21 February 2015

Bogged down on High Seat and High Tove

Saturday mornings are always fun when they involve an early morning start (6.30am) and a stop at Tebay services for a coffee.  Heading for the lakes the weather forecast was iffy but had the potential to be not a bad day.  Winds might hamper us but there was hope for some sunshine in between the showers.

Car parked next to a lovely little bridge with some watery falls and we headed up the well paved path towards the first summit.  It wasnt a high hill today but high enough to get the lungs working overtime on the steepish path upwards.  We followed the path of the water for a while so we had plenty chances to stop, get a breather and take a snap or 2 of the water flowing down the side of the hill.

There was a lot of steep zig zagging which brought us out on a flattish plateau area.  We could see High Seat in the distance and it was a fairly flat walk over towards the final path upwards to the trig point.
The views were good today.  Some cloud was hanging low and obscuring the tops of the surrounding peaks but the light changed every few seconds and brought out some nice images.  Would they translate into my camera, well time will tell !

After coming off the summit of High Seat we headed downwards to the plateau area before rising back up again to High Tove.  This was the worst part of the walk.  Bogginess and wet mud underfoot, terrific!  It was relentless and reminded us of a time on Kinder that we spent hrs trying to find a way through the mud.  This was like a mini Kinder and a lot of back and forward was going on to find a way through the mire.
We thought perhaps Tove was an ancient name for Bog as it was all around and not the most pleasant of walking.   Even after visiting the summit and heading on the path downwards we came upon a gate which was surrounded by watery stuff.  We named it Watergate !  Boom Boom ! 

 The path downwards was a dream.  A mixture of nice stepping stones and old stones which seemed to form the path of an old coaching road perhaps!   Soon enough we were down at the Tarn where we would turn right and head back along the river to the car park.
 Loads of mountain bikers out but luckily they didnt come our way.  Just a man and a tripod taking a picture of a bridge that wasnt really that picturesque.  Strange !  A bit further on we passed a house which had an array of garden birds flying about, this little cheeky chappie perched long enough for me to snap but was really too far away for me to capture him properly.

Nice walk back and after 4 hrs our walk was done.  A shortish one today, still 10km but not as high today but a great leg stretcher and the weather was kind.  Not much wind to speak off, sunshine off and on, no rain and a little bit chilly............so alls good ! 

08 February 2015

Clough Head

After a fantastic breakfast in a brilliant little B & B we headed off towards the start of the path that would take us up Clough Head.  Again the weather was exceptionally bright and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  That's mainly because again for the second day running all the cloud was down in the valley.
 The path upwards wasnt steep but it was filled with snow and ice and was fun in places to wade through.  The higher we got the more the views opened up and we spotted some hand gliders setting up on a flattish bit of ground below looking and testing for the perfect wind.

 The last path to the first of the false summits (there were a few!!!) was so packed with snow we had to get our ice axes out to give us another point of contact.  It was hard slippy snow and one slip could have been an ankle turner!
Finally after 2 or 3 false summits the trig point came into view.  We met a runner on the top who was doing a recce of the fells for some race later in the year.  He'd just popped up Clough Head and was on his way to Helvellyn.  He wasnt even out of breath. Grrrrrr!
 The views from the summit were amazing. Right over to the Northern Pennines and we spotted Mell Fell and Little Mell Fell which we'd been up a few weeks before.
Time to go down and the path was exceptionally good.  No shale, scree, just a well defined path, steep in places and packed with snow and ice in places but good all the same.  It wasn't long before we were back at the path that would take us back to the car and the start point of our walk.

On the way back round to the car we spotted this wee cloud, abandoned by its bigger inversion big brother and just left there all on its own at the side of Blencathra.

The end of the walk and the sky still bluer than blue !

07 February 2015

This is what I Dodd today......inversion city!

After a long week at work up and down the motorway from Gatwick/Heathrow and Manchester it was a pleasure for the alarm to wake me at 6am to pursue something less stressful - a day............no make that a weekend on the hills.

We headed north and before long (but after a 32 mile motorway detour!) found ourselves outside Keswick and heading to the base of Skiddaw which would take us up the path towards the first peak of the day.  Dodd.  The first part of the walk took us through a lovely forested area and up past the Osprey viewing sites.  None there today as they would be off on their holidays in Africa but we'll come back one day so see if we can spot the birdies.  The day was forecast sunny and clear and although at the moment it was a bit gloomy was still quite beautiful.

It was an hour or so upwards before we broke through the cloud and witnessed a blanket of thick cloud carpeting us below in every direction.  The clarity of the day was impressive and although there was a bit of snow on Dodd the real attraction was the wonderful cloud inversion that just took your breath away.  As far as the eye could see there it was.

We stayed on Dodd for quite a while snapping away and then realised we still had a few big hills to get up so moved back down off Dodd and headed for the path that would take us up Carl Side.  It was a bit of a slog going up there and the higher we went the snowier it got.  Not deep fluffy snow but icy snow that had been there for a while so you had to watch your footing.

By the time we reached the top I was exhausted.  The week was taking its toll.  We decided against going on to Siddaw but headed instead for Longside and Ullock Pike and then back down to near where the car was parked.

It was bitterly cold and as the sun was weakening as the day went on so gloves, had and scarf were essentials.  Top coats on we ventured forwards.

Longside as a peak was pretty unexciting but the little ridge after it, Ullock Pike looked a bit more tasty and looking back we could see clearly the route we had come

Finding the path down was a little bit tricky and what I though was a path turned out to be the descent from hell.  A steep shaley path which turned into an even steeper dirty rocky and scree path.  It was the most undignified descent from a hill ever.  At one point I was on my stomach, head facing up the hill, holding on to a bit of heather for dear life.  My hands and clothes were dirty and I have some spectacular bruising and scratches.  Nightmare but it was a challenge and at no time were we in danger.  Chris seemed most amused at my discomfort but thankfully we made it down and were soon on the path back towards where the car was parked.

The last delight of the day was the sunset we were offered.  Pinks, oranges and reds streaming across the sky.  Absolutely beautiful
A perfect end to a wonderful wintery walk.