On Saturday 31st July I set out to activate LD-020 and LD-021, the cloud was down on the tops but it was mild, dry and there was very little wind. I set off up the traversing track under Eel Crags (see High Spy 8, Wainrights book 6, the Northwestern Fells) and duly arrived at the summit of Dale Head about 1300, by which time there was a strong wind and the traditional horizontal knitting needle type rain. I sat down on a boulder, ate a butty and drank tea from my thermos, and things were getting worse - progressing rapidly from “fairly unpleasant” through “downright nasty” to “what the **** am I doing here?” So after a quick listen with the rubber duck in my new FT817 (getting a literal baptism) and unsurprisingly there were no S2S’s to be had, I retired in good order down the Dale Head Mine track (Dale Head 6) picking up some nice specimans of malachite en route.
Sunday was a really nice day. I grit my teeth when I say it, I had promised the XYL a day of touristy things (like paying a visit to the Bassenthwaite ospreys, not the sort of thing to back out of if you value your home comforts!)
That left today. Another very nice day. Grit, grit. Overnight the water supply of the Newlands climbing hut had run dry. Having been woken up at six by the racket of our dog protecting the hut from an inquisitive herd of cows, I decided to find out what the problem with the water was. Well, the first problem was finding it! The header tank was supposed to be “100 metres up the road then 200 metres up the hill”. Well, it was, but it was also overgrown with bracken and invisible until you fell over it, not too difficult on a 45 degree slope! Well there was nothing visibly wrong with the tank other than it was empty, so now I had to track a buried plastic pipe another 50 metres up the hill, into a rocky gully, climb a couple of small pitches of slimy rock and clear the inlet of debris. Mission accomplished, I set off climbing back down the gully, and then down the slope to the track, and it was on the nice wet springy turf that I went base over apex and lost about 5 square inches of skin off my left leg - and I can assure you that it is sorely missed (pun!) So, no activation today.
Well, no doubt this is fun to read, but is there a point to it?
Yes. The Newlands hut. This is comfortable but basic, but in an incomparably picturesque spot. Heated by a pot-bellied stove, lighting and cooking by bottled gas, water from the hillside, bunks to put your sleeping bag on clean mattresses, three hobs and two ovens in a well equipped kitchen and you get this for £7.00 per night with a minimum charge of £25 per night. You reach it by a 2 km motorable track from Little Town, and it is nicely placed for several summits in the NW Lakes.
It seems to me that a group of SOTA enthusiasts could get together and book this hut for a long weekend and have a special SOTA weekend in the area…perhaps as the core of an activity weekend.
Anybody want to take up the challenge?