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" Alan and Nigel's 214 - Mellbreak "
Date & start time: Wednesday August 2013, 10 am start.
Location of Start : The red phone box, Loweswater , Cumbria, Uk ( NY 143 211 )
Places visited : Mellbreak (north and south tops) the Ling Crags and back via High Park.
Walk details : 5.8 mls, 1820 ft of ascent, 6 hours 10 mins.
Highest point : Mellbreak Southern Top, 1676 ft - 512m
Walked with : Nigel and Elaine, Alan and Sue, Russ and Gail, Joan, Ann and the dogs, Wattie, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Warm but threatening clouds stayed away to give us a great day.
[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]
We met Alan and Nigel recently and they told us of their plans to finish the Wainwright 214 Fells on Mellbreak this Thursday.
They are great friends with our neighbour Joan, but also keen followers of Loweswatercam, so we were invited join them on their special day.
A bright and early start found nine of us climbing our local fell for a celebration on the summit.
Starting point . . . the Red Phone Box, Loweswater . . . (Grid ref ... NY 143 211)
To be technically correct, they also walked down from Joan's to meet us here. . . but who's counting on a nice day like today.
Roll call : Joan, Ann, Alan (213) Sue (her indoors) Nigel (213) Elaine, Gail and Russell (Russ)
not forgetting Wattie, Bethan, Harry and myself.
Passing the negative sign post soon after the start.
Alan and Nigel stopped to see which way not to go.
No formal picture of the pub (that comes later) but there's a lovely buddleia plant in the grounds
and it was covered with butterflies . . . this one a red admiral of course.
Another red admiral behind . . . perhaps that makes him a rear-admiral (!)
but the show off in front, with the large spots on its wings, is a peacock butterfly.
Ann thinks the two together has formed a 'Bambi's head' !
Mellbreak from the Kirkhead lane.
The only way to climb their desired fell on this special occasion is by the north face direct route ahead of us here.
A brief pause at the top of the forest firebreak . . . getting ready for the real ascent ahead.
Bethan isn't 100% at the moment so we may have to take an easier ascent route with her . . . but we shall see.
As we leave the woodland and start our climb, Loweswater lake makes an appearance.
Behind are Darling Fell and Low Fell of course.
Looking across to Foulsyke (Joan's house) top left, left, the pub, the church, our cottage and the walk so far.
With any amount of rain this pond develops in the field adjacent to the lane.
The reflections on this calm day are rather nice.
We're not necessarily following her out there though !
Elaine brings up the rear this time . . . enjoying the views as she climbs.
Harry and Bethan wait . . . making sure she's alright.
Nigel and Russ having successfully climbed past Raven Crag.
There are three names on the map here . . . Raven Crag, White Crag and the ghoulishly-named Dropping Crag.
Everything is looking a little smaller as we climb again.
The ascent is steep and the path difficult to spot, but by keeping off the loose scree we zig-zag up the end on a relatively easy climb.
Sue trying to make the climb look hard ;o)
Two thirds of the way up and we stop for a break . . . in the climbing . . . not in conversation.
A photo-opportunity for Harry and Bethan at the "peep round the corner".
There's a path there somewhere.
Most of the hard work done now as we reach more level ground near the northern summit.
All smiles as we reach the first cairn.
Bit of a concern about that big grey cloud in the background though.
Shall we tell them that the top at the other end of the fell is 8 feet higher.
Too early to be celebrating yet.
Looking south from the first top to the second.
Ahead we have the delight of clear high fells to look at as we walk between the two.
Mmmm . . . pity about the flying ants . . . more a nuisance than a problem . . . but there were a lot of them !
That grey cloud is catching up with us as the northern top succumbs to its whispery edges.
As luck has it, the cloud was carried away east by the breeze
and as it clears for us it heads for, and starts to cover Grasmoor summit.
Harry is already summit-hogging as Alan waits for Nigel to reach the top.
Russ is not used to doggy companions that stay in one place long enough to have their photo taken.
A patch of rock defines the highest ground and together Nigel and Alan complete the ascent of their 214th Wainwright Fell.
Hold your cursor over the picture to join them in a group-hug. (not too many times please)
Time to celebrate in what has become a traditional manner . . . a drop of ale or bubbly on the final one of the set.
Bethan licks her lips at the prospect of a drink . . . but perhaps water would be better for her.
A mug of Wainwright Ale or a glass of bubbly Rosé Champagne for anyone ?
Time for a toast . . .
Ann joins in on that.
Bethan has a go at public speaking . . . again . . . Gail is reasonably impressed.
The real speech of the occasion came from Nigel.
" Dearly beloved we are gathered together in the sight of God to joint these two men and their Wainwright fells in Holy Matrimony.
Anyone knowing of any just impediment please say . . . etc etc . . . and yes we did go back to climb Birks properly !
[ I'm only sorry I wasn't quick enough to catch the whole speech on video . . . it deserved to be recorded for posterity as it was spot-on. ]
Alan's part was to say thanks to the support team . . . the ladies
and to present Sue and Elaine with a scroll each . . . passing on the metaphoric baton of climbing the Wainwright fells on to them.
Inside was a sheet of paper listing each fell they had climbed so far and how many were left to go.
Elaine was delighted at Alan's kind thought . . . at least I think she was !
We raised a cairn at the summit top to commerate the day . . .
. . . and then posed around it for a full group photo.
(Many thanks to the passing couple who helped out with the photography)
Relax a moment with us after the climb . . . and just enjoy the view from the top.
With people having to travel back to Sheffield tonight we decided to extend the route to include a visit to Crummock Water
but not to go on and visit Scale Force, which would take too long.
We start the descent of the southern end . . . much more grassy than the craggy northern climb,
then took a left turn between the end of the ferns and Scale Knott, the grassy minor summit ahead.
With hindsight we should have started our descent straight away. . .
. . . our high level sheep track left us with an equally steep ascent in the end.
High Ling Crag with Low Ling Crag below as we were about half way down.
The resemblance of the lower crag to a retriever head is uncanny.
The dogs were first down as usual . . . that tiny white dot in the water above my head being Harry
on a mission to be first into the water on this warm day.
The early start meant we had enough time to divert to the beach . . .
. . . and take time to cool our feet in the water if desired.
In fact the water was pleasantly warm so several people decided to indulge.
Look out . . . a wet dog is approaching . . . and he is likely to shake everywhere.
Harry comes out to check I'm okay.
After recent rains the lake seemed a little cloudier than usual . . . normally it is beautifully clear.
Joan doesn't choose to venture as deep as Alan and Gail.
All good things come to an end and it is time to boot-up and be on our way again.
Taking the lakeside path back under Mellbreak's eastern flanks.
The " Loch Crummock Monster " is seen mid-lake . . . it turns out to be three long-distance swimmers.
The lake is two and a half miles long and it seems they were swimming the whole way.
Two were doing a slow steady crawl stroke . . . but the third was definitely doing the doggy-paddle . . . amazing.
The other intriguing sight, their fly-past pre-announced by some loud avian cries, was a family of Peregrine Falcons.
I managed to spot two of what we thought may have been four birds . . . more by luck than good management for this photographer.
It has been a great walk . . . what shall we do now . . . time to leave the lake and head back to the Kirkstile.
Bright red rowan trees in the lower garden of the Kirkstile Inn
" Bright as a berry "
Back to the negative signpost . . . it fails to point anywhere meaningful . . . but we had a great day.
Final group shot . . . all nine of us.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, or my Canon 1100D SLR digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . 9 glasses and a bottle opener to hand.
Previous walk - 17th August 2013 - Ed and Susan's Wedding
A previous time up here - 28th March 2009 Ed's Mellbreak 214
Next walk - 28th August 2013 - Dale Head to Buttermere Walk