Saturday 1st March started early for our northern adventure. We left Hampshire via the A34 then the M4, cutting across to the M5. Not the normal route but we quite like the trip through Birdlip as it reminds us of our many happy trips to the Greenbelt festival. We stopped for a lovely lunch with Roger’s mum in the Wirral and then headed off to Keswick, one of my most favourite places.
We’d been given a bottle of champagne by on of our senior colleagues as a retirement gift and during the conversation that followed had discussed our mutual love of the Lakes in general and Cat Bells in particular. We had hoped that we’d be able to get up to Cat Bells and drink the champagne, taking the opportunity for a photo to send to our colleague. I’d also been given a flask that had been beautifully engraved and you have to take a flask of coffee walking, so we hoped this would bring another photo opportunity.
In the warmth and comfort of our accommodation we made plans. The forecast was pretty rubbish, but just in case it might be ok, we could walk from Grange up to Cat Bells. Not our normal route, but interesting to do it from that end. The next morning we woke to beautiful sun so made an early start and were walking by 9 from Grange. the weather was glorious, tee shirts all the way – until we got to the top when the clouds drew in and the rain fell. After layering up, we decided it was definitely too cold for champagne, no matter how well chilled and so retreated to a slightly more protected spot for a coffee.
We had thought that we might go from Cat Bells, up to Maiden Moore and then across to High Spy before heading down via Rigghead quarries. What seemed a good idea in the warm and shelter of a dry pub over a glass of local ale, seemed like a stupid idea when it was very wet and cold, but somehow Roger persuaded me that it was both safe and a good idea. We therefore commenced the walk upwards. As the weather deteriorated further I helpfully commented to Roger that we may as well be walking on an unsteady treadmill for all the pleasure of the view we were enjoying, but I was as ever ignored! We got to the snow line, where on top of the rain, decreased visibility and cold it was then icy and altogether very disorientating. Our children who have both achieved their Gold DOE expeditions would have been horrified that we had gone up without the necessary emergency blanket, additional clothing, emergency rations and compass – however we kept going. I’ve no idea what the view from the top was like, but was very grateful for the large number of cairns that other helpful walkers and the lovely national trust had built to help us down.
As you will know from the fact that I’m writing this, we did make it down, and the weather did cheer slightly. I even forgave Roger for putting us in danger. Fortunately our room had a bath, so not only did we get back safely, we even managed to warm up quickly. A walk of about 8 miles, but a gain of some 1,785 feet.
Today we’ve left our beloved Keswick, strapped my beautiful flowers into the car again, and travelled further north to Tigh Mor in the Trossachs. Looks beautiful and we can’t wait to explore more.