Winter Walking newsletter entry

Winter Walking

02/02/2019 – 04/02/2019

Written by: Russell & Nadia

Attendees: Adam, Nadia, Alberto, Javi (guest), Willem, Roz (guest), Lorenzo and Russell

Helvellyn Written By Russell — 02/02/2019

Alpine start (9.30am!) along Glenridding Beck then onwards towards Red Tarn. Blue sky, sunshine, deep powder snow and no ice made for exceptional conditions. Possibly the best of the season which accounted for the large number of locals and budding mountaineers out today. For two members it was their first experience of using crampons and ice axes whom picked up the skills quickly.

Striding Edge was a joy with some of the best conditions some previous attendees have ever experienced. The summit of Helvellyn was reached and the group were rewarded with 360 degree uninterrupted views, sunshine and no wind. This made for a pleasant picnic spot whilst being envious of the skiers enjoying their descent.

Our descent along Swirral Edge was equally as enjoyable and snowball fights soon began once Catsye Cam had been bagged. Some hardy (foolish?) souls were walking on the frozen tarn below and before long the we were running, sliding or sledging down the snow slopes on the return path.

We then retreated to the log fire of the farm cottage, watched England smash Ireland in the rugby and enjoyed a three course meal finished with a superb sticky toffee pudding made by Roz.

To end the evening several rounds of Spell Wizards board game were played.

Skiddaw Written by Nadia — 03/02/2019

Today’s hike began at our cottage door at a later start(10am) than the previous day and a difference in weather. Unfortunately, we were now two people short as Alberto and Javi had to return home, due to family reasons. The first section of the hike brought many to reconsider their dress choices and take off some layers, until we reached the snow and had to redress again.

The second section of the hike, included drastic wind and heavy rain, which turned to ice as we ascended. Many in the group found this as a challenge, since the strong wind made it harder to walk or see, forcing us to cut our hike short and restructure our route to descend earlier than originally planned.

However, this also brought joy to the group, as they skidded down the slushy and frosty snow as though they were skiing and one person choose to use the crampons instead. After a quick lunch break by the White Rocks, we headed on down, as the group’s wet clothes had caught up with the change in temperature and were becoming cold.

The continuing descend brought the group to an easier, straightforward path down, along with warmer temperatures and light rain. The group eventually reached the cottage, through a field and had to jump over a running river, whilst one person cleverly used the bridge to cross over.

In the evening, the entire group took over the hot room at the cottage, to dry every piece of clothing they wore on the day. Then, we had a lovely meal which included a starter soup by Lorenzo and a main meal prepared by Willem and Roz and then dessert. To end the evening, three of the group played a board game by the long fire, whilst the rest enjoyed a calm read of their chosen books.

Sharp Edge Written by Nadia — 04/02/2019

The third day brought a new challenge to us all. We packed and headed out in our cars around 9am and parked across the road from the first stage of the hike. Many in the group had chosen to wear their thinner layers on this day, as the sun was shining and the temperature was warmer compared to the previous days. We walked up the steep aspect of the beginning and then carried on around the first mountain, ending in a very slushy section that included knee deep snow, making a few in the group almost bury themselves in the snow.

After that, we started the ascend upwards, as the weather continued to be warm and the hike steeper, until we reached the crux of the hike; Sharp Edge. Almost all of the rock was either covered by snow or ice, making the entire group scramble or crawl on their hands and feet along the ridge. Once we reached the end of the reach, two in the group geared up with crampons and ice axes for the last section to the summit, whilst the rest scrambled up the rocks or dug their heels into the snow. The summit created a beautiful view but also windy, giving us another quick lunch before the partly icy and rocky descend down.

Ending with a long, but relaxing journey home.