Last night the warden told me that the forecast was for two days of rain, which probably meant loads of wind as well.
But I woke to clear weather with a good view towards Carrock Fell from my bedroom window. Having steeled myself for a day kicking around the hostel, it now looked like it may be better than forecast, so I tried to get out early while it still looked ok.
On my way out I got a forecast update – rain throughout the day, with gale force winds by lunchtime, maybe easing a bit mid afternoon. So the plan for the day became to ascend Blencathra via Mungrisdale Common and simply turn back when it got too much.
I set off along the Cumbria Way in the direction of Keswick, crossed the footbridge over the beck and continued on the path to the gate at the end of the heather. Then I turned left to follow the track across the grass heading directly for the Cloven Stone on Mungrisdale Common. I got as far as the stile and looked around. All around me cloud was enveloping the fells and the rain, now with hailstones mixed in, was increasing along with the wind. And I was at less than half the height of Blencathra.
A mere 15 minutes into the walk, I was soaked through and it was only going to get worse. If I continued the day looked like being a bit more character-building than I wanted. So I retreated to the hostel.
With the wardens out for the day, I had the whole place to myself, and I spent the day catching up with my sketching and painting.
Obviously there were several points during the day when it looked like it was clearing up outside, but this was just the weather’s attempt to lure me out into it’s evil grasp. I didn’t give it the satisfaction. But having said that, the way the wind was howling around the building and the thick mist which enveloped it, reassured me that I’d probably made the right decision.
Sadly the forecast for tomorrow is similar, but I can’t stay at the hostel. I have to move on to the next place at Hudscales and there’s two big hills between me and there. Worst case I may have to walk the long way around the base of the fells, which will take ages and won’t keep me any drier.
Summits: none, clearly !