Snowy High Pike… Made me Sick!

21 06 2020

Thu 27 Feb 2020
This was a deep and soft snow plod in early spring where I exhausted myself so thoroughly, I ended up with a COVID-type virus! You never know really as, even though they thought it started here at the end of March, they’re now saying they think it could have started a month earlier.

It’s certainly a warning not to overdo things when you’re not fit though!

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

In February, due to the dire weather we’d had most of the winter, I was very far from fit. However, it had snowed and the fells were covered – it was also a beautiful day. I just had to go and have a look at some easy Northern Fells (the nearest to me) – I decided on High Pike…

I parked up on Calebreck Common just along from Mosedale and set off on grass to reach the mine track to the old Driggeth Mine.

Driggeth Mine Track route to High Pike

The going was great and fairly flat but into quite a strong wind – I was already struggling. I hadn’t started off until mid afternoon and I don’t eat breakfast, or indeed anything at all now, until mid afternoon. This time I hadn’t eaten before I set off and had just had a couple of cups of coffee since getting up late morning. I’d also set off ‘bagless’ and, for a change, had no food in my coat pockets. None of this helped with my walk!

By the time I got to the old mine workings and spoil heaps, I’d reached the snow and it was getting thicker – here about 4 inches deep so still good going. It was very beautiful and the first snow I’d managed to get on the hills over the winter so I was enjoying myself so far even though I was tired.

Lovely views back to Carrock Fell with dramatic lighting and cloud effects…

Carrock Fell from Driggeth Mine

I went up the exit ramps between the spoil heaps and then stopped to take my final photos of the day. The reason I didn’t take any more photos is that, after this point, I hit the really deep snow!

Snowy spoil heaps

From the top of the spoil heaps a path sets off straight up to the summit of High Pike. This day you couldn’t see the path due to the snow and I’d already decided to take the continuing track across the face of the fell. One reason for this was that it was out of the now-blasting wind…

As soon as I set off along the track, I started meeting sudden deep drifts – around thigh-deep. There were quite a few sections where you suddenly plunged deeply into the snow and floundered around until you could get back on top of it. I tried my usual method of looking for grass tips sticking out but some areas didn’t have any.

This was pretty tiring and the track, which I hadn’t used before (although I’ve sent Richard along it when he’s been having knee trouble) was longer than I thought.

In the end, I made a very bad mistake… I got fed up of ploughing along the track – especially as it was getting very banked out with deep snow drifts – and decided the summit couldn’t be far above and decided to strike straight upwards towards it.

Doing this took me back into the strong headwind, deep snow and slippery, tufty ground etc. I was becoming quickly exhausted and should have gone straight back down to continue with the track but I plugged on determinedly.

After around ten minutes of this huge effort, I got fed up again and headed off levelly to try to contour to where the track ascends the ridge. Again, this was much further than I thought.

By the time I reached the track ascending the ridge I was completely done-in! I staggered tiredly up to the summit noting that I was starting with one of my characteristic sore throats. I always get these immediately I overdo things. The lack of drink probably didn’t help either – although I rarely drink when I’m out in cold weather.

I had a brief rest at the summit but it was only for a minute or so as it was bitterly cold up here and cold is another thing which makes me tired and ill. I was well wrapped up in windproof clothing but it was the type of wind which gets through anything!

I soon set off along the ridge to the lower cairn and a route down. I’d decided to go down to West Fell and out along it back to the road. I could see a snowstorm heading my way…

Soon it went black and there was a bit of a blizzard. It wasn’t too bad though and was over in probably five minutes or so. I should really have got a photo as the sky had gone dramatically dark but I couldn’t be bothered – I just wanted to get back down and go for my dinner/tea!

I was soon back at my car for the half hour drive home. The roads were all fine as the snow hadn’t descended to such a low level.

I had a hot meal and lots of hot drinks and then throat pastilles but I was still feeling terrible. By the next morning I had a temperature and felt even worse. I was ill for around three weeks ending with a nasty cough. You never know – maybe I was one of the first British cases. Probably not though – I think it was just a flu-type virus – I generally get one around January/February when my body has had enough of being cold. It definitely wasn’t flu though as I’d had a flu jab…

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23 responses

2 07 2020
tessapark1969

Lovely photos. Shame the snow was so deep as it looked a great day to be out. I was in the area about a week later and it was miserable!

My mum had a flu bug for 3 weeks around the same time and is wondering the same thing as you re virus.

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2 07 2020
mountaincoward

I’ve done a test for Covid since (part of a medical research project which is going on) and, unfortunately, I came out negative for any antibodies so I haven’t had it after all. I’d far rather that had been it as I survived!

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30 06 2020
underswansea

Are those your footprints in the sixth photo? Wonderful photos, I’m glad they didn’t get lost in all the undeveloped film. That hike looked like you challenged yourself, no food, new hip, approaching 40 (ha ha), diabetes on the horizon. It’s good to know you can still do it, like the old saying, ‘I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.’ I hear you and understand. Take care, I don’t want the posts to suddenly stop. 🙂 Bob

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30 06 2020
mountaincoward

You made me laugh with that! My hip is something I don’t even think about now but all the rest are challenging!

Yeah, those are my footprints in all the photos…

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1 07 2020
underswansea

I am glad I made you laugh. It sounds like that was one helluva hike. I have a hike planned with my son on Friday that will take us into the snow. I will have to be careful not to exhaust myself trying to keep up to him. Take care.

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1 07 2020
mountaincoward

Yeah – I’d forgotten how tiring deep and soft snow was! We don’t often get much. Also, I don’t do at all well with the cold or high winds. I guess I’m just a wimp really! LOL

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2 07 2020
underswansea

I wouldn’t call you a wimp. 🙂

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3 07 2020
mountaincoward

I can be… but the more I look around at a lot of my fellow women, the more I feel a lot less of a wimp. At least I have a spirit of adventure – so many people don’t seem to have one

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22 06 2020
Alli Templeton

Good grief, that was a close shave. You’re a plucky lass, I’ll say that! And all this on an empty stomach? I’m fascinated as to why you don’t eat until later in the day. Sorry it made you ill, although I doubt it was the dreaded lurgy, because that’s mainly a cough and temperature. If you were sneezing it wouldn’t have been that. Still rotten, though, poor you.
On a brighter note, what amazing shots, so your train journey to Carlisle and all the scanning was worthwhile then! Snow scenes are some of my favourites – I always think the white stuff makes anything look beautiful, and with ready made stunning landscape you can’t lose. Well done, on both counts – managing to survive and to come back with fab pictures. 🙂

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22 06 2020
mountaincoward

No, I didn’t get sneezes at all – just a sore throat and feeling really dire with a temperature and then, at the end, a couple of weeks of a cough. It wasn’t all that bad a cough though – just annoying…

I don’t eat until mid afternoon for several reasons. One is that I’m not a morning person so don’t get up until around 1100. I’ve never liked eating until a few hours after I’ve got up. When I used to do earlies and start at 0645, I didn’t eat until dinnertime/1300ish. I find that, once I start eating, I’m hard to stop so, the later I start, the better. I’m also not hungry until I’ve been up for hours and done some major energy expenditure (either mental or physical).

Also, I’ve trained my body to be able to exercise fairly hard without food or on very little. I’ve also trained it to do without on the hill so I don’t have to carry much. It’s taken to that training pretty well but, with the deep snow and the cold, I should really have had a small breakfast.

And finally, now the doctor is threatening me with approaching Type 2 Diabetes (I’m thinking they’re threatening everyone with that as they seem to have told everyone I know the same thing), I decided a smaller eating window during a 24 hour period was a better way to go. So now I only eat between about 1400 and 2300. I generally go to bed around 0200.

Liked by 1 person

23 06 2020
Alli Templeton

Ah, I see, that all makes sense. I wonder why warning of Type 2 Diabetes is so trendy with doctors now… Interesting. Still, take care of yourself when you’re out and about on those wild and wonderful pikes and fells. 🙂

Liked by 1 person

22 06 2020
John Bainbridge

Brilliant winter pics. So glad you have avoided the plague.

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22 06 2020
mountaincoward

I’m rather hoping I haven’t – if that was the plague and I survived, I’d now be immune and wouldn’t have to worry any more. But I don’t think it was really…

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23 06 2020
John Bainbridge

Symptoms not right, I think.

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23 06 2020
mountaincoward

Vaguely similar with the high temperature and then the cough – the sore throat isn’t typical but many Covid cases have started with that. But the cough would probably have been earlier and more persistent…

Liked by 1 person

24 06 2020
John Bainbridge

I had a cold earlier in lockdown which showed that despite all the measures I still caught it from someone

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24 06 2020
mountaincoward

that’s pretty scary actually!

Liked by 1 person

25 06 2020
John Bainbridge

It is. It could have been something worse,

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27 06 2020
mountaincoward

Anyway, I’ve just done a Covid test for research purposes – I’ve never had it – it came out negative for antibodies. I have to say I was pretty upset about that – it would have been nice to have some!

Liked by 1 person

21 06 2020
Blue Sky Scotland

So to some up you expend a great deal of energy for hours but do not eat or drink on the hills. Alex used to go all day without food on summits but I’m the opposite- I need a breakfast of some sort even if it’s just an energy bar or cornflakes and milk. You could take a natural energy food/drink rather than anything fizzy. I feel undressed without food and a rucksack with me.

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22 06 2020
mountaincoward

But it’s wonderful being able to go on hill days and carry almost nothing! Just a map and compass (and around here, not those either). I go much faster lightly laden. My body is used to not eating on a hill walk apart from maybe a biscuit or two if it’s a really strenuous day as I’ve trained it to cope. But I should have eaten beforehand for a cold, snowy walk.

When I do take a flask on the hill, I just take black decaff coffee (no sugar – I think sugar makes you thirsty) and I have a special flask carrier which attaches to your belt which is superb. If it’s really hot I take the flask carrier with a water bottle and also drink out of the becks.

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21 06 2020
KC Redding-Gonzalez

Although if you HAD been one of the first, wouldn’t it be awesome to have antibodies and the hope of immunity right about now….Stay safe!

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22 06 2020
mountaincoward

I keep hoping it was the virus and that I’m now immune – unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case. I’m sure it was just my usual end-of-winter bug.

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