Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Tuesday 19 April 2011 - A Lake District Backpack - Day 3 - High House Tarn to Blackbeck Tarn, by Haystacks

A perfectly clear morning greeted us today, so we can't really complain about the slight haziness.

The early morning reflections in the tarns were wonderful. I thought I had a picture here, but it must have been taken with the camera, so you'll have to wait.

Today's picture is, instead, of our camp at Blackbeck Tarn, taken at sunset, when I discovered that the planned image didn't exist.

We started the day with a quick trip up Glaramara, before idling our way back over Allen Crags to the main path between Sprinkling Tarn and Angle Tarn. Here, a National Trust operative was dutifully collecting bits of wood from the hillside and burning them one by one to avoid setting the peat alight. "Our lunch hut was destroyed by a whirlwind" he offered.

Esk Hause revealed our first (of many) walkers of the day. There were a couple of folk on Great End when we arrived there, but Ill Crag was deserted for the duration of a leisurely brew stop in the sunshine.

T-shirts were the order of the day for us, but up on Scafell Pike many of the elated tourists were bare-chested. It was very busy in a congenial sort of way. Whilst waiting for Mike, who slowed on the final steep climb, I acted as resident photographer on the summit mound. Two neighbours spotted each other - "Well, if we'd known you were coming here we could all have come in one car!"

Mike and I had dutifully climbed Broad Crag on our way to Scafell Pike. It was deserted. As we got back to the main path a child asked his parents if he could scramble up the Crag. Despite the lad's reasoned plea - "Why do we come to these places if we can't do a bit of scrambling?" his request was dismissed out of hand. A 'debate' followed after I sided with the child - "You take him up then" concluded the parents. I should have done. A missed opportunity.

By the time we had nipped sackless up Lingmell, strolled down the Corridor Route via a pleasant lunch spot, and arrived at the Stretcher Box at Sty Head, it was after 3.30 and everyone else was going down. So the path up Great Gable was empty. At the summit I brewed up then waited for Mike whilst chatting to a couple of backpackers about GR20 on Corsica, and other trekking destinations. The girl's parents were in training for GR20, camping and unsupported, for her Dad's 60th birthday. Brilliant!

Mike eventually arrived, and with our final destination glowing far below in the late sun we bumbled on over Green Gable and Brandreth. Clouds had been building, but now they evaporated, though the thick haze remained. Very atmospheric.

After a pathless 2km, spent watching paragliders over Buttermere, we arrived at the main path between Haystacks and Honister Pass, and strolled finally onto a fine piece of turf by Blackbeck Tarn.

It's perfectly still here. There were even a few midges. After more good nosh, mine washed down with hot chocolate, I enjoyed a good wash with hot water before settling down to write this entry, which will be posted tomorrow as there's no signal here and I'm not inclined to go and look for one tonight.

Meanwhile, the peace of the camp site has been shattered by noisy geese and ducks, etc, but apart from the noise of the birds, I've also discovered why Anne doesn't mind Mike coming on these trips - it gives her a quiet night!

Today's 17km route, albeit with 1400 metres ascent, took us 11 hours. The pace was 'gentle'. That's rather longer than estimated, so as tomorrow's plan was a tougher day we have decided to miss out the Buttermere Fells, and head instead over Haystacks and down Scarth Gap to pick up our planned route at the Fish Inn.

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The Odyssee said...

Sounds just brill.

Alan Sloman said...

Just one thing to say.... Poor, poor Michael!

If you had started a little earlier you would have bumped into us at High House Tarn, you know. We camped there on Friday night.

Phreerunner said...

Yes Alan, 'Poor Michael' indeed. But I think we'll find he's made of stronger stuff than some folk!

It would have been good to meet at HHT, as we may have found the spring before you drank it dry, you greedy devil! As it was, it appears we were three days late, and the bloated horse had bolted.

I'm pleased to report that the remains of the tarn didn't do us much harm, apart from the atrophy of Mike's leg muscles.