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Home arrow News arrow Meet Reports arrow Catbells Lakeland Barn, Stair 1st August - 3rd August 2008

Catbells Lakeland Barn, Stair 1st August - 3rd August 2008

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Contributed by Steve Taylor   

For three of us travelling up from Brighton and south London to the Lakes on Friday afternoon, this turned into an epic, particularly for driver Mike.   Arriving at the barn at just after 2200, the journey had involved 10 hours of grindingly slow motorway traffic and some torrential rain.  The camping barn was itself was basic – there were 7 on this meet and more bodies would have meant a very cosy sleeping area. 

The ablutions were a short walk away and part of the main farm buildings – again basic (one of everything) but clean and functional.  The cooking room was compact, and very attractive to the farm hens, who obviously know where the food comes from.

Saturday dawned with intermittent downpours, essentially the pattern for the rest of the weekend.  A hesitant “shall we – shan’t we” after breakfast took all seven of us up Catbells (easy walking access straight from the barn) and on to High Spy and the grind up Dale Head.  At the  summit of Dale Head we found ourselves amidst a very important fell running race, with lots of people hanging around and a rather grand communications facility complete with big portable radio mast and tent. 

Lunch seemed appropriate whilst we waited for the leading runner to appear.  30 cold minutes later the party split, with the fell running fans opting to hang about and then head down into Borrowdale for a few beers with the competitors, and the others heading off for Hindscarth and Robinson and back to Stair via Little Town.  The weather brightened up considerably in the afternoon and the decent down the NE ridge of Robinson was a joy.  A very enjoyable 8 hour walk.  We eventually all joined up again at the local hostelry in Stair, having got back to the barn earlier via different routes.

Sunday arrived with the usual drenching.  Decision time lead one  party to the hills and another  party to coffee and the Sunday papers in Keswick.  The ambulant group headed for Causey Pike with the intention of walking the ridge via Scar Crags, Sail, Crag Hill, Hobcarton Crag an Grisdale Pike until the call of the motorway system home became too great.  We got a far as Scar Crags before cloud reduced visibility to the point where further progress was pointless and so we headed back on the excellent path down High Moss and alongside Stonycroft Gill.  A walk of 3 hours. 

Return was via Booths in Keswick to collect our coffee swilling Sunday newspaper reading third member and then onwards and a relatively trouble free drive back (we’ll forget about the wait for petrol at  the M25/A1 services – that’s another story). 

Apparently  the weather again brightened up in the afternoon, allowing the remaining group to get some climbing in - "Sunday afternoon, Adrian and [Clare] finally got some climbing in at Castle Crag which is supposed to be the driest place for a climb in the area. We only managed one climb but I had quite a chat to my all time mountaineering hero, Chris Bonington who was on the adjacent climb to us. He had a couple of friends with him, plus dog. I couldn’t believe it. I was almost genuflecting in admiration! Unfortunately our camera was in the car so no proud pictures for the club website!" .

All in all, a fine weekend with some minor personal reservations about the barn, but I would use it again so it’s just me being miserable.
Finally, full credit and thanks to Mike for doing the driving.

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