A duff forecast for the fells

August is a month I associate with rain. Rain and midges. Starting with that as my premise for a day in the fells or afloat, is perhaps the best means of ensuring motivation remains until the typical improvement seen at some point in September before the autumn gales. Yet the mountain forecasts called for clearing skies and warm sunshine - no less than 170C at 750m. My usual scepticism forgotten we headed into the heart of the fells...
...hoping to arrive on the tops to find something not dissimilar to this - taken almost exactly one year ago from Grassmoor, Scafell on the far right, Esk Pike and Bowfell on the far left. 
Starting in Seathwaite we planned to run up Grains Gill and across to Rossett Pike before picking up the rough path to the summit of Bowfell, returning via Esk Pike and Styhead Tarn. By the time we had reached the coll between Esk Hause and Allen Crags I think the plan had changed twice. The second change seeing us heading directly for Esk Pike, taking in the summit in thick clag, rain and a chill wind.
A little cold despite the climb and distinctly damp, the clag suddenly cleared - Sprinkling Tarn visible beneath the cliffs of Great End. 
The rapid change prompted another quick debate and we altered course again, heading down rapidly towards Angle Tarn. I was keen to follow a path which I knew descended alongside Langstrath Beck but which I had never used.
Snaking steeply through the moraines it was a delight to run - despite the occasional stretch of bog trotting - its discovery alone would have made the day worthwhile and we passed a succession of waterfalls cascading into the valley, the beck swollen from two days of summer rain.
Looking back into the fells from the head of the valley and the first vaguely level ground of the day, Esk Pike lost once more in the clag far above.
By the time we crossed the beck several kilometres further on, it wouldn't have been possible to get much wetter without falling in. Which I nearly did a moment before this image was taken.
Lower down the valley still, following the growing beck which feeds the upper Derwent above the lake. There are many beautiful pools hereabouts quite a few of which I have swam in after hot days on the crags years ago - a less tempting prospect today.
As for the forecast, well the skies did clear and while the temperature may have been a little shy of that predicted, the midges were notable only in their absence leaving us in peace to peel off the wet layers and make a brew. A duff forecast then but another fine day on the fells regardless.

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