"Diary of a Madman" - part 5
The second summit of Wednesday 2nd June 2010 was intended to be Hard Knott
G/LD-034. Taking things one summit at a time, we had an optimal plan of then
doing Harter Fell G/LD-028 and possibly completing an epic day with Muncaster
Fell G/LD-055. However, at Cockley Beck we were flagged down by a police officer
who told us that Hard Knott Pass was closed. "It's for your own safety, there's
a firearms incident in progress". The officer showed us on the atlas which roads
to avoid and where was safe, and we drove down the other fork towards Seathwaite.
BBC Radio Cumbria was now essential listening in the car, as we learned of
the horrors perpetrated that morning by Derrick Bird. At this point he was still
at large and randomly shooting people, and it was announced that he was driving
a silver or grey Citroen Picasso - the same as mine! Reports at the time were
that five people had been killed, and then that he had abandoned his car in Boot
village. This sits at the other end of Hard Knott Pass from our intended access,
and hence why the police had closed the road.
We figured that Muncaster Fell - Hooker Crag G/LD-055 was now the sensible
target, and safely distant from the areas where police were advising people to
stay indoors. Jimmy navigated me through the country lanes to the A595 near
Muncaster Castle, and then to the sharp bend at SD100968, where I parked at the
side of Fell Lane (track).
This hill was then a pleasant sunny afternoon stroll, mainly level with only
minimal ascent. It was a surreal experience, the beautiful tranquil afternoon
juxtaposed with the knowledge of the killing spree only a few miles away.
We packed up and enjoyed the warm late afternoon easy stroll back to the car.
I cracked open a tin of Red Bull, and tuned back in to BBC Radio Cumbria. The
death toll had risen from 5 to 13, including the gunman Derrick Bird himself.
Suffice to say this was the only thing on the radio stations for the journey
home. I returned to Mr Osbourne's spookily appropriately titled album.