Walks and days in the Lake District (mostly) - 2005

Great Gable by Barrie

Looking down to the sea from Black Combe Black Combe - Tuesday 27 December - a lovely post-Christmas day.  We needed to get out for some fresh air and exercise after Christmas but deciding which direction to go to find the best weather wasn't an easy decision to make.  I think we made the best one by heading for the west although our catering manager (me!) nearly got the sack as we didn't take much in the way of sustenance and found most of the shops selling food were still enjoying their Christmas holiday.  We had, however, taken mince pies and these kept us going on our very enjoyable but cold walk on Black Combe.  It was a very doggy walk as most of the people we encountered - and there were quite a lot of them - had dogs with them.  We always have hot drinks with us so coffee for Barrie and tea for me was very welcome when we got back to the car.  A cafe in Coniston was a life saver with pies and butties late afternoon then a 'proper' drink for me (2 pints of Jennings Cumberland) and chips for Barrie at The Maypole at Long Preston rounded off the day very nicely.

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Short walk above Rydal then Latrigg then Keswick - Monday 19 December - a lovely lazy dawdle day.  Barrie, Sam and I had a lovely pre-Chrismas day but as I was full of cold and not feeling too good we didn't make it a long walk but enjoyed a couple of short ones.  First, from White Moss car park at Rydal we walked part way up the track to Alcock Tarn then as I wasn't feeling up to much climbing we carried on to Keswick and parked at the top of Gale Road for the easy ascent of Latrigg.  After that I hit the shops in Keswick while Sam and Barrie walked to Friars Crag.  We then met up for coffee at Bryson's and actually sat outside to drink it.  It wasn't exactly hot but it wasn't cold either and was pleasant sitting there watching the world go by.  Then back to Ambleside followed by our usual visit to Lakeland. Keswick and Derwentwater from Latrigg

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The cloud ocean from Walna Scar Dow Crag, Brim Fell and Coniston Old Man - Tuesday 22 November - just fabulous.!! Words can't describe the feelings of experiencing one of the best cloud inversions ever. It's difficult to put into words what it was like to be walking in such conditions as Tuesday – it really was like an out of this world experience and I am so glad I was there! It was made extra special for me as the day before had been my father's funeral and it was like a sign that things are OK and there is beauty and peace whatever the circumstances.

Starting out from the car park on Walna Scar road it was hard to imagine in the murk that it could be so perfect just that bit higher but as we reached Cove Bridge we could see blue sky above us then the perfect white arch of a fogbow which we'd never seen before but it's just like a white rainbow. We walked past the beehive shelter to the top of Walna Scar pass then over Brown Pike and Buck Pike to Dow Crag summit although we stopped even more than we normally do as it was just unbelievable looking out at the white cloud ocean.

We'd thought of going on to Swirl Hause and Swirl How and Great Carrs but we were walking so leisurely we'd have never made it back before pitch blackness! As it was we cut across to Brim Fell summit then on to the Old Man. The sun was now very low and we did linger too long there – it was much too good to leave – and made the steep descent of the Old Man down the tourist track. As that hadn't had the sun, it was a bit tricky for me in places and we got back to the car about 5pm, a walk of nearly 7 hours.

The Pennines looked like a distant land across the ocean and we're sure we actually saw a ship out there.  All our days in the Lakes are special but this one was beyond special, if that's possible, and will be in our hearts and memories forever.

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Yorkshire day - Beamsley Beacon via Kettlewell and The Strid, Bolton Abbey - Monday 7 November- we were determined to get a walk in over this weekend but Monday found us heading up Wharfedale intending to climb Great Whernside (the lower Whernside above Kettlewell) and we did set off up the slopes but the wind was cold and the ground was very wet and there were misleading notices about dogs!  We drove back down Wharfedale and had a short walk to the Strid at Bolton Abbey then down into Lower Wharfedale and enjoyed the short walk up Beamsley Beacon.  Although the sun was out there was a very cold wind and I think we were glad we hadn't been out for a longer walk. The Strid on the river Wharfe near Bolton Abbey

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Grey day by Ullswater Lakes day but not much walking but AW Memorial Lecture at Rheged - Saturday 5 November - we had hoped to have a walk before the lecture which started at 4 but the weather wasn't very appetising so we had a pootling day - Card Warehouse for me and Kendal Tools for Barrie, then up the east shore of Ullswater to Howtown where the rain was as its heaviest, then to Pooley Bridge.  The lecture given by Eric Robson was very entertaining and was followed by Cumberland Sausage and mash and toffee pudding.  So no walk but an interesting day nonetheless.  

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Ingleton Waterfalls - via Windermere! - Monday 17 October - and my first walk since becoming a grandmother - well, Nana, to Hollie Emma who was born on 13 October - and she's just beautiful and will hopefully be joining us on our walks before long!  Anyway, this Lakes trip turned into a Yorkshire day as we did the lovely Ingleton waterfalls walk but via Windermere.  We set off early and drove through beautiful sunshine but by Kirkby Lonsdale we could see that it was looking a bit grey toward the Lakes.  We carried on to Windermere and did our Lakeland visit in a very quiet shop.  Mind you, it was only just after 9am.  It wasn't looking very inviting so we decided to back track to the sunshine and drove via Kendal (Papermill shop at Burneside and Paper Warehouse in Kendal for me and Kendal Tools for Barrie) then through Sedbergh and lovely Dent and down Ribblesdale to Ingleton.  The clouds were strange – it was as if the mountains had just disappeared.  We thought of doing Whernside but couldn't even see it.

The waterfall walk is just over 4 miles and goes north along the River Twiss past the lovely Pecca Falls, the impressive Thornton Force then across country before following the River Doe south past Beezely Falls, through deep Baxenghyll Gorge then past Snow Falls and back to Ingleton.  It was lovely and sunny and we wished we'd had our shorts on.

Lovely Pecca Falls on the River Twiss, Ingleton

So not a Lakes day – but it made a nice change to walk nearer home and there are some lovely walks in the Yorkshire Dales and this is certainly one of them.  There was plenty of water about too, which made it really worthwhile and quite spectacular.

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In Grisedale Grey but great in Grisedale - Monday 3 October - we had another good walk on Monday and although we weren't up high on the fells we really felt as if we were right in the mountains.  Our walk took us from Patterdale (free parking at the George Starkey hut if you get there early enough) up one side of beautiful Grisedale to Grisedale Tarn and back down the other side.   We'd intended doing St Sunday Crag but the weather wasn't brilliant and the cloud was low so no point in going high.  But as you pass Ruthwaite Lodge the path starts to climb steadily till you pass the Brothers Parting Stone and so arrive at the tarn.

After lunch sitting by a very grey tarn we retraced our steps to the footbridge below the climbing hut then crossed over and followed the path back down the northern side of the valley.  You're surrounded by mountains all the time – St Sunday Crag and Fairfield on one side and the rugged crags of Dollywaggon Pike and Nethermost Pike on the other.  Just fabulous.

It was about 7 miles and thoroughly enjoyable – there's as much enjoyment in some of the lower level walks as on the high fells.  It's just what you make of them that counts.  As usual we took our time and just took in everything – the little things that make the difference, like watching the farmer and his 8 dogs as he herded the sheep off the high fells down into the valley, meeting the cows and calves on the narrow track and walking through the middle of them (although Sam decided he wasn't going to and set off back).  There was a wall on one side and the beck on the other so we had to go through them.  They were lovely though.

Then a visit to the outdoor shop in Glenridding for me to treat myself to a new Paramo jacket but ending up with Barrie treating himself to a Paramo shirt instead!

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Camping at Nether Wasdale and staying with friends at Loweswater - Sunday 11 September - Saturday 17 September - a fabulous week and what a variety of activities we fitted in too!  We spent the first 3 nights camping at Nether Wasdale which was very peaceful and it was lovely to be back there again.  The weather was perfect as we pitched the tent and then we enjoyed a 3 hour walk from the campsite over to Greendale and down to Wastwater then back along the lakeside and back to the tent and a late supper.  Monday dawned fine and sunny and we set off for Yewbarrow.  For a fell of very modest height – 2058' - it has everything - steep rocky scrambles, grassy ambles and fabulous views all round especially across to the Scafells and Great Gable.  The descent off Stirrup Crag is great fun, better if you've longer legs.  Tuesday was grey so we visited Gosforth (super bakery), Seascale (paddle in the sea for me and Sam) and Egremont (just for a look but a pleasant little town).

On Wednesday we decamped and moved on to stay with friends, Ann and Roger Hiley, at their lovely home in Loweswater calling at the Kangol shop in Cleator on the way.  I've been a Kangol fan for a long time so treated myself to a lovely little lilac flowered hat!  On Wednesday evening I spent an interesting time with Ann at the AGM of the Loweswater WI followed by a lovely supper then met Barrie and Roger for drinks at the Kirkstile Inn.

Looking over Bell Rib on Yewbarrow to Wastwater
Crinkle Crags and Bowfell from Pike O'Blisco

It was a shame the weather wasn't good for Loweswater show on Thursday but it didn't dampen anyone's spirits and it was good to meet up with fellow OFC members, Jo Hall and John Paterson.  Barrie and I also had a short visit to the lovely town of Cockermouth.  And Friday was John's 214th Wainwright where we joined him, Ann and Roger, Jo Hall, Ann Bowker and Andrew Leaney (and Sean McMahon for part of the walk) on Crinkle Crags and Pike O'Blisco.  And mustn't forget the 6 dogs - Sam, Harry, Bethan, Jodie, Megan and Angus!  It was a great walk - super weather, super company and super scenery and rounded off nicely with a meal at The King's Head at Thirlspot.

And on Saturday we said farewell to the Lakes for a couple of weeks but we'll be back for our usual Monday trip soon.  It was a wonderful few days with lovely camping then lovely to stay with friends who really make you feel at home.  Can't wait till the next visit!

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Sadgill and Longsleddale over Kentmere Pike and Harter Fell - Monday 29 August - And if we hadn't known it was a Bank Holiday, Barrie and I would never have guessed it was anything other than our usual Monday trip to the Lakes – we didn't go anywhere near the honey pots of Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere but even so, we were expecting it to be busier.  At 8.15 we drove through a deserted Kendal (deserted on the way back too – at about 6.30) on our way to remote Sadgill at the end of lovely Longsleddale.

We'd driven through rain all the way from home but the forecast was for it to clear and by the time we parked the sun was out with just a bit of cloud lingering on Shipman Knotts (our first fell) and Goat Scar.  Before we set off we sat on the bench having our `nineses' and watched the farmers, dogs and sheep go about their usual daily routine – it was like being in another world.  The hardest part of the walk is on to the lowest of the 3 fells – there's a bit of a rocky scramble on to Shipman Knotts then after that it's a grassy amble to Kentmere Pike then to Harter Fell.  As usual, we took our time and by then the sun was really shining and warm.   

Looking down from Gatesgarth Pass to Sadgill and Longsleddale
By the time we reached Harter Fell it was a bit busier and we could see how crowded it was down at Mardale Head.  Haweswater was looking very low and we could see the walls of the old village.  We descended to Gatescarth Pass and then a lovely walk south down the valley for about 2 miles and we were back at Sadgill.  We then sat for a couple of hours in the early evening sunshine just taking in the atmosphere and peace and wishing it would go on forever.

But it does prove that you really can find the quiet places in the Lakes if you know where to go.  We stopped at The Maypole at Long Preston for our usual 2 pints for me and chips for Barrie and although it's a popular pub, it also was quiet for a Bank Holiday.  And once again, it was a fabulous day, walking about 9 miles and being out for 6 hours.

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Wet Side Edge and Black Crag - 2 walks - Monday 15 August - we had a mix of weather but managed 2 shortish walks – we had intended doing Swirl How along with Great Carrs and Grey Friar as we'd been there last year in the snow and because of my arthritis didn't get very far.  So Monday found us parked at Three Shires Stone again and setting off up onto Wet Side Edge.  We climbed about 1000' feet on to the ridge only to see the cloud coming swirling down over Great Carrs and not looking very pleasant at all.  This is a walk for a clear day and 3 out of my last 3 walks had some misty summits so no point going on – there was plenty of time for a change of plan so back to the car, nice cuppa then off to Black Crag (above Tarn Hows).  And yet again, for the time of year, we noticed how quiet everywhere was.  There were a few setting off up the Red Tarn path but it was no busier than any other time of year.

We parked by the post box on the Coniston-Ambleside road near the turn off to Elterwater and from there it is a pleasant walk to the summit – as long as you keep going well along the track and don't turn off across country when you see the summit in the distance.  We picked up the path that comes up from Tarn Hows and then were soon at the top.  The views around and especially down Windermere are fabulous but the cloud was coming in quite thick to the north and over Bowfell and Crinkle Crags.   It was still on Great Carrs so we were glad we hadn't gone on – there's always another day and I'd much rather do it on a clear day.

After that we had a look round the camping show in Ambleside then a visit to Lakeland at Windermere.  Another great day and 2 walks – about 4 hours walking altogether so not bad.  And my usual couple of pints on the way back, at The Maypole at Long Preston, was a good ending to yet another wonderful day in the Lakes.

Black Crag summit

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Approaching Great Rigg with Fairfield under cloud Fairfield Horseshoe - Monday 1 August - we had a fabulous day on Monday round the Fairfield Horseshoe, which the last time I'd been on had been in thick mist and rain and I only saw Low Pike and Nab Scar!  This time the weather wasn't brilliant and there was a bit of cloud on Fairfield itself most of the way round but we had no rain and it was warm but not too warm.  We decided to do it clockwise and get steep Nab Scar over first, parking at Pelter Bridge at Rydal.

We left the car at 9.30 and were back just after 6 so we took our time, as usual, but it was about 12 miles.  It was our busiest walk for a long time and we kept seeing the same people over again as we overtook them then they overtook us but even so, for the time of year, it wasn't exceptionally busy at all.  We had our lunch on Great Rigg hoping the cloud would clear off Fairfield before we got there – and it did, but sadly came back down as we were on it admiring the views all round.  The forecast had said it would be cloudier in the west but looking that way, they were having it a lot better than we were!

It's a great walk with a variety of terrain – gentle grassy slopes and small craggy scrambles and on lowly Low Pike the obstacle of the rock step, where AW says there can be no dignity whether you're proceeding up or down!  It's a bit like the bad step on Crinkle Crags.  But for me, I think it would have been easier going up it. The sun, which had been coming our way all afternoon, came out as we were descending Low Pike and as we found the path by Low Sweden Bridge which took us back through Rydal Park so we didn't have to go into Ambleside, it became quite warm and we really enjoyed our tea and fruit cake sitting out by the car in the evening sunshine.  And yet another fabulous day in the Lakes to remember.

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Blencathra and Haystacks on a 2 day break, Thursday 21 - Saturday 23 July - we enjoyed a couple of super days in the Lakes, staying B and B at Thornthwaite near Keswick – in fact, right at the foot of Barf and although the weather wasn’t brilliant, we had no rain and had 2 fabulous walks – Thursday saw us on Sharp Edge on Blencathra and Friday we were on Haystacks.  Sharp Edge was done in the mist – we got to Scales Tarn and sat there for a while to see if it was going to clear then I decided I’d do it whatever!  We could see only about 20 feet in front of us and while it wasn’t ideal, it was my first time on Sharp Edge so I was quite happy not to be able to see the drop at either side of me.  I just concentrated on the rocks in front and below my feet and found it not bad at all.  At the one tricky bit where there’s smooth rock and a shuffle across I was right on the middle of it on hands and knees when Barrie told me to wait while he took my photo – I politely told him to get stuffed.  But now I’ll look forward to doing it again on a better day and will be able to enjoy the views too.  

We had a lovely meal at The Wheatsheaf at Embleton then a drive round Bassenthwaite – the evening sun was beautiful and the light on the trees and mountains was breathtaking.

Liz on Sharp Edge on Blencathra

Haystacks summit

On Friday we got the bus from Buttermere to the top of Honister Pass and walked up the old tramway to Drum House and over Dubs quarry which is in use again and on to Haystacks – it was a much better day, not much sun but super views all round.  There were fabulous views down to Buttermere and Crummock Water so many photo stops were taken.  We had lunch by Innominate Tarn watching the clouds boiling up over Great Gable.  By the time we got to the summit the clouds had started coming our way and on to Gamlin End.  

We were thinking about going on over the High Stile ridge and down by Scale Force but decided to cut down Scarth Gap and not risk being in cloud again for the ridge and I think my legs may not have been quite up to such a long walk anyway.  And it was a lovely walk back along Buttermere and very welcome ice-creams at the cafι.  We then had a pleasant drive round Crummock calling to see friends at Loweswater.  

On Saturday we had a morning in Cockermouth with a visit to Wordsworth’s childhood home (making good use of our NT membership).  It’s such a lovely, friendly town, then back to Keswick for lunch by the lake – at Great Wood where it was much quieter than in the town.  Then a visit to another friend near Thirlemere and off home finishing with a lovely meal at The Maypole at Long Preston.  A fabulous couple of days!

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Wansfell - Monday 4 July - and after our last few walks in perfect weather, Barrie, Sam and I had a rather grey day on Wansfell – but we couldn’t really complain.  After all, this is England and Cumbria.  But we were out for about 3 hours starting from Troutbeck, going up Nanny Lane, across the Hundreds and on to the ridge.  The views from the summit would have been good if the weather had been better – it is one of the best viewpoints for Windermere (the lake).  

We were back at the car for 2.30 so played at being tourists – we’d been in Lakeland in Windermere at 9 so had a visit to Hayes Garden Centre, then the Paper Mill shop at Burneside (for me to buy moe card!) then a look round Kirkby Lonsdale.  Then a visit to my sister who’s just moved to Hellifield so we now have another stopping place on the way home.  I had my 2 pints at Long Preston first though.  Got to get my priorities right!

A very grey looking Wansfell

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Looking east from Harter Fell summit Harter Fell, Mardale - Monday 20 June - a very pleasant and warm walk.  And after a gap of 4 weeks it was good to be back in the Lakes and while it wasn't quite as hot as the weekend I got nicely burned on the backs of my legs (even with sun cream on).  But we had a fabulous walk from Mardale Head up Gatesgarth and on to Harter Fell.  It was much too nice to hurry and while we could have made it a longer walk and carried on to High Street we decided to come down from Nan Bield to Small Water so Sam could have a swim – and I could have a paddle.  The views all round were fabulous and we were quite surprised at how quiet it was.

The RSPB hide in Riggindale for the golden eagles is open from 11 to 4 and I'm sure will be a busy place at weekends.  It was certainly one of those days for dawdling, stopping to admire the views and just being glad to be there.  And we had our lunch above Nan Bield with a nice rock chair looking down over the crags to Small Water and across to High Street.  Just fabulous.  It was lovely and refreshing to have a paddle in Small Water and Barrie had a paddle later in Ullswater.

We also visited the unusual nurseries of Larch Cottage, at Melkinthorpe near Penrith.  It's more like someone's garden with statues and arches all over the place and a pond with fish but very pleasant to wander round and well worth a visit.  We had an evening stop by Ullswater – another swim for Sam and a paddle for Barrie then a pleasant summer evening drive home.  Just perfect!

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Penyghent - Monday 23 May - and a change of scenery for us in the limestone country of Yorkshire.  We decided to have a walk nearer home and decided on Penyghent.  Again the weather was unsettled but we left Horton in Ribblesdale in sunshine but were soon in a very heavy shower with some grim looking black clouds.  It was showery for most of the walk with a very bitter wind – typical May, I don't think!  The steep rocky pull up the nose of the fell reminded us of Saturday on Seat Sandal but it's soon over and we were on the very windy summit which now has a wall and shelter commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  It was very welcome too.  While we had our lunch there we chatted to 2 very pleasant chaps doing the 3 peaks, one of whom spent the whole 20 minutes throwing a stick for Sam.  Bet his arm ached next morning.  From the summit we came down the very obvious track, taking short detours to look at the awesome chasms of Hull Pot and Hunt Pot – 2 more places to stand well back from.  It was just over 5 miles and made a pleasant change from the Lakes – although the car wasn't sure where we were going when we turned off at Settle! Penyghent with Hunt Pot in the foreground

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Seat Sandal summit with St Sunday Crag and Fairfield behind Seat Sandal - Saturday 21 May - our fell in the Great Lakeland Challenge celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Alfred Wainwright's first Pictorial Guide.  The challenge was to have someone on all 214 Wainwrights plus the fells from his Outlying book during the week 14-21 May.  And the fell we had chosen was Seat Sandal - bringing back happy memories for us as it was our first fell together as a couple.  And after a rather grey and wet start it turned into a 'not bad at all' afternoon and a 'not bad at all' walk..  

We parked at the top of Dunmail Raise – in fact we were quite surprised when we got there to find a welcoming committee, but it turned out to be the back up teams for Bob Graham round participants.  I think they were in training for the actual day but watching some of them going easily up the steep east flank of Steel Fell made us feel very unfit and glad we were only tackling one fell!

We walked up Raise Beck which had been very icy when we were last there and were met at the top of the gill by super views down to Grisedale Tarn and across to St Sunday Crag and Fairfield.  It's a steep and rocky pull up to the summit of Seat Sandal but the views east just got better and better so plenty of excuses to stop.  Our return route brought us down the grassy west flank which gave us some unusual views of a sunny Thirlemere which looked more like a lake than a reservoir for a change.  A great walk.

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Beacon Fell above Coniston Water - Monday 9 May - a lovely and varied day and this time Sophie was with us.  The weather was bright, sunny and blustery and we had the occasional shower but it was great fun and it's a pleasant walk with the added bonus of a tarn tucked into the fell.  It's only 836' and a Wainwright outlier but is an interesting walk with a bit of everything – and a rocky summit.  And hidden in the summit cairn we found a tin with notebook and pens for people to comment.  It was interesting to read some of the messages – a lot commented on the windy weather.  A lovely walk of about 4 miles.

After that we had a row on the lake – Barrie did all the hard work while I sat back and enjoyed the scenery.  Then a quick look in the shops in Ambleside and an early evening walk round Stagshaw Gardens (NT) at Ambleside where there are some lovely rhododendrons and azaleas.  We were a bit late for the magnolias though.  And we heard our first cuckoo of the year.  The swallows are here too – so for me, summer has really started at last.

Looking to the Coniston Fells from Beacon Fell

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On the Climbers' Traverse, Bowfell Bowfell and Rossett Gill - Monday 25 April - a super walk and a hot day and Barrie and I ended up with a bit of sun and wind burn.   We went up The Band which isn't such a trudge as people say – the views all round are superb – into Oxendale to the left and Mickleden and the Langdale Pikes to the right – and naturally, we stopped many times to admire them.  Of about 4 couples coming along behind us – far enough away to not make it feel crowded we were the only ones to take the Climbers' Traverse which is much the best way to get to the summit.  It's a narrow but good path which skirts the base of the crags and there is at times a slight feeling of exposure as it's quite a steep drop to the right.  But nothing scary and we were soon at the bottom of Flat Crag and the Great Slab which Barrie walked up but I kept to the boulder run at the edge.  It was great fun and we were soon at the summit.  From there we descended to Ore Gap then down to Angle Tarn for afternoon tea and a swim for Sam.  Then we skirted Rossett Pike summit and started the long descent of Rossett Gill to Mickleden.  Last time we'd gone the hard way up the gill itself but it's closed just now because of the erosion so it was quite easy coming down the stepped path.  Then a long but level walk back down Mickleden and another super walk over – seven and a half hours and about 8 miles.  Just fabulous!

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High Street from Hartsop - Monday 11 April - a longish circular walk from Hartsop over The Knott, High Street and Thornthwaite Crag returning by Threshthwaite Mouth and Pasture Beck.  Well, it was a longish walk (for us).  We weren't sure if we were feeling up to a long walk but we decided to walk up to Hayeswater and see how we felt then.  We made it and carried on and by the time we got to The Knott the hard part was over so we continued on the ridge to High Street (lovely views down Riggindale to Haweswater) then across to Thornthwaite Crag.  It was cold with a very strong wind and difficult to stand up at times so we didn't dawdle.  From the large obelisk/cairn on Thornthwaite Crag the choice was down the long ridge of Gray Crag or down to Threshthwaite Mouth and Pasture Beck – we chose the latter which starts off with a steep shaly path down to the col then a fairly steep descent through Threshthwaite Cove to Pasture Bottom (say it out loud!) and a pleasant valley walk along Pasture Beck and back to Hartsop.   Looking down Long Stile from High Street to Blea Water

It was about 9 miles altogether with more steep descent than ascent but good practice for the leg muscles. It was a shame the weather was so dull as I was looking forward to trying my new digital camera.  I still managed to take 70 photos but unfortunately I'd forgotten how to do the panorama and sitting on High Street summit trying to work it out was not a good idea.  Another super day!

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Looking across to Blake Rigg and the Langdale Pikes from near Little Langdale Tarn

Tootling round Tilberthwaite - Tuesday 22 March - and a Tuesday visit for a change - the weather forecast seemed better than for Monday and as I was on hols for 2 weeks it didn't matter which day we went.  However, the morning wasn't too bright so we had a look round Cartmel (very pretty), then to Ulverston (to the glass factory, which is interesting as you can watch them glass blowing and engraving) then into the town - which is a very pleasant town.  By then the weather was brightening up so we drove up toward Coniston intending to walk onto Beacon Fell and to Beacon Tarn but by the time we parked it was raining again.  We ended up parking at Tilberthwaite quarry and having a lovely walk of about 2 hours up to Little Langdale via the pretty Slaters (or Slater) Bridge and the impressive Cathedral Caverns.  The sun came out and it was lovely with lovely views across to the Langdale Pikes and down to Little Langdale Tarn.  So quite an eventful day after a not too promising start.

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Blea Rigg via Stickle Ghyll - Monday 7 March - after a call at Friends of the Lake District office in Kendal to drop off some work I'd been proofreading for them, we were parked at the New Dungeon Ghyll car park just after 9.30 and set off up Stickle Ghyll to Stickle Tarn.   It's a steep pull up Stickle Ghyll but worth it for the amazing sight of Pavey Ark as you reach the crest of the ghyll - it really is a 'WOW' experience.  As we walked cross country to Blea Rigg we were continually stopping to turn round and just look at the awesome rock face.  We had thought of going round to the bottom of Jack's Rake to try and get the feel of it (we intend climbing it sometime!) but decided just to have a stroll on the gentler slopes of Blea Rigg.  Last time we'd been on Blea Rigg the weather had been terrible and we hadn't seen the lovely views down to Easedale Tarn and to the eastern fells.  This time we got them all and snow covered too.  

Harrison Stickle, Pavey Ark and Stickle Tarn from Blea Rigg

Our descent took us east of Tarn Crag (not the Easedale Tarn Crag) and down a lovely zig zag path which comes out halfway down Stickle Ghyll.  Not a long walk but we were out about 5 hours with, of course, many stops.  We'd taken a flask of coffee this time and really appreciated it!  Another great day.

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Looking down Langstrath from Tray Dub at the foot of Stake Pass

Sergeant's Crag and Eagle Crag from Stonethwaite - Monday 21 February - a lovely walk via Langstrath then a night at the Salutation Inn, Threlkeld.  A lovely short break  As I had a day off on Tuesday, we extended our usual Monday visit and enjoyed a night at the Salutation Inn in Threlkeld.  But we did have a great walk on Monday which turned into a 7 hour epic!  From Stonethwaite we walked in the sunshine up Langstrath (a lovely and remote valley) to Tray Dub at the foot of Stake Pass and then made our way across the pathless side of the fell (quite steep and hard going without a path) onto the ridge and to Sergeant's Crag summit.  From there it's only about half a mile with a bit of mild scrambling down a few rocks to Eagle Crag summit.  The views are superb, looking up the valley to Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Esk Pike, and Great End, straight down to Stonethwaite and Borrowdale and across to Ullscarf and Greenup Edge.  Coming off the summit we made our way down the grassy east flank of the fell which was quite steep but avoided the crags – in fact in places, I found it easier to sit and slide down – which might not have looked very elegant but got me down quicker!

The weather forecast had been for bad weather but apart from a few snow flurries on the ridge we couldn't complain and sat several times enjoying the warm sunshine.  All in all about 7 miles in 7 hours.  But we weren't hurrying at all and really had a great time.  And apart from 2 people setting off when we did and a farmer, we saw nobody.  And then a meal at the Pheasant at Crosthwaite and a few drinks at the Salutation finished off a great day.

And on Tuesday we woke up to snow!  We decided to be tourists instead and had an enjoyable time in Cockermouth (a very pleasant town) then back to Keswick.  By this time the weather was closing in and as we drove back by Thirlemere the snow was starting and Helvellyn soon disappeared in the murk.  We were glad we'd decided to walk on the Monday and relax on Tuesday but it was a wonderful couple of days.

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Latterbarrow and Gummers How - Monday 7 February - weatherwise not a very good day but after a drive round Langdale and over to Grasmere looking for good weather, we ended up at Hawkshead and had a lovely walk onto Latterbarrow.  No views from the summit but it was interesting but sad seeing all the damaged trees.  After that we had a look round the shops in Hawkshead then as we were still feeling full of energy we went across on the ferry, drove down to the southern end of Windermere and had a stroll up Gummers How. We'd driven through some sunshine and thought things were going to be OK but as we drove into Langdale it was looking decidedly gloomy so from Elterwater we drove over to Grasmere which was also looking quite bleak. There was no point going high as you just couldn't see anything. So we went back south to Tarn Hows thinking of Tom Heights and Black Fell but the NT warden there informed us that it was closed as they were sorting out the trees which had fallen.

spider on the slopes of Latterbarrow

We finally ended up on Latterbarrow (from Colthouse near Hawkshead) which is only 803' and should have had good views but didn't. It was fun though and there were lots of fallen trees. When we got back to the gate onto the road it had a 'path closed' notice. Nobody was taking any notice though but it was safe enough. After a short look round Hawkshead we were still feeling full of energy so went across on the ferry and drove south and popped up Gummers How which also should have had good vews but didn't. The sun did actually get out briefly and there was a bit of blue sky too. So not a bad day after all and 2 walks and it felt great. And we did take quite a few photos but mostly of the tree damage

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On Caudale Moor looking across to Red Screes

Caudale Moor from Kirkstone Pass - Monday 24 January - got there at last for my first walk of 2005!  We parked at the top of Kirkstone Pass which made it a fairly straighforward walk although it's a steep start up onto St Raven's Edge and there was still quite a bit of ice around but easily avoidable.  There was also a very bitter north wind - in fact I will say that it was the coldest I've walked in, but it was great to be there again and walking on the higher fells so I didn't grumble!  We went to the summit at the top of the north west ridge - where it was difficult to stand up because of the wind - then round by the monument to Mark Atkinson and his son then back down.  About 4 miles, I think, which considering the weather and my fitness was just about right.  But it's just great to be back!

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Updated 26 March 2013