Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year at Buttermere YHA 2011/12

New Year at Buttermere YHA

Another New Year weekend over.  We should have had 36 arriving but numbers dropped a little this year to coughs, man flu or what ever. Hopefully they will arrange to get there next year. So we were all welcomed into Buttermere Hostel where the staff looked after us with their meals and helpfulness. (pity they got to follow their HQ for the menu choice.)
But the food was good and also in the two pubs where some had lunch or evening meals.
There was plenty of different walks in lovely weather and a good drying wind once the rain stopped.   Paul Blackburn led the easy walk up to Red Pike on one of the days. They all looked to had a good time if a little wet. 
I think Helen and Peter led a walk around Buttermere lake for one day and Chris Hughes led one around Crummock water as well.
As for my self I was thinking of walks outside of the main hit list that you would do when you in Buttermere. So no Robinson or Haystacks or Red Pikes. So I looked at the Wainwright list and  came up with Mellbreak (509m) to Loweswater to the pub and back along Crummock water. Then it should have been Low bank but bad light put a stop to that one.

 Then the next day we did do Low Bank (355m). Nice easy hill if anyone wants a short walk. With good views down each lake. Then  our next hill was Whiteless Pike (660m) Where some of the men turned back due to the weather. But 35mph winds and lashing rain did not put us off to bag the hill and a quick walk back down to shelter for lunch.  The idea was to do Craig hill and the Grassmoor but I knew Grassmoor would have be out.  Craig hill we left for another day due to the winds along the ridge.
Then the next walk was at the back of the hostel as again Red Pike was still in the mist. So up the Newlands road to do Knott Rigg(556) and Alkin knott. What a fine ridge walk this was. We did record a 50mph wind gusts in places but the views we got  down the valley were wounderful. Then we dropped down at the far end to turn lefty back down the valley to Buttermere. I would have to put that down as being the best walk I did on the weekend. Nice easy walk with points to turn back if you had enough before the end of the ridge, but cracking views of all other hills.

The final day was a mix of walks or going to Keswick and bagging tea shops and outdoor shops.
Each of the pubs that we went in on the walks had a good range of local beers and at Loweswater they had a nice fire.
New years eve night after the meal we all went into party mode. Some started of dancing early while others wander down the pub just to move the meal along. As we were all stuffed. Then back up to hostel before midnight for some while some stay in the Fish to let the New year in.  The party in the Hostel went onto the early hours before we were told to stop.

You will find 3 sets of photos

Set 1

Set 2


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Sunday, 11 December 2011

A Peak Forest Amble. 11th December

A Peak Forest Amble

Three emboldened Swogites set off from the car park and fought their way through snow,  ice and howling freezing wind up the west flank of the infamous Mam Tor, with sheer guts and determination they made it to the summit cold but undaunted in four minutes. After a very very brief photo shoot they surveyed their path heading east as it  disappeared  towards the "massif" of Lose hill in the murky distance. On they trudged into a   squall of sleet and mist, no one else seemed stupid enough to be on the ridge. Hollins Cross was reached without a word passing our lips, and no wonder, they were frozen! The towering peak of Lose Hill loomed before them and attacked at almost running speed to try to put some warmth back into the icy bodies, up and over they went without stopping and set off on down the notoriously difficult and treacherous south col, the flesh pots of Hope calling in the distance. It was shortly after this point that the rain started.
This rain was like nothing experienced for years, torrential, monsoon, rain, which managed to penetrate every possible nook and cranny on the body.
It laughed at Goretex as it forced its way in, then it got worst, the rain stopped and the intrepid trio were bombarded by a storm of needle like hailstone, there was no escape, exposed on the mountain side and all they could do was endure this terrible torture. Relief came as they finally made the lower slopes, they eyed each other silently, what was going on in their minds, grateful that the mountain Gods had let them live. Who's daft idea was this, one asked, I hurriedly moved off!!

It wasn't over yet though, what else could the weather throw at them, mud, glutinous claggy six inches deep mud everywhere, there was no escape. Our over trousers were covered from top to bottom. On reaching Hope, a virtual complete change of clothing had to be made, thankfully everyone had had the sense to bring spares, experience always shows and after a quick coffee and bite to eat we all set off for Castleton along more deep muddy tracks. The village was deserted, I wonder why. We had an uneventful last couple of klms and were relieved to be back at the car park. On reflection we should have stayed in bed but what the hell, we are roughy toughy swoggies. 


Saturday, 3 December 2011