Saturday, 29 August 2009


This time last week, in the black darkness of a Cumbrian night, Shirl & I were parked up on the side of Scafell Pike with a grandstand view of the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team helping some poor soul off the side of Great Gable by torchlight. It seemed to be a lengthy process. Behind us lights were slowly descending from Scafell. We seemed to be at a busy spot.

The day had started the night before in the Langstrath Inn in Stonethwaite with a wonderful time spent sampling their real ales and fine bar meals and some cracking company (Simon & Cassie, who I am sure we will all be bumping into again). A short stroll down the road on the way to Rosthwaite to buy some essential smoking supplies had us bumping into a wonderful lady with a small black spaniel who headed us off at the pass by donating enough smokes to allay the cravings to get the girl through the night! We planned to pass by Rosthwaite the next morning to replenish the wonderfully kind local stranger's generosity.

So, with fresh smokes it was back to the Inn to meet up with Simon & Cassie again. Whilst Shirl was at the bar, the wonderful smokes benefactor appeared once more with another box of supplies for Shirl, just in case those already supplied ran out!

Stonethwaite: What a wonderful spot - a great Inn and wonderful villagers.

To be fair, Saturday morning was a bit of a struggle but after a gentle morning admiring fellow camper Bill's ultralight approach (Shirl will deal with the kit side of things; gear monster that she is...) we struggled our way down the track to the Langstrath Inn once more for a spot of exquisite lunch and some essential rehydration with a couple of beers that hadn't been sampled the previous night.

It was warm with dappled sunshine on our shoulders and there seemed no need for any unnecessary hurrying and so we strolled off once more in the direction of Rosthwaite letting Piglet off the leash to tear about the bank of Stonethwaite Beck with occasional plunges into the water. An amazing little pup.


After a second stab at rehydration at the Scafell Hotel, we finally hoisted the packs to set off up Borrowdale. It was still a cracking afternoon and so we slipped over the bridge over the Derwent to stroll through the soft coolness of the trees and little rocky knolls to head up to Seatoller.

Nipping up the valley we chanced upon the cafe at Seathwaite - well - it would have been rude not to stop - just before they were to close for the day. A good filter coffee and then a whole smoked trout to add to my already colossal food bag. There was a bit of an event going on in the old campsite but we were tickled to see chalked on the blackboard "10:30, Workshop Space 5: A short History of Anarchism."


I am sure all Anarchists believe that it's imperative to understand the history.

Well, as you can gather, time was moving on and it was still warm and sunshine was sloshing about all over the shop and we finally set off up to Stockley Bridge at twenty to seven. This is the way to do it! None of this tear-arsing stuff here. Oh no! This was a classic Daunder. The girl had taken to it like a duck to water...


  1. I see Piglet is getting a nose for vinegar! You may not be a gear monster but some observations on the slippers would be welcome.

  2. Hi Robin

    Ah - there will be two reviews on Salomon Slppers as on the Friday Shirl bought some Salomon Fastpackers (having got a bit tired of having 'trench foot' on her Dales Way earlier in the month)

    That will be in 'Part 2' of the write up.

  3. My Salomons got a thorough pasting in Wales and came through with flying colours. More when I get round to gear reviews!

    I hope they were OK. I get a slight feeling of apprehension when people take up my gear recommendations!

  4. One December I walked up past Stockley Bridge intent on climbing the big hill and made it only as far as Styhead Tarn where I broke my ankle. That changed the weekend’s plans!
    That was many years ago and I occasionally feel that I should return sometime and finish the climb, as Scafell Pike remains the only ‘country highest’ summit in these islands that I haven’t managed.

  5. Looks like you have had a pretty good past couple of weeks all in all Alan.

    Good health to you and yours

  6. Des: That sounds scarily like the start of a 'list-tickers-syndrome' - a scary disorder that afflicts the ageing walking population: Beware!

    Dave: Lovely to see you here. You are absolutley right. These past few weeks have been bloody lovely! The old defensive rictus grin has at last disappeared leaving a much fresher smiley me in it's place.

  7. Alan,

    I have been lurking here a wee while.... ;)

    Having read some of your previous posts I can tell through your words in the past few weeks just how improved things have become. There has been a transparency of your renewed enthusiasm and joy recently and its very nice to see

    Long may it continue! :)

  8. Alan

    It sure isn't 'list-ticking' that's the motivation, because at my current rate of summit acquisition of approximately one Munro per calendar decade I shall require several lifetimes. Rather I suspect it's watching too much of Julia Bradbury skipping along in Alfred W's footsteps. And I fear that this too is a variant of the 'ageing walkers scary disorder syndrome'!

  9. Hi Alan,reading your blog only makes me envious of the many trips that you seem to embark on.Time is passing by very quickly and I must get some more outings in before the dark evenings are upon us.I was in Stonethwaite last year and your last posting has prompted me to arrange another trip up there.I shall probably go up next Sunday for a few days when hopefully,a lot of folks have returned home after the weekend.I quite fancy following in your footsteps earlier in the year when you camped in Langdale and went over the Stake Pass to Borrowdale and then finished up with a wildcamp in the mountains.I can only hope for a few days of decent weather.

  10. Dave: Hear Hear!

    Des: "watching too much of Julia Bradbury skipping along..." that's 'walking porn', that is, you dirty, dirty man! Go and take a cold bath right now.

    Jeff: D'you know? I feel like I haven't been out enough! When I have been out though, it's been life affirming and, as Dave has said, joyous! It's great to go out with company at times - and this year that has been massivley helpful - Having friends like Lord E, Obbsy, Shirl and all the other Challengers has helped me fantastically.

    Next time we are out I will give you a shout to see if you'd like to come too? It was gtreat walking with you on my Lejog

  11. Hi Al,Yes I would like another walk with you-It seems a long time since our last meeting-In 2008 I did walk the route again from Llangollen to Prestatyn.It was interesting to read about how you were trying to keep up with Shirley.I did walk the Dales Way with a friend in June but was a little frustrated at his slowness and the fact that he wanted to keep stopping for a rest break every 10 mins.Contrast this to a walk I did with another friend last year who practically dragged me over Cader Idris and left me miles behind in his slipstream.And so,I have found great enjoyment in walking on my own and going at my own pace.However,sometimes it would be nice to have company and I would welcome an invite to one of your future outings-If not this year then perhaps next year.My contact no is 01782 642701 Thanks JEFF


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