First real chance to post since the walk started. More of a climb, actually, at least in the Lake District. Public access internet are few and far between. I’d hoped to post more regularly but it was not to be. Now sitting in our pub in Yorkshire, with “Sunshine on Leith” playing in the background.
The first night, before starting the hike, I was busy waterproofing our boots, with a squeeze bottle of waterproofing stuff. Only trouble was, it wasn’t squeezing out. So I squeezed harder. Still nothing. Squeezed harder yet. Finally, with a large ‘pop’, the top and spreader flew off entirely. Half the waterproofing flew everywhere. Mrs. Piper, sadly, wasn’t of much help in the crisis, giggling hysterically on the bed, and only saying, ‘It’s like Kramer losing his bet!’
Lots of hiking followed, including, in light of the extensive rains, a climb up a waterfall in the rain. I must be clear here. I do not mean climbing beside a waterfall on a slippery path, with a light shower falling. I mean climbing up a waterfall, because what was normally a stone staircase up to Greenup Edge had become a waterfall, with 24 hours worth of rain tumbling down. On our hands and knees, we proceeded up, since it was the only way, fighting the water. None of the boot waterproofing worked, nor any of the other waterproof rain gear. When the water is coming down at you like that, it finds its way every where.
Her Majesty would not approve of the state of the passport which she graciously entrusted to me - the ink is running and the cover is splitting, because of the wet. Several merchants, on receiving payment with soggy £ notes over the next few days, said something to the effect of ‘Been a bit damp, have you?’
When we finally got to the top (Mrs. Piper leading the way up, surely and steeadily which she told me afterwards absolutely terrified her), we discovered that the marshy meadow at the top was completely socked in, what with the rain, the mist, and all. We navigated solely by compass, map and GPS for about an hour (the modern arcane version of Bell, Book and Candle), coupled with one moment when the Big Guy Upstairs took pity on the two rain-soaked Canadians and allowed the sun to break through, fleetingly, to illuminate the vale. We saw nothing but the suddenly silver beck which we were not to follow. Not enough to show which way to go, but we were glad for the hint.
Had to ford a stream that normally is a little beck. Hunted for the shallowest spot, took a deep breath, and stepped in, up to my knee, in fast-rushing, cold water. Terrified I would lose my footing in the current, and get totally soaked (if that were still possible) but managed to scrambled through. Turned and offered Mrs. Piper my pole to pull her across in turn. Somewhere in all this, one of Mrs. Piper’s titanium walking poles snapped in two…
Finally found the way down, but again because of the rain, the little beck was flooded and we couldn’t cross to the path down. Had to go down the wrong side of the beck valley, no path, forcing our way through the bracken. Finally arrived at the B&B in Grasmere, soaked to the skin and suffering incipient shock, at 8.30 pm, 4 hours late. Our B&B host was on the verge of calling the mountain rescue…
The rest hasn’t been so eventful. But my feet hurt.