Path repairs near Low Water

Bags of stone awaiting path repairs near Low Water

Let it never be said that the regime which seized power in the UK after the inconclusive 2010 General Election is anything other than short-termist opportunism of the worst kind – the kind which doesn’t even live up to its own twisted values, let alone anyone else’s. Cuts to footpath maintenance don’t just hit walkers: as it says in this article, ‘every Right of Way officer is worth a million pounds’ to local economies: and then there are the positive impacts on health and well-being.

Read it, and then tell your MP that they are an idiot. (It doesn’t have to be related to the story in question: you could just tell them that anyway, particularly if they are Conservative or Lib Dem, but Labour deserve our opprobrium too at the moment for failing dismally in their role as our Loyal Opposition.)

Also, please re-blog if you have any interest in walking, even on a very casual basis.

Gategill Fell top

Looking along to Gategill Fell top, from Blencathra summit

Having been primed to go on a walk for most of the last fortnight, since Christmas, and been frustrated by the weather one way or another, it was ironic that on a weekend booked months ago, as we took a gamble on conditions, we had the most glorious four days, in which I managed three separate walks (one with Clare and Joe):

  • Walk 48; took me round the valley of Glencoyne, near Ullswater
  • Walk 49; up Blencathra (pictured here)
  • Walk 50; through Skiddaw Forest, the longest of the three.

So I have reached 50 walks! It has taken me that many to bag 154 of the 214 Wainwright fells – thus I have 60 to go. I have walked a total of 497.31 miles (another milestone awaits, then) and ascended a total of 145,029 feet. Plenty for you to catch up with, on the various walk and fell pages: enjoy! Next walk due some time in early February.

Ladder stile, Stoodley Pike

A ladder stile near the Stoodley Pike monument, Calderdale

Last Thursday, 5th January, I set out from home with the intention of making use of a break in the recent bad weather and bagging numbers 148-150 of my Wainwright collection. The intention was to walk from Park Brow Foot, near Aira Force, and finish on the A66 near Penruddock, bagging Gowbarrrow Fell and the two Mell Fells (Little and Great).

However, I should have known better than to trust Virgin Trains to do anything competently in any less than optimum operating conditions. There was a good ninety minutes’ – one and a half hours’– leeway in my arrival time at Penrith and they still blew it.

Stoodley Pike monument

The monument (to the Napoleonic Wars) on the top of Stoodley Pike, Calderdale

The 0853, the first Preston – Penrith train I could have got, was cancelled, and the 0941, by the time I gave up, running 40 minutes late. I would not therefore have arrived in Penrith in time to catch the Patterdale bus. I could maybe have risked an alternative walk but at that point, would you have trusted these guys to get you home again? Me neither.

Dry stone walls near Rough Head Farm

Dry stone walls near Rough Head Farm, above Hebden Bridge

So I came back home, and made the most of the fine afternoon by walking there instead. It’s not as spectacular round here as the Lakes, but there is some fine walking nevertheless, so I got my exercise in, as well as the chance to take some decent photos. A few are shown here, the main album is on my Flickr site.

Abandoned farm, Withens Clough

Abandoned farm above the Withens Clough reservoir, Cragg Vale

I did consider giving my walk round Stoodley Pike and Cragg Vale the ‘full treatment’ with a walk page, route description and so on, but… no time… However, you’ll definitely get at least one more of the Wainwright walks in next weekend, because I will be staying in the Lakes 13th – 16th January. Unless the weather is really terrible, and even then I’ll probably do a short one. For now, enjoy these pictures.