A conversation with a workmate took an interesting turn back in May 2011. Not quite sure what the original discussion was about but it quickly became something else - climbing mountains! Mr Llloyd said he liked the idea of getting away one weekend and doing something 'different'. He then went on to suggest a few of us should get our arses into gear and head off to the Lake District for a camping weekend, tackling a mountain along the way. Well, not being one for sleeping in a field I wasn't too receptive to the idea, half dismissing it at first, but then becoming more interested as the conversation progressed. Davey (Mr Lloyd), was a regular visitor to the Lake District, mainly due to his commitments with 25th Bournmoor Scout Group, so he knew the drill well as far as this game went. He often camped with the scouts on a remote farmers field at Scarness, on the edge of Lake Bassenthwaite, near the Northern Fells. After he'd sold the idea to yours truly I quickly realised an added bonus of landscape photography might just make this weekend an even better one, so I 'Signed Up' there and then. We quickly recruited two more, Lee and Brian, also known as Mezo and Nagzy. Don't ask me to explain! The plan was to camp, walk, climb, eat, drink and just basically have a good laugh. The plans were made a few weeks before we actually made the trip, which eventually took place on the weekend beginning Friday July 8th 2011. The main event over the planned weekend was to tackle a mountain and Davey suggested Blencathra, just off the A66 on the approach to Keswick. None of us apart from Davey had even heard of it, let alone climb it. To me, a mountain is a mountain, but this one had a sting in its tail. It was decided by Davey, he he, that our route to the summit would be taken via Sharp Edge. I'll not go into detail about it - click here for enlightenment!!!
Ok, so you've clicked the link and you now think we need our heads checking, he he. Ya know something...you're probably right! More on our Sharp Edge experience later, but for now I'll tell the story of our arrival at Scarness at we set up camp for the weekend ahead... Our 90 minute journey from Houghton le Spring to Scarness wasn't a pleasant one, especially when you're on driving duty - it rained quite heavily. I made the journeyin my car with Davey, while Lee travelled with Brian, as we needed two set of wheels to transport all our gear...and beer! The weather forecast for the whole weekend wasn't good at all, but I wasn't too disappointed - it looked like Sharp Edge was going to be a non-starter......YESSSS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Didn't quite fancy it for some reason, he he. Davey led us to Broadness Farm, near the edge of Bassenthwaite Lake. He knew the place like the back of his hand after spending many a time here with his scout group. It was a picturesque location, with one of the highest lakeland fells sitting alongside us - Skiddaw, the fourth highest mountain in England. As the rain eased off we quickly pitched the tent, a four berth affair with a bedroom at each end and storage room in the centre, our 'Hotel' for the weekend! Picture 2 shows Lee and Brian after the final tent pegs were sunk. No sooner was the tent up, the kettle was on the stove and it was time for a brew. Then the heavens opened again and we quickly headed inside the tent. It didn't half lash down. At that point I questioned what the hell I was doing there, in a tent, farmers field, pissing down rain, and the prospect of tackling Sharp Edge the following day...he he, you end up laughing, if ya didn't, well...
After a cuppa it was time to eat, so out came the gas stoves under a nearby tree and it was a-la carte all the way - NOT! Tasty nevertheless, and it filled that gap. The rain eased and a nice rainbow greeted us across the way (picture 1). As night time drew closer we headed off along the waters edge to stretch our forty-something legs. The place was quite desolate, give or take a handful of kids canoeing on the outskirts of the big pond. An hour later and we were back on our hotel complex, in search of firewood - time to get warmed up. We soon had a roaring fire going and we sat around it on our fold-up chairs, downing lager and cider in the process. This is the life! We chatted and joked on as the alcohol went down as the light fell. It was around 10pm by this time and we sat looking through the break in the trees across the lake. The water was almost still. Virtual silence, apart from a distant stream of cars on the A66 westbound at the far side of Bassenthwaite. Then total silence. The silence was broken when a rogue piece of wood spat from the fire and into Mezo's face...oh dear...we couldn't help but laugh...talk about impeccable timing! I do recall him sharing a four letter word with us as he rubbed his face to relieve the pain. Time for a group shot around the fire (shown here L-R, Ash, Davey, Brian and Lee). Shortly after 11pm, and after a few more 'Jars', we staggered back up the bank towards our glamourous 'Hotel'. It was time to rest those weary heads in preparation for our mountain climb the next day. I needed a good night's sleep, that was sure - didn't wanna tackle that hill without one. The rain started again as lights went out. Time for reflection before sleep. I was looking forward to the rest of our weekend although Sharp Edge was on the back of my mind. Never done anything like that before, and not having a head for heights it certainly made for an interesting and challenging time ahead. I intended to push myself, close to the edge, but not over it, he he.
Stay tuned for the next installment - Blencathra climb, via Sharp Edge!
Thanks for visiting,