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

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.