Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

8 April - A mixed day

The morning started with a loss of power on site. Funny how the first thought in this gadget-obsessed world was "camera batteries need charging, so do iPads, the phone,...". Pathetic really. It was quickly fixed once reported.

Later we discovered that the door on the motorvan could not be opened from the inside. Luckily it could still be locked from the outside and also opened from there. Holidays can be stressful!

In a strong headwind we walked up the track to Force Crag Mine, Eel Crag shrouded in mist. From Scar Crags a few days earlier we'd noticed what looked like two small lakes near the mine workings and wondered was going on.

As many of you will know, the mine was worked for lead, barytes and zinc from 1835 until 1991 and is, unsurprisingly, a significant source of metal pollution in Coldedale Beck which feeds Newlands Beck and the River Derwent and Bassenthwaite Lake Special Area of Conservation. High levels of metals, particularly zinc, cadmium, lead and copper result in a failure to meet water quality standards, so a pilot passive-mine-water remediation sheme is underway to reduce the quantity of metals entering Coledale Beck. The work is a partnership between the Coal Authority, the Environment Agency, the National Trust and Newcastle University.

Now wiser than we were a few days ago we returned to the 'van and drove round to park at Uzzicar. During Christmas and New Year holidays in Braithwaite during the mid-1970s to early 1980s we got our milk from Uzzicar Farm and delicious it was too.

The weather had improved somewhat since morning so, without any objective in mind, we followed the old mine road by Stonycroft Gill before taking the path which skirts the slopes of Stile End and leads to Barrow Door.(I couldn't get thoughts of the Barrow-Wights from Lord of the Rings out of my head).The wind was quite fierce atop Barrow and my Mountain Cap was promptly blown off, luckily landing on the heathery lee slope where it remained just long enough for me to retrieve it.

As an afterthought, Stile End was quickly added. I'd completely forgotten just how lovely these little fells are and I'm looking forward to visiting Outerside again, perhaps on its own, perhaps as part of a circuit to include Scar Crags and Causey.

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