|Jonathan and Dean heading up The Band towards Bowfell|
The plan today was a recce of The Great Lakes Fell Race. It seems like a good challenging route, relatively short at 14 or so miles but lots of climbing and rough ground, going up Bowfell, over to Esk Pike, then to Great End, Scafell Pike, Scafell via Foxes Tarn, then to Slight Side and across Great Moss to Pike of Blisco. Feeling positive from a good run at the Scafell Marathon, I quite fancied a go at the race. I had a knowledge of the ground from various runs and races, including the Scafell Marathon. After the initial climb up The Band, there would be rocky and technical ground, something I usually do quite well on, until we got to Slight Side. From, what I remember to be a steep grassy descent off Slight Side, there would be the trudge over the aptly named Great Moss. We would need to cross the river Esk at some point and then up and steeply down off Pike of Blisco.
We set off from Great Langdale and Bowfell was in cloud. I held back, being wary of the challenge ahead but Gerard had decided to see how fast he could get up to the summit. Jonathan and Dean stayed with me and we eventually wound our way up, past the Three Tarns and up to the top where we saw a very cold looking Gerard wandering off. We shouted him back and decided we needed to get off the summit and get moving. Gerard had been waiting for a while in the cold rain and needed a bit of a warm up. We were definitely glad to see Gerard at this point. As we were walking up, Dean, Jonathan and I had decided that we would cut the run short due to the poor conditions but were concerned that Gerard would have gone on and, if so, we would have to go on too as he would not know we had turned around.
In the thick cloud, I took a compass bearing from the summit and headed over along the ridge, following cairns until we dropped out of the cloud and down to the pitched path that goes around Angle Tarn. From here we went down Rossett Gill and back to the start.
Not quite what we had planned but, as ever, nice to get out in the fells. Plenty of positives to take away, good navigation practice, nice to get out and up a decent fell on a poor day, a decision not to do the fell race and a lesson never again to have the soup in the Old Dungeon Gill Hotel.
|looking over towards Pike of Stickle and others just before we dissapeared into cloud|