The Borrowdale, all peaks, pikes, pies and Via Ferrata extreme….


View of ropes above Fleetwith Pike's Via Ferrata London, a great city, but not in the hard heat of a blistering summer – where to go and what to do?  Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis or Snowdon?  All three or maybe just two and a few Wainwrights….off we go. Sun shining, Costa on board, a 06.30 start and a swift 275 miles later we were on Snowdon’s foothills by 12.00.  Parking is a fiasco if you arrive after 09.00 – oops – oh well.  Up to the top, down to the bottom, a swim in the lake and a night at the fine (well acceptable) YHA.

Snowdon from the top

Snowdon and a cracking view..

A shame to leave such a beautiful landscape so soon but the Lakes were calling. A few hundred miles and Kiln How in the Borrowdale hove into view, glorious and right next to the famed Scafell Hotel (see C2C blog).  Day one – Rigghead Quarries, High Spy, Maiden Moore, Cat Bells, down to Keswick and back along Derwent Water to the Grange Bridge Cottage tea rooms for best scone this side of Kent.  Cracking day, circular and very achievable.

Buttermere lake

Glorious evening under Haystacks and looking out to the start of C2C

The route to Honister, to reach Haystacks and a dip in Buttermere, is easily found from Rosthwaite, but was beyond our not to honed navigational skills and the maps, compasses and GPS were mostly misunderstood,  so an extended march via Fleetwith Pike it was.  Haystacks rarely a great challenge but always an iconic hill sitting low amongst a  fearsome ring of Lakeland monsters.

Waterfall by Haystacks

Alessandra Scola barefoot and bold…

On-on and a little bit of Via Ferrata extreme, wow, a breath-taking, scare making, screech inducing trip above Honister.  The biggest knee tremble I have ever encountered on UK soil and I would thoroughly recommend it.

View of the Burma Bridge at Fleetwith Pike

Great adventure. Safe but scary. Do it.

Time for a relax so it had to be the corridor route up Scafell – a nice, fairly challenging, usually people scarce route.  For once the role of walk leader came naturally, well having picked up some stray Geordie lads, poorly attired, highly sweaty and in need of some firm direction I simply had to.

Trips to Grasmere and Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage – fantastic, the walking shops of Ambleside – awesome and the ever faithful Dog and Gun – delicious, my love of the Lakes remains alive and well.  A staycation well worth doing again-and-again.

Grasmere with phone box and fells

Grasmere – lovely little village

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London was getting tiresome, mountain leaderene Annie needed a hill to climb..Snowdon again go on then…


Week-after-week of rain soaked rolling fields were having an impact, the gym was more attractive than a march, well something needed to be done.  The Spanish (Mar) The Brazilian (Alessandra) the Welsh (Mochyn Bach) had all pursuaded me it was to be Snowdon, not at all sure this ranked as a challenge but Nunan gave in.  One rule – I got to do the cooking and there was to be nothing vegetarian about it (sorry Alessandra).

View from the cottage – Mar had the fear

Cottage booked, Polo serviced (MG not suitable), shopping done, sat nav setup, we were off….250 miles later…sat nav confused, cottage not found, tummies feeling empty….15 miles of handbrake turns later we arrived.  (Note to self a postcode is not an address).

After a fine pub supper at Betws-y-Coed,  and some truly dreadful “live skiffle” music it was back to a toasty fire to get ready for the big climb.

It begins – a glorious people free climb but those clouds looked a bit serious.

The team had done a little training but realised that hopping and skipping along 10 mile home counties hikes was not quite the same as clambering up the pride of Wales in a rain storm.  (Best local weather check here).  Annie had a little more under her belt ready for the marathon walk in September, sponsor me…

A little time to shoot the breeze en route I took a few snaps with my new camera….sadly none were brilliant…in fact none were even average but I include them here anyway.

A budding Snowdon on Snowdon LOL

No views due to fog, so scenes from the summit include only Mar’s fingertips clutching on for dear life….a fear of heights became evident at the last five metres, bizarre (no empathy here).

“I never wanted to get to the top…..” Said after two hours twenty minutes climbing, good grief

But wait….not all was lost….Mochyn Bach, aka Amanda, told us that the pub used as the base for first 1953 Everest team was around the corner.  A pint of lager and a bit of history well come on then.  Pen-Y-Gwryd a really great little place full of history and atmosphere.  The staff were a little too European (i.e. not Welsh) but this place is really worth a stop.

Everest team’s relics ….these boots were made for climbing

The real deal, yes this was the kit they used in 1953

Snowdon really is a nice little hill for the uninitiated so don’t be scared and get yourself off to Wales for a bit of a scramble.

Annie wanted to get away from it all…..ummm perhaps Britain’s busiest mountain was not the right answer…


A week of sunny days spent indoors in London town forced my hand, a mountain adventure was needed, Hankey had a birthday weekend in Snowdonia planned, time to cadge a favour!  Great a Friday cruise up to North Wales, only 265 miles door-to-door and Annie was in the land of sheep and ummm sheep and yes even more sheep – all in good time for supper, lamb…

Yummy

While the rest of the team larked about in sunshine on the beach at Harlech, 30 minutes from the Pengwern Hall Cottages, I decided that climbing slate in the pouring rain was a smart idea,  Blaenau Ffestiniog, it wasn’t, but was ever so slightly more interesting than a stroll around town…not a lot going on – do ya see?

Snowdon Mountain Railway

No I didn't but what a magnificent feat of engineering from the Victorians

Saturday – yee ha – Snowdon here we come, slight detour due to a little over confidence in our sturdy route masters Hankey and Blythe, so up and over the mountains, stomach churning, Rufus you would not have been happy.

Glorious colours under the copper mine, next to the very chilled Miners route, 4 miles down or 4 miles up

Noting that according to Welsh legend Snowdon is the tomb of Rhita Gawr, a King killing ogre who made cloaks out of the Kings beards, I recommend you not buy the rather hairy looking jumpers and jackets that prevail in local shops.  Don’t worry King Arthur killed Rhita Gawr some time ago so your biggest mortal danger comes from nutters who run past you in their five finger Vibros, Lisa?  Outrageous.

Snowy route up to the top - lovely

What is it about snow and climbers / walkers / snow ballers / random kids…. Hankey how old are you now?

Direct hit...loving the beige trews...not

Snowdon has a number of routes, off piste and on, it was the Pyg up and the Miners down for us, neither of which would trouble a reasonable Saturday walker, note arrive early at the Pen y Pass car park or else you will get a two-mile jog or a sherpa bus trek on top of your march, Annie enjoyed the jog but then Annie is strange.

Annie pops in some sit-ups the pace was not quite up to scratch....titter

A little busy for a getaway stroll but only really messy at the peak

Apart from the usual trauma of the gal whose pants did not fit, the lady who couldn’t skim pebbles on the lake, the lass whose fitness was slightly in question and the birdy who wore socks instead of gloves it all went to plan.  Finished off with a pintilicious Welsh ale (aka Carlsberg) and a few Welsh cakes the team would absolutely recommend Snowdon and the cottage to everyone.  Go on do it.

Japanese whisky sloshed into summit cafe coffee - grand

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