Saturday 9th April was an excellent day out in the hills thanks to Nick Piotrowski ably deputising for Nigel Tarr as Coach Grippenführer at short notice and our visit coinciding with the first decent weather the area had experienced in a fortnight.
It was blue skies, warmth and sunshine as Rob Thomas was dropped off at Scales to tackle Blencathra via Sharp Edge. He had the Northern Fells to himself (or rather there were no other WBMC passengers on them) as, apart from 3 who got off at the Keswick roundabout, everybody else carried on to Braithwaite, with most intent on completing Route 3. There was a fell race on but the masses setting off at 11:45 to climb Grisedale Pike didn't see any of them for by that time in the morning the runners were heading in the opposite direction to me over Barrow, down to the finish. I thought how great it was for their cardio-vascular fitness but wondered if they'd regret it in their 50's when their knees had gone! The folk doing an anticlockwise circuit of the Coledale Horseshoe became strung out, especially when 10 diverted off to claim the summit of Grasmoor, and I joined their circuit after crossing NW to the summit of Force Crag.
Alas as we passed over the summits of Eel Crag and Sail, we could see rain blotting out Bassenthwaite & Skiddaw and the last hour of the descent was accompanied by a steady gentle rain so the Royal Oak proved to be a haven of shelter as well as refreshment. At 7pm the coach ferried us into Keswick where those who wanted could buy a meal and have another drink before the coach set off again at 9:00.
The journey back was enlivened by the prize giving for the Grand National sweepstake and it turned out that Colin Talbot had picked the winner. There was also a short fashion show as the WBMC mannequins paraded down the centre of the coach demonstrating the logo'd gear that is available at tshirtuk.com. Hillary went first wearing a royal blue hoodie & swigging from a WBMC mug. Then Geordie showed off a scarf and matching beanie hat & chairman David a purple T-shirt. Next came Fred looking divine in an orange polo shirt and Jo displayed a cosy burgundy sweatshirt, before I donned the candy pink ladies polo shirt that nobody else seemed to want to model. Finally Andy expertly showed off my red fleece (with a non-WBMC logo) and the Irish green barrel bag.
Thanks to everybody who put in orders, or who have already bought gear, that will publicise the club and maybe act as a conversation starter. You know the one… "I didn't know there were any mountains in West Bromwich! "to which the correct response is of course “Wow, I've never heard that before ".
We arrived back in the mountainous town around half past midnight and most of us were home in bed by 1:30am. A long but successful day out.