Blencathra, in the northern, Lakes has always been a mountain that fascinates me. Draws me in, calls me to come play. The name itself speaks of the age of the mountain, she has been there for a long time and seen so much. There is wisdom in these fells.
Like all mountains, there is a power there. An ancient power, one that existed before we arrived and will still be in the land after we’ve gone.
Blencathra, it’s a name that sends shivers down my spine. So today i was going to attempt to climb her, to investigate just a few of her charms. Spend a few hours with her, getting to know the secrets she’s willing for me to see. Blencathra, ah how I love you!
The mountain weather forecast had been for sub zero temperatures, 30 mph winds and the possibility of snow. So I was packed for winter. Insulated jacket was back in my pack as was a warm flask of tea.
Heading out of Mungrisdale wearing hat and gloves i soon started to question the ability of the weather forecasters, it was quite warm. Sun was shining, sky was blue and no wind to speak of. I was soon removing layers and undoing zips in the hope that i could cool down. The first issue of the day soon presented itself, the path had washed away in the floods of Storm Desmond so I had to wade across the river to continue on my way.
The climb continued up to Bannerdale Crags where i discovered the missing weather. Aye, it was a bit windy up here. Time to dig out those items I’d removed in the valley.
The views up here were fantastic though.
Then the rain started, cold biting rain, rain that seems to be attracted to your face, inflicting one more sting. The mountain is testing me, asking how much do you want to know me?
As i climbed up above Foule Crag the rain turned to snow and the wind was causing the snow to sting against my face, this was becoming unpleasant.
Visibility was deteriorating rapidly and I sheltered at the foot of Blue Screes to see if a break in the weather would appear. After twenty minutes of waiting it was time to make a decision, if I climbed up further was I confident that I could get back down on my own given the conditions?
I decided that the answer was No. I wasn’t willing to be the reason that Mountain Rescue volunteers had to abandon their family on a Saturday and the weather was not getting any better.
So I turned around. The mountain had closed her doors to me but she would be there another day.