Silver How and Loughrigg


A few years ago*, TBH and I had a spring wander around the Grasmere area which finished along Loughrigg Terrace. The slopes below the path were clothed in bluebells, the scent was heavenly, and TBH has been very keen to repeat the experience for a while now.

(*I checked. It was eleven years! Where did the time go?)

The bluebells had been out around home for a week or two at least, but my gut feeling was that we were a little early in the season, it being the last day in April. But, once TBH has conceived an idea, it’s hard to deflect her from her course.

We weren’t early in the day, I can’t remember now what the hold-up was, but I was concerned about finding parking on a sunny Bank Holiday Saturday. I vowed that we would park in the first convenient spot that we found, which turned out to be the White Moss car park between Rydal Water and Grasmere. There were loads of spaces there, hardly surprisingly, since, operated as it is by messers Teach, Morgan and Kidd we were obliged to leave a kidney each to cover the cost of a few hours parking.

Anyway, as you can see in the photo above, we’d barely left the carpark before my misgivings were waylaid – the bluebells were out in all their glory.

River Rothay.
Grasmere, looking toward Helm Crag.
Grasmere – Seat Sandal and Stone Arthur rising beyond.
Looking across Grasmere to Stone Arthur, Great Rigg and Heron Pike.

We walked along the western shore of Grasmere as far as the footpath allowed and then along the minor road, looking for the path which climbs through Wyke Plantation. Of course, I’d managed to manipulate TBH’s desire for a walk in the Grasmere area into a convenient opportunity to tick-off a couple more Wainwrights.

Silver How from Wyke Plantation.
Silver How from just beyond Wyke Plantation.
Grasmere and Rydal Water.
Loughrigg and Spedding Crag.

When we’d done most of the climbing onto Silver How, and reached the little col seen from below a couple of photos above, I felt that we’d probably got the best shelter we were going to find, and that a lunch stop was in order. I suggested this to TBH, but she was very much against the idea.

“No. I’m intermittent fasting. Only water before three o’clock.”

Steel Fell, Helm Crag, Helvellyn etc, Seat Sandal, Fairfield, Great Rigg.

This was news to me, but I reckoned I could manage. So, press on till three o’clock then.

TBH approaching the top of Silver How. Lingmoor, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes behind.
Grasmere, Rydal Water, Loughrigg and a glimpse of Windermere.
Loughrigg, Spedding Crag and Elter Water.

Our route would take us along the ridge over Spedding Crag and then up Loughrigg.

Lang How. Quite imposing. A Birkett, but not a Wainwright.
Looking back to Silver How.
Elter Water. Black Fell beyond and Holme Fell on the right of the photo.

I’m always surprised, when I see it from above, by just how big Elter Water is. The path beside the lake only allows partial glimpses and you can never get a feel for its proper size.

On Spedding Crag. Langdale Pikes and Silver How behind.
Spedding Crag and Silver How.
Loughrigg and a partial glimpse of Loughrigg Tarn.
High Close Estate.

We walked through the grounds of High Close Youth Hostel. The grounds belong to the National Trust, are open to the public and well worth a look. I’m afraid the photo just doesn’t do them justice. We stayed at High Close for a very wet weekend a mere seven years ago.

The first part of the ascent of Loughrigg was unnecessarily unpleasant, because I insisted in believing the OS map. The path shown doesn’t exist on the ground, but there is a good track setting off from the road junction further north.

TBH climbing Loughrigg. It was trying to rain.
And again. Langdale Pikes, Silver How and Grasmere in the backdrop.
Black Fell, Holme Fell and Elter Water.
Lingmoor and Great Langdale. Clouds looking a bit ominous.
Loughrigg summit. Langdale pikes and Lingmoor behind.
Wansfell Pike and windermere.
Ewe Crag, Rydal Water, Heron Crag and Nab Scar.

I liked the look of the path which dropped down beside Ewe Crag. I didn’t think that I’d been this way before and I thought the route would offer plenty of shelter for a long overdue lunch stop. It was past three o’clock so no more impediment, surely.

Ewe Crag, looking towards Helm Crag and Dunmail Raise.

I found a lovely, comfy looking spot, dug my lunch, my flask and my sitmat out of my rucksack. It started to rain. TBH was unmoved by my protestations of imminent starvation: you simply can’t stop when it’s raining, apparently, even if you are hungry.

All the way down the slopes of Loughrigg we could see dense patches of bluebell leaves, but the flowers weren’t out yet, so I was partially right about that after all. Next year we shall have to try a couple of weeks later. That way we might spot some Bog Bean and some Butterwort flowering too. At least the woods were full of bluebells when we got back to them…

Bluebells in the woods.

The following day we were in Eccles for the Colts final against Stockport. It was a close game, which made this spectator tense, but the boys prevailed in the end 15 – 7. (And yes, Eccles is a lot, lot closer to Stockport than it is to Kirkby).

My career as a sports photographer is not destined to be a glorious affair.

Here’s B lifting his captain in the lineout. In the 16 shirt. With his back to us.
And here he is in a kick-chase. Obscured by the flag.

I have other photos – of him in a scrum, or making a tackle, or buried in a ruck. Generally, it’s very hard to tell that it is B in the photos. Oh well, it was a very happy day out.

I don’t have a map of the route, MapMyWalk started to play up again. This seems to happen from time to time. Eventually, I end up uninstalling it and then reinstalling it and it’ll work fine again. For a while.

Anyway, two Wainwrights – Silver How and Loughrigg. Not all that far. Not all that much up and down. How’s that?

Silver How and Loughrigg

A Circuit of Spy Crag

The (Magnificent) Staveley Seven.

The day after my Sour Howes and Sallows walk, and I’m going back to Kentmere, this time parked in Staveley. A get-together has been organised, TBH is joining the group. B has a rugby match, but the Colts kick-offs are generally in the afternoon, so I decide that I can join for at least part of the walk.

Hugill Fell, Millrigg Knott, Brunt Knott and Potter Fell, this time from the South. The prominent top on Hugill Fell is Black Crag. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

After much faffing in Staveley, we didn’t get all that far before I had to reluctantly leave the group and head back for the car.

Timber! There had evidently been a lot of felling in Craggy Wood so I assume that the wood had come from there.

Craggy Wood was purchased, relatively recently I think, by Cumbria Wildlife Trust. I’ve had my eye on a visit there for many years, having seen it so often from Staveley.

Scout Scar from Craggy Wood.

The path initially climbs steeply through a felled area – the felling I suspect to remove non-native conifers – then rocks-up on the top edge of the wood, giving views over Spy Crag.

Looking North across Spy Crag.
Brunt Knott and Potter Fell from Spy Crag.
In Craggy Wood.

The path weaves its way through the trees and along the edges of some small crags. Now I need to go back in the summer, when the trees are in leaf and, of course, in the autumn when no doubt the colours will be magnificent.

Reston Scar and Black Crag on Hugill Fell.
River Kent weir on the outskirts of Staveley.
An old mill? by the Kent.

More by luck than good judgement, I arrived home at almost exactly the time I’d told B I would. True to form, however, he wasn’t ready anyway. Still, we made it in plenty of time for the match.

The aftermath of a Kirkby try.

Andy’s account of the rest of the group’s longer walk is here.

A Circuit of Spy Crag



The Pepper Pot.

Apparently the old, Anglo-Saxon name for February was Solmōnaþ, or Sol-monath. Which has been interpreted as ‘Mud Month’, but which Bede defined, happily, as Cake-Month. I can’t show you any cakes, but here’s yet more bread pictures…


Pain de Mie

This has butter and milk in it, so I made…


Olive Bread

To keep the vegans happy too.


Post sunset, from the Cove. I’d been at the Pepper Pot for sunset, which was obscured by cloud, but the sky cleared quickly once the sun had set.


Mud-month was definitely more appropriate this year. I’ve read that February 2020 was the wettest on record, in England at least.


Man of the Match.

Astonishingly, B’s game at Garstang went ahead, played in a quagmire. They lost, trying to play flowing rugby when conditions dictated otherwise. B enjoyed it though – lots of tackles to make, rucks to hit and opportunities to steal ball.

This was a wet winter generally, and I had hard things to say about November, but I was happier in Solmōnaþ, because the afternoons were lengthening rather than drawing in.


During the first week of February, I kept just missing the sunset. But I was just glad to be out in some sort of light.


One day, I was meeting A for her Parents’ Evening, so had a chance for a wander around Williamson’s Park in Lancaster first.



The following weekend, I had a pleasant enough wander round to Arnside, despite a poor forecast and then an even more pleasant afternoon in The Fighting Cocks watching the Calcutta Cup with some of the other dads from B’s rugby team. After the match, I walked home in the dark, with the added delights of a howling gale and torrential rain and hail. For once, I had reason to regret my habitual adherence to short trousers through the winter.

The following day brought some blue skies…


…but more rain too…


A taste of what was to come.





Eaves Wood from the Coronation Path.

I don’t know if you’ve played the card game Sussed? It’s like the old TV quiz show ‘Mr and Mrs’, if you’re old enough to remember that: on your card are various multi-choice questions on a wide-range of subjects (and there are numerous editions available), the other players score points for correctly guessing what your answers will be. I’ll never win it, not when I’m playing my family anyway, because they are entirely too good at anticipating what I will say. Apparently, I’m completely predictable, or so they tell me.


Early sun in Eaves Wood.

I can see their point. I’m certainly a creature of habit. Take this weekend back in January.


On the Saturday I was up early and at the Pepper Pot a little after sunrise…



The Dale.

I took the boys to their BJJ lesson and had a wander around Lancaster, as I did most Saturdays, when such things were allowed.

Then later, I was back at the Pepper Pot…


…and down to The Cove for the sunset.


On the Sunday, I was out and about early and…


…you guessed it, at the Pepper Pot again…


The frosty Dale.

Took B and his friend E to their rugby match as I do most Sunday mornings…


Rugby pitches somewhere in Southport. Note the clear blue sky.

And when we got home? Well, of course, I went out for another walk, this time a circuit of Eaves Wood and Middlebarrow.


Arnside Knott and Arnside Tower. The Knott, all 150 odd metres of it is partially veiled by clouds.

That’s me. Steady-Eddy, predictable, unswerving, humdrum. The weather, on the other hand, was far from predictable that weekend, particularly on the Sunday. We had sunshine and frost in the morning; dense fog most of the way to Southport; glorious sunshine, clear blue skies and a biting wind in Southport; and finally rotten gloom and low cloud when we got home. Fickle and capricious as it is, I wouldn’t swap our weather for a totally settled climate. How dull that would be!

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

John Ruskin

I’m not sure I can agree whole-heartedly with this much repeated old saw. Rain gets tedious after a while. I’m much more in agreement with this one…

Bad weather always looks worse through a window.

Tom Lehrer

A tune, which isn’t really about the weather…

And, just in case anybody hasn’t heard this…

Might be useful if you are home-schooling Chemistry? I was tempted to include his song “We’ll All Go Together” but thought it might be too bleak in the circumstances.


Notes from a Small Island


The end of October half-term, and B and I were away on a tour with his rugby team in the North-East of England. When the tour was arranged, I don’t think anybody realised that England would be playing New Zealand in a World Cup semi-final that weekend. In order to see the whole match, we had to set-off uncomfortably early, but Billingham rugby club were very welcoming, opening their club house for us, providing us all with bacon butties and, in many cases, turning out to watch the match with us.

The boys match preceded a first team game, so in all I watched a lot of rugby that day. The boys won, but the first team were trounced.


We stayed overnight in the youth hostel near Osmotherley. It had been so wet during the previous week that the stream which runs past this old mill was flowing over as well as under the bridge by the entrance.

The next day, the boys won again, this time in Redcar, which is where the two photos above were taken. I’m reasonably familiar with the Northumberland coastline, and have holidayed in the past in Scarborough, Whitby and Filey down in Yorkshire, but the stretch of coast between those two is a bit of a mystery to me. Looks like it’s worth investigating though!

Later, after the long drive home, I was out for a late local wander, so that I managed to photograph both the East and the West coasts in one day. This really is a small island.


The boys were due to tour again in a few weeks time, but obviously, that tour is one of the many casualties of the current lockdown. A has been saving hard and fund-raising to pay for a jamboree in Poland this summer, S has spent two years learning Mandarin in after-school classes with the prospect of a heavily subsidised trip to China at the end of it. Both now cancelled. Personally, I’m quite happy pottering about in the garden, doing a bit of cooking and baking, catching up on the blog, reading, playing games and watching films with the kids and taking my one walk a day, but I feel for the kids, who are missing out on opportunities which may not come around again. Still, I dare say, other folk have it worse elsewhere, and the kids seem to have adjusted pretty well.


In terms of the blog, that’s October dispensed with, and we’re rattling towards 2020!

Notes from a Small Island

An Underley Walk


Today has been a slightly odd Sunday because not only I have not been to Underley Park,  home of the Rams, Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC, but I also haven’t been to any other muddy, wind-blown, rain-lashed venues to watch boys play rugby. But that’s this Sunday, which will have to wait for a post of its own. Last Sunday I was at Underley Park, as I so often am.

Having said that, I haven’t been there as much this season. The boys fixtures used to generally coincide so that they would both be at home or both be away at the same venue. But this year they mostly have different fixtures, so that often one is at home and the other away. Sometimes they are both away. I’m the designated driver for away games, and TBH now does home fixtures and training.

Last Sunday, however, both boys had training. In fact, I think that all of the junior teams had training. As a result, it had been decided that some of the senior players would lead a strength and fitness session. With my ‘little and often’ head on, I decided that this was a great opportunity for me to log a few bonus kilometres, before the actual rugby was underway.

Underley park, the rugby ground, is within Underley Park the grounds of Underley Hall one of Ye Stately Homes of England.

I think that this Hansel and Gretel house may have been a gatehouse to the Hall…


This is Underley Business Park…


…once a stable block perhaps? There was also a small pond which was dammed, I wondered whether the other buildings behind this one were a former mill, but I can’t find any history on the web.

You can sort of see the Hall here…


…partially shielded by trees.

This is the current house…

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 22.07.46.png

…in its heyday.  I’ve shamelessly lifted this from wikipedia and they have it from A Series of Picturesque Views of Seats of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland by Francis Orpen Morris in 1879. There was a hall before this one, and this building has been extended since this painting.

There’s actually a good view of Underley Hall from the rugby club. Here’s a photo I took back in 2014, but never used on the blog…


And with a zoom…


It was a very changeable day.

Anyway, back to last Sunday, I followed this Leat…


..which took me to the banks of the Lune (but with too many trees between me and the river for a good photo) and a little gate which let me back into the rugby club…


The gate was unexpected, but very handy because I had to meet TBH and A. I had realised that the girls’ team were training and had rung to let A know, because she has decided that she no longer wants to be left out and now she’s going to play rugby too! Quite how we will get all three of them to matches and training in potentially three different locations, I’m not sure.

More photos from 2014. The clubhouse as it was then…


…it’s been extended since then.

One thing Underley Park definitely has is great views. Here’s B’s team warming up…


…and here they’re playing, you can see that the weather has changed…


It’s a very exposed spot. You’ll just have to imagine the cold and the wind.


Here’s B. Not in a ruck, which is unusual. I realise that I have no other photos of him playing and none at all of Little S. I shall have to rectify that.


An Underley Walk