I got to Hassness quite late, having stopped en route to meet some friends inManchester. To my surprise, I had the M6 to myself over Shap. As soon as I got to theButtermere valley, I discovered where everyone was – Hassness. There were 100s and probably 1000s of people there to watch a charity para-gliding display in aid of mountain rescue. After the M6 the Keswick brewery beer tent was more to my taste than jumping off High Stile. By the end of Sunday Hassness was back to normal (which is very quiet) with real red squirrels, nuthatchs, and woodpeckers. The house itself is worth seeing with a fine lounge and a dining room both with fine Edwardian fireplaces.
The group was enlivened by a French group from southern Paris. Did they realise when they signed up for English courses that they would up on top of High Stile andHaystacks? One Claude (there were two) gave a very good display of how to descend a steep slope with two (hikhg) poles – some of us would have ended up in hospital! The French probably now think that the English go around yelling ‘gate’ at each other and go hunting black puddings (well that’s what Becky told us).
Our leader, Jim, set a fair pace but was reminded by someone at one point to explain the plans in English as well as French! Walks included Haystacks on the Monday and lunch by Wainwright’s Innominate Tarn watching a pair of ducks (trying to get the later verses of Ilkla’ Moor out of my head). Some industrial archaeology on the way down – I hadn’t realised how big the Honister slate quarries had been. We did bothButtermere ridge walks; Robinson was one of those hills where the top is always over the next ridge. The best and the sunniest walk was on Friday which was the ridge walk over Red Pike and High Stile with a lunch stop above Chapel Crags.
Three of us walked from Braithwaite to Gasdale Gill (which showed signs of the winter floods) on the rest day, and discovered in the evening that the mountain rescue had just been up on the adjoining hill in the clouds, looking for people with a phone but no compass or map. The mountain rescue speaker had come straight from the rescue; his chat brought home how close knit the West Cumbria community is and gave the French a different accent to listen to! The French leader went back to France with some of Paula’s cake recipes. I must try the vegetarian week.