WALK 199: Caw (1,735 feet above sea level, number 293 of my second round), Pikes (1,539′, no. 294) and Green Pikes (1,350′, no. 295). 5.2 miles, 1,675 feet of ascent.

Two months since my last visit to Lakeland. Other interests have been occupying me, some voluntary, others not. I grow tired of battling with the Oxenholme Connection and with other walking choices available, Cumbria has just been featuring less as a destination recently.

View of the upper Duddon Valley, from the descent off Caw.

But it’s not a place I feel like staying away from for too long. Although, as is usually the case, early June has brought cloud and chill (but not, yet, too much rain), I had a weekend put aside for a visit. On Saturday, high winds were a deterrent, but yesterday, Sunday 12th June, saw me in the upper reaches of the Duddon Valley, a part of the Lakes that I had only briefly passed through before.

5.2 miles round from Seathwaite bagged me the pointy Outlying Fell of Caw, and its two satellites, Pikes and Green Pikes; it was a little chilly, and paths are not always what they might be, but on the whole this is a fine walk, with excellent views. Read all about it, and see the usual outcrop of additional photos (not that there was much good light today) on the walk 199 page.

Caw, the day’s principal target, seen from the west.

As I’m also now Birkett-bagging let’s record that the walk also collected two more of those: Brock Barrow and Fox Haw. With 137 of the 541 Birketts still unbagged I will have plenty of reasons to keep coming back to the Lakes in future years, believe me.

Either way, as of today I have bagged 295 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, and so have 35 to go. Next time will see me reach the milestone of the 200th Lakeland walk on this blog, and also, as long as I bag two summits on it, the point at which I have only 10% of my second round to go (and 5% of the double round).

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Walk 197: the far, far west

February 28, 2022

WALK 197: Lank Rigg (1775′ above sea level, no. 288 of my second round) and Cold Fell (961′, no. 289). 13 miles (* see note), 2,400 feet of ascent.

Though I accept I have slipped a little when it comes to doing every one of these Lakeland walks by public transport, it still remains my preference. Point-to-point walks are just more interesting, and I don’t really want to have an hours-long drive home afterwards (and give me a beer or two at the end, in any case). But if I’m heading for the far western fringes of the District on the train then a whole lot of logistical factors need to play ball, including the weather.

Walkers met, somewhat unexpectedly, on Lank Rigg summit.

For all these reasons, my return to Lank Rigg had been easy to put off. I also knew that once I was there I faced a walk with a very high-effort-to-low-reward ratio. But on Saturday 26th February, thanks to the hospitality of my in-laws in Morecambe, all the necessary pieces of the puzzle were present and so off I went to West Cumbria, for walk 197. The weather stayed fine, although it was rather windy. The moorlands were not quite as tedious as I remembered from my previous visit in 2010 (walk 28). I did have to get my feet wet fording a gill or two, but I survived it, and additionally bagged Cold Fell, as well as a couple of Birketts (Kinniside and Latter Barrow). Read all about it and see more photos, as usual, on the relevant walk page.

Note that the figure of 13 miles that I give above is less than what I actually walked today. Storm damage has closed some paths through Blengdale and obliged the walker to take a longer route via the cleared forest roads. I did about 15 miles on the day, in fact, making this my longest walk in the Lakes for three years.

“Take me with you…” An inhabitant of Scalderskew, one of England’s loneliest dwellings, passed en route.

As of today then, I have bagged 289 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and thus have 41 to go. I have no idea when my next opportunity will arise — hopefully in March but it’s a relatively busy time for me, so we’ll see.

WALK 193: Faulds Brow (1125 feet above sea level, number 282 of my second round). 4.5 miles, 600 feet of ascent.

Faulds Brow summit
The summit cairn of Faulds Brow.

Late August is not always a reliable period weather-wise: I remember ending walk 64, on the 23rd August 2012, shivering in front of a roaring fire at the Old Dungeon Ghyll, for instance. But I’m not making any complaints about the weather that 2021 has offered, and yesterday, Friday 27th August, was another warm and sunny day, begging to be made use of productively — that is, as the setting for a walk.

In Caldbeck
In Caldbeck.

Faulds Brow is the most northerly Wainwright, and one of the most isolated. I bagged it some six years ago by appending it to walk 94, but that made for a very long hike and in any case, all the fells in the general area had already been done twice. The summit was therefore waiting for me to brave what was always going to be a long journey for a short and easy walk.

It would have been nice to have reached Caldbeck, start and finish point of today’s walk by public transport, but despite it being a big enough place to keep a pub, post office and petrol station going, buses only serve the village on Saturdays. Even then the journey would have been way longer and more expensive than driving it, so drive it I did (in my defence, this was the first one by car since April). Let me say nothing here about the traffic on the M6 and observe only that despite the travails of the journey this was a good, and very easy walk, with fine views. The usual extra detail and photographs are on the walk page.

View to Carlisle
View towards Carlisle, from the summit.

As of today, then, I have bagged 282 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and have 48 to go. I certainly hope that the good weather will continue and that I will make Lakeland at some point in September, but this weekend is the last of my summer break and I am obliged to show my face at work from Tuesday on. Fingers crossed.

WALK 188: Water Crag (997 feet above sea level, no. 271 of my second round), White Pike (1450′, no. 272), Woodend Height (1597′, no. 273), Yoadcastle (1621′, no 274) and The Knott (1086′, no. 275). The first four are all in the Devoke Water circuit chapter of The Outlying Fells and the last, the Stainton Pike chapter.

Devoke Water and Water Crag.

Yesterday, 25th April, was a truly glorious day to be out on the fells. I had to drive again — the public transport options were never that great on a Sunday anyway, and certain key services still haven’t been restored despite a lessening of Great Fear restrictions in other ways. But hey, when did the Tory Party ever think about encouraging people to use the train. I got up at 5.30am and was striding out along the north shore of Devoke Water by 9 o’clock. And a very fine day’s walking it was, despite a lack of paths. Read all about it and see plenty more pictures of blue skies on the walk 188 page.

The Knott — the 5th summit of the day — and the Irish Sea.

The weather in April has been very fine but there is a forecast deterioration on the way. I’m glad I got out to Devoke Water though, for the fifth and, who knows, perhaps final time in my life: bearing in mind walk 101 as well, it’s certainly made an impression on me with regard to fine weather. Very few people get out this way; I had the felltops all to myself, despite this being a sunny Sunday. Highly recommended.

As of today, then, I have bagged 275 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, and so have 55 to go. Looking at the map, today was the last real chance I had to bag as many as five of them in a single walk; there are a couple of fours available (the future walks that will head for Helvellyn and Haycock might as well grab a few of their satellites along the way), but that’s all. And only ten of the remainder are Outliers.

WALK 186: Stickle Pike (1231′, no 264), Great Stickle (1001′, no. 265), Tarn Hill (1020′, no. 266) and Dunnerdale Fells (920′, no. 267).

Walkers and Stickle Pike
Stickle Pike from the south. Green Crag and, in snow, Scafell behind.

The first two weeks of December have not exactly been a productive walking time for me. Partly this is due to how work usually pans out at this time, but the weather is also responsible. This is rarely full winter (2010 was a notable exception, though) but it’s usually gloomy and cold, not designed to encourage the fellwalker.

Happily, 5th December 2020 was a fine exception to the general rule. It started off cloudy but by the end I was walking in full sunshine, and then spent an afternoon in Kendal bathing in more of the same. In the morning, I’d bagged four more Wainwrights: the three summits I had remaining in the Stickle Pike chapter, and then a bonus of the Dunnerdale Fells chapter, as Tarn Hill appears in both and is thus the only Wainwright to count double. Why? Well, it’s a complicated story, but for that you can read the fell pages.

The Duddon Valley (and cyclists), with Whit Fell in the background.

It’s a fine part of the District, though, and worth two chapters. Stickle Pike is surely the best-looking of all the Outlying Fells, and the walking is rugged without ever being difficult. A mountain in miniature, for sure. It’s just a shame that there’s no public transport to the immediate vicinity. Read all about it, and see more photos, on the walk 186 page.

As of today, then, I have bagged 267 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, so have 63 to go. I honestly don’t know whether today will turn out to be my last Lakeland walk of 2020: I’d rather it wasn’t, though it might be. Either way I will post a summary of the year before 2021 — a year I’m sure we’re all hoping will be different, at least — makes its way over the horizon.

WALK 180: Muncaster Fell (757 feet above sea level, number 253): 6 miles and 800 feet of ascent approximately.

Dalegarth station

Dalegarth station, terminus (usually) of the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway.

and WALK 181: Boat How (1105′, no. 254): 5.5 miles and 1,000 feet of ascent.

Back in January we booked in for a weekend at the Brook House Inn in Eskdale, linked to a weekend that Clare was trying to organise with other members of her family.  As the Great Fear took hold, I kept waiting for the inevitable email of cancellation, but it never came, and in the end we decided to not just fulfil the booking but make it our primary summer holiday of 2020.  Eskdale is a beautiful spot and also a great jumping off point for several key Wainwrights that are otherwise tough to reach.

Estuary

The estuary at Ravenglass (at low tide).

Plans have not yet come to full fruition however. Our first day here, Friday 24th July, was sunny and pleasant, and the walk we did up Muncaster Fellwalk 180 — a fine little prelude to what was intended to be further explorations up Scafell, at least.

And that peak was my intended destination for walk 181, yesterday (Sunday 26th), only this became one of the few targets I have had to abandon due to revolting weather, becoming lost and soaked in the Eel Tarn/Stony Tarn district. Still, I at least managed a face-saving bag, of Boat How. It wasn’t a bad walk — but it could have been a lot drier. As ever, you can read all about the details, and see more photos, on the two walk pages.

Stony Tarn and sheep

Stony Tarn. The sheep, like me, wonder what I was doing there.

We are here for a couple more days yet, although there won’t be any walking today (Monday) because it’s throwing it down. The forecast for Tuesday is OK though and then it would be good to get up some bigger fells — two Outliers alone would be a somewhat meagre return from several nights in Eskdale. But hey, in the end, it just gives me an excuse to keep coming back.

As of today then (27/7/20) I have bagged 254 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and have 76 to go.

Longsleddale cottage

Deep in Longsleddale.

WALK 179: five summits in the Bannisdale Horseshoe (two unnamed [1771′ a.s.l., no. 248 and 1819′, no. 249], Capplebarrow [1683′, no. 250], Todd Fell [1313′, no. 251] and Whiteside Pike [1303′, no. 252]). 10.5 miles and 2,000 feet of ascent approximately.

It’s still proving very difficult to get to the Lakes by public transport.  All useful morning services heading north from Preston have been cut, for arbitrary reasons that if you ask me have nothing to do with ‘public health’ in the slightest.  Anyway, that’s a moan you can read on the walk 179 page if you really want to.  Either way, this ongoing problem obliged me once again to book a car out of the pool and drive, this time up the narrow lane that is the valley of Longsleddale’s only link to the outside world.  And this really is a time capsule, surely looking much the same as it did a hundred years ago or more.  It’s very much worth a visit, as long as you have the patience it takes to get there, even with a car.

Whiteside Pike

Looking down to Whiteside Pike, from point 1771′.

The five summits I bagged today were the last ones I had remaining, not just in the Bannisdale Horseshoe chapter, but in the whole swathe of land east of Longsleddale and Haweswater. If you had asked me some years ago which major sub-region of the Lake District I would first complete on my second round, the Shap Fells would not at all have been my prediction — but this is what has happened. I reckon there are 38 Wainwrights east of Gatescarth Pass and after today, I have now rebagged them all. It’s a fantastically lonely part of the world, and you very much need good weather — but this is land well worth exploring.  And it will certainly get you away from people, which is the point at the moment, I guess. (As well as the Bannisdale Horseshoe see also the Naddle, Crookdale, Wasdale and Wet Sleddale Horseshoes, Howes, and the Seat Robert chapters.)

Tractor and Lamb Pasture

View across to Lamb Pasture, on the other side of Bannisdale.

There will be more Wainwrights bagged very shortly as I’m soon off to Eskdale for a few days, a trip booked well before lockdown and which seems to have miraculously survived it.  As of today, though, I have bagged 252 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round (Capplebarrow being number 250), and thus have 78 to go.

View of Upper Kentmere

View of upper Kentmere from Green Quarter Fell — the scenic highlight of the walk.

It’s been eight weeks since I last ventured into the Lake District. In the intervening time, a combination of other responsibilities, a train line closure and — most significantly of all — pretty terrible weather have kept me away. But the weather yesterday, 4th March, was pleasant enough and I was finally able to move on with the project and undertake walk 175.

This took me up the Kent valley from Staveley, and bagged the two Outyling summits of Green Quarter Fell, notable mainly for the views of the upper Kentmere valley (as pictured here). Other than that it is not a very dramatic walk, but it is an easy and straightforward one.

Fox on Green Quarter Fell

The fox I encountered on the slopes of Green Quarter Fell.

Northern Rail’s utter shambles of a train service did its best to screw up my day but the walk was done despite them: that was the worst part. On the other hand, the walk did have the bonus of this fox, the closest I have ever knowingly been to such a creature: it sat down when it saw me, quite aware of my presence and presumably keeping an eye on me as it had cubs in an earth in the vicinity.

As of today, then, I have bagged 240 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and thus have 90 to go. I certainly hope to be back in the Lakes before the end of March but it depends on the weather — and the trains, unfortunately. Until then please do feel free to have a look at the walk 175 page where there are more photos and a full route description, as usual.

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.

 

Fewling Stones summit

Fewling Stones summit. Don’t forget to look for the comfy chair.

The tradition of the September double-header has held on several of the years I have been doing this project — it’s often a period of decent and settled weather (essential, if committing to two days of walking) and it’s the final chance to grab something before term starts properly at uni. I left it late this year, but last week took my chance to grab walk 169 and walk 170 and it paid off handsomely.

Over two days, I walked around 25 miles and on the fells saw more deer (three) than people (none at all, even at a distance). In excellent weather, particularly on day two, I bagged no fewer than 14 of the Outlying Fells, finishing the Wet Sleddale Horseshoe chapter and bagging the Wasdale Horseshoe, Crookdale Horseshoe and (on the second walk) Seat Robert summits a second time.

Sleddale Hall

Sleddale Hall, a.k.a. Crow Crag

This is all fabulously lonely country, and often tough going underfoot, but put in the work (on a nice day…) and its charms may be revealed. And there’s the bonus of some Withnail and I moments too (like Sleddale Hall, pictured). As usual, many more details and pictures are available on the walk 169 and walk 170 pages.

This two-day orgy of Outliers means that as of today, I have bagged 227 of the 330 Wainwrights a second time, so have 103 to go. The next walk will be in October some time.