The usual battle on the M6 di'nae happen - the sail up were bein' a sedate an' rainless affair, mainly due t' them there excellent "average speed" cameras set up along the many miles o' carriageway-widenin' scheme works which aims t' provide us wi' four lanes each way by first cuttin' us down t' two. An' swab the deck! Borrowdale YHA were bein' reached at a reasonable time, an' I got the pick o' the bunks in the dorm - needless t' say, I nabbed the one by the radiator. While I were bein' sortin' the gear the rain started an' became so strong that I decided t' stay in the hostel fer the evenin' meal instead o' paddlin' t' the nearest bar. This turned out t' be a shrewd move, as the three-course hostel fare were bein' excellent, the lamb hot-pot bein' the best I've 'ad fer a long time.
After an evenin' o' chillin' an' route-plannin', I'd decided that the objective fer Saturday would be Ullscarf via Greenup Edge, wi' the option o' doin' a one-eighty an' extendin' the route t' include High Raise if time an' conditions were favourable. Fire the cannons! I packed the kit accordingly an' hit the sack early.
Next mornin' I were bein' up bright an' early, to be sure. The rain 'ad hove to an' thin's were lookin' good. Have ye seen the size o' the cabin-boy's hornpipe, by Davy Jones' locker? After a hearty three-course YHA vittles I donned the pack an' ventured outside, just as the rain started again.
The walk through Stonethwaite, across the bridge an' up Stonethwaite Beck, were bein' sodden underfoot but fer that first half-hour I were bein' comfy usin' the Rab VR Climb as defence against upper-body wetness. The sharks'll eat well tonight! It all changed as I passed Galleny Force, however, as the gods put the weather-contraption into overdrive, an' dinna spare the whip! The rain suddenly got much heavier an' an evil wind started chuckin' it down the valley. As predicted, the Rab Corrie jacket 'ad t' be wielded in anger fer the first time. I've ne'er seen so much water runnin' down the fellsides...
The run-off 'ad submerged the path in many places, which meant that crossin's were dodgy affairs, nae so much because o' the depths but more because o' the force o' the water. Fire the cannons! I waded the worst o' the crossin's as I slogged up the Greenup Gill path as far as the confluence o' Greenhow an' Mere Gills but there I found the water impassable wi'out both danger an' loss o' dignity. After headin' upslope alongside one o' the two Mere Gill tributaries an' findin' no better options fer crossin', I decided that me best option would be t' change the plan an' attack the fell directly, rather than via the Edge. It di'nae look too steep on the chart - just a few bits o' 45 degree stuff, easy t' zig-zag. So up I went.
Well, it were bein' a knackerin' experience, all the better fer the ground bein' slippery enough t' ensure that the adrenaline ne'er hove to flowin'. I found just one small level place, near the top o' the steep stuff, where I dared t' stop an' take some etchins. I'm glad that I went up that way though, as 'tis a great place from where t' view the glacial features o' the hangin' valley an' the proper proportions o' Linin' Crag wi'out it all bein' distorted by perspective:
The view down t' Eagle Crag an' Borrowdale weren't too bad either:
From there on it were bein' a marshy trudge t' find the ridge's line o' wireless fenceposts, which crosses the summit an' hence were bein' a good guide in what were bein' now the base o' the clouds. Ahoy! Yaarrr!! After 20 minutes o' alternatin' clarity an' wind-whipped clag I found the summit-cairn an' hove to t' take etchins:
Then I did a one-eighty an' headed back towards Greenup Edge, into the wind-driven stingin' rain an' weighin'-up in me mind the option o' extendin' t' High Raise. Aarrr! Occasionally I could make out the path up there from the Edge, but it were bein' mostly clagged up an' di'nae look appealin'. As I neared the decision-point deep in the flooded marshes atop the Edge it started hailin' big-time, which made the decision obvious - a dignified retreat t' Linin' Crag an' a descent from there seemed much the more sensible thing t' do. After sloppin' an' wadin' t' the big cairn overlookin' the way down t' Greenup Gill I found the path an' set off t' Linin' Crag.
The views from the Crag were impressive durin' occasional breaks in the cloudbase, an' I took some etchins, but soon it were bein' time t' continue the descent. And that's where it all started t' go bad...
There's a made-path down the side, where the crag meets the fellside. It's near-enough a straight-line down at a severe angle an' due t' the incessant rain it 'ad become a cascade ('tis the stream that ye can see in the first etchin' o' Linin' Crag above), an' a bucket o' chum. The rocks used fer the path be set at a slight angle downslope so that they dern't retain water, but that just makes a slip more likely in descent, wi' a chest full o' booty. And that's what happened, several times, straight into the cascade. One particular slip ended in a twisted knee which I thought were bein' goin' t' be a day-wrecker, but it held together quite well an' di'nae cause any major hassle. By the time I got t' the base o' the crag, I were bein' utterly soaked an' the pack were bein' full o' water. Luckily all o' the important kit were bein' in roll-top liner-bags.
At the base be a small grassy flat where two couples were havin' a breather afore their attempt t' go up the path. Yaarrr!, I'll warrant ye! They di'nae have much o' an option as they were practisin' their "Coast-t'-Coast" route, bound fer Grasmere via Greenup an' Far Easedale, but I'm sure that they thought twice about this section havin' watched me antics. We chatted fer a few minutes, durin' which I told 'em about the conditions on the path an' up on the Edge. After a few more minutes I left 'em t' it an' started off towards the valley just as the rain started t' ease.
The descent were bein' uneventful until I got t' the stream that 'ad blocked me on the way up. The level 'ad dropped by a couple o' feet an' I judged it safe t' cross, but I underestimated the force o' the water an' were bein' swept off the submerged steppin'-stones an' ended up standin' in three feet o' white water. It were bein' a very effective way t' clean the mud off me boots. Fire the cannons! Walkin' further, I grabbed a few more etchins in the improvin' conditions:
I were bein' beginnin' t' think that I would make it back t' the hostel wi' no further hassle, as the wind 'ad dropped an' the rain 'ad hove to, so I paused fer a breather at the bridge just above the confluence wi' Langstrath Beck, where there be a magnificent view o' Eagle Crag. My poor camera skills dern't do it any justice whatsoever:
I started back down the easy last few miles just as the weather kicked in fer the last time, we'll keel-haul ye! The wind 'ad done a one-eighty an' were bein' now full in the face, an' the rain started stingin' again.
And did I care?
Not one bit.
I were bein' wet, yes, but I were bein' warm an' happy. There were bein' no point in avoidin' the streams an' flooded paths, so I just waded an' splashed through 'em, just like a big kid. Great fun, by Blackbeard's sword! Even the livestock seemed t' be enjoyin' the weather:
Right at the end o' the walk I dragged the camera out again fer a few more etchins afore the light failed. The views from the hostel grounds be quite good - much better than shown in these shots :
Back at the hostel me gear took up a good chunk o' the dryin'-room. I even 'ad t' get the warden t' put me camera an' lenses in a safe place t' dry, as they were wet through. Later, while sat in front o' the open fire, I put a tick against Ullscarf on me Wainwrights list an' then double-checked the total number visited so far.
One-eighty, o' course.
To be continued...