A couple of weekends back Clare & I joined her Bottle Green workmates for a 12-mile stomp, up in the Lake District

The chap on the left (Steve) is a bit of a hiking nut and is trying to climb the Lakeland 100 (100 peaks of the Lake District) and every year he wrangles up staff foolish enough to join him for a work stomp.

This year’s scramble was up and over Great Gable (above) and Pilla.  The walk clocked a full mile ascent over it’s peaks.

In the guidebook, this walk got a difficulty rating out 9 out of 10 and everyone we spoke to said things along the likes of “Great Gable is HARD! Be careful” and such likes.

So here I am in my ‘technical gear’ (as Steve calls it) doing my best hikers point

Steve & Tim, generally took point on the trail and did a (generally) sterling job on map-ready duties.

We pretty much held up the rear, while I dawdled about taking photos.

Here we all are atop our first peak, Great Gable.

The views from the top were quite stunning, showing the lakes in all their glory

The problem with climbing peaks, is that the word itself is plural.  And between each aren’t enough bridges.

So down we scramble…

Here’s Dan looking at the next peak, Pillar.

As much as we wanted to, we were advised against bringing our new pup Kyra along for the walk.

Especially as another couple brought their dog.

But, it was evident on these downhill scrambles & screefalls that a dog rocking a grade 9 clamber requires climbing experience.

When we stopped for lunch looking back at Great Gable, it was satisfying to see what we’d just done.

Lunch tasted particularly good too! Home made greens, asparagus & pesto soup.

Unfortunately, as the old song goes ‘the only way is up’.

The sight of which put off some of the team, who were either suffering blisters, or liked the idea of a pint of ale more than a hill.

The trimmed team celebrate ‘bagging’ another peak

As we clamber along the ridge, we saw the weather begin to turn

and before we knew it, cloud engulfed us and it all started to seem a bit like the start of an episode of 999…

In total cloud cover we begrudgingly posed in sideways rain atop Pillar.

Away under raincover went the camera for a bit, as we trudged South-East down loose rock in what felt suspiciously like the wrong way.

Half an hour later, as clouds parted, new lakes popped into view and maps were turned over and over till we discovered we were in a new valley.  Turns out Steve’s electronic compass wasn’t calibrated and we’d been heading due North!  Denied.  Nothing demoralises quite like climbing back up what you shouldn’t have climbed down, especially back into cloud.

But it did mean we were sooner to clock up our mile total ascent, and we did a little dance to celebrate!

As the short weaking keenies stomped on, Laura, Dan, Clare & myself took the ‘short-cut’ back to the pub, essentially down an avalanche.

It’s quite hard to get a sense of quite how long this loose rock slide was (down the middle of the above shot)…

When Clare & I finally caught up with Dan & Laura at the bottom…

…it was quite a joy to see Dan pull these badboys from his bag!

Whisky or Brandy? That is the question!

The girls weren’t fussy.

Back in the valley, this unlikely tree caught my eye

But more exciting still was the sight of the pub.

It turned out the non-short cutters, had been drinking for over an hour, consuming 3 pints each & were considering forming a rescue party to come fetch us!

Possibly the best part of the walk.

Ale.

Clare loves a few cheeky halfs o’bitter after a good trek

Typically, as soon as we stepped off the trail, the sun burst through and clouds lifted.

After heading back to our digs at Gosforth Hall Country Hotel off came the boots and out came pretty much every kind of booze the Hall had on offer…

…as a whole load of their infamous pies.

As the baldy Masterchef cockney likes to say “Larrrrrvely”.

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