Thursday, 24 March 2011

Buttermere Horseshoe

Wednesday, 23rd March - a day of fluctuating fortunes. The plan was Buttermere Horseshoe (14 miles and 5800 ft. of ascent). A toughy for a 71 year old.
Green line = Buttermere Horseshoe (14 miles and 5800 ft of ascent)
Blue line = Ennerdale Horseshoe (18.75 miles and 7309 ft. of ascent) which I have done several times - the best walk in The Lakes but very demanding
Red Line = planned route of my Lowestoft to St Bee's Head walk last summer which terminated at Patterdale after falling at Nam Bield Pass
I left Buttermere at 7:30am, on a guaranteed, good BBC forecast.   Cloud rolled in until 11:00 am. The ascent to Bleaberry Tarn is steep, but the remaining stretch to Red Pike is very steep.
Buttermere Lake and Fleetwith Pike on my ascent to Red Pike
After High Stile I lost time route finding, then found I had forgotten about the rugged descent and height loss at Scarth Gap, but this is the challenge and I am not grumbling. At Scarth Gap I met a girl novice fellwalker needing help with map reading and her intended route back to Buttermere over Hay Stacks (where Wainwright’s ashes were scattered); she provided pleasant company for three kilometers to where her downward path departed.  I continued to Honister Slate Mines and tea. Here the proprietor was killed last week in his crashing helicopter.
A long pull up to Dale Head revealed the satisfying symmetry of Newlands Valley and its horseshoe ridge.
Newlands Valley and Skiddaw in the background
On Robinson’s summit a niggly thought occurred - “did I replace my wallet in my rucksack at Honister?” My search confirmed the worst. It was 3:45pm. I reckoned I may make Honister if I ran down to Butteremere and the car, providing their closing time would allow. After ten minutes of suicidal descent I decided to phone.  With Internet connection I found Honister’s number which I had to memorise whilst transferring to keypad. Peace of mind reigned when the wallet was reported found, and closing confirmed as 5:00pm. I still continued the run to Buttermere, and made it  to Honister for 4:45pm.
On the day’s last ascent to Robinson I had imagined tiredness, but when necessity demands, extra energy can mysteriously be tapped. 

2 comments:

Phreerunner said...

A nice circuit Conrad. And I agree with you re the Ennerdale Circuit, but I prefer to do that over two days from Ennerdale, camping near Blackbeck Tarn, with those great views down to Buttermere and Crummock Water.
Glad you recovered your wallet!

Sir Hugh said...

Pheerunner -Your Ennerdale strategy is admirable. I have walked it four times but it
has always been a masochistic tour de force. The last time I finished at 8.00 pm and could find nowhere to buy a celebratory bottle of wine on the way home until I had a moment of epiphany with the recollection of Asda 24 hours in Kendal. I think I got home after 10.00 but still had my wine. Doing the massive Ennerdale is made more problematic by the remoteness of the starting point - one has to set off very early from home, or as I did on one occasion drive up the night before and camp or sleep in the car. Your idea is much more sensible, and worth the effort of carrying the extra weight.