Hardknott and Tongue Pot.

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Eskdale.

I enticed B out for a walk using the lure of Tongue Pot; he’s been campaigning for a return ever since his first visit, which was five summers ago. How time flies! My side of the deal was that he had to climb a hill with me first. We parked on the big section of grass verge just west of Brotherikeld Farm (you can make out the parked cars in the photo above) and then set off toward the Hardknott Pass, soon leaving the road for the path which cuts across to the remains of the Roman Fort.

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Arriving at Hardknott Roman Fort.

B has visited the fort once before, when we climbed Harter Fell with old friend X-Ray and came down via Horsehow Crags and Demming Crag (Birketts which needed ticking off, of course), which, astonishingly, was twelve summers ago. How time flies!

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Beyond the wall: Horsehow Crags and Demming Crag.
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Inside the fort. Border End beyond.
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The Roman Fort.
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The Roman Fort.

We left the fort on a path heading towards the pass – I guess the old Roman road.

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The pass, the fort and Eskdale.

By the time we hit the road, it was very hot. Fortunately, from the top of the pass it was only a very short climb to the Birkett of Border End, which turned out to be one of those Birketts which is well worth a visit, with superb views and nobody else about.

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On Border End, looking to the Scafells.
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On Border End: Esk Pike, Bowfell, Crinkle Crags and Hard Knott.
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Border End panorama.
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Border End summit.

As we dropped away from the top of Border End I noticed this moth on the ground.

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Garden Tiger Moth?

I think it’s a Garden Tiger, although it’s quite a way from any gardens. The wings usually seem to look more cream than yellow and the spots can vary in shape, but the general pattern looks right.

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Garden Tiger Moth?

Since the moth was dead, I could and should have looked at the underwings which should have been a spectacular red, but unfortunately that didn’t occur to me at the time.

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A view down on to Eskdale Needle.

I’d read that Border End has a good view of Eskdale Needle, and it does, although you may have to open a flickr copy of the photo above and zoom it to see it. One day I’ll have to come this way and drop down to have a proper look.

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Yew Bank Crag panorama.

The tarn on Hard Knott was choked with reeds and looked extremely shallow, I soon dismissed any idea I’d had of an early dip there.

We diverted off the path to take in the rocky knoll of Yew Bank, another Birkett (and a Tump and a Synge apparently). Dropping slightly below the summit gave absolutely superb views of the hills and crags around Upper Eskdale and of the Esk and Lingcove Beck.

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Slightside, Scafell, Mickledore, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Ill Crag, Great End. The river Esk and Lingcove Beck below.
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Descending from Hard Knott.
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Panorama.
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Another view of England’s highest – hard to resist!
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Lingcove Beck and Bowfell.
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Lingcove Beck and Crinkle Crags.

When we reached Lingcove Beck we immediately came upon an inviting looking pool.

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An inviting pool.

Me made our way down the beck, moving from pool to pool, B looking for places to jump in, whilst I settled for a swim. I think we found around five good spots. I thought Andy and I had made a pretty thorough exploration of the swimming possibilities of both the Esk and Lingcove Beck, but I don’t remember these delightful pools.

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Taking another plunge.

Tongue Pot was busy, busier than it looks here. I jumped in from the wimps side, by the tree on the right, but B had only one thing in mind: the mega-leap having not done it five years ago.

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Tongue Pot. Busy.
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The ‘mega-leap’. This is a video. If it won’t play, click on it to visit the flickr page and view B’s feat of daring.

No qualms this time.

Once he’d done it a few times, all that remained was the pleasant walk down the valley back to the car.

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Eskdale Needle from below.
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Heron Stones.
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The Esk and Bowfell.
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Hardknott and Tongue Pot.

The Mawson Garden

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TBH under the rose pergola.

On the Sunday of the Art Trail weekend, TBH and I were keen to visit ‘The Mawson Garden’. It’s far from being the only Mawson garden around. There’s at least one more garden in the village which was designed by Lancaster landscape architect Thomas Mawson, and lots more elsewhere, including some overseas. But in the village this walled garden, within the grounds of a large house called Grey Walls, seems to have become known as ‘The Mawson Garden’, so I’ll go with that. As part of the trail it was open, with art on display, although the principle attraction for us, and, I suspect, for many other visitors, was to see the garden itself.

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We walked there via our Sunday route through Fleagarth Wood and around Jenny Brown’s Point.

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Warton Crag and the Bowland Skyline across Carnforth Salt Marsh.
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Common Mallow.

Here’s an image of Grey Walls, from an old postcard, which I found on t’interweb.

Grey Walls.

The house was also designed by Mawson and was apparently finished in about 1925. It looks very different now, since the substantial grounds are now heavily wooded and there are no views of the Bay or the local hills anymore. Actually, the house was renamed Ridgeway when it was bought by Joe Foster co-founder of Reebok, but still seems to be locally know as Grey Walls.

Since access to the garden is only via the grounds of Grey Walls, we had to wait for a guide to lead us to the entrance. (The guide was R, one of our neighbours). Whilst we waited, we chatted to friends from the village about how long it was since we had previously visited. All I knew was that I didn’t know. TBH was spot on with 8 years.

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Former Summer House, now a home.

I thought I’d been again since, but I can’t find any reference to such a visit on the blog, so perhaps not. Things have certainly changed a great deal since that first visit.

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The pergola again.

I suspect that restoring the garden must be a huge labour of love. It’s really impressive, and I don’t think my photos do it justice.

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A Dogwood apparently.

The first time we came, there was a great deal of discussion about this tree. It was suggested that it was a Judas Tree or a Strawberry Tree. Our friend’s daughter, who was home from Massachusetts, was confident that it’s a Dogwood, which are common in Massachusetts gardens apparently.

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A small sample of some of the art on display in the garden…

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A very enjoyable visit. I hope we get to have another look before 2030!

The Mawson Garden

Odds and Ends

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Shorn.

Whilst my weekend Dad’s-taxi-driving duties have diminished, during the week I’ve been busier than ever. My ‘little and often’ routine and my spring and summer evening hill-walks have both been casualties of the change, but I haven’t minded, what with all the great weekend outings I’ve managed to fit in. I have still occasionally squeezed in some short walks here and there. This post rounds up a few photos from some of those wanders during June and July.

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Fox and cubs.

Fox and cubs is a naturalised plant, originally from North America. I was able to photograph it in its home range this summer (of which, more to come!).

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Tree Bumblebee on Snowberry flower.

I know that I’ve mentioned before my phone’s newfound ability to take sharp close-up photos. Here’s another example. On a fairly cold day, a thicket of Snowberry was swarming with Tree Bumblebees, but several of the bees were clinging to flowers, apparently motionless and marooned, probably exhausted by the low temperature.

Snowberry is another non-native, naturalised plant. I had it in a hedge in a previous garden. Although the flowers are hardly showy, I admired the handsome white berries which give it its name, and was happy to have it in my garden. Until, that is, it sent suckers underneath the flagged path it edged and tried to takeover the rest of the garden, from which point I ended up fighting a running battle with it.

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Dark skies.

There’s something irresistible about sunshine backed by threatening dark skies. This photo, and the three which follow, are from the last weekend in June. The annual Art Trail, which had to be cancelled two years ago, and delayed last year, was back to its usual weekend. TBH and I had already seen the exhibition in the Gaskell Hall of the work of the Silverdale Art Group, which was brilliant, as ever, and had visited a few other venues. Then we drove to Storth to take a look at the exhibitions there.

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Whitbarrow across the Kent Estuary.

The weather looked a bit brighter across the Kent Estuary, but to the east…

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Heversham Head, Sizergh Fell and Kentmere Fells across the Kent Estuary.

…still very murky. By the time we’d toured the Village Hall and looked at some amazing abstract paintings, by an artist whose name, unfortunately, I can’t remember, things had actually, properly brightened up…

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Heversham Head, Sizergh Fell and Kentmere Fells across the Kent Estuary.
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Garden Roe Deer.
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Williamson Park folly.

After what seemed like a very short break, B’s rugby training recommenced. One evening it was shifted from Kirkby to Williamson’s park in Lancaster, where the players did lots of steep hill-sprints. It looked like extremely hard work.

I took a book to sit in this little folly. Much more relaxing.

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Ashton Memorial.
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Ashton Memorial.
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Across Morecambe to the Lakes.

These last two photos are from a very sunny lunch-time escape from work, when the weather had turned really hot.

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Millenium Bridge over the Lune.
Odds and Ends

Swimming Season at Last

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The Dale from the Pepper Pot.

The morning after the Tigers victory over Saracens, and I was up at the Pepper Pot looking over the village. The weather doesn’t look too promising does it?

But later on, when I noticed a deer on our lawn, it had started to brighten up…

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Garden with Roe Deer.

By the time B returned from his shift pot-washing at the local hotel, it was glorious, and hot.

‘Fancy a drive Dad?’, he asked.

This was code for, ”Are you willing to sit in the passenger seat for an hour whilst I drive?”

B has his provisional licence, has passed his theory test, and is very keen to clear the final hurdle and gain the independence which driving would give him.

“We could go to High Dam for a swim.”

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Potter Tarn. Coniston Fells in the distance.

Which seemed like a good idea, except I suggested, given the late hour, that we substitute Gurnal Dubs for High Dam, it being closer to home and not surrounded by trees, so that we might have both later sun and a later onset of midge attack.

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Forest of Bowland, Scout Scar and Cunswick Scar, Arnside Knott, Whitbarrow.

The walk up to the reservoir was very pleasant, if somewhat warm work.

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Gurnal Dubs.

A work colleague, who lives quite close to Gurnal Dubs, had reported a recent swim there and that the water was ‘quite warm’. I hate to think what would qualify as cold in her estimation. It was pretty bracing. But very refreshing and, after a long period where it never seemed to warm up, a welcome and unusually late start to wild-swimming for the year.

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After our swim.

By the time we were out of the water we were already losing the sun.

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Looking back to Gurnal Dubs.

The views on the way down were even better than they had been on the way up, with the landscape decked in dark shadows and late, golden sunshine.

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Potter Tarn, Coniston Fells, Scafell and Scafell Pike.
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Scout Scar and Cunswick Scar, Arnside Knott, Whitbarrow, Gummer How.
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Almost back to the road and the car.

The following evening, a Monday, Little S had Explorers. He’s transferred from the local unit to the one which meets in Littledale, at the very pleasant Scout camp on the banks of Artle Beck. Usually, after dropping him off, I take B to a boxing gym in Lancaster, but for some reason that was off, so I was at a loose end, which gave me a chance to try a spot down in the Lune Valley which I’d previously picked out as having potential for swimming.

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River Lune. Caton Moor wind farm beyond.
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River Lune and Ingleborough.

It was a bit of a walk from the carpark at Bull Beck near Caton, so I didn’t have all that much time to swim, but the walk was nice enough in itself.

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Swimming spot.

How was it? A lot warmer than Gurnal Dubs, quite pleasant in fact. Fairly fast flowing. Not as deep as I had hoped, but just about deep enough. Due to the strength of the current, I found myself walking upstream on the shingle bank and then floating back down river before repeating the process. Not a bad way to spend a Monday evening.

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River Lune.

One more local-ish swim to report, though I’m jumping forward almost to mid-July and another Monday evening. After a hot day at school, B wondered whether I could give him and some friends a lift to Settle to swim. I didn’t have to think too long about that one: too far away. We compromised on Devil’s Bridge at Kirby Lonsdale, as long as they promised not to jump off the bridge.

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Devil’s Bridge.

Whilst they were, I later found out, having a great time, I had a wander down the Lune, enjoying the riverside flowers.

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Meadow Crane’s-bill.
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Giant Bellflower, I think.
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Monkeyflower – naturalised from North America.
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Himalayan Balsam – another non-native plant.

This one is a bit of a cheat, you can perhaps tell by the light; there was plenty of Himalayan Balsam by the Lune, but I’d also photographed some the day before, in better light, when I picked up Little S from another Scout Camp, this one down near Ormskirk.

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River Lune. Too shallow to swim in.
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Pipe Bridge carrying water from Haweswater in the Lakes to Manchester.

I had my swimming stuff with me, and found, as I thought I might, that the water under the bridge, on the right hand side anyway, was deep enough for me to have a dip. In honesty, not one of my favourite swims this summer, but it had stiff competition.

Swimming Season at Last

Around Threshthwaite Cove.

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Hartsop Dodd. My route followed the wall up to the ridge and then the skyline to the top.

A couple of weeks after my last outing, so mid-June, and I was out relatively early and parked in the small, free car-park in the hamlet of Hartsop. The car-park was already filling up despite the early hour. The earlyish start and my choice of route – short and not too far from home – were due to my plans for the afternoon.

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Colourful Lichen. Possibly Red Crest (or British Soldier) Lichen.
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Looking along Patterdale to Ullswater.
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Grey Crag (on the right).
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The long wooded ridge of Hartsop above How and Brothers Water.

After a very grey start, the clouds began to break-up and the sun could poke through, making for some glorious views.

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Pano. Ullswater, Place Fell, Brock Crags, Rest Dodd, Grey Crag, Hartsop Dodd.
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The hills around Dovedale: High Hartsop Dodd, Little Hart Crag, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Cofa Pike, Dollywaggon Pike, and Hartsop above How.
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Patterdale Pano.

Once the sun appeared I started to see a number of what I thought were day-flying moths. In flight, they looked quite dark, and I thought they might be Chimney Sweeper moths, or at least something similar. But then I noticed one land and open it’s wings…

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Mountain Ringlet.

They were Mountain Ringlets! Not the most pre-possessing butterfly, I’ll admit, but very exciting none-the-less. In England, they are only found in the Lake District and are quite elusive. In many years of walking in the Lakes, I’ve never seen them before. Actually, this wasn’t the first one I saw, or attempted to photograph that morning. Despite the fact that the grass was very short, when they dropped down into it they seemed to disappear, and if I approached, hoping to spot them and get a photo, they were shy and would fly-off.

I was lucky with the change in the weather:

“The adults are highly active only in bright sunshine but can be disturbed from the ground even in quite dull weather. They keep low to the ground in short flights, pausing regularly to bask amongst grass tussocks or feed on the flowers of Tormentil or┬áHeath Bedstraw.”

Source

There was lots of Bedstraw flowering, but my efforts to photograph the tiny white flowers weren’t very successful. I assumed that I would continue to see Mountain Ringlets during the rest of the walk, but I didn’t – they were prolific around the summit of Hartsop Dodd, but after that, no more.

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Caudale Head, Caudale Quarry and Red Screes.

Caudale Moor, John Bell’s Banner, Stony Cove Pike – are there any other hills in the Lakes which glory in three different titles? I always think of it as Stony Cove Pike whereas Wainwright goes with Caudale Moor. Although I’ve climbed it many times over the years, it has often been from the Kirkstone Pass, when time has been short. I’ve never had a poke around Caudale Quarry, or climbed any of the ridges which rise on the Troutbeck side, so plenty of scope for further exploration.

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Looking back to Hartsop Dodd.

I was supposed to be in a hurry, but the long steady climb to Stony Cove Pike followed a ramshackle drystone wall, perfect territory for Wheatears. I took lots of photos, all of females oddly, of which this was my favourite…

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Wheatear, female.

The sun had disappeared behind a cloud again, so the light wasn’t ideal, but by now I was in full ‘birding’ mode. There were Crows, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks about too to try to capture, although generally not as close at hand as the Wheatears.

Wheatears, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks will all sing in flight. I think that this songster was a Skylark…

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Skylark.
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Skylark.

This was definitely a Skylark, the crest is the giveaway, unusually singing from a perch.

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From Stoney Cove Pike: High Street and Thornthwaite Crag.

The sun was shining again, so I sat on the summit to enjoy the views and eat my lunch.

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From Stoney Cove Pike: Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke.
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Thornthwaite Crag.
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Thornthwaite Crag pano.
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Threshthwaite Mouth and Threshthwaite Crag on Caudale Moor.

I had half-planned to include Thornthwaite Crag on my circuit, but the dawdling I been doing, photographing butterflies and birds, did not fit well with my plans so I took the lazy option, a small path which climbed very easily onto the ridge for Grey Crag.

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I’d run out of water, but found a tiny rivulet crossing the slopes here and refilled my bottle. For my birthday, TBH had bought me a water bottle which includes a filter….

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…the chunky white cylinder you can see inside the bottle. To be fair, I’ve been drinking water from Lake District streams with no ill effects for years, but the filter does give some added peace of mind.

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Threshthwaite Mouth, Threshthwaite Crag, Caudale Moor.
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Rest Dodd, The Knott, Rampsgill Head, Kidsty Pike.
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Along the ridge to Grey Crag.

The wind had really picked-up, and I had to stop to shove on an extra layer.

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Threshthwaite Cove.

Some hike stats: around 6 miles and 700m of climbing according to MapMyWalk.

Three Wainwrights: Hartsop Dodd, Caudale Moor, Grey Crag.

My plans for the afternoon? To settle down in front of the googlebox and watch Leicester Tigers trounce Saracens in the Premiership Final. It was a bit tense for a while there, but the result came out right in the end.

Around Threshthwaite Cove.