Three Nights in Wasdale

P1250036

Great Gable.

Our annual Bank Holiday camping trip to Nether Wasdale. This year it was a bit brass monkeys. Actually, it’s often very cold. And it wasn’t as cold as the forecasters had predicted. And we didn’t have the tent-destroying gales that we’ve experienced more than once in the past. And it mostly stayed dry. And the company was excellent, as ever. And the Herdwick burgers sold in the campsite shop and made from their own lamb from the farm were delicious, even if I did burn them somewhat on the barbecue.

A was once again involved in DofE practice and then wanted to stay at home because of forthcoming exams. TBH volunteered to stay at home to look after A (You might almost conclude that TBH doesn’t like camping when its chilly!). So it was just me and the DBs from our clan. Fortunately, we had lots of old friends to meet at the campsite to keep us company.

On the first day of our stay, we decided to repeat the route we walked last year, climbing Lingmell by the path alongside Piers Gill. I didn’t take so many pictures this time around. I didn’t even capture group shots at all of our many rest stops…

P1250039

…of which I think this was the first.

P1250041

And this…

P1250044

…was probably about the fourth.

We stopped again on the top, obviously…

P1250052

…but it was snowing at the time, so not the warmest spot. Easter weekend – river swimming; Spring Bank Holiday weekend – snow. Of course – that’s British weather for you: predictably unpredictable.

P1250045

Wastwater and the Irish Sea, plus snow showers heading our way.

P1250049

Scafell Pike and Scafell and approximately a million hikers.

P1250053

Looking down Lingmell’s shattered cliffs towards Piers Gill.

P1250058

Little S couldn’t resist this pinnacle. My heart was in my mouth when he nonchalantly scampered up and down, but, of course, he was fine.

P1250061

Lingmell, Piers Gill and one of Piers Gill’s tributaries, seen from the Corridor Route.

P1250062

Great Gable, Green Gable and Uncle Fester.

Great Gable really dominates the view for much of this walk. Our friend J pointed out to me last year that you can pick out Napes Needle relatively easily from the Corridor Route. Through the magic of my camera’s zoom, here it is…

P1250063

You can see three people in front of the Needle and, perhaps by clicking on the image to see a larger version on flickr, you can also see that two others are ‘threading the Needle’, a well known scramble which I’ve never done, and am not likely to do now, I don’t think.

P1250065

Looking towards Wasdale Head.

P1250066

Great Gable and Little S.

P1250068

This spring seems to have been a bumper one for spotting hairy caterpillars. This rather attractive specimen maybe destined to become a moth called The Drinker, because of the caterpillar’s penchant for supping dew. Then again, I could easily be wrong about that.

P1250071

Great Gable yet again. It’s become slightly irksome that I’ve revisited almost every peak in the area in recent years apart from Gable, and its neighbour…

P1250072

…Kirk Fell.

On the Sunday, we chose to repeat a route which, in a number of variations, we’ve walked many times before – a circuit taking in Irton Pike, the village of Santon Bridge and a wander back along the valley of the River Irt.

P1250073

I took even less photos than I had the day before.

P1250076

We had a leisurely stop on the summit of Irton Pike – I may even have dozed off for a while.

P1250075

Looking toward Wasdale Head from Irton Pike.

P1250077

Eskdale and Harter Fell from Irton Pike.

On the final day we needed to pack-up, faff about and mull over what we should do once we’d finished faffing about. The DBs had heard Andy’s tales of whopping great plates of waffles and ice-cream from the cafe in Seascale, so a visit there was very high on their agenda. Eventually, they were persuaded that we could manage that, but still also fit in an ascent of Buckbarrow, another favourite outing from our Wasdale trips.

P1250078

Scafell Pike, Scafell, Wastwater and the Screes from Buckbarrow.

P1250081

The Isle of Man is out there somewhere.

P1250083

The 2019 crew, having the obligatory brew/lunch stop.

P1250084

Buckbarrow.

And finally, if you were wondering about the awkward title: I manoeuvred “three nights” into the title, so that I could cram Three Dog Night into the post…

Advertisements
Three Nights in Wasdale

Kent Bore

P1240928

Not me, I hope! Although this is yet another account of one of our favourite walks – around the coast to Arnside for lunch and back over the Knott.

P1240929

Grange-over-Sands.

As you can see, the tide was well out as we turned the corner into the Kent estuary.

It being Easter Monday, Arnside was extremely busy. We’d hoped to dine in the Wagtail cafe again, but all the tables were taken (it’s not a big place). Fortunately, we could fall back on the excellent Bake House instead and buy pies and pasties to eat on the benches on the small quay.

We’d already heard the Coastguard hooter sound to warn of the tide coming in. Just as we’d settled down with our pies, here it was…

P1240931

I think I’m right in saying that the Kent tidal bore is the second biggest in the UK, after the Severn bore, which is one of the largest in the world.

P1240932

It’s quite a while since I’ve been in Arnside at the right time to witness it. Sometimes, when the tidal range is particularly large, there can be many kayakers surfing the bore. On this occasion, there were just two paddle-boarders.

I have to confess that it looks a bit tame in a photo, but the rapidity with which the tide arrives is something to behold.

I think the Surfnslide crew missed the show, being still embroiled in the business of purchasing lunch in the thronged bakery. I guess they’ll have to visit again!

P1240933

Pie time! I’m not sure why TBH is pulling a face, she really likes the vegan pie from the bakery.

P1240934

Meanwhile, Andy liked his pie so much that he decided to wear it!

P1240936

Kent Estuary.

There followed a rather hot and wearisome interlude whilst I dragged everyone on a diversion to Plantation Avenue to check the number of my old house, because I couldn’t remember and we needed to know (for boring quotidian reasons).

Some of the party (well, the rest of my family) then decided that it was too hot and too much like hard work to climb Arnside Knott (I think there may have been work to do to prepare for the following days return to school too).

P1240940

Looking south from Arnside Knott: Arnside Tower Farm, Arnside Tower, Middlebarrow, Warton Crag and (just about) the Forest of Bowland hills.

The rest of us arrived on the top with perfect timing to see the part-timers heading down the drive of Arnside Tower Farm…

P1240941

We shouted them, but to no avail. So we left them to it and headed on to the trig pillar to admire the slightly hazy view to the north…

P1240942

It was a fine way to finish both an excellent fortnight off work and a really enjoyable Easter weekend.

And I almost forgot to mention that the Jones clan arrived this time very generously laden with gifts. A stove and a game and very probably other things which I have ungraciously forgotten. More about those to come…

Anyway, it’s always great to see them, with or without gifts, and fortunately, we didn’t have to wait too long before our next meeting…

(Two teasers in one post, I really know how to ramp up the tension! However, I have another great weekend to record before I get to either of those…)

(That’s three teasers! And I haven’t even mentioned the Redpolls…Or the Hare…)

(That’s five teasers. Blimey, I’m still way behind!)

Kent Bore

Harter Fell and Birks Bridge.

P1240872

On the Saturday of our Easter weekend I stayed at home with TBH, who, unfortunately, was suffering from her worst bout yet of labyrinthitis. Most of the rest of the party went for a swim in the Kent at Levens. It really was that warm, which is hard to believe now that it’s late May and the wind is howling outside beneath grey skies.

Easter Sunday was B’s birthday. How to entertain a teenager on their birthday? Fortunately, B was happy to fall in with our plans for a shortish walk up Harter Fell, followed by a swim in the River Duddon. TBH was feeling much better, but not well enough to want to join us.

This…

P1240865

…is Birks Bridge, where we planned to have a dip after our walk.

P1240866

You can see that the water is crystal clear. Deceptively deep too, it was possible, we later found, to jump from these rocks into the water without hitting the bottom.

P1240867

P1240871

River Duddon.

First of all though, we had a hill to climb. The initial ascent was very steep and it was unseasonably hot. Here we are…

P1240873

…resting after the first steep pull.

This rocky tor…

P1240876

…is Maiden Castle. It’s very imposing and we’d picked it out from the car park as somewhere worth visiting. Actually, around the far side it can be easily scaled via a grassy ramp. That’s be sat on the top.

From this point on, not only did the angle ease, but there were lots more rocky knolls, so that a variety of different entertaining options for scrambling to the top were available. Andy and the DBs were in their element. I followed on more slowly, picking my route and avoiding some of the steeper sections they sort-out.

P1240879

At the top itself, there were plenty of sheltered spots for some lunch and a sunbathe…

P1240882

But also lots more rocky knolls to enjoy…

P1240883

B tells me that this photo…

P1240889

…gives a misleading impression about the route he is climbing, which, apparently, was “much steeper than that!”

P1240896

A and B have been up here once before, although I’m not sure how well they remember that visit , it was a long time ago after all.

P1240901

Hazy view of the hills around Upper Eskdale.

P1240902

Bird’s-eye view of Hardknott Roman Fort.

P1240905

We chose the simple option of retracing our steps down to the valley. By this time, the haze had begun to clear and the views were improving.

The others were setting a cracking pace, no doubt eager for the swim to come, but I was distracted by the great number of Peacock and Orange-tip butterflies which were flying.

P1240907

Orange-tips are one of those species of butterfly which rarely seem to land, at least when I have my camera handy. Fortunately, there were other distractions…

P1240914

…I love the way the almost lime green new Beech leaves complement the layer of old orange leaves which always blanket the ground beneath Beeches.

P1240912

They look pretty good against a blue sky too.

Eventually, a couple of Orange-tips decided to oblige and pose for photos…

P1240920

P1240917

All that and a swim still to come!

Andy has photos of us swimming (as well as lots more pictures of the DBs scrambling). The water was refreshing of course, but not as cold, frankly, as I thought it might be. My theory is that the rivers are a good bet after prolonged dry spells, which is exactly what we’d just had. Once you were immersed, it wasn’t bad at all, and even Little S, who has no padding whatsoever and often suffers with the cold, managed a good long swim.

P1240926

Little S and I both like to climb a hill on our Birthdays if possible. I think this might be a first for B, but the combination of sunshine, old friends, some scrambling, and a swim is surely a hard act to follow.

Screenshot 2019-05-26 at 20.27.46.png

Screenshot 2019-05-26 at 20.58.10.png

Harter Fell and Birks Bridge.

Fat Man on a Bike

Or: A Promise Fulfilled

P1240844

B on his bike. Not the fat man.

The actual Easter Weekend was at the end of our fortnight off. The Surfnslide crew were scheduled to join us and, in the run up to the weekend, although we were all, as ever, excited about the impending visit, the Dangerous Brothers in particular had just about reached fever-pitch.

P1240845

At Trowbarrow Quarry.

Rather rashly, when we had last seen him, Andy had promised that on his next visit he would bring his bike and accompany the boys to their favourite local mountain biking venue.

P1240848

Andy on his bike. Not the fat man.

For weeks before Easter they had been pestering me to remind him of his promise. And now that he had finally arrived they couldn’t wait to get out on their trusty steeds. So, on Good Friday, we all agreed to head for Trowbarrow Quarry.

P1240849

Little S.

Our two-family party spilt into a cycling group and walking-to-watch-the-cyclists-fall-off brigade. Somewhat to everybody’s surprise, especially my own, I decided to join the ranks of the cyclists, which meant something of a delay whilst the entire party lent a hand to replace both of my bikes inner tubes. (You’d be right to conclude that my bike doesn’t leave the garage very often.)

Once we’d set-off, it was to discover that TBH’s bike wasn’t in a good state of repair either: one of the wheels was out of true and wobbled prodigiously as she rode. I waited a while and lost the others as TBH decided to turn back for home. When I eventually got going again, for some reason I didn’t take the first turn, along Moss Lane, but went the long way around beside Leighton Moss. It wasn’t much of cycle, but by the time I arrived I was already jelly-legged.

P1240850

At the Quarry, the boys were showing Andy, the honorary Dangerous Brother, all of the steep banks which they enjoy riding down, and also the various mounds and edges they like to jump off.

P1240851

Little S on his bike. Not the fat man.

They all looked much too steep to me.

P1240853

I decided to try out my camera’s sports setting instead of attempting any feats of derring-do.

P1240854

P1240857

I did have a couple of freewheels down this, less intimidating, slope…

P1240858

A on my bike. Not the fat man.

The net result of my change of heart was another puncture for my bike. Andy very kindly cycled back to our house for his car so that he could collect me and my long-suffering bike.

The ‘Fat Man on a Bike’ was, of course, me. But also the late Tom Vernon who wrote a book of that name after radio and television series about his cycling exploits. I can’t really recall anything about Vernon, apart from the title of his book. In my mind, he seems to have become muddled with Richard Ballantine, who wrote ‘Richards Bicycle Book’…

…a book which I thoroughly enjoyed when I was in my teens and very much bicycle obsessed. B is similarly bike fixated now. Of course, things have changed in the intervening years. I joined the Cycle Touring Club and fancied a set of Carradice panniers (handmade in Nelson, Lancashire since 1932), B hangs out in local quarries with his mates and has just acquired a dropper seatpost (whatever one of those is). We didn’t have mountain bikes, although I did enjoy off-road cycling, or rough-stuff as we used to call it. I even briefly kept a diary of my cycling exploits, a sort of forerunner to this blog, with carefully hand-drawn maps of the routes.

Finally, a bit of nature to round off the post…

P1240861

In one corner of the quarry, we spotted a couple of what I think are slime moulds, probably the False Puffball, Enteridium lycoperdon, which is apparently common in Britain in the spring. According to this article, slime moulds, once thought to be fungi, are now classed as amoeba. They are certainly very strange.

P1240864

Enteridium lycoperdon is found across Europe, but also in Mexico, where, in the state of Veracruz, it is known as Caca de Lune or Moon’s Excrement.

If this is False Puffball, then it is in its plasmodial stage, preparing to spore. The plasmodial stage is mobile, which I find very disconcerting – it looks like some sort of fungi, but it can move around. How very odd.

My extremely limited knowledge of slime moulds is a perfect example of one advantage of blogging – if it weren’t for a question I posted years ago, I wouldn’t even know they existed.

Fat Man on a Bike

Fine WX on Whitbarrow

P1240528

Green Hairstreak.

My first Green Hairstreak and, therefore, very exciting for me, I can tell you. In fact, my first Hairstreak of any description. As is the way of these thing, I saw a few more that day and then another closer to home in Eaves Wood a couple of days later. Just before we saw this, we also saw a butterfly or a moth which, unfortunately, I didn’t get a decent photo of. It looked, in terms of the general shape, like a butterfly; had brown forewings with a little dash of white and orange hindwings with a chocolate brown crescent on each. The latter is very characteristic of the many yellow underwing moth species, but I can’t find one that fits otherwise, and, like I say, it really looked more like a butterfly. I think it’s destined to remain a mystery.

The occasion was an ascent of Whitbarrow with our friend BB and three of his kids. Here he is…

image

…on the excellent path which climbs the southern end of the escarpment.

When we reached the higher ground we settled in this sheltered spot which also has excellent views.

P1240537

BB had brought his portable radio kit with him and wanted to get on the airwaves and play with that. Equally, I’d brought my Bushbuddy stove and wanted to play with that…

P1240536

I don’t use it all that often and was reminded of one reason why that is, as it took an age to bring a small kettle of water to the boil for a brew.

P1240539

The view along the edge towards Gummer How.

P1240542

Ingleborough and Farleton Fell seen over a broad meander in the Kent.

P1240543

Whitbarrow is a limestone plateau and it’s a fair walk to the top at Lord’s Seat.

P1240547

It was lovely walking, but windy, and we soon had to put several layers back on. The contrast in the temperature compared to our sheltered lunch spot was amazing.

P1240550

Lord’s Seat.

P1240551

Scout Scar with the Howgills in the background.

P1240552

The Kent, Morecambe Bay and Arnside Knott.

P1240553

Arnside Knott again.

P1240556

P1240561

Green Tiger Beetle.

P1240565

All the routes down the western side of Whitbarrow are steep, the route we took being no exception.

P1240567

Gummer How.

P1240568

The edges from near Witherslack Hall.

P1240569

Whitbarrow has appeared on the blog many times now. It seems to have become my go-to choice for a walk with friends. Perhaps because I feel like it deserves to be better known. On this occasion, it was actually BB’s suggestion. He has fond memories of climbing it when he was a boy.

Oh, WX, by the way, is amateur radio shorthand for weather.

And that’s 73 from me. (I’ll let you look that one up).

 

Fine WX on Whitbarrow

Ben A’an

P1240324

Ben Venue seen across Loch Achray.

image

Ben A’an – a short sharp ascent.

P1240327

Ben Venue and Loch Katrine.

P1240328

The view along Loch Katrine.

P1240330

The Tower Captain and Old Grandfather Sheffield at the top.

P1240331

Loch Venachar.

P1240332

A surprisingly sheltered spot for lunch. Ben Ledi in the background.

Tired legs and a very dubious forecast dictated a much easier day on the Sunday of our weekend in the highlands. Ben A’an is an up and down, rather steeply, giving superb views from the top. It was chucking it down for most of the drive to the start of the walk, which was a bit off-putting, but in the event we did pretty well with the weather.

It was extremely windy on the top, but, just off the top, a small hollow gave a wonderfully sheltered spot from which to enjoy the view whilst eating a bit of lunch.

After that we went our separate ways home after another great weekend together.

Here‘s my account of our ascent of nearby Ben Ledi from a similar weekend 4 years ago. We climbed Ben Venue 5 years ago, but the weather wasn’t much cop and I didn’t take many photos, so the walk only really got half a mention on the post about the walk from the day before when we climbed Leum an Eireannaich.

Screenshot 2019-04-24 at 21.19.28

 

Ben A’an

Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh

image

A cast of thousands (well a dozen or so) assembled for our winter gathering, this year held once again at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel and, as ever, superbly organised by Andy. On the Saturday, The Tower Captain and I decided to tackle the two hills which tower over the hotel to the East – Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh.

The route was extremely simple: follow the path beside the Allt Coire an Dothaidh into the slightly forbidding looking Coire an Dothaidh…

image

Turn right at the col for the long haul up to Beinn Dorain before returning to the col to nip up Beinn an Dothaidh via a circuit of Coire Reidh.

image

Looking down Glen Orchy.

image

Looking across Loch Tulla.

Towards the top of Corie an Dothaidh I was really surprised to see, emerging from the snow, the flowers of what I assume to be Purple Saxifrage, familiar to me from the limestone crags high on Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent.

P1240293

P1240295

P1240296

P1240297

We stopped for a while, behind a boulder near the top of the corrie, for a drink and a bite to eat.

image

Lochan on the ridge, unnamed on the OS map.

image

Beinn a Chuirn and Beinn Mhanach, with Beinn Sheasgarnaich behind TC.

image

Looking up to the steepest section of the climb on Beinn Dorain.

image

Looking back towards Beinn an Dothaidh.

image

Across Loch Tulla again. Ben Starav, Stob Coir an Albannaich and Stob Ghabhar.

image

Pano. Click on this, or other pictures, to view a larger image on flickr.

image

Looking south-west, Ben Oss and Ben Lui prominent.

The weather was pretty changeable and we had a few showers of snow, hail and rain, but on the whole that just added to the drama of the views.

The false summit of Carn Sasunnaich came as a surprise, in mist I can see that it would be very easy to be fooled by it.

image

I was feeling in particularly fine fettle along this section of ridge, like I was really in my element.

55829720_2218665414857891_5422939808030785536_n

In fact, here I am, feeling very pleased with myself. The Tower Captain took the photo, I don’t think he’ll mind that I’ve used it.

image

Looking back along the ridge to Carn Sasunnaich.

P1240305

Across Loch Tulla again – the weather coming in.

P1240307

Looking toward Ben Oss and Ben Lui again.

P1240308

Looking South from the top.

image

Ice formations on the slopes of Beinn an Dothaidh.

image

Looking back to Beinn Dorain.

I was hoping that Beinn an Dothaidh would give us superb views across the vast expanse of Rannoch Moor, but, by the time we had reached the top, the weather had closed in again and our views were a bit limited.

image

Looking down to Loch Tulla.

image

Beinn Achaladair.

image

Large cornices and the summit of Beinn an Dothaidh.

image

The Tower Captain on the summit of Beinn an Dothaidh.

image

Looking towards the hills around Loch Lyon.

image

I’m not sure what kind of rocks the hills we climbed are composed of, but they seemed to glitter in the combination of damp and sunlight we had, with lots of silvers and golds on display. Eventually, it occurred to me to try to photograph them, but I only took one photo, which hasn’t really captured the effect very satisfactorily.

P1240312

When we got back down to Coire and Dothaidh the snow had mostly melted and the late afternoon light put a completely different aspect on the views.

image

We sat by the same boulder as we had on the way up for one final rest stop…

image

…before returning to the pub for food, drink and a convivial evening with old friends.

image

Beinn Dorrain

Can’t be bad.

Screenshot 2019-04-20 at 14.23.30

Screenshot 2019-04-20 at 14.25.47

Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh