We’re entering into autumn after a fabulous summer of endless hot days and blue skies, one that’ll go down in our collective memories: “Do you remember the summer of 2018?”
However, it wasn’t great if you were trying to test a waterproof jacket. In May I received a new garment to test and review, the Haglofs LIM Comp Jacket made from GORE-TEX Active Shell. I was excitedly awaiting my first rainy day to use the jacket, but it was like a desert. In the first few weeks I did carry the jacket in my pack, if only for protection from the wind as it’s only 189g in the small size. As May progressed into June, it became apparent there was no need to carry a waterproof anything, other than phone case for swimming in the lakes.
Product Review: I didn’t feel the need to take the jacket on and off between rain showers, as there are two big venting pockets. It’s been a very comfortable fabric to wear; lightweight and soft, no ‘rustling’, and I like the neat close-fitting elasticated hood with its slightly stiff peak, which did get used in driving rain last week and didn’t frustrate me as hoods often can. I personally might have liked a thumb loop or adjustment on the cuff, but it really hasn’t detracted from running in the rain and would have added to the weight of the jacket when I’m carrying it. This will become a much-used jacket once the normal Lakes weather resumes!
Back to the subject of making memories, my latest little project did get slightly stifled by the heat, but I’m now back in full mission mode.
Having visited all the Wainwright summits once with small children, then again in winter, plus visited all the Lakeland named tarns, and run around all the lakes, I hadn’t appreciated how much new ground I was going to find. After spending a few evenings poring over the list and marking the summits on the map, I spotted lots of names and tops I’d never noticed. I could see there were some clear circular routes, then some linear possibilities and tops that just looked awkwardly out on a limb. I have learned to my cost that I should have curbed my excitement and spent a little longer marking up the maps, as I missed a couple off. Miller Moss, I ran right past it on a blazing hot Saturday morning but on the bright side, why wouldn’t you want to head back up to Little Lingy Hill where it resides. My other error was Little Dodd (St John’s Common) but there’s a fantastic old zig-zag trod out of the valley bottom that needs to be explored.
I made my first Birkett day in the Skiddaw massif; I’d worked out a figure of 8 that would combine the many tops. I parked at Peter House Farm and took a bridleway along to the start of Ullock Pike onto Skiddaw’s summits, then over the back to Sale How, Skiddaw House then back up Hare Crag, Broad End, Bakestall and Cock Up. Great day out. That evening I sat finishing making the map from the list, only to find Watches (333m) just at the start of the Ullock ridge; I’d even skirted under it! I had to go back another evening, so I could tick it as done.
A few weeks ago, we ventured into the dry bogs on the Shap fells; one of the hardest days yet as there are very few paths and lots of tussocks or knee-deep heather. I wish I’d remembered to take my trekking poles, as they certainly would have helped in that terrain. There is something rather special about their remote rolling nature; our loop took in High House Bank up to Tarn Crags then a slog over to Ulthwaite Rigg, Wasdale Pike, the Yarlsides, ending on a summit too many, Whatshaw Common. Would I do this route again” Yes; the flowers, deer and views are now stored in the ‘great day out’ memory bank, I’ve forgotten about the pain and lack of rhythm from no paths, and that Wet Sleddale is aptly named.
Was this because people could see the stories held in their battered, loved appearance? I find it difficult to part with old shoes as they are a huge part of what has made my day out so happy, they’re full of marvellous memories and many, many miles.
Back to the lovely Birketts, I’ve just run around a great little seven-mile circuit from the Kirkstile Inn, up Gavel Fell, Banna, Floutern Cop and Hen Comb, stunning views up Buttermere towards Honister and over to Pillar with the barren rolling summits of the west behind us. I sat in the most purple of heather, eating the bilberries, feeling satisfied with life before bounding down the lovey soft trod to Little Dodd and back to the Kirkstile.
My plan had been to finish the Birketts by September, but I actually don’t mind that the hot summer has got in the way. Swimming and cycling has been great, it’s been like being on holiday. Adventuring in autumn will be brilliant, I’m just going to have to remember to start packing a waterproof again and not forgetting a head torch for the shorter days. Off to plan another route now, or to look for another summit I may have missed…