Saturday 16 September 2017
Leader: Helena Nixon
Photos: Charlie Billington
The weather forecast for the day was a little daunting, indeed there were some extremely heavy showers on the M6, but all seemed well at the Memorial Hall as eleven Burton Fellwalkers and Bess, led by Helena Nixon, set out for Torver. The party arrived to find that the car park was surprisingly empty, and in no time at all the gentle ascent by Torver Beck had led to the first team photo opportunity. At this stage the sunshine was promising. Still following the Beck upstream but crossing to the north side, Banishead Quarry was soon reached, where elevenses were taken, but not before Kay had button-holed the photographer on spotting a rather attractive butterfly (image on website). Interestingly the Quarry pool is fed by a waterfall but lacks an outlet (as does Blind Tarn). Having been reclaimed by nature it provides a very picturesque backdrop to any stop.
From Torver, Dow Crag is always in view and at one stage Wetherlam put in a very resplendent appearance. The cone-shaped Little Arrow Moor is a fine accompaniment to the right of the approach to The Cove, where a path picks its way through the lower reaches of Goat?s Crag, the first bit of ?hand to rock? for the day. The five buttresses of Dow Crag greatly impressed on passing Goat's Water, and the party settled down for what could perhaps be described as 'twelvsies', whilst watching several climbers carefully inch their way up the clefts and face of the Crag.
The party then ascended to Goat's Hawse, turning left, so to speak, to make the final approach to Dow Crag, but not without admiring the splendid views of the Scafells and Harter Fell, as well as the one back down The Cove. The scramble to the summit was interesting, and it is always at around this point that the realisation sets in that it's a long way down! Getting off the summit was equally a bit of a challenge, but it was warm, the sun was out, and the area just below provided the perfect setting for lunch, with its widespread views of Coniston, Morecambe Bay, the Duddon Valley and Black Combe. Whilst Helena and the party were marvelling at the weather, a few black clouds were already plotting their revenge, and Black Combe was, well, black! However the descent by Buck Pike and Brown Pike was good and a glance over the edge towards Goat's Water and Blind Tarn confirmed that it was still a long way down! Of particular interest was a formation that resembles a Polo mint, whereby a chockstone appears to have become wedged in the top of a 'U'-shaped rock. Also of interest was the barely visible Isle of Man.
The descent of the Walna Scar Road was interrupted by a mountain-biker who gave no warning, and three uphill motor-bike scramblers who made it clear they had the right of way. It was therefore good to get on the path to Torver by Cove Bridge and look back to admire the day's work. Of course by now the rain had descended, which might explain why the party 'decided' to take different paths through the disused quarry. Two enterprising members produced umbrellas but sadly there was to be no Gene Kelly routine from Mike.
The path down the south side of Torver Beck was very wet in places, but it was gentle enough and the rain soon cleared, allowing the party to dry out before returning to Torver and repairing to Wilson's, where refreshments and reflections were the order of the day, and the fish nodded their approval from the aquatic telephone box.
In some ways it was a strange day in that nothing really silly or outrageous occurred. Nevertheless it was an excellent one. Torver doesn't always spring to mind as the starting point for Dow Crag, so the walk was well-chosen and led with great aplomb by Helena, who expertly kept all her followers, as well as the weather, generally in check.