Beware the Birketts
Having arrived back in the UK at 6.30am on Friday it was just over 48 hours and I found myself trudging through the snow in Borrowdale, with yet another book of walks. Seasoned hikers have probably heard of him, but if not, beware, just when you thought you had made inroads into that list of Wainwrights, there is another list to go for! The Birketts! Bill Birkett’s list is of all those fells in the Lake District over 1000ft.
I now can’t describe them as mountains. Having been told in Bhutan that anything below 3000m was not worth giving a name as there just wouldn’t be sufficient room on their map to fit them all in.
But, though I was over 2000m for most of my stay in Bhutan, I never walked in snow, so it was a joy and quite stunning to see on Sunday. The said ‘Birkett’ trail (with a Wainwright thrown in) was from The Lakeland Fells Almanac, a circular route taking in Thornythwaite Fell, Combe Head, Stonethwaite Fell, Rosthwaite Cam and Bessyboot… what a great name for a hill. You also pass the Tarn at Leaves which look particularly lovely in the snow, though on our way down I was not envious of some ‘young’ walkers heading up to camp there for the night.
According to Bill the walk is 8k and should take about 3.5 hours. In the snow it took somewhat longer, what paths there may have been were somewhat obliterated and the ‘peaks’ of that height are a little tenuous and somewhat difficult to distinguish. There was also the added incapacity of a terrier who found even 15cm of snow a little difficult to deal with. If it is cold enough she can happily walk over snow, but it was not frozen and so a bit tough on small legs.
I don’t know how long it will last, but even for one day to have that lovely crunch of dry clean snow was wonderful. Lets hope for more cold winter days and in the mean time, must get that ski holiday booked.