Weather: Bright Blue Skies; Below Freezing; Snow Above ca. 2,000'
Where: Blencathra, Northern Fells
|Me on Hall's Fell Ridge|
What a day!
After seemingly weeks of endless damp and cancelled or re-arranged activity the weather finally settled for a few days bringing dry cold conditions and snow topped fells. A bit of additional overnight snow on Friday night just served to make things even better.
Myself, Alan & Graham met up with a group of guys for an In2venture day out (there is some mnore on this on the In2venture website & facebook pages). As such a group of nine set out just after ten o'clock from Threlkeld and made our way along the foot of the southern flank of a snow topped Blencathra. Suprisingly Clough Head & the Dodds looked relatively snow free.
Its not far to Gate Gill which is clearly the site of some historical mining operations. In his book "The Lakes & Cumbria Mines Guide" Ian Tyler refers to an ancient 16th Century German hand chipped level here. There was some discussion regarding this area and we agreed it was yet another of those many locations that would merit further exploration on another day.
The climbing quickly steepens once Hall's Fell is engaged and it was warm work in the wintry sunshine. What followed once above the snow line; on the occassionally narrow arete; under bright blue skies and with the snow covered massif of Blencathra as a background was a classic Lake District day out - as good as it gets!
The summit almost arrived too soon!
We hung around at the summit for a short while soaking in the big views to the south, sunlight green valleys; Derwent Water and snow topped peaks everywhere.
Considering the day there weren't as many folk at the summit as might have been expected, perhaps the lure of Christmas shopping was just too great!
We set off West along the ridge with more big views, Skiddaw covered in snow; The Knott & Great Calva, however, decorated with only a dusting.
Before the ridge begins to rise again we dropped off to the North in the direction of Roughton Gill for some winter skills practise (arresting falls with ice axes etc) and a walk in the wilderness as our preferred exit route.
After tracking roughly parallel but higher than the gill we eventually reached the Cumbria Way and a short walk on the road past the Blencathra Centre saw us back at the cars.
Great day, great company!
Approx 6 miles and 2,500 feet of ascent