Lakes on Sunday again, and this time a rare short walk of 4.5 miles due to the inclement weather. I’m not entirely sure what inclement means so the term ‘shite’ would also be applicable here! We used the opportunity to pick off a couple of low Wainwrights that had been missed on previous trips. An unexpected advantage of this walk is that it left plenty time for tea shops & pubs🙂
- Distance = 4.5 miles (7.3 km)
- Duration = 3 hours 30 mins
- Total Ascent = 1,840 ft (560 m)
- Start/Finish = Car park over road from Patterdale Hotel on A592, £4.50
- Wainwrights = Birks & Arnison Crag
- Date = Sun 15th December 2013, start 10.35 am, finish 2.05 pm
- Click on Route Map below to zoom in/out
Sunday morning’s trusty Met Office Mountain Weather Forecast didn’t bring much joy, so we reckoned by keeping north & low we could still get a decent day. Plan A was for Birks and Arnison Crag followed by a drive to Gowbarrow Fell, thereby ticking off 3 missing Wainwrights before the rain came.
The weather actually looked surprisingly ok as we arrived in the Lakes, so we headed for the highest first, Birks. We also formulated a Plan B to maybe carry on up to St Sunday Crag and extend the walk. Driving round Ullswater we met a LOT of water on the roads then after unsuccessfully trying to find some free parking we reluctantly parked opposite the Patterdale Hotel. There was a charge of £4.50 here which produced only a minor shriek from Alan, as compared to the louder high pitched one 2 weeks earlier when faced with £6.90 at Whinlatter. Outside the hotel we saw a group of young attractive nuns. We thought this strange until we saw Superman got out of a car. Assuming this was unlikely to be the real Superman we also concluded the Nuns were unlikely to be authentic. The reasons behind all this was never established but given the high winds we wouldn’t have been surprised to see Superman flying by at any time.
We crossed the road past the front of the hotel looking for young nuns as you do, then went through the rear gate & up onto the fells following a clear rising path. We soon met 4 guys who were off to do St Sunday Crag but were interested to hear there was a Wainwright called Birks on the way. We left them behind studying a map & started up for Birks.
Last year somehow we managed to miss the top of Birks whilst descending over St Sunday Crag in fading light. So rather than take the same path up the side we went straight along the top even though this meant meeting the weather full on. At one point the wind was so strong I was struggling for breath. It was a bit rough and a few extra layers were needed.
There’s no cover up here so we dropped down the west side to shelter and admire the views.
As we couldn’t tell for sure which bit was the Birks Wainwright top we carried on to the other two bumps then stopped to discuss options. Weather had already deteriorated and St Sunday Crag looked more & more uninviting. At that point the 4 guys from before arrived and said they were still intent on carrying on up, we wished them well, I said it looked fun 🙂 We had already decided to forget that and head back round to Arnison Crag keeping below the cloud. This decision got better with every step as within minutes the rain arrived earlier than forecast, much earlier. One consolation was we that were now heading north east with the wind behind us, whereas the route up St Sunday would have been straight in our faces.
Oh and last year I finally bought some waterproof trousers, and this day this year I finally put them on. Berghaus Deluges, on sale at Go Outdoors, not the lightest but recommendations on Twitter suggested they’d do the job. Must admit they seemed good.
We were glad of the shelter offered by the rocks up on top of Arnison. The rain eased temporarily allowing some grey photos before starting down to the sanctuary of the car.
Back down at the car for 2pm which was far too early for us, oh for the longer days of September! Trying to fit in Gowbarrow Fell was definitely not worth the misery now so we drove to Keswick in the rain for a cuppa at George Fishers, followed by a quick pint at the Dog & Gun. This quick pint turned out to be Loweswater Gold, so 3 hours, some soup & Hungarian Goulash later we eventually left the Dog & Gun and finally drove home.
So 3.5 hours on the hills yet 4.5 hours in tearooms & pubs, surely a step towards old age and chronic tannin & alcohol addiction. Thanks for reading 🙂