Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 24 June 2023

16/17 April 2005 - A Weekend at Coniston Coppermines Youth Hostel

Saturday16 April 2005 - The Old Man of Coniston

A mixed group assembled at Coniston Youth Hostel:

Sue and Phil, me and Sue, GI and Tove, Julie Brown, and 7 new to us - Ken and Anne (YHA), Bob and Judy (YHA NW regional manager and wife, Jon (YHA manager) and Edwina (left Sat am), and Pam and Paul (teachers about to retire).

We arrived at various times and got introduced. Phil and Sue arrived last. 

Saturday morning, and Sue and I found we were the only ones (nearly) cooking our own breakfast. The previous night we had a nice meal en route at the Farmers Arms at Spark Bridge, after good views of the Lakes from the M61.

It had rained and blown all night but was vaguely okay this morning. GI and Tove set off for some distant sub-Nuttall peak. At 9:30 the other 12 of us set off up the Old Man of Coniston. 

Soon waterproofs were needed as the cloud descended to envelope us in mist for the next few hours (until well after 4 pm).

And so, a very leisurely stroll through the mist:

OMC - 11:15

Lunch below Great Howe - 1:15

Swirl How - 2:15

Wetherlam - 3:15

Coniston Coppermines YHA - 5pm

Bob's decision to wait 30 minutes before starting (Sue and I were outside with our boots on) didn't work as the weather only got worse. He seemed quite confident with the route so we all left him to it. But when we turned right on Swirl How to get to Wetherlam the ground soon got very steep as we headed down over wet rocks above the snow line - there was snow above 500 meters today, from last night's storm. Our downward route was blocked by crags, so we had lunch in a cool spot. Some of those present awarded Bob 0/10 for the experience, but I didn't think it was too bad. Just wet and cold. Julie's GPS came in handy, establishing that we had come off the wrong ridge and were on Great How Crags above The Prison.

So we ascended back up 250 metres to Great How summit. It was easier going up. Surprisingly we met lots of people heading down to our 'dead end'. I'm not sure what happened to them - some knew a route down, others seemed less sure, and two followed us back up, bringing our number up to 13, Phil having gone down from OMC.

After the lengthy diversion we were pleased to get to Swirl How, by which time our two additional (apparently mapless) people had gone on ahead. (We were very slow today.) And so to Swirl Hawse, for fudge brownies before Anne and Ken and Bob's wife Judy headed down to the youth hostel.

The rest of us continued in the mist up the pleasant path to Wetherlam's summit, where the two Sues, Julie and I left the others (Bob, Jon, Paul and Pam) to descend directly to the youth hostel whilst we climbed steeply down Wetherlam Edge to about 400 metres,where we turned east and headed down towards Tilberthwaite, eventually coming out of the mist at about 350 metres.

It was nice to spend a leisurely hour and a half below the cloud (still mizzly). We passed interesting looking mine workings at the head of Tilberthwaite Gill, before crossing boggy ground and eventually gaining the good track up Hole Rake, taking us directly over to the Coppermines youth hostel, where a welcome pot of tea was followed by a good meal for £7, courtesy of Jonathan the dedicated warden. (Who must have been slightly in awe of the presence of a number of YHA management amongst our number).

A pleasant night was had in front of a roaring fire, by all except the two families who had not eaten with us at the hostel, and who could not fit into the small lounge.

Sunday 17 April 2005 - The Fairfield Horseshoe

We woke, in this old mine manager's home, to a surprisingly clear day. Something has gone wrong with the weather forecast this weekend. Yesterday was supposed to be good, today awful. So plans to visit Grizsedale Forest's sculptures are shelved in favour of the Fairfield Horseshoe. 

We found free parking at the back of Ambleside. All 14 of us set off, but we were soon down to 12 as Anne and Judy decided it would be too much for them.

Half way up 
Fairfield, Phil had had enough so he and Sue peeled off. 

The rest of us continued uneventfully along the route I recorded on 19 February 2005. (See blog entry.) It shows a walk of 18 km with 1096 metres ascent - 5½ hours per Naismith. 

We left at 9:30 and were back in Ambleside at 3:30, so after taking account of stops we were going pretty much at Naismith pace. That after having lengthy waits for Phil before he gave up.

Lunch was at 12:30 on Fairfield summit in surprisingly calm and reasonably clear weather. 

Later - afternoon tea

Gentle rain started about half an hour before the end, but that was no real inconvenience as we had been expecting diabolical weather to arrive earlier.

The journey home was wet. That was after a good pot of tea in one of Ambleside's many cafes.

Here's the approximate route.

NB - This entry arises from the indexing of digital images from the early days of digital photography, and the digitising of the contemporary hand written diary entries.

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