Sat 4th Aug - Sun 5th Aug, 2007
Dow Crag wild camp & climb
As meet leader I believe its important to provide encouragement and support to expedition members; so having established base camp in my executive apartment in Carlisle; it was good to hear an update from Richard. At 10 pm I got the call...
"We're approaching Dow Crag ... its very windy ... and starting to rain .... when do you expect to get here?" he enquired.
"As soon as ... just getting the BBQ together" ... I instinctively shouted down the phone.
"It may be the morning now".
The howling wind clattered against the window making it difficult to hear his reply, but I am certain they were words of gratitude for my careful planning.
Sipping on my whiskey I felt content that my plan was coming together. From the window I could see, heavy curtains of rain sweeping across the fells. I looked to Annie; " I only wish I was with them; but I knew in my heart of hearts that our work here would be critical to the expedition.
Saturday morning the weather was indeed foul. Annie and I having to drink tea and eat cake in Coniston whilst we waited for a break in the weather. At 12 am our prayers were answered with blue sky and a warm sun; one could have been forgiven for thinking it was summer. By early afternoon Annie, myself and Heckler, approached Dow. Dave and Richard were half way up some classic route; whilst Katie, Trish and Wavey were undertaking some serious tea making.
Activities involved setting up tents; drinking tea, preparing the BBQ and sniffing sheep dung; the latter being mainly done by Heckler. Dave and Richard returned around 5pm; triumphant with a successful ascent.
The weather had taken a turn for the worst; the rain hammered down and the wind picked up; so as meet leader I decided to light the BBQ; on the menu : fish kebabs, pineapple, goat cheese salad, burgers and sausages complimented with a box of wine. For the two hours we battled against the elements...the charcoal spitting with disgust at being brought to such a god forsaken place.
The conditions forced people to retire early to their tents; with the exception of Wavey who had decided that it was the perfect night for Bivying!
Sunday morning, and more bad weather... though as Richard said " Never had he been so wet and miserable and yet had so much fun". Thanks for all those mad enough to attend ...the only question now is where do we go for Extreme BBQ 2008?
Attendees: Dave Bish, Katie, Trish Cranston, Wavey, Richard Yorke, Annie Pettifer, Heckler (Springer Spaniel), Roger Daley.
The Crag: The situation for this wild camp is truly atmospheric. Dow crag is comprised of five main buttresses with extensive scree slopes sweeping down to the steely blue depths of Goat's Water; it has an excellent range of mountain routes with grades that will entice all. Situation: Camping on level ground 100 metres SW of Goat's Water, above Coniston village.
Map: Explorer OL6
Grid reference: 265 974
Access: From Coniston village a road leads uphill opposite the petrol station (signposted Walna Scar track) to an even steeper section. Follow this for 1.5 kilometres, where the metalled road becomes a track. Through the gate and park your car. Follow the direct continuation for 2 kilometres, passing through two rocky 'gateways' to a large cairn, which marks the junction with the path to Goat's Water track. Walk rightwards up the steep grassy bank and after 1.5 kilometres the tarn is reached. Up to the left is level ground, suitable for camping.
Approach time: 1hr 15mins.
Travel: People are likely to travel up either Friday night, or Saturday morning, please get in touch to sort out car sharing etc.