Author: Anna Zed
This winter meet at the Lake District was quite something. Brownie points to those that made it north for the Lakes meet as three different storms battered Britain in 7 days!
With the predicted gales from Storm Eunice on the day of travel many of the attendees started dropping out. This was understandable as trains were cancelled, trees blocked roads, driving during the day was unsafe and the only window to drive out for most was in the early evening after the storm had passed. Something which for many from London was a seemingly long and arduous endeavour.
The hard-core survivors made it north on Friday afternoon / evening and some said the storm made it the fastest journey to the Lakes ever! Negotiating the Kirkstone Pass in the snow, wind and dark was slightly too exciting (sensible were those who went the long way round). With few of us at Bury Hostel, it felt very spacious, chilly and somewhat eerie but there was no fighting over the bottom bunks and or kitchen space in the morning.
On Saturday the snow was everywhere and visibility was poor, but the previous day’s wind had dropped. The one path up the valley to Red Tarn in the direction of Helvellyn. Here the team split with Alix heading up Swirrel Edge followed later by Vic who had driven up early that morning while John, Anna, Sherban, Clement and David climbed up Striding Edge. Both routes were atmospheric, being shrouded in mist. Near the end of their ascents, the clouds cleared to reveal beautiful blue skies and brilliant sunshine, which made the snow glimmer on the plateau, so sunscreen and sunglasses were required. It certainly felt like an Alpine day out.
Sarah G and Sarah W took a separate route, a circuit taking in the lake with the intent of ascending Helvellyn via the Raise but had route finding challenges. Even one of the Sarah’s boots got stuck in a bog and no one likes wet feet, do they? Nevertheless like the rest of us, they enjoyed their day and when the sun came out you could see amazing views all round.
Check these amazing photos out:
And an amazing video captured by one of our prospective members:
Two prospective members came on the meet – Sherban and Clement who both described their first meet as both “excited and exciting”. Excellent. They came to practise their winter skills after a week’s course in Scotland in January but they had the misfortune of no snow! Striding Edge would be their first outing in crampons and shiny B3 boots and ice axes they bought only a few days prior. They both took some amazing photos, and Clement is a geologist, handy in a mountaineering club!
Dinner was in the local pub, the Traveller’s Rest and then we walked home in the rain to a log fire and very helpful drying room.
Sunday painted a very different story with rain all day and warmer temperatures melting the snow completely. Definitely a gear shopping day and coffee in the village, something that was much needed for Sherban who said that for 48 hours without coffee had left him with a whiteout in his head! This was followed by a look at Aira Falls and a return to the hut to sit by the fire. Thanks so much to Sarah G who managed to bag a bag of logs from the guy next door. Nice one.
John, Vic and Anna put on their brave-kid boots (or more foolish, take your pick :D) and went for a walk in the rain around Round How. Lots of stream crossing practice, which eventually turned into just practice walking through streams – or paths that looked like streams – we eventually couldn’t tell the difference!
On Monday, those of who were left walked up to the Great Dodd via Watson’s Dodd and Stybarrow Dodd, which was great navigation practice in poor visibility and wind (and they didn’t get lost!). Fortunately the clouds lifted just as they were starting back with great views all round. Maps away, they found their way back with ease!
Editor: Thank you to Matt G for organising and Anna Zed for being our on-site liaison. They were absolutely fantastic!