24th to 26th September 2021 - Coppermines Cottage , Less than a mile north west of Coniston villageCoppermines cottage, a Barrow Mountaineering and Ski Club hut, was built as one of the offices for the former mine which was abandoned in the early 50s when the last attempts to pump water out of the adits failed and importing copper from abroad became more profitable. The area around the mines is all made of mining spoil and stone buildings and the old winches, wagons and water wheels are still strewn around. The YHA occupies one side and at the other is a fancy wedding venue! During the weekend we visited the wee heritage museum which is a treasure trove of random artefacts from the heyday of industrial activity. And a blue- haired plastic horse with a quizzical expression on its face.
On the Saturday newbies Jo, Marlee, Enguerrand and Ivor followed the mining and slate quarry tracks across to Little Langdale and explored Cathedral Cave, heading uphill into the clag on Wetherlam, Swirl How, Black Crag and the Old Man of Coniston before trundling down to the pub in the village. Alex and I did a similar route as a run, in shorts and t-shirts (it was 19 degrees despite the ming!), adding in Pike o'Blisco and Cold Pike in place of Wetherlam, and having a bizarre exchange with a couple of walkers intending to "wing it" across to Scafell Pike from Wrynose-probably an 8 hour return trip in good weather- but in dense cloud and with no map! We descended the Old Man via a steep grassy line and I up-ended myself with painful consequences so we consoled ourselves with ice cream before hobbling back to base. We met the others in the pub later on and the sun put in a one-night-only appearance.
David T and PNMs Audrey (David's wife), Sujit and Mark went to Langdale (altering plans from the intended Wasdale start after a tip-off from another member). They completed David's last Furth on Broad Crag, along with Bowfell, Scafell Pike, Esk Pike, Ill Crag and Allen Crag. The bottle of celebratory fizz remained firmly in the backpack during the mostly soggy walk and was unveiled in the cottage later on. A second bottle (kindly donated in honour of my 2nd munro round completion - thanks Thompsons!) was also divided between the non-teetotallers and there was a lot of animated chat, in English and British Sign Language alike. There was an interlude while we went out to watch the bats. I'll let you guess who suggested that.
Sunday was similarly minging which was a huge shame as much of the UK enjoyed late summer sun. David and friends did a local walk from the cottage before heading back home and Sujit was disappointed not to have climbed higher!
Myself, Ivor, Marlee and Jo went to the Dungeon Ghyll and did a great circuit as a walk and paddle in the Langdale Pikes. Alex and a chum went for a run to Scafell Pike; Enguerrand was last seen heading down to Lake Coniston in running shorts and trainers and with an open mind.
Coming at the same time as a membership survey of post-covid measures on indoor meets it was reassuring to have 10x negative tests in advance of setting off for the long drive south.
Thanks all for helping with the hut cleaning and the camaraderie, and see you all again soon!