Wainwright Walks 45: Dale Head, a bad back, and insomnia (again)

Hills: Dale Head
Classification: Wainwright – no.94
When: Friday 20th April
Weather: Absolutely glorious again! Not as windy either so quite warm.
Time: 3 hours including two lengthy breaks
Conditions underfoot: Clear path, relatively little bog
Who: me and the mountaineering minion
Post walk drink: Wainwright, then a truly appalling Tempranillo, followed by a somewhat better Rioja
Post walk watering hole: The Patterdale Hotel (again) then the White Lion
Mishaps: Insomnia (again) therefore general level of knackeredness was high

After the absolutely cracking walk in glorious weather on the Thursday, the forecast was once again set to be good, and with less wind than had been the case the day before. I hadn’t got a fixed plan for the day, so after a few post walk drinks I headed to bed reasonably early, with a backstop alarm set. I was conscious I was quite tired having done the longest walk, with the most ascent, I had done for some time, also my back was not great – one of the downsides of staying in a youth hostel is the lack of a bath to soak away those post walk aches and pains. What happened on Friday would therefore very much depend on what I was up to but hopefully a good nights sleep would help matters.

Inevitably, of course, this did not happen. I was extremely tired and had a private room so in theory there should have been no barrier to drifting gently off. However I am one of those people who needs a really quiet environment in order to sleep – I don’t stay in dorms because I can only ever snatch a few hours sleep in them due to other people snoring or clattering around or whatever. My room was in between two bigger rooms and not to put too fine a point on it there was a lot of noise from both sides at different times. The room on one side obviously had small children in it who were screaming and running around until very late. It was probably midnight before it subsided and I was able to properly drop off and then I was woken shortly after 5 by loud coughing from the other side. It turned out I was in the middle of a huge family from great-grandparents down to great-grandchildren with the kids being small and excitable and at least one of the older family members obviously not very well. At 6.15 with the sound of throwing up from one of the rooms (I was too tired to work out which) I gave up and got up and sorted myself out, packed my rucksack and tried to decide what to do with the day.

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Wainwright Walks 44: Knott much sleep before hitting the High Street

 Hills: The Knott, High Street, Rampsgill Head, Kidsty Pike, High Raise
Classification: Wainwrights – no.89 to 93
When: Thursday 19 April
Weather: Absolutely glorious! Windy at times.
Time: 6 ½ hours, including breaks
Conditions underfoot: Generally good paths, the odd bit of bog at times but not too bad
Who: me and the mountaineering minion
Post walk drink: Wainwright (again)
Post walk watering hole: The Patterdale Hotel (again)
Uses of the arse crampon: None (yet again. WTF!)
Mishaps: Unless you count insomnia, this walk was basically mishap free (again, WTF?!)

8.15am on Thursday 19th April and I’m just parking up the car at a relatively deserted Hartsop car park. The sky is blue, the birds are singing and the hills are bathed in sunshine. Hang on a minute – 8.15?! Whilst this may be considered a late starting time by many hill walkers, starts this early have not usually featured in Wainwright Walks – the Malbec way!

There were various factors underpinning this uncharacteristically early start. The previous evening’s beer/ Malbec intake had been decidedly restrained as having seen the glorious weather forecast it was obvious a good day’s walking was in prospect. Another factor was worry about the car parking situation as the last thing I wanted was to have a potentially excellent walking day derailed by a failure to park, which has happened before in the past (albeit not as early as 8.15). The major factor however was that I didn’t sleep very well, waking up about 5.30 – after tossing and turning for a bit I gave up in favour of an early shower, getting my gear sorted out and getting going. The plan, such as it was, was to head up to High Street, either via the Knott or via Gray Crag and Thornthwaite Crag. Both routes started from the same point so I could make my mind up at the time. On leaving the car the sky was virtually cloudless, but the wind was quite strong, which was potentially something to factor in to route choice. Continue reading

Wainwright walks 43: Bogs, crags and mishaps in Patterdale

Hills: Birks, Arnison Crag
Classification: Wainwrights (no. 87 and 88)
When: Wednesday 18 April
Weather: Cloudy with light rain to start with, then cleared up
Time: 4 hours including breaks
Conditions underfoot: Some decent paths, but a lot of bog in parts
Who: me and the mountaineering minion, plus two other walkers for most of it
Post walk drink: Wainwright
Post walk watering hole: The Patterdale Hotel
Uses of the arse crampon: None (again!)
Mishaps: minor navigational (mine); major navigational (someone else’s); car trouble before going (does that count?); traffic; gear (see below)

12.30 on Tuesday 18th April, and I’m just getting into the car in Bromley in order to head in the direction of Patterdale. Yes the car. I do most of my Lakes walking these days by public transport, and don’t generally take the car unless I am going for a whole week, not least because I find the long drive a lot more tiring than getting a train up from Euston. But this time I was going for 4 nights and staying somewhere that the bus connections were not as good as I am used to when based in Ambleside or Keswick, so it seemed sensible to use the car to give me flexibility for my walk options. My car was due for its MOT, so was booked in… what could possibly go wrong? Continue reading

Gone to pot on Stone(d)? Arthur – or when to turn back, v2

Disclaimer: this blog post contains no illegal substances whatsoever. Beer and Malbec are as far as I know still totally legal and long may that continue!

Having had an absolutely excellent walk in Borrowdale the previous day, which had yielded me only one new Wainwright but two really nice repeats, I was looking forward to more of the same the following day. The weather forecast had been a bit better for Friday than Thursday before I’d actually left London, and a lot of the snow was clearing away.. It was probably inevitable that normal service would be resumed and something would not go to plan! The weather forecast had gone to pot and was for heavy rain and strong winds, eventually clearing up too late to be of any use. Continue reading