The morning was bright with clear skies, there was a heavy dew which left the big red slug looking like it had been in a downpour. After checking inside for leaks and excess condensation (none were found), I took a few pics of the hills beyond Grasmere from inside the bivvy. Then the Jetboil was deployed for a brew while I wriggled out and finished dressing.
None of the others were awake, and all was silent except for their snoring and the whining of a lamb on the other side of the tarn, so I decided to go for a wander with the camera to get a few pics of the surrounding fells.
About an hour later, Lay emerged and strolled over through the damp grass to tell me that Duncan was pitched up next to him and was sound asleep.The lighting conditions and the misty layers in the valleys were making the surrounding fells look awesome, so we decided to gain a bit of height and take some pics from above the tarn, while discussing our objectives for the day. I had decided to go up to the top of Stone Arthur before the hike over to the pitch for the second night. Lay was leaving his decision until he had consulted the others.
Some time later the others started to regain consciousness and exit their shelters, so I started back down to them while Lay kindly volunteered to go higher up to scan for a route that contoured around from our pitch to Stone Arthur. When he returned to the camp to report no such route, we were well into breakfast.
After packing away the kit, I left the others and went off to tackle Stone Arthur while they broke camp and headed back down to the cafe in Grasmere. The absence of a contouring path meant losing a lot of height before getting to the slopes of Stone Arthur, and the sight of the steep bracken-clad lower slopes was daunting, not so much because of the gradient, but more because of the exposure to ticks.
Anyway, I dropped down the zigzag path from Alcock Tarn to a spot just above a small reservoir and found a path that followed Greenhead Gill up towards a large, impressive lone rowan tree (at the confluence of Rowantree Gill, would you believe?). From there I took a beeline up through the bracken and gained the main path up Stone Arthur a few hundred yards below the summit crags. The view from the summit cairn was impressive, my pics don't do it any justice at all. I could see two of our party just reaching the bottom of the zigzag path that I had descended earlier, so I set off in not-so-hot pursuit, as the sun was unrelenting and there was no breeze to aid cooling.
The lower reaches of the path back to Grasmere were in a bad state, but work had been started to repair it - alongside (and often in the middle of) the path there were many sacks full of local boulders, waiting for skilled hands to assemble them into a decent (if unnatural) rocky stairway. Right at the bottom of the path I found a sign informing passers-by of the rules and regs governing the use of off-road vehicles at Garburn Pass... err... nope, can't figure that one either.
A short while later I caught up with the others at the Miller Howe Cafe. After taking on food and fluids, we made ready for the afternoon walk up Easedale to the intended overnight spot at Codale Tarn.
To be continued...