Kidsty Pike

Kidsty Pike, seen on the approach from the west.

WALK 183: High Raise (Far Eastern) (2634′, no. 256), Rampsgill Head (2598′, no. 257) and Kidsty Pike (2560′, no. 258). 8 miles and 2,200 feet of ascent approx.

The British climate is not known for its reliability, but there are some aspects of the pattern that can be depended on to some extent. Having a period of fine, settled weather in mid-September is one of its more pleasant traits and down the years has been exploited for walks whenever it appears.  2020’s Mid-September Settled Period has come along right on cue, and a couple of days ago saw me out in the Haweswater district again for walk 183.  This bagged three of the higher fells in the Far Eastern region: High Raise, Rampsgill Head, and Kidsty Pike, the latter being the undoubted highlight of the walk.  Read all about it and see more photos on the walk page.

Deer couple

May I present the deer couple, Mr and Mrs Slightly-Miffed. Seen near the summit of High Raise.

This was another walk done without the use of public transport, sadly. There are some signs of life in the train network but many services that were running up until the beginning of the Great Fear in March are still cut.  I will continue trying to get to the Lakes where I can, but now I have accepted that while my first round was indeed done without using a car, this second one has had to adapt to circumstances. Never mind.

As of today then, I have bagged 258 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, so have 72 to go. I no longer anticipate finishing some time in 2021, but let’s go with the flow. This walk was probably it for September, but hopefully before October is too old I will have returned to the Lakes.

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WALK 178: Branstree (2339′, no. 246), Harter Fell (2552′, no. 247). 7.75 miles and 2,300 feet of ascent approximately.

Drowned buildings

Drowned buildings in the reservoir of Haweswater.

Although most Britons seem in a perpetual state of denial about this fact, the weather is almost always worse in early June than it is in May. So it has proved this year: the sunshine of my last walk turning into a greyer, more somber vibe for yesterday’s trip into the Far Eastern Fells. Walk 178 was a circuit round Mardale Head, bagging Branstree and Harter Fell. The views of Haweswater were very fine, despite the large tidemark caused by the water level having dropped in the recent dry weather: enough to reveal some of the buildings higher up the valley, remnants of the village of Mardale Green that was here until 1935. Small Water, pictured here, is another highlight, being one of Lakeland’s best little mountain tarns.

Sheep and Small Water

On the descent of Harter Fell. Small Water immediately below.

Once again I cannot claim to have done this walk by public transport. It would be lovely if a daily ‘walkers’ bus’ ran from Penrith station and who knows, if it did perhaps there would be less of a parking problem at the head of Mardale. But even in normal times, this is just a fantasy I’ve been having. In the end I’ve decided that during this time of disruption I will use a car, but only to bag walks that are otherwise impossible by train or bus. That’s my self-rationalisation anyway.

Nearly halfway through 2020 and I have only bagged 10 Wainwrights, which is well down on my usual pace. I could say the reasons are obvious but actually it’s more that my walks have only been bagging one or two tops at a time. As of today then, I have bagged 247 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, so have 83 to go. It would be nice to get another trip in June but we will see how it goes.

The last walk of 2019

December 29, 2019

View north from Hare Shaw

View north from Hare Shaw

I did not know whether I would get an 18th and last walk in during 2019 but the weather yesterday, 28th December, was decent and I had the chance to get out to Haweswater and bag a few of the remaining Outlying Fells on walk 173 — the five I had left unattained in the Naddle Horseshoe chapter. Not the most exciting walk, but worth doing, as they always are. Read all about it and see more photos, as ever, on the walk 173 page.

In percentage terms I have now done more of the Outlying Fells than any other chapter — a big rise from a year ago — so time to get back to the centre of the District for a while.

The 1380' summit

The unnamed peak at 1380′, with the slopes of High Raise behind.

During 2019 I have managed 18 Wainwright walks and bagged 63 summits during this time. As of today I have completed 237 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round and so have 93 to go. I hope not to wait too long before my next walk — early January I hope.

 

Descent to Naddle valley

View on the descent to the Naddle valley, after the day’s 7th and last summit

The trip I made on the Shap to Kendal bus at the end of walk 88 might have been my last on it. As of the beginning of November, Shap, a village of over 1,000 people, now has no bus service. This makes chunks of my remaining summits even more inaccessible by public transport than they already were. But I shall not be giving up.

If you want to read a long but hopefully reasoned and (relatively) polite rant about this have a look at the commentary for today’s walk, walk 89. You could, of course, also read this page to hear about the walk I did, which in highly economical fashion bagged me the seven summits in Wainwright’s Naddle Horseshoe chapter. As of today I have therefore done 280 of the full list of 330 Wainwrights and thus have 50 to go. Walk 89 depends on the last remaining public transport connection to this whole area, the once-per-week bus from Langwathby to Burnbanks — but for now, it can still be done, as long as you can walk on a Thursday.