Thursday, 28 May 2015

Walking Wetherlam, along with the ML syllabus

Brisk Winds and Biting cold, Hail stinging the face and neck. Looking up to see the cloud rise and swirl, the valleys below disappear. Sudden realisation of the need for navigation.

Wednesday Night and i am on the MWIS website checking out the apocalyptic forecast for the following days walking. Lightning, Thunder, winds and rain. But who cares really, if your planned to go up in the hills, thats just that isn't it?
Thankfully the same view shared by Frances and Miranda, who where joining me for the walk.

9:30am and we all meet with perfect timing at the walna scar carpark, nice start to the day.
The previous night me and Miranda had discussed a route plan, over a beer in a Tapa bar in Keswick and now was the time to put it into action.

From the car park we would head towards levers water then cut through under the mine workings to the the far valley that would take us up to Wetherlam summit via red dell. Soon after that we would head to Swirl How then the Old man. Ready. Set. Go.

The days aims where navigation and the ML syllabus; Frances looking at starting the scheme, and Miranda who is soon due for assessment (more than ready to pass it!).
We worked up gently from easy nav to harder points on contours, each time miranda taking time to explain her thinking to Frances, i could leave the girls to it and go for a cup of tea i reckon, but i enjoy being out too much and geeking about over flora!

We make our way up to Wetherlam summit, the weather still not arrived, warm(ish) dry and overall pleasant. Very confused by now but hey lets go with it, we can still see!
After topping out on Wetherlam to amazing views we heaved on to Swirl How, stopping briefly for lunch, by now the winds pick up... oh.
We continue on up the steep side form the saddle, to the top of Swirl How, Now the wind really picks up... hmmm.

As we leave the cairn the weather turns, cloud engulfs us, soaking up every view. PERFECT ! no really perfect situation. After talking about navigation in good weather, we can now see a reason for it. Suddenly now it seems worth while learning, great change for Frances even though the wind is a tad annoying. For Miranda its a good reminder about weather, i turn to her and shout across the wind to quickly scan and take in every sight and build the mental picture of the path ahead to help with navigation before it all goes.

You might find me mad, but now the winds up, the clouds in, hail bouncing of our coats, I'm now really enjoying it, the feeling and awareness of the power of the mountains and how they change, yet again more evident. I really do enjoy it.
We carried on to the old man summit, now we see people for the first time all day, checking the time we decide to head down the tourist trail to make sure everyone can get back home with enough time.

All in all a successful day i believe, feeling better about my leader skills as an ML and being with Frances and Miranda was great company in the Mountains, I'm happy to of hopefully helped them both.

Good luck with your assessment Miranda! Definitely in your reach.                                                        

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Cloudy day on the Old Man.

Yesterday saw me another day closer to my MIA training. So close but will i manage it this year?
Thursday will see me with another day out on the hills, this time teaching navigation rather than just guiding a walk. So I'm feeling positive about making a training by the end of summer.

Monday 25th May, sat in the carpark at the top of walna scar road waiting for Bryn, Stuart, Hebe and Xander for a days walking.
After a long night in manchester city and an early wake up, left me with 5 (maybe less) hours of sleep and a trip from the sunny south to a rather damp and drizzly south lakes. Many would see this as a terrible start to the day, but really I'm happy and excited just to be out in the hills. Bag packed, waterproofs on and a posh fork from the hotel sat in my rucksack after being given a pasta pot without anything to eat it with. The fork was also given to me, I'm not one for taking things as i am too guilty about even walking away with soaps and pens.

 It wasn't long till the walk was on the way, and the day followed with a rather steady pace but with lots of talking among us. The route we took was to walk to 'Levers water' and head up the less popular tracks to the Old Man, although this includes a steep hike out from the water, you see more terrain including waterfalls and sink holes, plus you avoid slogging on tourist paths.

It was a strong walk from all involved, sadly after reaching the top of the steep side, the low cloud took over and the view was rather limited, non the less everyone was in good spirit and we carried on the gentle rise to the top of Old man. For a bad weather day it was very busy with families, lots of teenagers sulking and the odd fell runner flying by.

Seeing as Bryn and Stuart are Boulderers, we came down via Dow crag, telling them that this is an amazing bit of rock that rises up from the tarn and the routes on it even more amazing than you could imagine. After descending rapidly on another steep slope, sods law made sure the crag was fully covered in cloud that started perfectly at the base of the rock. Weather 1 unimpressed James 0.
I did my best to paint a picture of the crag and the climbs while we all looked at the lovely grey cloud. Needless to say we briskly walked back to the cars, to be greeted with sunny views of everywhere but Coniston.

I would like to finish this post of by wishing my best to Stuart and Bryn, who between them have a lot of events coming up this summer that will take, stamina, patience and a good mind set. All the best and i hope you succeed !