Spindrift on Selside Pike

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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.

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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.

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Waterfalls on Hopgill Beck.

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Rough Crag, High Street and Kidsty Pike.

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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…

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…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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Baron Behindhand on the descent.

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S and A with poles nicked from their Dads.

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Rough Crag and Haweswater again.

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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

 

 

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Spindrift on Selside Pike

Little and Often: Kickstarting the New Year

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After a flurry of ‘Little and Often’ posts last spring, eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that I’ve been increasingly quiet about my fitness drive. I kept it going through the dark days of winter and it was easy to do in the spring and the early summer, but then….I’m not even really sure when exactly it fizzled out, but it did, as these things are wont to do, at least where I’m concerned anyway.

I’m still feeling the benefits though and the New Year feels like an appropriate time to get cracking again, even though I don’t generally make resolutions.

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Part of the impetus is my ‘new’ phone and the MapMyWalk App (I’m sure lots of similar products are available). Last Spring I flirted with the idea of having a crack at a ‘walk 1000 miles in the year’ challenge, this year I’m going to get on and do it. Judging by the plethora of websites which offer to help and encourage you to do just that, I must be one among many.

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These photos were taken on some of the many local rambles which kick-started my progress whilst I was still off work. The weather was a bit mixed, to say the least, there was no flooding, but paths were about as muddy as I can remember seeing them and walking across the fields involved an uncomfortable amount of slithering, squelching and slipping. One day in Eaves Wood I lost my footing completely and fell rather heavily, fortunately without any lasting consequences.

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I tended not to venture particularly far, heading out several times each day rather than aiming for a single long walk. There were numerous trips to the Cove and Eaves Wood as well as a solitary wander around Hawes Water.

On New Year’s Day, whilst A was out for a Penny Walk with her friend, the rest of the family took part in a South Ribble Orienteering Club event. It was a score event, rather than following a course it was just a case of finding as many controls as possible in an hour. Great fun.

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Later in the week, A and B joined me for an Eaves Wood jaunt.

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An aside – this hole in a limestone pavement has been the source of an ongoing family dispute: until recently the top was blocked off with a number of branches. Little S and I contended that it wasn’t that deep a hole – about B’s height we maintained. B was adamant that it was much deeper. He looks chuffed here because, now that the covering branches are gone, it’s evident that he was right.

One day, our friend X-Ray came over and Little S and I took him out for a stroll around Eaves Wood and across The Lots. S was searching for holocrons using his Stars Wars Force Band, so he was happy. (No, I don’t understand what I just wrote either). It was very windy and a bit grim, but as we reached The Pepper Pot on Castlebarrow we had some brief moments of extraordinary light.

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After his walk, X-Ray stopped on for a vegan curry and a few games, including Camel Cup and King Domino. Hopefully, we’ll do something similar again soon.

The tides were high all week. I think that the water was already receding here…

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…and that the sea had actually been into the smelly cave at the Cove.

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These photos were all taken with my phone. It’s not that I’ve abandoned my camera, but with unpredictability of the weather, it was easy just to stick the phone in my back pocket, where I wanted it anyway to clock my mileage, and use it for photos when opportunities arose.

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It’s much less faff uploading the photos too.

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A thousand miles is a fairly arbitrary target, I know, but it gives me something to aim for. To be honest, at the moment I’m just enjoying watching the distance steadily accumulating.

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Some rules: I’m on my feet most of the day at work, but that’s walking I would do anyway. None of that counts. Nor pottering about the house or garden. Walking to the Co-op however, rather than taking the car, is fair game.

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I haven’t decided yet whether any ‘travel’ done under my own steam counts, so that swimming, cycling, skateboarding, canoeing etcetera would add to the total or not.

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Somewhere during the week, we squeezed in visits to the climbing wall in Lancaster and also to see Aladdin at the Dukes with some of our friends from the village (hello Dr R!).

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Another aside: I noticed, down at The Cove, that the seasonal springs, which rise amongst the rocks on the bottom left of the picture below…

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…are now supplemented by, or perhaps have partially moved to, those two large greenish hollows on the bottom right of the photo. You can see that a fairly substantial stream out across the mud has been established. It’s been there a while, I’ve been enjoying the foreground it provides for my sunset photos…

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A low key sunset on a very still evening, which was very restful, but I think I may have said much the same thing only a few posts ago.

Little and Often: Kickstarting the New Year

Snowballs on Whernside

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Twas the weekend before Christmas. Well, strictly ’twas the weekend before the weekend  before Christmas, but lets not get bogged down with detail. Once again, a gaggle of old friends had gathered at The Old School House in Chapel-le-Dale and, whisper it, it wasn’t raining. This came as something of a shock as usually it chucks it down when we are there. (The following day normal service was resumed).

There was some talk, on the Friday night, of an Alpine start, some of the adults escaping early to bag Whernside, but in the event, almost all of the children wanted to come too. Here we all are…

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Well, most of us. Uncle Fester and TJF took the languishing in the house option and others were yet to arrive.

The path was extremely icy, which bothered the kids not one jot, but which made me nervous on their behalf. Probably I was over-concerned, we crested the steep part of the ascent without incident and were then into deeper snow.

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Looking towards Pen-y-ghent.

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Little S with a lump of snow. He was eating it. Of course. Ingleborough behind.

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The boys were in their element. They loved the snow, the icicles, and particularly the snowdrifts.

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Fortunately, the rest of the party were very patient with us.

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B enjoying nature’s ice-lolly.

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Ribblehead Viaduct and Pen-y-ghent.

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Ingleborough again.

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On the summit, some people had a bit of a natter, whilst others – well TBH – enjoyed a hot drink from their flask…

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…and the DBs had serious snow to deal with…

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I don’t have any photos of the snowball fight which followed, since I was heavily involved. Mainly as a target, or at least that’s how it felt. The DBs are surprisingly accurate it transpires.

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Waterfall in Force Gill.

The day had still more delights for the boys: frozen puddles. In places the ice was quite thin and creaked unnervingly, not that the DBs were very bothered. And when they did eventually go through, the water wasn’t very deep, although I suspect that Little S got wet feet.

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There were further delights for the rest of us too: the cloud veiling and unveiling Ingleborough…

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…and then great company and the usual combination of stories old and new (mostly old),  daft conversations and obscure trivia (we plumbed new depths this year with area dialling codes, which are, according to TBF, absolutely compelling).

On the Sunday, in driving rain, a select (or daft) few of us took a wander up to Ivescar and then along to Ellerbeck before returning past the tiny chapel which presumably gives the hamlet its name. Although it was throwing it down and there were huge puddles everywhere, much of the ice had yet to melt, which made the going particularly treacherous. Even after just a short walk, I was drenched by the time we were back at the School House. That didn’t put a damper on the day though, or on a very relaxing weekend.

My life in dialling codes…01522, 0116, 0161, 01524. Hmmm…Manchester is a anagram of Leicester and Lancaster is Lincoln + 2. There’s more to this than I thought!

Or not.

Snowballs on Whernside

Wade Into Underbeing

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These photos are from the day after our High Cup walk and a few days after the boys had been kayaking in the field behind our house. Our friends E and C had declared themselves not prepared to go walking on both days of the weekend, but were enticed out for a local ramble by the prospect of flooding at Lambert’s Meadow. The weather was very changeable: in the first photo you can see that the sun was shining, creating reflections of the trees in the temporary lake; in the one below, taken a few moments earlier, the splashes of raindrops on the surface of the water are evident.

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A and Little S, the only members of the party in wellies, had to wade across of course. Little S predictably filling his boots with water in the process.

Having persuaded the girls to come so far we managed to drag them a little further to see the rift cave in Burtonwell Wood. The Hardman and I were wondering, as I often have, about the rings attached to the base of the cliffs and also to some boulders below the cliffs here…

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My only theory has been that they have something to do with the Scouts, who have a camp nearby, at the top of the cliffs in fact, and maybe are for belaying? But The Hardman pointed out that a 1270kg maximum load is way over the top for that purpose. And anyway, why put them at the bottom of the cliff?

With the weather clearly deteriorating everyone but The Hardman and I turned for home. We extended our walk a little, chatting and doing our best to ignore the rain. Without the rain we wouldn’t have seen the rainbows…

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…this is a double one, although the second is only just visible here. Or am I imagining it? It was taken from near Woodwell. After we got back to the house there was a second, full, double rainbow which was very impressive, but short-lived.

We’ve had a lot of wet weather of late, as usual. I’m just back from another walk in the rain, and whilst I was out, I was thinking that I would need some more titles for posts abut wet walks in the ‘dale. As I often do, I thought of looking for a suitable poem and in the process stumbled across ‘Go Fishing’ by Ted Hughes. It seems to me to be a poem about losing yourself in nature and I’m very glad to have found it. I can’t find a full version online, although I did find this image of an early draft…

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Maybe I’ll type-up the final version and post it some time. Or perhaps just cherry-pick phrases for post titles, depending on how lazy I’m feeling.

‘Join water, wade into underbeing                                                                                                   Let brain mist into moist earth’

 

Wade Into Underbeing

High Cup

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The Hardman came for a weekend visit, at the tail-end of November, bringing his daughters E and C with him. On the Saturday, none of us got up particularly early and we were very late leaving the house, which wasn’t ideal since we hoped to visit High Cup Nick. On the drive northward, the hills beyond Orton were plastered with snow, and with the sun shining, the children were very keen to stop to walk there. I confidently assured them that both the sunshine and the snow would be equally abundant at our eventual destination, but proved to be wrong on both counts.

The Hardman was very keen to access the Nick from below and the walk in from Dufton turned out to be quite a lengthy one. As we began to ascend into the High Cup valley, we found a reasonably sheltered spot for a brew and some butties…

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Our late start ensured that we never made it to the Nick, instead we walked up the valley and then cut back up the hillside to meet the Pennine Way. We finished in the dark, which I always think is only right for a winter walk. The High Cup valley is stunning, I’m not sure if my photos really convey that, but it’s well worth a visit.

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High Cup

Yummy Apple Pie

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Our friends J, E and C came to visit for a weekend. It rained. That can happen of course, especially here in the North Wet of England. We decided to enjoy ourselves anyway. On the Saturday we walked over to the pie shop in Arnside for a late lunch. I’m not sure that anybody actually sampled the yummy apple pie, but I think everybody enjoyed what they did have. The apparent small hedgehog in the front of the photo above is, in fact, a large Scotch Egg. I had one of those for my lunch, with some salad. It was both the biggest and the tastiest Scotch Egg I’ve ever had.

TBH had managed to double book herself that day and was also supposed to be out for her monthly walk with another friend, Dr R. That was a problem easily solved though: we killed two birds with one stone and Dr R joined us for our pie shop outing.

The weather was, as I say, hardly optimal…

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And the views from the Knott were less extensive than usual….

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There was a deal of mud to contend with…

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But everyone seemed to be happy…

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B meanwhile, couldn’t wait for his pie and decided to investigate the flavour of Sloes, despite my warnings…

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Trepidation.

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Consternation.

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Tribulation. “It’s not Fry’s”.

If you’ve never tried a Sloe, well, to say that they are tart is something of an understatement. They’re also packed with tannic acid and do something strange to your tongue and the roof of your mouth – imagine taking the most over-brewed tea you’ve ever tasted, and then boiling off some of the liquid to make a more concentrated liquor, that just might have a similar effect.

If you haven’t tried Fry’s Chocolate Cream, or the ‘Five Boys’ bar, well you’re probably a bit late. Fry’s was bought by Cadbury’s, which got swallowed in turn, and now they’re produced in Poland apparently, and I imagine they aren’t quite what they once were. It was the first mass produced chocolate bar, according to Wikipedia at least.

This must have been a very successful advertising campaign. The image has certainly always stuck with me. The Harris family, who lived across the road from us when I was a boy, had this on the wall in their hall. I wonder if it was a print, or if, as I suspect, an original enamel advert. Dave Harris, the pater-familias, loved antiques. He collected earthenware jars and Codd bottles, which I think he unearthed himself, digging in likely spots with another neighbour, Charlie Tear.

TBH, incidentally, loves Fry’s Turkish delight, and usually gets some at Christmas, but since it doesn’t fit in with her new vegan regime, will have to make do with something else this year. Which gives me a great idea for a present – it’s a good job she rarely reads my witterings!

Anyway, I digress. I can’t recall what we did on the Sunday, but I didn’t take any photos, so I imagine that the weather was even less conducive to walking and that we mainly relaxed in our kitchen. It was a very relaxing weekend all round. It’s always good to see J and her daughters.

Yummy Apple Pie

How Do I Get Down?

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We were at Fellfoot park with a bunch of friends from the village, for the annual church picnic. To us the park has become Fell-ten-foot Park because of Little S’s unfortunate experience here: our family has track record with tree-climbing accidents. I spotted A high in the tree and decided to take a photo. She managed a smile, as you can see, but was hissing at me, not wanting to attract the attention of our friends, but wanting a private word with me:

“I don’t think I can get down.”

After taking this ideal opportunity to lecture a captive audience on the inadvisability of climbing anything you aren’t absolutely sure you can definitely climb back down, I relented and helped her find the good footholds on the knobbly trunk which she was having difficulty picking out from above.

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The weather was very changeable and would eventually have us abandoning our idea of a barbecue in the park. However, this didn’t deter The Tower Captain from taking his Mirror Dinghy for a row…

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…or the boys and their friend E from swimming to the far bank. This was some feat, because, after rain, this bottom end of Windermere has quite a strong current.

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A and I also took one of our inflatable canoes out, which she described as ‘extremely relaxing’; presumably much more enjoyable than being stuck up a tree.

I chatted to a National Trust volunteer about photographs of camping pods which were on display and she told me that the plan is for the Park to become a campsite, or perhaps, in part a campsite. Apparently it has been one in the past. The Trust’s campsite at Low Wray, at the far end of the lake, was fully booked for the entirety of August when I tried to make a booking, so more capacity for camping on the lake shore seems like a sensible plan.

How Do I Get Down?