The weather Gods have, I think, got a little confused. Look at the beautiful blue of November 2011,
Now, compare with this wonderful skyline of the Duddon Valley taken on the 1st July 2012. I think the weather clock needs a re-boot.
This was a day when there was a plan, but the plan change. The west Lakeland Fells were supposed to have the best conditions so we had planned to a walk around Harter Fell from this cicerone book. The start was Birks Bridge car park, Eskdale, SD 235992, fairly easy round the Lake District Peninsulas on the trunk roads until you reach Duddon Bridge and head north along Smithy Lane to Ulpha and eventually Seathwaite. Alternatively you can get there by heading through Langdale or Little Langdale and over the Wrynose Pass.
Driving from Seathwaite to the car park I was wondering at the wisdom of going out and even my enthusiasm began to dampen at the sight of the trees turning themselves inside out along the road side. The shimmering underside of their leaves being more visible than the usual green. On arrival the mist had well and truly dropped on the the hills, promising that droplet coated mist filter often enjoyed by photographers of the Lake District. Not to be deterred we started the boot and coat routine, just as a group of young walkers came into the car park looking as though they had leapt in and out of the River Duddon rather than just hiked a mile or two. I hope they all managed their D of E!
Luckily, the rain ceased for a few hours just from the moment we managed to pile on our waterproof kit and begin. The mist lifted a little and the wind dropped, for a while, making walking not too unpleasant.
We did set off around the fell, but the ground was so sodden rain from above was not necessary, the damp seeped upwards and finding a dry place to step was an almost impossible challenge. The sound of water was everywhere. Cascading down underneath ferns and rocks even when far away from the white bands of above ground waterfalls. Feeling the conditions would not remain favourable for long we decided to take the quick route to peak, rather than the circuit of the fell. Always have a plan B!
Plan B, changed to plan C when as we crossed a fence line around 400m and as the wind picked up it sent white tendrils of mist down to greet us.. Not wanting to resort to use of my compass, or rather just being far too lazy to take off my rucksack. We took a left turn and followed the fence line west to where it joined a forestry track through Dunndedale Forest and eventually back to the car. I felt vindicated in my decision when we met other walkers following the fence in the opposite direction. They had made the summit, but become lost on their way down.
In Canada much of their forest is ‘temperate rainforest’ and if it is not, then Dunnderdale forest gave a good imitation of such. Some of the older trees were laden with lichen and mosses, indicative of the ‘rainforest’ conditions. It was interesting to read that there was an on-going regeneration program replacing the fir trees with native broad leaved species. just about the only sign that summer was battling through were the deep purple spires of foxgloves punctuating the green.
Walking back through the trees was just as soggy and Callum decided that as it was totally pointless trying to stay dry and took up the sport of bog leaping. In, not over. Rosie, my dog was starting to resemble a peat pig and even her boundless enthusiasm for a day out was beginning to wane when, unexpectedly, a fox dashed out of cover, crossed the track and disappeared amongst the bracken on the hills side. Thankfully Rosie hadn’t seen the direction the fox went and so followed the scent the wrong way!
So, summary of walk. A little wet and somewhat shorter than anticipated but nothing can really dampen my enthusiasm for the Lakeland fells. After all they wouldn’t be what they are without the rain. The way back too, was spectacular. I can not remember the last time I drove over Wrynose Pass so took the ‘alternate’ route back across the leaky mountain pass, to return on a drier day.
Remember the cicerone book, buy other things here, and click the OS advert for a map.
More sunny November pictures here.
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