14th to 16th July 2017 - Agnes Spencer Memorial Hut, Lake District
So I confess to writing this meet report a mere 7 months after the meet but better late than never and I am remembering a few incidents that deserve recording! Despite starting with a full meet as the week before progressed, a number of people were suddenly unable to come. I would obviously not want to suggest any of the perfectly valid excuses might not have been quite as insurmountable challenges to attendance should the weather forecast not have been progressively disintegrating into utterly miserable sounding conditions. The 8 of us who did attend (probably those for who lure of lots of tea and cakes in the lakes was as equally attractive as any other activities) were rewarded with a nice weekend with one of the two days defying all predictions and turning into a glorious day, the Lake District at its true summer best.
The Cleveland mountaineering club hut is just outside of Patterdale. Claire H and Tim were the first arrivals having decided to come down early Friday with the aim of trying to get a few hills in the afternoon before the weather truly turned. They decided to target the nearby St Sunday Crag via pinnacle ridge but I gather after a small navigational error (completely wrong valley), they did make it up St Sunday Crag but just not via the intended pinnacle ridge route.
By the time I arrived on Friday night the stove was already alight and everyone looking comfortably settled in with beers in hand. It is a nice little hut for a small group and with the members room also free (they had also obviously looked at the forecast), we were able to spread out across the two rooms.
Saturday was much as predicted weather wise and with the rain taking hold saw fairly leisurely starts. Claire H opted to head out on her mountain bike for a circuit from the hut up the path alongside Ullswater and round to Martindale, crossing back across Place Fell to the hut. Gather rather more carrying the bike than anticipated. Alan H went out for a potter on foot in the same area along the trails over Place Fell and Clare A, after spending a morning in the hut practising her crevasse rescue skills for a forthcoming Alps trip, also followed a similar route for a wet afternoon run.
With a friend running in the lakes Sky Ultra, Alan and Anne headed out to offer their support (and probably some much needed encouragement) before sheltering from the weather in a nearby teahouse for the afternoon. Myself and Chris opted for a similarly leisurely day and decided to take advantage of the weather providing us with the perfect opportunity to head to Keswick on a gear shopping mission. After an excellent lunch at Kat’s Kitchen (!) it didn’t take me long to find the lightweight backpack that I was looking for (and 7 months later still absolutely love it making the trip completely worthwhile). After deciding to sample tea and cakes at Bryson’s tea rooms before heading back to the hut we found true proof that on or off the hill the unexpected can always occur. Mid way through our scones a large section of nearby ceiling collapsed! Luckily the tearoom was relatively empty and no-one was hurt. Who knew we should have had our helmets out for afternoon tea!
Tim is the only person that I can’t quite remember his Saturday plans. Knowing Tim he was probably the only member on the meet who didn’t revise plans to tailor to the forecast and had an epic day on the hills somewhere battling the rain, sleet and wind.
Dinner at the pub had been booked for all by one of the well organised attendees (possibly Claire H). We were joined for a sociable evening in the pub by new Lake District resident Monty. The two Cla(i)res opted to work up an appetite for dinner by heading to the lake for an early evening dip beforehand. I accompanied them to the beach to offer moral support. Someone testing out their drone nearby obviously took a liking to the EMC Baywatch babes and unashamedly hovered overhead the whole time. Clearly he decided he had lucked out on his spot as when Clare A and I headed back the next morning for an early dip after I decided looked rather a nice spot for a swim he was back there again! Suspect the attraction was the person in the bikini rather than the one in the full wetsuit!
By the time we got back to the hut Anne, Alan and Claire H had already left to catch the Ullswater ferry with Claire and Alan alighting at Howtown for a run back over the fells to the Kirkstone Inn and back up the Red Screes before descending to Patterdale via Brotherswater. Understand that they just missed Tim who was walking on almost the same route.
After a dip, Clare A headed off and Chris and I had a fantastic day ascending St Sunday Crag via pinnacle ridge (Claire and Tim can recommend this route up ;-)) and then picking off Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Hevellyn and Catstyle Cam. The day was much too good to leave the lakes before we absolutely had to so we followed up with another pub dinner soaking up the sunshine.
Have to say meet organiser, the summer lakes meet is always a fun one....