In the long lingering snow of Spring I got used to see the shapely Catstycam (or Catstye Cam or Catchedicam – take your pick) coated in a crisp whiteness that an Alpine face wouldn’t have been ashamed of.
But, as we walked up the Glenridding Beck on Friday, we entered a mountain landscape that was green rather than white. It seemed almost shocking to see no more snow. How used to it you become in a long Lakeland winter that overlaps into spring.
Then up the Red Tarn Beck to Red Tarn itself, gloomy under the clouds and not this time reflecting the snow from the great cliffs of Helvellyn. A great queue of walkers making their way along the raggedy crags of Striding Edge, though there were few on our side of the tarn.
Near the start of Swirrel Edge we cut back up to Catstycam’s lovely rocky summit, a true mountain peak and a delight to be upon. The clouds played across the top as we stood there, sometimes taking away all visibility, then sweeping aside to reveal glimpses of Ullswater and the old Greenside Mine, then the long sweep of Raise, Red Tarn, and – suddenly and dramatically – Helvellyn.
I like clouds on summits when they are in such a playful mood. It’s grand to get a complete view, but quite fun to be teased with glimpses.
We descended by way of Birkhouse Moor, an easy walk. The light was fading despite the earliness of the afternoon, and soon the rain came in. We went down to Glenridding by way of the Mires Beck Path, all zig-zag and rock. Too much like a staircase for my liking. I prefer a bit of variation in stride as I descend. And so does my game foot, which protests at predictable distances, preferring to come down at different angles.
But then I find descents harder work than going up.
But good memories of Catstycam, with its lovely little summit and dashing clouds.