‘Always take the weather with you’ or that’s how it felt, having dodged precipitation for a few days, following prolonged unsettled weather at home.
The reports showed a good day, but with a wet start in places, and as I stuck my head outside, the tell tale patter of light rain gently kissed my cheek as I advanced to my car.
Driving down the Langdale Valley, the rain increased as darker clouds stared straight through me, as ground water engulfed the fields and roads as I approached Dungeon Ghyll. This was going to be a wet one.Gloom met me as water droplets joined on the windscreen of my stationery car – it was time to man up.
Out and ascending the road, I looked back at the clearer picture ahead of me. It would pass over, but for now I was approaching an advancing front.The target was in sight. Pike o Blisco. Land saturated, streams where paths previously stood, progress was slow, feet saturated.
Cold water sapped warmth from all in touch, dressed in full waterproofs and gloves. I looked ready for Armageddon!
Making my own route up the south east flank, following sheep trod and navigating rock outcrops, I spotted the obvious path. So obvious it had eluded me. However, I found myself swiftly avoiding it, as the slate flagstones, laid to aid walkers, were like freshly polished marble, coated in banana skins and baby oil. They were lethal!
Scrambling up the small crags standing in the way of the next section of path, grip was better but in truth, I wasn’t enjoying myself.
At this point, nearing the summit, I made a choice. Retreat. I was supposed to run not walk.
Descending, I quickly found pace and a smile back across my wind battered face. Until I met the very same slick path that had hampered progress earlier.
It was worse, as you can imagine, breaking on it, then pushing up.
9 years before I had ascending the Pike in fine summer weather, had I known what the trail was like, I’d have opted for an alternate summit for the day and footwear. I needed Mudclaws right now, not Trailrocs.
Meeting the road, after two spills on the soaking wet fell, my left knee now tweaked and a little inflamed, I dropped down to Blea Tarn, back to my trusted Lakeland 50 route.
The trail was fast, technical and rolling. A complete blend. It brought a smile to my face, before halting just in time to avoid the bog. Back tracking I was back on the road and would finish off my mileage target on the road – which still included a 25% climb section.
So, not all to plan, but it could have been worse. My worse.
Know your terrain and plan accordingly.
I wore winter kit and had a synthetic insulated top, hat, bivi bag, food, water, map, compass all in my pack just in case; despite knowing I wouldn’t be travelling more than 3 miles from my car.
It’s not worth the risk.
Anyway. A tale of two half’s.
I’m still smiling.