It got hotter. By 8am we were in shorts and t-shirts, on the summit of High Spy.
As indicated last night, I enjoyed a quick trip up Dale Head in the cool of the evening. Even then it was pretty warm. Coming down was Ethan, on his first solo backpack, having spent the day coming to Dalehead Tarn from Esk Hause. Via Pillar! A long day out, and quite a challenge. Well done, Ethan. We chatted later and it seemed clear to me that whatever else life throws into the path of this youngster, he has the great satisfaction of knowing that a lifetime love of hillwalking awaits him. It can be very therapeutic at times, Ethan, and is always enjoyable – albeit sometimes in retrospect.
Continuing on to Maiden Moor, Cat Bells, and our final summit, Skelgill Bank, Derwent Water, looking glassy through the haze, gradually got closer, and we started to meet more and more people.
“It’s his first mountain” said one proud dad as his young son enthusiastically tackled the scrambly bits near the summit of Cat Bells. I wonder how many people can name Cat Bells as the first mountain they climbed? Quite a few, I suspect.
We made good progress in between stopping for chats with random folk, and trying to take photos of the haze that will need to be ruthlessly edited to avoid an excruciatingly boring slide show. The final hour or so was spent strolling pleasantly around the edge of Derwent Water and back to Mary Mount Hotel for a drink and a sandwich before the hot drive home. On the causeway before Mary Mount we bumped into Maggie and Roy, on a stroll around the lake from Maggie’s dad’s house in Keswick. It’s a small world. These two know Don and Liz, to whom we gave tea yesterday, and my children spent New Year in Maggie’s dad’s house when they were very small and Maggie’s parents owned the B&B at the other end of the garden. Happy memories, including some NYD ‘strolls’ up Skiddaw. Maggie has even attended one of these Lakes backpacking trips in the past, when we camped at Sprinkling Tarn, if my memory is correct.
Today’s 11 km stroll took a little over 4 hours, but included less than 400 metres of ascent, in deference to Poor Michael’s failing health. That Spanish Training Camp should sort him out for the TGO Challenge, though!
Seriously, this was a great little outing in the finest scenery and company, not to mention the unexpectedly pleasant weather. We learnt a lot from the experience, and will apply that in relation to kit, food and route, to our approach to the TGO Challenge, to which we are both really looking forward.