Wednesday 7 August 2019

7. My Kilimanjaro Training : Lake District - Lake Derwent and Climbing Stickle Ghyll

Hi Folks!

Welcome to my last training blog from the Lake District for my Kilimanjaro training. Like I said in my last blog, the weather here gave me 3.5 days of good weather (or dry weather that is) so I managed to get out of Kendal a couple more times and into the National Park for some last hiking.

So lots of photos and videos... 

Hiking up to Stickle Tarn in the Langsdale Pikes

Halfway up to Stickle Tarn in the Langsdale Pikes  

Dan, my one time guide up here from Into the Outside recommended I get up to Keswick in the centre of the National Park and take a boat ride around the 4.6km Lake Derwent as a must do. A handy little deal you can get on the bus network in the Lakes is a 'Boat and Bus' dual ticket for a day so I took the opportunity while it was dry.

Here are some great pictures I captured on the Lake

The Peaks of Catbells and Maiden Moor 

But enough of the touristy stuff...I'm here to train! So I managed to get a good tip off from the friendly locals at the bus stop in Kendal that going to Old Dungeon Ghyll in the Great Langsdale Pikes would be a good walk to do on my own up to Stickle Tarn.  

So here I am! 

What a cutie! 

Making my way up Stickle Ghyll

Stickle Tarn is just over the top of the ridge with Pavey Ark Fell sticking up over the top.

Video Diary Part 1: Climbing Stickle Ghyll

Phew! if just watching it made you puffed out was good training and the cascading pattering of the water bickering over the rocks was very noisy but so powerful at the same time. 

So I ascend higher, making a conscious effort to hike slowly, slowly as what is needed on Kili to help with the acclimation. Since it proved a popular route, the path is clearly marked by steps with other hikers going up and coming down (obviously just getting as high as the tarn and then turning back) and would you believe dog walkers! I called it extreme dog walking and the dogs were getting up there even quicker! 

Still it was not a race and I'm practicing slow hiking so I kept patient and cleared over the rushing torrent of the ghyll and headed up onto the the rocky outcrops ascending to 600 metres.

Some photography on the way up...

Climbing closer to Stickle Ghyll 

And then we have some friends joining us on the hike....

What amazes me about mountain sheep is how they always seem to scramble up to the top and never fall off!

Almost there! Crossing over Stickle Ghyll

God, don't you just love the Lake District!  

 Looking back down onto Great Langdale and Lingmoor Fell  

Wahooh made it!  Video Diary Part 2 - Reaching Stickle Tarn 

So windy! Don't know how much of that you could hear but I decided to push on further to the Langdale Pikes when others were turning back to go back down the ghyll, making a sensible choice to scale to 700m to the top of Pavey Ark in a loop and back down again (well actually it was other people telling me to go with the sensible choice - I had my eye on the either bigger fell behind it) 

I was pretty much going to be alone for a while and decides to follow seasoned advice....  

The rugged beauty of Stickle Tarn 

So, this was the point most people turned back and what differentiates between the casual amblers and the real hikers. Now needing to go higher, I began the ascent along the road eastside of Pavey Ark with some intense scrambling to get through as I gradually climbed the rocky outcrops in the stillness of the fell - encountering only a couple of hikers coming down with their dogs!

 Sweeping round the eastside of Stickle Tarn 

The scramble to the summit of Pavey Ark 

Behold Great Langsdale!

Made it! To the top of Pavey Ark and very windy at 700 metres! 

Looking over the top back down to Stickle Tarn

Now, me being me - I couldn't resist a little more explorations and began treading my way around the ridgeline of Pavey Ark and intended to find the path dropping down the westside of Stickle Tarn. 

I instead after bumping into the odd couple of ramblers, followed the ridgeline way over to neighbouring fell Harrison Sickle at a further 736 metres. 

As you can see in the photos above, the clouds were lying very low and the weather is sensitive to change very quickly - so I was getting extremely windswept as I awkwardly clambered over the rocky fringe of the fells!

Stickle Tarn and Lake Windermere in the distance

Of course had to get a windswept Selfie in here! 

At 736 metres at the summit of Harrison Sickle. The wind is like a raging hurricane and the low clouds are moving quickly in, I'm nearly being knocked off my feet and its getting pretty hairy - best time to get down!

Beginning the descent down Dungeon Ghyll and around Harrison Sickle.

Wooh! Long way up and long way's Part 3. of the journey to show you just how much!

Watching your step!

The view of Great Langsdale getting closer. I was actually passed by a man walking his dog down from Harrison Sickle ' Yeah, stick to the path and you can't go wrong' and he just strolled on by!

Still I'm practicing slow walking....

Gotta get another windswept Selfie in there!

After staggeredly plodding my way down the fell side, it was comforting to see the paved step way leading back down to the bottom of Dungeon Ghyll. From here in the tranquil silence I can hear the distant bleeting of Herdwick Sheep being rounded up looking like cutter ants scuttling along the ridgelines of the hills.

The sinewy ribbon of water that is the Great Langdale Beck

Eventually I made it back to 'ground level' which always amazes me how I could be so high up looking down on these small patches of green like a patchwork quilt.

At one point I stop in my tracks as a small herd of Herdwick sheep begin coming up the same path I'm going down, they soon scarper the timid little things and before I know it, even more are coming down behind me, ushering me right down to the bottom!

Made it! Always nice to look back on how far you've come down from, fortunately unscathed. 

And I make it just in time to catch the bus home from the middle of nowhere....

So that was my last day of training in the Lake District. Out of six days, I got 3.5 days worth of dry weather in the middle of British Summer for steep hill walking. Although I would have liked to have explored the Lakes further, 3.5 days are better than none and I head back south after my week away with some good training under my belt. 

Thanks for reading and hope you continue following my Kilimanjaro Training journey. If you have already donated to my Just Giving page I highly appreciate your generosity for Action for M.E and can't thank you enough for your help.

If not, please take a look at my page and I'd appreciate anything you can afford to help me reach my fundraising target!

Till next time and back to the gym!

Training Height : 736 metres 

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