Little Langdale and beyond

May 10th, 2017 by Karl Claxton

Late April's bank holiday weekend meet was to the Fylde hut in Little Langdale, a place we know quite well, but a poor forecast put a few people off.

Carmen Donal and Simon went climbing on Saturday in Langdale proper, starting at Stickle Barn Crag and moving on to Tarn Crag, intending to do a link up finishing at the summit of the Langdale Pikes. However, it was bit nippy in the fresh breeze so they stayed at Tarn Crag before descending for a couple of routes on the ever popular Raven Crag.

Pete B and I set off for the Ennerdale horseshoe a bit later than planned. Pete was ready at 8(!) but I didn’t reach faff escape velocity until well after 9 and a surprisingly long drive brought the NT carpark at Bowness Knott (armed with Rob's dodgy NT badge). However it was not a problem as the plan was always to bivvi somewhere half way round. A stunningly clear, windy day striding along the ridge over red pike and up to High Stile and down to Haystacks.

Pete found fantastic bivvi spot in a sheep fold just under Green Gable. All fed, tucked up cosy and warm by 8pm we enjoyed a beautiful clear night but with howling winds that brought down some nearby tents during the night. The shelter did its job and we were fine and didn’t even need to spoon (Pete B had bagged big spoon), which allowed me to sleep like a log for 10 hours waking briefly at 1am to look at the stars and pee a his bivvi bottle.

Sunday was lovely but very windy (notice a trend!) and soon on top of Great Gable we met a group huddling behind the cairn. Pete overheard them congratulating themselves on getting to the top of Scafell Pike so easily. He kindly and gently pointed out Scafell Pike on the horizon and showed them on our map (they didn’t have one). A little deflated, but surprisingly undaunted they trudged off in their trainers.

The wind got stronger throughout the day, at one point in a gap in the ridge, it sounded like a fighter jet and almost took Pete off his feet. Since my secret weapon is having no pride, I crawled across. A little later we met a little old lady, 75 at least and looking like my grandma, on her own coming up Black Sail Buttress. Happy as Larry and clearly fit as a butcher's dog. Up to Pillar and incredible views, but by now we had just about had enough of getting blown about so headed down Pillar to the quiet of the valley below. Back to the hut in plenty of time for an exceptionally big YAC tea. All in all a grand couple of days out.

On Sunday Carmen and Simon went mountain biking. Donal had picked up and injury and decided to call it a day. Monday was forecast wet so Pete and Karl, already a little damp from bivvi bag condensation, decided to bail too. For Simon and Carmen though, Monday turned out to be the best day of the three climbing at Kettle Crag.

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