RING 1 - 23.3.14

ON BRANSTREE

With a record nineteen starters it was almost as if the Three Rings had come early. Two new members, Ann and Alan, joined nine veterans and eight visitors as we left Shap on an encouraging morning with a covering of snow on the high fells. The first obstacle, however, was the stepping stones over the River Lowther after just a mile. These were awkwardly placed and those over first and with poles had the advantage of dry stones and a measure of stability. Most succeeded and there were only a couple of wet feet though style points were in short supply!

 

Wet Sleddale always lives up to its name and underfoot conditions were as expected though in view of the wet winter things could have been much worse. The oasis of Mosedale Cottage always provides a welcome venue for coffee and a modicum of sunshine even persuaded some to sit outside. The ascent of Branstree was enlivened on reaching the snow line and made for pleasant walking with fresh tracks until the descent of Selside Pike. The waterfalls of Swindale Beck though not in spate provided the usual visual treats and it was not difficult to pause for lunch in this wonderful place. The only fly in the ointment was the theft of the leader’s sandwich by the opportunistic dog in the party. A slimmer than expected leader thus shepherded the group out of Swindale along its quiet lane as the old route east of the river is still bridgeless though plans are apparently in place to replace it shortly.

 

With the weather changing and squalls approaching the last few miles in and out of Rosgill were soon negotiated. The last field before Keld provided an unpleasant experience as horses had turned it into a muddy quagmire. Spirits were still high at the finish even if boots were clarty. We covered the eighteen miles in a tad over eight hours which will no doubt be considerably slower than some of the hares come Event day on June 14th. Entries are currently coming in fast and furious and it looks as if this year will have a record turnout. Enter soon if you want to take part.

ONE STEP AT A TIMEHERE THEY GOI KNOW IT'S THERE SOMEWHEREA HAPPY CROWD