The Vault Regulars

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas Day 2016

Our Christmas day this year was spent in South Lakes, Cumbria. Broughton In Furness to be more precise.
It's a place that we know well, it's not too big or too small and has a vibrant community spirit, a good pub, cafe, butchers, bakers but no candlestick maker as far as i know.
It's also well positioned if the seasons weather turns very wintery.

Our arrival was a bit of a shock to some as we had kept the visit a bit of a secret. It was good to see the smiling faces of friends.

We were immediately invited to  join in with the village on it's Christmas Day walk or run depending on which one you wanted to do. This is fell running country and Mountain Rescue country so there are a lot of fit people around here.

At 10.30 the crowd congregated at the small car park in Broughton Mills and 34 folk and 4 dogs, mainly local, greeted each other.
Spot us if you can.
At the off i think it was a ratio of 60% running 40% walking (or there about)on what was a mild dry day but breezy with the area falling on the edge of Storm Connor. Scotland was having a rough time according to the weather man.

Sheila and i were walking of course, my fell running days in this sort of company are well over. The route differed depending on which exercise you were doing but the meeting point would be the trig point on Great Stickle.
Here are the 2 routes. The walking route is accurate but the running route may differ slightly from actual.
 Walkers route
Runners route
As you can see neither route is lengthy or difficult. This is about getting out, meeting and chatting and then returning to the Square Cafe in Broughton In Furness for a Whisky, provided by the locals along with Mince Pies and other savouries. 

Our route is a kind gradual rise and heads first to Green Bank where the views of the Duddon Estuary start to make an appearance. At a nicely positioned picnic table some outer layers are removed by many. Although the breeze is picking up in force the temperature is around 4-5 degrees C.
We follow Red Moss Beck which has a path adjacent to it, this path has probably been created by years of farming and sheep and is not marked on the os map. It's boggy in parts but it's good walking with fine views both North to the fine triangular shaped top of Stickle Pike and Caw and South over the estuary.

Instead of reaching the watershed between the 2 Stickles we decide to take the straight up approach which was more to test my knee out on some steep stuff than anything else and as it happened most of the others followed suit. Maybe they were suffering bad knees too.

Reaching the northern shoulder of Great Stickle the wind was ferocious, blowing me straight over at one point. We sat down and scoured the fell sides for any sign of the running section. Shouting became the order now as we couldn't hear above the wind noise.

Getting to the trig point was fun, the wind seriously pushing me into a run at times. I was glad to get the usual photographs taken at the summit done and quickly find a sheltered spot on the leeward side.
At this point one of the dogs decided it was time to undo my rucksack, pull the toggle and release the drybag to find the pork pies lurking inside. Luckily i manage to wrestle the bag away from him before  he prised the lid of the tupperware container. Clever these collies.

The hound never left our side as it became clear we were the only folk at the top who had food. We also had coffee and not enough to go round.

The first runners appeared on the right side of Stickle Pike, the bright colours of the running gear standing out against the grass and dead fern. Minutes later the front runners were with us followed quickly by the rest. They were not out of breath, baa humbug.

Some brave souls, traditionally stood atop the trig point, and today despite the fierce wind was no different. Three adults did it including a very lightweight 14 year old whippersnapper who i thought would be blown straight off. The wind must have been gusting around 40 -50 mph.

Tradition completed we all set off back, the runners away like a wisp. The walkers gingerly picking their way down between the crags and mud slides to the car park.

Back at Square Cafe, bottles were appearing and the volume of laughter and conversation increasing. Will Jane ever get this lot to leave i thought. We made our escape, dinner was calling.

Thanks to everyone who made this a walk to remember.






















8 comments:

Sir Hugh said...

Brilliant - I used to do that longer run in my hill running days. On the way back into the village there were half concealed steps down to the river and my old Springer, Barney remembered them every time from the first occasion and went in for a swim. Thanks for reviving happy memories.

Alan Rayner said...

Only too pleased to revive memories Conrad. Thanks

Gayle said...

Love the t-shirt!

Dawn Linney said...

Wow, looks as if you had a fantastic time!

Phreerunner said...

Spotted you, thanks to Sheila's hat! It sounds like a fine way to spend Christmas Day.
I hope that both you and your computer enjoy better health in 2017...

Alan Rayner said...

Thanks Gayle. It's really ploughing a furrow isn't it. HNY.

Alan Rayner said...

Thanks Dawn, I remember most of the week but not all of it.

Alan Rayner said...

Same ere Martin. Same here.

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