Published: August 6th 2012August 6th 2012
6.07: Dale Head
If the wind, rain and cloud were not there, a wonderful view of Keswick would be seen
I love rain. I love wind. I just love being outside. Today was a little different though. The early morning light was lovely, with little clouds skimming Buttermere, although darker clouds were waiting in the wings.
By the time breakfast was over, a little persistent rain was falling and the clouds were rolling in. The mountain forecast had certainly got this wrong!
After waiting quarter of an hour, it looked as though the weather was clearing from the North West and so I decided to continue with my plan and climb Dale Head.
The roads were empty as I drove up the Honister pass and parked in the summit car park. The rain had stopped, so I simply donned a fleece and set off up towards the summit.
About twenty minutes into the climb, I reached the cloud base. The wind started to increase and rain started to fall. I went for top waterproofs. Five minutes later, I went for full waterproofs. The rain wasn't much, but in combination with the wind, it seemed much more.
The higher I climbed, the less became visible and, although I know the mountain, I was grateful for those who had built the cairns as I could confirm my route by looking for the next cairn in the mist.
After 45 minutes of walking, I spotted the last cairn and, behind it, the solid summit cairn. One doesn't want to walk beyond the summit cairn, although it would be quicker way down - but a one way trip only.
By now, the wind was gusting and I needed some shelter. My route was to take me along Hindscarth Edge and so, into the wind, I began the decent. Roughly 100' below the summit, it became apparent that the gusts were too strong and I really didn't fancy being blown from the ridge. The safest option was to return to the summit.
With the wind from the North West, I decided to have some semblance of a walk and opted to head into the lee of the mountain and head East, towards Dale Head Tarn. There, I should be sheltered and would be able to climb (on a bearing) back towards Honister.
Again, roughly 100' below the summit, I came to an exposed ridge and, unfortunately, the wind was now gusting in the opposite direction to that previously. Again, I didn't want to face being blown off a ridge.
Thus, the sensible decision was to return to the start. I therefore climbed back to the summit and, to be on the safe side, took a compass bearing for the car and set off down the mountain, arriving safe and sound, though wet. A chunky sausage roll and a mug of hot coffee soon solved that.
Sadly, rain stopped play but, technically, I managed three ticks on the Wainwright list, having approached the summit from Dale Head from all three directions!!!!