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The Filthy Lucre Tour
Kiki at Portmeirion
22nd Apr 2006
Coniston, and Climbing Middle Fell Buttress

So I made a mistake here. I have stayed at the rather nice Great Langdale campsite quite a few times, which lies under the shadow of Great Gable, and Scafell Pike (England's highest mountain). After looking on their web site and calling to check whether we needed to book or not, we turned up there to discover that they don't actually take caravans. Tents and camper vans only, apparently. So back up the rather windy road we had to go, aiming for the nearest caravan site that my navigation doofer knew of. After it tried to take us down a road with a 2.5m width restriction we eventually managed to roll up at the site rather later than we'd hoped. As Marcroft and Nev were joining us, we gave them directions to the new site and Marcroft duly turned up shortly after we had. Which was handy, as he was just in time to help us put the awning up. Nev had left London rather late, and didn't expect to arrive until the wee small hours. As we were about to go to bed (at 1am - something of a record for us at the moment), Marcroft sneaked outside for a surreptitious pee before turning in. After a couple of minutes he bolted back into the caravan saying that just as he was about to relieve himself a man with a torch turned up, pointed it at him and called "miss!". We were a little confused as to why anyone might address someone urinating standing up as "miss", but Paul was so upset by the whole incident he ended up using our Portapotti, which he'd not seemed very keen on earlier.

We all met at the caravan at 0930 the next morning for breakfast. Nev and Lucy had arrived at approximately 1am, and pitched their tent. Nev had just been walking down past our caravan when he spotted a man standing in the bushes. He shined his torch over and called out "Chris", but the man promptly zipped up his flies and ran off.

After a somewhat leisurely breakfast, Nev and I went off to climb Middle Fell Buttress. I use the words "I" and "climb" somewhat loosely in this context, as I naturally wasn't going to lead anything, and I certainly hadn't picked the route. Or brought a helmet, or any rope. Basically Nev was going to climb Middle Fell Buttress, but he needed someone to come up after him and remove all the gear, which is what I'm best at in climbing. My entire gear rack consists of a belay plate and a nut key.

It was a splendid climb - four sequential pitches of quite easy rock without too much exposure, apart from the obvious 150m down. Reasonably solid belay stanchions - the only real problem was that there was quite a lot of traffic, and quite a few beginners. We skipped past a couple of groups, but still ended up queueing at a couple of the belays. Still, the weather held up nicely apart from a few gusts of wind. The last pitch we adapter slightly and it ended up being a very nice climb - huge variety of hand-holds, which always makes you feel like you're making tactical route decisions and not just following the same route everyone else uses.

Miles travelled: 1094
Average mpg: 18.9
Bottles of wine remaining: 12

Next: Coniston Old Man (It's a Mountain, Not a Medical Condition)
Previous: Portmeirion Tat

Diary Photos

Kiki at Portmeirion

The vegetarian menu option

American beauty?

Halfway up Snowdon, in the world`s sexiest hat

Approach to Middle Fell Buttress

MFB pitch 3 view

Nev`s posterior

Curious towing combo

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