Friday, 23 May 2014

Catbells the first of many fells

Knott Rigg-Ard Knots-(Rigg Screes)-Catbells-Maiden Moor-(Nitting Haws)-High Spy-Dale Head-Hindscarth-Robinson-(Buttermere Moss)-(High Snockrigg)-(Moss Force)


Part 1 Knott Rigg to Catbells

Weather forecasts are annoying, not going to rain but rains, going to rain but doesn’t. This time it was the latter so I took my chances later in the morning. From past experience anything over Honister pass seems to have a different weather system but I headed off to do more of the Buttermere fells anyway. As it depends on the number of visitors it can take a couple of hours to get there so it was quite a mad idea but armed with a number of routes planned gave me options depending on the time and weather.

After a lovely but rather slow drive up I arrived at my destination at midday managing to squeeze into a spot. All the more reason to start walking at 8am. (rant self edited ;-) )

The clouds were dark but the sun was burning through and I was half expecting thundery showers. I decided it would be ok and went for the full hike, 12 miles, 8 peaks. Starting at Moss Foss waterfall car park I headed straight up Knott Rigg and along to Ard Knots. It was a lovely ridge as I began baking in the sun. Here I got a really good look at the Catbells ridge route all the way round to Robinson, all of it was in black cloud. Don’t look at the black cloud look around the black cloud...

Hindscarth and Robinson from Knott Rigg

Dropping down the sharp yet easy path of Rigg Screes in the brilliant sun I did have a sigh of happiness as the birds tweeted, the lambs played and the cows mooed, just don’t look at the black clouds. Reaching the next field gate I detected mild peril as I caught a bull's attention (I don’t know if it was a bull or whether it would charge just that it had big horns) and with an evil glare raised its nostrils with each menacing moo. The mother and calves were safe over the adjacent wall but why was the mean looking creature in where walkers go through? It moved towards me, averting gaze I kept my head down and walked casually in the opposite direction. It followed. I distracted it by weaving through some trees and carried out the ‘predator confusion effect’ getting as many sheep between us, safety in numbers right? Like watching a Buzzard trying to get lucky in a starling murmuration.

Looking across to Catbells
Dale Head Hindscarth and Robinson

Once at the valley floor I took the road towards Little Town at the foot of Catbells. This time I opted for the more direct back route past the quarry rather than the long steady ridge and as I began climbing the menacing clouds with evil intent dissapated by the heat of the sun. This is a much better route because of the immediate surprise you get when you reach the summit. It was popular as usual , one doing a 360 with their map and an Ooo let’s go over there excitement. And as he said to me they’re much bigger when you get close to them, I did have a Father Ted “these are small, those are far away” smile.

Derwent Water with Blencathra in the distance

Looking across to Skiddaw

But you can only agree with their excitement and understand why it’s most people’s first fell, the first of many.

I fear I may have gone on a bit so until part 2 here is CumbrianRambler and her cousin on her first hike.

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