Garburn Pass in the Snow

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A snow hunting trip. The kids wanted to play in the snow; the forecast was quite good, well half reasonable; so why not? We were all intending to go, but TBH discovered a leak near our boiler just before we set-off and stayed to wait for a plumber (who didn’t materialise until my turn to wait for him the following day). So, it was just me and les enfants terribles.

We parked down near Troutbeck and then followed the long steady climb up the Garburn Road, which is actually a track. We hadn’t walked very far when Little S asked me the time. It was just after midday and we all knew what was coming next: “Can we stop for lunch?”

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Given that it was pretty windy, and that behind this wall and below the branches of this tree might be the most sheltered spot we were going to see for a while, that actually wasn’t a bad idea. We made ourselves as comfortable as we could and then watched a buzzard circling above the valley before enduring the first of many snow showers of the day. This wasn’t the gently drifting flakes you might imagine, but wind-driven lumps of ice with more than a passing resemblance to hail.

The kids didn’t really care though and were soon engaged in a snowball fight as we continued toward the pass, oblivious of further showers coming in behind us.

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Troutbeck Valley and the hills around its head.

We reached a point close to the top of the pass and climbed a stile giving access to Sallows (a curious name for a hill), but only because we thought we’d spotted a slope with sufficient snow to allow the kids to use the small sledges they’d carried up with them.

The weather was pretty changeable…

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…this is Yoke in the sunshine.

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And this is the same ‘view’ moments later.

And again…

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Once again, the kids weren’t bothered. They sledged…

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Then built walls…

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When I took this photo we had both sunshine and snowfall at the same time.

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B helped the other two with their walls, then decided to build one of his own. He didn’t seem deterred by its modest size.

The wall building was a precursor to a spirited snowball fight. I took photos, a good excuse, I thought, for not getting involved this time, but sadly they didn’t come out too well as the weather had deteriorated once again.

Eventually I persuaded the kids that we ought to start heading back to the car.

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The clouds had come in, and the mountains, and then even the valley sides, disappeared behind us. The light was nice ahead though.

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This is a common sight on one of our family walks – the boys deep in conversation, probably about a computer game.

“Aren’t they cute when they chat like that,” was A’s observation. It’s true, but I’m not sure they’ll thank me for saying so.

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Garburn Pass in the Snow

Middlebarrow in Every Kind of Weather.

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“The forecast for tomorrow shows every kind of weather, what a cop out.”

This was A, on Saturday evening; she knows how much this symbol winds me up on a long range forecast, suggesting, as it does, some straddling of the fence from the meteorologists. Of course, it could also imply that the weather is destined to be very mixed. That’s exactly how Sunday turned out.

No ‘Listed Lancaster’ posts from last week, not because I didn’t get out for any lunchtime strolls – although I was restricted a little, it was a busy week – but because when I did get out the weather was always gloomy and not really ideal for photographs. I particularly enjoyed my walk on Wednesday, when we had snow, but even the photos I took then are  rather grim and monotone.

Saturday too was very wet, but it did finally brighten a little late on, and I abandoned the second half of Ireland’s cakewalk against Italy to make the most of it. Not much to show for it in terms of photos of views or leaves or sunsets etc, but every walk seems to throw up something, in this case a wet poster…

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Long-suffering readers will know that I have become quite interested in Thomas Mawson and his gardens, which have featured on this blog a number of times. I’m hoping that I will be free on the evening of this lecture. If not, there were plenty of other things to choose from: a talk on ‘Bees in Your Garden’, another on ‘Sweet Peas’ and a third on ‘An Underwater Safari in Morecambe Bay’, music at the regular ‘Bits and Pieces’ event at the Silverdale Hotel, the John Verity Band appearing soon at the same venue, and, at The Instititute, Lancaster Band The Meter Men, who play Hammond Organ infused funk and are, in my opinion, superb. And that’s just a small selection of the entertainment on offer, seen through the filter of my own interests. Silverdale it seems, like Stacy’s Mom, ‘has got it going on’.

Anyway, back to Sunday: I set off, as I often do, without a clear idea of where I was going. Initially though, I chose to climb to the Pepper Pot on Castlebarrow, to take a look at the clouds racing past. I went via the Coronation path because I knew that would take me past the Snowdrops which featured at the top of the post.

From time to time, new paths seem to appear in Eaves Wood, a reflection, I suppose, of how many people regularly walk there. Whenever I walk past one, I wonder where it goes and resolve that, next time I’m out, I’ll find out. On Saturday I finally acted on that impulse. The first path I followed cut a corner between two paths which I know well. Even so, I felt very pleased to have taken it and I’ve been back and walked it again since.

From Castlebarrow I followed the path along the northern edge of Eaves Wood, beside the wall which marks the boundary between Lancashire and Cumbria. I met a couple walking their dog, who emerged from the trees at the side of the path. Looking back from where they’d come I thought I could detect the thinnest of thin trods, a hint of a path. Naturally, I followed it and it brought me to a drystone wall, in a spot where an old ants’ nest against the wall made it easy to scramble over. It was evident that people had climbed the wall here. I could see that just beyond the wall was the rim of Middlebarrow Quarry…

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Silverdale Moss, Scout Hill and Farleton Fell from Middlebarrow.

The quarry is huge, but is well concealed from most directions. Again, I thought I could see a path heading along the edge of the quarry. In all the years I’ve been here I’ve never walked around it. It is private land, but it’s not a working quarry anymore and I can’t see what harm could be done by wandering around. So I did.

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Middlebarrow pano. Click on it to see enlarged version.

The path turned out to be a bit sketchy in places. And it was easy to lose where there was limestone pavement…

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Some of the pavements were coated in moss, others had grass growing over them, which made it hard to see the grykes.

True to form, the weather threw everything at me: rain, sleet, hail, but odd moments of sunshine too.

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There’s a ninety metre contour somewhere around the rim of the quarry, making it the highest point on the limestone hill on which Eaves Wood sits. It’s certainly a good view point for Silverdale Moss and I shall be back here again.

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Whitbarrow catching the sun.

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I took this photo in an attempt to show the heavy snow which was falling. You’ll have to take my word for it.

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And this one to show the state of many of the paths after the wet weather we’ve endured.

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By the time I was leaving the woods, the snow had stopped again.

I timed my walk to arrive back to watch England squeak past Wales in the rugby by the finest of margins.

Then I was out again. Since it was still cloudy, and I knew I was too late for the sunset, I only took my ‘new’ phone with me and not my camera.

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I never learn!

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The colours were subtle, pastel shades, but very pleasant none-the-less.

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Always good to finish a day (and a post) with a colourful sunset, if you can.

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Middlebarrow in Every Kind of Weather.

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

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

Bowland Bronzed

Castlebarrow – The Cove – The Lots – Spring Bank

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A very short walk this one, memorable for two reasons, firstly the perfect timing which saw me arrive by the Pepperpot just as the low sun burnished the Bowland Fells with a glorious bronze light.

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It was very fleeting, lasting long enough for me to take a couple of snaps, then it was gone. The photographs don’t begin to do it justice – the colour was amazing, I can’t think that I’ve ever seen anything quite like it.

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The second notable feature of the evening was the sunset, witnessed through April showers of snow and hail.

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I wouldn’t generally consider hail as ‘A Good Thing’ but this was surprisingly gentle and serene and quite out of the ordinary, so that I found myself enjoying it, despite my misgivings.

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Yet another sunset over Morecambe Bay, but somehow they are always a bit different.

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Grand Designs – An Igloo on Wansfell

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A superb forecast for the weekend had me thinking about getting out to The Lakes for a walk. TBH had already planned her own walk with a couple of friends, part of an ongoing scheme to keep in touch by walking together once a month. I thought I might initiate a similar programme and asked the Tower Captain how he was fixed. Having both recently escaped for an entire weekend, it fell to us to take responsibility for the ankle-biters. And the Tower Captain’s dogs.

Somehow, independently of each other, both groups lighted on Troutbeck as their choice of destination. And so it was, somewhat comically, that we were all parked next to each other, by Church Bridge heading for Troutbeck Tongue and Wansfell respectively.

We hadn’t set off particularly early, and Little S was immediately pestering me about stopping for lunch, which we duly did, not far above the village on Nanny Lane.

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It was surprisingly hot for late March. Further up the lane we spotted a Peacock butterfly, my first butterfly of the year. There was still some snow on the higher fells, however…

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Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke.

And when we came across a couple of isolated patches of snow, the boys were picking up lumps of it to suck on and rub on their foreheads and arms in order to cool down. (It wasn’t as hot as that suggests!)

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Red Screes, Stony Cove Pike and part of High Street.

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When we reached the highest point, some of us decided to sit down and drink in the view…

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Whilst the boys immediately started to build snowmen…

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Well, not just the boys…

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The Tower Captain suggested that there was sufficient snow for them to build an igloo. Some children might have spotted this for the sarcastic comment that it was no doubt intended to be, but B, typically, took it as a personal challenge.

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The Tower Captain tried to resist…

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…whilst B enlisted the other children’s help…

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…but soon he was embroiled in the construction project too…

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I supervised from a supine position. It’s possible that my eyes may have closed for a while, so that I could concentrate on the logistics of the situation, obviously.

Soon, B deemed that the igloo was complete and it was time to try it out. Plenty of room for Little S…

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…a bit tighter for B…

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Oh…

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I neglected to mention that B had incorporated a window into his design.

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The igloo was altogether more ‘cosy’ for the Junior Tower Captain…

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..and A…

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And when the Tower Captain tried to squeeze his not inconsiderable frame into the igloo…

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…the inevitable happened…

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…and much hilarity ensued. A captured the whole thing on video, and very funny it is too. Maybe she’ll get round to posting it on her own blog one of these days.

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Fairfield and its ridges.

We followed the ridge to Wansfell Pike, which is a better viewpoint than the actual summit, and more popular with visitors.

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We had intended to drop down to Ambleside and then come back round to Troutbeck via Jenkin Crag and Skelghyll Wood, but we were running short of time, so took a direct route back down onto Nanny Lane instead.

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The amazing display of daffodils in the churchyard of Jesus Church in Troutbeck.

Apparently, the walk on Troutbeck Tongue was very pleasant, but I can’t imagine it was as much fun as our outing.

Grand Designs – An Igloo on Wansfell

Beinn Dubhchraig

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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.

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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.

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The Tower Captain on the summit.

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

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

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

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The views just got better and better.

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Loch Lomond.

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Ben More and Stob Binnein.

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Ben more and Stob Binnein again.

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Beinn Challuim. (I think).

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Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar.

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More butties.

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Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar again.

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

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Beinn Challuim again. I think.

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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!

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