Wetherlam… a champion day out!

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See route here..

So who saw my mug in the newspaper the other day? If you didn’t see it then contact me and I`ll send you the link 🙂

Joking aside, I am extremely proud to be an OS GetOutside champion for 2017, and I will give a 100% commitment to the role.

Those who follow me on Instagram View me here.. will see that i am wearing my gore-tex Craghoppers OS jacket on recent walks, i am so proud to wear the badge!… I will come back to this

So what is a champion? Is it someone who gets to the highest peak first? It can be, but that is not me!

Is it someone who pushes themselves to the very limit of their endurance to get there first? It can be, but that is not me!

Is it someone who speaks passionately about something, and believes and promotes a cause? It can be, and that is me!

Ok, now we have cleared up what kind of champion i am lets crack on with Saturdays walk (i will leave the highest peaks and endurance feats to the Kenton Cool`s and Sean Conway’s of the group 🙂

I set off on Saturday with my trusty dog Rocky with the aim of climbing Wetherlam via Steel edge and Wetherlam Edge. The weather forecast was not looking too good but it was meant to improve later in the day (it didn’t)

Not to be deterred we drove to the lakes with a sense of adventure and my OL6 map ( we left with neither, i`ll come back to this).

As we headed for the start point we drove past Yew Tree Tarn. It was around 8am, there was a mist just lifting, and with nobody else around we stopped for a toilet break. I of course also took this opportunity for a few pics..

I could’ve stayed here all day and listened to the gentle lapping of the water, and the odd birdsong but Rocky was eager to press on and climb some mountains, or the swans scared him, not sure which?

We soon arrived at the small car park in Tilberthwaite  Grid Ref: NY 305011, a quick change of footwear (for me) and we were off…

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Tilberthwaite cottages

Maybe it was due to the weather or the early start but there was nobody else parked up in the car park, or out doing this walk today, just me and Rocky Roo!

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My lonesome car!

We headed off up the path leaving the comfort of the car and cottages behind. At this point although it was raining the weather was quite mild still.

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Looking back down the path 

We were soon in to our stride as the legs and lungs began to get that familiar feeling of ascending yet again 🙂

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As we reached the head of Tilberthwaite Gill the view ahead opened up to us….Kind of! If you do this route be careful of the steep drops to the left of you as you walk up the path beside the Gill. I like to let the dog have the run of the fells as he is great with sheep (must be the collie in him), but i was cautious of the drops here so put his lead back on him, much to his displeasure! Safety  first though, even for doggies 🙂

Once you get past the Gill the path heads right towards Dry Cove Bottom (I kid you not), the views did not improve much..

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Dry Cove Bottom

 

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Blake Rigg

 

The walk had been relatively flat up to this point, now it was time to start the climb up Steel Edge..

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Steel Edge

 

Once I coaxed Rocky away from his stick that is!!

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As we began the climb I could feel the shift in temperature and the strength of the wind. Before too long we were right in the thick of it in the clag. It was difficult to see 10 feet in front of me, and I lost the dog a few times. Ive not mentioned yet but this fell is littered with old mine shafts and exposed cliffs. I was getting an uneasy feeling about this walk.. I put Rocky back on his lead and continued upwards. Whilst attempting to scramble up the top third of the edge I went on my backside on wet rock a couple of times!!

I stood for a minute, looking up ahead in to the clouds. After a few expletives under my breath I decided to turn around and retreat downwards..

A few years ago I would have carried on through pure selfishness to the summit, why? because it was there! I am older now, and wiser, and after an incident on Fleetwith Pike a couple of years ago when walking alone, I now appreciate how things can change very quickly up here. The mountain will still be there tomorrow, and hopefully the weather will be better too? A tad dramatic I hear you say…”It is only the Lakes”, It may well be just the lakes, but this beautiful place can also be an unforgiving environment at times!

Walking alone is a great thing, but it is not without risk. Always tell someone where you are going, and know when the conditions are not quite right.

Anyway, after a little mooch around the valley trying to seek out some good photographic points I bumped into a young family heading up to where I had just come from. We got talking and the guy recognised the OS champions jacket from social media! With a puffing out of the chest I began to tell them all about the Get Outside campaign. They seemed genuinely interested as the two young children found amusement from watching Rocky wrestle with yet another stick! To cut a long story short, the couple asked my advice if they were doing the right thing attempting Wetherlam in these conditions? I told them in my opinion it was not the place to be taking their young children to on a day like this (although I have to say the whole family were well equipped), what would they see up there? Would they find the walk pleasurably? Would the children even know they were on the summit? The answer is probably no to all of the above. The family agreed that it was not the right thing to do and asked for an alternative walk as they were only here for the weekend. I suggested they visit Tarn Hows which was not far from there. They thanked me and headed down off the fell as I took more photographs.

I soon gave up on trying to get any decent photos and headed down myself. We stopped in the disused quarry for a quick cuppa, and shelter from the wind.

I began to tell Rocky all about the history of quarrying in Cumbria but……..

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STIX!!!

 

 

 

We hung around for a while hoping for a change in the weather. It wasn’t happening so I decided to follow my own advice and visit Tarn Hows before the drive home..

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Pondering over the decision to head down

 

Tarn Hows is about a 15 min drive from where we were. Passing Yew Tree Tarn again the increase in people around there was noticeable, I am pleased I managed to visit it early in the day. It was nice though to see so many people out and about.

We spent about an hour at Tarn Hows before heading back to the car for the drive home.

Whenever I visit the Windermere/Coniston area of the lakes my satnav always routes me through Kendal and Kirkby Stephen, both beautiful places but the drive is tedious. I much prefer to go over the Kirkstone Pass and drop down to Ullswater. This way drops me right back on to the A66, and an hour later I am home 🙂 It is also a last opportunity for a decent pic before leaving..

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Moody Ullswater

 

So all in all it was not a great day out in the lakes, the weather was against me. Today’s route is one I will definitely attempt again in more favourable conditions, preferably with my Lake Buddies. The most satisfying part of this walk was being able to give the family I mentioned earlier advice on a safer place to visit. I hope they enjoyed their day out in this beautiful part of the world, and that they got better weather on the Sunday!

Thank you for reading

Scott

 

 

 

 

 

 

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