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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A day of good and bad bits (River Sprint 3)

8:15 am - I am driving daughter’s colleague to school ( a favour), up a country lane. The builder’s wagon in front starts turning right, then stops. A car following is now right behind. The wagon reverses. My hand on the horn gets no result. I just sit and watch the front of my Skoda Yeti get crunched.

A good bit:  Feeling sorry for myself I reckon I deserve breakfast at the Artisan - a high class eater at Booth’s supermarket in Kendal ( the local equivalent of Waitrose). 

Five miles down the single track road in Long Sleddale, Tarmac ends and  a rough track ascends to Gatesgarth Pass: departure for my final exploration of the River Sprint.

Strangely there are more cars than normal; several have driven well up, despite the rugged surface. Farmers with flat tweed caps, shiny with age, moulded to their heads and wearing well worn tweed suits with waistcoats, despite the sunshine, are leaning against the wall with binoculars and hob-nobbing. Many of the cars display cb aerials, and dogs abound.

I know about hunting; my father was secretary of the Airedale Beagles for twenty five years.

At NY 480 073 where the track steepens I descend from track to river and photograph the tumbling, waterfally river with  blue skies, and rowan and holly trees sporting red berries.

Higher up I recross the track to the east and climb, strenuously over rough, pathless terrain to the summit of Tarn Crag. Something tells me I shouldn’t be doing this with the recovering knee. 

Inexplicably (perhaps wishfully reverting to junior-hard mode), I decide to descend via a ravine, and out onto suicidal steep grass skirting the southern edge of Buckbarrow Crag.

The knee is protesting. I am bemused at my folly for engineering this situation. I have never used the bum-sliding technique before on steep grass (too amateurish and unmanly), but find it effective for eliminating knee stress, and furthermore it is jolly good fun.

Back at the Gatesgarth track thoughts turn to car and a hot bath. Feeling for the keys in my back pocket I know immediately what has happened: I have paid the price for that joyous bum-sliding.

There is no mobile signal. Back at the car the Ullswater Hounds fraternity are preparing for departure. I hardly subscribe to their activities but decide now is the time to abandon principles and play the, “My father was secretary of the Airedale Beagles...” card.

One of the “followers” lives in Arnside and I get a lift in a car rancid with the smell of three border terriers. Daughter, spare keys from home, and a lift back to the car combine to complete the day.

I find myself, at last in the hot bath glugging a large, strong gin and tonic. Crumbs! I hope I’m not pregnant.
The start of the track is to the right of this bridge

Looking up Long Sleddale to Gatesgarth Pass. Red dots mark my descent route

"Followers" cars well up the track. Red dots show my descent route again - it was much steeper than it looks 

Long zoom back down the dale showing jumble of cars. I didn't dare photograph the farmer "followers" in case they thought I was an undercover hunt saboteur gathering evidence. I reckon they are just carrying on as before now after the hunt ban legislation

The track up to Gatesgarth can be seen, top right, and the point where I turned off up the righthand skyline ridge

Tarn Crag summit*, Windermere apparent


*Extract from Wikipedia:This is one of four such pillars built during the construction of the Haweswater aqueduct. Below Branstree and Tarn Crag is the first section of the pipeline carrying water from the reservoir toward Manchester. The tunnel, some 1,300 ft below the summit, required 250 tons of gelignite for blasting, and when constructed in the 1930s was the longest such pipeline in Britain. It emerges into Longsleddale below Great Howe, where the spoil can still be seen.[1]



Roderick Robinson said...

he Artisan, a name that contains some inverted snobbery, surely? No cosy-cosy mention of a pot of tea there so it's clear you were disturbed.

Given your mixed feelings about accepting help from a red-in-tooth-and-claw man why don't you go round to his place at night and slash his tyres? To tell the truth I've always wondered how easy it is to do that. Seems like hard work.

An ectopic pregnancy is one that occurs in an abnormal position or in an unusual manner or form. Clearly that doesn't preclude a knee though you'd have to check up on the symptoms. Why not get one of those litmus-paper tests from the chemists before you jokingly refer to this subject again.

welshpaddler said...

Good to see that you are again engaging in things which long experience tells you not to!

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the car - how bad was the damage? Your knee not the car is more important!
Maybe better to go back to walking the lanes to give the knee a chance, semi-medical advice.
From your pictures the weather up there looked better than down here.
Good couple of days passed but things look bleak again - off to Spain in a couple of days to see if I can help out with their economy.

Sir Hugh said...

RR - I'm happy to report there are no further symptoms although the contents of the gin bottle seem to have reduced again.

We already have an arsonist in Arnside, setting fire to cars and trash bins, and police activity is at DEFCOM 10 so your plan may be a bit risky at the mo.The last incident was the burning of a specially adapted car belonging to a disabled couple staying at a local hotel.


Welshpaddler - Thanks for that - long experience has a lot to answer for.


Bowlandclimber - Car damage was hardly visible, but the insurance estimate is £834.

The knee has settled down a lot over the last ten days, often running at the same temperature as the other one with virtually no swelling. Whilst I had discomfort on that descent it has settled down since, but it still has a fair way to go overall. Thanks for your advice which I know is wise, but as Welshpaddler has identified my "long experience" seems to be getting in the way.

afootinthehills said...

I do love the way you continued with your day in the face of a crunched car. What a delightfully uplifting post.

Anonymous said...

How can it possibly be £834 does that include a new knee?
For proof please provide pictures,of the car not the knee!

Anonymous said...

That was some day Conrad! Your descent route looks a bit hairy, with or without a bad knee. I'm very fond of Tarn Crag and the various streams which drain it - it's one of those under-rated hills on the edges of the Lakes which many people seem to ignore, more fool them.