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.

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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.

Brant Fell summit

The summit of Brant Fell, looking south, with Windermere below.

Walk 155 took place yesterday as I type, 20th December, and like all walks done around this time of the Solistice, was grey, damp and rather gloomy. Nevertheless it was good to get out as there was a time when I thought the previous walk, on 2nd November, might end up being the last one of the year. But yesterday I did bag four more summits: the three in the School Knott chapter of the Outlying Fells, and then Brant Fell above Bowness. Read all about it and see more photos on the walk 155 page. The walk mostly took place along the last few miles of the Dales Way, which runs from Yorkshire to Bowness, so another nice feature of it was that there was plenty of good signposting. No one’s going to get lost on this walk.

Dales Way signpost

Follow these: there are plenty of them. This was one of my best-signposted walks.

Almost certainly, that was my last walk of 2018. As of today, I have done 174 of the 330 Wainwrights a second time, meaning I have 156 to go. 2018 contained 15 walks (if the two-day walk 152 is counted as one), and 43 fells were bagged, starting with Latrigg in January and ending with Brant Fell today. This is down on my yearly average for both walks and fells, but never mind. With more time coming up in the new year I hope to pick up the pace a bit. Meanwhile: have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and if you’re out on the mountains, be sensible and stay safe.

Walkers and Windermere

Windermere, and walkers heading off Wansfell for Troutbeck

November 2018 dawned — at least, its second day did — with very fine weather and with Saturdays being unavailable for walking at the moment thanks to an endless run of train strikes, it was fortunate that I was not working on this Friday and able to take advantage of it. The walk I did — walk 154 — had to be an accessible one seeing as I had an event to go to in Lancaster this evening, and so I headed up the Troutbeck valley direct from Windermere station to bag Troutbeck Tongue and Wansfell. Not dramatic fells in themselves but the views could not be faulted. Read all the details and see plenty more photos on the walk 154 page.

Ancient bridge

The ancient clapper-bridge over Trout Beck

Let us not talk about the ineptitude of the train companies any further, merely to note that I had to do this walk rather more quickly than planned. Anyway — it was enjoyable, despite some awkward sections in the middle.

As of today, then, I have done 170 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, and have 160 to go.

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.

Walker on Floutern Cop

Walker on Floutern Cop

It’s true that Britain could do with some rain to top up the reservoirs and stop all the lawns from dying, but as anyone who lives here, or has visited in the last two months, knows it’s really been very pleasant since early May and anyone complaining about this should be shot. It makes a change to have no concerns at all about packing waterproofs or extra layers — but on the other hand, sunscreen and plenty of water are essentials right now.

So it was on yesterday’s walk 148 which took me round some of the more obscure fells in Wainwright’s volume 7: Hen Comb, Starling Dodd and Great Borne. It’s a logical walk though, heading south from the foot of Crummock Water and into the lonely country around Mosedale and Floutern Pass. Another one worth doing in a time of drought Not a spectacular walk, but it was pleasing to finally get some more Western Fells bagged. Read all about it on the walk 148 page.

Crummock Water

Having fun on Crummock Water

All that and England winning over Sweden too. Not a bad day at all…

As of today then I have bagged 154 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, so have 176 to go. Unless the weather really does take a turn for the worse, and there is no sign of that at the moment, there’ll be another walk in the next two weeks.

South from High Seat

Looking south from High Seat, towards High Tove and Ullscarf. Much of the walk looks similar.

It has rained very little in the last six weeks, making this probably the driest period we’ve had since I started on these walks way back in 2009. I decided with walk 147 to risk an expedition into one of the Lakes’ most notoriously wet regions, the central ridge between Bleaberry Fell in the north, and the pass of Greenup — a ridge which also takes in the summits of High Seat, High Tove and Ullscarf along the way.

The gamble worked. Obviously a vile swamp in wet, or even normal, weather, the dry weather has turned it into reasonably good turf at the moment. I was able to do 14 miles in 5:15 and thus get the walk done at a decent hour — despite the ineptitude of Northern Rail, it getting me to Penrith an hour late this morning, and its current inability to provide a train service to Windermere for anyone. That’s another story — but if interested you can read about it in the comments on the walk 147 page, where there are more photos, the usual route details, etc.

Cottongrass is definitely the dominant lifeform on today’s walk: and it grows on boggy ground, note

As of today, then, I have bagged 151 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, and thus have 179 to go. Not promising anything but I hope that around the end of June, first week of July will be my next walk. I still haven’t got into the Western Fells again yet — thanks today to the aforementioned train cockups. It’s on the agenda but not entirely within my control…