Little and Often: Progress Report

image

Somehow the end of February slid by without any mention here of my progress, or otherwise, towards the target I’ve set myself of walking 1000 miles this year, above and beyond the pottering about I do at home and at work. This wasn’t because I’d fallen behind; I didn’t quite match January’s total, it’s true, but with a little over 120 miles logged, I had much more than I need to reach my, admittedly arbitrary, target.

image

These photographs are from one of my ‘little and often’ strolls. The day after our friends left us was once again wet, but it briefly brightened up in the afternoon, so I took my chance for a standard wander to the Cove and across the Lots.

These are the benches where I sometimes sit to watch the sun set, currently graced by an entourage of Daffodils.

image

I’ve been enjoying a website, Other-Wordly, “about strange and lovely words” and one of the words which I hope will stick with me is smultronställe, a Swedish term,

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 23.23.11

Maybe these benches are not wild enough, or private enough, to match that description, but otherwise they’re a perfect fit.

The rain may have paused for a while, but the evidence of it’s recent ubiquity was everywhere to see…

image

Even on the Lots, which usually stay reasonably dry…

image

By the time I came back through the village, the skies were leaden again, presaging the imminent arrival of more wet.

image

Here’s my calendar for February, from Mapmywalk…

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 22.36.56

By contrast, March looks a little spartan…

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 22.37.45

..and it’s true that illness and general busyness did hamper my efforts somewhat. In fact, at one point, I did find myself bitterly contemplating the possibility of a blogpost entitled something along the lines of ‘Too Little, Less Often’, but despite my misgivings, I still just about crept over the required mileage for a month, so that’s okay then. In fact, as of today, I’ve just passed 400 miles for the year so far.

In a similar vein: last night I was updating my ‘Birkett Tick List‘ page, essentially a list of the hills in the Lake District which I’ve climbed since I started to write this blog, back in 2008. I was engrossed in the technicalities of editing the page – something I’ve had trouble with, which is why it was almost two years behind, but it was quite enlightening to look back at two years of walks and realise that in that time I’d actually climbed far more hills than I expected. At one point, A was looking over my shoulder and pointed out to me that the list has become quite a long one. And she’s right: without ever really applying myself, I do seem to have accumulated a fair few ascents. Now, admittedly, the Lakes are compact and it’s often possible to tick-off several hills in a single walk. And also, it’s taken me 10 years to build-up a substantial tally, but I still feel like this is another victory for the steady , softly-softly, tortoise (rather than hare) approach.

PA100842

Blea Tarn Hill – somewhere I might never have visited without Birkett’s list to encourage me. Not a lot of effort being expended here, but we actually managed to claim a fair number of summits that day.

Advertisements
Little and Often: Progress Report

Souther Fell, Bannerdale Crags and Bowscale Fell

image

The Tongue and River Glenderamakin.

As I drove through the Tebay Gorge, the cloud was virtually down to the road and it was tipping it down. So I was pleased to arrive in Mungrisdale in sunshine. The rainbow was a forewarning of what was to come, however, and along the ridge of Souther Fell I had first rain, then sleet and finally snow. The view back to Bowscale Fell kept partially clearing but Bannerdale Crags and Blencathra were well hidden by cloud.

image

Bowscale Fell.

image

Souther Fell after the weather had brightened again.

Down in Mungrisdale I’d seen a sign warning of bridges which had been washed away by floods. Almost immediately after I saw the sign, I crossed one of the bridges, which must have been replaced, so I knew that the warning wasn’t necessarily up to date, but it was still a relief to find that this bridge…

image

…over the River Glenderamackin had also been restored. It was raining again at this point, but this was to be the last shower of the day, and it was short-lived.

Wainwright describes this route, via White Horse Bent,  as ‘tedious’ and recommends the East Ridge. It suited me well on this occasion, but I will come back to try the East Ridge when it’s not so likely to be plastered with ice.

image

Bannerdale Crags and Bowscale Fell.

image

image

Bannerdale Crags and it’s East Ridge – looks worthy of a return visit. Note Great Mell Fell catching the sun behind, which it continued to do all afternoon.

I stopped for a cup of tea near the top of Bannerdale Crags. There was little shelter to be had, but I donned every layer I had, so that I was layered up with a thermal, a shirt, two jumpers my cag, a snood and even an old balaclava under my hat. It wasn’t as windy as it had been on Selside Pike, but it was very, very cold. In the end, I kept all of those layers on for almost all of the remainder of the walk. I can’t think when I last felt so cold on the hill.

image

Blencathra threatening to appear.

image

Bowscale Fell.

image

Bannerdale Crags and Blencathra (almost).

image

Bowscale Fell East Top, Carrock Fell behind.

image

Bowscale Tarn.

image

Looking back to Bowscale Fell.

image

The East Ridge of Bowscale Fell.

My descent, by the East Ridge of Bowscale Fell was an absolute delight. Bar one final steep step, it was a pleasant steady route all the way down, and the views of the distant snow-capped Pennines was superb.

image

Time for one last cup of tea stop.

image

Looking past Great Mell Fell to the High Street range.

image

The Pennines over Eycott Hill.

image

St. Kentigern’s Church Mungrisdale.

A quick peek in the church and then back to the car. My photos of the Winter Aconites in the churchyard didn’t come out too well unfortunately.

Screen Shot 2018-02-24 at 14.15.07.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-24 at 14.18.08.png

Souther Fell, Bannerdale Crags and Bowscale Fell

Spindrift on Selside Pike

P1170840

Another snow-hunting expedition. The forecast was once again for mixed weather: wintery showers and maybe some brighter spells, but also for fierce winds. This is our crew shortly after we’d left the cars. We were joined by three of our friends, one of whom long-suffering readers might recognise as The Tower Captain, otherwise known as the Faffmeister, and also by their highly excited dogs.

image

High Street and Kidsty Pike across Haweswater.

We’d had quite a bit of rain and snow on the journey up and as we drove alongside Haweswater it was snowing pretty heavily and settling on the road. But soon after we’d parked we had probably the sunniest spell of the entire day.

Our plan was simple: follow the Old Corpse Road, which crosses between Mardale and Swindale, to its highest point and then divert up Selside Pike, returning by the same route. This had been one of the possibilities I’d considered for the day that we’d been up to the Garburn Pass and, never one to waste things, I’d decided to revivify the idea for this outing.

P1170839

Waterfalls on Hopgill Beck.

P1170844

Rough Crag, High Street and Kidsty Pike.

P1170848

The kids had their small plastic sledges with them again and weren’t long in finding an opportunity to use them. This time, I didn’t wait to watch them, but climbed a little further to…

P1170847

…the small ruined, roofless cottage of High Loup. Although we’d not walked far at all, I had it in mind that this might be our last chance of any kind of shelter from the strong winds and suggested it as a lunch spot.

I didn’t have to twist anybody’s arm.

P1170850

After our stop, we made it too the pass with relative ease, and then found a couple more spots for some sledging. Once on the ridge, I was finding the snow conditions very frustrating: it was the kind of compacted snow which suggests it will hold you, but then collapses when you shift your weight, which is hard work. At least, it was that kind of snow for me. For most of the party it was perfect snow – firm enough to walk on top of, but soft enough to take an edge and give some grip. Little S, however, had the opposite problem to me: he was making no impression on the snow, but the wind was making a huge impression on him. Between the icy snow and the gales he was struggling to stand up. He didn’t complain, but after watching him struggle for a while, it seemed madness to let him continue and I asked him whether he would like to turn back. He would. And the other boys would be very glad to keep him company. I don’t think that they were any of them very impressed with the spindrift which was attacking us. It’s a lovely word ‘spindrift’, but totally inappropriate for the wind-driven ice shrapnel which stings any exposed skin and manages to get inside every garment.

The boys were also keen to put into action their plan to use the sledges as much as possible in their descent. Unfortunately, Little S didn’t keep a tight enough grip on his and it whipped away on the breeze and is probably now lying in a field down in Swindale.

The girls, meanwhile, were keen to carry on to the top. TBH offered to accompany the boys and so I joined King Dilly Dally, and A and S in the summit party.

image

Here’s A sitting on the snowdrift filled summit shelter.

image

The view of the snowcapped Pennines across the Eden Valley was better then this photo suggests, but it was quite difficult to hang on to the phone at this point, never mind hold it steady for a photo.

image

Baron Behindhand on the descent.

image

S and A with poles nicked from their Dads.

P1170852

Rough Crag and Haweswater again.

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 21.58.34.png

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 22.01.58.png

A modest outing of just 5 miles, but very enjoyable.

I’ve climbed Selside Pike twice before, since I started this blog. Once on another wintery February day, with X-Ray another old friend. Although it was February and very icy, in every other respect this was a very different day:

Selside Pike and Branstree

And once on a mammoth (by my standards anyway) circuit around Haweswater.

A Haweswater Round

We’ve been meaning to get out with the Duke of Delay again ever since his igloo collapsing antics on Wansfell last year:

Grand Designs – An Igloo on Wansfell

 

 

Spindrift on Selside Pike

Whitfell and Devoke Water.

Or: Three Brews with Views.

Birker Fell Road – Rough Crag – Water Crag – White Pike – Woodend Height – Yoadcastle – Stainton Pike – Holehouse Tarn – Whitfell – Woodend Height – Devoke Water – Seat How – Birker Fell Road.

P1160580

Hesk Fell, Woodend Height and Stord’s Hill seen across Devoke Water from Rough Crag.

It was our turn to do Kitchen Duty at rugby and TBH offered to go in my stead. I didn’t need to be asked twice. The MWIS forecast gave hill fog, with the best chance of some sunshine in the west, so I drove out to Ulpha in the Duddon valley and then up to park on the Birker Fell Road. Pike How, just above the road is a marvellous view point and one to bear in mind for future reference. It didn’t take long to reach Rough Crag either and I found a comfortable spot out of the chilly wind blowing from the north…

P1160582

…and settled down for an early brew stop.

P1160586

Water Crag from Rough Crag.

Water Crag was also easily and quickly ascended.

P1160587

Looking back to Rough Crag from Water Crag.

P1160590

This rocky little knoll is Brantrake Crags. It’s off modest height and probably doesn’t appear in any guide books anywhere, but I thought it looked worth climbing. The stream beside it, Linbeck Gill, which drains Devoke Water, also looked like a good place to explore.

After Rough Crag and Water Crag, Birkett suggests a lengthy traverse to take in The Knott. For once, I’d done my research in advance and discovered that Wainwright, in his Outlying Fells book, has a separate walk which takes in the Knott, but also the ancient settlement at Barnscar and the waterfall of Rowantree Force. That seemed like a more sensible option to me, so I skipped The Knott and climbed directly to White Pike. After the previous two, very easy, ascents, this one seemed like a long way. It was well worth it though. The prominent cairn…

P1160595

…marked a spot with excellent views.

P1160597

Whitfell and Stainton Pike from White Pike.

P1160600

Cumbrian west coast from White Pike.

P1160602

Eskmeals viaduct and Isle of Mann.

P1160596

Woodend Height and Yoadcastle.

All of the peaks on this walk had stunning views. I’d be hard-pressed to pick a favourite, but Woodend Height would be hard to beat; from it’s top you can have great fun picking out all of the big hills of the western Lakes, across Devoke Water.

P1160604

P1160607

Yoadcastle, Whitfell and Stainton Pike from Woodend Height.

Aside from the minor difficulty of surmounting a wire fence with a top strand of barbed wire, the walk around to Stainton Pike was delightful. This was yet another good view point.

P1160616

Looking back to Yoadcastle from Stainton Pike.

P1160617

Holehouse tarn and Whitfell from Stainton Pike.

P1160618

The estuaries of the Irt and the Esk from Stainton Pike.

It seemed like another brew was in order, and I found a wonderfully sheltered spot to sit to enjoy it.

P1160625

The Irt and the Esk and the dunes of Drigg nature reserve.

P1160624

Muncaster Castle.

P1160629

Isle of Mann and Eskmeals viaduct.

From there then, on to Whitfell.

P1160632

Large summit cairn on Whitfell.

P1160631

Looking back along my route.

P1160633

Duddon Estuary, Black Coombe and Buckbarrow.

On Whitfell you are a bit further away from the hills of Wasdale and Eskdale, but if anything, I thought this enhanced the view. I took several panoramas during the course of the day. Sadly, none of them were very successful, but I’ve included this one, if for no other reason than to remind myself of the great sweep of hills from Whin Rigg in the west round to Caw at the southern extreme of the Coniston Fells.

P1160638

Despite the forecast hill-fog, the higher fells were often clear…

P1160642

Scafells, Esk Pike, Bowfell, Crinkle Crags.

I’d flirted with the idea of descending from here, via Biggert to Hole House, then climbing The Pike and Hesk Fell on my way back to Devoke Water. This now seemed overly ambitious, and Hesk Fell looked every inch the tedious lump which Wainwright bemoans. So I wandered back to Woodend Height, skirting the other summits on my way.

Dropping off Woodend Height toward Rowantree How, I found another comfortable, sheltered seat and settled down for another brew.

P1160645

The view from my final brew stop.

P1160647

The same view from a little lower down: the rocky knoll on the left is Rowantree How. Note Seat How to the right of Devoke Water.

P1160650

Devoke Water and Seat How.

P1160653

Devoke Water boat house.

Seat How is another modest little top, but it is gratifyingly craggy, giving a satisfying scrambling finish to the round

P1160658

Devoke Water from Seat How.

P1160659

The pastures around Woodend, Hesk Fell behind.

P1160661

Harter Fell, Crook Crag, Green Crag, Great Crag.

I’ve often pontificated about the elements which come together to provide a good day on the hoof; I shan’t start again here, except to say that a really good walk might not just leave you wanting to come back and do it again someday, but may also fill your head with ideas for other walks you’d like to do soon. That was certainly the case with this one: not only did I find myself wanting to return to reascend many of the familiar hills I could see around me, but I also now plan to head round to the west coast to grab The Knott, and to explore the dunes at Drigg; I need to bag Buckbarrow, and The Pike, and even Hesk Fell; I spent large parts of the day thinking about a Duddon watershed walk and also wondering how to continue a high level route which would begin with Black Combe and then head north over Whitfell and these Devoke Water tops. Speculating about these more fanciful routes was great fun….in fact: where are my maps? After Harter Fell, where next?

Whitfell and Devoke Water.

A Round from Rosthwaite.

Rosthwaite – Stonethwaite Beck – Stonethwaite – Big Stanger Gill – Bessyboot – Tarn at Leaves – Rosthwaite Cam – Coombe Door – Coombe Head – Glaramara – Looking Steads – Lincomb Tarns – Allen Crags – Sprinkling Tarn – Great Slack – Seathwaite Fell – Styhead Gill – Stockley Bridge – Grains Gill – Seathwaite – Black Sike – Strands Bridge – Folly Bridge – Longthwaite – Rosthwaite.

P1160234

Big Stanger Gill.

Be warned – there are an awful lot of photographs in this post, which doesn’t really reflect the quality of the photos, which were hampered by overcast skies and flat light all day, so much as just how much I enjoyed the walk. The idea for the route germinated after our ascent of Scafell Pike, which left me with a hankering to visit Sprinkling Tarn again after a gap of many years. Then, when I started perusing the map for a suitable circuit, I was drawn to the rash of blue dots across the hillsides south of Borrowdale, and the plan for this route duly emerged.

I’m not sure that I’ve ever been up Bessyboot before, and unusually for me, it actually occurred to me to take a peek in Wainwright prior to my walk, rather than doing my research afterwards, when, frankly, it’s a bit too late. The route up Stanger Gill is one of Wainwright’s routes, but no path is shown on the OS map at all. There is a path on the ground, clearly quite well used, and pitched with stones for much of its length. It climbs steeply through the trees, but there was a good variety of moss and toadstools to distract me from quite a warm and humid climb.

P1160238

One advantage of a steep climb is that good views behind rapidly emerge…

P1160239

The view back down to Stonethwaite.

P1160248

Waterfall in Big Stanger Gill.

When the ground finally begins to level out the path emerges into an area of rocky knolls and boggy hollows…

P1160249

Racom Bands.

The path seemed to lead me very circuitously, spiralling in on the summit of Bessyboot (which Wainwright calls Rosthwaite Fell).

P1160250

Looking north from Bessyboot: Tarn at Leaves, the knobbly top of Rosthwaite Cam and Coombe Head behind.

P1160251

Looking south from Bessyboot along Borrowdale to Skiddaw.

P1160253

Tarn at Leaves and Bessyboot.

“Tarn at Leaves has a lovely name but no other appeal”

Wainwright.

I think this kind of rough and complex terrain is really satisfying, and have no idea why Wainwright, the old curmudgeon, should be so negative about Tarn at Leaves.

Rosthwaite Cam was a big hit with me: a splendidly rocky and isolated little top, with nobody about and an easy scramble required to reach the summit.

P1160254

Looking north from Rosthwaite Cam – on the left the double bobble which Birkett anoints as Stonethwaite Fell and on the right Coombe Head.

P1160256

Looking south from Rosthwaite Cam: Tarn at Leaves, Bessyboot, Derwent Water and Skiddaw.

P1160257

Looking west from Rosthwaite Cam. From this vantage, Fleetwith Pike looks rather odd; like some powerful giant has taken great scoops out of the sides of the mountain.

P1160258

This is brew-stop number one, under the sheltered side of the enormous chunk of rock which forms the top of Rosthwaite Cam.

P1160259

Rosthwaite Cam from Stonethwaite Fell.

P1160260

And again, with a less wide-angled setting on the zoom.

P1160264

This tiny cairn is on the minor hummock which forms the eastern edge of Coombe Door.

P1160266

Small tarn at Coombe Door, Coombe Head on the right, Glaramara behind on the left.

P1160269

Crags of Coombe Head.

This was a walk across very rocky terrain; that rock was coarse and knobbly, and extremely grippy under boots. I was intrigued by these crags below Coombe Head where the rock, which surely must be volcanic, was neatly layered as if it were sedimentary.

P1160272

The view from Coombe Head along The Coombe and then down Derwent Water is an absolute cracker. It would be a shame to bypass it to head straight for Glaramara, but that’s precisely what the main path from Borrowdale does.

P1160274

Tarns near Coombe Head and Glaramara.

P1160275

The twin tops of Glaramara, viewed from brew-stop number two on Looking Steads.

P1160276

Esk Pike, Allen Crags, Ill Crag, Great End and Lingmell from brew-stop number two.

Brew-stop number two turned out to be an ill-advised affair. After the warm and sticky climb up Bessyboot, it had been quite cold on the ridge: the wind had a real edge to it. I’d hunkered down behind a large boulder to make my mug of tea, and put on all of my spare clothing, but this was the only time all day when it there were drops of moisture in the wind, and the boulder didn’t provide as much shelter as I’d hoped. By the time I’d slurped the last of my char, I was uncomfortably chilled.

P1160280

Bowfell and Esk Pike across a small tarn.

Tarns abound on this ridge and I felt that, although the ground is often boggy, there must be some scope for wild-camping.

P1160282

The rocky lump on the right here, in front of Allen Crags has a spot height of 684m on the OS map and is another Birkett (High House).

P1160287

Great End, Great Gable and Sprinkling Tarn from Allen Crags.

P1160288

Looking back to Glaramara from Allen Crags.

Brew-stop number three, just off the top of Allen Crags, was much more successful than the previous halt. I found a natural hollow amongst some shattered rocks where somebody had even built a small, untidy wall to raise the shelter a little higher. This turned out to be a very comfortable seat, well out of the wind and with excellent views.

P1160291

Langdale Pikes, Windermere, Lingmoor, Pike O’Blisco and Bowfell from brew-stop three.

P1160292

Piek O’Blisco, Wetherlam, Bowfell and Esk Pike from brew-stop three.

P1160294

Great Slack and Sprinkling Tarn.

Two tents were being pitched by Sprinkling Tarn, both by what looked to be father and son teams, both on the protruding parts of the shore which are almost islands in the tarn, and both looking to be conspicuously lacking in shelter from the wind.

P1160297

Sprinkling Tarn and Great End from point 631, not Great Slack, but with better views of the tarn then Great Slack.

P1160300

In ‘The Tarns of Lakeland’ Heaton Cooper calls this Sprinkling Crag Tarn.

P1160304

Glaramara from Great Slack, the diagonal gash across the hillside is Hind Gill, which, apparently, a faint, steep and very quiet path follows: one for another day.

P1160306

Seathwaite Fell from Great Slack.

P1160308

Lingmell and Peers Gill from Great Slack.

P1160310

Great End from Seathwaite Fell.

Seathwaite Fell is another pleasantly rocky top. It’s surrounded by steep crags on three sides and so has superb views down into Borrowdale.

P1160311

Seathwaite from Seathwite Fell.

The only part of my route which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend is the first part of my descent from Seathwiate Fell, down towards the path above Styhead Gill. I found a faint path which seemed promising and followed it into a steep little gully. The stream was mostly hidden below the jumble of rocks and boulders, so at least the going was mainly dry, but it was quite loose and a bit too steep for my liking. I only stopped to take a photo once the gradient had eased…

P1160314

At which point, in a wet flush at the mossy margins of the stream, I noticed these tiny, delightful flowers…

P1160316

…of Starry Saxifrage. I took several photos, none of which came out well, but each of the five petals has two characteristic yellow spots near it’s base, the centre of the flower is turning pink, and between each petal there are conspicuous red anthers. This is a plant of the mountains, and I shall be on the look out for it again in future.

P1160324

Stockley Bridge, Grains Gill, with Aaron Crags on Seathwaite Fell behind. That pool does look suitable for a swim (I’d been wondering), but it was too late and too cold.

I still had a fair walk along the valley, then by the river Derwent to get back to Rosthwaite.  By the time I reached the car park, the skies had begun to clear. For once I didn’t really resent the good weather arriving when my walk had finished; I’d had too much fun to feel any regrets. I brewed-up one more time before enjoying a pink sunset reflected in Derwent Water as I drove home.

P1160326

View from the car park.

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 22.13.41.png

In all, I was out for about 10 hours, which is also how long it had taken us to climb Scafell Pike the week before. This was a good deal further then that, with probably a similar amount of ascent and a roughly equivalent amount of sitting around enjoying the view. All of which is very vague, I’m afraid. I couldn’t hope to estimate how many tarns I passed either, but I can be more precise with my tick lists: the route included eleven Birketts, of which four are also Wainwrights. I didn’t see many people about at all, especially over the first part of the route until I joined a more significant path on Glaramara, and the last section of the hills over Great Slack and Seathwaite Fell.

A Round from Rosthwaite.

Mean and Moody Weather on Scafell Pike

P1160029

Around the New Year, TBH is always keen to reflect, to look back at the year gone by and to make plans for the year ahead, “What do you want to do this year?” she’ll ask each of the rest of the family. My answer is always deeply predictable and revolves around getting out for lots of walks and finding some time for some camping and canoeing. Of course, TBH has her own ideas and this year suggested that we might set ourselves the target of climbing the National summits, Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike.

Scafell, being closest to home, would, in theory at least, be the easiest to tick off, but things haven’t entirely gone to plan; we expected to complete the climb in May when we were camping in Wasdale, but high winds made that an unwise choice; then we decided to camp in Upper Eskdale in June and ascend it from there, but again the weather didn’t cooperate and we camped elsewhere instead. I tried to resurrect the Eskdale plan this summer, but the forecast wasn’t entirely convincing, so in the end we elected to tackle the hill in a day-trip.

When we parked on the verge at Seathwaite, the waterfalls of Sourmilk Gill were looking resplendent and I was glad that we’d opted not to camp: with the streams running very high, I wondered what Great Moss would be like – we might have struggled to find a dry enough spot to camp and we certainly would have found ourselves struggling with conditions underfoot.

This would prove to be a day of very changeable weather; we set-off in rain and were soon kitted out in our waterproofs, but by the time we had walked a little way up the valley, the sun was shining, with dark shadows flitting across the landscape in response to the threatening clouds scudding overhead.

P1160034

Grains Gill, Stockley Bridge and Seathwaite Fell.

P1160038

Little S and TBH approaching Stockley Bridge.

P1160043

Grains Gill from Stockley Bridge.

I had been hoping to assess the suitability of the pools around Stockley Bridge for swimming purposes. I think there is some scope for a dip here, but the stream was running too high today.

P1160047

We continued to follow Grains Gill and then Ruddy Gill, and although it was soon raining again, our spirits weren’t dampened. The gill, in high water, looked very fine and ahead the crags of Great End were continually disappearing and reappearing in veils of mist.

P1160046

When it brightened again, we found a spot to sit for some butties and a brew.

P1160051

With the weather lifting a little, a view had appeared down to Derwent Water and Skiddaw.

P1160048

And the changing cloud and patches of sunlight put on a show for us.

P1160050

Likewise, up the valley, the mist was still swirling atmospherically around Great End.

P1160049

We were moving steadily, but fairly slowly, even by my unambitious standards. When we reached the top of Ruddy Gill I offered the kids the option to divert via Sprinkling Tarn and so considerably shorten the walk, but they were having none of it,  and were all determined to continue to the top.

P1160056

Allen Crags with Derwent Water behind.

When we reached Esk Hause, Esk Pike had usurped Great End as the incredible disappearing hill…

P1160055

Now you see it…

P1160060

Now you don’t…

Great End, meanwhile, was clear, albeit briefly…

P1160058

…but the ridge from there, onward over Ill Crag, Broad Crag and Scafell Pike itself remained determinedly hidden….

P1160059

And it stayed that way as we walked along the ridge and up the final pull to the top. In the slight depression shortly before we hit the broad ridge we stopped again for a second lunch, it seeming likely that, in the wind, it would be too cold to stop. Now and again, as we continued, scraps of blue sky appeared overhead and it seemed as if views would soon follow, but it wasn’t to be. The top wasn’t as busy as I’d expected, but there were a fair few people up there and since the wind was indeed very cold, we elected, after a very brief stop, to press on. If anything, as we descended, it seemed that the cloud had lowered further and we didn’t drop out of the fog until we had reached the Corridor Route.

P1160063

The top of Pier’s Gill.

I love the Corridor Route, for me it’s one of the finest paths in the Lake District, with it’s steep crags and deep-cut gills on all sides, and the patchy cloud didn’t really detract from the drama, although I was glad that we had finally dropped below it.

P1160066

It was pretty late by now, but we had anticipated this eventuality and so, as well as the stove and kettle I often carry for brewing-up, I had a pan, some filled dried pasta (harder to buy these days than it once was, but Aldi stock some) and a jar of pesto. I was surprised by how many other groups were still about on the hills and, as we cooked tea, a party came by and expressed their envy of our impending evening meal.

P1160067

Round How and the Corridor Route.

We descended past Styhead Tarn, Styhead Gill and back via Stockley Bridge, finishing back at Seathwaite in the very last of the light, having completed our roughly 8 mile walk in around 10 hours. So, we hardly set any records fro speed, and I’m not sure either that we will get around to  Ben Nevis or Snowden this year, but we did enjoy a very memorable day.

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 17.03.24

Mean and Moody Weather on Scafell Pike

Buckbarrow and Seatallan

P1110437

The first day of our annual Mayday camping weekend in Wasdale and the party had split.  Well, some had not yet arrived, having opted to stay in Harrogate to watch the Tour de Yorkshire whizz by. Others, including most of the kids, had decided upon a trip to the Sellafield Visitor Centre. It closed years ago, but TBH had read on the internet that it had been reopened by Brian Cox and that he had described it as ‘awesome’. However, when they arrived at Sellafield they were greeted by high fences and stern security guards. It turned out that Professor Cox had been at the opening of a display at the Beacon Centre in Whitehaven, of which he had actually said: “The new exhibition is absolutely wonderful.” So they went to have a gander at St. Bees instead, having already visited the excellent ice-cream parlour in Seascale which the kids now regard as an essential part of the weekend. The photo above shows the rest of the party, just off the top of Buckbarrow enjoying a leisurely lunch-stop and snooze out of the cold wind. Well, not quite all of the rest of the party…

P1110433

…B didn’t fancy Sellafield. He didn’t really want to go for a walk either, truth be told, but had found some scrambling near the top of Buckbarrow and had really enjoyed himself. He didn’t think much to our lackadaisical approach and was racing around looking for more bits of crag to scamper up whilst we lazed around.

P1110435

Yewbarrows and the Scafells.

P1110436

Wasdale Screes.

From Buckbarrow the walk over Glede How and up Seatallan was a long steady pull.

P1110442

B on Seatallan – the black shadow on the horizon is the Isle of Mann.

P1110447

Great Gable, Yewbarrow and the Scafells from Seatallan.

By contrast, the descent from Seatallan to Greendale tarn was very steep. Old Father Sheffield, who seemed to be on a mission to climb every hill in the area, took the logical route from there over Middle Fell, while the rest of us took the lazier option down by the beck, meeting OFS again for the walk over the fields and back to Nether Wasdale.

A fine walk – you might even say ‘awesome’.

Buckbarrow and Seatallan