A quick getaway after work Friday night got us into Bishops Scale the Achille Ratti Climbing Club hut in Great Langdale not long after eight o’clock. We were greeted by familiar faces gathered to support a club member for his Joss Naylor Challenge the following day and a roaring fire! Despite this being the last day in June. We too were up to meet another JNC contender, on the hills on Saturday.
Bishop’s Scale – wood pile
Saturday dawned cold and damp with a stiff breeze, not great for anyone running 48 miles with 17,000 ft of ascent. As usual the hut was a hive of activity with everyone preparing for the day’s activities. In between the showers I wandered around the back of the hut and headed up Scale Gill. I wasn’t disappointed, the beck was in full spate with the water tumbling over the rocks and waterfalls.
Animal Shelter, Great Langdale
We left the Old Dungeon Ghyll and made our way to the head of the valley, climbing the path up Rossett Gill which again was in spate.
Rosset Gill with Rossett Pike in the distance
Looking back down Great Langdale with Harrison Stickle on the left
Cloud rolling in over Angle Tarn
We were out to meet Brian and had he been on schedule we would have stumbled across him on Rosset Pike, but there was no sign. He had either dropped behind, or possibly even abandoned the attempt given the poor conditions. The only other possibility was that he was ahead of schedule. Not knowing which was the case, we decided to press on dropping down to Angle Tarn to pick up the path to the shelter below Esk Hause. From there we began the climb up to Esk Pike – if Brian was ahead of time he would be coming down from the summit which was in the cloud above. Suddenly we heard voices and Brian and his two pacers appeared out of the cloud. It was great to meet up, we turned and ran with the three down to the Hause and then picked up the path up to Great End.
Photos below of Brian courtesy of Ian Charters.
Brian at Great End Summit Cairn
Getting the times recorded
Brian leading us all on the ‘directissimo’ descent from Great End EEK!
We continued down the nose over the Band to the shelter box at Sty Head. As we were chatting Brian disclosed the reason for his speed – he had to be at a christening in CORNWALL at 10 o’clock the following morning! His driver was sleeping in Wasdale ready to whisk him away from Greendale Bridge oncompletion.
Sandwiches, Pork Pie, yoghurt etc were consumed at the Shelter Box, but no sign of his support crew as Brian was way ahead of time. However, just as they were leaving one supporter made it and a handover of kit/supplies was made before Brian disappeared into the cloud for the final leg of his ‘Joss’.
It was great to share part of the day with Brian and his supporters, but now we turned to head north to pick up the first of three Wainrights on our way back to Great Langdale. No rain now but very strong winds and low cloud.
Looking down to Sty Head and the shelter box
Strong winds blowing the waterfall back up the gulley
Langdale Pikes in the distance
From Seathwaite Fell we headed west out to Glaramara before turning south to head back over Allen Crags. We then retraced our steps via Angle Tarn and Rossett Gill before a welcome pint in the ODG with a few club members who just happened to be in there!
Old Dungeon Ghyll, Great Langdale
We since heard that Brian finished well up on schedule – great effort!
One of the toughest days I’ve had on the hills for some time with 17.5 miles covered and just under 6.000ft climbed. Reasonably pleased with way the back held up. Just need a few more big days to consolidate – weather permitting
More pics here