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Welcome to Doodlecat, where we enjoy the pleasures of life (with a slight bias towards the outdoors). This page is regularly updated with news and views plus information about any additions or changes to the various parts of the site. It acts as Doodlecat’s Blog too, so the odd rant considered opinion may pop up from time to time.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TGO - final shakedown.

There’s nothing like a plan – and this was nothing like a plan ... as it had been roughly nailed together by me.

The aged P being in relatively good health at the mo’ and other calls on the estate being relatively minor, it was possible for a swift rally of the troops for a pre Challenge backpack in the Lakes to shake down the kit and ensure that the limbs were up to the task ahead.

Piglet dressed for the hill
Thursday evening saw us in the Old Dungeon Ghyll for supper and a few beers. The 'us' being me, Alan Sloman, Andrew Walker, David Wilkinson, Shirley Worral and Piglet the Border Terrier.

After packing up the tents, Friday morning saw us stagger back from the camp site to the Old Dungeon Ghyll for coffee and a strengthening of resolve. By 11.00 our resolve was sufficiently strengthened to actually set off. Up Mickleden and Stakes Pass, swinging round Langdale Combe and on to Angle Tarn. There we bumped into another couple of challengers honing their skills and fitness, the ‘legendary’ Terry Leyland and first timer, Jane Hilder.

Andrew, Terry, Shirl, Alan and JaneOnward and upward through mist, drizzle and increasingly poor visibility, we skirted Allen Crags to arrive at High House Tarn – a wonderful wild camp site that we have used a couple of times before (see here and here). A tip about water – being quite high (about 2200ft) there are no streams, but short exploration NE will usually find a little clear spring if rain has fallen recently. If in doubt, fill up beforehand.

A word here about dawgs. Even little dawgs like Piglet are natural thieves, and exploring my open tent the wee porky terrier found and scoffed the entire packet of pancakes that I had brought for my breakfasts. Caveat ambulor.

Al's Casino - playing cards in Alan's tent
The visibility was very poor that night, so rather than stargazing most of the crew spent the evening being fleeced at Al’s Casino where arcane rules of Rummy were being devised and enforced on the hapless (and soon to be penniless) players. Drink was taken, and so to bed.

Saturday saw an improvement in the weather, and as we struck out over Allen Crags superb views of Scafell, Bowfell and Derwent Water came and went through boiling shreds of cloud and sunshine. A truly wonderful sight. Off we went down past Sprinkling Tarn and inevitably down the horrible path to Wasdale and the Inn, where a restorative lunch and a couple of pints fortified us for the ascent of Black Sail Pass. At the summit we swung east along the little path that sort of comes and goes below Kirkfell Crags and the up to camp just beyond Beckhead Tarn, on the col between Kirk Fell and Great Gable. What a spot! The views are just stunning and the full moon and stars made for a memorable night, if a cold one. Fortunately the whisky supplies had held out and we slept like babes as the temperature dropped to zero.

The view of Wastwater from our camp site
The view of Wastwater from our camp site
Sunday. Homeward bound today (sob). But not before a stiff climb up and over Windy Gap and down to Styhead Tarn from where we watched a helicopter rescue over the Scafell “Corridor Route”, Whether real or an exercise I’m not sure, but a very impressive exhibition of flying skills by the pilot.

After that the remaining clouds disappeared for a really sunlit blue sky day, with the Lakeland scenery at its best as we trudged over Esk Hause and down the old coffin path by Rosset Gill to Mickleden and back for a well earned bear at the ODG before setting off for home.

The stats?

Ascent:     2105m  - 6900ft
Distance:  33.2km – 20.6miles

All thoroughly enjoyable and, remarkably, no significant aches and pains either. I might just be ready for the TGO Challenge after all.

p.s For some proper pictures, taken by a proper photographer, pop over to Alan's Blog

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Blogger Andrew W said...

It was more of a Shake Up than a Shake Down.
But it was a splendid shake up.
Many thanks Phil for a splendid 3 days, and the lift up and back.
I have written my account up here

April 19, 2011 at 10:14 PM  
Blogger Alan Sloman said...

My Legs! Someone has been sticking pins into my legs! It's agony, Ivy...

"By 11.00 our resolve was sufficiently strengthened..."... Mine wasn't... I needed proper rehydration, you know. It's bad for you, you know, to be de-hydrated like that, leaving the pub just as it was opening too... We shall never live it down...

April 19, 2011 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Alan Sloman said...

And just what is Wilkinson doing in Andy's rucksack in that photo?

April 19, 2011 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger Andrew W said...

No wonder it was so hard lugging that pack up from Angle Tarn.

April 20, 2011 at 12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sneaky Wilkinson. I reckon he might have been hiding in my pack as I was slipping and sliding down to Styhead on Sunday. Thanks again for a great weekend :) My legs hate you, though...

April 20, 2011 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

No - those legs are actually a functional part of Andy's rucksack.

It is the new "Osprey Ambulant". No more aching shoulders or weary legs with 'the rucksack that walks itself'.

April 20, 2011 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Andrew W said...

I wish I had known that.
I carried those bloody legs all the way up and down that hill.
I could have saved heaps of effort and I would have been able to walk on Monday morning.

April 20, 2011 at 11:08 PM  

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