Walks and days (mostly) in the Lake District – 2004

Great Gable by Barrie


Loughrigg Fell – Thursday 9 December – my first summit after my hip replacement op and it's great to be back high! The weather we drove through up the A65 wasn't good and visibility was poor and we thought of just a low level walk but I just had to get up high. I'd seen my surgeon the day before who was very pleased with my progress – although apparently they'd reconstructed, not replaced, my hip as there was nothing left of it to work on and had lengthened my leg as well. We parked at White Moss at Rydal and set off up Loughrigg – if I couldn't make it, it's a nice walk along Loughrigg Terrace and we could make it a shorter flatter walk. I was fine and although it's quite a steep stepped path for the last several hundred feet it felt good and I had no problems at all apart from a slight ache as I put my left foot down.

It was a great feeling to touch the trig point and I really felt like I was walking properly again! We came back down by the big cave and back along Rydal Water to the car. It was rather slippery in places and I just had to be careful where I put my feet but Barrie was great and helped me down the tricky bits. Roll on the longer days so I can get some longer and higher walks done – but I'm just so happy to be back!

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Short walk above Coniston – Friday 19 November – Yes, at last I made it and got to the Lakes for my first visit since my hip replacement operation and while I didn't get to an actual summit I was in the hills and it felt just great. I'd been doing some proofreading for Friends of the Lake District and as I was feeling a lot better and had made it to the magical op day plus 6 weeks, we decided to deliver it in person to their offices in Kendal. And the weather was perfect with a beautiful blue sky. I'd thought of Scout Scar above Kendal – from the car park by the mast it's just a pleasant stroll, but the hills further north looked too inviting so we carried on.

We parked at the Walna Scar car park above Coniston – always one of my favourite places as you're in the fells already without any effort. We went up the Old Man tourist track and walked about a mile and a half – to where the track meets the path coming up from Coniston. We were out for just over an hour and it felt fine. I ached a bit but nothing like I was doing before my op. I really felt as if I was walking properly again. And not too many aches and pains after. Barrie is worried now that I'll soon be running him off his feet! It was lovely to see the fells with their cloak of snow and we certainly picked a good day. It was quite warm at times in the sun but very cold out of it! After that we drove over to Grasmere and had a look round the shops, going via Elterwater, then the usual trip to Lakeland then home.

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Lazy day visiting Martindale, Pooley Bridge and Ullswater – Friday 24 September – Barrie and I made the most of the super weather on Friday and had a great day being tourists in the Lakes. It was ages since we'd been in the far east so we went via Shap, Askham and Pooley Bridge and down the east shore of Ullswater to Martindale where we got out the chairs and sat and just enjoyed being in such a beautiful and peaceful place. I managed a short walk (about 100 yards) then we looked round the old church. Then a saunter round Pooley Bridge (antique fair and shops) then ice creams at the boatyard at Glenridding and Barrie set up his telescope. Hayes Garden Centre (birdfood) and Lakeland (delicious super soft liquorice) rounded off another great day in the Lakes.

For possibly my last visit for a while it couldn't have been better – the weather was perfect, the birds were singing and it was just great. It's funny, but much as I'm missing my walking, it's been good just to enjoy some other aspects of the Lake. Unless we're camping, usually we're rushing to get to the start of the walk, we walk and enjoy it then we go home – usually after a visit to the pub on the way home. And there's so much else to see and do and it's been good to do it and enjoy it. But I'll still be glad to be back up on the high fells again.

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A lovely weekend staying at The Salutation Inn at Threlkeld – 3–5 September – Barrie and I enjoyed a super weekend in the Lakes – decided to splash out and treat ourselves to a couple of nights in a hotel instead of camping. It was a lovely leisurely relaxing time, the weather was just perfect and we got to some places we hadn't been to in a long time including the Buttermere and Crummock area, Bassenthwaite, Mungrisdale and Back o' Skiddaw. We also enjoyed a visit to Hesket Newmarket agricultural show which was fun although tiring and I couldn't walk round much because of my arthritis.

Saturday evening we spent with Ann and Roger Hiley at Loweswater enjoying a lovely meal and excellent company. It was a lovely starry night as we drove back over Whinlatter in the dark. We visited art galleries and generally acted like tourists for a change. A lovely weekend and we'll be doing it again sometime.

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A lovely touristy day with a pleasant sit by Ullswater between the showers! – Monday 9 August – the weather wasn't exactly pleasant so we didn't hurry but after a visit to the Paper Shop at Burneside where I spent a bit more than I should have we continued over Kirkstone Pass and on to Ullswater. By afternoon the rain had eased off and we got out the chairs and sat by the lake at Glencoyne. It was lovely just sitting there and enjoying the peace and looking at the scenery.

Much as I'm missing my walking, it's been good to take things easy and enjoy the other aspects of the Lake District because there is just so much to see. But I'll still be glad to get back up on the fells.

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A ride on L'al Ratty from Dalegarth – Monday 12 July – this time with Sophie and no walking apart from a stroll round Ravenglass. The weather was fine and while it would have been good to be up on the fells, it was pleasant to take it easy and enjoy a trip on Ratty. We went from Dalegarth to Ravenglass where we had a short stroll round the village and on the beach and then back to Dalegarth. Our return route was over Hardknott Pass and Wrynose Pass – Barrie walked out to the Roman Fort then we stopped at Jubilee Bridge at the Eskdale side of Hardknott Pass. A thoroughly relaxing day but of course, as we were in the Lake District, a thoroughly enjoyable one!

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Very short walk! – Latrigg from the top of Gale Road – Monday 30 June – I thought my walking days were over for the time being but I managed the short walk from the car park at the top of Gale Road and on to Latrigg. It was beautiful – a bit windy but the views were superb – and we made the walk last over an hour having our elevenses sitting on the seat which is in memory of a gentleman who lived into his nineties and regularly walked Latrigg. We then did the tourist thing and visited Surprise View (classic views over Derwent Water), Stonethwaite – where we had another short walk along the track toward Eagle Crag – and then back through Grange (interesting notices to beware of young red squirrels with no road sense) then finishing with Sam having a swim in the lake by Kettlewell car park. Nothing strenuous but a fabulous day.

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Devil's Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale

Short wet walk from Pelter Bridge, Rydal - Thursday 3 June - a very wet day, spent mostly in shops.  It was one of those wet days when you just know it isn't going to get much better but we were away early as usual just in case it did.  We parked at Pelter Bridge and managed a short walk along the road under Loughrigg - it was good even though it was short!  Then over to Sedbergh - where it did actually brighten up for a while - then down to Kirkby Lonsdale and home.  And I got a book I'd been after for a while, in the second-hand bookshop in Sedbergh - not Holletts though! - which cheered me up!

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Brock Crags and Angle Tarn from Hartsop - Monday 17 May - it seemed ages since Barrie and I had been in the Lakes but it was only 3 weeks.  Anyway, we had a lovely walk from Hartsop up onto Brock Crags then lunch by Angle Tarn - where Sam had a nice play in the water, down to Boredale Hause then back to Hartsop to complete a round trip of about 5 miles.  From the parking at the end of the village we followed the track to the filter house then took the gently ascending zig zag path which soon got steeper but only for a short stretch then it's not far to the summit.  Angle Tarn is a lovely place with all its little inlets and headlands and we had the place to ourselves.  From there we skirted Angletarn Pikes watching the sunny fells across Ullswater and wishing the sun would reach us.  From Boredale Hause we followed the path which is on the line of an old aqueduct and back to Hartsop.  It was rather strange because the sun was shining everywhere except where we were walking and there was a bitter wind with us all day.  The views all around us were super especially to the west and the Helvellyn ridge.

Brotherswater from Brock Crags

   Of course as soon as we got back to the car the sun came out and it got really warm. Never mind, it was lovely just being there. And we heard the cuckoo - first time this year.  Unfortunately, I overdid it a bit and was in quite a bit of pain on the last stretch.   Barrie was my 'crutch' for quite a bit of the way and I'm extremely grateful to him. I think my high fell days are over for now - but I'll be back.  Still got Jack's Rake, Sharp Edge and many other exciting places to get to!

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Looking down on the limestone pavement of Malham Cove

Round Malham again - Sunday 2 May - it was more or less a repeat of the walk 2 weeks ago but this time visiting Gordale Scar and this time with Barrie and Sam.  It was the Wainwright Society walk which I was leading but there was just the three of us.  We didn't mind as it was a hot day and we took our time - it was just too nice to hurry.  Being Bank Holiday Sunday, it was very busy too - a lot different from our usual quiet Monday walks in the Lake District!  Gordale Scar was impressive as usual but there wasn't as much water in the becks as there had been 2 weeks ago.  My hip suffered badly coming down the steps at the side of the cove but apart from that it had been another lovely walk.

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Hard Knott and Border End - Monday 26 April - and what a complete contrast to the last time we were on Hard Knott!  Then, we got soaked and saw nothing of the super views and took no photographs.  You wouldn't have thought it was the same place!  The sun was warm, the birds were singing and everywhere looked just perfect.  It isn't a long walk and Hard Knott is only 1803' but it's one of the best viewpoints for the whole Scafell ridge and you really feel as if you are high up in the big fells.  We took a detour to Border End (on the way looking down on top of 50' high Eskdale Needle) where there are more impressive views, this time the bird's eye view of Eskdale and the Roman camp of Hard Knott.  And then back to the car, another great walk done.

The Scafell ridge from Hard Knott summit

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Looking across Malham Cove from the stepped path at the side

A walk round Malham - Thursday 22 April - this time with Sophie.  Now while I love the Lake District and do most of my walking there, I never forget that I live on the doorstep of the Yorkshire Dales and while it may not have lakes or many high mountains it is a beautiful place.  From the village we walked along the beck to the pretty waterfall of Janet's Foss - which, after all the recent rain, was quite impressive.  We didn't go up to Gordale Scar this time - unless you want to climb the waterfall and continue up the gill it's necessary to retrace your route to Gordale Bridge - which is what we decided to do.  We started up the path through the fields which then follows the wall eventually coming out on the road to the east of Malham Cove.  

We watched, in the distance, a large lorry struggling up the road at the other side of the cove and having to keep reversing down the steep hill to let traffic coming down pass.  He gave up in the end and reversed right back down to the village, turned round and set off back to civilisation - not a happy chap!  It's an interesting walk across the limestone pavement on the top of the cove - more a jump and you have to watch where you're putting your feet but great fun.  Then down the many steps to the west side of the cove and back to the valley floor.  You feel quite high on top of the cove but the walk is nowhere steep - it's quite an illusion.  Then a pleasant walk back to the village where we revived ourselves with very welcome ice-creams.  It's a lovely walk with some impressive limestone scenery and a pleasant change from the Lake District.

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Arnison Crag from Patterdale - Wednesday 24 March - another lovely day and a change from our usual Monday but it was Barrie's birthday.  We aren't looking for anything too strenuous these days because of my arthritis and Arnison Crag just fitted the bill.  We parked at the George Starkey hut in Patterdale (free parking but you need to be there early). Arnison Crag is only 1424' but it's a very pleasant short walk and nowhere is it steep. There are lovely views over Ullswater, across to Place Fell and from the summit the view south to Kirkstone and the Dodds is pretty good too. We had lunch at the summit - which is rocky and worthy of a much higher fell - but moved on as dark clouds kept bringing short snow flurries although there was blue sky in between.

Looking back to Arnison Crag from the path to Trough Head with Place Fell in the background

From the summit we walked east passing a small tarn where Sam had a play, then followed the wall to Trough Head. From here it's possible to carry on to Birks and St Sunday Crag but not for us this time. Crossing an interesting metal stile we walked down through Glemara Park and back on to the main track from Patterdale.  Not a long walk although we made it last over 3 hours but certainly a pleasant one.   Aren't they all though - and we finished with a look round the shops in Grasmere.  A good end to another very pleasant day in the Lakes.

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Skiddaw and Derwentwater from the slopes of Catbells Catbells from Nichol End - Monday 8 March - and what a difference from our last walk!  The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the lambs were gambolling - it was just perfect.  We carried on north as we were early and the day was so beautiful.  Catbells was our choice - not too strenuous and not too long but a worthy fell.  It was a long time since I'd been on Catbells - it was my first Lake District hill - so I was looking forward to being there again.  We parked at Nichol End Marina and walked through the woods to the base of the hill.  Our route was not up the steep north slopes but the gentler way round the western slopes which takes you easily to the col at Hawse End and we stopped many times to admire the beautiful views across the Newlands Valley.

We sat at the col eating our lunch for nearly an hour - it was just too good to leave.  We had a short stroll onto Maiden Moor to have a look further into Borrowdale then made our way to the summit of Catbells where we stopped for another break!  The jets were busy and at times they seemed to be almost touching the surface of Bassenthwaite Lake as they were so low.  In complete contrast we watched a buzzard soaring silently and gracefully above us as we sat.  But time was getting on and we made our way down the steeper north ridge - which wasn't as bad as I remembered when I ascended that way before.  Then a reviving coffee in the cafe at Nichol End and another lovely walk over.  The walk was only a few miles but we managed to make it last 5½ hours!  But what a wonderful 5½ hours they were.

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Great Carrs from the Three Shires Stone - Monday 9 February - it was cold and snow was threatening as we parked at the Three Shires Stone at the top of Wrynose Pass  It's one of my favourite starting places - as I think I've mentioned before - as you are straight onto the fells with no road walking.  We couldn't make out the path properly as it was under snow and rather slushy but we made our way without too much difficulty to Wet Side Edge  It's a lovely ridge walk and isn't normally wet at all but this time it was icy in places.  The views across to Wetherlam and in front of us to Swirl How and Great Carrs were impressive with their wintry coats on.  We ate our lunch at Great Carrs summit and decided to call it a day there.  

Swirl How and Great Carrs from Wet Side Edge

I'm suffering with osteo-arthritis in my hip and having to find less strenuous walks for the time being.  While I could easily have carried on further, it's the return journey where I would have suffered especially in the slippery conditions under foot.  But we had a snowball fight on the way down which was great fun and took me back to my childhood days.  So even though it wasn't a very long walk, only a couple of miles, it was still a special one - as they all are anyway.

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The Langdale Pikes from Lingmoor Fell summit

Lingmoor Fell and Side Pike - Monday 26 January - we were parked at a frosty Blea Tarn National Trust carpark for 9.30 and set off along the road past Blea Tarn House (also called Solitary) with the sun coming up over the fells behind us.  The view to the Langdale Pikes was stunning and we turned reluctantly away to climb the easy, but rocky in places, path to the summit of Side Pike.  This is the distinctive outcrop at the north end of the Lingmoor ridge with a height of 1187'.  It has, however, a vertical drop and you have to retrace your steps for a short while to avoid it.  We ate our lunch there first, marvelling at the views and were loth to leave.  

The path continues round the base of Side Pike passing through a narrow rock channel (difficult if you've overeaten at Christmas but avoidable) then a pleasant ridge path to the summit.  The weather was closing in behind us from the north and the cloud base was getting lower with most of the higher peaks slowly disappearing.  It was like being in 2 seasons with winter to the north and summer to the south!  We had 'afternoon tea' at the summit then made our way down a good path which, although it wasn't the one marked on the map, brought us directly down to the carpark.  We'd had a few spots of rain and what possibly could have been small flakes of snow but the day had stayed fine.  We were out about 4 hours covering only about 3 miles with nothing strenuous but once again, another great day.

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Place Fell - Monday 12 January - the weather forecast for our first trip of the year wasn't a good one but we managed to avoid the rain apart from a few spots.  We parked by the George Starkey hut in Patterdale and set off up Place Fell via Boredale Hause  Our route then took us over the subsidiary summit of Round How and on to the main summit which was a very windy place to be  It's a lovely walk and there are no really steep bits and the views are extensive.  We had a few snatches of sunshine and some lovely effects from the shafts of sunlight through the darker clouds over Caudale Moor and Hartsop Dodd.  The Helvellyn range looked very foreboding with its covering of snow and the only places which seemed to be in permanent sunlight were Great and Little Mell Fell. Place Fell summit looking north over Ullswater

There was still some snow on Place Fell and Sam had a play in a cold and icy looking tarn while we found a sheltered spot to eat our lunch.  Our return route took us north east from the summit skirting High Dodd then down by Scalehow Beck (very impressive) to Ullswater shore and the longish but lovely walk back along the lakeside.  A lovely start to the year.

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Updated 15 May 2015