Classification: Wainwright (No.122)
When: Tuesday 4 June
Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
Distance: Short blast – about 3 miles
Time: 1 3/4 hours, including breaks
Weather: Cloudy but above summits. Showery on the way down.
Post walk drink: Keswick Brewery Thirst Flight. Later Prosecco. Then Malbec even later.
Post walk watering hole: The bar at Keswick Brewery
Uses of the arse crampon: Still missing in action
Mishaps: None, unless you count advancing age!
The day after my High Pike walk, I wanted to try and get out and do a hill of some sort. Why? Well let’s just say that when the day dawned I was in a different decade from the one I was in when I went to bed the previous evening and that I am older than 40 and not as old as 60. Oh what the hell, I was hitting my half century and me being me wanted to celebrate it with (a) my husband and friends, (b) getting up a hill of some sort (c) doing some other fun stuff and (d) Malbec (obviously). The day got off to a good start as I woke up to find my friends Jo and Steve had decorated the cottage with loads of balloons, actually having found black, gold and silver ones (since I am a bit of an old goth) and I also got some lovely presents including some beautiful jewellery from Stuart.
We had some plans for the day but I really wanted to get a walk in if the weather was anything other than totally grim – the forecast had been marginal with an early start being the best option and the actual weather seemed okay if a bit dull. A short walk seemed like a good bet and would leave me plenty of time to spend with Stuart and the others. The obvious choice was one of the annoying outliers I now have all over the place and Graystones was about the closest and easiest of those to Keswick – it was also landrover tracked much of the way from the start at Darling How farm which always makes for quick progress. Given it was such a short walk the level of faffing about was about as low as it ever gets (for me anyway, i.e. there still was some) and I was parked up at the start shortly after 10 and on my way.
There wasn’t really much to say about the initial part of the ascent. The track makes for easy, and quick, progress much of the way up the hill through forestry until eventually you hit a part where there has clearly been an awful lot of felling going on and quite frankly it is a total mess. The tracks go all the way to the ridge (at least the route I took) but the last third of a mile or so was covered with fallen bits of tree and I had to take care where I was putting my feet to ensure I didn’t trip over anything – plus scenic it is not, so not much happened in the way of photo taking. Once on the ridge the track (and forestry devastation) eventually peters out and I picked up a clear path which made a beeline for the summit of Graystones about 45 minutes after leaving the car.
Summit or summits? There are 2 obvious candidates for the top and various other little bumps and me being me I faffed about making sure I had visited all of them. The views from the summit were pretty good, although the day remained overcast, but I spent a bit of time taking photos including the inevitable summit selfie which I later emailed to my father who responded that I didn’t look a day over 49!
I decided to go back to the car the way I had come despite the tree felling as the other main route off the summit involves a steep descent over grass to another landrover track and I thought better the devil I knew. I made reasonably good time on the descent and having faffed for the best part of 20 minutes on the summit was back at the car well before 12 for the short drive back to the cottage before meeting the others.
As to the rest of the activities for the day? We met in the excellent Java coffee house for a mint hot chocolate (does that count as a post walk drink) followed by a game of birthday mini-golf in Hope Park (which I didn’t win, but was a good laugh) a post walk beer in the Keswick Brewery, some post walk Prosecco and cake back at the cottage and later on a great steak meal at the Brossen restaurant in the Inn on the Square (recommended).
Amazingly nobody had a hangover on the following day and we managed a short walk up Binsey, which I had done before but not had a view from, and a return to Castlerigg stone circle via the Lake District distillery.
All in all an excellent birthday – here’s to the next half century!