I was hoping to get away from work a little early but a harness fir for a lovely Springer called Bella meant I was still there at 5.30. I was packed so it wasn’t so bad. I wasn’t going too high as the winds were due to be really strong. (and I was at work in the morning!!)
The forecast was clear but windy. I don’t mind that, so long as it doesn’t hoon it down as I was in the bivvy bag as usual..
I parked in the Coppermines valley and headed up Hole Rake. The wind was gusty and had a real chill about it. I was heading for Sweeten Crag area as it’s nice for a quick post work evening hit.
When I got up there it was blowing a gale so I went off in search of shelter of some sort. All the rocks seemed to face the wrong way! The ground was difficult – tussock grass and very boggy in places with failing light! Great. I was telling myself to find somewhere quick as I knew my headtorch wasn’t near the top of my pack! I spotted another small promontory to the east of me and made a direct line for it. It was called High Wythow, it had a small cairn and some shelter from the ever searching wind!
I quickly got set up after putting the down jacket on! The sky over St John’s and Thrilmere area looked dark and ominous…..Like it was going to storm…It hadn’t forecast any precipitation!
I tried to hurry dinner along as it was warming in the Jetboil but it wasn’t going to be quick enough! As the spots started I frantically throwing stuff in the bivvy bag. I slid in and pulled it over my head listened to the Jetboil fizz and pop as the rain touched the hot metal. It was bouncing! I smiled as I looked out at the twinkling lights through my little gap. The sound of the wind and rain battering the bivvy bag was comforting as I was toasty though I hoped it would pass quickly as I was pretty hungry! It soon did and as I peeled back the bag the stars were already pepperi ng the night sky.
I finished off dinner. I have been given some Forestia meals to try. It was good-Cod, spinach and rice in sauce; very tasty.
I watched as the tail end of the shower was blown towards Yorkshire and thought of my friends in their warm houses and in front of fires. I was content. The wind was whistling through hidden obstacles, I love that noise. The cairn was catching the corner of my eye and I started to convince myself there was someone behind me….the imagination runs wild when you’re alone in the dark on a mountain!!!
I had brought some Baileys with me to make a coffee with. It was pretty good!!! Posh eh!!!
I laid back and watched as the planes got fewer and the satellites became more visible.
The Milky Way started to show and the shooting stars started. The wind was getting colder and I covered my arms and put my hood up. I saw several before I knew it was time to sleep.. I didn’t want to get out of bed to have a wee and do the fangs but needs must!!
I weighed the bag down with a large rock as I toddled off, on returning I just saw my bag being picked up by the wind and soon I was running to catch it!!! It was a freak gust! I caught just in time! I thought it was heading for Coniston Village!!!!
Soon I was back in the warmth and ready for sleep. I listened to the wind, its gentle lullaby singing me to sleep…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
The morning was cold though no frost. No condensation, everything was dry as a bone! Great I thought. No kit drying. Breakfast was the usual porridge and powdered coffee. I would get a nice flat white from Esquires on my way to work. MMMMM.
It was 7 am and I couldn’t wait for the full sunrise as I needed to walk off the hill and work was looming. I packed up quickly and headed for a more direct way down. It drops through the Blue Quarries. It was a perfect way to go and quicker. I will approach from this way next time as I love the history.. The light was catching the Old Man and Great How perfectly. I wished I was still in my bag!
I was soon at the car and getting changed for work; already planning my next adventure in my head.
Wednesday night I was thinking.
And to Wednesday……………Brim Fell.
Today was possible to finish early…. I was hoping to get away for 4 as I had gone in early. I was really hoping to see the sunset and maybe the Aurora…
I was away on the nail.
I hadn’t even unpacked my sack from Monday, just took the rubbish out and added more food and some wine!
I parked at Walna Scar and headed up the track. I was greeted by a site I hate.. the remains of a fire. On the ground, scorched grass and charred wood. Complete idiots. That is all.
I was angry but tried to put the vision out of my head as I didn’t want it to spoil my night. I just don’t get why people have to have fires on the ground…. grrrrrrr.
I decided this was going to be a mood changing walk up as I could hear shouting and laughing…which was ok but for the fact the people had cans of Stella and cigarettes in hand.. I was so shocked I said nothing, just kept my head down. I half expected to see a trail of litter but there was nothing.
I next came across a couple who were moving very slowly but they did have big packs on so I assumed they may be camping.. I was hoping if they were that they would stop at Low Water… I was getting nearer and noticed it was 2 ladies, or so I thought…until I realised it was a man in a denim skirt…I said hello and carried on….What could I say?
The rest of the walk was uneventful (thank god!!!) My pack felt heavier as I’ve changed to my winter bag..It’s that time of year now. It had been really calm on the way up but was forecast a brisk wind on top. As I approached the summit the cloud was high but there was a solid cover but for a strip of bright orange over the sea. It was stunning. The Isle of Man was incredibly clear.
There was one chap taking photo’s and we had a good natter. I had already decided to carry on as I knew the couple with the packs had continued past Low Water . I didn’t want to camp near anyone.. I said my goodbyes and continued on my way. I do enjoy being on Brim Fell; despite it being quite exposed it’s a great summit and I had already decided on a spot I saw last time I was up there.
The wind was coming from the North East and was bitterly cold. I wouldn’t get much protection but I was happy – there isn’t a lot of shelter up there anyway.
I set about organising my kit and getting ready for dinner. I was right under a cairn with a good back rest which was nice. I kept watching the Old Man to see if I could see the couple who were behind me. They eventually appeared and seemed to head straight toward Goats Hawse. I guessed they were maybe going to Seathwaite in the Duddon?
The sky was at last starting to clear and the temperature dropped. I was starting to heat my dinner – another Forestia meal. This time it was cuttlefish, prawn, mussel and pasta..in a ‘black sauce’. Despite how it looks it was quite nice – providing you like fish. Cuttlefish reminded me of squid but its high calorie and tasty so it was all fine!
I had also brought some wine which went straight into the hot water as it was very cold by now.
It was good to be snuggled in my down jacket again. I love the warmth but the cold on my face..Invigorating!
And relax…. I leaned back against the rock and stared up to the sky. The sunset had been a little flat at its climax but the stars were going to more than make up for that! The moon was not yet visible which was a shame.
The wind was coming straight toward me and felt cold against my skin. I doubled up my gloves as my fingers were really cold now. The wine was slightly warm and I had it with some dark chocolate – what a treat!
My back starting to ache so it was time to get horizontal… Hot chocolate and bed I thought. I fired up the Minimo and soon had my Galaxy choc in hand warming my cold fingers!
The condensation level was already high. My bivvy was damp but everything inside was dry. I routed out my toilet bag and went off to clean my teeth. It was so quiet compared to Monday night.
I was soon engulfed by my winter bag; I was so grateful I had not risked the 3 season! I positioned my pillow under my head and lay star gazing for ages before sleep took me. No work in the morning I thought..
I awoke a few times through the night a looked to see if the Aurora was visible..nothing sadly. It was very chilly! I sat up and my eyes watered in the wind.
I could feel they were there usual puffiness after a night on the hill! I fumbled around for my camera as the sun started to rise. It was so beautiful. I love listening to the sounds of the odd piping bird, the stove, the breeze..blissful. I lay watching as the sun poked its head over the cloud bank. The little bit of warmth it held felt good against my cheeks. Soon the colours changed all around me to a warm glowing orange. The cold grey rock now peach in colour..It only last a few minutes but all the effort you put in to being up here is rewarded by these fantastic sights.
My porridge thickened in its little plastic pot and I had my sachet latte! All powdered coffee is pretty grim but I keep mixing different ones together to make a change in taste! It sort of works.
I lay for ages watching the colours change and the birds sitting on the thermals. A Kestrel was hunting not far from me. Stunning to see. It was getting on for 9 when I decided to pack. I was enjoying the warmth and the fresh air.. Normality was calling and I knew I had washing to do!
I hadn’t seen anyone yet today which was nice though I expected it wouldn’t be long. As I descended the summit path I saw the first 2 people approaching Low Water. As I reached them I was relieved to see that they had no Stella and the male was not in a skirt!
Stunning walk down. Met lots of lovely people and dogs. Time to head to The Meadowdore in Coniston for a butty and coffee!