Last weekend saw the annual visit to Eskdale in the Lake District by Clitheroe 41 Club (ex-Round Tablers) – which is now named the Trevor Wilson Weekend in memory of a much loved and respected member who succumbed to cancer over two years ago whilst only in his 50s.
Fourteen of us stayed at the Brook House Inn in Boot. Five, including me, started the weekend by climbing Wallowbarrow Crag from Seathwaite (Dunnerdale) – this happened to be the only one of 227 ‘Fellrangers’ that I hadn’t climbed (‘Fellrangers’ are fells described by Mark Richards in his excellent series of Cicerone guide books).
It was certainly cold, with frequent sleet and hail showers and settled snow at higher levels. Mark Richards describes a longer walk to the summit which takes in some attractive scenery, but which also involves crossing a beck via stepping stones – and given the amount of recent rain and the high state of the rivers, we decided this would certainly not be safe, so opted for the direct route there and back.
We were back at the Blacksmith’s Arms in Broughton Mills soon after 1.00, where we met up with more members of our party – eleven of us altogether meant that the poor couple who had perhaps expected a quiet lunch had to endure our jolly banter for the best part of an hour!
On Saturday eight of us walked from Boot to Low Birker and then up a fascinating track (the suggestion was that it had been used for bringing peat down off the fell) to Green Crag and back via Kepple Crag and Penny Hill Farm. Lunch at the Woolpack consisted of some shared pizzas and a couple of beers.
We’d intended to do Cold Pike on our way home on Sunday – starting at the Three Shires Stone at the summit of Wrynose Pass – but when we encountered sheet ice on the way up Hard Knott Pass, and considered the consequences of meeting more on the way down (1 in 3!) common sense suggested we re-route to Birker Fell and do a tour of Devoke Water instead, taking in Rough Crag, Water Crag and Seat How.
It was a beautiful day, with a milky sun behind high thin cloud. As we drove home we spotted a pair of sun dogs – strange rainbow-like halo effects caused by sunlight being refracted by ice crystals high in the atmosphere.
A great weekend. My first visit to the fells since I finished the Birketts, during which I completed my round of all 227 Fellrangers, enjoyed great company and even had a few beers. Big thanks to the Brook House Inn who made us really welcome, with everyone there being so friendly. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.