2010: Review of the year

December 29, 2010

It is now confirmed I won’t get any more fells bagged in 2010. Pathetic rail networks (why, unlike every other industry sector, does the rail industry go out of its way to dissuade us from using it over Christmas?) and dull, misty weather this week has put paid to that. However, I plan to get a walk in by 10th January 2011.

In 2010 I have therefore done 63 fells, taking my total from 28 at the end of 2009 to 91 now.

Best 5 fells of 2010

Five fells that in one way or another gave me a real sense of achievement, were enjoyable, impressive, or all three.

  1. PILLAR, bagged as #55 of 214 on 31st May 2010. Scafell was higher, and maybe even tougher, but it doesn’t make this list due to the poor weather and just being that little bit too much hassle. Pillar was challenging, but never demoralising, and the intimate views of Pillar Rock were amazing.
  2. HARRISON STICKLE, #31, on 13th February 2010. The walk in the Langdale Pikes was enlivened by the snow which prevented me from bagging Pike O’Stickle but all the other Langdales were made exciting and beautiful. As the summit of the day this one stood out particularly.
  3. Wastwater Screes

    Looking north-east from Broken Rib, Wastwater Screes

    WHIN RIGG, #62 on 2nd July 2010. Notable for the good weather, good views and then the amazing next half-mile along the top of Wastwater Screes (see picture).

  4. HOPEGILL HEAD, #53, 30th May 2010. A superb peak at the point where three very good-looking ridges join, and great views.
  5. CAUSEY PIKE (#87) and SCAR CRAGS (#88), which complement each other so can both be listed here. Both gained immeasurably from a truly beautiful autumn day, but would be worth climbing anyway.

Best 5 photos

I have really begun to enjoy the photographic aspects of this project, in fact, in some ways it’s become the principal motivation for continuing with it. I hope to start trying to raise money by (among other things) selling some of the better photos, and this should be confirmed soon so do check back if you are interested. Anyway, here are the five photos I have taken this year which I like the best and which between them begin to tell the story of the project.

Sellafield, from Crag Fell

Looking south from Crag Fell towards Sellafield.

1. This was almost the last photo I took on the fells in 2010, taken towards the end of walk 28, 20th November 2010, as I descended towards Cleator Moor. The fact that it’s Sellafield in the background – a site Wainwright constantly denounced as a monstrosity when it appeared in any of the views he recorded – is a nice irony.

Helvellyn and Thirlmere

Helvellyn and Thirlmere, 2.30pm 2nd March 2010.

2. This was taken on walk 11, a glorious day in early March. The stillness and silence of the woods on the west side of Thirlmere was profound and right at this point was probably the happiest I felt out on the fells this year.

Barrow station, 20th November 2010

Barrow station, 20th November 2010

3. This one hasn’t actually appeared on this site yet, but lately I’ve been converting some photos to black & white to see if they look better, and also to try to put together a sort of documentary ‘photo essay’ about the trip, going beyond just the fells and trying to capture the whole experience. This was the same morning as photo #1 above, and the beautiful autumn light, the way the various lines in this picture work together and the single figure half-hidden behind the post – I love it.

Scafell and Slight Side, through rainbow

Scafell and (left) Slight Side, viewed from Dow Crag

4. I guess there are ways in which this photo could be improved but I still think I was very lucky to be able to get this shot through a rainbow – especially considering I was balanced on the steep slopes of Dow Crag in the teeth of a 60mph gale during walk 25 (24th September).

Summit of Slight Side

Summit of Slight Side

5. This photo has also been edited since I first published it on here. It looks better in black and white. Slight Side (#66 of 214, bagged on walk 20b, 3rd July 2010) was a dramatic little summit of bare rock, and these two other guys adopted just the right position as I took the picture.

5 other moments

1. The summit of, and descent from, Dodd on walk 9, 18th January 2010. Frustrated by bad weather and too much work, I’d not been out on the fells since early November and I suppose there was a danger that I’d never really have got restarted on the project after this break. The climb up Dodd was done in the fog but as I reached the top the clouds opened up and the views were spectacular. Came back thoroughly revitalised and the project was completely back on.

View of the Newlands area

Derwentwater (far left) and the Newlands fells, from Dodd

2. Climbing up Alisongrass Crag on my way to Rosthwaite Fell, on walk 19, 4th June 2010. Thanks to taking the wrong route up the slope I ended up with the toughest little scramble yet, Pillar and Scafell notwithstanding – but actually it was half-enjoyable, and gave the ascent of this otherwise modest fell a distinctiveness it would not otherwise have had.

3. Wading across the River Cocker at the very start of walk 24, on September 1st 2010. A reminder of how devastated Cumbria had been by the flooding 10 months before. Amusing also for the cyclist who had to do the crossing 3 times.

4. Seeing the wild red squirrel on walk 26, October 16th 2010.

A wild red squirrel

A wild red squirrel near Binsey Lodge. Now I do actually believe they still exist.

5. Too many others to list – the beautiful weather on 2nd March, 22nd May, 1st September, and 1oth November… the first beer at the end of the walk in a range of good pubs (well, all except one)… the great views of places I have not yet been but which I can look forward to in the future… so many reasons to enjoy this spectacular part of the world.

And into 2011…

The schedule remains to finish the project by about September 2012. I have 123 Wainwrights still to bag, which means, realistically, I need to do more in 2011 than I have done this year – say 70 by New Year’s Eve 2011. Whether I can is another matter, but let’s see how it goes.

I’m definitely going to be raising money for one of the Mountain Rescue teams in the Lakes – but still want to split it 50/50 with a community project. However, I am beginning to think I will not find one in the Lakes so the other 50% will probably go to Friends of Nutclough Woods, a project looking after woodland near my home in Hebden Bridge. To be confirmed, but I will sort this out by the end of January. At that point I’ll be arranging to sell photos from this site which will help swell the coffers.

And let’s touch wood – no injuries, no sustained bad weather – and more walks to come. Hell, I’m not even half way yet…