Coniston, RLH, and the New Langdale Guidebook

Despite the less than perfect forecast this past weekend was a particularly busy one with loads of diverse activities including:

  • an introduction to open water swimming,
  • enjoying excellent company and great food at the SMC meet at RLH in Langdale,
  • scrambling in the rain on Pavey Ark, and
  • the launch of the new Langdale guidebook.

Coniston Water

Laetitia has been enjoying her open water swimming this past summer, and now she has dragged me in too! “Dragged” is the right term for this as I can tell you getting in to the cold water of a Lakeland lake is not easy for a land lover like me. And to think the water is relatively warm at this time of year and real open water swimmers go in wearing just their trunks! :freeze: Anyway, I’m not a very strong swimmer but I had expressed interest in the activity from the point of view of enjoying another aspect of the Lake District’s beauty. Viewing the fells from the middle of a lake is wonderful. However, I do find it quite scary to think about the consequences of getting tired or cold so far from the shore and so totally out of my depth. So before my introduction in Coniston Water on Saturday I insisted we stop and buy a drag-along buoy for safety. It’s something to hang on to for a rest, and offers enhanced visibility. This latter aspect is especially useful on a day like Saturday when the rain was hammering onto the surface of the lake creating a kind of mist at the perfect height to conceal a swimmer from other water borne craft.

Laetitia pointing out in to Consiton Water, "we should swim to there!.  As if it's possible to point at some arbitrary spot of a completely scary and featureless body of water!
Laetitia pointing out in to Consiton Water, “we should swim to there!”. As if it’s possible to point at some arbitrary spot of a completely scary and featureless body of water!
Pete trying to look like a swimmer!  This illusion is almost pulled off thanks to the trickiness of taking pictures while treading water and the consequent lack of focus...
Pete trying to look like a swimmer! This illusion is almost pulled off thanks to the trickiness of taking pictures while treading water and the consequent lack of focus…
Laetitia treading water somewhere in Coniston Water
Laetitia treading water somewhere in Coniston Water

SMC Meet at RLH and scrambling in the Rain over Pavey Ark

On Saturday evening we were booked on the SMC meet at the Wayfarer hut, RLH, in Langdale. This is a super sociable catered meet run by our friend Dick. Unfortunately the combination of beer, gin and tonic, wine, and scotch meant I was very much worse off on Sunday morning! Although the initially dry morning weather quickly showed signs of deteriorating to showers. Hence a plan was hatched to go for a scramble up the classic Jack’s Rake on Pavey Ark. This plan had the added attraction of not being too demanding of my hammering head! 😳

Pete at the start of Jack's Rake on Pavey Ark
Pete at the start of Jack’s Rake on Pavey Ark
Laetitia at the top of Jack's Rake where we quickly donned our water proof clothing!
Laetitia at the top of Jack’s Rake where we quickly donned our water proof clothing!

Langdale Guidebook Launch

Sunday evening saw us at the Stickle Barn in Langdale for the FRCC‘s first ever formal guidebook launch party – after many many hours of work by Max and his team the latest and greatest Langdale guidebook is done! It’s a brilliant book and should make finding, climbing, and enjoying some of Lakeland’s best rock climbing a great deal easier! (Although it is a bit embarrassing how many of our photographs have found their way in to the guidebook! I can only guess the editorial team didn’t have that many other photo submissions to work with. Not that they are bad pictures – we of course think they’re great pictures – it’s just that there are quite a few!)

In just a few days time you’ll be able to go here to buy your copy of the new Langdale guidebook!

Max Biden's labour, the brand new Langdale guidebook
Max Biden’s labour, the brand new Langdale guidebook

Patterdale Walking

Saturday

I’d arranged to meet one of my work colleagues, Chris, on Saturday to help him learn a little navigation…

Chris is fairly new to whole hill-walking thing, but has enthusiastically booked himself on to a Kilimanjaro trek early next year. I suggested that he needs to get fit to make sure he does’t fail or hate the experience. With that in mind I’ve given him a proposed list of training objectives for the coming months. But Chris then asked, “How will I find my way round the Langdale Pikes Pete?” Only then did I realise he’d never used an OS map before. So I offered to teach him the basics, and thus a day out in Patterdale was planned… Our friends Chris and Helen joined us for the weekend.

On the way up to Keppel Cove dam
On the way up to Keppel Cove dam
Crazy kids ignoring the signs and using the ruined Keppel Cove as a bridge
Crazy kids ignoring the signs and using the ruined Keppel Cove dam as a bridge
Chris, Helen, Laetitia, Chris, and Pete on the summit of Raise
Chris, Helen, Laetitia, Chris, and Pete on the summit of Raise

Sunday

The rain was still falling on Sunday morning as forecast. And with that forecast we had arranged to meet Chris and Helen in Patterdale for some gill scrambling. Hoggets Gill was the chosen route. Gill scrambling was a good choice if only because you always fail to notice how heavy the rain is and how damp you are getting because the water in the gill is pouring down the sleeves of your jacket!

Pete, Helen, and Chris scrambling in Hoggets Gill
Pete, Helen, and Chris scrambling in Hoggets Gill
Laetitia, Chris, and Helen relishing the high water in Hoggets Gill
Laetitia, Chris, and Helen relishing the high water in Hoggets Gill
Helen and Laetitia enjoying the scrambling in Hoggets Gill
Helen and Laetitia enjoying the scrambling in Hoggets Gill
Laetitia following a grimacing Chris on the way up to Dove Crag
Laetitia following a grimacing Chris on the way up to Dove Crag

After we reached the top of Hoggets Gill, and we spent a few minutes enjoying our sandwiches on a convenient grassy lookout, we made our way across to Dove Crag to poke around looking for the Priests Hole

Chris poses next to the "Vlad  Stones" at Dove Crag
Chris poses next to the “Vlad Stones” at Dove Crag

After all that activity it was time for the time honoured post-adventure reward: tea and cakes. Back in Ambleside enjoying our cakes we got on to analysing Helen’s need for new waterproofs. Her trousers in particular were long past their best, having served three generations of her family well in the hills! But it was the debate about whether a waterproof jacket was rightfully called an “anorak” or not that was most fun. After some Googling – as promised – we can now confirm that Chris does not wear a “gay beaded item worn by Greenland women or brides in the 1930s”!

St Sunday Crag, Pinnacle Ridge

The bank-holiday weekend started off wet, and it had rained a fair bit on Friday, so we knew most crags would still be wet. Consequently after a short debate (unusually short for us, it normally takes ages to decide) as to what we should do and where we should go, we decided upon the classic scramble Pinnacle Ridge on St Sunday Crag. Soon after we found a spot to park in Patterdale – which has become a real nightmare, and a costly one at £4/day at the youth hostel – the weather started to brighten up and we ended up spending a day in bright sunshine! However, it was freezing! I can hardly believe it is May… It looks like this summer is going to be short, lets just hope it is dry.

Looking back towards Ullswater from the start of Pinnacle Ridge
Looking back towards Ullswater from the start of Pinnacle Ridge
Pete near the start of Pinnacle Ridge
Pete near the start of Pinnacle Ridge
Laetitia on the ridge between St Sunday Crag and Fairfield, with Grisedale Tarn in the background
Laetitia on the ridge between St Sunday Crag and Fairfield, with Grisedale Tarn in the background
The view across to Dollywaggon Pike, Helvellyn, and the Dodds.
The view across to Dollywaggon Pike, Helvellyn, and the Dodds.

Holme Fell Scramble and Letterboxing

The scramble up the west ridge of Raven Crag, leading up on to Holme Fell, is a lovely easy way to gain height. Perfect to blow the cobwebs out of our heads following last night’s partyMore “Holme Fell Scramble and Letterboxing”