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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

"Have a nice day"

Some years ago, with my sadly, late good friend, and climbing partner Tony, I climbed in Spain along with local Spanish climbers. Tradition observed an accepted programme: starting with morning coffee, then climbing together during the day, and finishing off with a communal evening meal. Providing that programme was fulfilled they referred to it as El día completo. I liked this appreciation of the sport which demonstrates that its attraction derives from more than a narrow minded nerdish attention to achievements on the crag.
El día completo is of course appropriate to rock climbing because it is a multi-person pursuit (unless you are a nerveless devotee of E-grade soloing). Whilst I do enjoy the company of perhaps one or two others on the hills I also have my own version of El día completo.

At 8:45 am today, inspired by Blonde Two's daily post (The Two Blondes) which I regularly devour along with my breakfast, I decided, on a whim to make use of a clear-blue-sky-frosty-morning and depart for the Howgills.

My day-walk rucksack is by habit in the car, and a flask of coffee and some biscuits was all I needed. The car was fuelled, so no need for an irritating pit stop. At The Cross Keys, the setting off point for the eastern Howgills, I bagged the last parking spot in the small lay-by, and I was off following one or two people on the well trodden path to The Calf, the Howgill's highest peak, but before the steep climb started I left the herd and peeled off north ascending steeply on my own on pathless fellside aiming for the col between Ben End and Yarlside, the latter peak being my objective - it is one of my remaining unclimbed Marilyns in Area 35 of Dawson's Relative Hills of Britain which provided the original Marilyn listing. Whilst a chance meeting with fellow fellwalkers is fine it does add to the feeling of remoteness and adventure if you have the terrain to yourself, which I did today, but once above the col I was walking in fresh snow and saw that someone else had been ahead of me, although I saw nobody for the rest of the walk. From Yarlside summit I made an exciting steep descent on snow, and then down to the valley and back on a farm track and a short section of road to make a satisfying circuit. Walking along the road I looked up at the hills from the valley still sunlit, but the tops were wearing clouds  with intense blue sky above - it was like an upside down inversion.

I was back home by mid afternoon wallowing in a hot bath and finishing the evening with some half decent tele, a good meal and a glass or two of red.


The pink route is part of The Dales Highway - today's route = red dots. The scull and cross bones marker on Yarlside is the one I use on Memory Map to identify Marilyns

River Rawthey and Brant Fell just after leaving the car

Cautley Spout is the deep gash in the hillside - an ice climb venue when frozen where there have been fatal accidents

Back to the road running south to Sedbergh - yes that is a road reflecting the sun not the river

Yarlside ahead

From Yarlside summit

Red dots show my dicey steep descent from Yarlside


John J said...

That looks a fine tripette. Such lovely photographs remind me that I really should spend more time in the Howgills.

AlanR said...

Great post Conrad. Obviously the knees and leg are fit again.
All the best for 2015.

afootinthehills said...

Sheer delight to read Conrad and lovely photographs too.
As AlanR says, the limbs are obviously working well again which is good news for 2015 in the hills.

Anonymous said...

I remember Tony talking fondly of that trip. Your Spanish phrase 'el dia completo' suits so many days out.Just completed a good day in the Sun Inn at Chipping.

Sir Hugh said...

John J - Oh dear! My advanced years have now reduced me to "tripettes" - I hope I may soon dispel that myth.

Alan R and Afoot - Thanks for your comments. The wound on my shin is still not properly healed and it still sports a plaster with ongoing visits to the nurse at my gp's surgery, and the surrounding area is still very sensitive from the cellulitis but these things are not really inhibiting my walking, although I am terrified of bashing my shin again. Both knees are still dodgy, but more of an irritation than a walk spoiler, but I have plans for the coming spring and summer, and in the meantime I have a number of Marilyns to tick off within driving distance for a days walk so here's to 2015 and all the best to you both.

Bowlandclimber - Hi John. Your comment is a bit ambiguous - did you spend the whole day in the Sun at Chipping?

Anonymous said...

See what you mean Conrad - bad grammar!
No we had a good walk over the Fairsnape fells and completed the day in The Sun. [Wouldn't have been capable of comment if I'd been in the pub all day.]

Gayle said...

Somehow, the Howgills is still on my 'must visit' list. I really must move it onto the 'been there; must go back' list in 2015.

A quick glance at RHoB (which I just happen to have at my side as I type) tells me that I've only visited two tops in Region 35. There are another two where I've been very close to the summits, but which are going to need to be revisited (no hardship really, if I'm in the area anyway).

Anyway, let me take the opportunity to wish you Happy New Year. I'm looking forward to following your plans as they come to fruition in 2015.

Sir Hugh said...

Gayle - One good way to see the Hpwgills is to walk the Dales Highway which traverses the main points on a glorious ridge walk taking in the Calf and a short diversion would also take in the other Marilyn, Yarlside which was the subject of this post. The Dales Highway is an excellent short backpacking trip.

Roderick Robinson said...

Having reached (and enlarged) pic seven I found myself thinking in estate agent terms:

Would suit someone recently embittered or, even better, eternally embittered - say, a West Ridinger.

DIY Special.

Machine-gun emplacements already excavated.

Assets include an edition of War And Peace, bookmarked at page 14.

Mens sana in corpore sano - and nothing much else.

The worldly hope men set their hearts upon
Turns ashes or it prospers; and anon,
Like snow upon the desert's dusty face,
Lighting a little hour or two - is gone.

Sir Hugh said...

RR - I did not linger long there except to take photo number 8. Dwelling on transience can be depressing. Your source has another allusion to contemplation and this time of year:

Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,

That’s me.

The DIY possibility did not even occur to me - these days I feel more comfortable dwelling close to the doctor’s surgery, the rail station, and food shops.

Mark said...

Looks like a superb day on the hill Conrad. I particularly like that photo of the River and Brant Fell.
I hadn't heard of the Dales High Way before - looks like a really interesting route. Is 90 miles short? Compared to many of your previous trips I suppose it is!

Sir Hugh said...

Mark - I'm just copying The Dales High Way slideshow onto Dropbox and will send you a link. It takes probably a couple of hours to transfer.

I am sure you will have walked on many parts of it.

Mark said...

Thanks - really enjoyed the slideshow. Most of it does look familiar, except perhaps the last day. I thought maybe the early parts might be unknown to me, but some old friends lived near Ilkley, so that's not the case after all. I've even run some of the route I think - many years ago I did an off-road half marathon on the hills around Baildon.