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" Walla Crag with George Fisher and Arc'teryx "
Date & start time: Wednesday 7th May 2014, 9.30 am start.
Location of Start : George Fisher's Shop, Keswick, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 266 232 )
Places visited : Springs Road, Rakefoot Farm, Walla Crag, Cat Gill, back via the lakeside.
Walk details : 5.3 mls, 1025 feet of ascent, 3 hours including discussion stops.
Highest point : Walla Crag 1,243ft - 379m.
Walked with : Tim Hill (Arc'teryx) eight colleagues and myself.
Weather : Overcast with occasional light showers and a cool breeze.
[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]
Welcome to George Fisher's in Keswick . . . a working day for me today !
Wednesday often has a training hour first thing where we discuss new products or confirm old ideas.
This time we have the opportunity to go outdoors and test the equipment.
Arc'teryx Ltd have offered to take us on a local walk to talk about and sample their gear ... yes, out there in the big, wide world.
We'll need more than an hour for that !
Wednesday morning staff training for those staying in the shop this morning.
The rest of us are dressed for the outdoors. The forecast is to start dry but to get showery by lunchtime.
Tim (in orange) hands out as much kit as he has available and that we can fit into, and talks about the format of the walk.
Group photo to start, except myself of course
(l to r) Sam, Jo, Shirley, Louise, Julie, Jon, Jane, Tim and Tony.
Walking up out of town to Springs Road with the view of the woods to our right.
Our walk will take us up past the TV mast and onto Walla Crag, seen here on the skyline.
Springs Farm at the end of the road.
Looks a nice place . . . sorry we can't stop. (check out the reports here)
We're off to Rakefoot Farm and Walla Crag.
The woods are full of Bluebells which seem to be doing really well this year
Presumably the mild winter has given them a head start compared to last year's exceptionally cold spring.
The path climbs through the woodland and a turn towards the fence line allowing us views across Derwent Water to the North Western fells.
" Name Names" I hear you cry . . . okay . . . okay . . .
High Spy, Maiden Moor, Hindscarth, Catbells, Robinson, Ard Crags, Causey Pike, Outerside, Barrow, Grisedale Pike should cover most of them.
Here we stop for a short chat about the clothing we were wearing today.
John and Tim had a light pertex type jackets (Squamish Hoody) Jon's being a heavier duty but still very light and breathable.
Jo, Jane on the left (and myself) had soft shell jackets, very warm, and breathable and they shed the moisture too.
Sam and Tony had the full Beta AR Gortex Pro jackets, fully waterproof and very breathable.
Onward and upward . . . we lead Tim out onto the open fell as he hadn't been here before.
The industry is going through a period of change as environmental considerations are altering the specification of the durable water repellency coatings.
All manufacturers use these on their clothing. We chatted about the forced move away from 8 string polymers (hence the eight stones) which are
more environmentally damaging to produce than simpler but less efficient six string versions and how the industry is also using waxes and silicones
as alternatives. They are environmentally less damaging but also less effective at beading and repelling water.
- - - o o o - - -
As a result we should all be prepared to wash and re-proof jackets a little more often for the next few years
until new, fully effective but environmentally friendly DWR products are developed, tested and brought to the market.
[ Look for the "Blue Sign" approved labelling on the packaging of your next purchase of proofing liquid or spray.]
Moving on, we reach that skyline . . . and Jane introduces Tim to the Keswick panorama set out before them.
To the left, Derwent Water, then Bassenthwaite Lake, with Dodd and the Skiddaw fells to the right.
There's a faint rainbow across the lake . . . very pretty but it also means there's rain in the air.
Walla Crag summit and Julie pauses to take in the view.
Another passing shower combined with a cold wind discourages us from staying too long on the top,
so we start our way down the opposite side of Walla Crag, following the wall down towards Cat Gill.
The woods of Cat Gill offer a little extra protection as the shower eases.
We stop down by the ravine to discus fabrics and insulation ideas.
We needed to continue on down once more in order to get back on time.
More lovely bluebells in Great Wood.
On closer inspection it turned out to be just a fallen tree trunk on the woodland floor.
The final part of this walk would take us back to town via the lake shore.
The Centenary Stone . . . celebrating 100 years of the National Trust.
Some Arc'teryx production 'firsts' were discussed.
Tim showed us examples of weatherproof zips, laminated pockets and narrow seam technology.
Arc'teryx pride themselves as being the 'Gold Standard' for quality of workmanship.
If we are getting things right, check out the fabric and the workmanship and get Louise to hold it properly . . . that's her gold standard !
[ Hold your cursor over the picture to correct the problem.]
Three examples of taped seams.
(r to l) 12mm, 10mm and 8mm . . . improvements in technique as workmanship improved over time.
The more exact the cut seam, the thinner the tape, the more flexible the joint and more breathable the fabric.
Oh well, all good things come to an end.
The weather forecast was correct . . . the heavier rain was setting in as the morning progressed.
These Herdwick lambs aren't put off by the weather.
Woollen base layer clothing and water repellant fibres at work.
Causey Pike through the trees.
Time to cross the swamp . . . the slightly raised footpath continues on through Ings Wood.
Weight testing the bridge ?
No just lining up for a final group photo.
Passing Lords Island . . . I had the opportunity to get out there last year by canoe
There's the ruin of Lord Derwent's old manor house on the island, the stone from which was probably used to build the Moot Hall in town.
Onward towards Friars Crag . . . the rain causing the water droplets on the lens.
Lack of rain in recent weeks means that the lake levels are really low.
You can almost walk across the beach to the headland.
The Keswick Launch is arriving back as visitors look on from the viewpoint at the chair.
The launch has beaten us back to the boat landings . . . already the passengers are starting to disembark.
The wicking Arc'teryx Phase LT base layer I was using was great for wiping the camera lens dry of water
but it seems I forgot to do it for this photo, despite doing it for several of the previous ones !
Grand weather for ducks !
A Mallard drake at the top of the slipway . . . the rain on his feathers falling like "water off a duck's back".
The lady visiting the theatre has to shake her umbrella quite hard to remove the water from her waterproof layer.
Getting ready for the weekend's activities
Into Hope Park now and past a floral display in the natural woodland section which had white and blue bluebells.
There's a lovely red Acer in the background setting the colours off nicely.
An unforgettable ~ Forget-me-not ~ display.
- - - o o o - - -
'Tis but a short hop back across to 2 Borrowdale Road . . . and lunch.
Lunch was a hot steamy affair . . . the broth was hot and the camera lens steamy after being out in the cold outdoors.
After lunchtime we all donned our blue work shirts and went out on the shop floor,
while the second group put on the slightly damp jackets (we did try to dry them , honest) ready for their walk.
An indoor photo for them as it was raining and I didn't have a waterproof camera.
Second group . . . Dave, Norman, Tim (again), Mark W, Mark A(behind), Chris, Alan and Richard.
A big thanks to Tim for his time . . . to Fisher's management for rota'd time out from the shop . . .
and to Mark as training coordinator who organised the detail of the day.
Pity about the weather you could say, but we learn a lot more in the damp conditions than we would have done in the dry !
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with my Nikon P520 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with the thought . . . "There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing."
Previous walk - 3rd May 2014 - Low Ling Crag and Visitors
A previous time up here - 8th January 2010 Snowy Walla Crag for sunset
Next walk - 9th May 2014 - Rannerdale Bluebells 2014
Please note: any opinions expressed within this report are purely personal
and do not necessarily reflect those
of George Fisher Ltd or Arc'teryx itself . . . but I do hope my memories
are sufficiently correct for technical accuracy !