Another snow-hunting expedition. The forecast was once again for mixed weather: wintery showers and maybe some brighter spells, but also for fierce winds. This is our crew shortly after we’d left the cars. We were joined by three of our friends, one of whom long-suffering readers might recognise as The Tower Captain, otherwise known as the Faffmeister, and also by their highly excited dogs.
High Street and Kidsty Pike across Haweswater.
We’d had quite a bit of rain and snow on the journey up and as we drove alongside Haweswater it was snowing pretty heavily and settling on the road. But soon after we’d parked we had probably the sunniest spell of the entire day.
Our plan was simple: follow the Old Corpse Road, which crosses between Mardale and Swindale, to its highest point and then divert up Selside Pike, returning by the same route. This had been one of the possibilities I’d considered for the day that we’d been up to the Garburn Pass and, never one to waste things, I’d decided to revivify the idea for this outing.
Waterfalls on Hopgill Beck.
Rough Crag, High Street and Kidsty Pike.
The kids had their small plastic sledges with them again and weren’t long in finding an opportunity to use them. This time, I didn’t wait to watch them, but climbed a little further to…
…the small ruined, roofless cottage of High Loup. Although we’d not walked far at all, I had it in mind that this might be our last chance of any kind of shelter from the strong winds and suggested it as a lunch spot.
I didn’t have to twist anybody’s arm.
After our stop, we made it too the pass with relative ease, and then found a couple more spots for some sledging. Once on the ridge, I was finding the snow conditions very frustrating: it was the kind of compacted snow which suggests it will hold you, but then collapses when you shift your weight, which is hard work. At least, it was that kind of snow for me. For most of the party it was perfect snow – firm enough to walk on top of, but soft enough to take an edge and give some grip. Little S, however, had the opposite problem to me: he was making no impression on the snow, but the wind was making a huge impression on him. Between the icy snow and the gales he was struggling to stand up. He didn’t complain, but after watching him struggle for a while, it seemed madness to let him continue and I asked him whether he would like to turn back. He would. And the other boys would be very glad to keep him company. I don’t think that they were any of them very impressed with the spindrift which was attacking us. It’s a lovely word ‘spindrift’, but totally inappropriate for the wind-driven ice shrapnel which stings any exposed skin and manages to get inside every garment.
The boys were also keen to put into action their plan to use the sledges as much as possible in their descent. Unfortunately, Little S didn’t keep a tight enough grip on his and it whipped away on the breeze and is probably now lying in a field down in Swindale.
The girls, meanwhile, were keen to carry on to the top. TBH offered to accompany the boys and so I joined King Dilly Dally, and A and S in the summit party.
Here’s A sitting on the snowdrift filled summit shelter.
The view of the snowcapped Pennines across the Eden Valley was better then this photo suggests, but it was quite difficult to hang on to the phone at this point, never mind hold it steady for a photo.
Baron Behindhand on the descent.
S and A with poles nicked from their Dads.
Rough Crag and Haweswater again.
A modest outing of just 5 miles, but very enjoyable.
I’ve climbed Selside Pike twice before, since I started this blog. Once on another wintery February day, with X-Ray another old friend. Although it was February and very icy, in every other respect this was a very different day:
And once on a mammoth (by my standards anyway) circuit around Haweswater.
We’ve been meaning to get out with the Duke of Delay again ever since his igloo collapsing antics on Wansfell last year: