Grasmere to Patterdale-Thursday 20

So now we know why we needed to bring all those warm clothes in August. It rained the whole way. Not hard, but the 30 knot wind that accompanied it definitely got one's attention. It became immediately clear that we would not be climbing Hellvelyn today (or Van Halen as it is known in the team) We were already in the clouds before we got to the turn off for the mountain top.

The wind snapped at our rain gear, making it hard to walk (for all except Marty, who's still in a T-shirt "this weather doesn't make me cold, it just makes me angry.") Later we learn that other people didn't make it through the pass--once they were on their hands and knees they decided to turn back.

No one has noticed how much we are speeding up. Not least because we were cold. But we did 8 miles in 5 hours. On the first day, we took two hours longer to walk a similar distance. We're going to need this speed if we are going to make it tomorrow--16 miles. It also takes us out of the Lakes. If we make it tomorrow, we'll make it all the way.

We were done early and are rewarded with what turns out to be one of our favorite Youth Hostels. Not only did we not have to wash the dishes, we didn't even have to collect the full ones--waiter service! Good food, huge servings.

But the biggest wonder of them all is that there is not only a washing machine, there's a dryer too! All the hostels have "Drying Rooms" and all but one do not work. They are so full of damp clothes (you can't use the word laundry, which might imply that it was clean) that by morning all that has happened is that every item smells like every other item, and they are all of a uniform dampness. The only time the drying room worked was one where from 11pm to 5am they cranked the temperature up to about 120F and provided ventilation. Claudia estimates she spent 6 or 7 hours nursing the washer and dryer. The rest of us did short shifts to relieve her/keep her company, but secretly she enjoyed the warmth of the room.