05 August 2017

The Langdale 5

After popping up to the Langdale area on Friday night in Bob and stopping over the pub car park the target for today was my missing local hills and perhaps an added Ullscarf which neither of us have ticked as yet but we'd see how the day went.

At 7am when we were up the skies were clear and the sun was shining and with fingers crossed we hoped this would last but then remembering we're in the Lake District we confidently packed our waterproofs, layers, gloves, sandwiches, water and left our sunblock and sunglasses in the van.
The path initially took us behind the pub and to the right and and followed a great and well trodden path until it swung left again and got us working our way up the side of Loft Crag towards our first summit of the day.  It was at this point the weather changed and we passed 2 climbers who were heading for Glimmer Crag but with the changing weather they stopped seemed to change their minds so as we pushed forward I could see behind me that they'd headed back.  At this point cameras went away in the waterproof pouches and raincoats and gloves went on.

So what we had now was driving rain, a few gusts of wind and a drop in temperature and even we considered whether we should call it a day and have an afternoon in the pub.   We decided to give it 30 mins and make a decision then.  I remembered I bought the little Nikon AW130 which was fully waterproof for days such as this so kept that out as we continued along the path and up the side of the hill.
30 mins gone and we were almost at the summit of Loft Crag, our first for the day and although the black clouds were looming in several directions it did seem a bit brighter and the rain had somewhat eased off so onwards we went.

The summit of Loft crag is a nice one with beautiful views over to Bowfell and the Crinkles and we met a couple of nice chaps on the top who were just as keen as us to be out.
Onwards now towards Pike o Stickle which is a lovely craggy little top.  Not far from Loft Crag but an absolute delight when you get to the base of the dome shaped summit and have to scramble your way through the rocks.
I love this part of walking and before long we were up on the top, pictures taken and could clearly see the route behind and Loft Crags lovely little shape.

It was quite boggy underfoot on the way over to our next peak.   Plodding through the wetness and hoping and praying that you didn't step on a hole and that each footstep however watery would meet with some firmness.  Luckily no such unfortunate scenario had met us today.

Thunacar Knotts is an unassuming little top with not a lot going for it but its spectacular views.  Hills all around from the Helvellyn Range back to Coniston over to Bowfell and further Great Gable and Fleetwith Pike north to Glaramara and we could even see Windemere glistening in the few shafts of sunlight that were trying to peek through the thick dense cloud.

Quickly moving on to peak number 4 of the day, High Raise.   This was more like it.  A top with a shelter and trig point and the same wonderful views to die for.  Time for some sandwiches and today it was cheese and piccalilli which were really tasty.   We met 2 girls in the shelter who we'd seen in the pub last night having sticky toffee pudding which looked really good so I said ohh its the sticky toffee pudding girls and we all had a giggle.

The girls were heading to Wastwater where they were camping for the night.  Quite a ways to go but they were young, fit, keen and had all the necessary equipment with them and seemed fairly confident with their map so after eating we wished them on their way and hoped that the weather was kind to them.

The weather had started to turn and although we still had the wind the clouds were clearing and blue sky was emerging which was an absolute pleasure after the heavy showers of the morning.

Time for a decision to be made.  Coming down off the path from High Raise we headed along the path that would take us to Ullscarf.  Should we head that way.  We estimated another 2 hrs to get over there and 2 hrs back would leave us little time to get down off the hills and although blue sky was appearing we weren't sure what the weather was going to do so instead we headed back towards High Raise and then over to Sergeant Man which was a tricky little top to find with a path that was making itself invisible from time to time but we found it. Chris had been up there a few times before so knew basically where he was going and I just trotted behind, through the bogs!
After Sergeant Man it was time to start making our way down and the direction we headed for was Stickle Tarn, a prominent spot in the landscape below.  We couldn't really see a direct path off the hill so we just made our way through the lumps and bumps following the occasional sheep track till we landed on what seemed to be a path that was heading in somewhat the right direction.

By the time we got to the Tarn the weather had done a complete full circle from earlier and the sun was warming our faces and the air was definitely warmer.  Stopping to eat the last of our sandwiches we watched people making their way up Pavey Ark.  Some choosing the path that wound behind the hill and some choosing the trickier Jakes Rake.

The rest of the walk was downhill on a well paved path.  The walk up from Langdale to Stickle Tarn is fairly easy so we met many families going both up and down on the path and saw groups of coasteerers in the waters flowing down the Gyhll.  

Before long we were back at the road and making our way back to Bob.  We'd grab a bite to eat at the pub and I was looking forward to sitting with a nice cool drink.

Great day out and another 5 ticked off my list bringing my total to 186 (28 to go) and thoughts wandering to what exactly will be my last Wainwright.   Hmmmm need to think about that one.  Chris has still 7 to go and I'm sure we'll be popping a cork on a hill quite soon when he reaches his target. Hurrah for us!

29 July 2017

The Great British Bakestall

After a few weeks of non hill activity we headed out early on Saturday morning to tick of 1 or perhaps 2 more Wainwrights from the list.  Bakestall was the initial target but with the weather forecast looking decidedly dodgy it was debatable whether we'd even get out of the car.

Parked we changed into boots and got bags ready when the heavens opened and we quickly jumped back in the car and thought we'd give it a few mins to abate before venturing out.  After 15 mins or so it had eased off and although only spitting it was decidedly brighter so off we went.

The first part of the walk took us up the same path we'd been on a few weeks before with the mountain bikes.  Heading towards Whitewater Dash but before then we took a right turn and headed steeply up the flanks of Bakestall.
It was a wet and slippery ascent of the first part of the hill and with frequent showers it meant hoods up then hoods down intermittently.  The higher we got the windier it got and although there wasn't much of a path we plodded onwards and upwards.
At the first plateau we could finally see the hill in the distance and although it didn't seem that far away it was slow going as there now wasn't much of a path and heads down we tried to follow a shallow track through the moss and grass that was leading us in the right direction.

Finally on top it was a lot more pleasant.  The wind was still buffeting us about but the rain, thankfully, had stopped and there were a few dots of blue sky beginning to appear.
2 choices at the summit with 1 that would take us up onto the Skiddaw hills and 1 that would take us back down to the original path right at the point of the waterfall Whitewater Dash.  Skiddaw wasn't in our plans for today so down we went.

Directly ahead of us was Little Calva and Great Calva which if the going had been better we'd have tackled today but alas those were going to be for another day.
Stopping at the waterfall we had a bite to eat and then followed the well defined track down round the base of Bakestall back to the path where the car was parked.

Thoughts were to pop into Keswick for a bit of shopping and a bite to eat at the Dog & Gun but Keswick was so busy we couldn't even get into the town far less get parked so we headed for home with the promise of a stop off at our favourite cheese shop in Settle.

So not the full compliment of Wainwrights ticked off today that we'd planned but still 1 more off that ever decreasing list.  Chris is on 207 with 7 left to do and I'm on 181 with 33 left to do.

Fingers crossed we'll be in the Langdales next weekend with our beloved Bob we we can tick off a fair few more.

24 June 2017

4 Fells from Pooley Bridge

Wiith the weather not being forecast as brilliant this past weekend we opted for a day trip up to Pooley Bridge to tick off a few more Wainwrights and left Bob at home.

Up and out early we were in Pooley Bridge for just after 9 and after parking the car, getting camera equipment and Garmin switched on we were off up the path that would lead us up and over towards our first fell.
It was a lovely path.  Littered with ferns and foxgloves and sky larks abound.  Their shrill chirping above our heads stayed with us as we walked up the path.
Up and over the first little hump we could see our first fell in the distance with its little knobbly top.  Arthurs Pike was its name and as we made our way towards the top we passed a couple of other walkers and so far the weather was holding.

It was a mix of cloud, with the odd spit of rain but the higher we got the more we felt the wind and with that wind brought the cold.   Glad to have brough my gloves and hat with me.   Even all the little plants were being buffeted.
 After Arthurs Pike it was down towards the next tick Bonscale Pike with the promise of Bonscale Tower.  Not quite sure what I was expecting but my wish for a grand imposing tower turned out to be a rather tall pile of stones, well 2 rather tall piles of stones but if they want to call it a tower then who am I to argue.
Wind whipping up it was a long flattish slog over towards the next hill in our sights, Loadpot Hill.  With a short semi-steep trek to the top we were soon at the trig point and by this time I was ready for some lunch but that would have to wait until we found a bit of shelter as the wind would have whipped my lunch out my hand.  Luckily the views were outstanding with St Sunday's Crag and the Fairfield Hills striking in the distance.
Making our way over to the last hill of the day Wether Hill we found a stone structure that would provide a little bit of shelter for lunch.  Today we had home made scotch eggs and a bar of chocolate. The scotch eggs were delicious and after a quick bite and a summit selfie and a lunch view of the day we were back on our way to Wether Hill.
4 hills done and we were back on our way to the car.  Not quite the same route but one that took us up over Loadpot Hill again but then followed the Roman Road practically back to where we started.   Again we were dodging showers and once or twice felt a spit of rain on our backs but the black clouds that followed us along the path never materialised into much and by the time were were about a mile away from the car our raincoats came off and gloves and hats banished to our rucksacks.

Great walk and 4 more ticks.  Thats Chris on 206 with 8 to go and my tally is 180 with 34 to go.   Hopefully this year we'll reach that magic 214 and have a bit of a celebration.

17 June 2017

Bikes on Fells

Weather forecast = scorchio means only 1 thing for weekend plans and it usually involves Bob, a campsite and a trip to the lakes (or the coast if we're that way inclined!). This weekend however it was the lakes and we decided to take the bikes with the purpose of having a tootle out on the hills.
Wallace Farm Campsite was the destination in North Cumbria behind Blencathra and Skiddaw and it was a lovely little site with immaculate facilities and views up into Scotland.  Friday night we ate chilli that we'd brought with us and planned our route for the following day.

There seemed to be a good track called Back o Skiddaw through an area of the fells that we knew well and had walked one or two times.  The track didn't take us up into the high fells but high enough that it was a challenge.

So Saturday morning dawned with the sound of birdsong and with our sandwiches packed and water bottles filled we headed off.
The first part of the trail took us along the roads towards the base of the fells for a few miles and then it was bike track all the way.  The sun was already out and the sky was littered with clouds and the temperature rising but it was lovely to be winding round the roads with the breeze in our faces but mouths firmly closed as its easy to have the misfortune of swallowing a fly yuk!
The initial track was pretty undulating and wound its way round the hill towards a waterfall where we stopped for a bit of lunch.  The water rushing down was so tempting to pop in for a dip as it was pretty hot out there but too far down the embankment to reach the cooling spray.
The track wound its way round and down the valley towards Skiddaw house and then upwards again through the next Valley.  This was the pattern of the day.  Up and down and over varied terrain, some easy to navigate and some that rattled your bones so much it put the fear of death in you.  The views however were breathtaking.

By the time the afternoon was coming to a close we were on the last part of the track which was pretty decent to ride on
and very soon it opened out into a road which took us down to the village of Threlkeld where there was a couple of pubs.  1 very large soda water and lime with lots of ice went down rather nicely.

The last part of ride over the 10+ miles home was pretty much on road, initially up the A66 to where the Caldbeck turning was and then through nice country roads through Mungrisdale Village until finally we were back at the campsite.  Exhausted, parched, starving, sunburned but thrilled at having an excellent day out.

Roll on the next adventure...................

03 June 2017

High Spy with my little eye something beginning with......

After well over a year of not blogging I thought it would be good to get back on track so to speak and start logging our walks.  Now some of you may know that since New Years Day this year 2017, Chris has been out of action after breaking his leg on our first walk of 2017 and was the Mountain Rescue Service's first rescue of 2017.  A nasty slip on some grass coming down of High Spy resulted in a broken tibia and fibula and 5 months of no hills and very little movement at all.  I'm pleased to say that his leg is very much on the mend, he's been discharged from the consultant and told that he can ease himself back into excersise so with that on board, this weekend, we headed for High Spy..........where else would we go !

With the arrival of Bob in our family last September, getting away for the weekend has never been easier so on Friday night  I left work and headed for Borrowdale.
Chris, working only 1/2 day on a Friday was already there, with Bob and had the BBQ going for my arrival.

It was a lovely evening and Hollow Farm Campsite in Grange had everything we needed for a chilled relaxing stay.

A walk after dinner down by the river was just lovely with the sun setting and throwing reflections around the pooled water area.  We saw a couple of herons flying up to roost in some nearby trees and then it was bed time for us also.  A quick spray of midge repellant and we were tucked up in our Duvalays before you could say nighty night with the prospect of sunshine and a few showers tomorrow and Chris's first venture up a hill since that fateful day earlier in the year.

The morning brought clear skies and sunshine and it was a perfect start to the day.  Breakfast eaten and sandwiches packed we popped our walking boots on, checked camera equipment and headed off up the path.

The initial path took us up past Castle Crag and then over the fence and down onto the valley path before heading up right towards High Spy.  The sky was filled with all sorts of clouds, some hanging over far away fells and some just floating gently past us overhead.
On the path up to High Spy, passing the old slate mines we saw a buzzard hovering over the ridge to the right.  It was a healthy looking buzzard and it hovered for quite a while watching its prey before making its dive.   Spectacular sight.  Unfortunately I didn't have the right lens on to get a shot but it was fun to watch.

As we got closer to High Spy Chris was trying to find the spot where his rescue took place.

 It was difficult as the differing season meant that the landscape was slightly different and he was coming at the hill from a completely different angle.  We had a good look around but it wasn't until we'd gotten higher that looking back he could piece it together and remember where it was he slipped.  Not the best of memory but what an achievement, 5 months later and here he was, back on the hill.  It's amazing.

The weather of the day was truly outstanding and better than forecast.
We reached the summit of High Spy and chatted for a few moments with some marshals in a charity walk that was taking place the day

and then we ventured on to Maiden Moor and coming down off Maiden Moor we decided to take a right and head down towards Derwent Water.   We had a choice here of heading over to the little ferry terminal or to take the path back down to Grange and as we could see clearly we had just missed a boat we headed back to Grange.

At Grange we stopped at the cafe for a milkshake. (milkshake face alert!)

We'd done a fair few miles and the ice cream was most definitely refreshing.  A short 1/2 mile walk back to the campsite and the weather was starting to change.  The wind was getting up and it was increasingly cloudy.  

Coats on and after a short rest we decided on a quick walk before dinner up Castle crag

although we decided to go the long way and 3 hrs later we were back and we had just enough light left to make dinner and fall exhaustedly into our Duvalays.  What a day! What a weekend! What an achievement by Chris!  So happy to be back in the fells and fingers crossed it won't be long before we're back.   I have around 34 before I've completed all the 214 Wainwrights and Chris has about 12 so fingers crossed we can get that milestone ticked off before too long......