Mandy and I wanted to spend a day together on her annual leave this week and we decided a nice hike was in order. Of course the weather forecast was offensive so we decided to choose somewhere without too much elevation and with options to call it off and easily go shopping. Grasmere / Ambleside fits the bill nicely and as luck would have it, Mandy has never done the most popular hike in that area, so the plan was made. Today we would hike up:
And as it happened, we also visited Rydal Cave while we were there.
The route we took, downloaded from my Suunto Ambit 3 Peak looks like this on Google earth.
And like this on a map.
Some explanation is in order now before you look at the images and wonder why on earth my rucksack is so huge for such a small walk. As my hiking has progressed over the last year I find myself struggling to take all the gear I need and constantly having to make decisions on what to leave behind, so it was time to rectify that. I have bought myself a nice big 65 Litre Osprey Atmos AG65 and wanted to try it out fully loaded with all my winter kit on a simple trek, just to iron out any issues before my pal Steve drags me on some ten summit extravaganza and I find I dont like the rucksack.
I also bought myself a nice new windproof stove and a frying pan to make hot food. Ive done a lot of research and chosen the MSR Windburner as it reviews as almost impervious to the elements... I am excited to try it!
Everything on this table bar the ice axe and tripod came with me today, as well as some bacon and buns!
We head to the lakes, did a little shopping, eating and drinking in Ambleside and then parked up in White Moss car park and head towards Grasmere via White Moss Walk.
The rucksack is rather large! But its suspension really does seem to work very well indeed and doesnt feel any heavier than my old 45-55 litre one... and packed to 42lb, this weighs about 5lb more than I have carried before today, so that's great news.
Anyone who hasnt visited this area should do, White Moss Wood is beautiful at any time of year and its a pleasure to wander around.
Ok, lets go now... Onwards towards Grasmere.
As you head uphill, Rydal water comes into view quickly.
This crossroads takes you either Left, towards Rydal Cave, or right...
Towards Grasmere and the ascent for Loughrigg. You can see our path making its way steadily uphill.
Grasmere itself soon comes into view and so far we are being very lucky with the weather. Its windy, and we can see rain all around us, but amazingly, the spot we are walking through is staying dry.
Grasmere from low level. The short 20 min walk to here is worth it just for the view. What an amazing area.
But its about to get steeper as we take a little shortcut.
The path up is very well paved and maintained as this is one of the Lake District honey pot areas and gets very busy indeed. I am amazed there is only us out here but with rain and 50mph winds forecast I suppose its kept most people off the fells.
We stop for a breather and take in the views. You can see its raining on the other side of Grasmere. How lucky are we?
Onwards and upwards. The ground is wet and shedding a lot of water. Some of these paths are looking like small streams today.
As luck would have it, I turned round and spotted a beautiful rainbow forming and managed to get off a few shots of it before it dissappeared in a rain cloud.
Zoomed in view.
I am including this shot for no other reason than I love it. My gorgeous wife looking over Grasmere on her first visit to this fell. I'm sure it wont be her last.
Not far to go now. Ahead is the usual"False Summit" most fells seem to have.
And not too far beyond that, the real summit. From here onwards the wind is very strong indeed as we have been sheltered from it thus far.
Summit ahead... Mandy has to keep her body weight forward as this wind is strong enough to push us both around.
And at the top, she had to cling on to the trig point a couple of times to stay on her feet. I managed to capture one such moment. Ha Ha.
The view across Windermere.
The view over to Elterwater... That rain cloud is heading our way!
Mandy pulls off a quick summit pose, and we are off!
The wind was really strong so we hacked on down for 15 mins until we found a little bit of shelter in a crag. Time to try out the new gas stove and put on our waterproofs!
I took a quick wind speed and temperature measurement with my Kestrel 2000. It confirmed our thoughts, it was indeed windy with gusts of 43mph
And with a windchill of -3.5deg C it was plenty cold enough.
Oh, and wet... Very wet!
We made our way down to lake level and the rain let off a bit. As we were having a great day we decided to extend it a little and head across to visit Rydal Cave as Mandy has never been there.
Its a nice wander, on easy paths. In that big lump of rock to the right, is...
A huge cave!
I love Rydal Cave, the stepping stones to get in just add to its charm.
But its at its best when your frying up and eating nice fresh bacon butties with hot coffee, or mint moccha in Mandys case.
After a last look round the cave, we head for home as daylight draws to a close.
A perfect end to a near perfect day considering the forecast and the weather everywhere around us seemed to have. "Date Day" Was a success and Mandy bagged her 21st Wainwright Summit.
Here are the Ups and Downs.
And a short 60 second video of the route courtesy of Suunto Movescount.
All images in this blog were taken with my little pocket sized Canon G7X point and shoot. Its not a patch on my Canon 5D MK3 of course but I no longer lug all that around with me hiking as its just too cumbersome. When I find a scene worth of the 5D3's talents, I usually return one day to make the best of it.