|Wetherlam on a sunnier day!|
The morning weather did not bode well. Heavy rain and gusty winds were forecast and it turned out to be spot on. A Twitter walk arranged by Gina was planned though and they are always fun whatever the weather so Tilly the black Labrador (who is staying with me for two weeks again) and I packed our sandwiches and waterproofs and headed off to meet the group at Tilberthwaite. The plan was to start with Wetherlam and then head up the Prison Band to Swirl How and follow the ridge to Coniston Old Man.
As we all arrived, we discussed what we should do in light of the weather. Should we abandon Wetherlam and do a lower level walk? Just do Wetherlam? The most critical question being of course – how long until the pub opens? Given it was 9am we had a good few hours so we decided to stick to Wetherlam on its own. After all donning our waterproofs (see “Girl from the South Heads North Episode 1” for the accuracy of the label on my “waterproofs”) the 11 of us headed up the path alongside Tilberthwaite Gill. The thought of Gina’s legendary chocolate brownies was a good incentive. I took a group photo just as we left and the rain drop on the lens says it all!
Tilly at this point had a decision to make. She prefers to walk in front so she can see what is going on. She is also very loyal and wanted to walk with me, but I am invariably at the back having frequent “Tanya stops” so it was a choice between leading or being with me. After a short stint ahead looking back, she decided to walk with me, however far behind I got. She is so sweet (the fact I was carrying the treats I am sure was irrelevant to her).
|Gushing waterfall & autumn colours|
|Not at the back! Yay!|
We ploughed on through the rain and wind, passing beautiful waterfalls with the white rapids contrasting strikingly with the autumn colours of reds, oranges and browns. Rain has compensations and fabulous waterfalls are one of them. The views were not great but having climbed parallel to Wetherlam to reach the summit of Grey Friar in glorious sunshine the day before at least I could imagine what I could be seeing. Gina took a photo at one point on the way up and I have included it in the blog as I am not at the back of the group! Hurrah! It was a brief but satisfying moment.
|River crossing on the way back down|
As we reached a plateau, the wind got really strong and it was a battle to keep moving forward. Tilly was drenched, her ears were flapping in the wind but she was loving it. However, I remembered the route we were doing and I had reservations about the ascent of Wetherlam Edge. It is a steep scramble in places and if windy, can be quite dangerous. I did it in similar conditions last year at the tail end of Hurricane Katia and whilst I made it to the summit on that occasion, it was too windy to stay there for more than a minute or two and although Tilly is good at scrambling, I decided on balance we would be better making a retreat. I let Dave and Andy (who had been kindly taking it more slowly to keep me in sight) know I was going back and arranged to meet them all in the pub at the end (well I may be abandoning the walk but that did not mean I had to abandon the pub!)
|The "I would like a chocolate brownie please" look|
Tilly and I made our way back down towards Tilberthwaite. Then a horrible thought struck me. We had not just abandoned Wetherlam, we had abandoned chocolate brownies! Tilly looked particularly distressed at this but after toying with the idea of chasing back up the mountain, we decided that one look from Tilly’s eyes in the pub would secure a brownie each. We were right!
|Wet, blurred & bedraggled - braving the camera timer!|
It was great to catch up with everyone at the end of the walk in the Black Bull in Coniston. Great company and even though Tilly and I did not make it to the summit, a great walk.