Black Fell and Holme Fell

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Tom Gill Waterfalls

Two days after my birthday, and time to climb some actual hills, although, in truth, quite diddy ones. I can’t remember why, but it was already well after midday when we parked in the car-park just off the busy A593 which runs between Ambleside and Coniston. We were in the little car park near Glen Mary Bridge which has the dual advantage of being a National Trust carpark and of being beside Tom Gill, the stream which drains Tarn Hows.

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Tom Gill Waterfall

We’ve been this way before, and knew that the walk up through the woods, besides the many waterfalls in Tom Gill would be delightful.

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Tom Gill Waterfall
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In the woods.
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Tarn Hows

When we arrived at Tarn Hows, the sun was shining and it was really very attractive. I could almost understand why the crowds flock there. It was a bit too cold and a bit too busy to strip off for a swim, so we decided to have a very early, at least in terms of the walk, lunch stop by the shore of the tarn.

Inevitably, away from the tarn, it was much quieter as we headed steadily up through Iron Keld Plantation towards Black Fell. (The OS have both Black Fell and Black Crag, but since I am currently obsessing about ticking off Wainwrights, I’ll stick with the name the old curmudgeon used.)

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Looking towards the hills around Langdale and Eskdale.

It was no surprise that the views from Black Fell are superb, but fabulous to have such fine conditions to enjoy them. I was disproportionately chuffed that Lingmoor, where I’d been earlier in the week, featured prominently in those views.

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Ambleside and the head of Windermere.
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Wetherlam.
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Looking towards Helvellyn and Fairfield.

The weather looked a bit grim over the long ridge of hills which runs north-south between Clough Head, the Dodds, Helvellyn, and the Fairfield Horseshoe. It looked grim over those hills all day. Curious how that can happen and how localised the weather in Cumbria can be.

Below the top of of Black Fell there’s a very substantial cairn. We decided to investigate.

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And then decided to have a second lunch stop just below the cairn from where there was an excellent view along Windermere…

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The weather still looks grim towards Helvellyn and Fairfield.
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On our descent, Coniston Water in the distance.

We were on the same path we had followed when we walked from Coniston to Ambleside last summer, although we would divert off to the left fairly soon.

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The weather still looks grim towards Helvellyn and Fairfield.
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Low Arnside Farm. Grade II listed. Property of the National Trust. The gift of Beatrix Potter.

I’m beginning to wonder if there are any old buildings in the Lake District which Beatrix Potter didn’t buy and give to the National Trust.

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The weather looks even grimmer towards Helvellyn and Fairfield.

We still had sunshine, but it wouldn’t last much longer. We soon had the first of several short showers, with a little hail mixed in. We didn’t see much sun after that, but it generally stayed fine at least.

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Only Lingmoor has the sun.

Although I’ve climbed Holme Fell quite a few times over the years, I’ve never used this route before, up the long broad ridge from Oxen Fell via Man Crag. It’s a terrific route which I discovered in one the Aileen and Brian Evans Cicerone ‘Short Walks’ guides.

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The weather looks marginally less grim towards Helvellyn and Fairfield.
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Black Fell. Not black. Unlike the skies behind it.
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Yew Tree Tarn and Coniston Water.

We had another brief drink and snack stop on the ridge, but it had become a bit cold and windy to stop for very long.

This is an extremely lumpy ridge with lots of rocky little knolls. Fortunately, we found a series of little paths which wound around the bumps.

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Ivy Crag on the left, the top of Holme Fell on the right.
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The disused reservoir over TBH’s shoulder is reputed to be a good place to swim. It’s on my list!
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The top.
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This painted stone was on the summit cairn. I wish I knew what it was commemorating? The writing just says Africa, Europe, Asia, Aust so I’m not sure that helps. Curious that the Americas are omitted.

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Coniston Water.
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On the descent. Holme Fells impressive crags behind.
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Yew Tree Farm and Barn. Grade II listed. Property of the National Trust. The gift of Beatrix Potter. Inevitably. I liked the open gallery along the front of the barn.

Some stats: MapMyWalk gives 7½ miles and 360m of ascent. The Evans say 6¼ miles, but their (excellent) route drops down from Uskdale Gap and so misses the top of Holme Fell which probably accounts for the difference.

If you’re looking for a half-day walk in the Lakes I reckon you’d be hard-pressed to beat this one for variety and views.

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Black Fell and Holme Fell

The Langdales and Lingmoor

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Blea Tarn. Side Pike on the far side and the Langdale Pikes obscured by clouds behind.

B had a shift in the cafe at Brockholes; since I was dropping him off there, I decided to stay in the Lakes and make the most of it, despite a fairly ropey forecast. I had a fine time, even though it rained on and off most of the day.

I parked up by Blea Tarn, another National Trust carpark, although the joy of ‘free’ parking was tempered by high winds and driving rain which weren’t terribly encouraging. I rarely set-off for a walk in full waterproofs, I’m a fair weather walker, as much as I can manage to be.

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Looking back towards Blea Tarn. The plug of rock in this photo is Tarnclose Crag.

Fortunately, my route started downhill into Little Langdale and I hadn’t walked far before both the wind and the rain had abated a bit.

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Farmhouse at Fell Foot
When the skies are grey and the weather is rotten, I always think the white-washed stone buildings still look attractive. I’ve often thought that the porch over the door here is unusual. Turns out this is a Grade II listed building.

“At the foot of Wrynose Pass. C16 north wing, the main block C17. A long, low house, white-washed stone rubble, flag roof, 2 storeys. The door is under the overhang of a slate-hung upper storey, gabled, and without windows, the timber beam ends showing in the gable.”

Source.

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This shows the entire farm complex at Fell Foot with Castle Crag behind, itself a scheduled monument because of it’s suspected history as a hill-fort. By the farm there’s the Ting Mound where the Norse inhabitants of the valley had council meetings.

Behind Castle Crag you can see Lingmoor which is out of the cloud and would remain so all day, unlike any of the surrounding higher hills. I assume these very rocky lumps – Side Pike, Tarnclose Crag and Castle Crag are volcanic in origin, but would love to find out more.

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Bridge End Cottage.

The National Trust own both Fell Foot Farm and Bridge End Cottage, in the latter case at least, gifted to them by Beatrix Potter. Bridge End Cottage is another grade II listed building.

I had half an idea that I might be able to bag Holme Fell and Black Crag as well as Lingmoor, but I needed to collect B from Brockholes at the end of his shift, and even I could see that I would be pushing it to manage all that and still arrive on time to pick him up. On the other hand, just climbing Lingmoor would undoubtedly leave me with quite a bit of time to kill, so I decided to extend my walk along Little Langdale as far as Skelwith Bridge and then come back up Great Langdale before bagging Lingmoor.

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Lingmoor and Little Langdale Tarn.
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High Hall Garth – you’ve guessed it, Grade II and property of the National Trust.
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Low Hall Garth. Owned by the NT, gifted by Beatrix Potter, Grade II.
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Lingmoor and Slater’s Bridge.

I didn’t divert, as I usually have, to photograph the marvellous Slater’s Bridge – it was very busy. It has appeared on the blog many times before. (Here for example, or here). It’s an amazing structure, in a low-key picturesque sort of way. I’ve never thought to look up it’s protected status before, but it turns out that it trumps the other local properties by being Grade II*.

“Slater’s Bridge II*. Over River Brathay. C17 packhorse bridge of slate and natural boulders. Huge boulder in mid-stream supports segmental arched bridge of 15 ft span with 3 1/2 ft voussoirs, and a flat causeway of a single slab on slate supports.”

Source

Voussoirs? A wedge-shaped or tapered stone used to construct an arch, obviously. Learn a new thing every day! (And forget it the next sadly.)

The obvious knobble on Lingmoor with a prominent gully on its right, is Busk Pike, of which more later.

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No sign of any voussoirs at the next bridge down the Brathay, but still quite a handsome footbridge I thought.

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Little Langdale and Lingmoor.
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Colwith Force.

At Chesters, at Skelwith bridge, I managed to buy a nice lunch* from their takeaway counter and then was lucky to get a picnic table under the eaves and so out of the rain. (*Pricey, but very tasty.)

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Elter Water. Lingmoor on the left. This should be one of the iconic views of the Langdale Pikes, but they were still lost in the cloud.
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Bridge over Great Langdale Beck in Elterwater. Rebuilt 1702. Grade II listed of course.

Judging by Historic England’s map, just about every building in the village of Elterwater must be listed. I shall have to come back to investigate some time. Since one of those listed buildings is the Britannia Inn, that should be an enjoyable experience!

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I left Elterwater on a steep and stony track and was amused by this cycle route sign at the bottom, since ‘challenging’ seems like a huge understatement to me.

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This path leaves that track at around its highest point. I think it must be an old mining track, it has fabulous zig-zags and clearly someone has gone to a lot of effort in constructing it.

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I’ve become a bit obsessed with being able to put a name to every hill, hump and hollow in the view. I blame Andy. The wooded hill in the middle-ground here doesn’t have a name on the OS map and there’s no path to the top, but the wooded slopes on it’s northern and eastern flanks are access land, Fletcher’s Wood, so it would be possible to get at least close to the top. The higher ground to the right, meanwhile, is the end of the Black Crag ridge. TBH and I traversed those slopes on our walk between Coniston and Ambleside last summer.

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A day of contrasts – the Coniston Fells are lost in what I suspect was foul weather, whilst the sun is trying to shine on Little Langdale Tarn.

The weather had brightened up enough for me to take a short stop and drink some of the contents of my flask. The view was limited by the dense, low clouds, but still pretty good.

After the initial steep climb, somewhat eased by the marvellous zig-zags, a much steadier ascent ensues. There were still a number of broad grassy tracks, testament to this areas quarrying history. I took the lower path, intending to take in Busk Pike.

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Looking down on Little Langdale Tarn. Holme Fell visible through the rain. Spoil heaps and small, tumble-down walled structures like this were dotted about the hillside.
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Busk Pike.
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Busk Pike again.
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I’d like to revisit Busk Pike when the views are less curtailed by clouds.

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Brown How – the summit of Lingmoor – from Busk Pike. Notice the ruined buildings between the two tops.
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This was the biggest of the many derelict buildings I saw on Lingmoor. It provided a sheltered spot for another drinks stop. The sun even shone a little, although it also started drizzling again, just in case I was getting complacent about the weather.
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Looking back to Busk Pike and the the old mine buildings.
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And again.from a little higher up.

On the summit of Lingmoor, I met a family party of three, the first walkers I’d met since leaving the track near Dale End. We congratulated each other on the fact that it was “Not too bad”. As soon as our conversation ended, I realised that it was indeed ‘too bad’: the weather was back to how it had been when I first set-off from Blea Tarn – a howling gale and very heavy rain. It seemed highly plausible that closer to the higher hills around the head of Langdale, the weather had remained this way all day.

I was keen to get out of these conditions and back to the car, but I did divert slightly to include Lingmoor Tarn on my route…

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Side Pike – it had been my intention to include this on my route, but with the weather now so foul and with time running short, I decided to keep it for another day.
MapMyWalk gives a little over 11 miles and 560m of ascent (the latter might be a bit of an overestimate)

B had told me his shift finished at 6.30, but when I arrived to pick him up (and two friends who had also been working at Brockholes that day), it turned out that, because the cafe had been so quiet, they’d been ‘sent home’ an hour early. B was furious that I hadn’t been answering my phone (it had been on flight mode, preserving the battery whilst I probably didn’t have a signal anyway). Unfortunately for B, beggar’s can’t be chooser’s, and he soon calmed down when I offered to leave him behind, if he didn’t like the free taxi-service on offer.

The Langdales and Lingmoor

Stob a’ Choire Odhair

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Loch Tulla, Beinn Achaladair and Beinn an Dothaidh.

Our annual walking weekend in Scotland was back on the menu, after a Covid absence last year. On the Saturday, with a mixed forecast, but with the potential for clearing skies later in the day, most of the party were heading for Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh, opposite our accommodation at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel. The Tower Captain and I had ticked those off on a previous visit, and he was keen for fresh ‘bags’, so instead, we parked down by Loch Tulla, intending to climb Stob a’ Choire Odhair and Stob Ghabhar.

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Abhainn Shira

As we were on the bridge over the Abhainn Shira, four Red Deer stags waded across up stream – you can just about see them in the photo.

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Abhainn Shira and Araich

We started out in a light rain which quickly became a bit of a downpour. Not to worry, the scenery was still pretty spectacular despite the weather. Particularly the waterfalls…

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Allt Coire na Muic and Creag an Steallaire.

…of the Allt Coire na Muic.

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Aonach Eagach and Allt Toaig.

All of the streams seemed to be running pretty high, including the ones we had to cross…

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Allt Caolain Duibh.

The ascent route has some excellent zig-zags, which took some of the sting out of a steep slope. The rain desisted, but we soon into the cloud and a fairly strong wind.

By the time we reached the top of Stob a’ Choire Odhair it was extremely windy, the sort of wind which has you staggering about, and the wind was driving icy precipitation – either soft hailstones or hard snowflakes – into every nook and cranny of our clothing.

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Stob a’ Choire Odhair.

It was pretty fierce, and given that our ascent had taken rather a long time, I wasn’t at all keen on continuing to Stob Ghabhar. I was quite surprised, when I mentioned this, that TC immediately acquiesced.

We decided to drop down the ridge towards Stob Ghabhar, giving us a slightly different descent route. At one point, we dropped down a fairly steep, rocky section of path and suddenly the howling gale was stilled. The absence of the noise and the buffeting felt quite odd. We took advantage of this sheltered haven and stopped for hot drinks and butties.

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The bealach between Stob a’ Choire Odhair and Stob Ghabhar. TC mid-stagger.
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The onward ridge?

The respite was short lived however, as soon as we resumed our descent we were back in the powerful hold of the storm and staggering about again.

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Allt Coirein Lochain.

And then we dropped slightly below the bealach into Coire Toaig and relative peace and calm…

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Coire Toaig.
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Aonach Eagach and Allt Toaig, again.
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The Tower Captain recrosses the Allt Caolain Duibh.
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Sunshining, but more weather to come.

Despite the fact that we had a couple more showers, the descent was delightful.

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Allt Coire na Muic and Creag an Steallaire again.
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Beinn Achaladair, Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Dorain.

Our enjoyment was only tempered by the realisation that the others were probably enjoying superb views from their chosen hills, which had cleared and were bathed in sunshine, whilst our own route, or at least the higher part of it, remained stubbornly in the cloud…

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Stob Ghabhar – still in the cloud.
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What’s the opposite of schadenfreude? Rather than pleasure found in the misfortune of others, pain occasioned by another’s good luck? Of course, the Germans have a word for it – Gluckschmerz, literally luck-pain. You can see that TC is upset by it here…

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The Tower Captain following the Abhainn Shira.

Actually, I think we were both enjoying this part of the walk, now that it wasn’t raining and the views and scenery were rather good.

The shed behind TC is the Clashgour Hut, a corrugated iron monstrosity which belongs to Glasgow University Mountaineering Club. It’s bookable. Maybe it’s much more comfortable on the inside than the exterior suggested, but, frankly: rather you than me.

We saw a number of Red Deer stags as we neared the end of our walk, including one in the garden of one of the remote houses we passed.

Then, as we sat in the car gently steaming and finishing off the contents of our flasks, one wandered through the car park…

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Red Deer stag.
Stob a’ Choire Odhair

The Old Man in the Rain

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Coniston Water.

The forecast was promising: ‘Low cloud, with a strong chance of cloud inversions on larger fells, particularly in the South.’ I was hooked (line and sinker!) and was out early and parked up in the car park at the top of the metalled part of the Walna Scar road. Despite the early hour, not long after eight, the car park was already pretty busy and filling up fast.

The OS map shows a path climbing the southern slopes of The Old Man, skirting the quarry and joining the more popular route above Low Water. In fact, there are lots of minor paths and if you pick one which heads further west you can keep plodding up through interesting terrain to Old Man Breast and then the top.

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Limestone Haws.

I was suspicious of what seemed like quite high cloud for an inversion, but continued to climb hopefully.

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The view begins to disappear.

Once entered, the mist turned out to be the sort of mist which has you soaked through before you’ve fully realised just how wet it is. Still, it remained quite pleasant. I sat by the enormous summit cairn on the Old Man, looking at the lack of view and willing the cloud to clear, whilst I supped a couple of cups of cordial from my flask.

Then I set off along the ridge, over Brim Fell to Swirl How. The weather gradually deteriorated. Not only did the fine mist turn to a heavy downpour, but the wind picked up too so that the freezing cold rain was driven horizontally across the ridge.

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The cairn on Swirl How.

It was all a bit horrible. In different circumstances, I might have done an out-and-back to Great Carrs, and I originally intended to include Wetherlam, but now I just wanted to get off the hill.

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The ‘view’ along the ridge.

Fortunately, once I started to descend Prison Band I dropped out of the worst of the wind, and although it continued to rain, on and off, without the driving wind it didn’t seem so bad.

I chatted to a couple of chaps who asked if they were on Prison Band (I’m not sure where else they could have been?).

“What’s it like on the ridge?”

“Wild.”

“Yep, it was pretty foul on Wetherlam,” they chuckled, before continuing on up.

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Re-emerging from the mist.

From that point, I enjoyed the rest of the walk, rain or no rain. Showers kept sweeping through, but they were less and less frequent.

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Levers Water.

The sharp showers made patterns on the surface of Levers Water and I watched them being driven across the tarn.

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No swimming! No difficulty complying with that injunction on this occasion.
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Levers Water Beck.
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Levers Water Beck again.
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I love these constructed paths, associated with the mine-workings. I followed this one around to Low Water Beck and the Pudding Stone.
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Low Water Beck.

Stepping off the path by Low Water Beck, to let a couple past who were coming the other way and who seemed a bit nervous of the uneven and slippery surface, I skidded on the wet grass and went arse-over-tit. They seemed quite concerned about me, I’m not sure whether that was despite or because of the fact that I was laughing at my own clumsiness.

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Another mine track.
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Sod’s Law in operation – as I sat in my car finishing my flask and eating my lunch, sunshine appeared down in the valley, bringing a feeble rainbow with it.

A surprisingly enjoyable outing, all told. And the fact that I shall need to go back to pick up Dow Crag, Grey Friar etc is not a hardship at all.

The Old Man in the Rain

Aysgarth Falls and Castle Bolton

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Wensleydale. Penhill and Height of Hazely in the background.

Every year, at the start of December, I get a Monday off work. Actually, this year, it was the last Monday in November. It’s intended as a Christmas shopping break, which is anathema to me, and I habitually moan about it, but despite my indifference to the idea, since the inception of this one day holiday, I’ve had a string of great days out.

This year was no exception. Happily, TBH, being part-time, gets a Monday off every fortnight and this fell on one of those Mondays. So she had transferred the booking she made for a night away, to celebrate our wedding anniversary, to the Sunday night after Storm Arwen.

We stayed at the Wheatsheaf at Carperby, in the Yorkshire Dales, which was very welcoming and comfortable, with nice beer and lovely food (if somewhat limited for vegans). On the Sunday evening we sat in the bar watching the Ladies’ Darts Team play a match and played cribbage ourselves, before retiring to our four-poster bed. (Don’t think I’ve slept in one before – can’t say I noticed any difference!)

On the Monday, the landlady was happy for us to leave our car in their carpark whilst we went for a walk, so we set-off from there, across the snowy fields and through the snowy woods…

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…to Aysgarth Falls on the River Ure.

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I don’t think I’ve ever been here before, which given that it’s about a forty-five minute drive from home is a bit of an oversight.

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Part of High Force.
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Another part of High Force.
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High Force from Yore Bridge.
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Middle Force.
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River Ure – looking upstream from Lower Force.
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Part of Lower Force.
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River Ure – looking downstream from Lower Force.
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Lower Force.

TBH left me at Middle Force, because she didn’t want to watch me scuttling around on the snow covered banks taking photos – she was worried I would fall in. When I eventually tried to catch her up, I couldn’t work out where she’d gone. It turned out she’d found a rocky little scramble which took us down to the bank of the river. A broad shelf of limestone, wet, icy, snowy, uneven – essentially an accident waiting to happen – gave a route back up toward the falls.

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Could I resist temptation? Could I ‘eck!

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Lower Force.

The steep, rocky bank here was dripping wet and where the water was running down the rocks anything below was liable to have acquired a thick coating of ice. Twigs….

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Even blades of grass…

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Lower Force – from as close as I managed to get.
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The treacherous route back. Amazingly, I managed not to fall over. Or in.

From Lower Force, we climbed away from the Ure and across the fields towards the village of Castle Bolton, which is dominated by Bolton Castle.

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Our first view of Bolton Castle.
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Getting closer.
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Nearly there.
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In Castle Bolton.

I’m almost as much a sucker for castles as I am for waterfalls, and so was once again snapping away like a loon.

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St. Oswald’s Church.
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Bolton Castle is remarkably well preserved for an English Castle, most of which were ‘slighted’ during the Civil War. I shall definitely have to come back to have a proper look around at some point. And a peek in the church too.

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Wensleydale.

There’s a very direct route from Castle Bolton via West Bolton back to Carperby. The wind had picked up and it was now bitterly cold. I really should have stopped and put more layers on.

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The tea rooms at Yore Bridge had not yet opened when we got there, and Castle Bolton didn’t have anywhere serving refreshments (though I think the castle has a restaurant in the tourist season), so once we got back to Carperby, we drove to Hawes for a very late cafe lunch, then hurried home to meet the boys from the train.

Not only had I enjoyed the walk enormously for its own sake, I was also pleased that I’d had no obvious Covid fatigue hangover, and I’d had no problems with my Plantar Fasciitis. I’ve had issues with it for years, on and off, but recently it had been much worse. I’d seen a physio who had me working on a programme of stretches and I was pleased that they were seemingly having a positive impact. (And continue to do so.)

Aysgarth Falls and Castle Bolton

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

An Early Purple, Atomic Eggs and Morecambe Skies

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Early Purple Orchid, The Lots.

A post to round of the final week of April. The orchid is from and a short Sunday afternoon stroll across The Lots. Earlier in the day I’d had a walk along the Lune with The Tower Captain, whilst our respective lads were training at Underley Park, home of Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC.

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River Lune near Kirkby Lonsdale.
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Pipe Bridge over the Lune…
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Carrying water from Haweswater to Heaton Park reservoir in Manchester.
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Harmony Hall and Laburnum House in Milnthorpe.
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These last two photos from a lazy evening stroll whilst A was dancing.

The next time she has a lesson, I was more ambitious and drove to park by Leven’s Bridge for a walk by the River Kent.

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Force Falls, River Kent.

This circular route was a firm favourite when the kids were younger. It’s around three miles – not too taxing for little legs. Not bad for an evening stroll either.

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Solomon’s Seal by the Kent.
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River Kent.

Later in the walk, I encountered both the Bagot Goats and the Bagot Fallow Deer, both unique to the Levens Deer Park. I took photos of the goats, but it was too dark by then. (This post, from the early days of the blog, has photos of both, and of the boys when they were cute and not towering teenagers)

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Midland Hotel Morecambe, from the Battery. It’s here that, hopefully, the Eden Project North will be built.
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Lake District Fells from Morecambe Prom.
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Midland Hotel again. Arnside Knott behind and right of the small building on the Stone Jetty.

TBH and I had a half-hour stroll along Morecambe Promenade, prior to picking up B from meeting his friends in Heysham.

An Early Purple, Atomic Eggs and Morecambe Skies

Feet Keep Moving

…which is more than can be said for the poor old blog!

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So..this is the second-half of a snowy January Saturday. Near the end of my morning walk with TBH and A the sun finally made an appearance. After lunch, when I set out again, this time alone, there was still some blue sky in evidence, enough to patch a sailor’s trousers, as my mum puts it. On south facing slopes the snow soon melted, leaving an odd patchwork of green and white.

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Eaves Wood.
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Stinking Hellebore, one of the first flowers of the year.

I was heading, initially, for Gait Barrows. This…

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…is usually a tiny little spring which creates a small pool before disappearing back underground. On this occasion, as you can see, it was creating a stream which had flooded the gateway and was flowing across the adjacent field.

From Gait Barrows, I crossed Coldwell Meadow, heading for the ruin of Coldwell Limeworks in Back Wood, but was distracted by the sound of this cascade on Leighton Beck..

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It’s not very big, but a bit of a rarity in limestone country where the water is often below the surface. No name is given on the OS map, but it’s close to the wonderfully named Creep-i’-th’-call Bridge, so maybe Creep-i’-th’-call Falls, which has a nice ring to it?

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Coldwell Limeworks
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Middlebarrow Quarry, partly obscured by very low clouds.
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Arnside Knott, also hidden in clouds.
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Near Arnside, by Black Dyke, I was fortunate to find a way around this flooded section of path.

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I climbed Arnside Knott, soon entering the cloud to find that the snow had clung on under the cover of the cloud.

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Arnside Tower Farm and a hint of Middlebarrow Wood.
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Whilst I generally enjoy the views from the Knott, it was quite exhilarating to be in the clouds and the monotone woods and apparently cut-off from the surroundings.

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The last of the light from ‘The Dip’, between Far Arnside and Silverdale.

Feet Keep Moving

Warrendale Knotts

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Above Settle.

The weekend before Christmas, when we would, in normal circumstances, be gathered together for a wet weekend of overeating, anecdote bingo, and maybe a bit of walking. Obviously that couldn’t happen last year. At least we could meet up for a walk. Sadly, the Surfnslide crew were self-isolating and weren’t able to join us.

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Rainbow over Settle. Glad I got that sheet of corrugated iron in the foreground!

We met in Settle with a view to climb Warrendale Knotts. I suggested we divert slightly from our planned itinerary to take a look at Scaleber Force…

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Scaleber Force.

I’d noticed that a small section of woodland here is access land, and that a right-of-way drops down to the bottom of the falls and then abruptly stops.

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The EWO and Scaleber Force.

I think you’ll agree, it was worth a little out-and-back along a minor lane to see it. We found a likely spot, out of the wind, for an early lunch spot, thinking shelter might be at a premium later in the walk. Naturally, once we’d settled down, it began to rain. This seems to have been a recurring theme when we’ve met for walks of late.

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Pendle Hill. Plus more corrugated iron.
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High Hill Lanethat’s High Hill straight ahead.

It brightened up and we had a lovely sunny spell back along High Hill Lane.

But it was soon grey and wet again. It was that sort of day.

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Warrendale Knotts.

The route we took up Warrendale Knotts proved to be ridiculously steep near the top, but it was well worth the effort…

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Attermire Scar from Warrendale Knotts. The distant big hole in the middle of the picture is Victoria Cave.
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On Warrendale Knotts.

We spent quite some time on this modest top. It was very windy, but with the clouds scudding across the views were constantly changing and very dramatic.

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Crepuscular Rays.
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Warrendale Knotts and Attermire Scar. Rye Loaf Hill on the right.
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Pen-y-ghent
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Pen-y-ghent and one of the cairns on Warrendale Knotts. Is that Fountains Fell in the cloud on the right?
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Leaving the top.
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Eventually, we had to move on. In fact, the Cheshire contingent had some pressing engagement and we chose to walk with them, initially at least, and so by-passed Victoria Cave.

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Another view of Pen-y-ghent.

The weather deteriorated again, but the Adopted Yorkshire Woman assured us that she remembered a shelter, or possibly a cave, in the vicinity of Jubilee Cave, which would be kitted out with comfortable benches and provide a pleasant dry spot for another lunch stop. Sadly, it never materialised. Hard words may have been spoken about the vividness of the AYW’s imagination.

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Jubilee Cave.

AT Jubilee Cave, the Cheshire crew left us to take a direct route back to Settle, whilst the remainder of our small party returned to Settle via Winskill and Langcliffe. That’s a very pleasant route, but I didn’t take any more photos, because the rain returned and this time it meant business. We did enjoy a brief dry spell and had a hurried stop in order to drain the dregs from our flasks, but by the time we reached the cars it was chucking it down. A small price to pay for a terrific walk though.

The day before this walk I uninstalled and reinstalled MapMyWalk. It worked, so here’s the resultant map. I think the numbers are kilometres, although the 4 and 6 seem a bit odd?
Warrendale Knotts, not named on the OS 1:50,000 is the trig pillar with a psot height of 440m.

I’ve never climbed Warrendale Knotts before, and I still haven’t been up Rye Loaf Hill. Looking at the map of the Dales, it also occurs to me that I haven’t been up Great Shunner Fell or Buckden Pike or Fountains Fell since the mid-eighties. Which seems criminal given that they’re all relatively close to home. Aside from the Three Peaks area, the closest bit to home, I’ve been neglecting the Dales. I have a lot of exploring to do!

Warrendale Knotts

Allt Coire Thoraidh – Cry Me a River

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Eas Urchaidh waterfall on the River Orchy.

Early March, time for our annual get together in the Highlands. This started many years ago as a ‘boys’ weekend, to get as many of us as possible on one place to meet an old friend who was visiting from Denmark. He still comes over from Denmark for the weekend, but we long since abandoned the idea of it being a for ‘boys’ only, so the group has, if anything, swelled over the years. In addition, as our kids have grown up, this has been a good opportunity to introduce them to the delights of winter hill-walking. This year we were joined by A and her friend, the Tower Captain’s daughter S. Imperative then, that we had some decent weather so as not to put them off.

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Eas Urchaidh waterfall on the River Orchy.

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Eas Urchaidh video – click on the image to open it and play it on flickr

Unfortunately, on the Saturday, we had one of the wettest days I can remember. We tried to get out for a walk – thinking that staying down in the forestry might be a good idea. We’d spotted a Caledonian Forest Reserve in Coire Thoraidh and thought we would go and have a look, then continue up to Lochan Coire Thoraidh and possibly down the other side beyond the Lochan.

But it really was chucking it down. The Allt Broighleachan was a raging torrent, which I didn’t recall from our previous visit to these woods. We crossed a slightly awkward ford and had just reached the reserve when we encountered…

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Ford (!) through Allt Coire Thoraidh.

…a ford too far!

I seem to remember that there was some discussion of ‘practising river-crossings’ in threes, or some such lunacy. Andy went off to look for somewhere to jump across.

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Drowned Rats.

But ultimately, sense prevailed, and we turned back.

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Allt Coire Thoraidh ford video.

Watch to the end to see how put-out Andy was by the situation. Doesn’t seem too bothered does he?

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Waterfall – Allt Broighleachan.

When we retraced our steps it was to find that the ford we had already crossed had become more of an extended pool and were forced to divert across a very wet boggy area, guaranteeing wet feet for all.

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Waterfall – Allt Broighleachan – video.

After we got back and hung up all of our drenched gear to dry, it actually briefly stopped raining. It didn’t last too long, but it was sufficient to entice me out again, for a wander towards Inverveigh.

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River Orchy at Bridge of Orchy – looking north.

The map shows another ford there, so I ought to have known how that outing would end.

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River Orchy at Bridge of Orchy – looking south.

I didn’t get far, but the views of the river were worth it.

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River Orchy

Later, the girls played Ticket to Ride in their room, whilst the Tower Captain and I watched England beat Wales at Twickenham on the little telly in ours. Then to the bar where we were staying, the Bridge of Orchy Hotel, for a slap up meal, a few bevvies and the usual mix of silliness, rehashed stories, daft gags and such like.

Not a bad day, considering.

Andy’s account of the day is here.

My own account of our previous visit, when both the river and the waterfalls at the top of this post were frozen over and we climbed Beinn Mhic Mhondaidh in testing conditions, is here.

Now,  a tune in different guises:

I’m presuming that everybody knows the original Julie London version. I’m very fond of that. There’s a great version by Dinah Washington too. The song was originally written for Ella Fitzgerald, but she didn’t actually record it until well after it had already been a hit. Unusually, I’m not overly-struck by her take on the tune. Too lush an arrangement, I think. Having said that, I really love this live rendition, which throws in everything but the kitchen sink and couldn’t be further from the spare, melancholy original…

It’s my favourite tune from Joe Cocker’s brilliant live album ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’.

Allt Coire Thoraidh – Cry Me a River