Gouther and Armathwaite
Just back from a great bank holiday weekend in the Lakes. I was rather hoping for a spot of sun-drenched rock in some far flung spot away from the tourists, but i needn't have worried. As it turned out the sun poked its head out from behind the rain clouds only periodically and the temperature, only last week nudging 18 degrees barely reached 8 degrees. We were in the lakes shooting photos for a couple of forthcoming articles. First stop Gouther Crag in the Swindale valley near to Shap, just North of Kendal. As lake district crags go it's pretty "roadside" being only about 1.5km's from where you park the car.
I really enjoyed visiting Gouther. Even though the sun didn't really shine much and the wind whistled its way up the hillside all day. The situation and character of the place, the quality or the rock and the friends we were there with turned it into a day to be remembered.
The following day we headed slightly further North to the small village of Armathwaite and venue N0 2, Armathwaite Crag. Armathwaite could never be discribed as a mountain crag, or for that matter a roadside one. It's actually a riverside crag and i would imagine on a hot, sunny day its a great venue for a pic-nic and swim in between climbing routes. Again even this sheltered venue coudn't hide the fact that the temp was still only around the 6 degree mark, so it was duvets and hats as opposed to shorts and sun cream.
Meilee Rafe climbing the classic ridge of Truss Buttress "Vdiff"
Armathwaite is a rather esoteric little crag. Overlooking the river Eden, the climbing is on sandstone and can stay dry even during heavey rain, there are some good quality routes and some great bouldering, if you're passing its worth having a look. For me however it wasn't the climbing that grabbed my attention but the "faces" The carvings consist of various faces and also a salmon, higher up there can be seen an inscription, which consists of a quotation from Isaac Walton's "Compleat Angler" The carvings and inscriptions are said to have been produced by William Mounsey, (1808 -1877) an eccentric local scholar and traveller - they can be found by a short traverse round the corner from the area called "sandy bay" which brings you to a small alcove, you see the writing on the wall straight away, as you look closer two faces appear in the red sandstone staring back at you, a third watches from behind. The date on the poem reads 1855, its worth the visit just to see these even if you don't go climbing.