Threkeld – Lake District, May 2004

Friday 7th May:


As we waited by Goodricke car park on a sunny evening for our most loyal and dependable and, at that point, only driver, we looked at the pile of rucksacks, tents, sleeping bags, roll mats and Adrian’s food and wondered how on earth it would fit in Ben’s fiesta. When Ben did arrive, we toiled long and hard with packing the boot and ended resorting to emptying sleeping bags onto the back seats – very innovative I thought. Once I had finally hauled my leg into the tiny space that remained we ‘sped’ off to the sound of the exhaust scraping the road every minute and prayed. All was going smoothly until Adam casually remarked that sparks were flying head height from the back of the car. Ben’s usual unflappability left him and we stopped to see whether the car would self-combust. After Ben had called his dad we discovered that it was probably a build up of soot and so off we went, rather nervously at first, but the vision of a greasy kebab in Penrith kept our hopes up. Although Adrian and Ashton had promised this would be one of the best kebabs ever I wasn’t in any way disappointed. We stood out on the town square surrounded by less than salubrious young men and women staggering home, struggling with a monster helping of ‘meat’, salad, chilli sauce and pitta. Once myself, Adrian and Ashton had completed the first challenge of the weekend we suffered the remainder of the journey enduring the rank smells coming from the back as we let off some of the kebaby goodness from our unhealthy bodies.


We got to Threkeld around 11pm but there seemed to be nothing there apart from lots of deserted mobile homes and a few sheep. For a while we were just as confused as the sheep and it took us for what seemed like an hour to find the very small field that was for tents. We met Dan and Steve who had just returned from the pub and within an hour I had fallen asleep quickly enough to avoid Adrian’s snoring. For most of the night it rained hard and didn’t really stop. It wasn’t looking hopeful for Blencathra.


Saturday 8th May:


Unfortunately the rain hadn’t stopped and so the plan to do Blencathra was put on hold and for some reason we thought the weather would be better in Buttermere! By the time we had driven down to Buttermere and set off, it was already 11am. However, we began the day’s walk fairly leisurely as we made our way down through Buttermere, past a campsite I stayed at when I was about 10 and then up towards Haystacks for the first ascent. We got up to Haystacks in time for lunch and Adrian’s meat platter and headed along the ridge for a couple of miles towards High Crag. Once this was complete a few of us decided we would carry on to do High Stile and Red Pike while Adam, Adrian and Ben headed down the valley back to the cars. The rest of the afternoon was fairly dry but very humid which made it a little tough going. However, when we began the climb down, the vision of a good pub meal kept us trotting along until we got down by around 6. As ever the evening was spent at the pub in Threkeld with some quality pub grub and fine ales which sent me to sleep very quickly despite Ben’s difficultly in moving his legs inside the tent and Ashton’s continued enthusiasm resounding from the neighbouring tent.


Sunday 9th May:


The weather was considerably better by the morning, although our legs weren’t and so the decision was made to attempt Sharp Edge on Blencathra. We started fairly late again since the theme of the trip was general lethargy and walked up through Threkeld (not forgetting the lonely goat). The route around the base of Blencathra contoured the valley and eventually took us up Scales Fell. By around midday things were getting a lot steeper especially on the section approaching Scales tarn. From there we could see the summit poking through some misty cloud and more importantly the craggy mound known as Sharp Edge. Myself, Dan, Steve and Ashton continued up towards Sharp Edge with the intention of getting to the top by lunch. The scramble along the top was fairly safe since the wind wasn’t particularly strong; it seemed the people coming down were having much more difficulty than us and so the best idea would be to come down the other side. We had reached the top by lunch and rested for the time it took the other three to join us. Unfortunately the views weren’t stunning but the sense of achievement was there with the thought of conquering another famous peak. The route down was simple, direct and pretty steep and so we were down and back at the campsite by mid-afternoon. Before we left I thought it would be a good idea to have one last pint. In retrospect it could have been my last since it looked more like sewerage plus it also tasted like it. Luckily there was a kebab waiting for us in Penrith, which soon sorted me out, much to Adam’s displeasure. Thus ended another classic trip proving to us that kebabs are the food of kings, man-tights are wrong and five in a fiesta is just silly.


‘Kebab and toil’

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