Thought I'd let you know how I'm getting on and about my, ahem, interesting walk yesterday.
I was keen to do the Newland's Round. Unfortunately I couldn't remember what the route was supposed to be, but I guessed that it was Catbells and Hindscarth the main ridges and I think that's right. If you look at the OS map you can retrace it. I went up High Snockrigg, Robinson, along to Hindscarth, down the ridge, around the side of Catbells, up Catbells, along the ridge to Maiden Moor, up High Spy, Dale Head and then back to Hindscarth and back the way I came. It was to be around 16 or 17 miles and I was to start at around 1pm and finish hopefully just before it went dark at around 9 or 10pm. I believed the weather forecast when it said that the bad weather would clear during the afternoon and it certainly seemed so. I had a few lake disctrict showers (3 minutes of soaking downpour before it ubruptly ceasing) but other than that the weather was remarkably good until I had got to nearly the foot of Catbells. At that point the heavens really did open, after looking threatening for some time. This was around 5 or 6 in the afternoon. From that point forward the rain didn't let up and worse, the cloud came down. Up on the top of Maiden Moor it was enough to make me veer off course and the rain turned to hail. At the tarn by Dale Head I could have taken a hort cut back, but I realised that the climbing wouldn't be that much less than Dale Head and it would just mean about 8 miles on the road. No thanks. i went up Dale Head and along Hindscarth Edge. By this time the mist was enough so that I couldn't see more than about 10 feet in front of me, the wind was annoyingly strong and it was hailing. I plodded on, knowing full well just how much of this I had to endure. It was also getting dark, due to the mist and my slow going over the tops, to the extent that I had to get my torch out at the top of Robinson. At this point I had another choice, you will see that there are two paths down into the Buttermere valley from Robinson, the one I came up and another. i contemplated taking the shorter one, but given that it was unknown and that it looked steep I decided to press on. This was the right decision I believe, as apparently that path is horrible to get down, lots of slippery rocks. Unfortunately at this point it all started to go wrong. You see for the past 4 or 5 hours I had been navigating by compass and map alone,visual aids being indistinct. Unfortunately the path off Robinson is ill defined at best (read, scree slope. not a problem, as that's actually my preferred surface for a descent) and as soon as I had descended I lost it. At this point I made the one mistake that I think that I made on this walk (apart from setting off in the first place, perhaps) and became careless. Thinking that I knew where to aim for (I got see the outline of Snockrigg) I went wildly off direction and ended up by Moss Force waterfall. Luckily I then managed to strike a footpath and get down onto the road. By this time I was shattered and couldn't quite believe that I was off the fells at last. The road seemed to go on forever but I eventually got back safe and sound, no casualties apart from binoculars full of water and a sodden map. I then spent some time covering myself with warm water instead of cold. After 10.5 hours on the fells I had walked about 17 miles, the last 6 hours of which were in the blinding rain.