I’m sure I could hear a helicopter and it was close. That thud thud thud of rotor blades. I was puffing a bit and Tim had just disappeared over the snow cornice just below the summit, out of sight. Deep breaths. ‘Are you ok?’ I shouted. No reply. ‘Are you ok?’ I shouted again. “Yes, use the holes for your hands and feet, I’ve kicked them to make them bigger” came Tims voice. It was at this time that I realised that it was my heart that I had heard and not a helicopter. Now that it was all quiet I better get going.
March 2019 – The Lake District
Sometimes it’s good to go back to your favourite holiday haunts. A week at the end of March in Cumbria seemed like a great plan so off we went.
Tim and I have enjoyed so much walking in this area I need to write a book. For this posting, however, I’ll share a couple of days that took our breath away. Let’s take a look at Striding Edge and Jacks Rake.
1. Striding Edge, ridge to Helvellyn
I’ve talked about this ridge in a previous post – the link below takes you to it if you want to see a few more photos.
Getting up high in the mountains is generally an easy thing in clear weather. Find a route, follow a path, take your time, take a map. Striding Edge is best done on a calm day, set off early and turn back if the weather turns nasty.
Leaving Glenridding early in the morning we gradually left the houses behind. Once off the Tarmac our route followed close to a Beck (mountain stream).
In the photo below our route is on the far left of the peak, slightly shadowed.
On a sunny day it’s a pleasure.
Once you reach the brow the mountain scene really opens up and it’s time to decide what you’d like to do and where you’d like to eat your packed lunch. Our choice was take the ridge on the left, scramble along it for a couple of hours then get onto the summit of Helvellyn.
Helvellyn (with snow on top in the photo below) is the third highest peak in the lakes there are several routes up, most of them far easier! Tim, in this photo, is making his way up onto the ridge itself.
Photography – we love it. However we’ve found that recording our adventure on film is quite a bit of fun too. So, as we crossed the ridge we filmed the whole event on a GoPro action camera. Film making takes time though and our stomachs needed a snack so we stopped for a few minutes.
It is possible to walk along the crest in most places but there’s also small pathways on either side. You need both hands if you want to scramble about – as this photo shows.
We eventually found ourselves at the remains of a cornice. This is a snowy lip on the edge of mountains. You can see it here as we got closer.
This is how I started this post – with my helicopter heart rate. I pulled myself together and climbed up, following in Tims footsteps up onto the flat summit, my crawling/staggering steps being filmed as I came into view.
Phew – it was quite a morning. After enjoying our lunch near the top we made our way down, basking in the surprisingly warm sunshine as we went.
2. Jacks Rake – route up to Pavey Ark
Sometimes I really wonder how we ever got into these high places. Our parents didn’t take us, we didn’t visit on school trips or took guided holidays. But here we are, in our middle years and now fairly experienced walkers in these wild areas.
One place that is somewhere special is The Langdale Valley. Here you can enjoy the mountains of the Lake District in a variety of ways from simply gazing up while having a pint or scrambling along a rock face.
We have enjoyed both. Today though we would take on Jacks Rake – a route that quite honestly can look terrifying. The red line shows the route in the picture below.
Its a grade 1 scramble which means using hands as well as feet (sometimes elbows and knees) to climb but if you are fit and healthy and wear good walking shoes or boots and appropriate clothing anyone can do this.
I won’t describe the whole route taken to reach the foot of this climb but it is really enjoyable following Stickle Ghyll, which is crossed twice to reach Stickle Tarn. If you find yourselves in the Langdales, and only want a short walk, park at the New Dungeon Ghyll car park and take the path behind the buildings here.
All this is merely a warm up if you plan to climb the rake or go up any of the mountains that all come into full view.
A rocky path is followed around the tarn to a faint path with large boulders the size of small cars and scree. Up we go then.
The photo above shows Tim almost at the start of the rake.
At the rock face itself we packed away our jackets and sticks got the action camera out and started the climb. The terrain is, well, it’s rocky but as you can see there is a groove or channel that makes you feel slightly more secure than you might imagine.
We were doing this on a Sunday and even though we had set off early we were joined by other intrepid scramblers, most of them in small groups of twos or threes. Most of them quicker than us so we let them pass where there was room. I like to think that we are not slow, we just like to stay safe and enjoy the day. You can see some people who passed us in the shot below.
As you can see there are a few flat sections or are they ledges that allow you to walk along like a normal human being! And then some sections that don’t.
As long as you keep going up the view gets more and more impressive. I’m actually filming and photographing Tim at the same time here and even though he was smiling I don’t think Tim could quite believe his eyes…..
Anyway, here we are almost at the top. Stickle Tarn below us and beyond that the Langdale Valley. You can’t actually see the path that runs alongside Stickle Ghyll or the car park from here.
We did stop a couple of times to admire the view or discuss Boulder negotiating. Here is Tim almost at the top.
And then there is one last clamber before its all over and you find yourself with masses of space and feeling exhilarated. Now to find somewhere to eat our sandwiches!
I would urge you to add this to your bucket list. Go, just go.
Thanks Sue & GC – I think this fits into your latest photo challenge of Comfort in my case out of our comfort zone…..