BB1235 : See You, Jimmy!

Thursday 25th October 2012

Dear James.

Thank you for your telephone call yesterday to let me know you were passing close by our house and to look out for you.  It took a while for me to realise what you meant. Anyway, I did what you asked, looked out for you and there you were, Captain James, some three hundred feet above my head.  I liked the way you swooped down low, looped the loop, did a victory roll then headed off into the grey yonder.

You obviously didn't spot me as you sent me a text asking if I saw you?

Well, yes old bean.  I did, to use the well known phrase, "See You, Jimmy!" and got the photo to prove it.

Thank you for your text in response to mine querying the type of plane.  

I am sorry that "It's a p28r" left me none the wiser but your further clarification was very helpful:

In long hand, a Piper Arrow 201 turbo. 4 seats variable pitch propeller, retractable undercarriage and 6 cylinder continental engine with a turbo system. Four sets, 6 hours endurance and has a ceiling of  up to 16000 ft. 1980 model. At 2000 feet the 75% cruise about 135knts climb to flight level 100 or ten thousand feet the cruise increases to about 150 knts. Fuel flow about 11.5 US  glns per hour. Empty 1600 lbs with max take off 3000 lbs. fuel full tanks 136ltrs x two tanks. 8 quays of oil. Tyre pressure front 30psi and two wing undercarriage 36 psi. Take off about 70 knots and landing approach at 80 knots.

What more can I say?

What more can one say?

Well, Tony wants to know what is the rate of consumption of the Amber Liquid when at full throttle?

It's a pity, James, that you were unable to join us today.  We had a grand outing that you would have enjoyed.

You will probably remember Tony saying recently that he feels that completing the Wainwrights is going to be logistically too complicated.  He has now decided on a revised plan, scaled down in scope but retaining the higher levels of aspiration.  In other words, he is aiming to complete the English Monros; Helvellyn and Skiddaw having been knocked off long ago .  Today he saw as his first training session for Scafell Pike.

Training exercise number one was to be The Old Man of Coniston.  Just to make it more challenging, Stan decided that we should take Tony on the Coniston Round.  Or as I prefer to call it, especially today, the Coppermines Round.

It was odd, walking through Coniston.  With one exception, everybody seemed to know Tony and, in most cases, to be related to him by marriage, one advantage of which was that we were able to leave his car at his brother-in-law's house rather than pay SLDC an extortionate fee.

A strange thing happened as we climbed past the ancient Sun Inn. This is Tony's favourite pub in the village, one in which he claimed to have spent many a long night.

The landlord was sat outside having a coffee but he was the only person in the whole of Coniston who didn't recognise Tony.

The explanation given was that at the times that Tony was in the pub, the landlord was long asleep having left the premises in the safe hands of the bar staff.

Clearly Tony prefers the (all) night shift.


Tony and the Landlord

It was quite an overcast day as we set off up the Coppermines valley which, nevertheless, was living up to its colourful name.  

Heading up Coppermines Valley

The valley opens out

The forecast had predicted strong winds, near freezing temperatures and possible showers.  Consequently, we were prepared for the worst but, as we left the miners' track and climbed Hole Rake, the effort meant that layers soon had to be stripped off. However, by the time we reached the top of Wetherlam, the process had been largely reversed although, thankfully, no rain- a situation that remained throughout the day despite seeing showers passing quite close by from time to time.

Climbing Hole Rake

You can see that tower again!

The wind was indeed chilly and, exercise now over, we needed to find a sheltered spot for lunch.  In the distance we could see Scafell Pike.  And Scafell.  I don't think Tony had realised the extent of the drop between them and had assumed they were an easy pair.

Scafell and Scafell Pike

It came as a bit of a shock to him to learn that in order to complete the English Monros, the two Scafells would need to be undertaken as separate outings.

Once recovered, we dropped down to Swirl Hawse before climbing the intriguingly named Prison Band and on to the summit of Swirl How.

Comitibus :  Swirl How

Levers Water and Coniston Water behind

Brim Fell plus Goat's Water from Swirl How

Turning south, it was an easy(ish) undulation to Brim Fell but then something unfortunate happened.  We were overtaken by two youths accompanying a young lady.  To be fair, we were dawdling a bit.  After they had reached a quarter of a mile or so ahead, Stan and I agreed that this should not be allowed to happen, that one of us should give chase and beat them to the top of the Old Man.  The mission fell to Stan and he set off at a fair old trot.

Stan's on the chase

He seemed to make good inroads into reducing the gap before appearing to slow down. The deficit was greater than we had thought.  We saw him accelerate again but the gap looked too large.  Then they all disappeared behind a raise and we couldn't see them again until we reached the summit of the Old Man.  At this point, two things become clear.  

Firstly, Stan had heroically failed in his mission by only twenty yards or so.  

Secondly, they were no ordinary youths but an instructor and two trainees on a mountain leadership course.  Such a valiant effort on Stan's part against fit bodies forty-odd years his junior.  What a pity we hadn't set him off a minute earlier so that he could really have earned gloating rights.  If only you, James, had been there to act as pacemaker.

Old Man Tony surveys'.....

..... Coniston

Dow Crag

We descended by the Tourist Route, or pretty close to it, then through the quarries where Tony had a particular problem with elevating a limb above a cable. I think there is a technical term for this difficulty.

Low Water, Levers Water behind

Tony having difficulty

The views up the Coppermines valley were just, well, copperrific.  Hints of copper could be seen in the spoil heaps, the view being further enhanced by the autumnal glow of the spent bracken plus the turning of the leaves on the trees.

 Coppermines Valley

Dropping down to Coniston by the path Levers Water Beck was a quite spectacular example of this seasonal display.  Autumn proper seems to have come late, suddenly and gloriously but I suspect won't last long.

Had we dropped into the village on the right hand side of the beck (the way we had gone up) we could have saved some distance as it would have reached the Sun Inn directly. However, Tony wanted double figures on the mileage count so we took the left bank, past a field being set up for an old farm tools sale then, rather achingly, climbed back up to the Sun.

Want any old implements?

Tony makes the deal

It was not a surprise to discover that the pub was already buzzing and seemingly full of Tony's in-laws and mutual friends.

Had he not been driving, I suspect he, and therefore we, would have been there all night!

However, he also had to stay sober in order to negotiate a telephone deal for a sixth motorbike.

Consequently, he just had a shandy, did the business  and then the sensible thing in taking us home.

His aching limbs might not agree, but it was a good training exercise for him, probably more challenging than Scafell Pike itself, and a magnificent day out. Although there had been cloud cover most of the day, the Lake District scenery, both on the hills and the drive home, had looked at its best.

When we spoke last night on the phone, James, you asked me to conclude this report with a short summary of the abiding memory of the day.  

That was easy.

It was copper, James.

Or put another way, more scientifically:

Cu, Jimmy!

Best wishes

Don, 25th October 2012  






Thursday 25th October

Distance in miles:

10.1 (Garmin)

Height climbed in feet:

3,693 (Memory Map / OS)


Wetherlam, Swirl How, Brim Fell
The Old Man of Coniston

Other Features:



Don, Stan, Tony


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