On Sunday we drove up to the Lake District for some fun in the snow. We had a nice walk up Loughrigg Fell in the afternoon, in about ten centimetres of snow, but with cloud overhead, we didn’t get great views.
Monday dawned bright and clear, and with the temperatures staying cold, we were sure conditions would be great on the hills. We drove up to Dungeon Ghyll and started up the trail to Stickle Tarn. The trails were hard packed and icy in places, but off trail the snow was lovely and fluffy with a slight crust. Very few people had been up the Langdales since the snow, so we spent a lot of time breaking trail once we’d reached the tarn.
We were also trying out a Christmas present – an “i-gotU” GPS tracker. It’s devoid of a screen or any information out walking, but it records your path so it can be downloaded later and you can find out where you actually were rather than where you thought you were!
We took a steep route up the East side of Pavey Arc, then sat on the summit rocks enjoying the gorgeous view over the Langdale Valley, Windermere and all the way to the sea. After a short break we continued, now without a path to follow, through deeper snow to Harrison Stickle, and then across to Pike of Stickle. After a rather steep descent off Pike of Stickle (the conventional route was invisible in the snow) we had a late lunch looking across to Bowfell and Rossett Pike.
We didn’t stay for long as it was getting cold, and the sun was disappearing behind the mountains. We decided to descend Stake Pass, partly to recce a bit of the Bob Graham route we’d messed up in the summer. After a pleasant romp down the pass, and a rather icy trudge along the valley, we were back at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel for soup and hot chocolate, but sadly no cake.
Oh, and the “i-gotU”? It worked very well. It seemed to be accurate and despite being tiny (it only weighs 20g), even works indoors and in the car. A very nice little toy – we’ll be trying it out orienteering and mountain marathoning soon.
The forecast for Tuesday wasn’t so favourable for Cumbria so we decided to continue up to Scotland (we’ll stop in the lakes again on the way back down). Tuesday was spent skiing at Nevis Range – nice views, good snow, but not quite enough of it. Happily, Rachel has remembered pretty much all her technique from last year. Sadly, Richard’s skiing seems to be getting worse and worse.