Leaving my car at Pooley Bridge at 7.30am I set off up roe head to make my way along to Thornthwaite Beacon, going over tops such as Loadpot, Wether Hill, High Raise ,Rampsgill and High Street.
The going was quite tough in the snow and the visibility was about 50m .
Thornthwaite Beacon (again)
On reaching Thornthwaite I had a decision to make, carry on or turn back. I wasn't sure on the route from here on in, well not until I got to Dove Crag anyway. Mind made up I decided to carry on. Going down Threshwaite Cove was dodgy in places with the snow and ice and when I reached the cove the visibility improved, I almost wished it hadn't when I seen the climb ahead of me, all snow and ice too . Carefully I made my way up following a wall which I carried on following for a while. On the top of Stoney Cove Pike I followed the wall again but failed to see the T junction in it and carried on foe about 5 mins until I realised my mistake. Navigation error no 1.
Finding the proper wall again I was soon heading down towards Kirkstone Inn and Red Screes. The cloud had lifted now and you could see the top of Red Screes, this gave me confidence to carry on.
A quick rest at the car park and a pork pie whilst looking at my map, trying to locate the path up. I could see it on the map but not in front of me, all I could see was a wall of snow and then I noticed a party heading out of the car park ,well at least I now knew my way out of the car park! I soon catch them up and asked them if they had climbed it before, no was answer i did not want to hear so with head down I pushed on up. I noticed some footprints in the snow and followed them, but I think they were as clueless as me so I carried on up in a straight line. This paid off for me because somehow I came across a little wooden sign about a foot high with a yellow arrow on it, brilliant!
The summit reached I headed for Sandale pass and then up on to Bakestones and then on to Dove crag, where I began to see lots of walkers doing the Fairfield Horseshoe.
At Grisedale Tarn I filled up my water bottle and carried on up the dreaded zigzags. Once on the top I could see a change in the weather and about 5 mins later I was again in thick cloud which caused my navigation error no 2. On leaving Helvellyn summit I missed lower man and started descending towards Browncove Crags and it wasn't until I was out of the clouds that I realised what I had done , so with a heavy heart I made my way back.
Look closely for the helicopter
Dockray reached it was now up Gowbarrow and then Gt Meldrum and countless fields until I reached the road to Pooley Bridge for the last mile.
On reaching Pooley, I went to the Post Office and cadged a cup of coffee of Charlie and Mandy, the best cup of coffee I have tasted. (Charlie also said the same applies to anyone else who does the round, day or night !!!! )
Im not sure on the distance but I would guess about 37 miles. I know Iain Kelly (42 tops) (Who also writes a much better account) did it 2 years ago in completely different conditions and he thought it was 40 miles and over 10000 feet, so that's good enough for me (tho he did include Hartside!!!).
I did it in 9 and a half hours and had little food, 3 Eccles cake, 1 small pork pie, 3 gels, 1 packet hula hoops and a small packet of dolly mixtures.
An experience that I hope will stand me in good stead for my BG attempt in May.
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