As a youngster, I would get home from School, get changed and go out to play with my pals.
Now I'm older, I get home from work, get changed and go out to play with my pals, but now I call it training.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mountain high Valley low

Yesterday was brill!! One of those days when you wish there was a chippy at the Gable/Styhead stretcherbox so you could fill up your tum' and then run around the hills some more until darkness fell

As I drove away from home in the morning home I was undecided about where to go. A vague plan to check out Dave Tromans line from Skiddaw house to Blencathra via the Cloven stone, then carry on to the Dodds was considered, but I imagined the tops would be subject to clag and poor weather so opted for a 'low level' option instead....

Verge parking at Seathwaite Farm

Since getting the descent off Gt Gable wrong t'other week (went toward Kirkfell rather than Green Gable) I was keen to get back into that area and learn the layout of those fells surrounding Gable and the link between the three valleys (Wasdale/Ennerdale/Seathwaite). My planned route therefore, was to go from Seathwaite to Wasdale, then Ennderdale then Windy Gap back over to Styhead. No summits were to be included, but apart from Wasdale Head, its all quite high ground. A very rough guesstimate was for this taking inside 4 hours and I wanted to run AT LEAST 4 hours, so, from Stockley Bridge I added some ascent by going up Grains Gill and Ruddy Gill rather than straight toward Styhead. The view of Great End when going up this way is always impressive, but today it was quite incredible as the whole slab was white with hoar frost. 

Not quite as frozen as I would have liked

Quite soon after starting out I noticed a frozen waterfall just below the path. I clambered down to it and placed my bag on the ground, took the camera out and took some photos. Unfortunately it wasnt as frozen as I thought and in a bid to get the optimum shot I put my foot through the ice and into a foot of water. There was every chance I would have remained dry all day in these conditions so a wet foot so early on was an absolute bugger! I put the camera away and vowed to concentrate on the running aspect of things.

Just before the slip I did take this one of the view back toward where I had started out. 
The hole i fell through

When I reached the T junction to Esk Hause/Styhead I took the camera out and took this one of a couple of climbers deliberating taking the direct line up to the summit of Great End via the snow-filled chasm.
Great End

Dog on RHS , under Blencathra
Turning around I spotted this traditional looking dog, standing still staring across at me. So I took his (or her) photo - later on , I realised the view North to Derwentwater, Keswick, Skiddaw etc was quite nice too. Looking across to the NorthWest from this same spot I noted Windy Gap between Great and Green Gable and Aaron Slack running down from it to Styhead Tarn (unseen in photo). This was my destination - but I wouldnt reach it for another 3 hours yet. I also noted how much higher it was than my current position. This was good news. Why? Because going uphill is the hard part and doing as much of the hard part as possible is what makes you stronger.

Great Gable - Windy Gap - Green Gable
Running down past Sprinkling Tarn to Styhead was such fun. The snow was deep in places and I slipped around a bit but avoided falling.  Much later in the day I would come to think of the snow in less favourable terms.....

 Descending to Wasdale I stopped once more to grab this shot looking up onto the SW face of Gable. I cant say with any authority but I think that might be Napes Needle on the extreme LHS of shot.

That dog must have decided to follow me because here he is again in this shot looking down to Wasdale Head. (the camera - dog was/is looking back up to Gable)

Part Two to follow  in a day or so.  But as you can probably imagine...

we continued


  1. Looks like a great day out, love days like that.

  2. Thats sphinx rock, Napes Needle is just left of center blended in with the background of crags

    Central gully on Great End looks bare! shows how much snow has been stripped away though I suspect there's a bit more in there now.

  3. ahh ok. To be honest I dont think I knew Napes Needle and Sphinx rock were two different things. Id like to get up a bit closer in the summer

  4. Some great shots Steve; I need to get my arse out onto the fells soon. I'm quite jealous of everyone having some snowy fun :) Looking forward to the next installment and to see how many more miles the collie keeps going for :)