'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Cam Crag (Grade 2)

A hot Sunday morning, I was summoned by the Bearded Lexicographer. Cam Crag, he announced: no gear, no helmets, no rope - we were going scrambling. So we drove down to Keswick and headed into the jaws of Borrowdale. Langstrath, at its south-eatern extremity, is another of those unregarded delights of the Cumbrian landscape, a place whose very unvisitedness increases its allure. Beyond Seathwaite we passed campsites and rock-pools full of frolicing hikers then, quite suddenly, the landscape changed: before us was a deserted glacial valley of eskers and moraines, at its head the Great Slab and formidable buttresses of Bow Fell. In this intimate wilderness you're never more than 30 minutes from habitation, but Langstrath is one of the very few places within it where you can walk for hours sustained by the illusion that mountains stretch for miles without a trace of human presence.
We ascended the valley side and came to the foot of Cam Crag, a tumble of massive boulders and slabs below an outlying knoll which leads to a series of walls and terraces. It's an intensely enjoyable series of short sharp challenges - a sheer step followed by easy holds and blocks, then another sill, and a wall of volcanic rock that seems to lean back from the grass in a succession of terraces before bringing you back to reality with a sheer bulge at the top (the Chicken Variation on the left was not unwelcome). We took it easily, savouring the landscape, revelling in the solitude, cursing the heat and finally enjoying lunch and several litres of water just below Glaramara, where the breezes of afternoon calmed us and views of Great Gable, Lingmell , Pillar and Fleetwith Pike perpetutated the illusion of unpopulated wilderness.
The descent to Seathwaite was quite unusually unpleasant, every hundred feet adding degrees to temperature and humidity until we were wading through a sweet-perfumed sea of bracken and moisture, as if afloat in a green furnace. We regained the valley and drank pints of exceptionally welcome Sca Fell Blonde.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Eleanor said...

Explain please the "chicken variation"

14/7/05 12:38 am  
Blogger RenMan said...

the easy route

14/7/05 10:39 am  
Anonymous Eleanor said...

Oh my, Renman, you have no idea how stupid that makes ME feel, since the "chicken variation" is definitely my usually preferred route. Take it from me, if Nick ever says to you "it's just a little walk..." look the route up in a guidebook and it will say something like "...for experts only"

15/7/05 1:33 am  
Anonymous Quinten said...

Just bk from seathwaite where we spent a weekend on the hills scafell on sat.12th apr. was a bit bleak but never the less beautiful and a very endearing walk havin been walking in the scottish mountains most of my life. Was dissapointed to meet so many people into the fashion rather than the beauty of the mountains, seems to be a bit of a gathering place for people into there `gear` However the area is outstanding and will be spending lots more time there

19/4/08 7:39 pm  

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