The George Starkey Hut was an ideal venue. It’s large and well equipped and has a good drying room – the most important feature for our three days. Sadly, Anne had to cancel at late notice as Molly was unwell. Peter Willimott and Alan Hinchcliffe managed to fit in an afternoon walk up Arnison Crag and David Batty had enjoyed splendid views, on the way down, of the Lowther Hills windfarms from Hods Hill. Alan Brook had taken in five Birketts near Kentmere before arrival. Thus began a discussion on the definition and merits of Birketts, unresolved to the knowledge of the authors by the end of the Meet. If you want to know more about Birketts, best ask Alan B.
The George Starkey Hut
As we all congregated at the Hut on Friday evening, plans were discussed for the following day. The weather forecast was not good and, in the event, it proved to be even worse. Undaunted we split into various parties on Saturday morning and headed off:
Mike Weedon and Frank Johnstone: Grisedale – Eagle Crag Edge to Nethermost Pike – Helvellyn – Grisedale Tarn – St Sunday Crag.
Ruth Weedon and Liz Johnstone: Grisedale Tarn and back.
Oliver Bartrum and David Batty: Fairfield Round from Rydel
Charles Murray and Alan Hinchcliffe: Hart Crag via HartsopAbove Howe
Alan Brook:Ullswater to Sandwick and back via six Birketts on Place Fell
Peter Willimott: St Sunday Crag
John and Sylvia Green: Aira Force Waterfalls
Iain Robertson and Fred Ward: From the hut to BoredaleHause thence summit of Place Fell and on towards Sandwick returning via the shore of Ullswater.
All those who stayed below 200m were rewarded with occasional views. For the rest, this was a day of cloud, rain and wind. No lingering on the tops.
We retired to the pub for our evening meal, which was fine although it would win no awards for prompt service.
Sunday’s weather was not looking good though it was meant to get better later on. Plans firmed up accordingly and off we set:
David Batty, Oliver Bartrum and John Green: Blencathra via Halls Fell Ridge
Alan Hinchcliffe and Charles Murray: Blencathra via Scales Fell
Iain Roberston, Fred Ward and Alan Brook: HartsopAbove Howe and back, a route that took in two more Birketts.
Mike and Ruth Weedon: Great Mell Fell and Little Mell Fell
Peter Willimott: Place Fell and back via Ullswater
Frank and Liz Johnstone: A trip to Ambleside and Grasmere and a visit to the Keswick Mining Museum (which they highly recommend).
Sylvia Green settled down to enjoy a day going through the Hut’s library of Lakeland climbing and walking books.
The continuing rain and low cloud meant that those who stayed low again enjoyed the best of the views and the scenery. The Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final (Murray beat Raonic) and the Euro Football Final (Portugal beat France) meant there were reasons (for some) to return to the White Lion for live action.
Monday morning saw more grey and damp weather so most headed home though Alan Hinchcliffe climbed Hartsop Dodd from Low Hartsop before leaving and Iain Roberston and Fred Ward also had plans afoot for their homeward journey. Alan Brook had more Birketts to do; either the Birketts or the Birketteers are resilient to all forecasts. Frank and Liz Johnstone headed for Wasdale and Oliver Bartrum to look at clocks in Penrith.
Despite the weather, we all had an enjoyable weekend. It is always good to be out in the hills with those who share a love of them and, for some of us, the Meet was reason to spend a few more days in the Lakes. Perseverance pays as within two days, the weather had improved dramatically giving memorable views of Lakeland scenery at its glorious best.