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.


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…

Gate above Scarside

The gate onto the open fell above Scarside: Withnail & I location, number 1 (see the text).

It feels like quite a while since I did any proper walking, even including the guest appearance of Tromsdalstinden at the beginning of October. Six weeks since my last Wainwright walk and only that one done since mid-August. Time to get out…

Half-term holidays therefore saw me take Joe to the east side of the Lake District for walk 137, which bagged two Outlying Fells, namely Knipescar Common and Heughscar Hill. Both are gentle green rises and no one is going to consider this walk a ‘mountain climb’ but nevertheless this is a fine hike through beautiful countryside, and with extensive views, particularly the one of Ullswater from Heughscar Hill (pictured). Read all about it and see more photos on the walk 137 page.


The view of Ullswater from Heughscar Hill

The bonus of the walk, at least for fans of the movie Withnail and I, is that it visits two of the locations, the gate pictured above (in the movie, where the duo confront the bull), and the phone box outside Bampton from where Withnail calls his agent — now supplied with a visitors’ book so pilgrims can record their presence at this hallowed scene. Well, we both like the movie anyway. Next time I will get Joe up to Crow Crag (Sleddale Hall, in Wet Sleddale).

As of today then, I have bagged 123 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round so have 207 to go. As I type I hope my next walk is only 48 hours away as I do plan to go at the weekend, so fingers crossed for the weather.

On the summit

On the summit

Seeing as I am in Norway to work until Wednesday I think it’s time for one of my occasional ‘International Guest Apperance’ walks. This is such a spectacular country, with a strong fellwalking tradition, it seems churlish not to at least try to get out into the fjell (mountains) when I’m here. Particularly when the weather was as superb as it was yesterday, Saturday 30th September. This despite being in Tromsø, the northernmost large city on the planet, at about 69º 40′ N…. but with weather of around 16ºC on the last day of September, time to get out.

View back to Tromsø

View back to Tromsø city, with the jagged mountains of Kvaløy (Whale Island) behind

Destination for this hike was the peak of Tromsdalstinden (Tromsdale Pike), which rises just to the east of the city. It’s 1,236 meters high, or 4,055 feet, making it far higher than any fell in the Lakes, and you have to climb pretty much all of it. It’s a bouldery wasteland on the top, but a fine climb nonetheless, with spectacular views. So I’ve added this page about the walk to the list of ‘International Walks‘ page, making it the third Norwegian hike to feature.

I hope to be back to the Wainwrights next weekend, 7th Oct, if not that then the following one.


Walk 136: Buttermere

September 17, 2017

Buttermere valley

The Buttermere valley. What’s not to like?

Friday 15th September saw me on walk 136 around the Buttermere area — a very pleasant slice of countryside, as you can see from this picture. That’s the High Stile – High Crag ridge, but my destinations today lay on the other side of the valley, in the North-Western fells. I bagged three — Rannerdale Knotts (small, but perfectly formed), Wandope and Whiteless Pike (pictured below). All worth doing, though the haul up to Wandope’s summit via the Addacomb Hole ridge was a very steep climb.

Whiteless Pike ridge

Looking along the ridge to Whiteless Pike. Note the walker in the col.

You can read all the details and see several more photographs on the walk 136 page.

As of today, then, I have done 121 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, thus have 209 to go. My next walk should be in the first weekend of October, all going well.

Boat on Coniston Water

Boat on Coniston Water, looking to the head of the lake.

It’s that time of year when work and not-work have to kind of meld into each other, like one of those back-and-forth edits in Easy Rider. The sun came out, which it has done only infrequently in this rather dull summer, and Joe needed some fresh air so I tempted him out on walk 135, which bagged three of the Outlying Fells a second time: Yew Bank and Wool Knott from the Woodland Fell chapter, and Beacon Fell. Mostly a good walk, on a very fine day: but there is a crappy passage in the middle, which means I would reorganise the walk if I ever did it again. Still, with this being the second (and, I assure you, final) time I will be doing all the Wainwrights, I may never go back…

Yew Bank summit

Yew Bank summit, cairn, Joe and others.

But apart from that it was a pleasant walk in a very attractive and low-stress part of the world. And it contained a boat trip as well. Read all about it on the walk 135 and associated fell pages.

As of today, then, I have done 118 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, thus have 212 to go. Definitely no more until at least the first week in September, though. Hope you are enjoying your own summer, however it is panning out.