Fri 18th Aug - Sun 20th Aug, 2023
Joint Rucksack / Karabiner meet at High Moss
Attendance: Caroline Gay (KMC), Steve Graham (KMC), Mike Gregg (RC), Michelle Harrison (KMC), Stuart Hurworth (KMC), Chris Kastavunis (KMC), Colin Maddison (KMC), Andy Stratford (KMC), Jo Stratford (KMC), Gareth Williams (RC/KMC), Lucie Williams (KMC), Dave Wylie (KMC).
The forecast wasn’t great, but those who attended the meet managed to make the most of a very so-so weekend in terms of weather. Squally showers were the theme. Full marks to Caroline who had travelled up on her motorbike without letting the rain dampen her spirits. The wind in the evening was so strong that a gust blew her (parked) bike over, thankfully without damage. Full marks also to Michelle and Stuart who stopped off at Brantrake Crag to tick The Crack VS 4b on their way to High Moss.
On Saturday morning, I was keen to climb something despite the conditions, and Colin is always reliable for climbing irrespective of the conditions. We walked up to Dow Crag (a pleasure to be able to walk there from the hut without driving) to find the rock in various states of dampness. Wind was also quite high, but C Ordinary Route (Diff) seemed sheltered and dry enough. In fact there was a team already on the route, we had to queue for it! On reaching Easy Terrace we opted to continue to the top of the crag, the guidebook writes of Intermediate Gully “the gully can be continued to the summit of the mountain, however this is of little interest to the climber”. In fact, the slimy rock in the gully proved to be quite interesting after all, with this continuation having a couple of sections that were harder than anything on C Ordinary Route.
Mike, having been handed down local Rucksack Club knowledge, took a group (Andy, Stuart, Michelle, Steve, Chris and Dave) out for an exploration of some of the old slate workings in the area. They started off up the Walna Scar road, then headed off to the right into Walna Scar Quarries. They explored inside the mine from two separate entrance caverns, hypothesising about whether the deep shaft at the end of one tunnel connected to another tunnel (that would only be accessible via a climb, where there was a bolt without a hanger and a higher one with a Maillon) from the other entrance. They continued over the summits of Pikes and Caw, then descended to Caw Quarry for further subterranean explorations. Their final mine was Broughton Mills Slate Quarry, where Mike led them on an underground loop through the workings. Satisfied with their speleological achievements, they walked back North to Seathwaite for a pint in the Newfield Inn before heading back to the hut.
Lucie, Jo and Caroline enjoyed the delights of the hut for the morning, venturing out a bit later to the pub (Lucie and Jo) and for a run (Caroline). An excellent and filling communal supper was masterminded by Lucie in the evening, thanks to everyone who helped out with the meal. The remainder of the evening was consumed by jigsaws, socialising and having a generally good time.
Sunday started even wetter than Saturday, thankfully a little less windy. A few people packed up early and headed straight home; others took their time a bit more with packing up and stopped off in Ambleside on the journey. The more adventurous types managed to get things done despite the weather, which did clear up in the afternoon.
Caroline and Dave headed out for a walk up the Walna Scar Road as far as the col, then turned up over Brown Pike and onto Dow Crag. Dave had been there half a dozen times before, but it was a first ascent for Caroline. They then continued down to Goat's Hawse, turned left and walked down to Seathwaite Tarn. Caroline had a swim, then there was some scrambling over some of the little outcrops to get up onto the path out to the South end of the tarn. The track was a very quick route down, so they were back at the hut in good time to clean up and head for home. Stuart and Michelle headed to Wallabarrow Crag, where they climbed Wall and Corner (VDiff) and Parallel (VS 4b). Mike, Steve and Chris headed for a fell day, setting off from Seathwaite and walking alongside the river Duddon to the stepping stones near fickle crag. They then walked via grass guards to the open fell where a lot of rewilding is occurring to reintroduce native trees to the peat bogs on Ulpha fell. Steep climb up onto Harter fell for great views as the weather was now clear and sunny. They descended steeply to Birks before crossing the river, this time via the stepping stones and a wobbly wire for security.
Thank you to everyone who came along and made a great meet out of a mediocre weekend!
This is a joint meet with the Rucksack Club where we will be guests at their High Moss hut in the Duddon Valley, South West Lake District. The hut has easy access to Wallabarrow Crag, Dow Crag and all the Coniston fells. Dog are not allowed in the hut and there is space for camping/campervans in the grounds. Hut fees are £14 per night payable to myself and I will then make one payment to the Rucksack Club to cover all the KMC bed-nights.
If you’ve not explored this part of the Lake District you should seriously think about coming along on the meet. The Duddon Valley is a bit quieter than the usual honey-pots but with access to high quality climbing and walking. The usual selected guidebooks (FRCC/Rockfax/Wired) will give you plenty to go at, or for more detail the definitive guidebooks are the 2021 Duddon and Wrynose, or the 2013 Dow, Duddon and Slate (both FRCC).
I will arrange a communal meal for the Saturday evening, cost to be confirmed nearer the time but approximately £5 per person, please let me know your dietary requirements.
High Moss has 24 beds and no mobile phone signal. Initially I will cap numbers at 12 from each club to try to achieve a good balance between the two clubs. I will maintain a waiting list if necessary in case one club doesn’t fill all 12 spaces and the other club has more than 12 members wishing to attend. More details about High Moss at https://rucksackclub.org/huts.
High Moss is at Grid Reference SD237967
The Postal Address is HIGH MOSS, SEATHWAITE, BROUGHTON IN FURNESS, CUMBRIA, LA20 6EE.
To reach the hut drive through Seathwaite and approximately 600 yards after the Newfield Inn turn right at a signpost for Turner Hall Farm. In 100 yards a junction is reached. The main track to the right goes to Turner Hall Farmyard. Continue straight on through the gate. After some 100 yards the track swings right into an area the that is used by the farm for parking of farm equipment and storage. The route to HIGH MOSS is to the left through a farm gate and across the field. A second gate is passed and High Moss is at the end of the track.