It’s been two year’s break since I last visited the lakes with the current trip. New Year 2002 (-2003) was spent in Thailand on the World Scout Jamboree, and last year I tried the SAGGA trip. This year I didn’t have Nicola with me, and it was just serendipity that the email for me to make up my mind came from Andy Kirby and David Rafferty first.
We hired the self catering accommodation at Rookin House Farm Activity Centre form 27th December until 2nd January. We managed to fill it with 20 adults and 7 children. I turned up on Tuesday and I didn’t do any on-site activities but I found myself doing three good walks, Skiddaw on Wednesday, Great Dodd and Watson’s Dodd on Thursday, and Blencathra on Friday. I found myself to be a little more out of condition than the others.
The Skiddaw walk was done in slight rain, with some members turning back before the last climb, and others racing ahead. We didn’t seem to stop long enough for lunch.
By the time I’d reached the top my thigh muscles were in pain. To top that I’d left my walking poles behind, and forgotton my water. Raff kindly lent me his for the descent.
The Dodds walk was done in heavier rain, so I made sure I’d put my waterproof trousers on early on. With low cloud and biting winds on the top this seemed a walk against the elements, indeed the pair doing the harder walk claim to have let on to us and been ignored on one of the ascents. On Great Dodd we left by walking off on a bearing rather than following a path, but deviated too far and needed to do some uncomfortable walking along a contour to reach the saddle. As we reached the saddle my friend from York rang, but I couldn’t hear a word she said in the conditions. Lunch was spent in Raff’s portable shelter, which is a little snug with 7 people inside.
The way back was also a little tougher than we’d anticipated, so the walk finished on roads after dark. We were soaking but the lads in my car still wanted to visit the pub. Of course it was me and Curly who had to virtually kidnap Andy and Frosty who protested greatly that they had to get back to their children and not Andy’s idea in the first place.
Andy Kirby put together a music quiz for Thursday and Friday night using the lap top provided by his company. Team Frosty (Frosty, Rach H, Andy R and myself, and yes that is the Rach and Andy known to people on the sidebar) stormed to a convincing victory with 113 points from 110 questions. Frosty and Rach claim it was all Andy and myself answering the questions, but all members of the team contributed. Frosty for one was the only one who remembered Vienna by Ultrovox was held off number one by Joe Dolche’s Shuduppa your face.
Blencathra was slightly more strenuous than I’d anticipated doing that day, but well worth it. The way up was a long steep climb with some scrambling (some of which I avoided by going round the side.) It was worth it as the mist cleared half way up leaving us with some good views and the best weather of the trip. Curly and I were dropped off at the pub at 3pm, but found it was closing. This was probably just as well as the two pints I had there later went straight to my head, and made me a little giddy when making my ex-Chairman’s speech after the meal. Before midnight we played the anniversary edition of Trivial Pursuits, during which there were a few amusing arguments (“Birmingham 4.” “No Birmingham 6 it was the Guildford 4.” “But you said it was a quartet” etc.)
New Year’s Day I decided to go out on my own as most were looking to do more serious walking than I was prepared for. I visited the North Face of Keswick High Street, before going on to do a bimble through the forests off Whinlatter Pass, however as I parked my car it bucked it down and I drove via Cockermouth to the coast instead.
In the evening we were down to 11 adults, and played Cranium. Good game, but no more about that here.
A great trip, and very enjoyable. Next year, who knows where I’ll be, BUSAG PMA have Rookin House farm booked again, but it may depend on who I’m with at the time.