Firstly I would like to introduce my intrepid partner in crime, Mark.
As a work colleague we get to spend a lot of time together and for some unknown reason we also tend to spend time on weekends in each others company too.
Perhaps its the similar sense of humour we share or the fact that one kind of knows what the other is on about and every one else has a look of confusion as we talk drivel. Whatever it is, we enjoy each others company and so have developed a walking partnership that works well and I have actually come to quite like him in the past few months!
And no, we are not talking broke back mountain here OK!
Lets go back to late August and the lead up to our first walk together.
Mark had decided after a very long break form Fell walking that he wanted to get back into it.
Having been a regular walker when he moved to Cumbria years ago he knew the score but was out of practice and to cut a long story short we arranged to do some walking together. I was quite comfortable with this idea as Mark is someone I like, trust and respect, so the first trip was eventually set for September the tenth.
Well the famous saying "No plan survives the first contact intact" proved to be true but we soon came up with plan B and still had a good day out as you will see.
Saturday September tenth, Mark turned up at my house 8.30AM as planed and we set off down the road heading for Glenridding pier on Ullswater.
The idea was to take the steamer from Glenridding to Howtown and walk back to Glenridding via the footpath that follows the East shore of Ullswater.
We arrived nice and early for the first sailing but it was blowing a bit despite the sunshine and as we walked from the car down to the pier the possibility of sailings being canceled due to wind did enter the conversation, the tickets were duly sold to us at the pier though and we waited to board our vessel.
A few minutes later and surprise surprise! we were told, all sailings canceled due to wind.
We got our refunds and trooped out of the pier kiosk with a bunch of other people all discussing what they might do instead.
I look up to the West assessing the sky for what it might bring weather wise and Birkhouse moor is staring back down at me from the distance. The light bulb above my head flickers a little and then bursts into life.
I have a cunning plan and share it with Mark who is up for it immediately, well OK after giving it a little thought maybe.
We would walk up to the top of Helvellyn or as near to it as prudent considering the lack of preparation and the weather, so off we went on our new mission.
We headed up Greenside road leaving Marks camera in the car as we passed it, Mark not having a waterproof camera bag for it, we were only experiencing intermittent showers at this point but the sky looked like it had lots more in store for us.
The road gets narrower as you go up the hill and eventually turns into a track then a path and our first photo opportunity with my camera.
We turn right and head up the right hand side of Birkhouse moor crags and stop to watch the marshal of a trials bike event standing solitary in the bracken like a unloved scarecrow dripping with rain, no bikes are to be seen on the stage but we can hear them in the distance and every now an then we catch a glimpse of a lone bike far off to the south.
We press on as the rain starts to kick in at full pelt now.
Sheffield pike looms to our right and Birkhouse moor to our left as we follow the path up to the bridge opposite the disused mine and take a pause to photograph the torrent of water coming down the Gill fed by red tarn beck, brown cove beck and keppel cove beck.
Our walk continues round towards Glenridding common and follows red tarn beck to a height of about one thousand feet (Always sounds more impressive in feet don't it!) and we make a joint decision to turn back.
No we are not doing our best impression of a big girls blouse!!!!!
Rather we are being responsible adults making a sensible choice not to make an arse of ourselves by ending up catching a ride home in a big helicopter.
The wind is blowing quite hard further up and the rain is coming down sideways at times, and seeing as mark is wearing jeans and I am relying on my now very wet Buffalo six shirt to keep warm we make a mature decision and do a one eighty.
The visibility further up is looking less and less promising anyway and so we make our way back pleased with the days events considering it's not the low level walk we had planed or prepared for.
On the way down the conversation takes as many twists and turns as the path we are walking on, we stop and see the marshal still soaking but now observing the trial section, and we marvel at the skill of the riders as they tackle obstacles with finesse and grace akin to a butterfly visiting flowers in a glade. OK so I'm taking the piss now, sorry.
Eventually we make it back to Glenridding an decide to invade the cafe for a cup of coffee and a bit of cake.
The lady that serves us doesn't even blink when we walk in dripping wet and plonk ourselves down with a squelch. The cake is Divine and the coffee goes down well too.
A bit pricey but hey ho this is the lake district isn't it.
We soon say our thanks and squelch back out of the door leaving puddles on the (fortunately) wooden chairs.
On the drive home we decide it was a good day out regardless of the canceled sailing and the subsequent change of plan, the weather or the prices in the cafe and next week end will be just as good.