blake Brow, Hartsop above How, Hoggill Brow and Gale Crag brought us nicely tired back to the road near Deepdale Bridge. Rather than trudge along the road we crossed the valley and followed the bridle path back to Patterdale. A small detour but much more pleasant and we saw Angora Goats (not indigenous).
Back at the hotel there was a bit of restrained drinking and then goodbyes.
Vanessa and I were pleased to find that Joy and Les were staying on overnight as we were so we had some drinking buddies. We showed them the way to the White Lion where we had good food and only a small amount of Castle Eden.
The next day was forecast to turn wet, but again we woke up to superb weather. This lasted us most of the day with just a bit of overcast coming in late afternoon.
After our good long walk on Sunday we decided to go for an easier route and Les' suggestion of a lakeside walk up to Howtown proved to be a good one. The walk was quite varied with woodland, moorland and open pastures thrown in. There was a bit of up and down but nothing too strenuous and the hardest task of the day was finding the perfect log to sit on for lunch.
We saw lots of lambs (two in particular had their faces to the sun catching rays, and reminded us of Germans on a sesselbahn) , wildflowers, Chaffinches and other countryside type things, heard another Cuckoo and a Woodpecker. All exiting stuff .
We took the boat back from Howtown to Glenridding and made the short walk back to Patterdale and our cars.
Another great day and a nice stroll for anyone looking for something a bit less challenging in the area. Sorry to those who couldn't stay on, but you missed a good one.
So that's the report done, I had a bit more to say than I expected and forgive those who press ganged me.
Many thanks to Ian for organising another perfect away day, keep up the good work.