October 27-28 2007

Saturday 27th

The Walkers
Jonathan, Margaret, Gordon, David, Simon, Debra, Ian, Liz and Karen went to Coniston Old Man and then to Swirl How. The route down off Swirl How was not ideal for a pregnant lady so Liz and Ian decided to return to the hut from Swirl Haws.

The rest of us went over Wetherlam and then instead of following the direct route from the top of Tilberthwaite Gill we went on a GPS and map reading course in the boggy ground near Crook Beck. Eventually we found our way back to the excellent track. It was so misty that we were within a couple of 100 yards of the cottage before we saw the lights.

Mountain bike ride - Coniston-Elterwater-Skelwith Bridge-Hawkshead-Coniston. Approx 25 miles. Annie, Donal, Andrew and Peter.
After much bike fettling, we left Coniston at the crack of 11am, following some new tracks in Tilberthwaite past Hodge Close to our favourite ford at Slater Bridge in Little Langdale. Only Peter was man enough to cycle the swollen beck- successfully! From here we cycled to Elterwater, then Skelwith Bridge followed by a hard climb (Pushing!) to the first refuelling stop.

Fully refreshed, we enjoyed a good downhill to a tea stop in Hawkshead. Labour costs are obviously very high in Hawkshead because we were given a bread board, two slices of bread and filling for us, the punters, to make our own butties! It very conveniently decided to rain only whilst we ate. From Hawkhead we entered the first of two sections of the Grizedale Forest which required advanced map reading skills from Donal. There was a slippery rocky descent into Grizedale hamlet, and then it was up another anonymous tree infested lump. The fog had increased and it was getting distinctly gloomy so even our Wonderguide Donal was finding it hard to find the right track, but a friendly pedestrian pointed out what turned out to be a whoop and a holler series of downhills on leaf covered tracks in tree lined tunnels down to the road. It was getting so dark that Annie reluctantly took off her dark shades. Now down by Coniston Water, we got back to Coniston village at 5.30. Andrew cycled back to the cars with a bag of coal for the wet walkers on his handlebar. We hid in the Black Bull drinking Coniston Bluebird until supper was ready. It wasn't Peter's day…two endos, one bruised thigh, one gashed forearm, one broken chain and a failed suicide: (cycled round a blind corner on the wrong side of the road into the path of an approaching car).

Verdict: Good ride, with great views and lovely slippery rocky sections…although we are not sure we completed it in the right direction.

Saturday night supper
Margaret produced a superb three course meal with a veggie option- that went down well with the carnies. All for £2!! What a challenge to the next hut trip organiser - me.

Sunday 28th

Margaret, Gordon, David and Peri decided they would back track Saturday's route to see why we ended up floundering in the bog. Even allowing for the fact that on Saturday there was minimal visibility and it was pouring with rain it is a mystery how we managed to lose such a good path. We must all have had our eyes closed as the route when viewed in reverse was as clear as day. Somehow we had managed to walk off a motorway into the mire. Having found the way to Tilberthwaite Gill we headed off down to Little Langdale to view Cathedral quarry which was as impressive as ever, then up to Greenburn Beck and onto Wet side edge, Great Carrs and Swirl How and then headed back to the Coppermines. One elderly hill walker told Peri she was dressed as if it was summer, but she assured him she was perfectly warm. Margaret

Grizedale Forest Mountain bike ride.
Peter was the only one riding a bike on Sunday; he did the North Face route, a prepared trail in Grizedale forest. The route itself was good with lots of windy single track however some of the North Shore (slatted planks) sections were sometimes cambered the wrong way and the route could have been signposted better. At the end of the trail there was a handy bike wash and café. The sausage sandwiches are massive. Peter

Latterbarrow Monument.
Annie, Karen, Andrew and Donal walked up to the monument near Hawkshead and enjoyed the magnificent views.

To work up an appetite for Jennifer's home baking, Donal guided us back to the car across country using a map that was completely out of date. Karen was on Red Alert when we trespassed on private land.
When we got to Jonathan and Jennifer's flat in Ambleside, we caught up with Peter who had already sunk two slices of Jennifer's cake.