Friday, 28th October 2011 and our visit to the Lakes was nearly over, tomorrow we would be driving the depressing direction on the A66 back to reality and work. We decided, Kel & I, to have a little wander up Hallin Fell. Not the biggest in the area but we decided to not pick a big hill and have an easy day.
The weather was quite fine and the sun was shining as we drove through Pooley Bridge and down the east side of Ullswater to Howtown and parked about 25 metres up from the cattle grid. Our plan was to quickly scale the tiny hill then have a relaxing walk around it and hopefully get some good photos.
I looked up the hill side and saw a few routes, as well as the paths marked on the map. We walked a bit further up the road to the brow of the raise in the road and took a right up the grass. We had chosen a different route than any on the map, normally a ‘no no’ but it was well used so we thought what the hell. It was quite steep up the grassy slope and hearts were racing almost immediately. The grass was fairly dry so Kel managed to stay on her feet, which was good, as I don’t think she could take another day on her backside which had its fair share of bruising after Dale Head.
So we headed up the east side gained height quite quickly, to be honest it was a bit uneventful and I didn’t even have the added entertainment of Bambi on Ice landing on her face every five minutes, so I decided we’d have a little scramble.
There’s a small crag just before it levels out on the east, so I told Kel to head up towards it. The ‘path’ levelled out slightly first and it had a bit of a drop, well, a lot of a drop to the right which made Kel stop. “Are you sure this is the route?” were uttered a few times as Kel held her arms out to balance and seemed a bit nervous. I reassured her if she fell, it wasn’t a sheer drop and she’d bounce a bit if she did stumble off. I’m getting quite used to the names I get called now when we have a bit of a scramble, or have to negotiate anything less than a metre wide, the air around Sharp Edge is still blue from our last visit.
Anyway, we shuffled to the top of the rocks and set off towards the summit. The view was stunning as we looked north east up towards Pooley Bridge. It wasn’t long before we were at the top and joining a couple of families around the Obelisk.
The weather was sunny and Kel got her camera out of my day sack and happily snapped away. Ten minutes was enough for us at the top and decided to go down the ‘family route’ and came off the hill and joined the road passing Hause Farm. The small road had a couple of holiday cottages with cracking views up Howe Grain and we met the bridge that crossed Howegrain Beck, very picturesque. We took the path to the right and were soon climbing again as we followed the farm fence line. About half way up we spotted a gate in the fence, “Thought you said there wasn’t a path through the field” echoed down the valley from her, as I remembered her pointing to another gate as we came down the road. I had said there was no right of way through the farm which would have cut out half of the ascent we were now negotiating. A cheeky scowly smile met my “ooooh yeah” as we walked past the gate, which clearly shows a path leading to the first gate.
We levelled out and kept to the path heading west, hugging the fell heading towards Hallinhag wood. Half way there we spotted the Great North Air Ambulance hovering above Ullswater, it made a couple of swoops then disappeared. A few more steps and we heard a familiar sound to Kel & me, a siren! It seemed to be coming from Howtown but was getting closer. Then it appeared, Mountain rescue hurtling down the road on the other side of the valley heading to Sandwick. We turned and looked at each other, looked into the sky at the clear blue, and said, “ehhh?!”. Our looks would have confused any onlookers but we both thought the same, the weather was gorgeous and we were confused as to what could’ve happened. The vehicle went out of sight and the siren stopped. We shrugged our shoulders and hoped everyone was ok, then entered the Oak dominated Hallinhag wood and was met by a slippery descent to the lake side. I grinned as I thought “this is it, she’s bound to go on her arse here”. Then, just as I’d finished saying the words in my head, I heard the immortal words “whooooosh ya f**ker!” as Kel’s right boot swung up waist height and her left leg was just about to join it. I had noticed a couple of wires running down the wall, on the edge of the woods, one normal and the other, ‘barbed’.
It was like slow motion, as my clumsy fiancée headed for an almost certain bounce of the muddy slope with her ‘portable cushion’, her left arm instinctively went to grab one of the wires to stop her fall. I watched as her hand stretch out and thankfully found a tight grip on the smooth wire, not the rusted barbed inches above it. She swung from the wire but managed not to hit the mud with her already sore rear. After checking to see if she was ok before I laughed, we got to the lake side without incident and decided to have dinner on the shores in Sandwick Bay.
To our suprise, the Great North Air Ambulance was on the grassed area in the bay. The pilot was on his phone but no sign of any crew. We put two and two together having seeing Mountain Rescue a few minutes ago and thought someone was in trouble. We sat on the grass and ate our sandwiches wondering what had happened. Moments later the rest of the crew came down the route we had taken through the woods laughing & joking, with some other rescue guys and no casualty in sight. They had a quick chat with the pilot and then jumped in the copter and flew off up Ullswater, not before doing a cheeky fly past everyone sat at the bay.
So we set off back to the woods and carried on with our walk, “must just have been an exercise” Kel said as we went through the gate.
The lake was quite still with only the ripples created by the Steamer to disturb its surface. The route was quite populated due to the nice weather and we must have done the usual hikers ‘nod’ followed by ‘hiya’ about 20 times before we reached the exit of the woods. Before that, we both stood on Kailpot Crag and took in the scenery wishing we had another week here and not heading back to Durham the next day.
The half hour walk back to the car was only marred by me slipping on a rock and bending my bad knee backwards, which tickled to say the least. As I had been bird spotting all week, Kel turned to me and shouted “Look, at that in the tree” I was amazed to be that close to a Kingfisher (which we had seen earlier in the week flying by) “is it?” i asked as Kel was killing herself laughing. I got closer and realised it was a blue glove someone had left on a branch! By then I could really taste the mandatory pint after a walk,today was to be at one of our favourites, Pooley Bridge Inn.
We reached the pub, sat down and withthe usual mixture of quaffing nuts, having a pint, people watching and chatting as Kel carried on with her relentless quest of finding an internet signal on her phone.
Not the biggest or exciting of hills, but it’s another Wainwright crossed off the list.