Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Monday 2 November 2020

22 and 23 October 2005 - Ramsoc Goes to Coniston

This is another 'Blast from the Past', the earliest Ramsoc October meet that is recorded on these pages. The rest are here, and more, earlier, Ramsoc weekends may be added. What triggered this was the fact that we should have spent last weekend by way of 'Ramsoc goes to Langdon Beck', but sadly that was not possible and has been rearranged for the same weekend next year.

Here's the transcript of my contemporaneous diary entry:

"Friday afternoon saw me leave Adrian Richards' leaving lunch (39 Steps) soon before 3 pm, ahead of the rest, as Sue could also get away from work at 3 pm. So by 4:15 we were on our way on a 3 hour journey to Coniston for the annual reunion of Sue's University hiking club pals.

After brief hellos we headed off with GS and Mike Coldwell to the Sun Hotel, recommended for food in preference to other hostelries. Jenny Haworth and friend Tim joined us, as did GI and Tove. We ate in a big conservatory - expensive but adequate - a bar meal may have been better.

Sue adjourned earlyish to the women's dorm and despite my efforts to stay up, I was one of the first to bed down in the twelve person men's dorm. Luckily, the snoring wasn't too bad and I only had to get up twice.

Saturday morning was damp, but by the time we were ready to leave, the drizzle had stopped. My plan for a walk in the heavily overcast weather to Tarn Hows then Grizedale and back to Coniston was vetoed in favour of a drive to the Langdales and ascent of the Pikes ... > Angle Tarn, then suck it and see. Twelve of us set off from the £5.50 car park by the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel: me, Sue, Chris, Martin S, Jess, Julie, Phil, Sue, Mike, Tara, Jenny and Tim, and we joined the hordes on a dull day, at 10:20, up to Stickle Tarn. [Passing the waterfall pictured above.]

At the tarn it started raining and the cloud was down. So Plan B was brought into operation and I managed to manipulate 11 out of 12 into an alternative route heading east then down to Elterwater. Only Chris stuck to the original plan. He went via Stake Pass and Angle Tarn (no Langdale Pikes), to Bowfell and Crinkle Crags, then Wrynose Pass, the long ridge to Swirl How, and back to Coniston. He was probably the only one of us fit enough to do this.

Plan B worked, and after hopping across the flooded exit to Stickle Tarn the 11 of us had a pleasurable tramp over Blea Rigg to Silver How, initially keeping to the south of the ridge on a contouring and sometimes boggy route, before reaching the crest, overlooking Helm Crag and with views to the slopes of cloud riven Helvellyn.

A spectator on Blea Rigg

Lunch at 12:45 on a summit not far from Silver How, then a slithery descent to Elterwater (2:30) before which seven of the group left to return to the cars via Chapel Stile and the valley route. That left me, Sue, Jessica and Michael Williams to enjoy a pleasurable stroll back to Coniston via Little Langdale.

The Britannia at Elterwater

Slater Bridge

Soon after the car park at Low Tilberthwaite, I headed up a quarry path and managed a short cut through deep bracken. After a 5-minute wait (for me) the others arrived for the last lap to Coniston. We got to a point high above Coniston, Mike's map reading proving to be sound - before electing to descend by a faint path to a stile. This was down White Ghyll - not the prescribed route. We eschewed the stile (it would have led to an easy path) and continued our struggle - the descent had been steep and slippery, much care needed - with the terrain by continuing to the south of the wall. We eventually reached a gap just above the hostel. Mike felt we were not yet there, so he continued whilst the three of us went on for a couple of minutes and reached our destination at about 5:20. Mike arrived 10 minutes later having climbed a wall to secure a cross country route. Hopefully he didn't destroy it.

A few brews later and the wine was opened and nearly 50 of us, 33 adults and 15 children, enjoyed a reasonable meal for £12 a head.

Here's our route - about 18 km with 1000 metres ascent.

Sunday brought damper weather and a trip, partly with all the kids, around the sculpture trail at Grizedale - the green route first and then the yellow route, before going home in plenty of time to do some chores!"

The mountain biking in Grizedale looks good. [It is good.]

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