Great Calva from Glenderaterra
View up the Glenderaterra valley to Great Calva, the volcano of Lakeland.

WALK 201: Knott (2,329 feet above sea level, number 298 of my second round) and Great Calva (2,265′, no, 299). 16.6 miles, 3,150 feet of ascent.

Back in January 2013, on walk 70, I attained the top of Latrigg and, thus, the 214 ‘main’ Wainwrights were completed, for the first time. That means it was Wainwright’s volume 5, The Northern Fells, which I completed last out of those seven volumes. However, with the bagging of Great Calva at about a quarter to three on 21/9/22, this is the volume that I have completed first, this time round. And it covers a magnificent part of the world: hidden away relative to some parts of the Lake District, perhaps, but it’s being discovered I think; on most visits now I see other walkers around. The fells described within the volume score over all others in one way, for certain: the magnificence of the views, in all directions.

Walk 201 was an easy one, throughout — but it was long, at 16.6 miles it comes into the top five of all my Lakeland walks in fact. But the miles are worth putting in for the chance to explore Skiddaw Forest, a lonely, stark but beautiful upland basin with high fells all around — and no trees, in case you were wondering.

The River Caldew, deep in Skiddaw Forest.

And though Knott is the highest point of the walk, visually, Great Calva dominates: I can’t think of another peak in Lakeland that looks more, what’s the word, vulcanian? See the picture at the top of the page and judge for yourself. It would thereby be a terrible shame if my completing the volume again meant this was to be my last trip to the region, but there are plenty of unbagged Birketts in the area — I did bag one of these today as well, Coomb Height. It’s a place worth making time for, as I hope the photos and text on the walk 201 page reveal.

As of today, I have bagged 299 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, so have 31 to go. Whichever fell falls next will be number 300, but I’ve given up making predictions as to what it will be, or even when. Train strikes recur and (while I support them) are making advance planning a treacherous task at the moment, so let’s just see how it goes.

High Pike from Knott
Walkers on Knott‘s summit, with High Pike behind.
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Walker above Bass Lake
Walker above Bass Lake.

WALK 195: Long Side (2,405 feet a.s.l., no. 285 of my second round), Ullock Pike (2,230ft, no. 286). 6.25 miles, 2,300 feet of ascent.

Time to take advantage of a decent weather forecast for the time of year, and get in the first Lakeland walk in two months, since my haul over to Wasdale and up Yewbarrow in early October. Today was a lot more forgiving than that hike, although it still had its steep and (in today’s case) tedious sections: I will never be coming back to Southerndale to do the hike out of its head section, up to Carlside col, that is for sure. But the rest of the walk was very good and there were some superb views over Bass(enthwaite) Lake and into the centre of the district.

Southerndale and Ullock Pike
Southerndale and Ullock Pike above.

Read more about it on the walk 195 page, with the usual extra detail and photos.

As of today, then, I have bagged 286 of the 330 Wainwrights, so have 44 to go. My mooted trip up Helvellyn in late October never happened, but the annual British public transport lottery, the valuable 08:03 from Preston to Penrith has reappeared, opening up the whole Ullswater valley part of the district once again, without having to wait for summer. This is good news. I may or may not make another LD walk this year — but if I don’t, this was a perfectly good one to end on.

WALK 189: Bannerdale Crags (2241 feet above sea level, number 276 of my second round) and Bowscale Fell (2306′, no. 277). 9.5 miles, 2,100 feet of ascent.

I missed out on a Lakeland visit in May 2021 but today, 15th June, was ample compensation. This was a superb day to be out walking: mostly blue skies, and with enough of a breeze to keep the temperature very comfortable. Far too nice to be skulking around in an office or ‘staying at home’, anyway.

View towards Skiddaw, from the saddle between Bannerdale Crags and Bowscale Fell.

My choice of fells today was partly a response to ongoing grief with the train services — the closer today’s walk was to Penrith, the better, and these two fells were the ones nearest to there that I still had not rebagged. But that was not to be regretted. Walk 189 turned out to be an excellent one, with very fine views, dry ground and one particular highlight, that being the east ridge of Bannerdale Crags. This climb looks as if it might be tough but instead is enjoyable and straightforward, well within the capacity of almost all walkers and by far the best way up the fell. Recommended. For more pictures and details on the walk, look, as usual, at the walk 189 page.

Bannerdale Crags from the north – the east ridge comes up from the left.

As of today then, I have bagged 277 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, leaving me with 53 to go. As things stand at the moment I may go back to the Lakes this coming weekend although let’s see how it goes, I do have other options (I don’t spend my whole life walking…). I could do with getting some Western fells done, but then again that’s been the case at any given point in the last 12 years.

Joe on Great Sca Fell summit

Joe on Great Sca Fell summit.

Walk 177: Great Sca Fell (2136′, no. 244), Brae Fell (1920′, no 245). 6.5 miles and 1,500 feet of ascent approximately.

Time to get out. My tolerance for sitting at home with a head like Munch’s The Scream has ended.

This is not the ‘new normal’, it is a horrible bout of paranoia that we need to learn our way out of pretty fast if it’s not going to devastate much of what gives life meaning and pleasure. But the fells are still there, even if The Fear has made it currently impractical to live up to the promise of this blog and reach all walks on public transport. I drove to walk 177 yesterday, that I admit, but that also allowed Joe to easily accompany me on his first Lakeland walk in about a year. Together we bagged two of the Northern Fells, Great Sca Fell and Brae Fell. Smooth, grassy slopes for the most part but great views, and the ascent of Roughton Gill added roughness and interest. Read all about it and see the usual crop of additional photos on the walk 177 page.

Approaching the mine

On the approach to the old mine at the bottom of Roughton Gill.

There were plenty of people out on this public holiday, even in this relatively remote and hard-to-reach part of the Lakes. And I can no longer see that as anything other than a good thing. Sadly it cannot be expected that the present government will do anything other than bumble about public transport and try to brush it under the nearest carpet as an inconvenience — why change policy when there is a ready-made scapegoat for failure? — but I have decided that for now, I will pick up walks which I could not otherwise do on trains and buses. I hope that normal service will be resumed soon, but it’s way out of my hands.

Walker and Skiddaw

View over to Skiddaw. The walker is approaching the (less than prominent) summit of Great Sca Fell.

As of today, then, I have bagged 245 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and have 85 to go. I no longer expect to complete this by late 2021, partly because of all this chaos and also because the County Tops have taken over some of the burden of keeping me fit and sane, and I don’t want to go through all my available day trips too quickly. The situation is now open-ended. But weather allowing (and we are overdue some rain), paranoia permitting, I hope to be out again at some point before June is too old.

View from Whit Beck

Taken from the crossing point of Whit Beck.

By any reasonable assessment, A. Wainwright had a definite downer on Mungrisdale Common. He writes on page 2 of the chapter in The Northern Fells that:

“Mungrisdale Common\s natural attractions are of a type that appeals only to sheep… There is little on these extensive grass slopes to provide even a passing interest for an ordinary walker and nothing at all to encourage a visit.”

These days I am old and crotchety enough myself to consider statements like that a challenge, so yesterday, 8th January, I duly set out to conquer the Common — and as the only fell on walk 174, too.

Sinen Gill and Lonscale Fell

Sinen Gill on Mungrisdale Common, with Lonscale Fell behind.

And my verdict? Is it the worst of all, the pits? To find out, take a look at the walk 174 page which has all the usual detail and several more photos on what was, for sure, a good day for the camera at least.

As of today, then, I have bagged 238 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and so have 92 to go. This will most likely be my only walk in January 2020 (and Mungrisdale Common thereby gains itself the extra distinction of being my first fell of the 2020s) but come early February I hope to be back among the fells.

Cofa Pike and St. Sunday Crag

Climbing Fairfield over Cofa Pike. St. Sunday Crag behind. Not a bad day…

And Happy New Year to you all, too. I never did say at the end of 2019 (and walk 173) what my highlights of it had been. The standout walk was certainly walk 161 on Good Friday, April 19th [pictured]: spectacular landscapes, glorious weather and a very fine pub at the end, to boot. The two-dayer in Shap, walk 169 and walk 170, was also very satisfying, again for the excellent weather, for being a real breakthrough in getting the Outlying Fells done a second time, and for having the whole lonely, desolate beauty of an area of dozens of square miles entirely to myself for two days. Here’s to 2020 — may you always watch where you are putting your feet.

Drew

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.

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.

 

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.