By Brian Richards
The preceding days had been wet, damp and on the Saturday night the rain was torrential. The road at Rosthwaite was awash as members arrived in the downpour at Seathwaite. Sourmilk Ghyll and Grains Ghyll were in magnificent form, churning water downwards in great spouts of noise. 23 members and guests (plus 3 dogs) assembled for a wet day ... but then our leader arrived. Ian emerged from his vehicle and pronounced "I dislike walking in overtrousers". Immediately the clouds were mastered, as cowering and ceasing to weep they shuffled upwards and above the tops.
The assembled throng ambled forth and the day's activity commenced. The scrambling ascent alongside Grains Ghyll required all four limbs in motion - the narrow, easy track having long since eroded. At the top of the Ghyll, hearts recovered as the group regathered. A leadership coup by Nigel Koenan was thwarted by Brian Richardson, who insisted that we should not rush off without allowing members to rest and only with our leader's agreement. I, for one, hoped for more snack time, or was it rest?
Onwards to Sty Head Tarn, but not via the motorway. Ian's bog land trek led us around and then up The Slack onto Seathwaite Fell, with some scrambling near the top. An excellent test of Gortex footwear - mine failed - worn away from the inside, with big holes in the Gortex.
Lunch at Sprinkling Tarn and then upwards to Esk Hause, now denuded of cairns. Steve Wardle's attempts to incline at an angle of 45º were thwarted and an angle of 30º was the maximum. One must therefore conclude that, in reality, it was only a gentle breeze.
The homeward leg was Allen Crags to Glaramara along a sinusoidal track which went left, then up, then down, then right, around and through the bogs and over outcrops. Not only devious but there were little boulders to trip over! The O.S. map has a neat green line for this section. For more exercise, try following this green route.
By Glaramara the party was strung out and as the descent to Seathwaite was made, a rock outcrop delayed the dog owners further. Rephrase that last sentence. The owners were mobile, it was the dogs, despite their claws who had difficulty with the scrabble down.
The correct, quick descent was missed by the majority of the party and by the time Seatoller was reached the clouds were feeling vengeful and the extra mile or so to the cars was wetting.
Another excellent day was had by all with some interesting route variety, in keeping with the tradition of Ian's walks.
This event is evolving into a full weekend gathering for those that so desire. A third of the party stayed at the Middle Ruddings Hotel, Braithwaite for the Saturday and Sunday evenings - a pleasant hotel which is under new management. After a good day (or days) on the Fells it provides an enjoyable evening meal and much liquid refreshment. A good centre for next May?
Thanks, once again to Ian for prospecting a fine day's outing.