We were pleased to add four new summits to our list of accomplishments - we actually climbed five, but the fifth (The Dodd), we've climbed at least ten times previously! At just over 1600 feet, we tend to "warm up" with this one every year as it's such a pleasant walk (albeit steep) and the views from the summit are some of the best to be seen in Lakeland. So, this is where we started on Sunday. But before I tell you about what we climbed, etc, I wanted to just take a little step back to this time last year... While we were away I happened to find a video on my husband's phone of us climbing Blencathra (alt 2848 ft) last year - I was the last one up, huffing and puffing and nearly ready to die when I reached the summit (it's very windy at the top, so apologies about the sound - and I haven't figured out how to edit, so you get to see everyone else reach the summit too!):
Back to the recap: On Sunday, we went to a lovely little restaurant out in the back of beyond for lunch and reckoned we would climb the Dodd to burn off our lunch! On Sunday's, Mae's Tearoom (in a beautiful old converted school in Uldale) serves a roast dinner - it was roast beef with Yorkshire Puddings the size of my head! I was smitten from the moment we walked in the door - and the food was delicious too!
|At Mae's Tearoom|
|The initial stiff climb up the Dodd|
|Me at the Summit of the Dodd|
We had a bit of a walk to even get to the "start" of our walk to the summit, but there was lots of interest along the way. I hadn't realised, but this was also a frequently used path to get to the tallest mountain in England, Scafell Pike, and sadly we met a couple on the summit of Great Gable who believed they had climbed the Pike only to realise when they met us (and another couple who had just come from Green Gable) they were on the wrong mountain!
|It's a long way to the top!|
|On the final path up the side of Great Gable|
|Me at the summit of Great Gable|
|Descending Gable in the mist...|
|Say "no" to crack|
Wednesday came and the chosen mountain(s) were Red Pike with a possibility of going on to ridge walk the High Stile range next to it. Again, the weather was not cooperating and as we drove into Buttermere - the village where our walk would start - the tops of the mountains were all in mist. Our walk started by the lake and ascended steeply to a tarn (a pond) where we would climb again. We decided to just get up there and see what it was like before making a decision to continue with the ridge walk. Now I should start this by saying that I can read a map, but I can't use a compass - so navigating in the mist is not going to happen and Red Pike does have some sheer drops from the summit, so I wasn't about to hike off in one direction, kids in tow, trying to find a ridge!
I love Buttermere - it's easily my favourite place in the Lakes. The mountains there have a sort of fairy tale beauty - tall, black, majestic and inspiring. But, Red Pike seems to be the odd man out. The summit is covered with thick red clay and scree (loose rock) - giving it its name. This would be our very first encounter with scree and with a summit that required a scramble. I should have known when my father in law recounted his summit with my mother in law quite a few years ago - she sat down and refused to go up. On her third separate attempt, she made it to the top.
The scrambling described on the route description was "easy" - if that's easy scrambling, I would seriously hate to encounter "hard"! I do not have a head for heights - hard to believe for someone who enjoys climbing mountains, but most of the time when heights are involved, I just take it really slow, keep my head down, swear profusely (because my kids are usually a mile ahead of me!) and get on with it! Due to the tricky nature of this summit, we all had to stay very close together. I went up first, followed by both kids and then my husband. I made it - but it was not an experience I would like to repeat and for once I think going up a mountain in mist was beneficial as I couldn't see the drops around me!
|Looking back down the Buttermere valley|
|The start of the steep scramble - the summit is in mist|
|At the summit of Red Pike|
|A particularly tricky bit - about the only time I smiled! (over that ledge is a sheer drop!)|
|Guess what mountain we've just come down?!|
Thursday again was another "rest" day and we decided to take another lake cruise - but this time at Ullswater. My father in law came with us and we even had lunch at a pub he used to go to when he was a young man! It's at the top of a hill in Glenridding and is called The Travellers Rest. Easily one of the smallest pubs I've ever been to - but what they lack in size of the building, they make up for in abundance on your plate! HUGE portions! Thankfully, I just ordered a sandwich, but even that was big!
Friday, we were toying until the very last minute about which fell to climb. My daughter was pretty exhausted and protested at climbing anything, so we settled on a small climb - little more than a hill just north of Bassenthwaite called "Binsey". Binsey is pretty much just a grass and heather covered hill - but I was intrigued to climb it because Wainwright says that the views from the summit are some of the finest in Lakeland and I would be inclined to agree. It took us about 45 minutes to reach the summit and a grand total of about 15 minutes to get down again! Quite possibly the quickest climb ever - but I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has a spare hour in the lakes!
|Binsey 1467 ft|
|The beautiful tree lined avenue at the start of our walk|
|Old stone gate|
|The view of lakeland from Binsey summit|
|You can see why I love it!|
|And here I am with one of my handy Wainwright guide books! (By the way, I'm talking here which is why my mouth looks weird!)|