The Lost & The Undressed (Archival)

21 03 2020

Having to put some archival posts out for a while as, even when I get properly back into the hills, I won’t be able to get any photos developed until the health crisis is over! 😦 Actually, re-reading it was interesting for me in re-visiting an older writing style – I actually think it’s quite bitchy in places but (hopefully) amusingly so!

All photos:
my Zenith manual film SLR
click on photos for full size/resolution

One September, my friend Richard and I decided to take a ‘3-centre’ trip to the Lakes, the first stay at Rosthwaite in Borrowdale, the second stay at Santon Bridge, Wasdale and the third stay at Broughton-in-Furness. There had just been the first week of summer at the start of September and we were hoping for a second week of it! It was beautiful weather (but awful traffic) as we set off on the Friday evening to Rosthwaite…

We arose (not so) bright and early the next morning to… low cloud, rain etc. What a surprise… NOT! We decided to catch the bus to Buttermere over the Honister Pass – one of Lakeland’s famous steep and narrow ‘scary’ roads – great fun in a bus. We then walked alongside Buttermere Lake through the ‘Hassness Tunnel’.

We then headed up Scarth Gap pass and over Haystacks. The mild scrambling from the pass to Haystacks summit was pretty slippery due to the damp and by now we were both soaked despite waterproofs. Unfortunately it was so misty I missed seeing Blackbeck Tarn on the descent – one of my favourite Lakeland tarns – this was despite crossing the outflow.

Shortly after this, we met a confused looking man looming out of the mist towards us. I put on my very best helpful face and he stopped me to ask if I knew the way to the ‘railway’. At first I was confused then realised he meant the old quarry line, known to all as ‘The Drumhouse’ as the summit of it once had a winding house for the cable railway – he was going in completely the opposite direction! I said we were going that way and he was welcome to walk with us… unfortunately he was pretty slow.

We reached the quarry spoilheaps and, to while away the time while waiting for him to catch up, we searched for a piece of slate to use as a better base for one of my delicate ornaments which keeps tipping over and chipping bits off itself. He caught up and decided to help us search – he did look in need of a rest. The next minute we heard a loud ‘whumph’ and found him lying on his face in the mud and slate! He had been stood perfectly still but had somehow managed to fall over!

Luckily at this point, I realised we could now see the start of the ‘Drumhouse’ where it goes through a cutting and pointed it out to him. I told him he should have no trouble following it as it is dead straight all the way, and sent him on his way, muddy face an’ all.

I was in a hurry to complete the walk as Rosthwaite were having their annual Village Show and we’d noticed that tea and cakes were being advertised – we took to calling it ‘The Cake Show’. We arrived just as they had finished the judging so unfortunately none of the winning cakes were yet for sale – and they looked scrumptious! Still, the ones on sale were nice so I had two. We then had to go back to the hotel for our obligatory (free) tea and scones with homemade rum butter (in addition to normal butter of course). Shortly after this it was evening meal time again (huge, 3 course and home-cooked)…

The next day faired up by midday and we headed off to Santon Bridge at the start to Wasdale. We didn’t really do much on the way over – just a quick flip over Rannerdale Knotts – I went straight up the front as last time I found it scary due to its loose and steep rock. I was quite disappointed to find it has now been stone-pitched – unfortunate really as that isn’t the official route anyway. I sent Richard up the official way, a slanting rake which hits the summit ridge just past the summit, and he reported that it has unfortunately now fallen into complete disuse and he was totally unable to find the track and just had to bash up the side.


My Parents on Rannerdale Knotts

The next morning was beautiful with a great forecast so we decided to do Esk Pike the ‘proper’ way – the long route up the ridge from Eskdale over Lingcove Bridge.

‘Middle Eskdale’ – the route to Upper Eskdale

Our route sets off up the ridge disappearing to the left of the photo…

Moody Bowfell

The River Esk

Lingcove Beck at the foot of the ridge start

It being the most correct route up Esk Pike, I was expecting a path. We did find a lot of paths but they never continued to where we wanted to go, it seemed like every time they met an ‘up’ bit, they chickened out (no, they weren’t sheeptracks!)


Looking out from Esk Pike

The ridge seemed to go on forever and we both found it exceedingly boring until I eventually found a nice-looking crag for a bit of a scramble. I picked a nice line up it with lots of footholds and set off with Richard following. About a third of the way up, I found my next handhold was exceedingly loose. I checked my next foothold and found it was the same. I then lost all confidence in the crag and went up the grassy bits instead while Richard found a nice, firm slabby route round the corner.

The summit view was superb due to the fantastically clear weather – you could see most of the Lake District mountains all around. We descended to Esk Hause meeting a couple just starting out up the mountain. They looked very confident but suddenly decided to check their route with us (I must have a ‘mountain guide’ face).

“This is Scafell Pike isn’t it?” she asked me in a Scottish accent.

I was pretty horrified, informed her it was Esk Pike and pointed out the direction they would have to take to eventually reach Scafell Pike (out of sight from Esk Hause behind Ill Crag). I said we were going that way so they set off behind us. She did tell us they had a map – Richard suggested it may be in their house in Scotland. I wondered just how many people claiming to have just ‘done’ Scafell Pike have actually been up Allen Crags or the like, or any other summit they fancied from Esk Hause.

Scafell from Scafell Pike

Broad Stand above Mickledore


Not part of the route but included for those who want to see it (but not necessarily climb it! I wouldn’t without a rope!)

We had a nice walk on over Scafell Pike and down Cam Spout waterfall to Upper Eskdale. I usually avoid the waterfall track and descend a gentle side valley and so was surprised how steep the route was. Still, the waterfall made some nice photos.

Cam Spout lower fall

Garden Rock, Upper Eskdale


Garden Rock is my name for it – don’t bother looking on the map!

The next day we drove round to our final stopping place, Broughton-in-Furness. We stay at the Manor Arms pub which is our favourite of the four pubs in what is a very small and pleasantly quiet, village-sized town. I was dismayed to see that the huge horse-chestnut tree I normally shelter my Nissan Sunny under was bollarded off and had notices on it telling of its demise first thing next morning. I asked in the pub why it was being felled and they said it was diseased. It did look like a few of the main branches were but I didn’t see why they didn’t just lop those off and then see how it fared – the tree was 110 years old after all.

Next morning I was glad to leave and go walking but they had already started on the poor old tree… We set off for ‘The Connies’ as I call them (The Coniston Range) in hot, sunny weather. By the time we reached the Walna Scar track, the cloud started creeping down and by the summit of Brown Pike we were in the thick of it. I decided to stay in my shorts as it wasn’t cold, despite being quite windy, but then that’s probably due to the speed I walk keeping me warm. It wasn’t too gusty scrambling over the summit – lucky as the wind was blowing towards the ‘drop’ and the summit is right on the edge of it. We descended to Goats Hause and set off up the back of Coniston Old Man.

The summit of the ‘Old Man’ was as usual, covered in tourists, with more arriving all the time. There was one group very concerned at the ‘dangerous conditions’ (I think they found it windy) who were deciding not to continue along the hairy, scary ridge to Swirl How (actually a broad and grassy ridge). Still, their attitude was better than that of the people we met coming up the Miner’s Track as we descended. There were lots of people in various forms of undress who would have been quite happy on a sunny beach but probably not as they ascended the Old Man into the mist that day.

One group cheerfully admitted to us, looking most amused, that they hadn’t bothered to bring coats as it seemed such a nice day. Quite what they expect the inside of a cloud to be like, I’m not sure really, but you could tell from the smaller clouds whizzing overhead that it was windy.

There were some superbly fashionable tops which I’m sure would be hugely comfortable in a night club (they probably had to dance on the summit to keep warm) and some very dainty trainers. Mind you, I’ve done the ‘Connies’ in trainers myself and there’s no problem with that really. At least we didn’t actually see anyone in court shoes (as Wainwright suggested) but it was close. There was also a woman in full make-up which made us both laugh, but she at least had suitable gear otherwise. Maybe it was waterproof makeup?

Oh, and we did have one chap ask if he was on the right path for the Old Man – but at least, this time, he was!

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9 responses

22 03 2020
Alli Templeton

I really enjoyed this blast from the past, Carol. It seems like a great little adventure you had, and amid glorious scenery. Fabulous pictures, as ever. I love the ‘river with rocks in’ as I call them. I’d give anything to be out there today, but being stuck down here with all the restrictions I’ll have to make do with our somewhat flat landscapes down here for now. Still, it’s nice to experience the wonderful landscapes of the north vicariously. Keep ’em coming. And keep well. 🙂

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22 03 2020
mountaincoward

I was out on the hill again today and finally finished my film off. But now I think I’ll have to post it to my ex-processing shop in Skipton, then they have to post it off to their processors, then they have to have it posted back… and finally, they have to post the photos back to me. Will cost a fortune though! Maybe I should wait till the end of the week in case I use a few more films up in this much better weather!

Hope you and yours keep well too 🙂

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22 03 2020
John Bainbridge

Lovely pics too

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22 03 2020
mountaincoward

Thanks John – it was a particularly clear day for a change when we did the Esk/Scafell Pikes walk.

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22 03 2020
Blue Sky Scotland

Great set of photos there Carol. I’m still getting out, just on my own- can’t spread anything if I use my own car, don’t touch anything, and never meet anyone else outdoors. Being a social recluse is a definite advantage now.

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22 03 2020
mountaincoward

Exactly! I can’t think what they’re thinking of telling people to smother themselves indoors and avoid fresh air and exercise. All they have to do is avoid other people!

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21 03 2020
Jim R

Your nice photos have given me the bug to get out. Being stuck in the house with grey and rainy weather, and virus restrictions, is not fun. But, we are coping.

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22 03 2020
mountaincoward

You can definitely go out walking – so long as you don’t mix with others. I suppose touching gates and stiles is tricky but a lot of our hill walks don’t have anything like that. I was out all day today and didn’t have to touch anything…

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22 03 2020
Jim R

Footwork can help sometimes. I used to be able to jump over things. Not any more.

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