Saturday, 8 October 2016

Health | Hostel to Hostel Hill Bagging in the Lakes Final Day; Day Four: Helvellyn back to Grasmere

As soon as I opened my eyes on Day 4 I audibly groaned. Everything ached. There was a blistering pain in my right knee and my legs felt exhausted. I'd also done the whole trip using my Dad's rucksack which was a sized M/L for a man and had resulted in sitting really weirdly on my back and left cuts in my hips. A full cooked English breakfast later I was feeling slightly less reluctant about the day ahead. A thick layer of drizzle had now descended on the day but I was raring to go now and raring to complete our challenge. Mostly raring to get to the gingerbread prize that was waiting for me in Grasmere. 

So. Off we set. 

Graeme on the ascent to Catstye Cam and Helvellyn

The blistering sunshine of Day 2 was long gone and had been replaced by 40mph winds and fog. The ascent of Helvellyn was tough going but as we approached the top we were feeling determined (bordering on stubborn) and turned off to also tick off Catstye Cam. The wind was so violent on the ridge that runs to the summit that we were reduced to being half bent over, shuffling forward, and holding hands so that we had the safety net of one another on the off chance one of us got blown off our feet. Tricky fake summits later we took in the awe inspiring Swirral Edge to reach the summit of Helvellyn. 

Taking on the weather on Swirral Edge

I'll be honest, I was feeling pretty smug when we reached the summit of Helvellyn so was horrified to be brought crashing back to reality by seeing not just the leaders in an 80km fell race (see my blog post Day Three for more) but also several walkers in totally inadequate clothing and footwear. Guys - I so want to encourage anyone reading this that you can climb any mountain in the Lakes too but please THINK! Safety is paramount in the mountains - people die in the mountains. Dress smart, pack well and if the weather looks perilous and you've no idea what you're doing - err on the side of caution. 

Fell runners near the summit of Helvellyn
Off the back of Helvellyn there was a lovely long slope across Nethermost Pike and Dollywagon Pike before a brutal fast descent out of the clouds to Grisedale Tarn. And here we made a bold decision. We'd done enough and done Fairfield before - we would cut out more ascent and take a long but low route back to Grasmere. And it was long but it was beautiful. Below the clouds the day was clear and bright and the valley views to Grasmere were fantastic. It was painful, but a lovely way to finish. 

Enjoying the views over Grasmere valley

Back in Grasmere we bought as much gingerbread as we could carry and made it back to our hostel. 

"Graeme.... Don't suppose you fancy quickly fell running up Helm Crag? It's right behind the hostel AND it's a Wainwright... Oh and Gibson Knot is also a Wainwright and is right next to it!"

An hour later and our two final mountains bagged. Exhausted but exhiliherated we had made it. And I couldn't be more proud.

Now - when's the next trip?!

And so Day Four Complete:
Hills Bagged: 6
Wainwrights: 6
Total hills bagged: 43
Wainwrights: 25
Kms walked today: 18.5km
Total Kms walked: 83.7km
Hours out: 8½
Total hours: 33½
Ascent today: 1,168m
Total ascent: 4,670m

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