Winter Walk – 2023

Location: Patterdale, Lake District, UK
Date: February 10th - 12th, 2023

Maggie Beazley, Jo Bradwell, Sarah Clarke, Tim Clarke, Luke Cutts, John Delamere, Julian Duxfield, Tim Harvey, Kelsey Joyce, Kyle Pattinson, Ben Stanley,  Ben Talks, and Will Trender.

By Drs Ben Stanley & Luke Cutts

This year’s Winter Walk was a return trip to Patterdale with the aim of taking on Helvellyn via the infamous Striding Edge, after being prevented from doing so last year due to the weather (see last year’s report here for evidence!).

After a great catch-up over dinner on the Friday night, we set off early on the Saturday morning towards Helvellyn, and it was refreshing to be able to see more than a few feet in front of us this year…

As we began our ascent, Sid the dog ensured those at the back were keeping up… and kept himself, and the rest of us, entertained by playing his fascinating game of ‘pick up a rock, carry it, then bury it and pick up another one’ endlessly.

Once we got to striding edge itself, the weather began to close in a little but thankfully we were able to make it to the summit of Helvellyn at a good pace! We then traversed across the ridge toward Swirral Edge, with the wind whipping around in a brief throwback to last year!

We then descended back down to Patterdale and enjoyed a quick rest, before a group of us headed to a pub in nearby Glenridding to watch a Finn Russel masterclass in the rugby. We then all met back up at the Patterdale hotel for dinner.

On Sunday we were again blessed with a dry day. A smaller group of us decided to embrace the good weather by doing a second walk from Patterdale to Fairfield via St Sunday Crag. It was clear enough to be able to see Ullswater and the surrounding peaks, as we ascended to Fairfield the clouds drew in, without a view from the top.

During our walk there was much excitement surrounding our next trip to Margherita Hut. We discussed the ongoing plan for the trip, which will include experiments related to the prediction and detection of acute mountain sickness using various pulse oximetry measurements.

We then descended via Grisedale Tarn which was visible this year, after the extreme weather of our last winter walk. We were able to recall the sight of the hut where we hid out last year before deciding to turn back to the Patterdale Inn.

We traversed down the Valley back into Patterdale in time for a tea before heading back to our various locations across the UK.

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