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, 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, 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.

Superb views on walk 118

September 30, 2016

Couple above Derwentwater

Couple above Derwentwater

Some weather is dubious for walking at best, but there are other reasons to welcome a forecast of ‘sunshine and showers’. On walk 118 I was being battered by hail at one point, and this was the windiest walk for some time. However, there were also advantages to it. I was up on the southern side of the Skiddaw range, bagging Carl Side and Dodd, and Wainwright was once seen to mutter (in the Skiddaw Little Man chapter as it happens) that the view south from these fells is the best in the District. I would be inclined to agree with him, as you can see here. There are several other pictures like this up on the walk 118 page.

View from White Stones

View south from White Stones, on Carl Side

Two summits bagged takes my total of second round fells to 76 of the 330, thus I have 254 to go. I hope to get my next walk in before October is out but I have only a couple of available dates so it does depend on the weather. But as this walk proved, sometimes it is worth taking a gamble on this kind of thing…

First light, Mosedale

First light. 6.40am in Mosedale, having just departed the Cottage on the ascent of Howes.

I’ve been planning for a while to undertake a walk that included an overnight stay in the bothy of Mosedale Cottage. This old shepherd’s accommodation has no facilities beyond a sofa and a stove (but no fuel unless you bring it): even water has to be brought from the nearby stream. But if one can bring everything else that is needed, it allows easier access to some particularly inaccessible Wainwrights.

Hence the walk I did this week, walk 117; 21 miles in total, starting at Burneside railway station on Wednesday morning and finishing at Burnbanks, near the Haweswater dam, at 10am on Thursday in time for the weekly bus to Penrith.

Mosedale Cottage

Mosedale Cottage

I bagged 11 Wainwrights over the two days, a slice through the far eastern fringe of the District: several from chapters in the Outlying Fells (Bannisdale Horseshoe, Howes, Naddle Horseshoe) and three from the Far Eastern Fells (Grey Crag, Tarn Crag, Selside Pike). This boosts the total to 74 done from my second round, meaning I have 256 to go.

Although it was a memorable experience, particularly in the first 45 minutes or so of the morning of day 2, I have to say this was also one of my hardest walks, particularly due to the need to carry so much on my back. Day 1 was sunny, but also warm and sweaty, whereas the last two hours of day 2 were done in poor weather and, at the very end, heavy rain. But I guess thanks to the scenes pictured here, it was probably worth it. Read all about it on the walk 117 page if you are interested.

Howes summit

The summit of Howes, 7.05am on day 2 of walk 117

The approach to Whiteside

The approach to Whiteside, from Hopegill Head

A little belatedly, due to going back to work after my summer break, but I have published the walk 116 page, recounting the details of walk I did the other day — up through Thornthwaite Forest, down Whinlatter then up to bag two more Wainwrights on my second round — Hopegill Head and Whiteside. This was a very good walk in its second half. The final climb up to Hopegill Head is excellent, a scramble on bare rock to a superb little peak, and the ridge to Whiteside one of the best short ridges in the District in my opinion. The descent from Whiteside was also enlivened by an absolute carpet of flowering heather, as you can see here.

Heather on Whin Ben

Heather on Whin Ben

On the other hand there was frustration in the first half of the work due to disruptions caused by forestry operations, about which I rant (a little) in the commentary (see walk 116). I just wish things didn’t have to get left in such a mess.

After a good recent run of walks I have now bagged 63 of the 330 Wainwrights, thus have 267 to go in my second round. Having gone back to work now I don’t know quite when the next walk will be, but of course when it happens I will update all the information on here. In the mean time, enjoy the rest of the summer…

High Street summit

Walkers approaching the summit of High Street.

Finally, yesterday (5th August 2016) was a chance for a walk on a sunny day — not constantly, there was cloud around at times, but a lot more than has been seen by me in the Lakes since early March.

So I made the most of it, with walk 115, a walk of just over 15 miles that surely must count as one of the classic Lake District walks. From Hartsop, up over High Street then along the fantastic Ill Bell ridge, one of the best walks in the District.

Troutbeck Valley

View of the Troutbeck valley, from the Garburn Road. The walk goes along the ridge on the right side.

Last time I came round here, back in spring 2010, I had a walk blighted by low cloud and never saw anything of the dramatic terrain all around, but today was ample compensation. This is an excellent walk, highly recommended, and as the weather was better I am quite happy with my photos of it as well. So please do take a look at the detailed walk 115 page if you are interested.

Seven summits bagged today as well, so it was a productive walk. That means I have now done 61 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, so have 269 to go. I hope to get another walk in next week before I have to go back to work.