23 May 2015

Lowfell & Fellbarrow on a sunny day !

Another weekend and another 2 Wainwrights to be ticked off the old list. This will make it 137 for me and 172 for Chris, he's only got 42 to do before completing the whole list. Quite an achievement !

Tebay visited and scotch eggs for lunch acquired we continued north and the sky was bluer than blue with some nice wispy clouds that would hopefully make for some good sky pictures. We were a little later than usual setting off so we wouldn't get the best light of the day for photography but I'm sure we'll get something out of the day.   The sun was really bright and I was amazed at how green everything suddenly looked.  Spring and perhaps even a glimpse of summer was definately here.
Car parked near Loweswater and the path was right there in front of us, up a stoney treelined path peppered with lots of lovely wild flowers, took us to the base of the first hill. The path continued round and we spotted a couple of Yellowhammers and then it turned sharp left up over a stile and rose steeply towards the right hand side of the hill. With a combination of following a path then trudging up throught the moss and bracken we finally made it up onto the top of the hill. This, as with all hills was not the top but a wee false summit with plenty of path ahead of us before we reached anything that was tickable.

The first peak was Darling Fell with views over Crummock water then over to Buttermere that were really breathtaking and although it wasnt a Wainwright it was still a lovely fell.

My #summitselfie

The path down and then up again onto the next hill was steep on both sides but not too long so it was quite easy on the legs. The path upwards again was like a helter skelter with 20 steps worth of steepness the a wee plateau bit, then another steep bit again followed by another plateau until we reached the top and again were offered the most spectacular views. Here we stopped for a moment and had a nibble of our scotch eggs that we'd bought earlier and just marvelled at how lucky we were with the weather.

Onwards and upwards again towards the last tick of the day and the steepness of the descent and final ascent wasn’t as severe as the previous hill. It was quite gentle by all accounts. A little bit boggy in places and a nice clear path to lead us the way. A trig stood at the top of Fellbarrow and we had our last nibble of the day and polished off our scotch eggs followed by a Tunnochs tea cake. Perfect walking food.

So off we went on the downwards path and made our way back round the hillside until we met up with the path we'd started on earlier in the day. The sun was stronger now and any haze from earlier had gone and it really was a scorcher.

The little wild flowers on the path back to the car were indeed a treat.  

Soon enough we were back at the road and it was now littered with cars.  Everyone and their mother seemed to be in the lakes today and navigating back through Buttermere was interesting we made it and had a beautiful drive home and a lovely day to reflect on and a quick peek of the other side of Causey Pike made me chuckle.  It really is one of my favs, cute little hill !
Great weather, great walk, great company, what more can a girl ask for :-)

16 May 2015

Breezy Burnbank, Blustery Blake and Gusty Gavel Fell..........

Hurrah, the weather forecast, after being up and down all week, had finally settled on a Saturday that was at best, variable. That'll do us so after a 6am alarm and house exit at 6.45 we were off up the M6 towards that well known junction 40 for Penrith. The hills today would take us past Buttermere and start us off just behind Melbreak with 3 on the agenda we hoped for a good days walking as well as some good pics.(fingers crossed)

The national trust car park was easy to find and unlike most national trust facilities there was no pay machine. So all those £1 coins I'd been collecting all morning were of no use after all. Brilliant! The first part of the walk was ahead of us with the initial part taking us through a forested area which is always a treat when the sun is out and you get it filtering through the trees casting shadows all around. The little wild flowers are just starting to come out and the baby ferns are all still curled up ready to spring into action later in the year.

Once up and out of the trees the we could see the path clearly heading up left towards the top of the hill, well I say top, I mean the top part that I could see. There was still a long way to go before the top of Burnbank was reached however the walk was pleasant and good underfoot. Not much bogginess and views back to the Solway Firth and over to Buttermere and the surrounding hills were coming into view.

Lots of little birds around and their chirping accompanied us for most of today’s walk but unlike the meadow pipets of 2 wks ago we couldn’t see these little birds quite so well, they were well hidden in the heather and gorse.

The top of Burnbank Fell was up and over a fence. No stile here so it was a hover over the wire whilst balancing on 2 rocks sort of manoeuvre but we managed it and then after the obligatory picture taking on the pile of rocks it was back over again to follow the path up to Blake Fell.

Quite a distinctive path and easy to follow and walk, not too steep but enough to keep your muscles working. The most noticeable change was the wind, the higher we got the more blustery it became and soon was very windy indeed. Luckily at the top of Blake Fell there is a little shelter and once hunkered down in that there was not even a breeze. Poke your head out and it was near blown off !!!!

We ate lunch here and I took my #summitselfie 

and then we were off again to our last hill of the day Gavel Fell. Down off Blake and then up the well marked path to Gavel we were passed by a man laying a scent for the trail hounds that would be on this route later in the day. It was spooky as I'd only listened to a programme about the trail hounds of the Lake District on Radio 4 earlier in the week and here was the man, laying the scent of paraffin and aniseed for the dogs to follow later, just like was mentioned in the radio programme. Pity we wouldn't still be there when the dogs came over as I'm sure that would be an incredible sight to see.

Gavel Fell touched and ticked and it was time to head downwards. We followed the path south and then took a sharp left which skirted us round the fell with Hen Coomb on our right we were reminded of the day we were there, back in 2012 when Chris reached his 100th Wainwright milestone. It was a gentle path down and the path gently lead us round and down until we were almost back at the car park, no before we happened upon a field of sheep with one only too happy to have his picture taken. 

Great walk, great weather and 3 more boxes ticked. I wonder what we'll do with the rest of the day???

04 May 2015

The Grey Mare's Tail and White Coomb

Bank Holiday Monday was billed as the best weather day of the 3 so we planned our walking for that day on route back home from Scotland taking in some Border hills.  After a lovely breakfast in Moffat we headed a little south to the National Trust Car Park that was the start of the path up the side of the hill.
The Grey Mare's Tail came into view almost immediately and the steep path upwards wound round so that very quickly the waterfall was facing us and with each step upwards more of it came into view.  The light wasnt great but every now and then the sun peeked through from the clouds and threw some beautiful light on the surrounding hills.
The path up the side of the waterfall was steep but well maintained with good steps and the waterfall itself was magnificent.  Above the main drop of water was several other smaller falls but just as impressive and we were lucky that the water was high and forceful which made a spectacular sight.
Up to the left as we walked up were some wild goats that we had read about and near the crags at the top of the falls we read there were Peregrine Falcons and caught sight of one leaving the nest area and swooping over the hills and away in an instant.  I didnt manage to get a picture sadly but got plenty of the little waterfalls at the top that fed the main drop.

The steep path soon leveled out and formed a meandering path adjacent to the river that fed the falls from the Loch up ahead.  There were loads of little birds flying in and out of the heather all around and we discovered they were Meadow Pippets but yet again they were too quick for me to get coordinated with my camera and capture these cute little birds, noisy too.

The path soon came out at the Loch and we could see our first hill straight ahead, Lochcraig Head and the path going straight up the side.  The only good thing about a steep path is that its generally quick, as in you get to the top quicker than if it weaves its way round and round and this one was certainly steep.   Another surprise of the day was the mucky bog that met us as we left the lochside which we waded through until we reached the base of the hill.  Horrid stuff but we managed to navigate it quite well and didnt have a major bog incident!

The steep path swung to the left near the top and took us right up to the cairn at the top which gave us a very good view of White Coomb which was our next target.  It had snow on it and the air was a bit on the chilly side now especially when in the wind.  Hats and gloves on we ventured forward towards the big dip.  What generally happens after a big dip..........yep you guessed it, a big steep climb back up the other side and thats exactly what we got.  Today's walk was certainly a leg stretcher.

The top of White Coomb was nice with another small cairn.  We stopped for a moment to consume the rest of our food and then it was down again towards the Loch and back down the path we'd taken upwards earlier in the day.

The sun was out and the walk downwards was steep but not too bad.  A bit rocky in places and damp as we had to cross the river as we'd come down on the other side.  Had it not been in full flow there would have been a good number of stepping stones to get us across but Chris found a good spot that was hardly ankle deep and the stones were surprisingly not slippy at all.  

Before long the afternoon sun was waning and we were back at the car park with thoughts of some nice dinner before heading back down the M6.  Unfortunately Moffat let us down on the dinner front but we had our lovely cheese to look forward to when we got home.  Great end to a great bank holiday weekend and the Grey Mare's Tale lived up to its expectations.