Sunday, 15 May 2011

Sergeant Man and High Raise

This year's week in Shambleside featured fine family time aplenty seasoned with nuggets of unremarkable 'fell action', the odd pint - and a head cold.

One day I managed a potter over and around Loughrigg fell and took great delight in the abundance of bluebells and the damp humic smells as I ran through the woods. I hoped that the swifts/martins/swallows that were nesting in the roofs of the big caves beside the footapth were coping ok with the seepage. With time to kill, I went back up over the top and came down in Clappersgate and finished with a brisk effort along the road.

Another evening I gleaned some time and went up to Wansfell Pike. Was pleased to be able to run all the way without having to resort to walking.

On Thursday, Pete and I walked up to Sergeant Man from Grasmere...

... and then wandered across to High Raise. The rain that had been pelting us eased away bang on cue and we took in panoramic views from just below the cloudbase. It was pretty cold though after our soaking...

We walked over Thunacar Knott and went on down to Stickle Tarn where we spotted a solo climber on the sodden walls of Pavey Ark before going on up again to Blea Rigg. From here we enjoyed some delightful undulating tops before eventually heading back down to Grasmere from Lang Howe, through a wonderland of juniper woods and fern-lined tracks.

Pete had an appointment with a hot tub and decided to get the bus back. I had a civilised pot of tea (with cup and saucer) on the shore of the mere before walking back over Loughrigg fell one last time. Felt pretty tired by the end - should have opted for the tub!

Monday, 2 May 2011

A grand day out (Black Mountains recce #2)

Jamie, Chris and I headed over to the Mynydd Du to have another go at the Black Mountains race route - a great day out with bright sunshine and strong winds. Chris, running in the hills for the first time, put in a good effort following Jamie who was on form and pressing the pace. I trundled on behind on legs that lacked punch, content to enjoy the clear views and very blustery conditions.

We took a better, more direct line from Perth-y-pia up onto Pen Carrig-calch than last time. The run along the top to Pen Allt-mawr and Pen Twyn Glas was exhillarating in the blast of the wind and the sound of inflated nylon coats flapping madly.

Jamie's research had paid off and we found a better place to begin the contouring descent to the valley floor.

Chris enjoyed the many false summits of Pen y Gadair Fawr.

I think we took the wrong line off the summit and down to the valley, following the edge of the wood on an uneven path rather than heading down a long shoulder that eventually leads to much the same point.

The climb up the other side of the valley to Chwarel y Fan felt like a long old pull...

... but we enjoyed the views over to the Malverns and May Hill from the top.

We ran along the watershed in a cross wind where I did the longest spit (yes, Iknow it's disgusting) yet.

From Bal-Mawr we took the wrong line - again - down to the conifer plantations below. More work needed here.

There were some nice bluebells in the woodland section that followed, but my legs were not too enthusiastic by this point and I laboured on behind the other two.

One more visit should do it in terms of getting the route right, I think. We need to work out the best way off Pen y Gadair Fawr and nail the route through the plantation below Bal Mawr.

But the Black Mountains are fine hills and their rounded tussocky forms are suited to a windswept day. Well worth a visit.

The next day out in the hills is in about a month's time when Mike and I will be helping out as pacers for Dave's South Wales Traverse attempt.