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.

Summit of Allen Crags

Summit cairn, Allen Crags. Ill Crag (part of Scafell Pike) in the background.

Walk 123 opened up for me thanks to 2nd January being a public holiday in the UK and also managing another very good weather forecast. This forecast turned into actuality, with the day being bright and frosty, as you can see from this shot of Allen Crags‘ summit cairn. That, along with Glaramara and Rossett Pike, were the three fells bagged today. Read about my day, and see more photos, on the walk 123 page if you like.

Combe Gill

Looking up Combe Gill

It’s back to work for me now, though — the new (working) year awaits. My next walk is hopefully going to be around 23rd – 24th January: depending on the weather as always, but I’ve been doing well with that for the last few months. As of today then, I have bagged 87 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, so have 243 to go.

Shoreline below Humphrey Head

The shoreline of Morecambe Bay, below Humphrey Head

Having finished work for my Christmas break I was hoping to get a walk in somehow, but really wasn’t feeling up to a major mountain hike. Hence yesterday’s walk 122, which took me over the low eminences of Hampsfell and Humphrey Head.

The latter is the lowest Wainwright of all, at a mere 172 feet above sea level, but a place worth visiting, being a headland sticking out into Morecambe Bay. Yesterday this was all draped in mist but that gave it a wintry melancholy that was quite different from when I came here three and a half years ago (walk 72), a hot summer’s day. Part of the point of doing this second round is to experience variety with each fell and that was certainly true with these two.

Deer

Deer, near Wraysholme crossing: an unexpected nature spot today

I don’t know for sure whether this will be my last walk of 2016 or not; I would say the chances of getting one in between Xmas and New Year are about 50/50 at the moment. Either way it’s been a very good walking year, with 18 walks done, starting with the snowbound walk 105 in January. That was a memorable experience, as were Blencathra, Bowfell (last time), the Mosedale Cottage marathon, to name but a few others. And all recorded on here, for your delectation….  For more on today’s walk see the walk 122 page.

As of today then, I have done 84 of the 330 Wainwrights a second time, thus have 246 to go….

Bowfell from the top of the Band

The upper slopes of Bowfell, as seen from the plateau at the top of the Band

At this time of year, it’s never easy to find a possible day for a walk, particularly outside a weekend, but Friday 25th November was booked in as a day off work weeks ago for various reasons. Even then however, late November is hardly a dependable time for weather — or at least, only insofar as one can depend on it being unpredictable.

And yet…. 25th November 2016 might well have been one of the best late November days of my whole life, with still air and cloudless skies, though also snow and ice. Either way, lucky me for being able to take advantage of it on walk 121 by going up Bowfell, one of Wainwright’s ‘Top Half-Dozen’, and justifiably so. An excellent mountain, rocky and dramatic but not too arduous on the ascent, and with a spectacular view from the summit, one of the best. All a fine way to spend a Friday therefore.

The Band

The Band. illuminated by the low afternoon sun. Crinkle Crags is (or are) in the background.

For the details, do read the walk 121 page, which has the usual crop of additional photos. As of today, then, I have bagged 82 of the 330 Wainwright fells for a second time, thus have 248 to go. I might get one more walk in before or just after Christmas, but once again, that depends on the weather. Still, the dice came up all in my favour yesterday, so let’s see if they do so again.

Dovedale

Dovedale, with Dove Crag prominent

Why call my walk 120, completed yesterday (5/11/16), ‘The First Wainwright Walk’?

Because according to Hunter Davies, Wainwright’s biographer, it was on 9th November 1952 that Wainwright ascended Dove Crag via the beautiful valley of Dovedale, and thus began work on the immense 13-year project that was The Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells. And pretty much 64 years later to the day, I went up that fell the same way, so the scenes that greeted me cannot have been a great deal different from those Wainwright saw on that day.

High Pike

High Pike from above

11 miles, more or less, between Patterdale and Ambleside saw me bag three fells, adding High Pike and Low Pike to Dove Crag. So as of today, I have bagged 81 of the 330 fells on my second round, and thus have 249 to go. If you would like to hear all about the details, see the walk 120 page.

Next walk? Late November is possible but it really depends on the weather…. still, the last few have been good so hopefully this weather pattern will continue for a little while yet. It’s definitely becoming winter out there though…

 

Summer continues: walk 119

October 26, 2016

Lord's Seat

Lord’s Seat, the highest part of Whitbarrow, from the south

Seeing as yesterday, 25th October, was literally the first day in the month of October in which I’ve been able to do a walk (weather notwithstand- ing), it was good fortune that the day was bright and clear, continuing the pattern that has enveloped Northern England for a couple of months now — and which has been gratefully welcomed.

Walk 119 headed over the beautiful limestone pavement of Whitbarrow, which was well worth visiting, then Newton Fell (South), which was probably not worth it, but is now bagged a second time so I don’t have to do it again.

Joe out walking

All five feet seven inches of Joe ambles down the lane along Yewbarrow

The walk was also notable for the company of Joe, who today bagged his 27th and 28th Wainwrights. He’ll still just about come out on a walk; as this photo makes clear, he’s now pretty much as tall as me. Not sure I’ve raised a fellwalker yet but we’ll see if I can keep working on it.

As of today then I have done 78 of the 330 Wainwrights, thus have 252 to go. Next walk on 5th November I hope. In the meantime have a look at the walk 119 page if you would like to know more.