Monday, 19th August 2002
We had arranged to meet Roger, Joyce and Audrey at the starting point for today’s walk, just a few metres from the White Lion Inn. Everyone was there except Roger, who apparently is always late, and Mary and I decided to set off at 9.20 a.m. so that the others could catch us up. Unfortunately, this was a major error of judgment as we took a wrong turn within the first few hundred metres, whilst following another walker who unfortunately was not going to Shap.
When we realised our mistake we had to retrace our steps and discovered we were now well behind our colleagues. Fortunately they waited for us and we climbed yet another massive hill. John Freer had warned us that the start of the day would be arduous and this was certainly not an overstatement. The weather was cloudy and we had a couple of light showers but it was a considerable improvement on the previous day which had left us all saturated and bedraggled.
As appears to be normal in Lakeland we climbed up and up towards the top of the mountain – I have now been reliably informed that anything over 600 metres high is classified as a mountain. The two Australians, Peter and Melva from Perth were with us and we had been joined by Mark, who has just graduated from Sheffield University, and his friend Nick who is still at Loughborough University and who celebrates his 22nd birthday tomorrow. I am sure that at his age I found something better to do than go on one of the masochist Wainwright walks.
We eventually reached the top of the mountain (802 metres high) where we had our photographs taken. At this point an aeroplane flew through the valley at a lower altitude than we were at and I decided there and then that I was now at a higher point than I would ever be in my life without being in an aeroplane. The thought of the height we had climbed to was quite frightening although I have to say that the actual ascent was nowhere near as scary as Haystacks. We now had to descend and John Freer had warned me that there was a steep grassy descent which was quite dangerous. Fortunately, Mark had been very thorough in his research and preparation and he had worked out an alternative descent as the part that John had described was also apparently eroding.
We eventually got to the bottom about half-way along the Hausewater Reservoir and made our weary way towards Shap. People apparently look back towards Lakeland with sadness but I was overjoyed although I have to say that the views and scenery as we climbed upwards were some of the most spectacular I have seen anywhere in the world. We made our way to Shap arriving very weary at 7.45 p.m. and we all met up at the Greyhound Inn for a meal and drinks at 8.30 p.m. We are staying at “Brookfield” which is a very comfortable, clean guest-house with excellent facilities. It was also a very long day for Tina who helped the others with transport to and from their accommodation to the Greyhound Inn.