The joy of being a Duke of Edinburgh Assessor is being able to spend time in the hills and meet groups of young people who are learning new skills and challenging themselves with being self reliant in the outdoors.
This weekend I got to assess a friend’s group, which meant I also spent the weekend with his gorgeous dog Beamish. The scout group were more hardcore than some gold groups I’ve met recently as they were wild camping for three days straight as part of their Gold expedition in the Lake District – hiking from Keswick to Borrowdale, over to Grasmere and then up the Thirlmere Valley.
A great chance to hike and dog walk!
Day 1 -Burns Farm to Dock Tarn, via Walla crag and Watendlath tarn. Yes they really did take a frisbee with them!
Day 2 – Dock tarn in Borrowdale to Angle Tarn
Horrendous wet weather to kill the fun but the group kept the pace up and Beamish didn’t sulk too much either, having to sit in the cloud and wait around for them.
Day 3 – Angle tarn to Grisedale Tarn
We walked up from Grasmere up past Easdale Tarn to meet the group at High Raise, leaving Beamish at home for a rest and so we could pick up the pace.
A great day for sitting around drinking coffee and admiring the view. I love watching dofe groups from afar so that they get sense of personal freedom but we know they’re safe and well.
Day 4 – along the Thirlmere valley back to Burn’s Farm.
A gorgeous sunny day for sitting by Thirlmere and enjoying the view. The groups did really well finishing on time and all still smiling.
There’s few reasons to get out of bed at 7.30am on Sunday morning, but having the opportunity to go for a decent hike with friends is definitely one of them. In the depths of winter I would much rather be tucked up in bed unless I have a Mountain Rescue training exercise to get to, and even then I drag myself out of bed disgruntled.
Sunday started with dense fog too, as I drove over Holme Moss wondering why I had bothered to get out of my nice warm bed to spend the day in cloud. I could barely see beyond 50m as I headed over the summit. Thankfully as I headed over the Snake Pass it was clear that the fog wasn’t quite as dense the further south in the Peak District so I was relieved.
After a bit of joking about how we’d hoped for the remains of snow but were going to instead spend the day bog trotting, we headed out from the Snake Pass Inn car park and up Ashop Clough track, to where it meets the Pennine Way.
From there we had a bit of a silent race to the top of the Kinder Plateau with the fell runner in the group being the first, and me second. Which considering the winter junk food splurge I’d indulged in, I was impressed. Especially since I was a long way second.
It was amazing to see the sun shining as we got to the top and be able to see views out across Glossop.
As we walked around to the Kinder Downfall we had fantastic views and a few remaining snowdrifts, which were deep enough for snow angels and jumping in up to our knees.
From the Kinder Downfall we stopped for a snack and then headed straight across the moors (and into the fog) to Fairbrook Clough. The purpose of the walk had been to recce a route for a DofE walk later in the year so it was important we checked compasses in the fog for bearings for groups to have later on, but really instinct took us across the moors to the Clough, where we headed down back to the pub and a lunch time pint. The remaining snow drift across the top were certainly fun to disappear in up to our waists!
The joy of assessing young people doing the Duke of Edinburgh expeditions is the excuse to be out in the hills myself. So last weekend I spent a few days around Borrowdale and Easedale as they headed off on their expeditions. Thankfully the weather was pretty good.
I met the at Walla crag first walking in from Ashness Bridge. I had to wait a while but great views over Derwent and Keswick so who cares?!
I then had time to head up to the National Trust cafe at Watendlath tarn for a coffee and toast before heading up the hill onto High Tove to meet them. I did get caught in a few heavy showers but in between the sun was glorious.
After they camped at Blea Tarn the following day I walked in up Easedale valley to meet them at Greenup Edge. They were struggling with the walk this day so I had plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine and a flask.