Winter Walk – 2022

Location: Patterdale, Lake District, UK
Date: February 4th – 6th, 2022

Kim Ashdown, Barbara Bradwell, Jo Bradwell, Patrick Cadigan, Ian Chesner, Mary Chesner, Amy Cogswell, Graham Cogswell, Luke Cutts, John Delamere, Pete Forster, Ros Forster, Maggie Harvey, Tim Harvey, Peter Hillenbrand, Kelsey Joyce, Chris Lewis, Will Malein, Humphrey Milles, John Milles, Kyle Pattinson, Ben Stanley, Will Trender, and Alex Wright.

The annual BMRES winter walk kicked off on the Friday evening, as all good weekends do, in the bar. Old friends were reacquainted and newer members of the group were able to meet those whose expedition stories have become the stuff of legend.

A few glasses of red wine later, plans were established for the following day. Whilst all agreed the weather forecast ruled out the Striding Edge ascent of Helvellyn, the Fairfield Horseshoe route was mooted. The next morning however atrocious weather conditions soon put an end to these plans and a low level route up towards Grisedale Tarn was commenced.

Those of us in the local bunkhouse had a more sedentary start to the morning and we were once again reminded of the BMRES moto ‘those who fall behind get left behind’. Despite the driving horizontal rain and 70 mph gusts of wind, the walk up Grisedale was a pleasant yet interesting affair. Both groups were reunited at the Ruthwaite Lodge, which was most helpfully locked due to COVID restrictions. Clearly the infection risk from an empty hut posed a greater risk to health than the sub-zero temperatures and torrential conditions!

Sensibly, the vast majority of group members decided this was an appropriate turning point and returned to the comfort of the Patterdale Hotel. Luke, however, raised the suggestion of continuing the ascent up to the Tarn. For some reason Ben S and Will M decided to accompany him on this ‘brave’ (or stupid….) venture.

On the approach to the tarn the weather conditions became even more apocalyptic. We would like to say that the views of the tarn were beautiful, but vision was somewhat restricted by piercing hail. The video shows the truly atrocious nature of the weather.

Whilst we hoped the tailwinds would ease our descent, staying on one’s feet in the ferocious winds posed yet another challenge. We eventually made it back down injury free and in time to catch the Six Nations rugby by the warmth of the open fire in the White Lion. Despite an England loss, it was great to catch up on the day’s events over a pint or three.

Everyone then reconvened for another excellent meal at the Patterdale Hotel, accompanied by compelling tales from BMRES expeditions past. Talk also focused on the brilliant BMRES woodland carbon offset initiative and excitement about the upcoming Annapurna expedition in October.

All-in-all, a great weekend was had by all despite the weather’s best attempts at derailment! Many thanks must go to the Patterdale Hotel for hosting us, and of course to Amy, Jo and Alex for organising such a great weekend.

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