Thursday, March 29, 2012

3 Amazing Days & Nights At Black Sail

This week we had one of the best volunteering opportunities ever - the chance to spend 3 days & nights at one of the countries most remote Youth Hostels: Black Sail.
We drove to Gillerthwaite Youth Hostel to meet up with David (the other volunteer) & Suzy & Martin (the youth hostel managers). As it was going to be a tight squeeze in the Land Rover Karen & Crag decided to walk there.
As you can see it was a beautiful day & even more amazingly forecast to be like this for the next few days
It is a bit hazy as we look across at Scoat Fell & Steeple
Our first glimpse of our new home in the distance
After a cuppa we set to work doing a litter pick in the area.
Great Gable at the head of the valley
A panorama from the gate near Black Sail
Our main job was to be painting including the back of Black Sail & various windows, we get undercoat on the windows whilst David scrapes off the peeling paint from the walls
It's not a bad spot to be working in
Crag has soon trained Suzy to throw the ball for him
The sun soon drops & puts us in the shade
Causing hazy shade along the High Stile range
Crag doesn't need much encouraging to settle in, wow this house has the biggest garden ever
Shortly before the sun sets Great Gable is lit up
It is starting to get chilly outside but we have the fire on inside to keep us warm
An intriguing yet completely practical way to dry your boots on the joist
A plaque inside the hostel, it's worth reading
As if this isn't magical enough the sun then puts on a show for us
Andy & David enjoy a glass of red
These dinner plates were commissioned by a manager of the hostel in the 1970's so we were very careful with them
The next morning we are all back painting again, David on the inside windows
Karen on the exterior ones
The builders arrive to mend the lean to on the side which houses the generator, Andy helping to remove the tarpaulin
They got their van reasonably close, they turned up 10ish & left 2ish so work wasn't that frantic especially as they had to read the paper & have a cuppa when they arrived before anything else was done!
One of them did carry this beam from the gate where they originally left their van (about 400m away, he was glad to put it down)
The first coast to coasters pass (we counted 12 on Monday)
Karen sands down & varnishes the benches & tables from inside
Whilst the builders get kitted up to remove the concrete asbestos from the lean to roof
David clearing out the lean to
Andy gets kitted up to paint the shower room
Whilst someone takes a nap
Having a break later in the day
We had several jet fly pasts and a couple of visits from a Chinook
Andy came rushing indoors saying he thinks a man in pyjamas carrying something strange on his back was approaching, we had to have a look. It was Paul Cocoran who was walking the c2c to raise money for Care for Casualties & yes that is an ironing board. He had previously walked Hadrians Wall carrying a kitchen sink! Good for him, we all gave a donation & he had raised £200 already on his walk.
It's time for a pint, better views than your local
As night draws in the Moon, Venus & Jupiter are clearly visible to the naked eye
Someone is shattered
Back inside the hostel
This frame explains how someone broke into Black Sail & burnt the original frame & left the photos out in the rain
Crampons & some old climbing boots, Heskett Newmarket brewery make an ale called Black Sail "A brand new, very dark stout from Hesket Newmarket Brewery made with lots of chocolate malt and black malt. Complex flavours of coffee and liquorice abound" according to their website
Tuesday morning dawns, not a bad view from our bedroom
And from the bedroom door
Early rays of sun filter into the valley
As we had done most of the painting on Monday & it was just second coats needed, Karen & Crag decided to go and take some more fixed point photos
The first one was next to the Liza higher up the valley, looking back towards Black Sail
The position is where two minor becks join to form the Liza
These are the two landscape panoramas
Looking back down the valley before we start the steeper climb up the tongue
And from a bit higher up
Kirk Fell, Pillar & the High Stile range
There is no sign of Ennerdale Water from here
Even Crag sits and admires the view
We had one more to do on Gillercomb Head before the steep climb up Kirk Fell which is the fell below & if we were feeling fit we might get over to Pillar in the distance
We are soon up on the ridge between Brandreth & Green Gable
And this tarn on Gillercomb Head is where we are to take the pictures (Crag is the dot to the left of the tarn)
Brandreth is the fell behind
This picture made the border weather photos on Thursday (first time of sending a picture in, 100% success rate think we will not bother sending any more!)
You have to pinch yourself, is this really real, am I really seeing such magnificent scenery?
Photos taken so we move on
Great Gable, it doesn't stand out as well from this angle, the path we are following is known as Moses Trod & it leads us to between Great Gable & Kirk Fell
Looking into the sun at Windy Gap
Looking down Ennerdale valley
The higher we get the more fells come into view
We are soon looking down on Wasdale & Wastwater
Next the steep climb up Kirk Fell, we have been down this route before but not up it
Before we start Crag spots Beckhead Tarn & is off
We stop & look back down
Great Gable looks impressive from here
Sca Fell & Scafell Pike
We have made the summit plateau
Kirkfell tarn
Lovely reflections of Crag in the water
Looking back at Great Gable again
Gable & The Scafells
Just catching one of many jet fly pasts, it is rising now but had been below us
Burnmoor Tarn in the distance & Wast Water
Red Pike (Wasdale) & Pillar, we decide we have made such good time that Pillar is feasible today as well
The photos are taken at the top of Kirk Fell
Zooming in on Honister Slate Mine
Now Suzy had warned that the way off Kirk Fell was steep & she wasn't kidding, this was a case of putting camera & poles away & taking real care getting off
We make it off in one piece & head for Pillar
We didn't know it at the time but this was the last water for Crag until we pass it again later
Looking back at what we had just come down.
One of Pillars many false summits, you think you're nearly at the top and another one pops out.
Taking a peek into Ennerdale valley
Looking back at Kirk Fell
Looking back along one of the plateaus
Not for those with a bad head for heights
Views for miles up here
When we get to the summit we are shortly joined by a couple with Alfie the collie who just wants to play with Crag
And play they did til they were both tired
Loooking down on the forest track in Ennerdale
Panoramics from the summit, at 892m it is the 8th highest Wainwright
Great Gable in the distance
High Crag & Haystacks with the Buttermere fells behind
Looking down Mosedale
Having taken the pictures & Crag having had a run about with Alfie we head down, that's Black Sail at the end of the track just 600m of height to lose.
On top of the last steep bit before we reach Black Sail Pass & a much needed drink for Crag
Great Gable & Kirk Fell
Did we really come down that?
Almost back down to the youth hostel
The shadows grow longer in the valley
The chinook pays us another visit
Martin, David, Andy, Karen, Suzy & Crag
Crag continued to play with the frizbee, ball & stick when we got back & the enivatable happened
Last sunset photos
One where Karen was smoking!!!!!
The next morning the sun catches the descent we had done yesterday from Kirk Fell
Vapour trails are the only marks in the sky
And we have to say goodbye
Not before we give a second coat of paint to the back of the hostel
The builders are back & yes this is day three of replacing the lean to
We had the most fabulous time, made by the weather, we hope we can come back again at the end of the season to help them shut the hostel back down again. We can't believe more volunteers didn't want to be a part of this, never mind it's our little secret.