Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Keeping a Date on Haystacks :-)

Date:                   Monday, 29th August 2011
Start/Finish:         Seatoller/Honister
Distance:             Approx 7 miles
Time Taken:         9 hours (with a lot of hanging about in the middle!)
Companion(s):     Solo - later meeting with Humperlumper, Nod2, Yamyam and Ard

Having set out from home at about 6.30am, I arrived in Seatoller car park as planned by 9am.  The weather was fine and dry so I paid for a couple of hours parking (£4.00 for 2 hours - ouch!), got geared up and followed a path from the car park which would lead me through Johnny Wood towards Rosthwaite, skirting the banks of the River Derwent.  This was quite pleasant walking (although the path became more like a dry, rocky riverbed in the latter stages) so, I simply sauntered along, taking my time and taking photos until the path ran out.

It was at this point that I realised I should have taken the left fork in the path a little earlier and, as I didn't fancy having a go at clambering over this lot....

....when there was no-one around to rescue me (and no-one knew where I was headed!), I just sat and watched the river for a while before heading back to the car park.

I passed this feeble waterfall on the way....

Not a lot of energy expended but a nice little stroll to get me in the mood for this afternoon's walk and, anyway, the 2 hour time limit was running out on the parking fee. :-) 

Now it was time to head up to the Slate Mine so, turning right out of the car park, I headed up Honister Pass for about a mile or so and parked up at the Slate Mine car park - no sign of a pay and display machine here so I had a bit of a wander about, ate a sandwich and then got ready to set out on the main adventure for the day.  Unfortunately, the mizzly rain started to fall whilst I was getting ready to go but the cloud still looked to be quite high so, I was hoping the showers would just blow over.

Setting out on the track up towards Bell Crags, I knew I was starting the walk rather early to arrive at the meeting point for my date at the pre-arranged time but, I wanted to enjoy this walk and take it all in, in my own good time.  So I did ;-)  (I'm sure all of the other walkers today thought I was a mad old woman or, something even more derogatory, but today.... I didn't care!)

Looking over Honister Pass to the mine workings

Looking back down to Honister Slate Mine car park, etc

Passing the commemorative plaque

Looking back again, climbing higher all the time

Onwards and upwards from Bell Crags

Looking back down again

Looking at the path over Fleetwith towards Grey Knotts

And, up we go again

Until, I approach the bothy shelter area - looking down at the beck

The way forward - the route to Haystacks

Weather looking dodgy over High Stile, High Crag, Seat and Haystacks

Now on the path to Haystacks, looking back to the bothy shelter

Little Round How

The first view down to Buttermere and Crummock Water

Passing Blackbeck Tarn

Hmm...I didn't enjoy walking along this path

But, I finally made it to Innominate Tarn - woohoo! :-)  And here I stayed for quite some time.....

Now this video works if you ignore the last couple of seconds :-)  (I would edit it to get rid of them but I have no idea how!!)

But then it was time to venture a little bit further on to keep my date with HumperLumper and Nod2 who were on Day 2 of their C2C crossing, accompanied by Yamyam and their new friend, Ard (the crazy dutchman).  I stood here, looking up to the summit of Haystacks for over an hour.  I was getting soaked and the summit kept disappearing in low cloud as I watched and waited for an appearance of the guys.  I must admit to starting to panic a little as to how safe my descent would be if I had to go it alone should they not turn up.  Descents aren't my favourite thing and the thought of the wet, slippery, rocky paths did not appeal.

However, I finally spotted a figure I recognised as HumperLumper [I could tell it was him by the Buzz Lightyear wings of his rcuksack :-) ] on the top of Haystacks and, as he made his way quickly down to meet me, I let out a huge sigh of relief.  I did realise though, that he was on his own and I began to wonder about the safety and whereabouts of the others but Richard quickly explained that the weather conditions had made their walk a lot more difficult for them and that had caused them to be delayed so, he had run on ahead as he was getting worried about me - thanks Richard - I was fine, just a bit wet and worried :-)

Anyway, we headed back down to Innominate Tarn to wait for the others to join us, which they did in quite a short space of time.  Snacks and banter were enjoyed before we considered beginning our descent back to Honister Hause.  Our plan had been to descend via Brandreth and Grey Knotts but, as it was getting quite late and the weather was still bad, we decided to head straight back down via the quickest and easiest route.

Unfortunately, my camera didn't come out much after meeting with the guys due to the weather and our desire to get down to the Youth Hostel as quickly as possible but I did take this rather nice photo beside the bothy shelter.

Back at the Youth Hostel, the guys quickly checked in and ordered their evening meal and I hung around for a little while to make sure Yamyam's taxi arrived to take him back to his car in Ennerdale (their start point for today's walk - 14.5 miles, approx 5,000ft ascent).  However, all went according to plan and the taxi arrived on time so, it was time for me to leave them to it and head home.

Thanks for meeting me guys - I achieved one of my main goals for this year by completing this walk and it was even better to enjoy your company and help on the route down.  I'll never forget my visit to Haystacks and Innominate Tarn. :-)

Oh - and I'll start saving now and see if I can join you all for the whole C2C next year :-)

A map of my route today: