New lows on High Stile

The path had disappeared among the boulders. The fells themselves had disappeared in the clag. And any sense of humour had long since disappeared on what should have been a simple enough ridge to run, but which, having left the compass and map somewhere of little use and having taken a spur off the main ridge in error, was turning into a distinctly unpleasant descent.
Surveying the scene the next day, the summits clear, it all looked rather benign. Scrambling down greasy boulders, man-handling the dog, peering into the clag trying to check for imminent drops, it had all felt quite different the previous day. Remarkable how familiar territory - and a descent I have made more than once before albeit some years ago - can seem so alien when encountered unexpectedly, in bad conditions.
A few miles in, on the final steep ascent of Great Bourne above Ennerdale, Floutern Cop and Gavel Fell behind. Soon after, the clag descended. Navigating from memory all went well over Starling Dodd and Red Pike, though it is a broad ridge with high walk-about potential. The summit of High Stile passed unnoticed so thick was the mist and as the ridge began to drop, I became convinced we were descending towards Sheep Bone buttress from High Crag. This would have been unfortunate and knowing the nature of the crags below, resulted in a little tension as we picked our way through the boulders. 
We were in fact just off the path above Grey Crags having mistakenly followed the ridge to the north-east rather than south-east and as we dropped into the (wrong) valley, the clag lifted. And having reached new lows on High Stile, the rain began to fall in earnest. There followed a long, cold, wet slog back to Ennerdale, via Buttermere, Crummock and the interminable bogs approaching Floutern Tarn. On the last climb beneath the tarn, a pack of hounds tore past, their focus and energy utterly at odds with my own as we loped down towards the lake and home.

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