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.

Advertisements
Morecambe Bay

Morecambe Bay, from Grange-over-Sands station this morning

I’m not saying walk 158, which took place yesterday (5th February), was a poor one, but on a grey February day, the low altitude fells around Gummer’s How at the south end of Windermere do not have a great deal of visual appeal. The best views all day were of Morecambe Bay pictured on arrival at Grange-over-Sands station, as you see here. It rained from 1pm until the end of the walk, and so I got a soaking as well. Still, on top of Gummer’s How itself, I rebagged three more Outlying fells — Staveley Fell, Cartmel Fell and Newton Fell (North) — and have now passed the halfway point of that volume, 59 done out of its 116 index entries. As usual, have a look at the walk 158 page if you want more details and photos. Not to mention detail on the heroic public transport fail that is bus/train connections at Grange station.

Gummer's How

Gummer’s How, from near Simpson Ground

As of today, then, I have bagged 185 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have 145 to go. Still sticking to my target of two walks a month until August I hope there’ll be a next walk around the 21st February. Probably still in the Outyling fells, as I do need to catch up on these.

Ullswater from the Brown Hills

Ullswater from the Brown Hills

I said last time I was hoping to get two walks a month in for most of 2019, but didn’t quite anticipate that January would see me attain this target before it was 10 days old. Nevertheless, the weather yesterday, January 9th, was far too agreeable to waste sat in an office so out I went to Ullswater. Walk 157 bagged me three fells, Gowbarrow Fell, Hart Side (now bagged in excellent weather on both rounds) and Stybarrow Dodd — and the rather good view of Ullswater that you see here. More pictures and a full route description can, as usual, be found on the walk 157 page.

Stybarrow Dodd summit

Stybarrow Dodd summit

Despite this early burst of activity in the year, I don’t really have another good chance to get out now until February, so that’s it for a little while. As of today, I have bagged 181 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, thus have 149 to go.

View east from Skiddaw

The view east from Skiddaw. The Little Man to the right, Lonscale Fell in the centre, Blencathra behind.

Well, OK, it wasn’t quite sunny for the whole day, but from 11am until 1.30pm on 2nd January, see for yourself… A stupendous day to be out on the fells, even if I was supposed to be back at work that really wasn’t going to happen. Instead, walk 156 took me from Threlkeld up Lonscale Fell and onto Skiddaw, at 3053 feet above sea level the fourth highest mountain in the Lake District and England. Well worth doing on the day. Read all about it, and see more pictures, on the walk 156 page.

Skiddaw summit

Skiddaw summit

That gets 2019 off to a pleasingly early start in walking terms, anyway. I have set myself a target of 20 walks this year, which as I’m on sabbatical until August, should be achievable. As of today, though, I have bagged 178 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have 152 to go. There’ll be another walk before January is out — particularly if there are any more days like the 2nd.

Sands of Morecambe Bay

The sands of Morecambe Bay, as seen from Grange station

I have calculated that of all the walks done on this project thus far, today’s walk 153 was the one that reached the lowest altitude. Bigland Barrow, the first summit reached on the day, stands at only 630′ above sea level. And that was as high as it got.

Nevertheless this was a very good walk. In advance, I feared that it might be a bracken- or mud-choked agricultural trudge, but in fact it was an easy walk, all done on good paths and was accompanied by some fine views. So if you want a bit of healthy exercise on a fine autumn day, you could do a lot worse. Get all the necessary details plus more photos on the walk 153 page.

Bigland Barrow summit

The summit of Bigland Barrow, with observation post

As of today, then, I have bagged 168 of the Wainwrights on my second round, so have 162 to go.

I’d like to think there’ll be another walk before October is out — but then again it is the longest month of the year. (This is true, even if you do have to think about it…). As is always the case — let’s see how it goes.

Steeple from the YHA

Steeple, as seen from the garden of the Ennerdale YHA

It was time to get into the west again. Round this side of the Lake District there is no choice but to put in some substantial walks if I am to remain true to the commitment to do all this by public transport. The latest swathe of service cuts a couple of years ago has left the whole of Cumbria between Egremont and Millom without any buses at all. So walk 152 had to start out on the coast, at Seascale station, and come inland all the way from the beach at sea level; and past the burbling, hissing industrial complex at Sellafield, but that’s another story.

Thirty miles was far too much to do in a day, so the walk was split in two with a night at the Ennerdale Youth Hostel (YHA). The two walks are described on separate pages as follows:

Scoat Fell was fell number 165 of my second round, and as there are 330 Wainwrights this means I am half way through it — and three-quarters of the way through the whole planned double round. With Pillar done after it that means I have now done 166 Wainwrights and have 164 to go. I doubt I will get another walk in September, but the last two days have been more than enough, thank you — 30 miles in 28 hours, and the longest of all my two day hikes. Anyway — read all about it, and see more pictures, on the walk 152a and walk 152b pages.

Wythop Moss

The Skiddaw range rises behind Wythop Moss. Not a place to blunder into unknowing.

Walk 151 is never going to be counted as the most exciting walk in the Lake District (even in its immedaite area of Whinlatter), and on a dull grey day did admittedly not to much to excite. There was a high bracken quotient to handle.

But then again it is an easy walk through pleasant, rural surroundings, and like many of my walks have in recent weeks, bagged me a couple of the more obscure Wainwrights; Broom Fell and Graystones. I’m a few days late with the details (due to having gone to Berlin and back in the mean time) but if you want a detailed route description and more photos, see the walk 151 page.

Hopegill Head

Hopegill Head, above the clouds

As of today then I have done 161 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and have 169 to go. The halfway point — fell 165 — approaches and if I now fulfil my plans it will be reached in early September with, appropriately enough, Middle Fell, but let’s see if that plan works out…. largely it depends on the weather.

Joe on Angletarn Pikes summit

Joe relaxes on Angletarn Pikes summit

Walk 150 — a milestone to reach. But as I’m still not halfway through the second round there’s still enough of the Lake District left to allow some flexibility on the day. I headed out with Joe this morning intending to do Caudale Moor and some other fells around Kirkstone, but everything above 2,000 feet was in cloud today making a lower-level walk more desirable. Hence walk 150, which took us up to the fine double summit of Angletarn Pikes and then along the ridge to Beda Fell, dropping down to Howtown. A straightforward walk but one well worth doing. Full details and more photographs are on the walk 150 page. Along with a rant about private capital and the moronocracy, but you can skip that bit.

Deepdale and Hartsop above How

Deepdale, from Angletarn Pikes. Hartsop above How is the ridge embracing the valley.

As of today then, I have bagged 159 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and thus have 171 to go. The next walk should be in two weeks’ time, weather permitting — though as the pictures show today, cloud is not necessarily to be avoided, if dramatic scenes are what you seek out.

High Hartsop Dodd

High Hartsop Dodd, from Hartsop Hall.

The first Lake District walk of mine that I counted on this project — walk 1 (naturally) — took place on 19th July 2009, so more-or-less, yesterday was the ninth anniversary. Having come back from that holiday in the Lakes in 2009 with the plans to embark on this project (the first round of 214, anyway), all was then nearly derailed by the rather disastrous walk 5 on which I got badly dehydrated and for good measure had my camera nicked from my bag in an Ambleside pub, making that easily the worst of the 150+ days I have since spent walking in the Lakes.

Yesterday’s walk 149, however, was the first return to the territory of that walk and so a chance to reacquaint myself with a couple of the fells therein, High Hartsop Dodd (pictured above) and Little Hart Crag. And while this is never going to be seen as a classic walk, the surrounding area is very attractive and most of the paths of good quality. Add Arnison Crag and its view of Ullswater to the beginning and walk 149 comes well recommended. Read all about it and see more photos on the walk page.

New trees in Scandale

The rash of new trees in Scandale. Low Pike above.

As of today, then, I have bagged 157 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, therefore I have 173 to go. If plans pan out then I should reach the halfway point of the round (and the three-quarter point of the double round) in early September. My next walk is planned for early August — I think I have convinced Joe to come with me on that one.

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…