Letterboxes, Birthdays, Climbing Wall & eBay star

Awful Weather

The weather this past week (month!) has been utterly awful! June was twice as wet as any June in (at least) the past seven years – this table shows just how wet…

Rain Database (mm)
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2006 200.6 74.0 124.8 61.2 106.8 101.0 101.8 160.0 165.6 276.8 1372.6
2007 244.2 106.2 121.6 75.0 82.6 137.8 139.2 99.4 79.2 76.6 99.2 176.4 1437.4
2008 256.2 135.0 138.8 94.0 45.0 116.2 116.4 199.8 150.4 311.2 123.2 128.0 1814.3
2009 194.2 21.4 106.8 60.0 136.0 75.6 185.8 212.6 72.8 139.4 334.8 131.8 1671.3
2010 72.6 53.4 110.6 49.2 19.6 47.6 253.2 94.2 182.2 106.8 128.2 37.2 1154.7
2011 146.6 203.6 81.6 92.2 147.8 58.4 104.8 164.2 205.2 192.0 1396.5
2012 124.2 89.2 42.8 47.8 90.4 210.4 9.4 614.2
Database Summary
Min 72.6 21.4 42.8 47.8 19.6 47.6 9.4 94.2 72.8 76.6 99.2 37.2 1154.7
Max 256.2 203.6 200.6 94.0 147.8 210.4 253.2 212.6 205.2 311.2 334.8 276.8 1814.3
Avg 173.0 101.5 114.7 70.3 92.3 101.0 130.8 145.2 131.9 158.8 170.2 157.0 1519.4

This incredible weather has led to many things, some being: flooding all over Cumbria, a series of almost adventure-less weekends, my having to rescue Laetitia from Carnforth when the West Coast Mainline train system was brought to a halt by a rain-induced landslide near Tebay, and Rachel getting national exposure on BBC television for her knowledge and research in to sustainable drainage!


Anyhow, Saturday was only moderately wet, too wet to climb, but not too wet to get out for walk and a little letterbox hunting, or as Paul amusingly phrased it, “it’s a bit like cunning running in’it”.

Newby Bridge
Laetitia tunnelling through a dry-stone wall!
The weather turned out nicer than we’d expected as the day went on… In fact the evening was clear with a wonderful moon. Why is it that the fine wether never seems to coincide with the daytime?
Finsthwaite Tower stamp Finsthwaite High Dam stamp

Sorry the stamp impression for Finsthwaite Tower is so poor – it isn’t actually a stamp, it’s a B&W picture from the cover of the letterbox log-book. The stamp had been taken away and the book itself was water logged.

Fiona & Richard’s joint Birthday Party

As their birthdays are either side of summer in the damp and miserable winter months, Fiona and Richard decided to hold a joint birthday party in June to take advantage of damp and miserable summer weather instead! 😯 They’d chosen Consiton as there’s a great little hall there, the Coniston Institute. Plus it is really close to the MAM hut for those people travelling to join the revelry.

We all had to bring an offering of food to help create a very impressive spread that ranged from chicken curry to baked potatoes, from quiche to prawn salad, and from rhubarb pie to chocolate torte! :yum: In exchange – as well as the amazing company – we got treated to a brilliant band, and far too much Coniston Blue Bird bitter! Richard had bought a barrel from the Coniston micro-brewery and far too much of it found it’s way in to my glass… 😳

A party – beer, music, and climbers – a recipe for a hang over the next day!
(Sorry the photo quality is so poor 🙁 )

Climbing Wall & eBay Stars

On Sunday, with a very heavy head (due to too much consumption of Coniston Blue Bird), we dragged ourselves out of bed, managed to eat a couple of slices of toast, drink a few mugs of tea, pop a couple of paracetamol, and eventually – as the weather was yet again raining – get ourselves to Kendal climbing wall. Not much to say about that really – I find pulling on plastic quite dull to be honest, I’m not very good at it as I lack the stamina, and I don’t go often enough for it to make any difference to my rock climbing ability.

Ah well, there were two much more fun events when we got home: 1) Sarah was calling round for dinner and to chat about a forthcoming trip to Chamonix she and Zac are planning, and 2) those nice people at eBay gave me my 100th star.

Almost Adventure-less

Not a particularly ‘extreme’ weekend … night navigation, dinner, and eBay … weird or what!

Night Navigation
Laetitia’s ML assessment is fast approaching so we took advantage of perhaps the last day (and night) of summer weather and spent Friday night trying to get lost on Loughrigg Fell above Ambleside … we failed … again! However, we did see a massive female deer (we assume it was female as it didn’t have any antlers and the rut must be nearly upon us?). What a beautiful creature, nearly as big as a pony and yet far more graceful. Sorry, we couldn’t get close enough to get a photo, the flash on our compact camera didn’t have the range and all I got was blackness.

Laetitia using a vague path as a handrail on they way to some minuscule tarn somewhere on Loughrigg Fell.

Australian Dinner Guests
On Saturday we had to spend most of the day tidying the house ready for our evening guests – all the way from Australia!

Steph is back in the UK from Canberra catching up with old friends. So to mark the occasion we held a small dinner party for Steph, Paul, Ian, Anna, Laetitia, and me. We ate one of Laetitia’s famous slow-roasted belly pork dishes followed by Eton Mess, and some fancy hand made chocolates brought along by Anna.

Steph was looking great and on top form – it was hard to see any change at all despite it being, I think, four years since we were all last together. Anna & Ian are super trim these days from all the running they are doing (obviously amazing, from a climbing point of view, for the power-to-weight ratio but maybe not so good for the head?). We even talked about Richard & Rachel’s fell-running adventures, assuring ourselves that they will ‘walk’ the Bob Graham Round next year given good weather and a date with maximum hours of daylight… Lets hope they do and then go on to take up what is more likely to be an actual challenge for them – the UTMB. Surely that is their game-plan with the Bob Graham being a qualifying event for the UTMB?

Sorry no pictures of the dinner! 😳 Pretty inexcusable really, not only to miss the chance to snap the ‘gang’ but, compounding the error, no pictures of the desert (‘cake’) or chocolates either! 😮

Steph will be back on an aeroplane back to Australia by the time this article gets posted. Shame, it was great to have the old gang together again if only for one day… 🙁

And what of Sunday? Well, after Steph and Paul had left us heading home to Barnsley, I continued my recent eBay campaign. I’ve evn got my blue badge…

I’m having none of that…
And finally, I’m having none of this lack of pictures of Eton Mess, so here’s one I prepared elsewhere… 😉

eton mess