Wainwright's Way - Troutbeck (Limefit Park) to Patterdale
We are now having to rise earlier - it is an hour's drive for me to Patterdale and around two hours for BC.
As I drove up the Troutbeck valley towards Kirkstone pass it was still dark and then thick fog developed. I had an irritating car behind me all the way. At times I could hardly see the road markings or the continuation of this twisty road - that was a desperate drive.
Parking in the Lake District is becoming evermore fraught but I was able to sneak into a small lay-by opposite the White Lion pub and wait for BC as dawn broke. Despite the fog I had set off early and had time to regroup with a mini flask of coffee I had brought in addition to the sandwich and coffee in my rucksack.
We were able to park with permission again at Limefit Park chalet holiday complex and we were off to a good start at 8:45. It seemed a long three miles trudging up the Troutbeck valley in dismal but dry weather with The Tongue prominent ahead and cloud on the higher tops. Eventually we were looking back at the northern slopes of the Tongue and starting on the incredibly steep and long ascent towards Thornthwaite Beacon. I reckon that is as steep a recognised path I can remember ascending anywhere. We were soon into cloud with visibility down to around a hundred yards. We decided to omit the excursion to Thornthwaite Beacon and take the direct path to High Street summit. Out came the compass when the path disappeared - there must be a well established path between Thornthwaite and High Street but we couldn't find it until we arrived at the wall end that leads up to High Street. I said something to BC about our "navigation" and he characteristically laughed and said "more like wandering."
We could see other people drifting along like ghosts in the distance and then there were people about at the summit and the cloud was trying hard to lift giving us sporadic tantalising views of distant fells and valleys, and bit by bit the weather cleared as we followed the path on the western sides of the long ridge descending to Patterdale.
It seems a long time since I was up high in proper hills and the half forgotten exhilaration almost took me by surprise I gained a strange impression of how big the Lake District seemed. This had been an eleven mile proper mountain walk and beforehand I wondered how I would fare but I felt sprightly and regenerated as we arrived back at my parked car - a brilliant day.
|Our route headed to the right of the Tongue to the distant cloud covered tops|
|It was wet underfoot but feet remained dry all day|
|Start of the steep ascent just ahead|
|From a short way up the ascent looking back down the Troutbeck valley - our start was well beyond the central cleft|
|Zoom to ghosts|
|Following the wall down from High Street - cloud beginning to clear|
|Ignore blue route on right|