Report on Coniston meet Jan 26/27/28 2018

Sorry for the ones who couldn’t make it [recovering from flu, poorly car, gear already far too wet, family commitments, skiing in Tignes, climbing in Spain …..] as we had a really great time. Some arrived early enough to walk above the snow-line and get wonderful views with photos to prove it, and the 2 stoves were lit to welcome later arrivals. All had safely negotiated the long and challenging rough track up to the Coppermines Cottage, and we were joined later that evening by previous member Dave Beynon, who was staying in the youth hostel in Coniston. As predicted, Saturday morning greeted us with low clag and torrential rain [with Dave B. who’d run up from Coniston to say hello again, clutching a mug of tea and dripping in the corner of the kitchen to demonstrate how wet it actually was] so breakfast was a leisurely, protracted affair. But eventually we were stirred into activity, with the nearby Old Man of Coniston our objective. New members Gemma and Kial got out early enough to get there without being blown off the top, but the six of us who’d set off later decided to retreat approx. 300 feet from the summit, when the repeated gusts of wind became so strong, we were all being flattened, and Janet’s glasses were whipped off her head and lost in the gloom. So a sensible and safe return to the welcoming cottage for tea and cake, and again 2 lit stoves to keep it all very cosy. During the night the wind increased even more [‘howling’ would be a fitting description], so it was good to see a smiling Russ safely emerge from his still upright van next morning. Gemma and Kial decided to go for a run, while others made plans to call on relatives or visit a gear shop. Four of us went for a delightful low-level walk from Hodge Close quarries to Little Langdale and back, before setting off back home. Thanks to you all for your excellent and entertaining company [John Murton, Dave Crowther, Russ Clare, John and Janet Hutchinson, Leon Dowling, Josie Davies, Gemma Scougal and Kial Wright] fire lighting skills, and impressive team-work tidying and cleaning the cottage on Sunday, leaving it almost spotless for the next visitors.
Vanda Boyd
PS. Although we did get above the [very small patches of] snow on Saturday, the avalanche risk was zilch, so the ice axe and crampons were not used, although thinking about it later, perhaps an ice axe could have been deployed in the hurricane gusts?

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    Dave Beynon

    I actually managed a very short and relatively sheltered scramble on Sunday, before deciding that being in the hills was a ridiculous idea and heading across to spend a few hours in the climbing wall in Kendal.

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