Patterdale 3-5 Feb 2023

The first weekend trip for 2023 was based at the Agnes Spencer Memorial Hut in Patterdale which belongs to Cleveland Mountaineering Club. 11 members of York Mountaineering Club arrived on Friday the 3rd Feb, ten sleeping in the hut and Rosemary B testing her campervan in the nearby campsite. The weather forecast was for mild and damp weather with strong westerly winds, however, the timing of passing weather fronts was expected to give ample opportunity for decent hill days.

Five club members were able to travel on Friday morning and after meeting at Cow Bridge car park near Hartsop, took in Flake Buttress on Gill Crag in Dovedale. a Grade 3 scramble on clean, dry, south-facing rough rock.

The scramble was over bands of rock with large, wide, grassy ledges between. Ropes were used throughout since there was an element of difficulty with the gradient of the rock and possible damp areas on the route. Dave M, Dave C, Nathan R and Sam K led at various points during the scramble and Derek W was very happy to offer support and enjoy the experience while attached to the middle of a 50m rope.

The weather on the ridge at Hartsop above How was misty but the wind had not picked up so much. We carried on up the ridge, breaking across to Dovedale and up to the Priest's Hole on the south side of the valley where we sheltered from the elements and took lunch.

The descent after lunch was steep but on a good path. The hut was only a 5 minute drive from the car park and we met Lucas B when we arrived. Lucas and Rosemary had intended to walk a route around Red Screes, however, Rosemary's journey across had not gone as planned and she arrived later in the evening.

Despite logistical issues and poor mobile coverage all of the team met up and were safely established in their accommodation. The plan for the next day was head up to Raven Crag on the east side of Hartsop Dodd for a grade 2 scramble before routing south east along the ridge to Thornthwaite Crag then northwards to High Street and Angle Tarn, dropping down to the White Lion in Patterdale for a pint of ale and to watch the rugby.

The weather was kind. The route on Raven Crag, Tower Route, was, however, quite wet due to its north easterly aspect. Nonetheless, we were able to bypass all of the technical sections where needed and with a group of eleven, made good progress up the crag. At the very start of the scramble a few of us had roped up, hoping to achieve maximum climbing potential but discarded the idea after only one section of wet rock.

After the scramble the path was good but there was a lot of steep and broken ground on the descent before climbing up to the beacon at Thornthwaite Crag. Quite tiring work and a well deserved rest and lunch was taken in the lee of the wall beside the beacon.

The walk down was pleasant although the wind was strong at higher altitude. The cloud cleared as we descended, ensuring that we could easily see our route and it became clear that we would make it to the pub before the rain arrived. Perfect.

The rugby was not so successful as our day on the fell. At least from an English perspective. We managed to maintain our good spirits in the hut with a hearty meal and a glass or two of finest wine. Followed by Christmas pudding, suet pudding custard and Pigs. And another game that Andrew inflicted upon us that no one can remember. In amongst all of the morale boosting revelry we made a plan for Sunday.

At about half past eight on Sunday morning we were packed and leaving the hut. A great effort by everyone to (a) get out of bed, (b) get ready and (c) tidy up, clean up and leave the hut in a respectable state. Destination this morning was Blencathra via Halls Fell Ridge where the upper part can be a grade 1 scramble. Perfect weather condition with a frost, clear skies and light wind. Rosemary had decided to set off directly for home with a small detour via Malham to break her journey.

Ten of us made the assault up Halls Fell Ridge.

The route was mostly dry although there were some frozen patches of ice. It was arguably safer to scramble up the rock rather than walk on the less well drained path. Also, our choice of route was less busy than the very popular Sharp Edge which was enduring relatively heavy traffic. Great fun and rewarding views from the top.

Our descent route took us to the north east from the summit then south east and crossed the footbridge at White Horse Bent before traversing west back to Threlkeld where we had all parked our cars. Two of us took the footpath alongside the A66 which, although not proper mountaineering, was quick and gave us time to enjoy our lunch while sitting on a park bench soaking up the early afternoon sunshine.

Altogether this was another fantastic weekend. The first trip of the year and a great start to 2023. Perhaps we did not have the wintery weather that we would normally associate with this time of year although maybe this helped us to achieve a full schedule of good quality activity. Thanks to everyone for coming along and contributing to the whole event. We look forward to more.

Dave M

Bookmark the permalink.

One Comment

  1. Thank you to everyone (Dave in particular) for a lovely weekend and for being so welcoming. It was my first activity with the club but by the end I felt like I’d known you all for years! Here’s to many more.

Leave a Reply