Home Forums Meet information and reports Winter Walk – Glencoyne Head and Glenridding Mines Saturday 2 Mar 2024

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    Judith Brown

    What was planned as an amiable spring amble turned out to be rather more adventurous on account of a heavy fall of snow overnight. After a drive that looked more dramatic than it really was, we set out from the car park into a winter wonderland of white hills and snow-laden trees. However, the ground underneath was not frozen and it was a question whether those of us carrying spikes would have been better served by flippers. Nevertheless the views were spectacular, the lake looked ethereal, and the magic was only enhanced by the constant rain of partially frozen bits of ice falling off the trees onto our heads and, occasionally, down the backs of our necks. For a while we followed in the tracks of other people but when they stopped to rest, it became our job to break trail through amazing quantities of very fresh powder snow. At this point the viz was good, but it was still tricky finding the contouring path around Glencoyne Head. Thanks to sterling route-finding by Anne, aided by Dave’s GPS, we did seem to follow it exactly. What is usually a very easy walk was a bit more challenging as the slopes beneath us were steep and it was easy to slip on rocks hidden beneath the snow. The Meet Leader clocked up several undignified slithers into the powder, but her best was when she actually sat down in a gill (with admirably little swearing).

    As we approached the col it was clear the weather was closing in. The skies were dark and it started to snow a bit. Sheffield Pike disappeared into a fog. We decided to take the soft/sensible option and follow the good track straight down to Seldom Seen. That is, it would normally be straightforward except that there was a large, rather randomly attired, slow-going party in front of us. Anne and Ros were the first to make a break for it and eventually the rest of us could stand it no longer and pushed our way around them. They may be there yet. We also encountered a young couple heading up in lightweight trainers, her in jeans, him in tracky-bottoms. No rucksack but he did have a plastic bag containing what appeared to be two cartons of Chinese take-away.

    Once out of the snow, we slithered down the E6 mud/grass combo slope to the farm and thence to the Ullswater Way. By the time we reached Aira Force we were ready for a brief stop at the cafe, then the final leg of the walk was back up the well-made paths above the beck, with fine views of both the waterfall and a woman wearing white flip-flops over tights. I did suggest to her she was going to get very wet feet, but she was too glued to her phone to hear me.

    Thank you to the brave souls who made the meet – Anne B, Ros, Mike K, Carol O, Dave and Lorraine, Judith – and with a special mention for Mick ‘Two dogs’ who made it to the meeting point before he realised he had forgotten his boots!

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