The last walk of 2017

December 22, 2017

Grizedale forest

Deep in the forest

Walk 140 will definitely be my last of 2017. The forecast was for cloud and drizzle, and that was bang on the money, so it was not a day to get out on the high fells. Instead, I walked from the west end of the cross-Windermere ferry, near Far Sawrey, over to Coniston, on the way taking in the summit of Carron Crag (the only Wainwright bagged today) and trees. A lot of trees, this being Grizedale Forest, one of the largest expanses of woodland in England. It’s a decent walk to do on a day like this, but no one is ever going to claim it’s a very exciting one. Still, see what you think from the detailed route description and pictures on the walk 140 page.

Twigs and droplets

What it was like today: a) wet b) trees

As of today — and as there’ll be no more walks until January, as of the end of 2017 — I have done 131 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have 199 to go. 2017 saw me do 18 walks with a total of 47 Wainwrights bagged: there were no really great set-pieces unlike in 2016, though it was nice to get up Great Gable in decent weather (and make it number 100 of the second round).

Anyway, whatever you are doing — have a merry Christmas. I hope to be walking again before 2018 is more than a few days old.

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Raise from White Side

Looking back to Raise, from White Side

In the two walks done at the start of November, I was out on the fells (admittedly fairly low ones) without need for an outer fleece or jacket. But not yesterday, 29th November — for as you can see I was up above the snowline in the Helvellyn range. Walk 139 was fairly short, at just 6.5 miles, but there was plenty of climbing needed to bag four fells: Glenridding Dodd, Sheffield Pike, Raise and White Side. The latter two were also done in the snow the first time round, making them the first fells in this project to be bagged twice in snow each time. Which, for White Side, is fairly appropriate I suppose.

Thirlmere

View of Thirlmere on the descent. No zipwires, please (see commentary)

As of today, then, I have bagged 130 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have exactly 200 to go. I hope to get one more in before Christmas, but it does all depend on the weather in the week of the 18th December.

One more thing while you’re here. I’m not against development per se but the idea that the worth of the Thirlmere valley will be enhanced by running zipwires across the lake might be one that, like me, you find faintly ludicrous. If so, it’s probably not a bad idea to register your objection to the scheme before it gets past the planning authorities. See this page from the Friends of the Lake District site for more information about the scheme and how to register your objection. Thank you.

Walk 138 around Kentmere

November 6, 2017

High Knott summit, rain shower

High Knott summit, through a rain shower

I said at the end of the last blog post that I hoped to get out onto the fells again within a week, and duly managed this on Saturday, when another mostly sunny and mild day (with a few rain showers admittedly — as pictured here0 saw me bag three fells on walk 138: High Knott, Sour Howes and Sallows. The walk was a little longer than expected (12.5 miles) but it’s worth doing thanks to some fine views of Windermere. But you will be deflected by fences and walls at various points, as I discuss in the commentary.

As of today then I have bagged 126 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, thus have 204 to go. Next walk…. who knows? Depends on good weather coinciding with one of my few free days between now and Christmas…

Gate above Scarside

The gate onto the open fell above Scarside: Withnail & I location, number 1 (see the text).

It feels like quite a while since I did any proper walking, even including the guest appearance of Tromsdalstinden at the beginning of October. Six weeks since my last Wainwright walk and only that one done since mid-August. Time to get out…

Half-term holidays therefore saw me take Joe to the east side of the Lake District for walk 137, which bagged two Outlying Fells, namely Knipescar Common and Heughscar Hill. Both are gentle green rises and no one is going to consider this walk a ‘mountain climb’ but nevertheless this is a fine hike through beautiful countryside, and with extensive views, particularly the one of Ullswater from Heughscar Hill (pictured). Read all about it and see more photos on the walk 137 page.

Ullswater

The view of Ullswater from Heughscar Hill

The bonus of the walk, at least for fans of the movie Withnail and I, is that it visits two of the locations, the gate pictured above (in the movie, where the duo confront the bull), and the phone box outside Bampton from where Withnail calls his agent — now supplied with a visitors’ book so pilgrims can record their presence at this hallowed scene. Well, we both like the movie anyway. Next time I will get Joe up to Crow Crag (Sleddale Hall, in Wet Sleddale).

As of today then, I have bagged 123 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round so have 207 to go. As I type I hope my next walk is only 48 hours away as I do plan to go at the weekend, so fingers crossed for the weather.

On the summit

On the summit

Seeing as I am in Norway to work until Wednesday I think it’s time for one of my occasional ‘International Guest Apperance’ walks. This is such a spectacular country, with a strong fellwalking tradition, it seems churlish not to at least try to get out into the fjell (mountains) when I’m here. Particularly when the weather was as superb as it was yesterday, Saturday 30th September. This despite being in Tromsø, the northernmost large city on the planet, at about 69º 40′ N…. but with weather of around 16ºC on the last day of September, time to get out.

View back to Tromsø

View back to Tromsø city, with the jagged mountains of Kvaløy (Whale Island) behind

Destination for this hike was the peak of Tromsdalstinden (Tromsdale Pike), which rises just to the east of the city. It’s 1,236 meters high, or 4,055 feet, making it far higher than any fell in the Lakes, and you have to climb pretty much all of it. It’s a bouldery wasteland on the top, but a fine climb nonetheless, with spectacular views. So I’ve added this page about the walk to the list of ‘International Walks‘ page, making it the third Norwegian hike to feature.

I hope to be back to the Wainwrights next weekend, 7th Oct, if not that then the following one.

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.

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.