Badge work: Tour of Lingmoor

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The Langdale Pikes.

Some of the local scouts are working towards their hill walking badge; would I be available to accompany them on some of their outings?

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Since B and Little S were two of the scouts in question, and since any excuse for a walk is a good one in my book, of course I was more than happy to help.

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The Scouts.

This was during Whit week. We’d already cancelled one potential walk due to forecasts of torrential rain. This walk was a wet weather alternative, because, once again, the forecast was pretty poor. In the event, as you can see, the weather was much better than we expected, the nicest day of the week in fact, although it did get quite gloomy on a couple of occasions and we had a few spots of rain from time to time. The heavens finally opened when we were safely back in our cars and driving home.

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Crinkle Crags and Bowfell.

We walked around Lingmell, an excellent low-level option which I haven’t walked before, despite my fondness for valley walks in Greater and Little Langdale.

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Langdale Pikes again.

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Bogbean.

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Heading towards Blea Tarn.

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Blea Tarn with the Langdale Pikes behind. Side Pike is picked out by the sunshine.

As for my ‘volunteering’ – there wasn’t really any effort involved. The scouts did the navigating and TB, one of the local scout leaders, entertained the scouts with his knowledge of local history – so much so that several passers-by seemed tempted to join our group. My contribution was to encourage some of the scouts to taste some of the wild plants we saw – Sorrel, Wood Sorrel and Cuckoo Flower – which probably wasn’t in the risk assessment!

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No picture of the mound – to be honest, the sign was more interesting than the actual lump.

In Greater Langdale, a damselfly landed on my hand and then hitched a ride for half-a-mile or so.

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Little Langdale Tarn.

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Little Langdale.

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Cathedral Quarry.

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We stopped for lunch in Cathedral Quarry. It was much busier than it ever has been when I’ve visited before, and also quite damp, so it wouldn’t have been my first choice, but TB clearly knows his stuff – for B and Little S this was the highlight of the day. The Scouts charged about exploring various passages and generally having a great time.

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Little Langdale Tarn again.

In the latter part of the walk, B instigated some high jinx but introducing the idea of trying to sneak rocks into other peoples rucksacks/pockets/hoods. Thanks Andy, for giving him that idea!

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Langdale Pikes from yet another angle.

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Badge work: Tour of Lingmoor

Clougha Pike and Grit Fell.

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A hazy view toward Morecambe Bay from Clougha Pike.

Okay, the weather has been a bit ropey so far this summer, but there have been some pleasant days too. This was another evening outing, this time taking advantage of the proximity of the western edge of the Bowland Fells to Lancaster, where I work.

I parked in the Rigg Lane car park and from there took an almost out and back route, via Clougha Pike, except that I diverted off the ‘ridge’ path to visit the Andy Goldsworthy sculpture and then followed the track from there which looped around back to the main path east of Grit Fell, from where I turned back for the car via Grit Fell and Clougha Pike again.

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The Bowland Hills are moorland, but occasional, scattered rocky knolls add some character.

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The Andy Goldsworthy sculpture, Caton Moor wind farm beyond.

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Near to the sculptures, this neat curved structure…

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..is intriguing.

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It occurred to me that it might be a Grouse Butt, although it’s quite large for that and also very poorly camouflaged.

Seen from Lancaster or Morecambe, Clougha Pike looks very imposing, but on the map it barely seems to be a summit in its own right, looking more like an edge on the flanks of Grit Fell. Approached from Grit Fell however, it does have a clear independent identity…

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I found a party of four enjoying a picnic on the summit, so dropped down the edge a little way before stopping for my own snack and brew. Whilst I sat, I had a superb view of a male Kestrel flying very close by parallel to the edge. I’d seen a male Kestrel, possibly the same on, as I first reached the edge during my ascent. There had been Meadow Pipits too, many Red Grouse, and some Curlews, loudly demonstrating their objections to my presence.

As seems to be obligatory this year, this hill walk included several encounters with hairy caterpillars…

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I saw three of these hirsute fellows…

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All making no attempt what so ever to hide in any way – apparently their hairs make them unpalatable to many birds who might otherwise eat them. Unusually, I recognised this species: they are Oak Eggar Moth caterpillars. I’ve seen them before, several times, on Carn Fadryn and Yr Eifl on the Llyn Peninsula, on Haystacks and, most recently, on Skiddaw last summer.

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Clougha Scar.

A very pleasant outing, and I was still home in time to vote in the European elections.


This weekend, I shall be attempting to complete the annual 10 in 10 challenge. Briefly, the idea is to walk a route over 10 Wainwrights in 10 hours or less.  You can find out more here.

The event is a fundraiser and I’m hoping to get some sponsorship for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. My Just Giving page is here. All donations, however small, will be most welcome. I should add that the sponsorship is not a condition of my entry and that I’ve already paid a fee to enter which covers all costs, so all sponsor money would go directly to charity.

A huge thank you to those who have donated already. Since the event is almost upon us, I shall soon stop pasting this onto the end of posts, I promise. Preparations have gone reasonably well and I’m beginning to think that it’s at least possible that I will get close(ish) to the ten hour target time, all things being equal. Either way, you’ll eventually hear all about it…

 

Clougha Pike and Grit Fell.

Hornby, Windy Bank and Melling Circuit

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River Wenning and Hornby Castle.

A post-work walk, with, for once during this non-event of a summer, some sunshine.

I’d noticed Windy Bank, the high ground which rises between the valleys of the Lune and the Wenning, when I walked from Claughton this time last year, and thought that it would make a pleasant evening walk.

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Windy Bank from the bank of the Wenning.

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River Wenning.

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Confluence of the Lune and the Wenning.

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River Lune.

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The far bank of the Lune, pock-marked with holes which look prefect for Sand Martins to nest. There weren’t any in evidence, but I should probably go back to check my hunch.

I followed the Wenning down to where it meets the Lune and then turned to follow the Lune upstream.

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Lapwing again. There were Little Egrets and Oystercatchers about too.

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A broken egg.

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Orange-tip butterfly.

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The Lune.

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Loyn Bridge.

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Loyn Bridge – ancient, but of unknown date.

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Melling, with Ingleborough behind.

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My summer evening walks in and around the Lune always seem to bring at least one encounter with a Hare.  Usually, they’re so still and so well disguised that I’m almost on top of them before I spot them and then the Hare will disappear so quickly that any thought of getting a photograph is superfluous almost as soon as I have had it. This Hare, by contrast, was wandering along the path towards me, seemingly quite relaxed and unconcerned, and then, having spotted me, by choosing to squeeze through the wire fence, had to stop for a moment so that I did get a few photos.

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I saw another Hare shortly afterwards, but that was a standard fleeting affair.

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Last summer, I was convinced that I’d mastered the difference between Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, but clearly I was wrong. I think that this is one of those, and I’m leaning towards the latter, but I’m really not sure.

The route comes from Mary Welsh’s Cicerone Guide ‘Walking in Lancashire’. She lists it as 7 miles, but by the time I’d finished that evening, I’d walked over 11, which was really more than I’d intended to do. The reason being that the path became very unclear as it approached Melling. I should never have been close to this railway bridge over the Lune.  (If you examine the map below, you’ll see that I did a lot of faffing about).

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I was also trying to avoid a large herd of bullocks who seemed very agitated by my presence. In the end, I had no option but to walk right through the middle of the cattle, where they were tightly confined between a hedge and a body of water. They surrounded me and were very skittish, with the ones behind me making little feints and charges, which was a bit unnerving.

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Melling.

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Barley (?) on Windy Bank.

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Gragareth and Ingleborough from Windy Bank.

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Hornby, Windy Bank and Melling Circuit

King of the Hill

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Cowslips.

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Looking south along the shore from Heathwaite.

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Mayflower (hawthorn).

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Lancashire Whitebeam.

Whitebeam is a southern species in the UK, except the Morecambe Bay area has its own sub-species.

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Arnside Knott panorama.

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Early Purple Orchids.

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New Ash leaves.

Sunshine and blue skies have been at a bit of a premium for some time now – summer seems to have been postponed somewhat. Nice to look back then at these images from a Sunday in May when we did have some warmth and brightness. Naturally, I climbed Arnside Knott, my current obsession. The post title is a shameless excuse to squeeze in a song by my all time favourite band:

King of the Hill

Lapwings at Leighton Moss

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On the Tuesday evening after our weekend away in Wasdale, A and B had, as they usually do, Explorer Scouts over at Silverhelme Scout Camp on The Row. TBH was on taxi duty and she suggested that she could drop me off so that I could walk home. That seemed like a first rate idea, and so it was that I found myself on Storrs Lane at the point where the path which skirts around the back of Leighton Moss leaves the road. I popped into Lower Hide and ended up staying much longer than I had intended to, which often happens.

Although there were plenty of other birds about, it was some Lapwings right under the hide windows which kept me entertained.

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This adult male had chosen a prominent position in order to keep a watchful eye on the area. It looks like he’s on the remnants of some sort of nest. Not a Lapwing nest, I don’t think. Maybe something like a Coot.

When this first bird moved on, a second came stalking through the reeds…

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To take over the same position. At first, I assumed that the birds must be a pair, but this is another male. You can tell because the black patch extends all the way down his throat and further down his breast than it would on a female. Also, those striking plumes on his head are longer than those sported by a female.

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This, is a female…

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She looks a bit chubby, but that’s because tucked away under her skirts she’s hiding her entire brood…

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I watched as the chicks repeatedly made forays to explore the shallow margins of the mere…

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There were five chicks in all, but two was the most I managed to catch on camera at once…

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Her’s the matriarch without any chicks sheltering beneath her apron…

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You can just about see that she has some slight mottling in the black plumage on her throat, which is absent in males.

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The chicks seemed quite adventurous and would disperse over a fairly large area. This one came right up under the windows of the hide…

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But then the chicks, presumably acting on the some signal from an alert parent, would all turn and head back to the protection of their mother…

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And disappear into her feathery shelter…

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This chick…

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…seemed to be more independent than its siblings and was much less hasty when returning…

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Lapwings at Leighton Moss

Three Nights in Wasdale

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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…

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…of which I think this was the first.

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And this…

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…was probably about the fourth.

We stopped again on the top, obviously…

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…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.

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

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Scafell Pike and Scafell and approximately a million hikers.

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Looking down Lingmell’s shattered cliffs towards Piers Gill.

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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.

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

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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…

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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.

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Looking towards Wasdale Head.

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Great Gable and Little S.

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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.

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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…

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…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.

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

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

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Looking toward Wasdale Head from Irton Pike.

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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.

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

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The Isle of Man is out there somewhere.

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

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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…

Three Nights in Wasdale

Round Windermere II

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Sunday started a good deal brighter than Saturday had. I expected to be stiff and sore following the exploits of the day before, but actually felt fine, but for one slight issue. I’d chosen to wear the same rather worn-out pair of Clark’s shoes in which I do most of my walking. I realise that might seem an unusual choice and some people might even go as far as to disapprove, but the shoes have been very comfortable, pretty waterproof and have looked after me well. Until now. I bought them in a sale and have had them for quite some time now. I knew that they were past their best, but I didn’t realise the extent to which the soles had worn thin. As a result, I now had a blood blister on the ball of each foot. They weren’t excruciating. I managed to scrounge some plasters from reception at the hostel and decided to wear two pairs of sock by way of compensation.

My walk started through…

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…which was really rather wonderful. On both days of the walk, I was really struck by the immaculate and colourful gardens I passed, most of them stuffed full off flowering shrubs…

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Rhododendrons and azaleas?

A and I passed this way at the end of the second day of our walk from Silverdale to Keswick, but it was a bit dark by then to see the flowers, so I’ve wanted to come back.

This section of the route, via Jenkin Crag to Troutbeck, is an old favourite and is very familiar territory.

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Coniston Fells from Jenkin Crag.

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Claife Heights and Latterbarrow from Jenkin Crag.

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Looking down the lake to Gummer How.

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More Bluebells.

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High Skelghyll.

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Looking down the lake – Belle Isle seems almost to split the north and south basins into two separate lakes.

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Troutbeck.

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Townend.

I thought, this being a National Trust property, I’d definitely be able to buy a cup of tea here, but it wouldn’t open for hours yet.

I’ve always admired this rather fine bank barn across the road from Townend. I hope that the National Trust won this too, and that it’s being looked after.

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At this point, my route diverted, for a while at least, from the one A and I had followed. I dropped to a different bridge, well, bridges…

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…over Trout Beck. These must have been destroyed in the flooding a couple of years ago. The new bridges look very robust.

I’m glad I stuck with Mister Turner’s route, because this section of path was new to me, and very beautiful in a low key way.

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There are a number of houses here, above the RHS gardens at Holehird, which have the most amazing views.

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Next on the agenda was Orrest Head, which, as always I suspect, was absolutely thronged with people.

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The view north along the lake from Orrest Head.

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The view south along the lake from Orrest Head.

Busy at it was on Orrest head, I dropped down into Common Wood on a permission path and soon was completely alone again.

I thought that these distinctive looking flowers would be easy to identify…

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…but in fact they took quite a lot of tracking down. As usual, it was the excellent Wildflower Finder website which came up trumps. I think that this is Indian Rhubarb, an introduced species native to the western United States. Apparently the leaves, when they appear, are every attractive, which is why gardeners like it for damp shady areas in their gardens.

This field…

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…on the lane just beyond the wood, was brimful of Cuckoo Flower, which is native, tasty and the principal food plant for Orange-tip butterflies.

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Part of a stunning garden on the outskirts of Windermere.

The slopes of School Knott, above Windermere, proved to be extremely confusing. My map shows open fields, but trees have been planted, which are now growing quite large and there are paths everywhere, with some sort of de facto right to roam seemingly in operation. I stopped a couple of dog walkers and asked for directions, but ended up following my nose uphill.

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Windermere and beyond from School Knott.

It’s a lovely spot, with terrific views, and, like Orrest Head, is another of Wainwright’s outlying fells. I noticed that some walkers were also climbing the higher Grandsire, although the map doesn’t indicate any access is allowed. It looks worth a look though, so I shall have to come back.

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Grandsire and School Knott Tarn (?).

There is a path down to the little tarn though. So…

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…that’s the way I went. It was warm enough here for me to be regretting that I didn’t really have enough time to stop for a swim.

Just beyond this point, I met a party of four on the Dales Way path, who asked for directions. They told me that they were walking from Bowness to Staveley (the one near Kendal, not the one I’d passed through the day before) and back. Since they were barely out of Bowness, they decided to amend their plans.

A fair bit of road walking followed, some of it along a busy road past Windermere Golf Club, which was unfortunate. Once I’d turned into the much quieter Lindeth Lane, things improved again. I met another lost party, a large group of ladies. I gathered they’d been a bit confused for some time. The explanation for how they’d lost their way was rather simple, but, in fairness, they’d missed a turn on to a path which I’m not sure existed on the ground.

I’d taken many photos on the next part of the walk, although it was very pleasant, through a mixture of fields, woodland and wood pasture with bits of scrub.

This…

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…and this…

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…are Podnet Tarn. The track which runs past has, by this point, become a metalled affair.

Nearby, Great Ludderburn Moss…

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…Little Ludderburn Moss and Green Hill form a nature reserve owned by the lake District National Park Authority which, unusually, seems to have no online presence at all (the nature reserve that is).

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On the map, it looks like the paths here link perfectly, but unfortunately, due presumably to the intransigence of some local home owners, there’s actually a detour by road before it’s possible to pick up a path to get back on course.

The detour goes right past Low Ludderburn, one of the houses in the area where the author and reputed spy Arthur Ransome lived, but I’m afraid I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t take any photos.

Wood anemones.

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The next part of the route, a long steady ascent of Gummer How via a path beside Burrow Beck was an absolute delight. The path is obviously well-used, although it isn’t a right-of-way. The woods are full of moss-covered lumps and fallen trees.

There’s also quite a bit of…

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…this shrub, which I thought was Wild Privet, but clearly isn’t since I just read that only begins to flower in June.

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Oh. More research needed!

Edit: I’ve done a little more checking, and I now think that this is Bird Cherry.

It was late afternoon now and it had clouded up, the wind had picked up, there were a few drops of moisture in the air and when I emerged from the woods on to Gummer How, I realised that it had grown quite cold.

Still there were the views for compensation…

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It was very satisfying to look back on where I had walked for the last two days.

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Lakeside and Summer House Knott. Notice Bigland Barrow and Haverthwaite Heights behind – both long overdue a revisit from me.

Duncan Turner gives this day as 16¼ miles with 2891′ of ascent. It took me a good deal less time than the day before had, which probably puts some perspective on how long that was. I’d cut it slightly short by stopping below Gummer How, but MapMyWalk measured it as 28km which is actually a bit further. (But subsequently ‘lost’ the data, so I can’t include a bird’s-eye Google-earth map. (Andy thinks that this might be a problem with the antiquity of my phone, rather than one inherent in the app.).

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It is an excellent route, thoroughly recommended. If you had more time you might incorporate Black Crag and Wansfell on either side of the head of the lake. If you are contemplating following in my footsteps, then please consider buying a copy of ‘Windermere: Walking Around the Lake’, not just because it’s a handy and informative guide, but because royalties from the book are donated to Holehird which provides a home for people living with disabilities and which is just off the route.

Talking of charity appeals:

In the summer, I shall be attempting to complete the annual 10 in 10 challenge. Briefly, the idea is to walk a route over 10 Wainwrights in 10 hours or less.  You can find out more here.

The event is a fundraiser and I’m hoping to get some sponsorship for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. My Just Giving page is here. All donations, however small, will be most welcome. I should add that the sponsorship is not a condition of my entry and that I’ve already paid a fee to enter which covers all costs, so all sponsor money would go directly to charity.

A heartfelt thanks to those who have donated already. The event is getting frighteningly close, so I’ll shall soon stop pasting this onto the end of posts, I promise. I could really do with about another year, or maybe two, to prepare….

 

 

Round Windermere II