Walk 136: Buttermere

September 17, 2017

Buttermere valley

The Buttermere valley. What’s not to like?

Friday 15th September saw me on walk 136 around the Buttermere area — a very pleasant slice of countryside, as you can see from this picture. That’s the High Stile – High Crag ridge, but my destinations today lay on the other side of the valley, in the North-Western fells. I bagged three — Rannerdale Knotts (small, but perfectly formed), Wandope and Whiteless Pike (pictured below). All worth doing, though the haul up to Wandope’s summit via the Addacomb Hole ridge was a very steep climb.

Whiteless Pike ridge

Looking along the ridge to Whiteless Pike. Note the walker in the col.

You can read all the details and see several more photographs on the walk 136 page.

As of today, then, I have done 121 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, thus have 209 to go. My next walk should be in the first weekend of October, all going well.

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Boat on Coniston Water

Boat on Coniston Water, looking to the head of the lake.

It’s that time of year when work and not-work have to kind of meld into each other, like one of those back-and-forth edits in Easy Rider. The sun came out, which it has done only infrequently in this rather dull summer, and Joe needed some fresh air so I tempted him out on walk 135, which bagged three of the Outlying Fells a second time: Yew Bank and Wool Knott from the Woodland Fell chapter, and Beacon Fell. Mostly a good walk, on a very fine day: but there is a crappy passage in the middle, which means I would reorganise the walk if I ever did it again. Still, with this being the second (and, I assure you, final) time I will be doing all the Wainwrights, I may never go back…

Yew Bank summit

Yew Bank summit, cairn, Joe and others.

But apart from that it was a pleasant walk in a very attractive and low-stress part of the world. And it contained a boat trip as well. Read all about it on the walk 135 and associated fell pages.

As of today, then, I have done 118 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, thus have 212 to go. Definitely no more until at least the first week in September, though. Hope you are enjoying your own summer, however it is panning out.

Sunbeams in Great Langdale

Sunbeams in Great Langdale

I’ve just come back from a week’s holiday in the Lake District during which I managed to do four walks, and bag a total of ten summits over about 45 miles of walking and 12,000 feet of climbing — so these ten summits were hard-earned! Even more so as the weather wasn’t particularly great — there were occasional bursts of sunlight (as on this shot) and no one got a total soaking, but for sure, it was cold and windy all week, at least on the tops of mountains. But I’m not complaining too much. (Just a little bit.)

As ever you can read full details on the walks in their separate pages on this site, which amount to the following:

Joe at the quarry

Joe investigates the quarries of Coniston Old Man on walk 132

Following that week’s exertions then, as of today I have bagged 116 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, and have 214 to go. There should be another walk in August, hoping for better weather…

Joe on Cunswick Scar

Joe battles the terrain of Cunswick Scar. Looking back south to Scout Scar.

Yesterday, Saturday June 24th, had become literally the only day in June when I could possibly have fitted in a walk, due to a combination of trips away from home and other work commitments. So it was happening virtually whatever the weather, and as Joe would otherwise have been left at home on his own and I fancied some company, I persuaded him to come along. The combination of these factors meant it was a good idea to get in something straightforward and logistically easy: the result was walk 130, up on Scout Scar above Kendal, the first chapter described in The Outlying Fells. An easy ramble up on the dry limestone cliffs, simple to get to and enjoyable despite the drizzle. Read all about it and see more pictures on the walk 130 page.

Helsfell Nab

Helsfell Nab

The two summits in the Scout Scar chapter take my total up to 105 summits in the second round of 330 Wainwrights: thus I have 225 to go. With a week’s holiday coming up in the Lakes at the end of July, there won’t be any more walks for a month but hopefully then at least four in a week. Hopefully the annual June drudge weather will have shifted by then…

Easdale Tarn and Tarn Crag

Easdale Tarn, Tarn Crag, and a couple of swimmers

Anyone in Britain is clearly aware that we’re in a sunny and very warm spell at the moment — the weather at the end of May is often nice, so it’s not exactly unusual, but no one is complaining.

Good enough to certainly get me out on walk 129 in preference to sitting in my house marking student essays, that’s for certain. The walk saw me revisit a trio of summits that horseshoe around the valley of Easdale: Blea Rigg, Sergeant Man and Tarn Crag. Not the most dramatic walk perhaps but a very interesting one, with plenty to see, including my fifth sighting of some wild deer (see picture here) on Tarn Crag. See the walk 129 page for all the details and more photos.

Deer on Tarn Crag

Deer on Tarn Crag, watching me watching them…

The photos are full of blue and green… these were the dominant colours of the day. A breeze on the tops made the conditions tolerable in the end. So yes, a good day’s walking for sure.

As of today then I have done 103 of the Wainwrights in my second round and have 227 to go. I hope to get another walk in before we reach the middle of June. In the meantime read about yesterday’s hike, and see more photos, on the walk 129 page if you like.

Wasdale from Great Gable

The view of Wasdale from near the summit of Great Gable

One of the points of doing a second round was to reacquaint myself with those fells which, for whatever reason — usually bad weather — I didn’t feel I did justice to the first time round. Great Gable was definitely one of those, having been first bagged in really foul weather in July 2012 (walk 60b, which I still say was the worst single day’s walking I’ve done on this project).

It was thus a great pleasure to return to it yesterday, May 2nd, on walk 128 which took place on a far nicer, springlike day. I came up from Seathwaite, perhaps not the most dramatic of possible routes up this noble fell, but it was still a fine walk with plenty of drama and excellent views. It also saw my first ever visit to Sty Head, a major walkers’ crossroads in Lakeland. Read more about it, with the usual crop of additional photos, on the walk 128 page.

Seathwaite valley

Spring in the Seathwaite valley, looking up Grains Gill (walk 128)

Great Gable was fell number 100 of my second round: so I have 220 to go. May’s shaping up to be a good month to get some more walking in, particularly if the good weather holds, so I hope to do my next walk before too long. Where will I do this? Who knows yet? That’s the good thing — I’ve still got more than two-thirds of the district to do again.

Walk 127 in the far west

April 18, 2017

View from Flat Fell summit

View west from Flat Fell summit. The rise ahead is Blakely Raise, with Grike peeking up to the left.

For the second year in a row I managed to go on a walk on Easter Monday, this year’s being walk 127 which took me around to the far west of the Lake District via the Cumbrian Coast rail line (a landscape odyssey of its own, disregarding any walks taken from it). I was setting out to do a longer walk, but didn’t really have enough time on the day. At nearly 13 miles the one I did was long enough though, and it bagged me three fells, Dent, Grike and Flat Fell. Read the details, with the usual crop of extra pictures on the walk 127 page.

As of today, then, I have bagged 99 of the 330 Wainwright fells on my second round. I hope I can make number 100 a significant fell, so let’s see what the weather looks like in two weeks’ time, my next window of walking opportunity.

 

Walk 126 completed

April 8, 2017

Barrow from the mine road

Barrow from the Stoneycroft Gill mine road. Blencathra behind.

After the drizzle that beset my last walk (walk 125) and limited me to one low-altitude fell, it was gratifying to be up higher again yesterday on walk 126. Three and a half hours of effort, setting out from and returning to Braithwaite, and five summits bagged: Barrow, Outerside, Sail, Scar Crags and Causey Pike.

I do like the Northwestern fells. This is great walking territory, fells packed into a compact space and plenty of climbing needed, but none of it excessively difficult, and the added bonus of clear and fairly dry paths. The light wasn’t all that great for photography yesterday, no sunshine or shadows until the very end (the first glimmers of it caught on the picture of Barrow above), but the whole day worked out very well — I was back home by 6.35pm, thus out of Hebden Bridge just over 12 hours for a fine day out. You can read about it in much more detail and see photos on the walk 126 page.

Scar Crags summit

Scar Crags summit

As of today, then, I have done 96 of the 330 Wainwright summits a second time, and thus have 234 to go on my second round. I intend that my next walk be Easter Monday (17th): and it’s time to get round to the west. The summer bus services have started as well. There were plenty of hints of springtime in the air today — let’s hope it develops well.

Geese on Derwentwater

Geese on Derwentwater. Castle Head in the background. A good summation of conditions on the walk…

I had not managed to get to the Lakes since the first week of February, due to a combination of having too much work to get on with, then poor weather forecasts on the days I did have free. Had I not made a walk yesterday (March 18th), March would then have passed without a walk in it either.

Not wanting to extend the famine therefore, I took a risk with the weather, strapped on the waterproofs and headed up to Keswick for what became walk 125. I headed down the west shore of Derwentwater, walking the length of the lake to Grange then bagging Castle Crag as (for the second time) the sole fell on a walk.

Ascending Castle Crag

View from the ascent of the spoil heap on Castle Crag

Still worth doing — it’s a great, rugged little summit — though the weather was obviously a little disappointing. This definitely counts as a wet walk! It rained almost all the way round, not heavily, but persistent drizzle. Ah well, I needed the fresh air and it’s all good exercise, and the scenery is beautiful in any weather. Lots of people agree, as the walk was very busy, despite the weather. Read more about it, with further pictures, on the walk 125 page.

I’m off to Japan on Monday, a shame I will have no time there to do some walking as by all accounts there is some excellent hiking to be had in the country. Maybe next time. In terms of home — with the summer bus service starting again on 8th April it is definitely time to get into the west of the District once more, back into the higher fells. As of today I have done 91 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have 239 to go.

Martindale

View south to Martindale

Five weeks had passed since my previous walk, I hadn’t intended to go so long but a combination of too much work, poor weather and dubious health meant that it happened. Yesterday, 6th February, opened up however. The weather was quite pleasant in the morning but did deteriorate, so I chose a walk — walk 124 — that could start and finish fairly early. It took me from Pooley Bridge at the foot of Ullswater, over Dunmallet, Little Mell Fell and Great Mell Fell: not particularly exciting walking, but what I needed, and the views were good.

Little Mell Fell summit

Little Mell Fell summit: Pennines behind

As of this morning then I have bagged 90 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have 240 to go. I hope the next walk will be on Saturday February 18th, and I need to start getting round to the west edge of the District, as I’ve rebagged hardly any from over there. Meanwhile, please do have a look at the walk 124 page for more details on yesterday’s ramble.