Hills: Caudale Moor aka Stony Cove Pike
Wainwrights: no. 60
Who: just me and the mountaineering minion
When: Saturday 18 June
Weather: clear summits after early cloud cleared
MWIS accuracy: not as good as forecast – but more accurate than the day before
Bog factor: OK as was dry. Would probably be pretty bad otherwise.
Post walk drink: coke. Yes really. No red wine till after the 6 1/2 hour drive home.
Post walk watering hole: Kirkstone Pass Inn for the coke; my living room for the red wine (does that count?!)
The day after my smash and grab raid on Scafell Pike and Lingmell, I had a dilemma. Normally the day after a big walk I just potter around gear shops particularly if a long journey is required. However I’m not sure yet when I’ll be next be in the Lakes and the forecast was again really good.. Plus having flopped info bed at 9.30 the day before after a celebratory huge steak and a few glasses of Merlot I was up, if not with the lark or as stupidly early as the previous day, reasonably early (for me) and had availed myself of a huge cooked breakfast before 9. I figured if I went for a short walk I would still be able to take advantage of the forecast and get home at a vaguely non-stupid time.
An obvious possibility presented itself in Caudale Moor (otherwise known as Stony Cove Pike) which a friend had recommended as a short blast. It had the clear advantage of a high start point and promised some good views. The only minus was a slightly scrambly approach towards St Raven’s Edge but it looked doable (even given my dislike of scrambling) so at 9.30, after the inevitable faffing about I was on my way up the steep haul up from the pass. The advantage of steep is it gets you up higher quickly of course!
The first mildly scrambly bit was easy enough – more of a scrabble than a scramble really. However the bit just below hitting the ridge – whilst still looking doable looked trickier. I also saw another walker seeming to struggle on it and needing a hand up. Since I was on my own and it was obvious there was a perfectly serviceable bypass through a gap in the wall on the right I decided to take it. I did feel a bit of a wuss but the bypass was a doddle on steepish grass and popped me out quickly at the big cairn at the top of the main path… Where it became clear there was a lot of down before the main part of the ascent.
Grrr! One of my pet hates is having to descend in order to ascend not least because it means on the descent you have some climbing to do. Yes I had looked at the map and knew there was some but it looked worse on the ground than the map had. I was also feeling tired and my initial perkiness had departed – most likely still tired from the insomnia in the run up to Scafell Pike despite a blissful 10 hours sleep the previous night. Nothing for it though other than grit teeth and get on with it.
I plodded slowly up the path, talking in some decent views; although the light was too flat for decent photos. I was very glad to be doing this hill in a dry spell though as the ground was clearly usually a bogfest and the path in places consists of stepping stones over the worst bits. There was also some path renovation going on, as like the previous day’s walk there were big bags of rock dumped at various points. The path is easy enough to follow though, hand railing the wall (which eventually takes a sharp right turn) almost all the way to the top. I reached the summit of my 60th Wainwright just after 11 to views which whilst decent possibly lost something as a result of how flat the summit is. Never mind! It was a clear view and that will do nicely.
It was decision time. Do I continue to High Hartsop Dodd? I had set myself a time of 2 at the latest to be on the way home, so was conscious that time was marching on, that it involved a lot of drop and reascent, that I was tired and that I had a long drive home. Making myself even more tired didn’t seem a great idea. Had I looked up bus times from Patterdale then in theory I could have dropped down to Hartsop and got a bus back but since I had no timetable, no phone signal to look one up and crucially no change it wasn’t really a goer. I took the decision to head down, though I wandered over to the viewpoint cairn overlooking the pass first, which probably had better views than the summit.
The descent went relatively smoothly (though the last slog back up to St Raven’s Edge seemed to take forever) and I was back at the car at 12.45. A scenic post walk coke seemed a good idea before hitting the road so I sat taking in the view for 20 minutes or so before heading off. The Clachaig Inn in Glencoe still wins most scenic beer garden in my view but this one is certainly not bad! On the road shortly after 1, getting home at 7.30 where a big glass of red wine (Montepulciano this time) was waiting.
In summary not a classic but a nice short walk for a day when you either only have half a day to spare and don’t fancy an epic. Though I’ve a feeling I’ll come to regret not tacking on High Hartsop Dodd if I ever do decide to do the lot! I also think doing this sort of mad dash is a lot less knackering by train!