Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Sunday, 22 November 2020

5 to 7 December 2003 - Don and Liz's 'Century Wedding Weekend'

This is an entry that will bring back a few memories. For that reason I've included most of the weekend's pictures, though many are of inferior quality. Click on any of them for a better version/slideshow.

It's 17 years ago. How time flies! I was coming to the end of my days as an employee of Grant Thornton and was only working part time, but I was still too busy to write up this trip until I found myself on my own in a restaurant in Cambridge over a week later. Here's my contemporaneous report. I do remember taking my notebook into the restaurant.

"It's now 16 December and we are again behind with diary entries. I am unexpectedly alone in the Varsity Restaurant in Cambridge. I'm here to carry out a review of the procedures and compliance in our Cambridge office. My two colleagues have found excuses to avoid joining me. Barbara has left early for a children's play, and Malcolm (Malcolm Shierson - colleague/boss for many years, died of cancer in 2019) didn't arrive due to a new big job in London. (What's new?) So at last I have time to commit pen to paper.

Back to 5 December. Sue and I got a sensibly early 3:15 start from Tesco's in Wythenshawe, and had a very easy run compared with Sue's recent effort to get to the Kendal Mountain Film Festival. Reached Helvellyn Youth Hostel at 5:15 to find Andrew already installed. After a very leisurely brew, we got installed in our twin room (not en-suite, but only £10.50 a night each).

Then - getting on for 7 pm and still no other arrivals - we strolled down to the pub. Here, an excellent meal was served in very cosy surroundings. Promise of a good weekend. After a while Don and Liz turned up, then Maryvic, then Dave Oliver and others. A pleasant evening, then a nice stroll in the moonlight back up the road.

Saturday 6 December

Though up leisurely, Sue and I were ahead of most people. We joined Andrew as the only people to eat a hostel breakfast. We were ready well before 10 am, and Mary and others set off.

Top picture - getting ready to leave the hostel; above - the hostel team

Reluctant to be waiting too long on the top of Helvellyn on a cool, breezy day in December, Sue and I held back and sauntered along with the slow brigade on a rather strange route up to Striding Edge - we contoured above the hostel before joining a major path and going to 'Hole in the Wall', before puristically sticking to the high point of the ridge to reach the summit.

Glenridding Beck

The view back to Glenridding

Hole in the Wall
The next few pictures were taken during the ascent of Striding Edge

Don and Dave

Heavily laden Don and Liz approach the summit windbreak

A view from the summit of Helvellyn

The summit was reached spot on as planned, at 1 pm. There were over 20 of us including Dave and Linda Kitto (the first time they have left their children, 17 and 15, for a night - they arrived this morning) and we had soon completely taken over the summit shelter windbreak.

Luckily, Mary and co were still there; they spent an hour on the top and it wasn't warm.

The champagne was opened...

On the ascent I had noticed Liz being very laden and a little pensive. She blamed the champagne in her rucksack. I had champagne also but I was not pensive. Liz was lying! 

Glasses (plastic beakers) in hand, we all supped merrily. Then Liz ('The Boss') called everyone to attention. About 50 people turned to face her. The 20 or so in our party then received her address: 

"You thought you were here to celebrate Don and my Century Birthday" (they were both 50 in November - she rambled on about the dates) "but we are also here for another purpose - to celebrate our marriage last Monday." She then explained that they had got married on 1st of December, about 16 days after Don's divorce came through. 

And with that weight off her mind, Liz produced the extra weight (that had been masquerading as champagne) out of her rucksack - a wedding cake. 

Mouths gaped as we ate our lunches and drank our champagne and ate cake. The party continued unabated.

Eventually people started to drift off. It was cold. Most went down Swirral Edge, but Sue, Dave, Linda and Andrew joined me to descend via Raise and Sticks Pass.

The path to Raise

On the summit of Raise

Back down before dark, we encountered the search and rescue dogs that had apparently fully booked Patterdale YH. And so to an enjoyable and leisurely evening in good company with a nice meal - produced by the hostel for £8.50. 

Dave and Linda

Here's our approximate route - 12 km with 850 metres ascent.

Sunday 7 December

A lovely day for a walk from the east of Scales up Mousthwaite Comb, with a break on the edge of Scales Fell and another below Brunt Knott, in bright sunshine, before scrambling up Sharp Edge and onto the summit of Blencathra. Descent by Knowe Crags and a late afternoon stroll along the foot of the fell past Threlkeld.

Ascending Scales Fell to Brunt Knott

Lunch below Brunt Knott

On the walk were me, Sue, Dave, Linda, Andrew, Dave, Barry (71), Don and Liz.

The highlights were:

·        lounging in the sun below Brunt Knott;

·        that was after a very, very leisurely start - 11 am before we started walking, with superb views from the road over the top, partly behind a very fast vintage Bentley sports car;

·        Linda's ascent of Sharp Edge. Unfortunately she followed Sue up the last section, which brought her to tears as she had promised her paranoid daughter to 'take care'. She was very quick!

·        lingering on the summit in the warm sunshine.

Don and Liz on Sharp Edge

Andrew on Sharp Edge

It's a steep scramble

On the summit of Blencathra

Descending in the afternoon sunlight

After Andrew, Don and Liz had taken the short direct route down, the rest of us ambled gently, with a full moon rising from around the edge of Blencathra as the sun set behind us. We finished as it was getting dark, then Sue and I went into Keswick to meet Don and Liz at the Lemon and Lime cafe, which would also be good for an evening meal. They eschewed fish and chips, so we at them in the car before returning home after the traffic had cleared."

Here's our approximate route - 12 km with 850 metres ascent. (The same as the previous day.)

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