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.

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.

The last walk of 2017

December 22, 2017

Grizedale forest

Deep in the forest

Walk 140 will definitely be my last of 2017. The forecast was for cloud and drizzle, and that was bang on the money, so it was not a day to get out on the high fells. Instead, I walked from the west end of the cross-Windermere ferry, near Far Sawrey, over to Coniston, on the way taking in the summit of Carron Crag (the only Wainwright bagged today) and trees. A lot of trees, this being Grizedale Forest, one of the largest expanses of woodland in England. It’s a decent walk to do on a day like this, but no one is ever going to claim it’s a very exciting one. Still, see what you think from the detailed route description and pictures on the walk 140 page.

Twigs and droplets

What it was like today: a) wet b) trees

As of today — and as there’ll be no more walks until January, as of the end of 2017 — I have done 131 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have 199 to go. 2017 saw me do 18 walks with a total of 47 Wainwrights bagged: there were no really great set-pieces unlike in 2016, though it was nice to get up Great Gable in decent weather (and make it number 100 of the second round).

Anyway, whatever you are doing — have a merry Christmas. I hope to be walking again before 2018 is more than a few days old.

Raise from White Side

Looking back to Raise, from White Side

In the two walks done at the start of November, I was out on the fells (admittedly fairly low ones) without need for an outer fleece or jacket. But not yesterday, 29th November — for as you can see I was up above the snowline in the Helvellyn range. Walk 139 was fairly short, at just 6.5 miles, but there was plenty of climbing needed to bag four fells: Glenridding Dodd, Sheffield Pike, Raise and White Side. The latter two were also done in the snow the first time round, making them the first fells in this project to be bagged twice in snow each time. Which, for White Side, is fairly appropriate I suppose.

Thirlmere

View of Thirlmere on the descent. No zipwires, please (see commentary)

As of today, then, I have bagged 130 of the 330 Wainwrights on my second round, thus have exactly 200 to go. I hope to get one more in before Christmas, but it does all depend on the weather in the week of the 18th December.

One more thing while you’re here. I’m not against development per se but the idea that the worth of the Thirlmere valley will be enhanced by running zipwires across the lake might be one that, like me, you find faintly ludicrous. If so, it’s probably not a bad idea to register your objection to the scheme before it gets past the planning authorities. See this page from the Friends of the Lake District site for more information about the scheme and how to register your objection. Thank you.

Summit of Allen Crags

Summit cairn, Allen Crags. Ill Crag (part of Scafell Pike) in the background.

Walk 123 opened up for me thanks to 2nd January being a public holiday in the UK and also managing another very good weather forecast. This forecast turned into actuality, with the day being bright and frosty, as you can see from this shot of Allen Crags‘ summit cairn. That, along with Glaramara and Rossett Pike, were the three fells bagged today. Read about my day, and see more photos, on the walk 123 page if you like.

Combe Gill

Looking up Combe Gill

It’s back to work for me now, though — the new (working) year awaits. My next walk is hopefully going to be around 23rd – 24th January: depending on the weather as always, but I’ve been doing well with that for the last few months. As of today then, I have bagged 87 of the 330 Wainwrights in my second round, so have 243 to go.

Bowfell from the top of the Band

The upper slopes of Bowfell, as seen from the plateau at the top of the Band

At this time of year, it’s never easy to find a possible day for a walk, particularly outside a weekend, but Friday 25th November was booked in as a day off work weeks ago for various reasons. Even then however, late November is hardly a dependable time for weather — or at least, only insofar as one can depend on it being unpredictable.

And yet…. 25th November 2016 might well have been one of the best late November days of my whole life, with still air and cloudless skies, though also snow and ice. Either way, lucky me for being able to take advantage of it on walk 121 by going up Bowfell, one of Wainwright’s ‘Top Half-Dozen’, and justifiably so. An excellent mountain, rocky and dramatic but not too arduous on the ascent, and with a spectacular view from the summit, one of the best. All a fine way to spend a Friday therefore.

The Band

The Band. illuminated by the low afternoon sun. Crinkle Crags is (or are) in the background.

For the details, do read the walk 121 page, which has the usual crop of additional photos. As of today, then, I have bagged 82 of the 330 Wainwright fells for a second time, thus have 248 to go. I might get one more walk in before or just after Christmas, but once again, that depends on the weather. Still, the dice came up all in my favour yesterday, so let’s see if they do so again.

Snowfield and Stone Arthur

Snowfield below the tors of Stone Arthur

In the eight weeks since I completed my last walk and, with it, my first round of the 330 Wainwrights, it’s been an eventful time weather-wise. First we had the floods of December. Then today, on my return to the Lakes after this Christmas hiatus for walk 105, I found myself ploughing through snow that at times was thigh-deep.

Still, although undoubtedly the snowiest walk I’ve ever done, it was also one of the most beautiful (except for the hour around noon when a storm hit); and it bagged me four Wainwrights on my second round, namely Stone Arthur (pictured here), Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar.

Heron Pike in snow

Heron Pike and Windermere, seen from Great Rigg.

Not much more to do with these fells now though — I’ve been up them and down them, done them in summer and in winter. This is why it’s worth doing a second round — but I’m not committing to any more after that. But that’s all years ahead… For now, have a look at the walk 105 page if you like, for more photos and all the other usual guff.

The summit of White Side.

The summit of White Side. Catstycam (left), Swirral Edge and Helvellyn behind.

2nd December saw me bag five more of the remaining Wainwrights in dramatic conditions. These included the third-highest of all, Helvellyn, at 3,118 feet. As you can see from the pictures, the tops were dusted in snow, which led to some dramatic views (particularly as it seemed to be the only part of the district so blessed). The downside – it’s December, and snowy, which meant it was cold, and much of the walk was done in the teeth of a northerly gale. But it wasn’t a long walk, and was definitely worthwhile. Find out more about it on the walk 47 page and the individual fell pages.

As of today, then, I have done 147 of the 214 Wainwrights, thus have 67 to go. I have walked a total of 471.48 miles and ascended approximately 137,132 feet.

I hope to get another walk in before Christmas, on either 19th or 20th December.