Walks and days in the Lake District (mostly)- 2006

Great Gable by Barrie

Sculpture in Grisedale Forest Grey in Grisedale (the sculpture Grisedale) - Monday 27 November - it was another of those grey murky days when you wanted so much to be out on the fells but the grey skies did nothing to encourage you!  We drove over Kirkstone Pass and parked at Patterdale and had coffee and butties in the rain before deciding to head west and see if the weather was any better.  Our choices of walk ended up between the Windermere's western lakeside path below Wray Castle or Grisedale Forest.  Sophie used to enjoy spotting the sculptures at Grisedale and there is a lovely little tarn.  So that was where we went  It was still very grey but at least it wasn't raining.  I remembered it being only a short walk to the tarn but we took the longer route (unintentionally) and made it much longer.  It wasn't one of our best walks as most of it was in the trees and it was rather gloomy.  At least we got some exercise and fresh air - and saw some interesting sculptures.  Then off home, and rather than go all the way back up to Ambleside we took the ferry across the lake, having had a close look at the webcam, which we spend so much time looking through when we can't be in the Lakes ourselves.  Great fun!

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Stickle Pike above Broughton Mills - Monday 6 November - Stickle Pike had been on our list of 'to do fells' for a long while.  It's not a strenuous or long walk so it was just the right place to be for this day as neither of us was feeling very energetic or fit.  It's a very distinctive pointed peak seen from many angles in the south Lakes.  We parked on the fell road above Broughton Mills and took the short way to the summit.  Feeling slightly energised on reaching the summit we continued on to Great Stickle and Little Stickle making the walk last quite a bit longer than intended - much to our pleasure.  It's a beautiful but strange place - we seemed to cover miles but in a very small area.  The views are extensive - south to Morecambe Bay and north to the Scafell range.  We returned by the small but pleasant Stickle Tarn where we had a rest and Sam had a swim.  It's a quiet area too - which suits us fine - but if you want to feel like you've been on a proper fell walk with mountain looking hills but with not too much energy needed, Stickle Pike certainly fits the bill. The large cairn on Stickle Pike with Harter Fell beyond and the Scafell range in the clouds

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Rainbow over Dodd with Bassenthwaite Lake just in view to the left Lakes overnighter - Wainwright Memorial Lecture at Rheged and night at Loweswater - Saturday/Sunday 21/22 October - this was just going to be a day trip with hopefully a short walk before the lecture at 4 o'clock but an invite to stay the night with friends Ann and Roger Hiley at their lovely cottage in Loweswater was too good an invitation to turn down.  The weather was not very nice so we ambled to Ambleside (first Hayes Garden Centre then a pleasant art show at the new church hall) then over a mirky Kirkstone Pass to Glenridding and a craft show at the village hall.  

The weather cleared up enough for us to enjoy a short walk along the track above High Row (above Dockray) then it was time to get to Rheged.  The Radio 2 presenter Stuart Maconie, a fellow fellwalker and Wainwright fan, entertained us for a hilarious hour with tales of his times on the fells - a very good presenter and thoroughly enjoyed by a packed house.  After that it was back to Loweswater for a fabulous meal (as usual from Ann) and a lively evening chatting away.  

Sunday was grey again so after taking our leave of Ann and Roger we drove over Newlands Pass (short walk to the waterfall) then into Keswick and a slightly longer walk along the old railway track.  Not much walking but a very pleasant weekend all the same.

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A week in southern Scotland - Saturday 23- 30 September - a lovely week with Barrie, Sam, Sophie, Lee and Hollie at Colvend on the Dumfries and Galloway coast including an ascent of Criffel by Barrie, Sam and me.  We ennjoyed a family week staying in a lovely pine lodge in the middle of a golf course with red squirrels visiting.  Five minutes from the lovely sandy beach at Sandyhills - where Hollie had her fist paddle.  It was a very relaxing week with some babysitting and lots of visiting including Sweetheart Abbey and Brighouse Bay.  There are some lovely little villages along the coast - Kippford and Palnackie being among them. Sandy cove at Sandyhills
Approaching Criffel summit

Barrie and I had to get a proper walk in so on Tuesday with the forecast being not too bad off we set.  It was a second ascent for me as Sophie and I had been to the summit back in 1995 when camping near Gatehouse of Fleet.  It was an enjoyable walk this time although the ground was rather wet - and that's putting it mildly!  We saw hardly anyone else.  We had hoped to have good views across to the Lakeland fells - we'd looked across the Solway to Criffel so many times, it would be good to see the view from the other side.  Visibility wasn't brilliant but we did see Skiddaw and the western fells clearly.  Another day Barrie and Sam also enjoyed a coastal walk from Rockcliffe back to Sandyhills - Hollie and I enjoyed a play on the beach while Sophie and Lee enjoyed the shops in Castle Douglas.

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Loweswater weekend including Loweswater Show and evening at The Kirkstile with members of the Online Fellwalking Club and Hunter Davies - Saturday 2 - Tuesday 5 September - a wonderful weekend although the weather wasn't brilliant.  We camped for 3 nights at Lorton - had the place to ourselves, which wasn't surprising considering the weather!  Saturday evening was the Online Fellwalking Club do at the Kirkstile Inn when 20 or so members were entertained by local writer and Wainwright enthusiast, Hunter Davies.   But it was a great evening and also good to meet so many more members.  And the meal was delicious too!

It didn't seem a year since we were at the Loweswater Show last year, but once again the weather on Sunday wasn't brilliant although it did clear up in the afternoon.  Barrie, Sam and I managed a dry walk on Monday when Jo and Megan joined us on Binsey and Barf.  It was a lovely day and 2 walks more than made up for the bad weather of the rest of the weekend.  And the company was good too.

Sam and Megan (Jo Hall's dog) on Barf with Bassenthwaite Lake behind

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High Cup Nick above Dufton, Westmorland High Cup Nick and Appleby - Monday 14 August - we decided to do some walks in different areas sometimes and as we were scheduled to do the Appleby county boundary for The Wainwright Society Westmorland Challenge we thought it was time to get on with it.  Appleby is a very pleasant town but finding the boundary was not an easy task but we made our own up and completed some of it.  The walk was cut short after an unexpected problem (won't go into details but nothing embarrassing!) and we were back at the car sooner than expected.  The day was still young so after lunch sitting by the river Eden we went on to Dufton and had an interesting walk up to High Cup Nick and the Great Whin Sill - a geological phenomenon and well worth seeing.  It was about 30 years since I'd been there and walked all round from Hilton - but this walk was shorter - thank goodness.  

Lovely weather and lovely scenery and a pleasant change from our usual Monday trips.

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Dovedale from Cow Bridge, Brothers Water - Monday 31 July - a very wet day but with great company so not bad at all.  We'd arranged a walk with fellow members of the Online Fellwalking Club Jo Hall and John Paterson, (and dogs Megan, Jodie and Polly).  After all the fabulous hot dry weather of the last few weeks it decided to go back to the typical Lakes climate of rain and cloud.  We met Jo and John in The Brotherswater Hotel car park and decided to adjourn to the hotel for coffee while deciding what to do.  The plan had been High Hartsop Dodd via Caiston Glen but after nearly an hour chatting over coffee we decided on a low level walk up Dovedale - if the weather improved we could carry on upwards.  Apart from a few very short glimpses of brighter weather it rained non-stop and it was that really wetting sort of rain (as if there is any other!). We made the walk last a good few hours then spent another hour and a half recovering and drying out in The White Lion in Patterdale. Shame about the rain after all the beautiful weather we've had recently but the company was good and it was a change to sample the facilities of the area - the pubs! - so early in the day.  It's a long time since I've been supping in a hotel before 10 in the morning - but it was only coffee. Waterfalls in Dovedale

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A Wonderful Week in Wales - Monday 10 - Saturday 15 July - Barrie, Sam and I had a wonderful week in Wales.  We camped at beautiful Barmouth where we enjoyed many walks on the lovely sandy beaches and paddles in the sea.  However, the highlight of the week was a fabulous walk up Cader Idris which overlooks the beautiful Mawddach estuary.  At 2927' it's comparable with Great Gable and has dramatic cliffs and arętes to rival anything in the Lakes.  We ascended by the straightforward Pony Path - easy walking with extensive long distance views all around and toward Snowdon.  You arrive at the col looking down to Llyn Gadair with the impressive aręte of Cyfrwy to your left and the summit of Cader Idris (Pen y Gadair) above you to your right.  After the obligatory photos at the summit trig point we had lunch looking over the awesome cliffs of Craig Cau and down to eerie Llyn Cau.

Looking across Llyn Gadair to Cyfrwy from Cader Idris with the Mawddach estuary behind and the sea at Barmouth in the distance

We never like returning the same way if possible but our only real alternative was by the Foxes Path and all the reports we'd read about it strongly advised against it because of the very loose, steep scree slope down to Llyn Gadair.  We went for it and I can truthfully say, I would not like to go down it again.  It was awful - and that's putting it politely.  Still, we did it and were glad we had.  We were walking nearly 7 hours, the weather was just right - not too hot but sunny with a pleasant breeze and the day was one of the best walking days we've had.  And we'll definitely be returning to Wales for some more walking.

For our return home journey on Saturday we came by Beddgelert and Capel Curig and stopped at the viewpoint to take the usual tourist photos of Snowdon.  You could see the masses swarming on the summit and on Crib Goch and we were glad we weren't up there with them.  Cader Idris was a much pleasanter place - although one day we will do Snowdon.

We had the best of the weather as the heatwave was just arriving as we were leaving - we had it hot but pleasant - just perfect. What more could you ask for - stunning mountain scenery, beautiful sandy beaches and great weather. No complaints at all!

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Ullswater lakeside walk and boat trip - Monday 19 June - a lovely walk in changeable weather.   Barrie, Sam and I had a lovely day on Monday which didn't entail any serious climbing as the weather was not good at all and we opted for a low level walk.  We had thought of doing our Westmorland Challenge (Appleby) walk but we ended up at Patterdale doing the lakeside walk to Howtown then back on the boat to Glenridding.  It seemed ages since we'd been in the Lakes (22 May) so we needed a bit of Dr Cumbria to refresh the spirits.  The cloud was very low - even Troutbeck Tongue was invisible but by the time we'd set out from the George Starkey Hut in Patterdale it was clearing nicely and we got some sunshine and warmth.  We took our time as there was no rush for the boat and after a leisurely walk along the path we ended up at The Howtown Hotel for refreshing cool drinks then the half hour boat trip back to Glenridding. By the Ullswater lakeside path

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Murky Mickleden with the summit of Rossett Pike under cloud A murky walk in Mickleden - Monday 22 May - yet again it looked like the typical Lakeland weather - grey, murky low cloud - need I go on!  But does this ever spoil our days there?  Of course not, it's always good to be there.  But nowadays we know that there will always be another day to be up high and we just enjoy the atmosphere and just take it easy.  I always love walking along Mickleden - you feel as if you're really in the mountains without doing any strenuous walking.  We walked to where the path divides;one way going over Stake Pass and the other carrying on up Rossett Gill.  We had lunch there then carried on for a short way along the Stake Pass path but the weather wasn't improving so we turned and ambled back to the car.

We were out for nearly 2 hours so not bad for such a poor day  After that it was a look round the shops day - Hawkshead then Hayes Garden Centre then Lakeland.

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Short circuit of Devoke Water - Monday 8 May - it was a lovely day full of sunshine and blue sky but the wind was the strongest I've known in a long time and we were blown round Devoke Water.  We'd intended doing the Wet Side Edge route onto Great Carrs, Swirl How etc. but the wind was so strong at the Three Shires Stone we went to look for a lower walk out of the wind and ended up walking round Devoke Water - which turned out to be just as windy.  We did the short circuit (AW's Outlying Fells) taking in the low fells of Rough Crag (1049ft), Water Crag (997ft) then down to the water and back along the bridleway and over the prominent bump of Seat How (1020ft).  We had to sit down on Seat How summit as it was impossible to stand up!  I wouldn't have liked to have been on Striding Edge!!   The boathouse by Devoke Water with Water Crag behind

It's a lovely area and so quiet – the walking is easy but you still feel as if you've been on the fells.The walk can be made longer by continuing over Yoadcastle, White Pike and Woodend Height but the wind was just too strong and I was exhausted fighting it.  Lunch was taken by the pretty and relatively sheltered Linbeck Gill.  The view to the Scafells and other western fells is one of the best in the Lakes.  Shame we couldn't stand still long enough to enjoy it.   But we'll definitely be going back there.

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Liz on Birks with snow covered St Sunday Crag behind Birks and Arnison Crag from Patterdale - Monday 10 April - a lovely day weatherwise and walkwise with still quite a bit of snow on the high fells.  We intended going onto St Sunday Crag but we walked so leisurely that we wouldn't have had time, even with the longer days.  I didn't really fancy slipping about in the snow as quite a lot of the time we'd have been walking in the shade.

It was so good to be walking in the sun after all the long cold winter days so we ended up walking from Patterdale onto Birks and back by Arnison Crag.  We also had plenty of time to take in the marvellous views - and we managed to make the walk last a good 6 hours.  It's a steep pull up Thornhow End onto Birks and it's a steep grassy descent from Birks to Trough Head.  St Sunday looked rather forbidding even in the sunshine.  But it was a great day and spring really looked as if it was on its way at last.

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Humphrey Head - in the rain - Monday 28 March - we keep thinking Spring is on the way then we get another wet and windy day and it seems as if life is a permanent Winter.  But does that spoil the enjoyment of our days in the Lakes?  Of course not - we love it whatever the weather.  We were determined to get a walk however short and Humphrey Head south of Grange-over-Sands was just right.  It can hardly be called a hill - it is a prominent headland reaching out into Morecambe Bay with a lowly height of 172'.  But Wainwright has it in his Outlying Fells and as we have walked all the fells of his 7 Pictorial Guides we've decided to walk some more of these.  Not that our age or fitness has anything to do with it - but there are some good and strenuous walks in the Outlying book too. Humphrey Head was just right - not far and not very high but I'm sure, on a good day, it would be the perfect place for a picnic.  On this walk it was wet and windy but we'll go back again one day - one nice day.  But it was good to be out of the car and to stretch our legs. A very windy Humphrey Head summit with 
Morecambe Bay and the Irish Sea behind

After that we called to see an old friend of mine from Scotland who lived on Skye for 30 years and now lives in Flookburgh - we'd seen each other twice in 20 years and it was good to catch up on all our news.  Then into Ulverston and a look round the shops and coffee at the glass factory then back to Lakeland in Windermere (one day we won't call there!) then home via the pub for chips and ale.

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Snowy sheep in a snowy Langdale A very short road walk in a very snowy Langdale - Monday 14 March - it was one of those days when we couldn't decide what to do at all and of course, it all depended on the weather.  Snow, snow, snow!!  First of all we tried parking in the car park at New Dungeon Ghyll - not a good idea as it was deep in snow.  Although more snow was on its way, it was made worse as it was rapidly thawing and was just as treacherous.  We ended up parking on the Langdale road and walking along the road back toward Dungeon Ghyll.  Not a very long walk either but it was good to get out in the snow for a while and we took some lovely wintry photos!  After that, it was shops - Ambleside, Lakeland and The Paper Shop at Burneside.  Still a fun day, despite the weather!

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Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott, Helm Crag - Monday 27 February - very different from our usual 2 person, one dog walk!!  But what was going to be a meet up with Ann and Roger Hiley and dogs for a Monday walked turned into an Online Fellwalking Club meet with 11 people and 6 dogs!  But what great fun it was.  It was good to see old friends and also meet members in person who we only knew 'online'.  

We all met up at Ghyll Foot below Steel Fell and set off just before 10 am in dry but cool weather.  It was a leisurely pace, thank goodness (we'd been worried about that!) and there was a lot of chatting and stops for photo calls. The weather was quite variable with snow showers, sunshine and a chilly wind.  Lunch was taken in the shelter of some rocks on Calf Crag then on to Gibson Knott and Helm Crag.  Two of our party made it up The Howitzer - the rest stood and watched.  The last leg of the journey, which followed the wall below Helm Crag back to the cars, ended with a climb over a wobbly wall from one muddy field to another!!

Looking back to Gibson Knott (left) and the ridge of Steel Fell on the right from Helm Crag.

We adjourned for refreshments to The Travellers Rest in Grasmere where, thankfully, we were happily ensconsed when the rain came down.  A great change from our Mondays but great fun and great to meet up with new and old friends!

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Seat Sandal from the track above Allan Bank on the way to Silver How Silver How - Monday 30 January - a perfect day and we made it one of our leisurely ambles – it was just so good to be there and while it was very chilly in the shade, the sun did have some warmth to it and the views all round from Silver How are fabulous.  We parked at White Moss car park by Rydal Water then walked over the back road down past Dove Cottage and into Grasmere.  Then by Allan Bank and up the east slopes of the fell to the summit.

We explored the lesser peak of Lang How which had lovely views across to the Langdales and Crinkle Crags area then back down the sunny path to Grasmere.  We could have taken the route back along Rydal Terrace but it was in the shade and looked a bit bleak. On our return we had a leisurely look round the Grasmere shops, including the bookshop - although the temperature was by then dropping fast and we remembered we still had a mile or so walk back to the car at White Moss.  The hot drinks when we got back went down really well!

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Mosedale and Aira Force - Saturday 14 January - our first trip of 2006 and a different day too.  I must admit I like my Monday visits and even though it wasn't busy it didn't feel right somehow.  We visited Beckstones Gallery at Greystoke first as I'm after a Robert Littleford picture and then went on past Mungrisedale to Mosedale where we parked at the end of the tarmac road and walked toward Skiddaw House  It was a there and back walk of a couple of hours - I just wasn't feeling up to anything strenuous!  After a refreshing cuppa back at the car we drove down by Ullswater and had another short walk round Aira Force - another place we hadn't been to in ages.  A look round the shops in Glenridding - where I treated myself to a Paramo Alta jacket - then our usual trip to Lakeland and drinks and chips at The Maypole at Long Preston and home.  Not our most strenuous of days but enjoyed all the same.   Looking up Mosedale toward Skiddaw House

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