Despite dire warnings of extreme wintry road conditions from weather forecasters, 19 members of Clitheroe Mountaineering Club travelled without mishap to their January weekend meet based at the George Starkey climbing hut in Patterdale.
On Saturday morning one group set out to tackle the narrow Striding Edge ridge up to Helvellyn, members being surprised at the lack of ice on the rocky pinnacles. An awkward down climb from the end of the ridge led to deep, soft snowfields, which were surmounted to reach the shelter on the summit. Here members shivered due to severe wind-chill, while clamping crampons to their boots ready for the descent from the summit plateau to Swirral Edge.
Keen to get moving, the group continued to the trig. point at the top of the mountain, then descended steeply via deeper, firmer snow to reach the rocky slabs of the ridge, which was scrambled along to the next summit of Catstycam. Here members slithered down soft snow and grass to reach the return path close to Red Tarn, and back to the Hole-in–the-Wall where the circuit of Helvellyn’s ridges had begun.
Another group opted for the long climb from Deepdale to the summit of Hart Crag via Hartsop above How with Fairfield and St Sunday Crag as the objectives.
In the evening members were treated to a communal meal with a main course provided by the weekend’s co-ordinator, Valerie Grooby, supplemented with soup and an array of desserts prepared by numerous contributors. Club secretary Nick Millward gave a vote of thanks on behalf of the grateful diners.
On Sunday the whole party enjoyed a novel start to the day by taking the Ullswater ferry from Glenridding to Howtown Pier. From here, one group set off to walk back to the hut via the undulating shore of the lake while the rest headed to Bridge End, near Sandwick, to climb Place Fell via High Knott and The Knight, where members spotted a large herd of Red Deer. Continuing over the wind-blown summit of Place Fell, a descent to Boredale Hause and Rooking led back to the hut.
The club’s next indoor meeting will feature a presentation by Bern Hardman on “The Royal Highway, a Traverse of Mont Blanc”. It takes place at Clitheroe Cricket Club on Thursday February 21st, starting at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a visit to Buckden Pike on Sunday February 24th, leaving the Council Offices car park at 8 a.m.