A Wastwater Stroll


Bank Holiday Monday brought lots of packing-up to do, but there was still time for a bit of a stroll to Wastwater. No kids with us this time, just lots of crumblies, a great opportunity for a proper chinwag.


Buckbarrow and Middle Fell.


Whin Rigg.


River Irt.


Bluebells in Low Wood.



As we stopped to admire this view a noisy squabbling drew our attention to a group of feuding Dippers.

Another great Wasdale weekend, even if we didn’t manage to fit in our planned ascent of Scafell Pike with the kids. It will happen soon, though – it’s on our hit list.

A Wastwater Stroll

Irton Pike


Bluebells in Birks Wood.

During the night I lay awake listening to the wind gathering in the valley, shaking the trees and then a tell-tale roar and moments later the latest gust was upon us, making the tent shake and rattle, creak and groan. Our tent has survived several such windy nights, both here and at Towyn Farm, but this time was once too many it seems and at around 5am the awning came crashing down. Many of the elastic pegging points had given up the ghost, but in other places the pegs had been ripped from the ground. Our folding table had blown clear across the campsite and was looking slightly crumpled. Fortunately, it wasn’t raining and TBH and I quickly stowed away our possessions in the car and then went back to bed for some more fitful ‘rest’.

Later, when we had surveyed the damage – the canvas seemed sound but some of the awning poles were bent and one had snapped – and the wind had moderated a little, we headed out for a walk.

It was gloriously sunny, and at valley level, the weather seemed quite benign, the woods were full of butterflies and the chatter of small birds, but even on the modest heights of Irton Pike you can perhaps tell…


…there was still a fierce wind blowing.

Andy went to investigate a sheltered looking spot in amongst the trees…


…which turned out to be a perfect spot for some lunch, a snooze and a bit of unscheduled bird-watching when a Kestrel ‘rebuffed the big wind’ and hovered over the hillside ahead of us.


In Santon Bridge TBH and I stopped in at this little hall to peruse an exhibition by local artists…


A walk and some culture, can’t be bad!

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, The Shandy Sherpa and The Ginger Whinger were corrupting our kids by taking them to the pub for a drink. A soft drink no doubt. I suppose they might claim that they were shanghaied into taking on the child-minding duties.


Anyway, this had the unexpected side-effect that TBH and I had a very quiet and peaceful walk back along the River Irt on our own, enjoying fine sightings of a pair of Mergansers and also a Buzzard.


More Bluebells, this time in Great Coppice.

Since this was April’s final fling, walking wise, with a bit of guestimation and ignoring the to and fro I do at work, when I am generally on my feet all day, I’ve arrived at a total mileage for the month of just over 110 miles. Doesn’t seem all that much on the one hand, but it’s more than enough to take me to the magic total of a thousand miles for the year, so – job’s a good’un.

Irton Pike

Buckbarrow and Seatallan


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…


…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.


Yewbarrows and the Scafells.


Wasdale Screes.

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


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


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

Place Fell


Looking into Deepdale.

The last day of our Easter holiday (apart, that is for TBH who still had the rest of the week to look forward to). We had arranged a walk with our friends Dr R and her daughter E. Dr R is ticking off the Wainwrights and we needed a route which took in something new, but also gave the potential for meeting some none walking members of the party for tea and cake. I hit upon the idea of climbing Place Fell from Glenridding, descending to Howtown and returning on a Lake Steamer to Glenridding.


Place Fell summit.

And a very fine walk it was, although it was very cold for our second lunch stop on the summit.


I was pretty confident that this would be an enjoyable walk; it’s one I’ve done many times before, in particular, when we used to have family get-togethers at Easter in the Youth Hostel down below in Patterdale.


Skimming Stones.

I’m pretty sure (and I will get around to looking it up eventually) that Place Fell has a fair smattering of Birketts, but I wasn’t too bothered about that today. I did however divert up High Dodd simply because it looked very inviting.

I was pleased I did because the view of Ullswater was excellent from there.



Scalehow Beck from Low Dodd.


Cascade on Scalehow Beck.



This waterfall on Scalehow Beck looks like it is probably very dramatic, but it’s difficult to get a decent view of it from the path: the photo only shows the top of the fall.



I was surprised to see that this tree, an oak, had come into leaf, because I’ve been watching for that to happen at home, but I was sure that it hadn’t.


The walk around the shore from Sandwick to Howtown through Hallinhag Wood is delightful. And was enlivened for me by the appearance of a pair of Treecreepers, not a bird I see very often.



Here in the woods, most of the trees were still bare, so this tree, in full leaf…


…and a cheerful bright green – I think a Sycamore – really stood out.


Arthur’s Pike and Bonscale Pike.

We arrived in Howtown with only a few minutes to spare before the 5 o’clock sailing of the Steamer and no time for the planned tea and cake interval there.


But I think we all enjoyed the pleasure cruise. I know that I did!


I’ve almost reneged on my promise of some ee cummings before the end of April, but after a trip to Howtown I can’t resist this:

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

Place Fell



Ingleborough and Force Gill.

So, TBH was on holiday at last, the forecast was half decent, although it looked likely to be cold, some good friends were keen to join us, where should we go? You can see the answer from the title of the post – the boys were keen to tick-off the third of the Three Peaks triumvirate. Initially, I thought of an ascent from Dent, which is both quiet and also an excellent way to climb Whernside, but when I considered our party I thought that maybe this shorter route, from Ribblehead, would be a better bet.


Waterfall in Force Gill.

We followed almost exactly the same route as I did last time I came this way.



The kids seemed to enjoy hopping back and forth across the gill to find a suitable upstream route, and, like last time, progress was very slow.

In a sluggish side-stream, away from the main flow, I spotted…


…what I thought was a Crowfoot, a ranunculus or buttercup which specialises in growing in water.


Round-leaved Crowfoot (Ranunculus omiophyllus).

What I didn’t realise at the time is that there are nine different species of crowfoot (or crowfeet?) which grow in Britain, and that, apparently, they can be difficult to distinguish. But this seems to me to be fairly clearly Round-leaved Crowfoot:

“This plant prefers slow moving streams and ditches on acidic soils. It is very western in its distribution being present throughout Wales, the south west of England and north west England.”



Once again I saw Dippers and Wrens and Wagtails here by the stream.


Mutiny was afoot, with growing calls for a lunch stop sooner rather than later. I assured my sceptical companions that I had somewhere in mind, and that it would be worth waiting for.


And we duly halted when we reached The Mare’s Tail waterfall.


Grey Wagtail.


Force Gill.


Lunch time!

It was after our lunch that we made our only small departure from the route of my previous visit. Remembering the soggy ground of Greensett Moss, I opted to take a line from the top of the waterfall away from the beck and back towards the path, which proved to be an excellent choice because the ground was firm and dry and made for easy-going.



Greensett Tarn.


The boys found a hole in the ground which, obviously, made them very happy.





Ribblehead and Pen-y-ghent.




Looking back to Whernside.



Ribblehead Viaduct.

A magnificent day out. The weather had been, if anything, slightly better than forecast, the company was terrific, the route up by the waterfalls is delightful and the boys have now completed the set and can start to put houses and hotels on it next time they pass Go and have some ready cash…..actually, has anyone thought of marketing a ‘Mountains Monopoly’? You heard it here first if not!

Edit: it seems, at least in America that something similar is already on the market.


The Proverbial…..in a Brewery


Yeast on a vat full of beer.

Having managed to publish two posts almost simultaneously and in the wrong chronological sequence, thereby effectively burying one of them – I know: the incompetence is breath-taking –  I now intend to compound the error by going both off topic and back in time to some photos I’d forgotten about.

This is my friend B….


Unlike me he’s capable of organising the proverbial p***-up in a brewery. And that’s exactly what he did. Four of us went for a tour of the Lancaster Brewery. Which was very interesting. The section on beer in Michael Pollan’s ‘Cooked’ was one of the most fascinating parts of an excellent book, so I was pleased to have an opportunity to see the process in action.


Then we got to sample some of their beer. And eat pie. And watch the final three games in the Six Nations. Generally, I’ve been laying off the ale this year. And the pie. And lots of other things too, so this was a special treat, the only dampener being the poor showing of England in the rugby.

I seem to have forgotten to take any more photos. Too busy watching the sport, and drinking, and putting the world to rights, so no beer porn. Suffice to say that Lancaster ales are very fine, especially the Red, to my taste at least.

The Proverbial…..in a Brewery

Beinn Dubhchraig


Sunday of our Bridge of Orchy weekend and we’re all out in one massed outing of Muppets.

The weather had started with great promise – some cloud, but also lots of blue sky and sunshine – but as we’d climbed the cloud had dropped and eventually it began to snow a little. But then, as we approached the end of our climb, the sun appeared as a watery disc in the cloud above. Sometimes lightening skies can be deceptive, but on this occasion rents in the cloud began to appear and partial views, both of the ridge and of the valleys below, were revealed.


The mass Muppetry? – we’d set off intending to climb one of Beinn Dubhchraig’s ridges and descend another, but had instead ploughed up the hillside between the two. So what happened to our navigation skills? It was one of those cases of…

“Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.”

Except, I don’t think anybody was even remotely angry.


The Tower Captain on the summit.


Just off the top, we found a place out of the wind for the latest of many butty stops.


The lifting clouds gradually revealed more and more of our surroundings in an exhilarating and tantalising display.


We descended by the ridge we originally intended to climb. In places it was quite steep. And icy…



The views just got better and better.


Loch Lomond.


Ben More and Stob Binnein.



Ben more and Stob Binnein again.


Beinn Challuim. (I think).


Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar.


More butties.


Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar again.


Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar. Again. I liked that view.


Beinn Challuim again. I think.


Alpenglow on Ben More and Stob Binnein. I suspect.

After two great days last year (accounts here and here), I was a bit shocked that we were lucky with the weather again. What’s more, I felt much fitter than I did last year, despite my lack of recent hill days, and so was able to enjoy it all the more.

Looking forward to next year’s trip already!

Beinn Dubhchraig