With Lakes in a Day fast approaching and a limited number of free weekends ahead we were in desperate need of a Hallsfell Ridge recce. We parked in the car park in Caldbeck and took the old familiar route through the village and up to Nether Row.
From here we followed the track up the summit of High Pike. It felt pretty easy and the weather was superb, there was a front coming in from the west so we pressed on hoping to beat it before the cloud descended.
Next on the planned route was the ‘open route choice’ to the summit of Blencathra, the heather was a velvety sea of purple and in amongst it were ripe bilberries that tasted sharp and delicious. As we bounced through the heather we were in good spirits and made the river crossing with relative ease. This was positive as they usually build a bridge here for the event.
We then made the long trudge up the back of Blencathra, this felt like an eternity but we pressed on, the views and sunshine made it bearable. I was using a chapter from C.S Lewis’ The Last Battle for work and there’s a phrase said by the mouse Reepicheep that always comes to mind on long climbs:
Further up and further in!
C.S Lewis, The Last Battle
The next section was the bit we were really interested in- Hallsfell Ridge. Last year, with the cloud low and visibility poor we had taken a ridiculous route down a gully and were almost ready to drop out by the time we reached Threlkeld. Allowing for less haste and more speed, we took the correct path down and whilst it still involved bottom-sliding and crawling, it was much more preferable than the gully. We circumnavigated the base of the mountain and took a relatively flat route to the Blencathra Centre. From here we cut up the valley between Skiddaw and Blencathra, emerging at Skiddaw House (I’ll be there again very soon!)
We soon realised that our ’30 mile’ was going to be more like 25 so we added some distance on by passing through High Hesket. By the time we got to Calbeck we were still a mile or so short so we jogged around to make sure we hit the 30 mark…so sad!! But it had to be 30 today. Anyway, there we go, 30 miles 1800 m of ascent.
Soundtrack for the day: