Towyn Farm Again

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The DB’s enjoying Andy’s paddle board.

Many people, I know, look for novelty in their holiday destinations, fresh experiences, new kicks. I’m not immune to the pleasures of variety, but I do think it’s essential to have some regular fixtures through the year to look forward to. One of the principal milestones in our year is our annual camping trip, with a host of old friends, to Towyn Farm near Tudweiliog on the north coast of the Llyn peninsula .

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This year we went for a few days. The weather over the weekend, particularly on the Saturday, was pretty poor. We still got down to the beach eventually, on both days, although these photos are from the Sunday, when it did brighten up for a while at least.

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Beach Kubb.

I often find myself, when writing-up our Towyn trip, bemoaning the fact that I haven’t taken any photos of the principal joys of the holiday, so this year I made more of an effort. I still somehow managed to miss the beach cricket and the kite-flying, and shamefully my photos only feature some of the friends who were with us, probably because some only joined us for the weekend, when the weather was poor. I think at its peak our group stretched to thirteen. I could be wrong, I ran out of fingers to count on. I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone, that would be awful.

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Edit: Beach Cricket! I did take a photo after all. We often played with a severe shortage of beach!

The Kubb game seen above was Old Gits versus Young ‘Uns. The OGs won eventually (skill will out), but the most memorable aspect of the game was Andy’s adoption of a series of bizarre mascots – shells, stones, and clumps of seaweed were all enlisted to offer us moral support. The DBs seem to be doing their Stan Laurel impressions, I’m not sure why. The third player in the youth team is A. Not our daughter A, but B’s girlfriend A, who inconveniently shares a name with his sister. Our A was off in Massachusetts working at a holiday camp, dodging bears and thunderstorms and making lots of friends. Although actually, at that time I think she was isolating with Covid.

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A and B having a quiet moment.
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Beach Boules.
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The DBs body-boarding.

We usually do a fair bit of snorkelling from the beach at Towyn. This year I only went out once, at the end of the trip, and by then the choppy seas were full of seaweed and sand and it was impossible to see much of anything. I should have tried sooner, but was trying to keep a dressing dry. Usually, it’s the DBs who manage to injure themselves and require a trip to A&E, but this summer it was me: I dropped our detachable towbar on my finger, which made a bit of a mess. It’s recovering slowly, but even six weeks later is still swollen and sore. With one index finger out of action, my typing capacity is down by fifty percent!

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As ever, sitting around and nattering was a big part of the trip. You can see how warm is was from TBFs swaddling of duvet and blankets.

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My Dad likes to offload surplus camping gear on to me, and, during one of my recent trips to Lincoln, had given me this very handy box BBQ, which, despite folding down very small, doubled up as an effective fire-pit. Thanks Dad!

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Little S, t’other A and B. The Three Stooges?

You might think that Little S has his hood up to keep his ears warm, but more than likely he was hiding his haircut. Just before we went away, he’d been to a Turkish barbers and his description of the haircut he wanted must have been lost in translation, resulting in a classic pudding bowl trim. He looked like he’d been auditioning for a part in a new series of Brother Cadfael, or for Jim Carrey’s stunt-double in Dumb and Dumber, or maybe for the part of Moe Howard in a remake of the Three Stooges.

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B, the Eternal Weather Optimist, The Adopted Yorkshirewoman, the Shandy Sherpa, and Grandfather Sheffield.
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We did get out on a couple of short walks (posts to follow, obviously) but the scenery around the camp-site is not too shabby.

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The sunsets weren’t as spectacular as they occasionally have been in the past, but it’s still always nice to have a wander to the clifftops, or down to the beach to watch the sun dip into the Irish Sea.

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Towyn Farm Again

The Brathay and Elter Water

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The Langdale Pikes across the pool in the River Brathay where I swam.

My last day of term. The weather had turned hot again. I had an early finish, and had been contemplating getting out for a swim again. Then I got a call from the boys’ school to say that Little S was not feeling well, so picked him up and changed my plan. However, when B got home, he asked if I could take him and some others to Windermere, where a group of friends was gathering for a swim. I decided that if I was going to drive up to the Lakes, I might as well make the most of it.

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Purple Loosestrife.

First of all, I returned to a large deep pool in the Brathay a short walk upstream from Skelwith bridge. I swam quite a way upstream to the point where my gear, on the bank, was going out of sight, and then back again.

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Sneezewort.

There were lots of dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies and, to my delight, demoiselles about. I persisted in trying to take photos with my phone, although I could see that the results were blatantly useless.

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Sneezewort.

The river bank flowers were more cooperative in keeping still to be photographed.

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Yarrow.

Sneezewort and Yarrow are closely related, you can see the family resemblance can’t you?

Last time I swam in the Brathay, I then walked over into Little Langdale and swam in the Brathay again, just downstream from where it flows out of Little Langdale Tarn. Then, I’d bypassed Elter Water because the water seemed shallow and looked weed choked. I might have done the same again this time, but I overheard a man in a wetsuit saying that if you could get beyond the weeds it was well worth it.

You can see the final line of weeds in the photo below…

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Lingmoor and the Langdale Pikes across Elter Water.

Out to those weeds, the water was only about knee deep, but with probably several feet of soft, sinky silt below that. I managed to get out by lying in the water and using my hands in the weeds below to drag myself along. Stirring up the silt released some noxious smells. It wasn’t a great deal of fun. Then suddenly the temperature of the water dropped considerably and the water was much, much deeper. I swam most of the way to those trees you can see on the far side, enjoying the view and the lack of weeds. I shared the lake with a lone paddle boarder. Sadly, I had to repeat the process of dragging myself through the shallow, weed-filled, silty shallows before I could get out again.

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Soldier Beetles.

It had been warm, but overcast, but as I was drying myself on the riverbank, the sun came out again. Perfect timing.

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Common Michaelmas-daisy. I think, but flowering very early in July.

I had half-planned to fit in a third swim in Loughrigg Tarn, but I didn’t really have time, and anyway, my second swim had been quite long and I had had enough. Another time.

Time now to look forward to other swims a little further from home.

The Brathay and Elter Water

Hardknott and Tongue Pot.

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Eskdale.

I enticed B out for a walk using the lure of Tongue Pot; he’s been campaigning for a return ever since his first visit, which was five summers ago. How time flies! My side of the deal was that he had to climb a hill with me first. We parked on the big section of grass verge just west of Brotherikeld Farm (you can make out the parked cars in the photo above) and then set off toward the Hardknott Pass, soon leaving the road for the path which cuts across to the remains of the Roman Fort.

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Arriving at Hardknott Roman Fort.

B has visited the fort once before, when we climbed Harter Fell with old friend X-Ray and came down via Horsehow Crags and Demming Crag (Birketts which needed ticking off, of course), which, astonishingly, was twelve summers ago. How time flies!

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Beyond the wall: Horsehow Crags and Demming Crag.
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Inside the fort. Border End beyond.
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The Roman Fort.
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The Roman Fort.

We left the fort on a path heading towards the pass – I guess the old Roman road.

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The pass, the fort and Eskdale.

By the time we hit the road, it was very hot. Fortunately, from the top of the pass it was only a very short climb to the Birkett of Border End, which turned out to be one of those Birketts which is well worth a visit, with superb views and nobody else about.

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On Border End, looking to the Scafells.
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On Border End: Esk Pike, Bowfell, Crinkle Crags and Hard Knott.
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Border End panorama.
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Border End summit.

As we dropped away from the top of Border End I noticed this moth on the ground.

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Garden Tiger Moth?

I think it’s a Garden Tiger, although it’s quite a way from any gardens. The wings usually seem to look more cream than yellow and the spots can vary in shape, but the general pattern looks right.

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Garden Tiger Moth?

Since the moth was dead, I could and should have looked at the underwings which should have been a spectacular red, but unfortunately that didn’t occur to me at the time.

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A view down on to Eskdale Needle.

I’d read that Border End has a good view of Eskdale Needle, and it does, although you may have to open a flickr copy of the photo above and zoom it to see it. One day I’ll have to come this way and drop down to have a proper look.

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Yew Bank Crag panorama.

The tarn on Hard Knott was choked with reeds and looked extremely shallow, I soon dismissed any idea I’d had of an early dip there.

We diverted off the path to take in the rocky knoll of Yew Bank, another Birkett (and a Tump and a Synge apparently). Dropping slightly below the summit gave absolutely superb views of the hills and crags around Upper Eskdale and of the Esk and Lingcove Beck.

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Slightside, Scafell, Mickledore, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Ill Crag, Great End. The river Esk and Lingcove Beck below.
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Descending from Hard Knott.
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Panorama.
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Another view of England’s highest – hard to resist!
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Lingcove Beck and Bowfell.
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Lingcove Beck and Crinkle Crags.

When we reached Lingcove Beck we immediately came upon an inviting looking pool.

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An inviting pool.

Me made our way down the beck, moving from pool to pool, B looking for places to jump in, whilst I settled for a swim. I think we found around five good spots. I thought Andy and I had made a pretty thorough exploration of the swimming possibilities of both the Esk and Lingcove Beck, but I don’t remember these delightful pools.

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Taking another plunge.

Tongue Pot was busy, busier than it looks here. I jumped in from the wimps side, by the tree on the right, but B had only one thing in mind: the mega-leap having not done it five years ago.

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Tongue Pot. Busy.
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The ‘mega-leap’. This is a video. If it won’t play, click on it to visit the flickr page and view B’s feat of daring.

No qualms this time.

Once he’d done it a few times, all that remained was the pleasant walk down the valley back to the car.

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Eskdale Needle from below.
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Heron Stones.
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The Esk and Bowfell.
Hardknott and Tongue Pot.

Swimming Season at Last

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The Dale from the Pepper Pot.

The morning after the Tigers victory over Saracens, and I was up at the Pepper Pot looking over the village. The weather doesn’t look too promising does it?

But later on, when I noticed a deer on our lawn, it had started to brighten up…

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Garden with Roe Deer.

By the time B returned from his shift pot-washing at the local hotel, it was glorious, and hot.

‘Fancy a drive Dad?’, he asked.

This was code for, ”Are you willing to sit in the passenger seat for an hour whilst I drive?”

B has his provisional licence, has passed his theory test, and is very keen to clear the final hurdle and gain the independence which driving would give him.

“We could go to High Dam for a swim.”

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Potter Tarn. Coniston Fells in the distance.

Which seemed like a good idea, except I suggested, given the late hour, that we substitute Gurnal Dubs for High Dam, it being closer to home and not surrounded by trees, so that we might have both later sun and a later onset of midge attack.

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Forest of Bowland, Scout Scar and Cunswick Scar, Arnside Knott, Whitbarrow.

The walk up to the reservoir was very pleasant, if somewhat warm work.

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Gurnal Dubs.

A work colleague, who lives quite close to Gurnal Dubs, had reported a recent swim there and that the water was ‘quite warm’. I hate to think what would qualify as cold in her estimation. It was pretty bracing. But very refreshing and, after a long period where it never seemed to warm up, a welcome and unusually late start to wild-swimming for the year.

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After our swim.

By the time we were out of the water we were already losing the sun.

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Looking back to Gurnal Dubs.

The views on the way down were even better than they had been on the way up, with the landscape decked in dark shadows and late, golden sunshine.

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Potter Tarn, Coniston Fells, Scafell and Scafell Pike.
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Scout Scar and Cunswick Scar, Arnside Knott, Whitbarrow, Gummer How.
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Almost back to the road and the car.

The following evening, a Monday, Little S had Explorers. He’s transferred from the local unit to the one which meets in Littledale, at the very pleasant Scout camp on the banks of Artle Beck. Usually, after dropping him off, I take B to a boxing gym in Lancaster, but for some reason that was off, so I was at a loose end, which gave me a chance to try a spot down in the Lune Valley which I’d previously picked out as having potential for swimming.

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River Lune. Caton Moor wind farm beyond.
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River Lune and Ingleborough.

It was a bit of a walk from the carpark at Bull Beck near Caton, so I didn’t have all that much time to swim, but the walk was nice enough in itself.

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Swimming spot.

How was it? A lot warmer than Gurnal Dubs, quite pleasant in fact. Fairly fast flowing. Not as deep as I had hoped, but just about deep enough. Due to the strength of the current, I found myself walking upstream on the shingle bank and then floating back down river before repeating the process. Not a bad way to spend a Monday evening.

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River Lune.

One more local-ish swim to report, though I’m jumping forward almost to mid-July and another Monday evening. After a hot day at school, B wondered whether I could give him and some friends a lift to Settle to swim. I didn’t have to think too long about that one: too far away. We compromised on Devil’s Bridge at Kirby Lonsdale, as long as they promised not to jump off the bridge.

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Devil’s Bridge.

Whilst they were, I later found out, having a great time, I had a wander down the Lune, enjoying the riverside flowers.

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Meadow Crane’s-bill.
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Giant Bellflower, I think.
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Monkeyflower – naturalised from North America.
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Himalayan Balsam – another non-native plant.

This one is a bit of a cheat, you can perhaps tell by the light; there was plenty of Himalayan Balsam by the Lune, but I’d also photographed some the day before, in better light, when I picked up Little S from another Scout Camp, this one down near Ormskirk.

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River Lune. Too shallow to swim in.
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Pipe Bridge carrying water from Haweswater in the Lakes to Manchester.

I had my swimming stuff with me, and found, as I thought I might, that the water under the bridge, on the right hand side anyway, was deep enough for me to have a dip. In honesty, not one of my favourite swims this summer, but it had stiff competition.

Swimming Season at Last

Boating and Swimming, Coniston Water

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Coniston Water

The forecast suggested that this would be the last day of fine weather during the week. We managed to get out of the house reasonably early, but even so Brown Howe car park was already chocker when we arrived. Fortunately, true to form, Andy had a plan B, and had used satellite images to pick out a lay-by suitably situated, just a little further up the lake.

There followed a fairly lengthy interlude of inflating boats and Andy’s SUPB, lugging everything – boats, picnic rugs, tables, stoves, food, badminton set, etc – across the road and over the wall (much higher on the lake side than by the road), then frying-up bacon for breakfast/brunch.

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It was a very chilled day. Swim for a bit, read for a bit, paddle a canoe for a while. Repeat.

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As I set-off for a swim, TBH and A went past me in our canoe.

“Are you swimming right across?” TBH asked. “Because if you are, we can give you a lift back.”

That hadn’t been my intention, but now a seed had been planted. I kept going and there came a point where going back would have been as far as continuing. I actually didn’t swim right across Coniston Water, only as far as Peel Island (the model for Wildcat Island in the Swallows and Amazons books).

I don’t know how far it is. A few hundred metres. A few lengths of an Olympic pool. But by the time I was mid-lake I started to feel a bit small and a bit lonely. I was a bit concerned by the paddle-steamers and yachts plowing up and down the lake, and whether they could see me. Maybe I need one of those day-glow floaty things!

When I arrived at Peel Island, all of my kids were there, jumping in off some rocks.

In the event, it was Andy who came across the lake in his canoe to fetch me. Paddling back across the lake took a tiny fraction of the time it had taken me to swim across.

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The Madley Mariners coming in to shore.

Unfortunately, the day ended with one of our all to frequent trips to A-and-E. Little S was hit in the eye by a shuttlecock, a freak accident which left him temporarily unsighted in one eye. It was horrible, particularly frightening for Little S, obviously. I’m pleased to report that his vision soon returned, but the incident has left me with less pleasant memories of what had been a smashing day until then.

Boating and Swimming, Coniston Water

Back to Gurnal Dubs

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On the ascent.

We set-off for a swim at High Dam, but the traffic on the A590 wasn’t moving, so a last minute change of plan found us back at Gurnal Dubs.

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Benson Knott, Scout Scar, Gummer How.

It was probably serendipity at work: High Dam is lovely, but it’s surrounded by trees so we would’ve missed the lovely late sunshine and may have had much more of an issue with midges, although they did eventually rear their ugly heads at Gurnal Dubs.

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Benson Knott, Scout Scar, Gummer How from a little higher up.
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Gurnal Dubs
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Swimmers – do I need one of those dayglow floaty things?
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Packing up to go, under attack by midges.
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Leaving Gurnal Dubs.
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Potter Tarn, Coniston Fells, Scafells.
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Barn at Hundhowe catching the late light.

Happy New Year folks!

Back to Gurnal Dubs

A Birthday Day Out

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In the trees – Little S on the left, A and TJF centre, the Prof on the right.

The first full day of our staycation was TJF’s birthday. Accordingly, Andy had a day of delights meticulously planned. The Herefordshire Hominids, and our kids, all enjoy climbing, swinging, dangling and sliding in tree-top adventure playgrounds. So we had Go-Ape booked in Grizedale forest.

I have neither the physique nor the temperament for such antics. TBH has been known to join in, but on this occasion opted to keep me company. We had loaded our heavy e-bikes onto Andy’s very sturdy bike-carrier and, whilst the others were monkeying about, went for a ride around one of the forest’s bike trails.

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We chose The Hawkshead Moor Trail, which, after some fairly relentless climbing, gave brilliant views of the Coniston Fells…

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And then the Langdale Pikes too…

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Better with or without the Rosebay Willow Herb? I couldn’t decide.

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We’d actually considered hiring e-mountain bikes but they were very pricey. We did meet quite a few people riding them and they were clearly higher-powered then our bikes, seemingly making the ascents virtually effortless.

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Never-the-less, we knocked off the trail in around an hour-and-a-half, not the stated two-and-a-half, so we had some more time to kill prior to our planned rendezvous with our Arboreal Allies. We decided to have a go at the Grizedale Tarn Trail, with the perhaps predictable result that both of our batteries ran out of fizz.

Carrying-on without power was a non-starter as far as I was concerned. We found a path which seemed to be heading in the right direction (i.e. downhill) and walked the bikes across a couple of fields, before having to manhandle them over a gate (quite challenging), leaving a short, steep, stoney descent back to the visitor’s centre. TBH wasn’t keen so I rode both bikes down in turn.

The next element of Andy’s cunning plan was a drive (along some very ‘interesting’ narrow lanes) to Brown Howe car park on the shore of Coniston Water for a swim. I’m not sure to what extent it made us smell any sweeter, which was Andy’s stated intention, but it was a very refreshing dip, with great views of the surrounding fells.

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A is first into the water.

Finally, to round-off a fabulous day, Andy had booked a table at Betulla’s an ‘Italian-inspired’ restaurant in Ulverston. I can’t speak highly enough of the meal we had there. Mine was battered calamari followed by hunter’s chicken which came served with bolognese sauce so tasty that I’ve decided next time we visit I shall just choose the bolognese. Everybody else’s meals looked great too. I gather the cocktails were rather good as well.

I hope that TJF enjoyed her day. I know that I did. With hindsight, it stands out as one of my highlights of the year. I’m considering hiring Andy to plan my Birthdays in future.

Happy New Year Folks!

A Birthday Day Out

Wrapping Up July.

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It remained hot. The kids, well A and B anyway, were joining friends for swims in the Bay at high tide. I’ve always regarded such behaviour as a sure sign of insanity, as the sea is not all that inviting here, being full of silt and murky brown and almost certainly full of unsavoury pollutants too, but finally I cracked and TBH and I cycled down to a spot near Jenny Brown’s Point a couple of times for a dip.

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And……it was very pleasant. Hopefully, we’ll get the right weather and do it again next summer.

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Carn Fadryn.

And then we went for our annual, marvellous, camping trip with old friends to Towyn Farm on the Llyn Peninsula. I remember that I did a lot of snorkelling in the first part of the week. The water was a lot colder than it had been in the Bay, but it was clear and there was lots to see as ever. Later in the week, the winds picked up and we switched to body surfing. Lots of games of Kubb and Molkky too. Beach cricket, frisbee throwing. All the usual fun.

Lots of walking happened too, but with B still suffering with his knee we generally opted to stay at the campsite/beach and keep him company, the only exception being the obligatory ascent of ‘Birthday Hill’ or Caryn Fadryn.

I apparently took no photos at all, apart from the rather poor one above of some of the Naughty Nine on Carn Fadryn’s summit.

Inexplicable. I did take lots of pictures in the garden after we returned home though! So here’s one of those:

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Edit – TBH to the rescue – I did take more photos at Towyn, but using TBH’s phone – I think mine had no charge. So here’s a selection of photos, some of which I took and some of which are TBH’s work:

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On the campsite – Chocolate Brownie for the Birthday Boy – complete with Candles.
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Back on Carn Fadryn – we always have a long sit on the top. The views demand it.
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UF and the EWO – almost certainly discussing the weather.
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The Birthday Boy on Birthday Hill (although this was a couple of days after his actual birthday)
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Late night beach cricket. Should have been playing with a white ball.
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Bowled!
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The boys on Andy’s SUPB. They loved it, B in particular.
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Packing up – deflating the rubber rings.
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Obviously the travel restrictions over the last two years have been a pain in the neck, but if I’m allowed to go to Wales for a week every summer, I reckon I can get by; with a little help from my friends anyway.

Wrapping Up July.

Gurnal Dubs Swim.

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And then it was hot. We had what passes for a heat wave in this neck of the woods – that is, a few days of what would probably pass for mild temperatures in many parts of the world. Not being used to extremes, we naturally over-react and do everything we can to get out of the heat. TBH and I had a swim in the Lune near to Bull Beck. It was quite pleasant, although not very deep. We were surprised to see two quite large parties camping in the field there by the river.

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On this occasion, I suspect we’d already dropped B off for work at Brockholes. A was probably working too, but Little S joined us. We parked near Hundhowe and walked up past Ghyll Pool and Potter Tarn and, after our swim, back down the same way.

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Potter Tarn.
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First sight of Gurnal Dubs.

I’ve been wanting to come back and swim in Gurnal Dubs since witnessing a family swim here four years ago; it was great to be back and confirm that it really is a terrific place for a dip. (Incidentally, the photo at the top of that post is possibly my favourite of the seventy odd thousand I have on flickr)

I’d recently picked up some full-face snorkelling masks from Aldi, so we’d brought one with us to try it out. I’m pretty sure there are fish here, but I didn’t see any with the mask on.

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Little S snorkelling.

After a fairly lengthy swim, we set-off back towards the car…

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…with great views ahead.

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It’s a great place for a swim, and relatively accessible from home. We were back, with friends, not long after, and I’m sure we’ll swim there again.

A tune. I was going to use Buddy Miles’ ‘Down By The River’, which seemed appropriate for our swim in the Lune, but I’ve gone with ‘Them Changes’ from the same album because it’s such an irresistible riff.

Gurnal Dubs Swim.

Uldale Force, Rawthey Gill, Baugh Fell

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Cautley Crag on Great Dummacks, partly obscured by cloud.

I haven’t ventured out on the hills on my own all that much this year. Of course, we were supposed to stay ‘local’, what ever that meant, for quite some time, then those restrictions were relaxed, but I don’t seem to have got back into the habit somehow. This walk, on the sprawling moors of Baugh Fell being the notable exception. It began inauspiciously, in the parking area just off the Sedbergh to Kirkby Stephen road, south of Rawthey Bridge, with low cloud obscuring the Howgill Fells and a light drizzle falling. I was heading for the path which cuts across the slopes of Bluecaster heading into the upper reaches of the River Rawthey.

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Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell

Along the path I leap-frogged a group of three who had set-off from the same parking spot just before me. They were the last people I would see for quite some time.

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The Rawthey near Needle House and Uldale House.
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The Rawthey
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Whin Stone Gill

The waters of all of the streams which feed into the Rawthey ultimately end up in the Lune, and so fall under the remit of my Lune Catchment project. On the map, Needlehouse Gill and Uldale Gill look like an interesting alternative way up onto Wild Boar Fell. Whin Stone Gill, on the other hand, skirts Holmes Moss Hill, one of the boggiest places I have ever walked, so I might be leaving that one for a while!

Anyway, sticking with the Rawthey, as I continued upstream I passed a series of small cascades, including this one…

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Behind which, through the trees, you can just about make out Uldale Force, contained within it’s own little amphitheatre.

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It’s not Yorkshire Dales tallest, widest, or most spectacular waterfall, but it’s a smashing spot. At the back of my mind, when I’d planned this walk, I’d been thinking that I might manage a brief dip in the pool at the bottom of the fall, but it was still a bit damp, and quite cool, so I reluctantly abandoned that idea.

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I took solace instead in the abundance of Primroses growing on the far bank – this photo just shows one small section of an absolute mass of flowers.

From Uldale Force, it’s necessary to climb up above the river and it’s steep banks for a while, but I soon rejoined the watercourse further up.

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The Rawthey passes through a rocky little ravine for a while, where progress was quite slow, as I crossed and recrossed the stream. (Somewhere, the River Rawthey becomes plain old Rawthey Gill.)

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At some point the sun had come out. I came across a rather tempting little pool and hatched a new plan: make a brew, swim whilst the tea cooled a bit, get out and drink the brew to warm up. Perfect. Or it would have been had I remembered to pack a gas canister. So I abandoned that plan in a fit of pique.

At Rawthey Gill Foot, (perhaps where the name change occurs?) the landscape opens up and the feeling of space is immense. This would prove to be a feature of the day.

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As I climbed and the slopes on either side of the Rawthey began to rise again and enclose the gill, I came across a series of delightful little pools, just about large enough for a dip.

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I’m pretty sure this…

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…is the one I swam in, not that there was room for more than a couple of strokes. What was it like? It was the first of May, so it was pretty bracing, but the sun was shining, the views were great and there was absolutely nobody about, so I enjoyed it immensely.

Would have liked a cup of tea afterwards though.

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A substantial side stream – I think this might be Swere Gill..

All of the streams hereabouts look like they would repay exploration. It would be good, in dry weather, to camp in the vicinity of Rawthey Gill Foot and have a proper explore. Some of the streams drain the other way, down into Grizedale, and into the Clough River, but that’s another tributary of the Lune, so it’s a win win from my point of view.

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Plodding up the stream I was really in my element – following a watercourse into the hills has always been a favourite occupation of mine. Progress can be slow, but there always seemed to be another little fall just around the corner to keep me entertained.

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I’d been a bit concerned beforehand that the going might be very boggy, but in the event, it wasn’t (not till later in the day anyway). I’ve subsequently read some fairly disparaging things about Baugh Fell, one of them being that it’s essentially a giant sponge, so I think I picked a good time to visit, after a prolonged dry spell. I did eventually sink to my knees into a patch of hillside which I should have noticed was a slightly brighter green than the surrounding slopes.
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Looking back down the Rawthey toward Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell.
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As I approached the top of the gill, I was careful to keep left at every opportunity, thinking that would have me emerging onto the plateau of Baugh Fell near to the East Tarns. I must have left it too late to turn left however, so that I actually came out just below Knoutberry Haw. The ground ahead looked worryingly flat so I cut left where I could see rocks, eventually hitting the ‘ridge’ between Knoutberry Haw and Tarn Rigg Hill.

Now I had a view to the south, of familiar hills from a very unfamiliar direction.

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Whernside and Great Coum over Aye Gill Pike.
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Looking north to Wild Boar Fell and the Mallerstang Edges.
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Knoutberry Haw from Tarn Hill Rigg – Howgill Fells behind.

There was a couple by the trig pillar on Knoutberry Haw. I was so surprised to meet other people that I marched right past without taking a photo of the trig.

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The vast expanse of West Baugh Fell.
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Looking back up towards Knoutberry Haw.

You can see that there is a faint path, but it was surprisingly easy to lose.

Incidentally, although the sun was still shining, by now I had donned all of my clothing, including hat, gloves and cag to keep out the biting wind. The idea that I had been swimming a few hours earlier seemed preposterous.

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Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell from West Baugh Fell.

Wild Boar Fell dominated the view all day. It’s far too long since I’ve been up there.

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West Baugh Fell.

West Baugh Fell was very firm and stony, I can’t imagine that this gets boggy. I was revelling in the space and the light and the emptiness.

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The Middleton Fells on the left, Morecambe Bay in the distance.
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The Howgills from West Baugh Fell. Cautley Spout in the centre.
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Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell again, from near West Baugh Fell Tarn.
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Wandale Hill and Harter Fell from my descent route.

I elected to descend directly toward the car, down the shoulder named Raven Thorn on the map. Not my best decision. It was hard going – wet and tussocky. After rain I suspect it would be purgatorial. Eventually, I gave it up as a bad lot and dropped back down to the track I had started the day on.

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Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell one last time.

Right near the end of my walk I met three trails bikers. I was all ready to be disapprovingly cross, when the lead rider popped up his visor, beamed at me and asked me how I was and where I’d been – it was one of B’s rugby team, who lives nearby. It was then that I realised that I don’t know whether to pronounce Baugh as ‘bore’ or ‘bow’ or quite possibly in some other way.

Thirteen miles and a little over 500m of ascent according to MapMyWalk. I once had the bright idea of attempting this walk in an evening after work. I’m glad I didn’t!

As you can see, lots of blue lines draining away from Baugh Fell, and all of them eventually feed into the Lune, so loads of scope for return visits.

Uldale Force, Rawthey Gill, Baugh Fell