Breakfast had not even been served by the time I had started off the last couple of days, so a brief consitutional around the village before breakfast seemed in order to stretch the legs. I wish I had not bothered, there was thick drizzle in the air and not even the lower slopes of the surrounding fells could be seen – they seemed to all be smothered in low cloud.
The forecast was meant to be better today, I hoped that a later start might mean the weather had time to improve…
As I walked up the road it was a bit brighter but there had been no significant improvement in the weather as I started up the left hand path up Little Tongue Gill. This route is said to offer the best views back into the valley, I could hardly see a thing beyond 30 metres.
I knew the Gang and others had gone up the right hand path, I arrived at Grisdale Hause ahead of them bar a couple and the Australian Ladies.
To begin with Grisdale Tarn was not to be seen in the low cloud, but it cleared just enough and the rain stopped. It was then a welcome sight to see the water as I made my way round to the northern side of the Tarn.
Despite the low cloud I decided as the rain had stopped I would head off up to Helvellyn. The start of the path up was not too bad, and half way up Dollywaggon Pike there was the smallest of breaks in the cloud and I rested for five minutes in a patch of sun.
By the time I was at the top of the Pike the cloud had closed in again, and all I could see was from cairn to cairn. I walked around Nethermost Pike for a good five minutes to check that it was not the summit of Helvellyn – it was not – but there were a large number of cairns to be found, and not all of them moved and bleated!
I was starting to think I was lost, but a few walkers were coming in the other direction which assured me I was on the path. Finally I found the memorial to the aeroplane landing, then the shelter where I sat and soaked in the view (of all 20-30 metres!), also the triangulation point, and now it was time to find Striding Edge by the memorial that marked the way down.
I am not sure if it was a good or a bad thing that the visibility did not improve for the traverse across – while I missed the views I did not miss seeing the steep drop! Red Tarn passed me by in the mist.
Instead of descending into Patterdale from Hole in the Wall I continued along the ridge to take the route into Glenridding. When I approached the headland I could see the valley was bathed in sunlight and the steamers were docked.
I made it down in time to make the last sailing of Lady of the Lake to Howtown. It was a nice restful end to a fantastic walk.
Emergency rations: None
Blisters: No more
Aching bits: Subsiding
More photos (from all the days of walking) can be found in the photo gallery.