There is a section of the MWIS weather report ‘ Effect of the wind on you?’. For tomorrow, Jan 1st 2013, it is predicting that ‘Walking often difficult on higher areas, and occasionally lower down near showers. Significant wind chill.’ Fairly succinct. But what does it really mean?
Take a look at my dog!
Her ears should be neatly pointing forwards. Now look at the grass in the foreground,
Only 10cms, but almost horizontal.
As for me, well, I was using walking poles and when I lifted them free of the ground they swung from the wrist straps like some frenetic wind gauge. When I dropped one free it flew for several metres as if taking part in a javelin contest. Climbing over stiles can be a balancing act at the best of times. With walking poles making a bid for freedom, and the backward pressure of some invisible door , clinging on to a flimsy bit of wire a with foot in the air did strike me as a bit of a mad thing to do.
Add to this a total lack of peripheral vision My woolly hat pulled down, buff etc. was not enough to keep the ‘wind chill’ out, so my hood was pulled up and secured by every button and bit of string available. Then the hat moved towards my eyes. So with the blinkers of the hood, the only place I could look was down. So much for wondrous views.
Tissues are an essential part of kit, well at least to female walkers. The ‘effect’ of wind like this will make them pretty useless. for a start you won’t want to take your gloves off to get at them, but even when you do the amount of bodily fluid (I know too much information) will necessitate an entire pack at one go. Just accept that any article of clothing near you face will need washing when you get home.
So yes, there was definitely a point when walking on the 30th December 2012 when I decided it ‘was not fun’ any more, threw the towel in and decided that I was not going any further.
So where were we? Scafell Pike? No merely the low fells just north of Ennerdale Water. The highest was Gravel Fell at 526m and it was here where the brunt of the wind hit, turning walking poles into missiles. Some of the ‘lower Birketts’. Route chosen because of the forecast high winds. I would not have enjoyed being any higher, or even at 500m for very long. I didn’t make Flouter Cop. There was no apparent path and I had already had sufficient exercise over bog and tussocks to last me until the next time.
Mercifully the wind not so bad when we set off and did drop significantly below 500m. I am sure it will be a lovely walk in better conditions. When not hindered by blinkered vision, the higher, snow coated western fells provided an impressive backdrop and Knock Murton looked satisfyingly steep, I was pleased it had already been ‘conquered’. As another Lakeland walker recently said on Twitter, been out in better, been out in worse – or words to that effect!