Blog post 9
Fells: Carrock Fell
Wainwright count: 1
Date: 18th January
With: JP and of course Susie!
The day started with the usual early start with the alarm going off at 5.45am, so that I could pick JP, my good friend up, before heading up to Mosedale, over the Back O’Blencathra. There has been a good bit of snow put down over the last few days; however the drive up was relatively good except for the extremely dense fog all the way from Preston! Anyway, we parked in a little layby about 1 mile out of the village, got ready and were walking for about 8.30am.
We made our way back towards the village, before taking a relatively steep path up towards the lower shoulder of Carrock Fell. The snow gradually increasing as we made progress up the path gaining height quite quickly on what was a very cold start to the day (minus 3 in the valley). It wasn’t long before the depth of snow underfoot increased significantly and going became much harder and as a result much slower, with even at about 300 metres, snow being ankle deep.
The calm before the storm…view towards Mosedale
The weather starting to move in
This depth was comfortable for Susie, my little Patterdale Terrier, but that would change quite quickly on what would prove a tiring day for the little pooch. As we continued a bit further on, on what was soft snowy heather that was hard going at times, the winds picked up and the blizzards started, which continued all the way to the summit. These northerly winds meant that my goggles were a real help in being able to see, what with the soft loose snow being blown far and wide.
Making his way up slowly in deteriorating conditions
JP had forgotten his goggles and struggled to see into the blizzard
Getting a bit deeper now!
Susie started to struggle as the snow depth increased which was hard enough going for JP and I, never mind my little pooch with wee legs. The snow at this point was shin deep, which soon changed to just below the knee! It was at this point the dog was starting to struggle, the mist came down and the winds got a touch heavier, with our progress being increasingly slow. We continued though, getting a bit of energy back through our snacks at this point, before continuing the short way to the summit, with the last 300 yards being above my knee (and I’m 5ft 10in)!
JP at the trig point of Carrock Fell
Susie wasn’t particularly enjoying ‘big walkies’ like usual today!
It was at this point that upon reaching the summit in what was wild conditions, and with a pining little pooch, who was at this point cold and goosed, that we decided to make a call as to whether we continue. Neither JP or myself had done this route before and with the fog down and increasing snow levels, didn’t really know what we were letting ourselves in for, whilst being increasingly cruel to little Susie (she was ok by the way, she is just an attention seeker when cold). If we hadn’t had her with us, we may have been more likely to continue on to High Pike and Knott, as planned, but we decided to be sensible and retreat the same route that we had come up.
Susie the snowdog!
Susie thought this to be the best decision made all day and suddenly got a skip in her step running off into the snow; just before disappearing into one of the many deep white holes that were around! She stayed with us from then on…
Whilst we were disappointed, the conditions appeared to be going worse and it was hard going for the dog, so I don’t think she will be heading out with me into the fells until the snow resides a little (much to her delight probably!). Even heading down hill was still tough underfoot, due to the snow depth and blizzard conditions, but we made it down in one piece which is the main thing in all this, without taking unnecessary risks before our winter skills course, up in Glencoe next month.
It was an enjoyable morning however, in wild conditions, and whilst disappointed not to complete our planned route, it is important to make ‘the call’ sometimes, and today, what with Susie, JP and I both agreed that we had got it right…..and Susie definitely did!
On our way home passing Grasmere the conditions were blue sky and looked idyllic though, so I began to regret our decision slightly – well that was until I turned round and saw Susie curled up on her bed, then I knew we had done right….. Love that dog!