Blencathra and Great Gable – the Lakes, March 1992

10 March 1992

We were on the hill (that is, into Mousthwaite Combe) by 12.15pm. We arrived in the Scales Tarn corrie around an hour later. There was an attack of hail as we climbed up to Sharp Edge. The conditions were excellent. Up on the top of Blencathra we could see Styhead Tarn glinting in the distance. We detoured around for extra hill-walking – Blencathra is a short route. However, the weather worsened and a snow squall forced us to shelter. So we came down and were off the hill by 4p.m.

I think this is the time we went to camp at Castlerigg, but decided to go to a B&B in Keswick instead. I recall getting wet even opening the car door, at the campsite up at Castlerigg, and we thought, “No.”

This wonderful modern (2022) photograph of the Sharp Edge of Blencathra is courtesy of Dave Massey Photography (permission to reproduce, applied for)

11 March 1992

Myself and J. Parkinson left the car at Seatoller at the foot of the Honister Pass, and walked in to Seathwaite, and then up the trail to Sourmilk Gill. We thundered up the hanging valley and up into the snow on Great Gable. It was very wintry. There was a great deal of old snow lingering in the north-facing slopes. There was good visibility on the upward hike, west to Buttermere, Crummock Water and Ennerdale.

We lunched at Windy Gap at the top of Aaron Slack, as the weather worsened, and the clouds closed in. We met with an American youth hiking alone – Todd – and in company with him, swiftly got up onto Great Gable. Very wintry – we went back down again; descending to Windy Gap was problematic in snow and mist. A lot of blundering around was necessary; there are cliffs to be avoided. Our arguably over-equipped and heavy-laden American friend “Taaaard” went on down Aaron Slack to the top of Sty Head, and we continued back up to Green Gable. For years afterwards we remembered Taaaard.

It was snowing. Getting down from Green Gable into the hanging valley saw navigation difficulties in the mist and falling snow. As we descended, hail and snow became heavy rain which continued, fortunately at our backs, all the way back to the car at Seatoller. A wet and windy day.