So – as the phone, chocolate brownies and Dave disappeared into the distance with the rest of the group looking on with a sense of amazement (mainly that Dave was staying upright on the frozen, ice-covered snow – like Torvil and Dean but without the skates) we all had a sense of fear that the phone was in fact doomed! However, diving through the air with a leap that was worthy of a seasoned rugby player, Dave tackled the phone and saved it! We all cheered until we saw brownies flying across the icy fell-side as a result and the collective “nooooooo!!!!!” from the group was probably heard in Carlisle.
|Grasmoor from Wandope|
I had a moment of doubt at this point as I was the only person holding a brownie in my hand as I had been offered one before the phone incident. I weighed up how fast I could run if the group decided they wanted to share it. Mmmm...my previous attempt at fell-running had not ended happily and on ice my chances of escape were low..... Fortunately Dave retrieved all the brownies and started heading back towards us as a collective sigh of relief that they were safe spread around the group. Oh yes and we were pleased that Dave (who had gained hero status) was safe as well.
For about half an hour, all that could be heard for miles around was the sound of our laughter, with Gina (happily reunited with her phone) probably the loudest of us all. It was hilarious to watch and I am quite confident that sledging iphones and flying brownies are a Lake District first.
|Helvellyn range from Wandope|
After all that excitement we had another route discussion. It was midday by then (we had been walking for three hours) and still we had not reached a single summit. This mattered little as we were all having such a great time but we decided to divide for a while as we all had different priorities. Jim and Cindy had already started to head up to Eel Crag rather than continue to the summit of Grasmoor and I wanted to head to Wandope so I headed off on my own to that summit. I said to Gina (who was valiantly trying to put on her new micro spikes) “I will be fine – you guys can catch me up”. Catch me up? On a mountain? Now that is a sentence I never thought I would say!
|Eel Crag ridge from the edge of Wandope|
It was a lovely walk. With an unconventional sideways and tentative style I managed to stay upright going down the icy snow and the route along the edge of Wandope to the summit was an easy stroll with amazing views of the rugged slopes of Eel Crag and to Grasmoor and the rest of the group (with Gina’s laughter still echoing from afar). I stayed away from the edge as the iphone incident showed how slippery the frozen surface was and I had no intention of sledging over the precipice!Finally, having walked around and between summits all day, I had reached my first one!
After leaving Wandope I joined four of the group and Lassie on the slopes of Eel Crag and we headed to the summit to wait for the others and have some lunch. Lassie developed eyes that could have rivalled Tilly as she looked at each of us in turn for some food. She was not disappointed. The rest of the group joined us and our next stop was Sail.
|On the narrow ridge (a bit wider here)|
The ridge between Eel Crag and Sail I had done before but that was in the summer a few years ago. I had forgotten how narrow the ridge was and with snow and ice and steep drops either side it was quite treacherous in places. I was pleased I was wearing my well-padded ski trousers as I resorted to using more than just my legs and arms! At a particularly icy and rocky part, Steve stood in front of me as I edged my way down in case I slipped. I suspect he was just as pleased as me that I did not fall as it was a long way down! As I got to the bottom of that section, about five other people from the group appeared having found a nice gentle path around the edge of the rocks. Sigh. Then Steve and Dave waited patiently as I took forever to negotiate every rock and section of ice on the rest of the descent. I was probably being over-cautious but in those conditions (which were not unexpected) it is so easy to injure yourself or worse and I did not want any broken bones. When we got to the top of Sail, we looked back and the ridge looked even worse than when we were on it. Really steep and narrow. I was glad that mission was accomplished unscathed!
|Looking back to Eel Crag|
After Sail we headed down towards the valley again with plenty of “oohs” and arm waving as a few of us took it in turns to slip on the icy paths. I slipped quite badly at one point but picked myself up and continued down with zero points for elegance. We climbed Outerside and then Stile End but could not face Barrow. Besides, Gina had mentioned the “P” word (pub) so we went straight back down to the Coledale Inn. Gina won the prize for the most acrobatic slip without falling over and for the most elegant fall. I must say that for much of the route we had an excellent view of Grisedale Pike – we just never quite made it to the summit!
The Coledale Inn was a nice pub with a pretty Christmas tree and large open fire. There was much laughter as we relived the iphone incident and an eventful walk. Okay, so it was not quite the Coledale Horseshoe as we had planned (Gina christened it the “Coledale flipflop”), but it was a great walk with some really nice people. Six months ago I did not know any of them and some I only met that day but we laughed a lot and had a great time. I have made some lovely friends in the Lake District.
In years to come I expect parents will recount the “legend of the sledging phone and flying brownies” to their children...
|Grisedale Pike - the summit that never was!|