Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Wednesday 20 April 2011 - A Lake District Backpack - Day 4 - Blackbeck Tarn to Dalehead Tarn
Waking to a clear blue sky, with the sun on the tents by 7am, made for a most pleasurable start to the day. By the time we set off at 7.40, others who had been camped nearby were seemingly long gone.
A short stroll led to Innominate Tarn, Alfred Wainwright's final resting place, pictured above with Pillar in the background.
Moving on, we savoured fine views from the summit of Hay Stacks before enduring the steep descent to Scarth Gap. Here, my original plan was eschewed in deference to Poor Michael's allergic reaction to excessively steep hills. [He has been booked, at no expense spared, into a Spanish Training Camp, in the high altitudes above Marbella, in an effort to prepare him for the rigours of the TGO Challenge!] So we headed down from Scarth Gap to the sunny shores of Buttermere, chancing upon happy tourists, tufted ducks, and a myriad of near perfect reflections in the still waters along the way.
By now we were in shorts. It was hot. At the tea shop we sought out a table in the shade. At 10.30 on 20 April! "Not a bad day for July" quipped the owner, before launching into a whinge about the National Trust and its perceived lack of sensitivity to the local people and to other landowners.
I can recommend the chocolate cake.
A welcome breeze accompanied us for the ascent of Robinson, during which a long pause on the interestingly named minor summit of High Snockrigg afforded fine views towards Buttermere village and Crummock Water and Loweswater in the haze beyond.
No need for a fleece though, despite the breeze. Lunch was taken along with a smattering of families, backpackers and others on the broad summit of Robinson.
Setting off with some D of E gold students (the two boys were enjoying it, the two girls weren't), we left them at the saddle to traverse easily up Hindscarth, with excellent views to the Newlands valley and Keswick. Paragliders were again out in abundance. This must be their ideal weather.
It's a fine walk from Hindscarth round to the distinctive stone cairn that adorns the summit of Dale Head. Here, our four D of E students had been reunited with a chatty minder who was trying to coax them down to the tea shop at Honister. They were tired; they'd come from Buttermere.
Our own walk was now nearly over for the day, the 20 minute descent to Dalehead Tarn revealing some enticing green swards for the tents. But with the bedrock only an inch or so beneath the grass, we chose some pitches on the nearby rougher - but softer - grassland of the fell. Very comfy it is too.
It was only 3.50pm; we had walked about 13km, with 1100 metres of ascent, in just over 8 hours. Mr Sloman should be impressed, and with yesterday's performance of 17km in 11 hours, as I think this just about qualifies as 'Daunder Pace' - ie less than 1mph! Would you credit it?!!
The late afternoon passed very merrily as various passers by chatted at length, and one unexpected pair of reprobates called in at our hastily constructed (seating arrangements were still being debated) tea shop. It was great to see you - the tea certainly seemed to make you speed off up High Spy!
It's another beautiful evening up here at 500 metres, and our short day has given us plenty of chance to enjoy it.
PS Back up to Dale Head for a signal. Brilliant here at 8.30pm. Thanks for all your comments, I'll make appropriate responses tomorrow. I'm glad Alan seems to have resolved the boarder issue, I was wondering how to deal with that!
Poor Michael would say hello, but he's currently indisposed (ie sleeping off today's hills).
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