Another early start, although not quite so early as of late: it was long after sunrise when I left the car at the top of the Wrynose Pass, but early enough for most sensible people to still be in their beds on a Sunday morning.
I was aiming to be home for lunch again, so had chosen this route since it’s fairly short and has a nice, high start. The route: up to Wet Side Edge, over Hell Gill Pike, Little Carrs, Great Carrs to Swirl How, across to Grey Friar and then a contouring route back round to Little Carrs and hence back to the top of the pass.
Initially the cloud was high and the views good. The sun was shining on Harter Fell and on the West Cumbrian Coast beyond. On the horizon, the Isle of Mann lurked, dark and slightly hazy.
On Little Carrs I chatted to a chap who was only 20 off finishing the Birketts. Pillar Rock would be his last, with a Guide: “It’s easy apparently, with a rope.”
I’ll take his word for it.
He had come up the same way as me, and was on his way to Great How, then back to his car and off to bag Holme Fell and Black Fell above Little Langdale. He was, it almost goes without saying, moving faster than me, and I met him again, on his way down, as I left Swirl How for Grey Friar.
By then the weather had deteriorated and from then on there were intermittent snow showers and visibility varied considerably depending on the weather.
The ground was once again frozen solid. The snow too was hard and compacted, but just about took an edge. I was pleased with how my fabric boots coped, although on the way down I found some harder patches where I struggled. Fortunately the snow patches were less continuous than some of the photos might suggest, and I generally found ways to skirt them fairly easily when I needed to.
This deterioration in the weather was as I’d been expecting, since it chimed exactly with the forecasts I’d read.
What they hadn’t predicted was that when I got back to the car, the snowfall would have stopped and blue rents in the clouds would be beginning to appear.
In fact, the afternoon was somewhat brighter than the morning.
I suppose that I met have felt a little cheated; maybe an afternoon walk would have been a better bet than a morning one.
But, d’you know what – I was happy with what I’d had. A grey day on Grey Friar will do me just fine thanks. I enjoyed the swirling cloud and the views of white streaked mountains under leaden skies.