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…

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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.

Longlands Fell

Longlands Fell from the back (south)

Thought I wasn’t going to get in a walk on my Easter break but the weather relented enough on Friday, April 6th, to allow me to complete walk 144 in the Uldale Fells, north of Skiddaw. I bagged five peaks on my second round, the two on Caermote Hill, then Longlands Fell, Meal Fell and Great Cockup from the Northern Fells.

A decent day on the whole but what the pictures can’t show is the ferocious wind which blasted me for the whole way around and made this a rather harder walk than it might have been. Still, it was nice to get out…. as it always is… Read all about it and see more photos on the walk 144 page.

New lambs and Skiddaw

The new lambs are out enjoying themselves… Skiddaw in the background

As of today then I have bagged 144 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round. (Today was also the day when this number met my count of walks, how trivial is that.) I therefore have 186 to go. The walks have been coming at a fixed rate of one a month for some time, but hell, I might push the boat out and try to get one more in between now and the end of April.

 

Air crash memorial

The air crash memorial on the summit of Great Carrs

The end of February and the beginning of March were characterised by snow and bad weather which while it might have been fun to walk in, made public transport to the Lakes rather a risky proposition. All this put paid to my chances of getting a walk in during this period, as planned. But things opened up, finally, yesterday — 13th March — which, in Great Langdale at least, was a day of glorious spring. The weather did not quite persist with this quality all the way round, but it was still a fine day to be out on walk 143, which took in four summits from The Southern Fells: Pike o’Blisco, Great Carrs, Grey Friar and Swirl How. All over 2,300 feet, which makes a change from other recent walks. Read all about it and see more photos on the walk 143 page.

Subsidiary summit, Pike o'Blisco

Subsidiary summit of Pike o’Blisco, viewed from the main summit. Wetherlam behind.

As of today then, I have bagged 139 of the 330 Wainwrights for a second time, thus have 191 to go. More cold weather is forecast meaning I might not get to follow through with my plan to walk this coming weekend, but if it doesn’t happen, the next walk should be my annual Easter jaunt, and that will hopefully be in the west of the District as I really need to get some more bagged from volume 7.

Tree and clouds

View on the way back to Ulverston

As has been the case for some months, my free time has not been coinciding well with spells of decent weather, an indication that winter 2017-18 has been rather grim. Not harsh, just very damp and grey at home, and in the Lakes, quite a lot of snow.

I was breaking in a new pair of hiking boots today after the soles of my last ones finally parted company with the rest on High Rigg last month, so that, plus a weather forecast for the day that was rather ambiguous (particularly in the morning), added to my general lack of interest in battling with snow and ice and led me onto the low-altitude walk 142. This takes place right in the south of Cumbria, nibbling only the tiniest little scrap from the Lake District itself — this being the summit of Burney, the only one visited today.

Burney and Combs

Burney (on left) and Combs

It’s still a twelve-miler though, so not an insignificant hike even if much of it takes place through unexciting farmland. Good views of the Duddon estuary — but the sensitive will also have to cope with wind farms and the monstrous Kirkby slate quarries, which really have to be seen to be believed. But it makes a change from the usual landscapes.

As of today then I have bagged 135 of the 330 Wainwrights for a second time, so have 195 to go. I still don’t feel like I’ve made much progress over this poor winter, and only one walk in the last six has seen me above 2000 feet. But leave it with me — hopefully the weather will start to improve and I do intend to get out more often over the next few months. In the mean time, read about yesterday’s walk on the walk 142 page.

 

2018 finally gets going

January 25, 2018

Atop Latrigg

Summit view atop Latrigg

As anyone living in the north of England knows, the weather throughout most of 2018 thus far has been pretty dismal; and when breaks in the pattern have occurred, I’ve either been working, ill or there’ve been train strikes. Sometimes all three at once.

However, even if an extra fortnight or two has passed since I intended to add to my total, walk 141 did indeed take place yesterday (24th January). Three fells bagged, Latrigg, High Rigg and Raven Crag: none of them very tall in themselves but there was plenty of climbing to do on the walk and a ferocious wind didn’t make it any easier, nor did there still being an absent bridge on the Keswick-Threlkeld path. Nevertheless it was a good walk with plenty of interesting scenery. Read all about it, and see more photos, on the walk 141 page.

High Rigg, with Blencathra on the right

As of today, then, I have bagged 134 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have 196 to go. Looks like this will be my only January walk, but I hope to be back for more in mid-February.

The last walk of 2017

December 22, 2017

Grizedale forest

Deep in the forest

Walk 140 will definitely be my last of 2017. The forecast was for cloud and drizzle, and that was bang on the money, so it was not a day to get out on the high fells. Instead, I walked from the west end of the cross-Windermere ferry, near Far Sawrey, over to Coniston, on the way taking in the summit of Carron Crag (the only Wainwright bagged today) and trees. A lot of trees, this being Grizedale Forest, one of the largest expanses of woodland in England. It’s a decent walk to do on a day like this, but no one is ever going to claim it’s a very exciting one. Still, see what you think from the detailed route description and pictures on the walk 140 page.

Twigs and droplets

What it was like today: a) wet b) trees

As of today — and as there’ll be no more walks until January, as of the end of 2017 — I have done 131 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have 199 to go. 2017 saw me do 18 walks with a total of 47 Wainwrights bagged: there were no really great set-pieces unlike in 2016, though it was nice to get up Great Gable in decent weather (and make it number 100 of the second round).

Anyway, whatever you are doing — have a merry Christmas. I hope to be walking again before 2018 is more than a few days old.

Raise from White Side

Looking back to Raise, from White Side

In the two walks done at the start of November, I was out on the fells (admittedly fairly low ones) without need for an outer fleece or jacket. But not yesterday, 29th November — for as you can see I was up above the snowline in the Helvellyn range. Walk 139 was fairly short, at just 6.5 miles, but there was plenty of climbing needed to bag four fells: Glenridding Dodd, Sheffield Pike, Raise and White Side. The latter two were also done in the snow the first time round, making them the first fells in this project to be bagged twice in snow each time. Which, for White Side, is fairly appropriate I suppose.

Thirlmere

View of Thirlmere on the descent. No zipwires, please (see commentary)

As of today, then, I have bagged 130 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have exactly 200 to go. I hope to get one more in before Christmas, but it does all depend on the weather in the week of the 18th December.

One more thing while you’re here. I’m not against development per se but the idea that the worth of the Thirlmere valley will be enhanced by running zipwires across the lake might be one that, like me, you find faintly ludicrous. If so, it’s probably not a bad idea to register your objection to the scheme before it gets past the planning authorities. See this page from the Friends of the Lake District site for more information about the scheme and how to register your objection. Thank you.

Walk 138 around Kentmere

November 6, 2017

High Knott summit, rain shower

High Knott summit, through a rain shower

I said at the end of the last blog post that I hoped to get out onto the fells again within a week, and duly managed this on Saturday, when another mostly sunny and mild day (with a few rain showers admittedly — as pictured here0 saw me bag three fells on walk 138: High Knott, Sour Howes and Sallows. The walk was a little longer than expected (12.5 miles) but it’s worth doing thanks to some fine views of Windermere. But you will be deflected by fences and walls at various points, as I discuss in the commentary.

As of today then I have bagged 126 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, thus have 204 to go. Next walk…. who knows? Depends on good weather coinciding with one of my few free days between now and Christmas…