The first bus, driven by Russ (and later Alan) was scheduled to leave ferny-crofts at about 0900hrs. Also on-board where Besty, Rich, Becky, Ruth, Andrew and Ollie, a new recruit from South-sea (NOT Portsmouth!). We arrived at great tower at about 1530, and after dumping our bags in our rooms, we put the tents up for the Malawi team (who where scheduled to arrive later). We also helped to move the boxes of group kit from the van into the bunk house. Dinner was at about 1900hrs, and we went to bed at about half nine, making sure we got plenty of sleep, as clocks changed to HSX time at mid-night.
Breakfast on Friday was at 0800hrs(HSX), bacon butties where consumed, and bags where packed for our day of climbing at Farlton Crag. Unfortunately when we arrived at the village just below the crag, and parked the Torneo, Ollie decided that he didn’t feel too good, and the proceeded to vomit on the verge. The walk up to the Crag was fairly rough on the last section, with us climbing around trees and roots, and trying to avoid falling on scree slopes. When we arrived at the crag we had to wait for the climbs to be set up. The group of ?randoms? (Becky, Ruth, Ollie and myself) where paired with Rich Brimelow and Chris Slater, and decided to first attempt ?Pudding Flake? a V-Diff climb to the right of our chosen lunch area, while the Malawi team took climbs to the left. Ollie Robinson and Phill Nutbeam chose to take the chance to practice their lead Climbing skills, and so where climbing all over the crag. Before we climbed we went up to the top of the crag, and Rich showed us how to set up a top-rope climb, including how to position the protection. ? Ollie didn’t feel up to climbing, and so sat in the lunch area, waiting to go home. It became standard procedure that if we where getting anything from our bags, we would repeat exactly the same phrase ?You all right Ollie??, he was probably sick of the question by the end of the day.
After lunch it was decided that we would set up the next climb ourselves, with rich simply checking that everything was safe before we began climbing. The climb we decided on was ?Pudding Club? a Severe just along from our first climb. Despite it’s higher difficulty rating, most of us found this climb easier than the first. We finished at about 1500hrs but we had to wait for the Malawi groups to finish up before we could go back to the camp site. We arrived back at about 1600hrs, to the welcoming sight of hot cross buns and tea. We then spent the next few hours doing our own thing, before dinner at 1900hrs. The meal consisted of Cumberland sausage (apparently we had about a mile of the stuff in total) mashed potatoes and beans, with crumble for pudding.
After dinner we all took part in our first de-briefing, where we all outlined what we had done to the rest of the group, and discussed anything that had come up during the day, and what was planned for the next day. It was at this briefing that the four of us gained the team name of ?You four?, henceforth written U4. After the de-brief, we had a chance to plan our walk for the next day, and socialise before hitting the sack.
Saturday started at 0700hrs, with breakfast. We set out at about 0830hrs, and set off on our walk at 0930hrs, from Seathwaite. For today U4, including ollie, who while not in perfect health, was feeling somewhat better than the day before, were teamed up with Doctor John and PK, while Chris Slater and Ollie Robinson travelled with us planning to go up Scafell Pike. Our first target was Great Gable, a fairly rocky mountain a few miles from Scafell Pike. We then planed to continue down to Green Gable, a lower peak below Great Gable, and then back to the Torneo to meet up with Chris and Ollie. When we started walking the sun was shining, but it was still fairly cool out, and there where clouds around many of the peaks. We reached the summit of Great Gable at about 1100hrs, and decided to eat our lunch early, as from what we could see of green gable, it may have been a bit tricky to find comfortable spot. The summit of the mountain was still wreathed in clouds, and the views over the other peaks, and the valley below, would be revealed in gaps, making the sight even more impressive. We set off down Great Gable, encountering some parts of the ?path? where we where scrambling more than walking. We then forged on to Green Gable, and back down to the car-park just in time to meet up with Chris and Ollie as they returned from their hike up Scar fell pike. As it was only 1500hrs, we decided to go into Keswick for some shopping time, before returning to base at 1730hrs. Dinner was ?piri-piri chicken? although several people expressed the opinion that it was more like flavoured rubber. Once we had finished the de-brief, we were tasked with washing up all the cutlery and cooking equipment, which was a big job.
For Becky, Ruth and Myself, Friday started early. The previous night we had decided that we would go for a run in the morning, before breakfast, and so to allow us plenty of time to do this, we woke up at 0530hrs. Breakfast was at the normal time, and we then went out to our final walk of the trip. Our first target was Stickle Tarn, which was accessed by a path running up alongside the river which ran from the tarn. The views where pretty good just by the tarn, although spoiled a bit as we where having to wave away swarms of midges. We then planned to scramble up Jakes Rake, a sort of ridge running up a more or less sheer cliff. The scramble was a little disconcerting, as unlike with climbing there was no safety rope, and so you couldn’t shake the feeling that if you fell, it wasn’t going to end well. However everyone made it up without any serious drama, and the views while going up were awe inspiring. We ate lunch in a sort of hollow just above the scramble, and then began to hike across the moor at the top of the scramble. Our destination was a waterfall, which had an abseil set up, allowing us to abseil down literally inside the waterfall, which was an amazing experience, despite the water being very cold. Once we had all descended the waterfall, we returned to the car park we started from, sitting in the pub garden with Ian and Allan, as we had to wait for a while to sort out transport arrangements.
On the way back to the camp we decided to visit Kendal for a short visit, and then continued back for dinner (a very nice stew with dumplings).
Tuesday started earlier than normal, as we where keen to get out early to try and avoid the worst of the traffic. We made good time getting home, with Russ’s Torneo arriving at 1200hrs (BST) instead of the projected time of 1400hrs. Which was nice.
Report by: ?Andrew wride