A trip to the Lakes in December

3/12/83 A walk above Borrowdale

Route: Seathwaite, Borrowdale – Sprinkling Tarn – Esk Hause – Langstrath – Stonethwaite, Borrowdale.  Party: T.J Walmsley, A. Durrant, myself 

A poor day to begin with, clouds down to 1000’ throughout. We had the intention of reaching Sprinkling Tarn, dropping down to Sty Head, flashing up Great Gable, down to Sour Milk Gill and on home. We had Lake District tourist maps and our map-reading was indifferent. We never even saw Sprinkling Tarn. We blundered about in the grey, at one point even thinking ourselves on the Corridor Route on Scafell Pike. Completely lost, we got annoyed; we dropped down into a valley.  It was Langstrath – the long valley – and we had a four mile traipse down the valley back to Seathwaite. A learning exercise. [9/1/21 Langstrath I have not visited since, but the name remains in my mind. This day was a key day in learning about mountain navigation through bad experience.] 

4/12/83 Cat Bells and High Sty

Route: Manesty – Cat Bells (1481’) – High Sty (2143’) and down followed by some scrambling on Low Scawdel. Party: T.J Walmsley, A. Durrant, myself  

Left the minibus at Manesty, affording me memories of coming to the Newlands valley on my first Scout camp in 1977. We slogged straight upwards in clear air. The weather was in contrast to the Saturday, clear and clouds at around 2600’. A medium height ridge would do just fine.  

At the col we were greeted by a howling gale, our constant companion for the rest of the day. We nipped up to the summit of Cat Bells, and rested briefly, waiting for the summit of Skiddaw to appear for photographic purposes. Then along the ridge in the shrieking, howling – but at least dry – wind. As we moved south, clouds boiled over from the central massif, grey and obscuring the sun. Behind us the weather remained stable. When we arrived at High Sty the clouds swirled at around 2000’. We had our lunch in the wind, then descended a long, sweeping path. When we got to the bottom, it seemed too early, so we applied ourselves to scrambling on Low Scawdel, which was listed in the “Official Scrambles of the Lakes”. After some difficulty getting onto the hillside over fences and such, we scrambled up to the summit, then descended again, past a water works, to arrive at Grange about 3.30pm. A nice day.