Borrowdale from Catbells

Borrowdale, from Catbells.

I have been hoping to do two walks a month whilst on sabbatical in 2019, but my first window in March didn’t get used thanks to a combination of crap weather and crap sinuses — you don’t want to know any more about either.

But today, 19th March, things opened up and walk 160 happened, as I was able to head for Borrowdale and bag three summits: High Spy, Maiden Moor and Catbells. The weather was definitely mixed — but this permitted some decent photography and nothing really wet got in my face. This was a very good walk, easy to access and not too strenuous while having magnificent views. I recommend it — so have a look at the further detail on the walk 160 page.

Upper Newlands

Upper Newlands. Hindscarth to right, Blea Crag to the left.

As of today, then, I have bagged 193 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and therefore have 137 to go. Actually I’ve had a pretty good run recently: in the last 3 months, since 20th December, I’ve bagged 23 summits; prior to that it took me six months to bag the same number. So I’m fulfilling my promise to pick up the pace. But no more for a month now — I can’t do it, I’m away, thousands of miles away. The earliest I’ll get back to the Lakes is around the Easter weekend. But it’ll happen. Of course.

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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…

Wasdale from Great Gable

The view of Wasdale from near the summit of Great Gable

One of the points of doing a second round was to reacquaint myself with those fells which, for whatever reason — usually bad weather — I didn’t feel I did justice to the first time round. Great Gable was definitely one of those, having been first bagged in really foul weather in July 2012 (walk 60b, which I still say was the worst single day’s walking I’ve done on this project).

It was thus a great pleasure to return to it yesterday, May 2nd, on walk 128 which took place on a far nicer, springlike day. I came up from Seathwaite, perhaps not the most dramatic of possible routes up this noble fell, but it was still a fine walk with plenty of drama and excellent views. It also saw my first ever visit to Sty Head, a major walkers’ crossroads in Lakeland. Read more about it, with the usual crop of additional photos, on the walk 128 page.

Seathwaite valley

Spring in the Seathwaite valley, looking up Grains Gill (walk 128)

Great Gable was fell number 100 of my second round: so I have 220 to go. May’s shaping up to be a good month to get some more walking in, particularly if the good weather holds, so I hope to do my next walk before too long. Where will I do this? Who knows yet? That’s the good thing — I’ve still got more than two-thirds of the district to do again.

Geese on Derwentwater

Geese on Derwentwater. Castle Head in the background. A good summation of conditions on the walk…

I had not managed to get to the Lakes since the first week of February, due to a combination of having too much work to get on with, then poor weather forecasts on the days I did have free. Had I not made a walk yesterday (March 18th), March would then have passed without a walk in it either.

Not wanting to extend the famine therefore, I took a risk with the weather, strapped on the waterproofs and headed up to Keswick for what became walk 125. I headed down the west shore of Derwentwater, walking the length of the lake to Grange then bagging Castle Crag as (for the second time) the sole fell on a walk.

Ascending Castle Crag

View from the ascent of the spoil heap on Castle Crag

Still worth doing — it’s a great, rugged little summit — though the weather was obviously a little disappointing. This definitely counts as a wet walk! It rained almost all the way round, not heavily, but persistent drizzle. Ah well, I needed the fresh air and it’s all good exercise, and the scenery is beautiful in any weather. Lots of people agree, as the walk was very busy, despite the weather. Read more about it, with further pictures, on the walk 125 page.

I’m off to Japan on Monday, a shame I will have no time there to do some walking as by all accounts there is some excellent hiking to be had in the country. Maybe next time. In terms of home — with the summer bus service starting again on 8th April it is definitely time to get into the west of the District once more, back into the higher fells. As of today I have done 91 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have 239 to go.

Summit of Allen Crags

Summit cairn, Allen Crags. Ill Crag (part of Scafell Pike) in the background.

Walk 123 opened up for me thanks to 2nd January being a public holiday in the UK and also managing another very good weather forecast. This forecast turned into actuality, with the day being bright and frosty, as you can see from this shot of Allen Crags‘ summit cairn. That, along with Glaramara and Rossett Pike, were the three fells bagged today. Read about my day, and see more photos, on the walk 123 page if you like.

Combe Gill

Looking up Combe Gill

It’s back to work for me now, though — the new (working) year awaits. My next walk is hopefully going to be around 23rd – 24th January: depending on the weather as always, but I’ve been doing well with that for the last few months. As of today then, I have bagged 87 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, so have 243 to go.

View from Brandreth

The rather good view from Brandreth. Ennerdale to the left, Buttermere valley to the right, High Stile range and Haystacks between.

Well, I have had better days of weather on the fells — in defiance of a reasonable weather forecast — but in the end it was worth the effort to get out yesterday for a Bank Holiday walk around Seathwaite and Gillercomb. Walk 108 saw me bag four fells (three with colours in their name — for the trivia fans among us): Base Brown, Green Gable, Brandreth and Grey Knotts. These become numbers 29-32 of my second round of the 330, so I have 298 to go — the ‘300 to go’ point being reached on Green Gable.

View into Borrowdale

View into upper Borrowdale from the ‘Fallen Stone’ on Base Brown

Highlights? The brilliant view from Brandreth as pictured (inadequately) here, surely one of the best in the District, England even. And I quite liked the climb of Base Brown, a little-known fell but it had a decent ascent via the ridge, passing some interesting natural features like this huge fallen boulder which must have ripped off the crag above in a cataclysmic break not long past.

I hope to get another walk in before going back to work next week, hopefully Thursday (31/3) and hopefully Blencathra, so check back then…