Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Singing in the rain, I'm happy again


Monday. Another Marilyn.

Guess what? Heavy rain is forecast. But I don’t care.

Sun shines as I breakfast, but cloud blanket draws over before I leave at 10:00. I know I will be wet at some stage.

Ten minutes before the summit of the steep ancient lane from High Nibthwaite over to Low Parkamoor I notice the first specks of dark grey on the lighter grey of the Lake District stone under my feet before I start feeling the onset of rain. I branch off the medieval track, where I have pondered on its usage in olden times with donkeys or mules, and climb steeply towards the summit of Top ‘o Selside through heather and snow patches on a faint path. It is only ten minutes to the summit. Wind and rain have now become a gale, and once, partly because I am unbalanced anyway, I am nearly blown over.

As a seasoned summit bagger, wishing to avoid the disaster of missing the true summit ( which once happened on a Munro, necessitating re-climbing later) I notice there are two summits, the first being cairned.

I am enjoying the drama of wild weather because of good clothing, and knowing this is a short walk with the luxury of a car awaiting, rather than erecting a wet tent and enduring prolonged adversity. I battle to the second summit (just in case), and am rewarded by  an agreeable, partly frozen, mini-tarn just below the col, positioned as only nature can manage, and too small to appear on the map. I head down through pathless heather and more snow to the old lane, now an open track, continuing in the original direction, and down to the road where I route march back alongside Lake Coniston, still in penetrating rain, but less wind. I feel fitter and more invigorated than for many a month.

Half a mile from the car, my supposedly waterproof trousers permit ingress down my right thigh, eerily chilly and uncomfortable compared with the warm snugness provided by the rest of my apparel.

There are two contour circles of equal height on the summit, but the spot height of 335m is shown on the the one to the east, whereas the cairn is on the western one

On the ancient track, just before the rain started

Coniston Lake. Dow Crag and The Old Man of Coniston and Weatherlam etc. in the background

The cairned summit - conditions were more dramatic than the picture shows

The perfect tarn just below the two summits

Low Parkamoor here and the next pic. My route descended the valley before it. The old farmhouse is joint privately owned with the National Trust and they hire it as a holiday cottage... if you want.
Here, an extract from their advertising:

"It is eco living all the way with no mains services. The house is served by a traditional Lakeland composting toilet, pure fell water straight from the well, with cooking and hot water provided by the restored Georgian wood-burning range. Living at Parkamoor is a unique experience. It takes care and consideration but the rewards of the simple pleasure of sitting by the fire or cooking on the range make it a treasured experience."
Looking as I tramped by in the wet and the wind I'm not convinced?
  


10 comments:

afootinthehills said...

You even sound invigorated Conrad. Excellent news. I've posted a reply re the Lancaster on my blog and will try to bring the construction to as speedy a conclusion as possible.

afootinthehills said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gimmer said...

the weather makes these scenes look more like inner Knoydart than cuddly south Cumbria - with your style having echoes of Rum Doodle, it must have been a fine expedition - very glad to hear you are 'going high' again

bowlandclimber said...

Know the feeling after such a day. How is it that a simple day in the hills recharges your batteries so fully. Do you have to be a particular person in the first place?
Anyhow it seems to work for a lot of us. Glad you are making progress.

Sir Hugh said...

Gimmer - I agree with you about the weather, but I'm not so sure about the Rum Doodle allusion. Although I have from time to time compared myself with Jungle, who I seem to remember was responsible for navigation on the expedition, but got hopelessly lost on the way to the initial planning meeting.

BowlandClimber - We are obviously both that "particular kind of person", and I would not wish it otherwise.

welshpaddler said...

Yes, good news that your fitness is returning.

We're off to Trawsfynydd tomorrow for a week. I have tried a few forecasts looking for the best one! Looks like it will be mixed with some snow. We will enjoy whatever.

beatingthebounds said...

Must be a tonic to be feeling fitter than you have for some time!
Better luck with the weather next time.
Mark

Sir Hugh said...

Welshpaddler - Just had a look at Trawsfynydd not the map. Looks like a fruitful area for almost any kind of outdoor activity. I also notice that Wales is only about 20km across at the narrow point in that area.

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Beatingthebounds - Hi Mark. Better weather would be ok, but being out there and being able to do something worthwhile is more important, whatever the weather.

Roderick Robinson said...

With rain there is always the chance of an epiphany. Once, at the OBMS, I had been rained on throughout the day and could not possibly have been wetter. Re-emerging into Eskdale I noticed there was some problem (now forgotten) with a bridge over what was normally a minor rivulet. Why bother with the bridge? I asked myself, as I walked straight through the rivulet which was now justifiably looking for promotion to the Premier Division (Rivers only). It was like being given (very, very briefly) the power of flight. Well, sort of.

Sir Hugh said...

RR - That is so true. Typically, on a long Munro day you set off avoiding all puddles and keeping feet dry crossing streams. Eventually rain has wicked its way down through your socks and into your feet - Gortex linings can't combat that, and don't talk to me about gaiters. You gradually realise the pointlessness of wet foot anxiety and find yourself, partly through tiredness as well, just wading through everything, with some sort of relieved feeling of abandon.