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It is accomplished!

It is accomplished!

Postby The English Alpinist » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:03 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Armboth Fell, Bleaberry Fell, High Rigg, High Seat, High Tove, Raven Crag, Walla Crag

Date walked: 25/03/2016

Time taken: 7

Distance: 25 km

Ascent: 1276m

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1 Circle.JPG
It begins (the last day), at Castlerigg Stone Circle. Walla Crag is on the right.

It is accomplished! 'The Wainwrights in Winter', Oct 31st 2015 - March 25th 2016. I couldn't resist the religious innuendo in the title, not least because of where I found myself after doing the final fell, but the day I happened to finish it on too. On Good Friday 7 p.m. I walked into St John's-in-the Vale Church, after coming down from the last of 214 fells (High Rigg). My physical and 'spiritual' finish line was intended to be Castlerigg Stone Circle, where I started all those weeks ago, contemplating the scale of the task ahead and the timeless mystique of nature herself. After darkness had descended, I did walk the final couple of miles to it, but on this day at least the Christian God won out over the pagan Gods. What an amazing corner of England the Lake District is, for the elements, geology, flora and fauna and history.

2 Walla.JPG
Summit of Walla Crag, one down 6 to go.

2a ascent Blea.JPG
Bleaberry Fell.

3 Bleaberry self.JPG
The obligatory selfie, essential today of all days.

4 Bleaberry top.JPG
Bleaberry Fell summit, 2 down 5 to go.

At 1 p.m. I struck out from the Stone Circle and the throngs of tourists, and headed for Walla Crag. I would inevitably finish in the dark, but should be off the fells before the light went. I didn't plan to start so late, but suffice it to say domestic circumstances have made it tough to shift myself, even now. It was a striking contrast to October when I had started there, being then a grey and drizzly dawn with only several other people encountered. Then a local woman had taken my pic and bade me 'be careful up there' (meaning Skiddaw). This time I was spoilt for choice for the favour, and got a guy of East European extraction to do the honours, clearly a skilled photographer (I was still relying on the camera with the bust view screen, but sentiment moi I wanted it to see me through). It was a beautiful spring day to look at, but chilly, and as it went on the sky got quite angry-looking but it never rained. The next day was forecast to be horrendous, so I really had to get this in with my deadline of British winter time ending on Sunday morning.

5 High Seat.jpg
High Seat summit, 3 down 4 to go.

6 Seat view.JPG
I look ahead with relish to High Tove.

7 to High tove.jpg
The terrain to High Tove. I was warned.

8 High Tove.JPG
High Tove summit, 4 down 3 to go.

Bleaberry Fell was reached with ease on good paths, but between there and High Seat began hints of the dire boggy ground everybody had warned me about. At this point, from the vantage point of High Seat summit, there's a feeling of bleakness but nobility all around. The darkening clouds and strong cold wind added to this. It felt like it could not have been scripted better as a finale to the campaign, capturing an average out of season day on average-sized fells in the very heart of the district. A tropical day would be an unrealistic expectation, but neither I feel did I deserved a rain-storm after all my endeavours! The swampland between High Seat and High Tove was challenge enough. I picked up a stray fence post to lay as a bridge at one point. I left a shoe behind after not quite making a long-jump to the other bank. With difficulty, I managed to yank the thing out of the black mire.

9 Armboth.JPG
Armboth Fell summit, 5 down just 2 to go!

11 forest.JPG
Work being done to the trail up Raven Crag.

Armboth Fell was well and truly time to give up on dry feet, but one thing in its favour is that it's not very big. After this, I was making the turn for the finish line! The treeline towards Raven Crag was obvious, even if a path to it wasn't. I ventured into the forest plantation at one point, and after seeing there'd be no way through without machete, I backed up and resigned myself to splashing along the fence on the moor above. I was delighted to find the big gate into forestry tracks and solid ground at last. It was hard to see what would stop me now, and I can safely say reconstruction work around Raven Crag's paths was NOT going to do it. I was lucky I was not doing this on a weekday, during working hours. Otherwise I reckon I'd have had a very interesting stand-off with a work's foreman: "Don't you know what I've been doing?! This is my Wainwright number 213! Yes I ****ing AM going through!"

12 closed.JPG
I believe this meant access to Raven Crag closed. B****x to that!!

13 Thirlmere.JPG
View of Thirlmere from Raven Crag.

14 nearly.JPG
If I was a raven... nice take-off point.

15 Raven summit.JPG
Raven Crag summit, 6 down only 1 - one - to go!!

16 cloud.JPG
It felt just right, somehow. Late afternoon on Good Friday.

Raven Crag made for a spectacular penultimate fell, the view cutting straight down Thirlmere and up to the last objective of High Rigg, a very modest crinkle of grass in the scheme of things. I had one last minor hazard, navigating onto the correct descent track through the forest, needing to scramble steeply down through the woods for about 100 metres. This brought me out at Southwaite campsite, and I was truly on the home run now. I crossed the main road, still not fully open after November's flood damage, and ventured on to High Rigg. It was bleak up there in the fading light, and did not feel like a glorious completion. I descended to St John's-in-the-Vale, and paid a visit to the little church there as intended. I'd heard about it, but didn't know much about it. I almost did not go inside, because it looked like a closed relic from the outside. However, you open the door and on come automatic lights. Inside, it's a fully working church. I have to say it felt magical, with darkness now down like a blanket outside and a cold wind gusting. I lingered. Silence and calm. After a while, an owl hooted. No other sounds.

17 last leg.JPG
I advance up High Rigg.

18 last one!.JPG
High Rigg summit. 7 down, 0 to go. Done! Wainwright number 214 done!

19 Vale.JPG
Descending to St John's-in-the-Vale, before the light goes.

20 St Johns.JPG
St. John's-in-the-Vale church.

21 signed.jpg
I went inside and stayed a while. Quite emotional, I was.

It's a good job I brought the headtorch! I walked the final stretch along a gravel track and through farmland footpaths in pitch black, save for starlight and distant lights of civilization. There was a full moon somewhere, but it must have been smothered by cloud. I paid a final visit to the pagan stones, spookily visible only when I was practically upon them. I drove into the hive of civilization that is Keswick on a bank holiday to get myself a celebratory meal. I wanted to go to 'The Wainwright' (can't think why), but it was packed out. Instead I went to a smaller restaurant - the '20112' or something - and had what has to be the best sticky toffee pudding in the world.

22 signpost.JPG
The final final stretch.


23 pudding.JPG
My reward in Keswick (main course was roast salmon).


A sight I never thought I'd see.

This achievement is dedicated to my two angels, David and Kyle.

A special thanks to Liz, Nicholas and Al, without whose support I might have quit by half way and definitely in February.

Thanks also to those who followed the blogs here and on Facebook, your interest and encouragement made a difference!

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Last edited by The English Alpinist on Tue Mar 29, 2016 3:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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The English Alpinist
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby The English Alpinist » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:31 pm

Possible next challenges, before anybody asks..!
Coast to Coast.
Hadrian's Wall walk.
Joining my local ramblers - fancying some walks with company now!
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby ChrisW » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:17 am

Congratulations on a fantastic achievement TEA, I know there was a sticky patch in the middle there when it could have all gone south so kudos to you for staying the course :clap: Looks like the final day was a real cracker too, a nice enjoyable day in reasonable conditions (something you saw too little of I think) I guess there was the 'bog sucking shoe' event today but it's a small price to pay.

There's been great moments, turn backs and re-do's, busted camera and being momentarily lost, and there's been great pics, great food, and great personal achievement too, I've really enjoyed following along from my window - A sticky toffee pudding well deserved I think :clap: :clap:

I'd love to see a Hadrians Wall hike in full........... :wink:
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:03 am

Congratulations upon achieving something in one winter that takes most, me included, several years. Raven Crag is quite often difficult to access. I suspect somebody enjoys causing problems for walkers. Having done most of these fells in winter with frozen ground I doff my cap to your efforts, good job you retrieved your shoe however :shock: might have been a little troublesome. Once again well done :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby Alteknacker » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:20 am

Well done :clap: :clap: :clap: Quite an achievement!!
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby yellowbelly » Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:38 pm

Many congratulations, that was a great achievement. I have really enjoyed following your walk reports over the winter. I worried you might not reach the finish after all the flood damage in December.
At least you had a dry day to finish on and a moment of quiet reflection at the end.
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby Colley » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:43 pm

Brilliant achievement, many congratulations. I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts and photos over the winter. Looking forward to reading of your next challenge.
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby trailmasher » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:58 pm

Well done TEA :clap: :clap: a good job done in sometimes dire conditions :roll: but ended on a decent dry day if not dry boot conditions :) Hadrian's Wall, good walking and lots to see :wink: again, well done you :clap:
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby dav2930 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:16 pm

A really impressive and unusual achievement TEA, congratulations. We've had some especially nasty weather this winter; it must have taken great willpower at times to keep the campaign going. You have a way with words which has made following your progress an entertaining pleasure. You deserve a good rest now before tackling your next challenge! :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby goth_angel » Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:18 pm

Congratulations, been enjoying following your progress. What's next?! :lol:
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby MiniRambo » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:55 pm

Well done TEA, a great accomplishment at any time but during this last winter, even more so! :clap: :clap:
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby The English Alpinist » Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:02 pm

goth_angel wrote:Congratulations, been enjoying following your progress. What's next?! :lol:

Thanks for the comments guys :-) Next is probably just the odd walk with the local ramblers. Fed up of my own company! Later in summer maybe a short-term challenge like the Hadrians Wall walk Also contemplating Geldihoppen (can't remember how to spell it!), highest peak in Norway if finances can stretch to it.
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby Guinessman » Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:36 am

Well done , great effort over what are the hardest and shortest months.
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby georgeaquaterra » Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:23 pm

Well done TEA, particularly for going back and making sure on the ones you may have missed on your first trips. That's dedication to a cause. Your reports have added some suspense and excitement to a couch bound winter for me. Will he make it? I should have had faith that the hero always triumphs in the end.
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Re: It is accomplished!

Postby Salfordwhite » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:38 pm

Fantastic effort. It has been a pleasure to experience your journey from afar. An inspiration to a slow plodder.
Not bad for a Scouser .
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