Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Friday, 6 July 2012

Thursday 5 July - Fine weather, fine fells

It was a pleasant surprise to wake to blue skies this morning and we wasted no time in getting away, just in case the old adage "bright too soon, rain by noon" held true.

We were heading for Coledale and passing through Braithwaite triggered memories of several Christmas Eves singing carols in the bar of the Royal Oak with the local Vicar at the piano. The hotel provided a free bowl of soup while a collection tin did the rounds.

It was hot and muggy as we made our way along the track to Force Crag Mine and not a soul did we meet until a family arrived at Coledale Hause having come up from Buttermere. We had no real objective today except to wander aimlessly, but Whiteside was tempting - until it became the only fell engulfed by cloud. After some procrastination (the penalty for having no fixed objectives) we opted for Hopegill Head whose airy summit is a pleasant spot.

However, the most interesting feature of this fell is Hobcarton Crag, a decaying, crumbling mass of Skiddaw slate which is the home of the red alpine catchfly. Apparently, the "rotteness of Hobcarton Crag is probably due to some potent mineral" and the red alpine catchfly can survive in Britain "only in conditions that are so repugnant to the majority of plants that any severe competition is eliminated". Bilberry (blaeberry) also grows in profusion.

As we left the top (after more procrastination) it looked as if weather was coming: dark clouds were gathering over all but the Helvellyn range but, by the time we arrived at Grisedale Pike's tiny cairn, things were looking up again and soon we were basking in sunshine. It was a slow descent with much lazing around in the heather near Sleet How and several stops to chat to walkers on their way up. An easy day out to start the holiday but, if the weather forecast is accurate, it might be our last in dry conditions.

Conrad: the photograph is looking towards Barf from near Castlerigg.

I hadn't read about Gayle's mishap. I'm sure she's in good hands.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

1 comment:

  1. Pleased you had a good start to he hol. I like that side of Cumbria very much.
    I didn't know that about the catchfly. I must check it out next time i'm up there.