ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
[personal profile] ilanarama
In the morning we had breakfast, packed our things and left them downstairs for the transportation service to pick up, and then met Derek, who would be our local guide for the day. Derek is part of the Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team, and that morning we had no idea how relevant this would be.

looking back towards Stonethwaite

As with the previous day, the group quickly sorted itself out by pace. In addition, Derek was stopping frequently to point out things of interest (a tumbledown stone wall that might have been part of an old church, Herdwick sheep) some of which - I won't say they weren't interesting, but we'd heard a lot of it before, and I personally don't like stopping every three minutes for a longish explanation of things - I like hiking more continuously. So several of us got permission to zoom ahead provided we'd wait by a small waterfall at the head of the valley, before the trail turned and went more steeply uphill. When most of the rest of the group had caught up, we faster 'gazelles' (as the rest of the group called us) continued ahead, making for the obvious promontory of Lining Crag.

climbing toward Lining Crag Lining Crag

The views from Lining Crag were great, but after stopping there for a while I started getting chilly, since it was quite cloudy. There were (as usual) lots of people on the route and they all stopped here, so it was kind of crowded; plus we knew that the slow people in our group would take a long time to make it up the steep trail, and want a long rest when they arrived. So Britt and I decided to go on up to the ridge above, and maybe scamper up a little summit if we had time, while the other two gazelles opted to hang out on Lining Crag. We agreed that we wouldn't go far, and we'd make sure we could see the saddle area where all walkers had to cross, so that we wouldn't miss the rest of the group when they came up.

It was easier going to the broad ridge, called Greenup Edge, and we could see quite a few people heading up the ridge to climb the low summit just to the south (High Raise). (Again, I don't have my GPS map, but you can see this area on another hiker's map - our own route started in Stonethwaite, a bit into his hike, and ended at Grasmere, at the bottom of the page. We also followed the dotted line just below his route after Greenup Edge, rather than his route.) After poking around a little to get some views and figure out the route for the next part of the hike, Britt and I agreed it would be fun to climb it as well, but that we'd better clear it with the group leader first. It was obvious we'd have lots of time, since nobody else had even reached the ridge yet. We decided that Britt, as the faster hiker, would zip down to Lining Crag (we assumed everyone had reached there by now, and were resting, or perhaps having lunch) while I would start up toward High Raise.

But it wasn't long before I heard Britt calling my name - he was back at the saddle, waving at me, so I turned around and headed back. "Jim fell and broke his ribs," he said. "We're waiting for the helicopter to evacuate him." We had noticed Jim having trouble on uneven ground on the earlier days, and he carried a heavy canvas-and-leather pack (with too many things in it) rather than a good-quality, well-balanced daypack. (Also, at 77 he was the oldest in the group; though Bill, the local former marathoner we'd hiked with on the previous days, was the same age, so I shall not judge on that basis!)

We made our way back down to Lining Crag, where most of the rest of the group had gathered. Our plans to climb High Raise were scotched, as were our hopes to be able to descend via the "High Route" (the route marked on the above linked map) rather than the standard valley route. But we did get to watch a helicopter rescue. Derek had been with Jim when he'd fallen, and he made the call and coordinated the mountain rescue people - it probably made things go a lot more smoothly. Still, it was a long time before the rest of us continued on our way.

Helicopter arrival Helicopter rescue

Even though we were told we had to stick to the valley route, after hitting the trail junction Britt and I were given the go-ahead to walk as fast as we liked, since we tended to be faster than most of the rest. It was a pastoral walk down the green valley of Far Easedale, amid the ubiquitous sheep. As we descended, stone walls sprouted on the hillsides around us. Soon we were walking on narrow lanes between picturesque houses, entering the outskirts of Grasmere.

signs of civilization back in civilization

Incidentally, about an hour out of Grasmere we found a map case with a topo map and compass in it - it must have been dropped just that afternoon, since anyone passing by would have seen it. At this point we were far behind the crowds we'd seen in the morning, since we'd stopped for such a long time during the rescue, so we just picked it up and tried - without success - to locate its owners, based on a couple of cards we found in one of its pockets. (And if by some chance the owner is reading this, email me with some identifying information about the map, and I'll send it back to you!)

It was fun to be able to hike directly to our hotel, the Red Lion. There we checked in, washed up, and (as I'm sure you have guessed) proceeded to the bar for our daily ration of delicious real ale; we felt we'd earned it, as with our extra trip up to Greenup Ridge and back down to Lining Crag we had traversed 9 miles, rather than the 7.5 straight-line miles the others walked. According to the guidebook, our elevation gain on this leg was about 1700 feet.

The Red Lion in Grasmere

These and more photos - 12 in all - at Flickr.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-25 06:48 pm (UTC)
traveller42: (Default)
From: [personal profile] traveller42
You were quite a ways away from the rescue based on the photos.

Beautiful pics, as usual.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-03 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] justrunjim.blogspot.com
We all deserve a daily ration of ale.

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

August 2017

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @ gmail.com

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