Saturday, 12 March 2016

Lake District March 2016 Day 2, The Langdales

We awoke today to extremely gloomy weather; dry but with a thick cloud base down to valley levels.  Thomas and I had planned a Wainwright Walk and, it being his only day off from lectures and working at Biketreks in Ambleside, we had no option but to go for it.  Leaving Heather to a relaxing day with book and newspapers and a walk in the hotel woods, I drove to Ambleside to pick up Thomas.  We were soon driving down the Langdale Valley and parked up in the National Trust car park (free to members) at the New Dungeon Ghyll.  We were in cloud from the word go and it only got thicker.  This was to be an exercise in navigation and would surely count for Thomas as a QMD (Quality Mountain Day) for his Mountain Leadership training.  Our route took us very steeply up the Dungeon Ghyll track to first Loft Crag, our first Wainwright and then, following a short Scramble, up onto the summit of Pike O'Stickle.  In days past I have had stunning views from here down into the Langdale Valley and of the surrounding mountains; today, however, we had difficulty seeing each other.  After a quick lunch we headed across the boggy, featureless, snow covered plateau to look for Thunacar Knott, walking on a compass bearing and following the route on my Garmin.  The plan then was to head over to High Raise and return to Pavey Ark via Sergeant Man, but the conditions made it pointless and we felt we had had enough navigation practice, so we headed straight the Pavey Ark and then to Harrison Stickle, both of which were difficult to find in the gloom.  From Harrison Stickle we headed directly and very steeply down to Stickle Tarn set below the cliffs of Pavey Ark.  We almost walked into the tarn before we saw it and we certainly couldn't see across it to the cliff.  Continuing, the path took us again steeply down the Mill Ghyll or Stickle Ghyll path back to the car park.  On the way down we were fascinated to watch an instructor ghyll scambling with a group of school children.  It must have been freezing, but most of them seemed to enjoy it.  It had been an excellent day, despite the total lack of views; it seems to be mine and Thomas's lot in life to walk in poor conditions.  I dropped Thomas off at his flat and headed back to the hotel for a bath, pint and evening meal.

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Mist Shrouded Stickle Tarn.
Stickle Gyhll
Ghyll Scrambling

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