A delayed start to the day caused by an hour sat in traffic due to someone forgetting his boots saw us leave Old Dungeon Ghyll Pub car park just after 10.30am. We, my brother and I, have plenty of experience on the fells in spring / summer conditions but this was our first winter walk and while our excitement was high there was a little trepidation as to how we would cope with snow and ice underfoot at high level.
Setting off along the path that takes you in the direction of the New Dungeon Ghyll we picked up the track that gives a choice of talking a left up Dungeon Ghyll or as we did bearing right and on towards the Stickle Ghyll path. Crossed over on to the right hand side we made the steady climb up to the stepping stones and then back over and on wards to Stickle Tarn. After taking in the silence we followed the path round to the right of the tarn and weighed up our options. The way up to wards Pavey Ark, covered in shiny white, looked a little daunting to us so we picked up the track heading towards Blea Rigg and then turned left and followed a path of freshly laid foot prints up toward Sergent Man.
After stopping for coffee and with clouds moving in we set off across a blanket of snow for Thunacar arcing a path right and keeping the ridge to our left at arms length. It was impossible to make out any kind of path for certain and a lack of cairns had us checking our bearings every few minutes. Were we that far off the path? Accompanied by a light flurry of snow we stopped for a lunch of beef stoganoff and mint KitKats a top of Thunacar. It was one those days when whichever direction you looked the weather was completely different to where you are sat and even as the chill started to kick in it was effort to drag ourselves away.
We then made our way across Harrison Combe towards Harrison. Again the complete white out made it hard to be certain of a track underneath us and so it was another arc left and down before climbing back up to the peak. The extra effort of ploughing across snow covered bogs and the detour up Sergent Man was something we hadn't accounted for so we decided to leave Pike O' for another day. There was a little playful talk of bottling it but when the Fells aren't going any where any time soon there's no need to be playing hero. Back down the way we came and picked up the Dungeon Gyhll path. Care taken in places as the run off from the melt water made for a couple of slippy spots. We then followed the path that takes you round the back of the Old Dungeon Pub where we tucked in for couple of pints before the journey home.
First walk of the year and it's gonna take some some beating.