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.

Tarn Hows, towards Langdale

Tarn Hows, with the Langdale mountains behind

The weather still refuses to get particularly sunny, but although yesterday (Saturday 23rd July) was another cloudy one, it remained a pretty good day for walking. It was also my first day after finishing work for three weeks, which meant both that I did want to mark it with a walk, but, being tired, didn’t want anything too strenuous.

Hence walk 114, the first highlight of which was Tarn Hows, pictured here: an amazing 19th century piece of landscape gardening (albeit on land nicked from the peasants by an Act of Parliament in 1862). It also took in three summits, Black Fell from Wainwright’s volume 4, and Latterbarrow and Claife Heights from the Outyling Fells.

Conifers on Claife Heights

Conifers in (what remains of) the Claife Heights plantations.

A very good walk in its first part, the later bits were a bit less uplifting thanks to messy felled plantations, but still, all walks are worth doing in the end.

As of today I have done 54 of 330 Wainwrights in my second round, so have 276 to go. I plan a couple more walks before I have to go back to work, weather permitting, so check back… Meanwhile, more details about yesterday are on the walk 114 page for those that are interested.

Walk 113 completed

July 14, 2016

Vale of Grasmere

View of the Vale of Grasmere, on the descent from Seat Sandal

Distracted myself both from some personal cock-ups which have, let’s say, rather altered my timetable this week, and the broader, institutional cock-ups which presently affect the lives of everyone in Britain — and did what I usually do when I need the space, that is, went for a walk.

Walk 113 of my ever-extending project got me into the heart of the Lake District, from Patterdale to Grasmere via the summits of Dollywaggon Pike and Seat Sandal. Dollywaggon Pike was my main target as it was five years ago that I went up its neighbour Nethermost Pike from Ruthwaite Cove to the east, a climb I since rated as one of the best in the whole first round.

Dollywaggon Pike from Grisedale

Dollywaggon Pike from Grisedale

The ascent was certainly adventurous and interesting even if it didn’t turn out as exciting as that of its neighbour. Good walk all round, even if the weather, once again, could have been better. Read the full details on the walk 113 page if interested.

As of today, then, I have reached 51 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, thus have 279 to go. With my summer break starting soon I do hope to get another walk in before the end of the month.

Harrison Sticke and Harrison Combe

Harrison Stickle rises above the eponymous Combe

Midsummer’s Day, June 21st, saw it stop raining for the first time in a week and allowed an opportunity to get out on the fells. Walk 112 got me up the Langdale Pikes, one of the most compact and excellent regions for walking in the whole District. Five fells can be bagged in quick succession, only just over a mile per fell, including Harrison Stickle (pictured) and Pavey Ark, ‘Langdale’s biggest cliff’, which I scrambled and crawled up by way of the Easy Gully route — not that this was particularly easy, especially when having to clamber up some boulders blocking the gully at the top. Well, I made it, just about. If you would like to read more about it, check out the walk 112 page.

Stickle Tarn

Stickle Tan, viewed from its dam

As of today, then, I have bagged 49 of the 330 Wainwrights that will comprise my second round, meaning I have 281 to go. We are coming up on the 7th anniversary of 9th July 2009, the day I started on my first round (by attaining Walla Crag), and I intend that my next walk be around that date this year, so check back then for more updates…

Black Combe and Duddon Estuary

Black Combe and the Duddon estuary, from near Foxfield station.

Black Combe sits in the corner of Cumbria, being the south-westernmost Lakeland fell and famous for its extensive view. I went out that way today to bag it as the culmination of walk 111. A good walk, mostly — but its remoteness means it took a long time to get there, so yesterday (Saturday 4th June) was a long day and a quite warm, muggy one. Enjoyable for the views however: there really are some fine vistas to be had from this walk, whether of the Cumbrian coast or inland to the southern part of the Lake District proper. See the photos on the walk 111 page.

Mountain biker

This gentleman proved today that Black Combe is a mountain that can be cycled up (I have a shot of him on the ascent too).

As of today, then, I have bagged 45 of the 330 Wainwright fells a second time — thus my second round has 285 to go. There are definite plans to get another walk under my belt in June, the weather seems good at the moment so fingers crossed.


Hall's Fell ridge

The Hall’s Fell ridge of Blencathra, leading straight to the summit.

It took a lot longer than I thought after walk 109 to return to the District for my next expedition. Bad weather around the end of April put paid to plans at that time, and in May I’ve just been too busy.

But finally, things panned out today so I could get out and complete walk 110. This was short — only 4.75 miles approximately — but no simple stroll, as it took me up to the summit of Blencathra, one of the Lakes’ major mountains, and the first real player that I have gone up a second time.

Blencathra summit, looking south

Blencathra summit, looking south

The climb via Hall’s Fell is described in fulsome terms by Wainwright — so was it as good as he makes out? Certainly this was a fine walk, but to get my full review you’ll have to look at the walk 110 page.

As of today, then, I have done 39 of the 330 Wainwrights a second time, thus have 291 to go. I have several more years of this yet I am sure, so keep checking in… But you won’t have to wait that long, because the next walk is planned for this weekend, weather permitting.


Walk 109 completed

April 12, 2016

Gurnal Dubs

Gurnal Dubs, on Potter Fell

I had two days blocked out this week on which a walk might be possible, and the sensible one to go for would have been yesterday (Monday) but for various reasons I didn’t go. Today, Tuesday, was rather more grey and damp, so i revised plans to go up Blencathra and instead picked off some Outlying Fells for a second time, Reston Scar, Hugill Fell and Potter Fell, all above the village of Staveley. Low-pressure walking, but pleasant enough, particularly the tarn of Gurnal Dubs (pictured), a really nice spot. Also over 10 miles, and plenty of climbing, so not an easy option by any means. Read all about all the details on the walk 109 page if you are interested.

As of today then, I have done 38 of the 330 Wainwrights a second time, so have 292 to go. I plan to get another walk in before April is out, although that probably won’t be Blencathra either… but it’s on the to-do list soon, I promise.