day 2 - rosthwaite to bampton 31 miles 7800ft
rain had fallen throughout the night and the area was now shrouded in cloud. with the day ahead being spent largely up high i was secretly concerned about this , given the 31 miles we had to cover. spending time wandering around claggy tops wasn't what i wanted.
we got down to breakfast ahead of the masses given the previous nights 'when its gone its gone' food availability. as assumed, we were in no danger of leaving the breakfast room stuffed to the eyeballs so the 'carry out' of leftovers for charlie was slightly modest to say the least.
once charlie had devoured his bit of toast and sausage, we were good to go. rainjackets on we headed off along stonethwaite beck then greenup gill. the legs felt remarkably good and jogging was indespered with walking up the stoney path.
i'd banged on to richard endlessly about how fantastic (and hard too) this day was going to be with its awesome scenery from high up..he wasn't dissapointed. not knowing the lakes really and also having trained largely on road for this, he appeared to be in awe of the majestic breathtaking landscape he was traversing. even myself, a frequent visitor, was giddy about the whole thing.
as we made further headway, the path steepened, with charlie leading the way in his customary style.
ascending from rosthwaite to grasmere common
warming for a while we took off our jackets and continued up to lining crag.
i was relieved to see the way ahead, up to greenup up and grasmere common, looked relatively cloud free meaning navigation would be straightforward
lining crag overlooking greenup gill
bouyed by this we pushed on and i had it in my head to take the new alternative route presented to me the night before (what is that saying about sticking to your plan?!)
once on top however, the weather, as it can so quickly do, changed. the rain came again and from nowhere we were shrouded in swirling cloud. bugger!
this would test my navigation skills no end. there was diddly squat to navigate by and my micro-navigation skills aren't the best by any means. we slowed our pace and eventually came across the faint path we were looking for..or was it?
carrying on regardless we were certainly heading in the right direction (i took a bearing, get me!). the sense of adventure heightened, though with both of us feeling the chill i didn't want to be wondering around the place endlessly.
30 or so minutes passed and with good progress we came across a youngish girl out 'navving' with her mate. i stopped to verify our position with her...the good news..we were heading the right direction..the bad news...we weren't on the ridge i thought we were on. bugger. damn. and sh+$*. it was by no means a disaster..we must have missed the right left turn by a matter of 1-2 minutes jogging but as all you more experienced and hardened mountaineers know too well, a minor error can become a major issue.
i cursed myself..i cursed everything..i cursed charlie (sorry, you had nothing to do with my mistake)..i felt like a failure and my confidence ebbed quickly away. and i had my first strop! sensing this going on, richard had the sense to put it in perspective and look on the positive. i was just worried that we had at least another 23 miles or so to go..how many more errors was i to make!? tere wasn't time for me to be faffing about the wrong way was there! we'd miss tea at the pub if we weren't careful..but hopefully not last orders!
we had actually ended up on the route i'd originally planned to take, but that wasn't the point! there's irony for you.
i eventually calmed myself down, gave my head a much needed shake and got on with the job in hand, descending round helm cragg down to mill bridge.
from here, the craic, the laughter and the banter started again,as we started another long and slow ascent towards grisedale tarn, an atmospheric spectacle worth every calorie burned and every foot climbed to get there. we once again felt on top of the world, metaphorically if not geographically.
there followed a lovely long descent through grisedale to patterdale that allowed us to open our legs and RUN. it felt good. no, it felt great! as we commenced our descent 5 lads from the hotel the night before were coming the opposite direction to climb striding edge so we had a bit of craic with them. they threw me with their route. they were doing part of the c2c but not all the way...why they were doing it in such a bizarre order and coming back on themselves baffled me..that little puzzle occupied my empty little head all the way down the valley.
by patterdale, the hunger had set in and we were in need of fuel. unfortunately the pasty strategy , ie eating pasties from coast to coast, had already lost its appeal with richard baulking at the very thought of another one passing his lips. so charlie was to become the benefactor of the mountain of pasties we had emmassed, though this was to backfire on him too..literally!
the people at patterdale post office couldn't have been more helpful or welcoming..mind you it helps when you have a pooch as friendly and adorable as charlie. moreso, they couldn't have made a better sandwich if they'd tried. a humongous ham salad one...the best ever. and one for charlie too (minus the salad action).
we were also given an invaluable tip to watch out carefully for our path turn ahead of high street..many miss it apparently and carry on into oblivion without realising.
the totally fantastic patterdale post office
the climb up high was a nice respite from running and the views with new mountains and lakes continued to be awe-inspiring
patterdale and ullswater
once up top, we set off running once more making our way past angle tarn and then , with the postmasters note of caution constantly ringing in my head, we took the right path almost doubling back on ourselves up to kidsty pike. it was clear to see why many people might miss it totally
i'd read that kidsty pike was our highest point on the trip. i love running up high on the tops, its the best, but the one thing i cant do is get too close to the edge. that does give me the bloody fear. richard found this a constant amusing theme standing as he would right by the edge taking shots and laughing at my fear. charlie too wasn't bothered by it all and in some stupid niavety nearly went past the point of what might have been no return
there followed a nice descent, though steep at times, towards haweswater. after pausing to feed the lad (charlie not richard), i was pottering down the fell when suddenly a pungent smell hits my nostrils like a bat out of hell. i guessed it! his nibs had found a nice parcel of fox/badger pooh and caked himself in it. he absolutely stunk!
starting to feel tired, my attentions turned to how to smarten the boy up and rid him of the stench so our hostelry would be ok for him to frequent the place without causing billious eruptions from the rest of the guests
once lower down the trail undulates but never takes you right to the lake shore. luckily, a few miles on we came to a deepish beck into which we could entice him in with a number of sticks and stones.
suitably blathered and cleansed we continued on towards the comfort of our inn.
we were glad to see the inn sign and the outside whitewashed walls
the place inside was my type of pub..big stone flagged flooring, wooden tables and benches, a great feel to the place..i couldn't wait to get started at the bar!
but first we had to checkin and herein, lay the next bit of farce. we'd booked two rooms originally to share between four of us including charlie. but of course there was only three of us..me, richard and charlie. the girl seeing to us (a bit of a jobsworth who quite clearly didn't want the hassle of cleaning two rooms if she could get away with one) was adamant that 'it would be better for you [us] if we all shared one room'
'why would that be better for us?' i enquired
'it just would'
'no, look. it would be better for us to be in seperate rooms as booked' i retorted
umming and arring she went and sought the opinion of one of her colleagues. he was on her side!
to cut what seemed like a long debarcle short, we were tired, dirty, smelly (not just charlie) and in need of a shower, some beer and some food. i was in no mood to have the pre-booked arrangements that would suit us best dicked about with. i gave it one more final go politely (verbally) with a degree of sterness (facially). if that failed then the gloves would have to come off. luckily it didn't and after some 10-15 minutes of totally unecessary negociation we were through enemy lines, me and charlie getting the luck of the draw..i had a lovely big double with crisp duvet and pillows..a bit of a contrast to the previous night's offering
a pair of pints and a pair of quadruple wiskies please!
all the farce aside, the mardale inn was brill. we had a good laugh with the bar staff, the beer was good, the food was excellent (though why i ever let richard sway my decision to have potted shrimps followed by the biggest venison burger known to man i do not know) and the ambience perfect. i recommend it to anyone. just dont let them tell you whats best for you..you know what is!
i probably bagged four hours, maybe 5!, in my comfy bed before waking with great alertness to get my stuff ready for the days adventure ahead (i must get checked out for OCD).
at least richard would have been pleased not to have been disturbed for a third night in a row with my middle of the night rumblings through all my gear and tripping over stuff in the dark ('why dont you put the light on' he'd say,'i didn't want to wake you' i'd say in all innocence having just done an unknown impression of a herd of elephants stumbling around the place)
charlie too was pleased i was up. he needed to desperately go to the toilet (a recurring theme from hereonin) following my lavish supply of pasties, sandwiches and flapjack..all the right things to keep him going that unfortunately can cause unwanted uncontrollable commotions as i was about to witness at 4am standing on the side of the fell in a t shirt and boxers behind the inn