The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
Easter, Ready or Knott
Our Easter break can be a difficult one to pack for. Easter can be snowy and freezing or blisteringly hot, but one thing you can usually guarantee is that you will need your waterproofs.
Dave and I decided to go up to the Lakes the weekend before, so we could spend a few days in the Coniston area before meeting up with the group. When packing I was going for multiple layers and stressing over the fact I couldn’t find my Yaktrax. This attention was not misplaced, and our first walk in Coniston was windy and bitterly cold. I got up to five layers at one point and I was still cold! Naturally I posted this experience on Facebook, and it influenced Trudi to discard her t shirts and pack fleecy trousers and long sleeved tops for the weekend. Of course the weather had the last laugh, and midweek made an abrupt change from the arctic to the tropical. There is some irony that the group’s climate change campaigner should be caught out like this, and Trudi had to spend the weekend in a borrowed t shirt.
When we arrived for our few days in Coniston, we had no idea that the weather would stay good. We were packing in walks assuming that every day might be our last ‘good’ day. By the time we met up with the rest of the group we were starting to creak, but with the warmer weather how could we possibly let up now?
Hartsop is a fabulous location, and probably our best hostel for walks from the doorstep. Good Friday saw us set out up the valley from the hostel to Hayeswater Reservoir. It was a stiff, but fairly easy climb, which was probably just as well in the hot weather. Climbing just above the reservoir we finally had a pleasant breeze to offset the heat, so we had a little rest to cool off. This col was the splitting point for the group, with some heading for the peaceful shores of Angle Tarn and others accompanying Dave P on a peak bagging expedition. As I wasn’t with them, I can’t really comment on the leisurely walk to the tarn with their sunbathing, pub visit and generally behaving like they were on holiday. I was testing my knees on the Dave P adventure.
Hill #1 was The Knott. We tried to convince Andrew and Carol to take on their namesake, but this only worked with Andrew. The Knott is a lump (a knot?) on the way down from High Street and as such would be easy to overlook, but it had fantastic views across Patterdale. We could see patches of snow still clinging to the ridges of Helvellyn in one direction and ants walking up the broad slopes of High Street in the other. From The Knott it was down and back up again to hill #2, Rest Dodd. Always ones to take a hint, we did have a little rest here. From the top of Rest Dodd, The Nab looked like a very modest slope that was unlikely to test us. Ha! That was because we couldn’t see the steep descent we had to do before we even started climbing. We collapsed on the summit of The Nab hot and sticky from tackling peat hags on the way up. Lunch was declared and I drank a whole half-litre of coffee wishing I’d brought water instead.
From The Nab we had a bit of a traverse under Rest Dodd to get back to the Angle Tarn path the others would have been on some hours earlier. There was a path, but it was a bit sketchy and steep, so we stopped near the top for another breather. Looking back towards The Nab we were treated to the sight of something like 100 deer galloping across the path we’d just been on. They were some way away, but there was no mistaking the Martindale Herd – reputedly the oldest pure bred red deer herd in England.
On our way to Angle Tarn we met a Coast-to-Coaster going west to east, so not long started. He boasted that he had a water filter that meant he didn’t need to carry much water as he could use ‘pretty much any puddle’. I hope he has survived OK as it was notable that there weren’t any puddles, or bogs really. I don’t remember ever seeing the Lake District so dry. There was, of course, Angle Tarn - irresistible for a socks-off paddle whilst Dave led a sub-group up Brock Crags. There was even a party of lads going bravely for full immersion.
We rounded off the day with an ascent of Angletarn Pikes. By now there was no time to drop down to the pub, so it was straight back to the centre for dinner and about three pints of water.
Now I can’t go into this much detail for every day in the Lakes, there were just too many good ones. Between the weather and our joints, it was beginning to look like the weather would hold out longest. With our extension to the trip Dave and I were away for 11 days, over which we walked just shy of 100 miles and bagged some 27 peaks. It was a fantastic trip, although my knees may never forgive me. Many thanks to all those who came and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer