Saturday, 30 June 2018

30/06/18 - Latrigg, Skiddaw Little Man and Carl Side

Distance - 10 Miles
Geocaches - 0
Route Inspiration - Self developed to knock off two more Wainwrights

Today's trip was an experiment that could change the way I tackle future Wainwright ticking.

5 weeks ago, I looked to see if it would be possible to use public transport to get into the Lake District for a day trip.  This avoids cashing in Mrs M brownie points and the complication of finding reasonably priced accommodation for a single night on the weekend, when the Lake Districts honey pots seem to want 2 day minimum bookings.

Trains looked reasonable enough.  We can get from Sandwell and Dudley to Penrith in 2hrs 10 minutes, for less than the cost of fuel, through Virgin Advance tickets.

But would the buses prove reliable enough to get to the mountains?  And home again after.

The more pressing concern was the heatwave that has materialised since the booking.   Whisked northwards on Pendolino, we get a first hand view of the moor fires over Winter Hill and Saddlemoor.  We also have time to consider how much 5 litres of water will weigh, as we try to keep ourselves reasonably hydrated.

Arrival at Penrith is bang on time and in a move that shocks us, so is the 10:20am bus to Keswick.  A 16 mile hurtle along dual carriageways and through tiny villages noted for future walking inspiration.  Every village bus stop is at a pub.

The walking starts in earnest at 11:10am, once my walking partner finds suntan cream for purchase.  No surprise that the first shop has sold out.

We just need to find a way up today's first Wainwright, Latrigg.  We can see people on top of this tiny, yet very steep, hill but the paths on the ground do not in any way represent what is documented on the OS Maps.   We make it, appreciating the shade provided by its wooded slopes, before the views open up.

Latrigg views over Kewsick
Keswick and Derwent Water from Latrigg
Mountains for another day

Navigational issues are far easier now, we can see where we need to go, with clear paths up to Skiddaw Little Man.  We just need to summit the 2838 feet.  I think I need to join a gym before coming back this way.

Out Path up Skiddaw Little Man
The winding path to Skiddaw
More Mountains
Always the chance to catch breath with a photo stop

Little Mans False Summit
Looking over to Scafell, Bowfell etc from the false summit, more height required
Although we don't top out Skiddaw (4th highest), we more or less get the required height. With a bus to catch, we have to turn back towards Keswick, taking the Allerdale Ramble down to Carl Side.

And I make the exact same mistake as I made the last time I did this to get to Ullock Pike.  The faint path is significantly better than the main footpath marked on the OS Map.  The descent is that vertiginous that you cannot really tell but once you've slithered down the shale to Carl Side and look back you can see the difference.  Not least because everyone else is on the other path.

Ullock Pike
Ullock Pike from the Shale - Scotland Ahead.
The drop from Carl Side to the valley floor is something else.  I cannot remember a descent so steep and relentless.  There are two saving graces 1) we didn't choose to walk the opposite way and go up it and 2) we have the radio to listen to the game of the World Cup - France 4 3 Argentina.  There's also a beer festival on at our local.  We question our sanity.

No conversation - just concentration of finding our footing on jelly legs and the strange feeling that you have when 4.5 litres of water has been consumed and nothing has been expelled.

White Stones
White Stones Breather
The remainder of the walk was a blur - fields and roads through Millbeck and Applethwaite and back to the madness of Keswick streets on a Saturday.   Dogs are kicked, tourists are tutted at and push chairs overtaken with total disregard to oncoming traffic.

It 4:30pm when we fall through the Royal Oaks door, with 50 minutes to grab more fluid and a 10 minute walk to the bus station.

Much needed at the Royal Oak
Royal Oak Celebration - A wainwright for me
We arrive at the bus stop 10 minutes early for the X5 Gold.  Its there waiting for us.  I confirm with the driver that this is the Penrith bus and comment that he's early.  He says he's not - 17:11 for boarding, 17:20 for departure and goes on to complain he cant do right for doing wrong.

No moans from us - we are delighted at the efficiency....  All trains and buses bang on time - no parking hassles.  No 50 MPH speed limits through the M6 Roadworks.

This could be the future.

But never during a heatwave.

Or a World Cup.

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