In Little Langdale

In Little Langdale

There are two Langdales in the Lake District: Great Langdale, which everybody knows, and the less-frequented Little Langdale, which most people probably just trundle through as they come up or down Wrynose Pass at one end. But it’s an attractive valley in its own right and one I hadn’t visited despite all my previous perambulations around the area.

Walk 172, done yesterday on a glorious (but frosty) November day, filled that gap and along the way bagged two summits, Holme Fell and Lingmoor Fell from book 4 — my first excursion into The Southern Fells for some eighteen months. Not a classic, and a longer walk than anticipated from looking at the map, but nevertheless a fine expedition with some excellent views — like this classic one of Great Langdale.

Langdale classic view

The classic view of Great Langdale, coming off Lingmoor Fell.

As ever, more photos and a full route description can be found on the walk 172 page.

As of today, then, I have done 232 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, so have 98 to go. It may be that was my last walk of 2019, although there’s always the hope that the gloom of mid- to late December will relent and offer opportunities then. We will see.

Gatesgarth

Gatesgarth Farm — the starting point.

It’s nice to have a job that can sometimes be flexible, I admit that. With the weather forecasts showing that Monday would be one of those late October days that give summer a last hurrah, I worked Sunday instead and took advantage with walk 171. This took me from Gatesgarth (pictured), up over the High Stile ridge in far better conditions than I first did it seven years ago (see walk 60a). Three summits bagged — the eponymous High Stile and its neigbbours High Crag and Red Pike. There were some unpleasant moments on the descent of the latter, but all in all this was a fine walk. Read all about it and see more pictures on the walk 171 page.

Walkers below Seat

Walkers below Seat. Haystacks in the left middle distance, Great Gable on the horizon.

Red Pike is bagged as number 230 of the full list of 330 Wainwrights, which means I have — ta-daa! — one hundred to go. It would be nice to get another walk in around mid-November but around this time of year I am fully dependent on the weather meshing with work timetables, so let’s see how it goes.

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.

Main ascent path

Looking down on Sleet How and the main path of ascent

Yesterday saw me on walk 168, the objective, Grisedale Pike and its very fine view. I did attain the summit, though not without some routefinding trials for the second walk in a row: I try on the walk 168 page to prevent anyone else making the same mistake, because there was an hour in the middle of my walk after which, if I never see another mountain biker or sitka spruce again, I’ll be happy. But I know where I went wrong and in the end, all worked out fine. I even made the intended bus with ten seconds to spare. So ultimately, no real complaints. Grisedale Pike is a very fine mountain and worth a visit even if it is the only peak bagged on a walk, as it was today for me.

Unequivocal sign in Whinlatter forest

In Whinlatter forest, which could do with a few more unequivocal signs like this.

As of today, then, I have bagged 213 Wainwrights. Had this been a round of only the main seven volumes, I would now be just one off completion, but seeing as the Outlying Fells are tacked on to make the full list number 330, I now have 117 to go. I still hope to get a two-day walk in during September but options are limited so it depends on a) the weather and b) me holding my work diary free, in a way similar to how Luke Skywalker & co push out the walls of the garbage compactor on the Death Star. But I’ll just take what comes, as has always been the case.

The Knott summit

The summit cairn of The Knott, with the Duddon Estuary in the distance.

Not all my walks are necessarily successful. Walk 167, done yesterday, didn’t really work out, thanks to the difficulties that ensued in getting from Foxfield station to the first summit of the planned day, The Knott (pictured). That and its neighbouring unnamed summit, both peaks in the Stickle Pike chapter of Wainwright’s volume 8, were intended to be only the first part of a walk that also took in Caw; but they turned out to be my only two summits of the day. The energy just ran out. Still, they were done safely and in reasonably good weather, so that’s something. Read all about it and see the pictures on the walk 167 page.

Caw and Walna Scar

View up to Caw (left) and Walna Scar

As of today then, I have bagged 212 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, so have 118 to go. I don’t have the chance to do another walk in August unless something unexpected happens, but hopefully early September will see me on one of the two-day walks I typically try to get in around then (because the kids have gone back to school and the weather’s usually decent).

Watch Hill summit

The summit of Watch Hill — Skiddaw behind

I have been ‘confined to quarters’ for quite a while, first because of having too much work to do and second, because of undesirable weather; first, a short heatwave, then days of thunderstorms rolling in on a regular basis. But things relented yesterday to mark the first day of August, so I got out and bagged some Outlying fells, namely Clints Crags and Watch Hill, on walk 166. It’s been February since I picked up any outliers but they still need doing; even after today there remain 49 to pick up in my remaining fells.

In Setmurthy plantation

In Setmurthy plantation

A decent, if unspectacular walk today; although I did get the route and public transport sorted out properly this time which made it a significantly better walk than walk 92, which got the same three fells but was rather a drag at times. Walk 166 is the better version by far. Have a look at its walk page for more photos, route details etc. as usual.

As of today then I have bagged 210 of the 330 fells on my second round, so have 120 to go. I’m about to start on my two-week summer break from work, so there should be more before the middle of August is reached.

On the descent from Steel Fell

On the descent from Steel Fell. Helm Crag on the right, Grasmere ahead.

The murderous heatwaves being reported in Europe have not reached northern England as such, but certainly the weather is very fine at the moment and there was little excuse not to go out yesterday and bag two more fells on walk 165, namely one of the two High Raises (the one in the Central Fells) and nearby Steel Fell. I did this walk slightly differently than the normal pattern; instead of being on the 06:45 from home I left at the leisurely time of 09:40 and it was 13:00 before I began walking at Dungeon Ghyll. Most of the route and even the choice of fells was an on-the-spot improvisation. But it mostly worked, although the haul up High Raise is a little dull.

View to Thirlmere and Blencathra

View to Thirlmere and (on right) Blencathra, from the summit of Steel Fell

Anyway, as usual there is plenty more informaion and photos on the walk 165 page. The walk also has the advantage of ending at one of the Lakes’ most pleasant pubs, the Travellers’ Rest.

As of today, then, I have bagged 207 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, leaving me 123 to go. I hope my next walk will be in around three weeks’ time, in mid-July.

Low Fell summit

The summit of Low Fell, loking towards Crummock Water

Early June 2019 has brought the fairly cruddy weather that is typical for the time of year in northern England, but yesterday, 18th June, promised bright clear conditions and did deliver them. So I used the opportunity to get out on wak 164 and bag a couple of the more peripheral Wainwrights, Fellbarrow and Low Fell, in the north-west corner of the Lake District. There is not much to these fells physically, but the views of the Crummock Water and Buttermere area are spectacular, and this walk also had a nice preamble, coming in from Cockermouth to the north along the valley of the river Cocker, and building up nicely to the ascent of the two fells after lunch. Read all about it and see more photos on the walk 164 page.

Crosshill

The ruin-with-a-view at Crosshill, on the northern slopes of Fellbarrow.

Somehow I feel I have entered the closing stages of the project but this is all illusion as I have at least two years’ worth of Lakeland walks to do yet. I have bagged 205 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round and have 125 to go. I hope there will be another walk before June is out, though let’s see if the summer breaks out properly.

Bluebell meadow

Bluebell meadow and Warnscale Bottom: Fleetwith Pike to the left, Haystacks the right

Another glorious day and an opportunity to make the most of it — lucky me. I finally braved the tortuous transport connections and made it into the Western Fells where some of the best walking in Lakeland can be found, and walk 162 did not disappoint. It bagged me Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks, two very fine fells with plenty of interest not just in walking terms but also for the quarries, old and new. Proof that not all industry has to be ugly.

Spoil heap on Fleetwith

The quarries at the back end of Fleetwith Pike

It would have been an even better walk if it didn’t take so long to get there — ten hours on public transport today for three hours walking. Just about worth it… Anyway, Haystacks has the honour of becoming fell number 200 of the second round — meaning I have 130 to go. Read all the details and see more photos on the walk 162 page if you are interested. Particularly if the good weather holds I certainly intend to get another walk in before May is out.

A very, very Good Friday

April 21, 2019

View back to Fairfield summit

View back to Fairfield summit, from the edge of the crags to the north

A trip abroad has meant a gap of a month in my walking project, but the wait was worth it. Everyone enjoyed a glorious Good Friday on the 19th April, beautiful sunshine and a decent breeze on the tops to stop everything getting overheated. It would have been a crime to ignore it — hence walk 161.

But this walk was not just good for the weather, oh no — it includes spectacular scenery, particularly that of the north side of Fairfield. Many will be familiar with this fell from the famous Fairfield Horseshoe route but that simply avoids all the mountain’s best scenery; doing it from the other side this time was one of the best arguments yet for doing a second round. And there were four other summits bagged on the walk as well, including St. Sunday Crag; so plenty to enjoy. This walk gets five stars and is highly recommended — read all about it and see lots more photos on the walk 161 page.

Cofa Pike and St. Sunday Crag

Climbing Fairfield over Cofa Pike. St. Sunday Crag behind.

It would be great to get in another walk before April ends, particularly if this good weather is going to continue, but let’s see how it goes — I do have some work to do… Anyway, as of today I have done 198 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, so have 132 to go.