Walkers and Windermere

Windermere, and walkers heading off Wansfell for Troutbeck

November 2018 dawned — at least, its second day did — with very fine weather and with Saturdays being unavailable for walking at the moment thanks to an endless run of train strikes, it was fortunate that I was not working on this Friday and able to take advantage of it. The walk I did — walk 154 — had to be an accessible one seeing as I had an event to go to in Lancaster this evening, and so I headed up the Troutbeck valley direct from Windermere station to bag Troutbeck Tongue and Wansfell. Not dramatic fells in themselves but the views could not be faulted. Read all the details and see plenty more photos on the walk 154 page.

Ancient bridge

The ancient clapper-bridge over Trout Beck

Let us not talk about the ineptitude of the train companies any further, merely to note that I had to do this walk rather more quickly than planned. Anyway — it was enjoyable, despite some awkward sections in the middle.

As of today, then, I have done 170 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and have 160 to go.

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Sands of Morecambe Bay

The sands of Morecambe Bay, as seen from Grange station

I have calculated that of all the walks done on this project thus far, today’s walk 153 was the one that reached the lowest altitude. Bigland Barrow, the first summit reached on the day, stands at only 630′ above sea level. And that was as high as it got.

Nevertheless this was a very good walk. In advance, I feared that it might be a bracken- or mud-choked agricultural trudge, but in fact it was an easy walk, all done on good paths and was accompanied by some fine views. So if you want a bit of healthy exercise on a fine autumn day, you could do a lot worse. Get all the necessary details plus more photos on the walk 153 page.

Bigland Barrow summit

The summit of Bigland Barrow, with observation post

As of today, then, I have bagged 168 of the Wainwrights on my second round, so have 162 to go.

I’d like to think there’ll be another walk before October is out — but then again it is the longest month of the year. (This is true, even if you do have to think about it…). As is always the case — let’s see how it goes.

Steeple from the YHA

Steeple, as seen from the garden of the Ennerdale YHA

It was time to get into the west again. Round this side of the Lake District there is no choice but to put in some substantial walks if I am to remain true to the commitment to do all this by public transport. The latest swathe of service cuts a couple of years ago has left the whole of Cumbria between Egremont and Millom without any buses at all. So walk 152 had to start out on the coast, at Seascale station, and come inland all the way from the beach at sea level; and past the burbling, hissing industrial complex at Sellafield, but that’s another story.

Thirty miles was far too much to do in a day, so the walk was split in two with a night at the Ennerdale Youth Hostel (YHA). The two walks are described on separate pages as follows:

Scoat Fell was fell number 165 of my second round, and as there are 330 Wainwrights this means I am half way through it — and three-quarters of the way through the whole planned double round. With Pillar done after it that means I have now done 166 Wainwrights and have 164 to go. I doubt I will get another walk in September, but the last two days have been more than enough, thank you — 30 miles in 28 hours, and the longest of all my two day hikes. Anyway — read all about it, and see more pictures, on the walk 152a and walk 152b pages.

Wythop Moss

The Skiddaw range rises behind Wythop Moss. Not a place to blunder into unknowing.

Walk 151 is never going to be counted as the most exciting walk in the Lake District (even in its immedaite area of Whinlatter), and on a dull grey day did admittedly not to much to excite. There was a high bracken quotient to handle.

But then again it is an easy walk through pleasant, rural surroundings, and like many of my walks have in recent weeks, bagged me a couple of the more obscure Wainwrights; Broom Fell and Graystones. I’m a few days late with the details (due to having gone to Berlin and back in the mean time) but if you want a detailed route description and more photos, see the walk 151 page.

Hopegill Head

Hopegill Head, above the clouds

As of today then I have done 161 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and have 169 to go. The halfway point — fell 165 — approaches and if I now fulfil my plans it will be reached in early September with, appropriately enough, Middle Fell, but let’s see if that plan works out…. largely it depends on the weather.

Joe on Angletarn Pikes summit

Joe relaxes on Angletarn Pikes summit

Walk 150 — a milestone to reach. But as I’m still not halfway through the second round there’s still enough of the Lake District left to allow some flexibility on the day. I headed out with Joe this morning intending to do Caudale Moor and some other fells around Kirkstone, but everything above 2,000 feet was in cloud today making a lower-level walk more desirable. Hence walk 150, which took us up to the fine double summit of Angletarn Pikes and then along the ridge to Beda Fell, dropping down to Howtown. A straightforward walk but one well worth doing. Full details and more photographs are on the walk 150 page. Along with a rant about private capital and the moronocracy, but you can skip that bit.

Deepdale and Hartsop above How

Deepdale, from Angletarn Pikes. Hartsop above How is the ridge embracing the valley.

As of today then, I have bagged 159 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and thus have 171 to go. The next walk should be in two weeks’ time, weather permitting — though as the pictures show today, cloud is not necessarily to be avoided, if dramatic scenes are what you seek out.

High Hartsop Dodd

High Hartsop Dodd, from Hartsop Hall.

The first Lake District walk of mine that I counted on this project — walk 1 (naturally) — took place on 19th July 2009, so more-or-less, yesterday was the ninth anniversary. Having come back from that holiday in the Lakes in 2009 with the plans to embark on this project (the first round of 214, anyway), all was then nearly derailed by the rather disastrous walk 5 on which I got badly dehydrated and for good measure had my camera nicked from my bag in an Ambleside pub, making that easily the worst of the 150+ days I have since spent walking in the Lakes.

Yesterday’s walk 149, however, was the first return to the territory of that walk and so a chance to reacquaint myself with a couple of the fells therein, High Hartsop Dodd (pictured above) and Little Hart Crag. And while this is never going to be seen as a classic walk, the surrounding area is very attractive and most of the paths of good quality. Add Arnison Crag and its view of Ullswater to the beginning and walk 149 comes well recommended. Read all about it and see more photos on the walk page.

New trees in Scandale

The rash of new trees in Scandale. Low Pike above.

As of today, then, I have bagged 157 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, therefore I have 173 to go. If plans pan out then I should reach the halfway point of the round (and the three-quarter point of the double round) in early September. My next walk is planned for early August — I think I have convinced Joe to come with me on that one.

Walker on Floutern Cop

Walker on Floutern Cop

It’s true that Britain could do with some rain to top up the reservoirs and stop all the lawns from dying, but as anyone who lives here, or has visited in the last two months, knows it’s really been very pleasant since early May and anyone complaining about this should be shot. It makes a change to have no concerns at all about packing waterproofs or extra layers — but on the other hand, sunscreen and plenty of water are essentials right now.

So it was on yesterday’s walk 148 which took me round some of the more obscure fells in Wainwright’s volume 7: Hen Comb, Starling Dodd and Great Borne. It’s a logical walk though, heading south from the foot of Crummock Water and into the lonely country around Mosedale and Floutern Pass. Another one worth doing in a time of drought Not a spectacular walk, but it was pleasing to finally get some more Western Fells bagged. Read all about it on the walk 148 page.

Crummock Water

Having fun on Crummock Water

All that and England winning over Sweden too. Not a bad day at all…

As of today then I have bagged 154 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, so have 176 to go. Unless the weather really does take a turn for the worse, and there is no sign of that at the moment, there’ll be another walk in the next two weeks.

South from High Seat

Looking south from High Seat, towards High Tove and Ullscarf. Much of the walk looks similar.

It has rained very little in the last six weeks, making this probably the driest period we’ve had since I started on these walks way back in 2009. I decided with walk 147 to risk an expedition into one of the Lakes’ most notoriously wet regions, the central ridge between Bleaberry Fell in the north, and the pass of Greenup — a ridge which also takes in the summits of High Seat, High Tove and Ullscarf along the way.

The gamble worked. Obviously a vile swamp in wet, or even normal, weather, the dry weather has turned it into reasonably good turf at the moment. I was able to do 14 miles in 5:15 and thus get the walk done at a decent hour — despite the ineptitude of Northern Rail, it getting me to Penrith an hour late this morning, and its current inability to provide a train service to Windermere for anyone. That’s another story — but if interested you can read about it in the comments on the walk 147 page, where there are more photos, the usual route details, etc.

Cottongrass is definitely the dominant lifeform on today’s walk: and it grows on boggy ground, note

As of today, then, I have bagged 151 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, and thus have 179 to go. Not promising anything but I hope that around the end of June, first week of July will be my next walk. I still haven’t got into the Western Fells again yet — thanks today to the aforementioned train cockups. It’s on the agenda but not entirely within my control…

Joe and Ill Crag

Joe and Ill Crag

Congratulations to Joe, who agreed to acccompany me on yesterday’s walk 146 and thus attained the summit of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. It’s not a walk to be underestimated, as anyone who has done it will know — the distance is fairly long and there are some difficult sections, particularly in the last mile or so before one attains the summit. And the full day expedition was done in relative heat and almost constant sunshine — believe it or not. (It really has been a very nice May, one to treasure.)

Rossett Pike and bracken

Rossett Pike, the day’s intensely blue skies, and the year’s early bracken crop

Nevertheless, we made it, his first visit and my second. I will feel no need to rush back to Scafell Pike but so be it, I can live with that. The walk also included neighbouring Lingmell — you can read all about it, as usual, on the relevant walk 146 page.

As of today, then, I have done 147 of the 330 Wainwrights a second time and thus have 183 to go. I hope the next ones will be bagged within the next fortnight although at the moment the availability of functioning rail services in the area is a random factor, but let’s not bring Northern Rail into this…

Crinkles from Dungeon Ghyll

Crinkle Crags, seen from Dungeon Ghyll

I haven’t been getting out on walks as often as I’d choose this year, as various other things (personal projects, train strikes, the weather, life) have been getting in the way. But yesterday, 12th May, was far too good a forecast to waste so I headed for Great Langdale and exorcised the ghosts of one of my wetter, colder Lakes experiences, namely walk 64 back in August 2012. That walk ensured I would add Crinkle Crags to the list of ‘fells I really needed to go back to in better weather’ — but walk 145 certainly delivered that. A fine, sunny day, but not too hot: ideal for walking and for bagging one of Wainwright’s ‘Top Six Fells’. Do I rank it that highly? Well, have a look at the detailed walk 145 page and see.

View through Mickle Door

View through Mickle Door, the walkers are on the path coming up from Red Tarn.

The logistics of this walk, and others ending at Dungeon Ghyll, have been made easier by a retiming of the buses back from there to Ambleside — there is now a bus at 15.05, instead of there being nothing between 14.05 and 17.05. This is far better for walkers and shows that someone, somewhere, may even be thinking about these things.

As of today, then, I have bagged 145 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have 185 to go. The plan is to return in just over a week, 22nd May — weather permitting but we seem to be in a settled spell at the moment, so fingers crossed. And it’s definitely time I went back to the Western Fells.