I ambled along Fenchurch Street, by now used to the looks of mild disdain that the sight of a guy dressed for the outdoors and carrying a rucksack evokes in city folk. I left them to hurry on to their early heart attacks while I headed for nature’s playground, deriving extra satisfaction from the fact that it’s a Tuesday and I’ve finished with work for the week. Mild disdain escalates to outright loathing when you board a tube train of course, and I responded to my fellow passengers’ attitude by leaving my bulging rucksack on. I boarded my train at Euston and made for the quiet carriage. Another blissful train journey later and I stepped off at Penrith ready for action.
Whilst on the train I’d arranged to meet up with Peter (@munro277) who fancied a night or two out on the fells, and this meant a modification to my planned overnight stop at Measand Beck. Now Peter and I were aiming for High Raise – a further mile and a bit further along the ridge and worse a further 100+ metres of ascent. That made for a harder first day’s walk than intended and meant I really needed to get a wriggle on. The 108 bus dropped me in Pooley Bridge and I headed up towards Heughscar Hill.
Given a lack of proper walking over the summer due to the Olympics and Paralympics, I was surprised how speedily I nipped up the path and before I knew it was on the top of Heughscar Hill, a Wainwright Outlying Fell. I slowed a bit as soggier ground led up to Arthur’s Pike but found myself there just after 3:30 and still ahead of my original estimate. A chance for a look down at Ullswater.
A quick check of Twitter on my phone showed Peter to be on The Knott and I calculated we would meet up somewhere between Loadpot Hill and Wether Hill. The path that contours across Swarth Beck and around to Bonscale Pike is longer than it looks on the map and I could feel my initial good pace slackening. I slogged my way up onto Loadpot and rested while I took in the view.
Heading south I spotted a figure in the distance and when I saw that it was actually a man and a dog I knew it was Peter and Oscar. We had our Dr Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley moment on Wether Hill and then headed south.
Tiring, I slogged over Red Crag and Raven Howe and up onto High Raise while Peter detoured down to find water. I summitted and headed down to the east, finding Peter’s Trailstar a couple of contours down from the summit and out of the worst of the wind. Up went my Scarp next to the Trailstar and we settled down for a cold and breezy night, Peter’s weather meter registering 3.8°C and wind speed between 20 and 34 mph. At the time this felt a reasonably stiff breeze, certainly the strongest I’d been out in the Scarp so far, but little did I know how much sterner a test was to come later in the trip. Snuggled in my sleeping bag and wearing extra layers I was still colder than I’d like and with the wind pounding the tent continuously I knew I was most likely in for a poor night’s sleep.