Walks and days in the Lake District (mostly) – 2008

Great Gable by Barrie

Embsay Crag and Crookrise – Saturday 22 November – it was lovely to get out locally again, this time with OFC friends Dave and Josie Dimmock. It was, however, a bitterly cold day and the sort of day I would usually think twice about going out in. But it's not far to Embsay where we parked, and was actually the village where my Dad was born and the walking is fairly easy. The first part of the walk up onto the Crag, which is a distinctive landmark for many miles around, is the steepest bit with a short scramble. It was new ground for me, but as we reached and crossed over Waterfall Gill and walked onto Crookrise Crags I was back on territory I had walked before – even if it was in another life 30 years ago.

We were out for about 3 hours and covered about 5 miles, I think, and as I said earlier, it was bitter. But the company and the craic was great and we'll be arranging another local walk in the near future. I keep saying I'll get more walks done locally and hopefully next year I will definitely do just that. But roll on the warmer weather – please!!

Looking down Waterfall Gill across to Sharphaw from Crookrise Crags

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Looking down to Glenridding from the path to Boredale Hause Angletarn Pikes from Patterdale – Monday 27 October – now I've just got my new web hosting sorted out and it's a while since I did any updating on here. I didn't write down what happened that day and my memory isn't what it used to be but I know it was a lovely day and a lovely walk. After parking at the George Starkey hut in Patterdale the walk started with a detour as the track across to Side Farm was well under water and even 4x4s couldn't get across. We all went as far as the tarn where we had lunch and Sam had a swim but then I returned along the path which contours round the summits and Barrie and Sam went over the tops and met us at the other end. It was good to be back up high and it proves to me that you don't have to reach a summit to have fun! The views are just as great from the lower levels.

A look round a few shops in Ambleside then Lakeland – which isn't the same – for me – since it stopped selling craft goodies then home via beer for me and chips for Barrie.

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Riverside walk by the Dee at Dent – Tuesday 14 October – the intention had been to do Whernside as it's the only one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks that we haven't done together.  As we drove up the A65 the weather was OK but nothing special but by the time we'd parked at Ribblehead it was decidely gloomy and Whernside was rapidly disappearing under the cloud.  After an extended breakfast/elevenses we decided to carry on to Dent and see if the weather was any better there.    It wasn't much better but a leg stretch was needed especially for Sam!  We found some road parking just outside the village then found the riverside path and followed part of the Dales Way for a couple of miles, passing Barth Bridge.  The weather was deteriorating so we decided to cut across the fields and follow the lane back through Gawthrop (a pretty hamlet) and back to the car.  And a hot drink was very welcome after we'd changed out of our wet clothes.

After that it was a wet drive back down to Settle and a visit to the Watershed Mill then home via the pub for chips and beer.  Whatever the weather it wouldn't be a proper day out without the chips and beer!!

Along the River Dee near Dent on a rather grey and wet day

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Looking toward the mushroom shelter on Scout Scar Scout Scar above Kendal – Monday 29 September – today could only be a short walk as I had a business appointment in Kendal.  Every time we pass by Scout Scar on our way to the Lakes we say that one day we will have a walk on there.  We've both been on it but not together.  It is also an ideal walk when time is limited so fitted the bill perfectly for this day.  We drove through the pretty village of Brigsteer then found the parking spot under the police mast east of Underbarrow.  The weather wasn't brilliant; showers threatened and there was a cold wind and the walk south along the ridge was taken at a fairly brisk pace.  There's hardly any ascent which suited me fine as my fitness is at an alltime low again.  It was a there and back walk and after a hot drink in the car we were off down into Kendal.  Barrie and Sam had another walk while I was busy – from Ashes Lane to Ratherheath Tarn – then as the weather had deteriorated badly we set off home via the Paper Shop at Burneside, where I spent more than I should have.  

Ale and chips was enjoyed at the Maypole at Long Preston for a change.  It used to be our usual stopping-off place and it was pleasant to go there again.  Well it's always good to have a change.  So all in all, it was a very different day for us but my meeting was a very interesting one which will lead to some interesting editorial work.

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Low Fell from Thackthwaite – Monday 8 September – regular readers will know that we usually only get to the northern areas of the Lake District when we're camping or on special occasions.  I suppose today could have been classed as a special occasion because we were meeting up with friends, some of whom we see rarely as they live in the south of England.  

After a leisurely drive up including coffee at the café at Braithwaite campsite we arrived at Oak Cottage at Loweswater to join Ann and Roger Hiley, Jill and Nigel Batcherlor, Jo Hall, Jayne Hill and James Hoye for a very entertaining day.  After lunch we set off up Low Fell from Thackthwaite.  Jill and Nigel hadn't been on Low Fell before and it was one Barrie and I hadn't done together.  The walk was done at a very leisurely pace although I still got a bit hot and out of breath at times.  But there was a lot of stopping to take photos and chat – although a lot of chatting and joking was done throughout the walk.  For a fell of such humble height the views are absolutely fabulous especially as you walk south to the summit.  Looking down over Crummock Water the fells of Grasmoor to the left and Mellbreak to the right dominate although every way you look is sublime.  From the summit the desent path is steep and pathless much of the way but it's all grassy so not too bad – but I wouldn't like to do it after rain as I think it could be rather slippery.  More photos were taken at the Lonesome Pine – a well-known landmark of the area – then the final stretch across the fields and back to Oak Cottage.

Looking from Low Fell down to Crummock Water with Mellbreak on the right and Grasmoor on the left.  Great Gable is under the distant cloud
Tea and cakes were enjoyed with yet more entertaining chat and jokes then we had to set off home.  We had a longer than usual journey but still managed chips and beer, this time at the Maypole at Long Preston.  Thanks to everyone, especially Ann and Roger for their usual wonderful hospitality, for making it such an enjoyable day and I hope it won't be too long before we all meet up again.

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Looking down to the main shaft of Gaping Gill with the Craven Pothole Club in attendance Gaping Gill – Monday 18 August – the 2008 Online Fellwalking Club trip to Gaping Gill – a year ago 18 people and 6 dogs made the trip, from various parts of the country – Yorkshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire and Cumbria – to Gaping Gill for the descent of the UK's second largest pothole.  This year, owing to various reasons, there were only 6 of us plus one dog.  The weather wasn't as good as last year, in fact it was not very nice at all and there had been a lot of rain over the previous few weeks, nay months!  The day didn't start well as Barrie's car decided at Skipton that it would rather have a rest day which meant us driving home and swapping everything into my car and setting off again.  Luckily Skipton is only 6 miles from home so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  The happy band were myself and Barrie, Steve Procter and Lorraine Barks, Simon Howard and his daughter Beth and of course, the faithful Sam.  Luckily for us, because of the dreadful weather, the queue for the descent was short and we were all down at the bottom soon and enjoying the full benefits of weeks of rain as the water thundered down into the pot.  It was difficult to hold a conversation because of the deafening noise but it was pretty impressive and that's putting it mildly.  This time we had the full guided tour, even though it was difficult to hear what he was saying!  I must admit I was glad to get back up, although I really enjoyed the trip back up – it always seems to take longer than the descent and you get a better view of your surroundings.  

After our lunch we set off up Ingleborough.  My hip was beginning to play up a bit so Barrie, Sam and I parted company with the other 4 and make our way back down.  As we turned to look back up the slopes of Ingleborough at the worsening weather and to see how far the others had got, we weren't surprised to see that they'd also turned round and were on their way back down.

We were sitting outside Ingleborough Cave enjoying ice-creams when they caught up with us and after all enjoying refreshments we returned to Clapham for more liquid refreshments in the New Inn then made our ways home.  It was a good day in spite of the weather and will be repeated next year when hopefully the weather will be better and more people will join us.

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Gray Crag and Thornthwaite Crag from Hartsop via Threshthwaite Mouth – Monday 4 August – it was about time we had a 'high' walk!  Hartsop is another of my favourite places just to be, even if not walking.  The weather forecast hadn't been brilliant but as we set out up alongside Pasture Beck we knew it was going to be a warm day.  My fitness is still not good and I knew I was going to struggle a bit but I managed to plod on.  It's quite a walk up Pasture Bottom but of course, we stopped many times to admire the views and to see in front of us the steep path up to Threshthwaite Mouth as it got nearer and nearer (slowly I must admit).  As we ate our lunch at the col of Threshthwaite Mouth, the views all around were admired – south to Troutbeck, west to the rocky path to Caudale Moor, north to Ullswater and last but not least, east to the unpleasant and steep scree path to Thornthwaite Crag.  After a bit of a struggle up the scree path we were at the summit of Thornthwaite Crag which is graced by a very impressive stone tower, visible for many miles around.  The views were pretty good even if it was a bit grey and cloudy and after taking the usual summit photos we set off down the grassy ridge to Gray Crag where we had afternoon tea looking down over Hayeswater.  The descent off Gray Crag is grassy but steep and slippery so we detoured east and crossed diagonally down to reach the track nearer Hayeswater then followed the track easily back to Hartsop and the car – and a very welcome cuppa.  By now the sun was shining very brightly and the views looking up Pasture Bottom were much better than they'd been when we set off.  A great walk with great views and another fell done together. Looking down to Hartop with Gray Crag ridge on the right and Hartsop Dodd on the left

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One of the large cairns on the Whitbarrow ridge looking north to Lord's Seat summit Whitbarrow Scar – Monday 30 June – another lovely walk, this time on a breezy limestone ridge in south Lakeland.  Again we weren't feeling too energetic and were looking for a shorter walk but preferably uphill.  AW's Outlying Fells book came out and Whitbarrow Scar from Witherslack was chosen.  In some ways it's more like the Yorkshire Dales with its limestone ecsarpment and geology but the views from the long summit ridge are definitely of Lakeland (to the north) although Ingleborough could of course, be seen in the distance.  And Morecambe Bay was very evident in views to the south.  When you look at Whitbarrow from below and as you drive along the A591 you perhaps wonder if it could be possible to get to the top of the steep cliffs without a long and arduous struggle.  But we were surprised at how short and easy it was to access the ridge.  It's a long ridge and seems to go on forever but the terrain is interesting and it is easy to tell from the shape of the trees which way the wind mainly blows.  

We had lunch at the windy summit of Lord's Seat then tried to find AW's return path.  We couldn't find it from the book but eventually found our own way off then found the path.  Barrie was lucky to see a fox emerging from a coppice but unfortunately I missed it.  The path down is steeper than the path up but and part of the way it was like looking over an ocean of broccoli trees at the other side of the valley.  It was a different sort of walk, interesting in parts but somehow not Lakeland.  But it's another one ticked off of the Outlying fells.

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Cold Pike and Little Stand from the Three Shires Stone – Monday 16 June – with having had a good walk the previous Friday I was feeling a bit fitter.  Barrie also was feeling better than he had been on our last day out.  We were looking for somewhere that we hadn't walked together, not too strenuous but high enough to make us feel we'd achieved a good height and in a part of the Lakes that we hadn't visited recently.  Cold Pike fitted all criteria and off we set for Wrynose Pass and the Three Shires Stone – always one of my favourite places.  We planned on continuing from Cold Pike to Crinkle Crags but on looking at the map and the terrain Little Stand – the distincitve mass of fell west of Cold Pike and south of Crinkle Crags – looked very inviting.  Not many people venture onto Cold Pike – unless they're bagging Wainwrights – but it really is a pleasant route and the summit ridge is interesting and rocky, with superb views across to Pike O'Blisco and beyond.  From the summit the views to Crinkle Crags and Bowfell and down to Red Tarn are outstanding.  It was good to watch, from the peace of Cold Pike summit, the many walkers following the tourist route from Red Tarn up to the Crinkles.

Our continuing route took us across open land with a couple of little tarns to the ridge of Little stand which has outstanding views.  It's an interesting ridge to walk too and very quiet considering its proximity to the much more popular mountains – but we like it that way!  We then cut across country to rejoin the main Crinkles path down to Red Tarn then the popular path back to the Three Shires Stone and a welcome cuppa.  It's always good to visit new places and while we have walked extensively in all areas of the Lake District there are still many new places to discover.  We were so glad that we had chosen this route today.

Looking down Dunnerdale from Little Stand.  Harter Fell is to the right.

We then had our usual saunter home via Lakeland – I don't think I'll be visiting there as much in future as they are stopping selling craft items.  This was my main reason for visiting there – it just nicely rounded off a great day out, treating myself to a couple or so of craft goodies.  Mind you, it'll be better on my purse!

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Looking across to our next summit, Rough Haw, and beyond to Rylstone Fell and Wharfedale Sharp Haw and Rough Haw, near Skipton – Friday 13 June – a local afternoon-evening walk with 2 fellow OFC members who are also Silsden residents.  Dave and Josie, my near neighbours picked me up at 3.30 and we were parked ready to set off 20 minutes later with the distinctive pointy peaked but relatively low Sharphaw in view.  When I was younger, the 3 distinctive peaks were always known as Sleeping Lady, Sharphaw and Sugar Loaf – in fact I still refer to them as that.  Anyway, a short shower held us up for a few minutes but didn't deter us and off we set.  A slightly longer shower was with us not long after but did nothing to dampen our spirits.  Sharp Haw was reached after much pleasant conversation and then the decision had to be made which way to go next.  We carried on to the next small summit of Rough Haw, which has good views north into Wharfedale, then retraced our steps back to Sharp Haw then north down the path toward Flasby – with super views to Malhamdale and beyond.  

A longish walk back along the forestry track brought us back to where we had left the main track earlier on and so back to the car.  We were walking for about 3 hours and the conversation and 'craic' was great.  A couple of pints of Tetleys on the way home rounded off a very enjoyable outing.  Thanks Dave and Josie for the company – must do it again soon.

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Malham Bimbles – Monday 12 May – 2 short walks in limestone country nearer to home.  The day before, Sophie and I had taken part in the Race for Life at Broughton Hall near Skipton.  It had been a very hot day and while it was only 5km it had taken it out of me.  Barrie was having problems with his knee and neither of us were feeling up to a long drive or a long walk.  We decided to explore nearer home and turned off and Settle and went over the tops via Langcliffe to Malham.  Here we walked down to the tarn where Sam had a lovely swim then we drove down to the village and walked up to Gordale Scar.  Gordale Scar is an impressive place and though I've been there many times I am still amazed as I turn the corner into the amphitheatre by the sheer majesty of the steep dark cliffs.  Quite a place to realise how small you are in the scheme of things  Then back over the tops to Settle – as I wanted to visit the Watershed Mill (it was too early when we passed in the morning!) then back via Hellifield where we visited the refurbished station – and bumped into my sister and brother-in-law who live in the village, having lunch in the cafe.

Again we keep saying we'll do more walks in the Dales as there is so much lovely scenery and so many interesting places nearer home.  The pull of the Lake District is always strong but we always enjoy our days in Yorkshire too.

Looking over Gordale Beck toward Gordale Scar

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Looking to the Scafell range and Harter Fell from Caw Caw in Dunnerdale and Swinside Stone Circle – Monday 14 April – after our last two walks being done in fantastic weather, we couldn't believe that we could be lucky a third time.  But the gods were smiling on us again and although we weren't after too strenuous a walk we needed to be on a fell.  We're trying to get some of Alfred Wainwright's Outlying Fells done and Caw in Dunnerdale was just right this time.  There's plenty of parking on the minor road that runs north from Broughton Mills which is also handy, and is where we parked, for Stickle Pike last year.  The route we took was nowhere steep although we made our own route for the last bit to the summit and think we made it harder for ourselves.  But we got there and had lunch at a rather breezy summit – although we managed to get out of the worst of it below the trig point.  After that we made our descent by the obvious path west from the summit stopping many times to look at the super view north to Harter Fell and the Scafell range.  Slight detours on the lower slopes where the path wasn't so obvious brought us back to the track and so back to the car.  It isn't a long walk and is mostly on easy slopes and grassy terrain.  As I said I think we made it a bit harder for ourselves as we went for the summit.  But if you want a shortish walk with great views then Caw is one of the best.

After that we drove round to Swinside stone circle (roadside parking then just over a mile walking there and back) which is well worth seeing and much more impressive than Castlerigg – in my opinion.

On the way back we stopped at Fell Foot (National Trust) for afternoon tea then ended our day with the usual trip to Lakeland and drinks and chips at Gargrave.  It had been another great day, lovely weather again and a lovely walk and another Outlying Fell to add to our list.

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Beda Fell from the old church at Martindale – Monday 31 March – a lovely walk taking in one of the most beautiful and peaceful valleys in the Lake District.  We're trying to get done some of the Wainwright fells that we haven't done together and as we hadn't been to the far eastern area for quite a long time Beda Fell seemed like a good idea.  It was just perfect – not too high, not too steep and not too long.  Once again the weather was on our side – it was 'jackets off' time for some of the way although there was a cool breeze along the ridge – if you were in the shelter of the crags it was really warm but out of the shelter the complete opposite.  We parked at the old church at Martindale and if you want complete comparison for quiet and busy then this is the complete opposite of places like Bowness and Ambleside – perfect peace and such beauty.  Words can't do it justice – you have to see it for yourself, but don't tell too many people!

We walked along the road to Dale Head then took the diagonal path up toward Boardale Hause with the views to The Nab, Rest Dodd and Fusedale getting better and better as we gained height.  As we reached the point where we started along Beda Fell ridge the views opened up to the west and the Helvellyn ridge and Fairfield.  There was more snow there than there had been when we were on Dollywaggon 2 weeks ago.

On Beda Fell summit looking east along Ullswater to the Pennines

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Looking back to Dollywaggon Pike from the ridge to Nethermost Pike Dollywaggon Pike and Nethermost Pike – Monday 17 March – great to be back on the high fells with a walk of about 6 miles in lovely but very cold weather and snow still on the high bits.  Fit or not we decided we were going to have a proper fell walk and my plan A was a great success.  We parked at the top of Dunmail Raise and took the fairly steep path up the side of Raise Beck.  The advantage of setting off steeply is that you gain height reasonably quickly and it seemed that in no time – well, not much time – at all, Grisedale Tarn came into view, a very welcome sight and the first part of the uphill stretch over.  From here we started up the zig-zag path towards Dollywaggon Pike with views east and down into Grisedale and to Ullswater improving the higher we went.  We also found ourselves surrounded by snow, although we weren't actually walking in it, but there was still plenty around, especially where it has drifted onto the cliff edges.  There was a very cold biting wind but the views more than made up for the chilly weather – there was blue sky and sunshine, what more could we ask for in March!  It's not too far of a continuation on to Helvellyn but we were going far enough as it was, for us.

After a pleasant lunch stop in the lee of Dollywaggon summit with superb views to Nethermost and Helvellyn we made our way along the edge of the ridge to Nethermost Pike then took the very obvious path down to Wythburn.  I've always liked that route as an ascent route to the Helvellyn ridge as it's an easy walk all the way down with stunning views down over Thirlmere.

The hardest part of the walk was the stretch back to the car, along the track from Wythburn to the top of Dunmail Raise.  It seemed to go on and on forever.  We were soon refreshed with a hot drink then it was our usual return route via Lakeland then Gargrave for beer and chips  A fabulous day with everything being right for once – weather, fitness, views.  Roll on our next visit!

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Tom Heights and Tarn Hows – Tuesday 22 January – neither of us are feeling very fit at the moment and the weather once again wasn't great so a shortish walk was needed,  We wanted to be on a fell and we wanted some good views.  Now Tarn Hows on a weekend or Bank Holiday isn't a place to be if you want peace and quiet but on a winter day in January it's not a bad place to be.  Tom Heights isn't very high and after a short steep pull there is a very pleasant walk along the ridge with several cairns and possible summits (probably how it got the plural name of 'Heights') with good views down Coniston Water to the south, the Coniston fells to the west, then east to the Helvellyn ridge and beyond.  It was good to see some snow on the higher fells.  We descended to the outlet at the west of the tarns and completed our walk on the very quiet tourist track.

Luckily the rain held off till we got back to the car, which was very kind of it.  After a refreshing cuppa we made our way back via Ambleside then to Lakeland then Gargrave for our usual pint of Tetleys for me and chips for Barrie.  And I came home even more determined to get fit this year and back up on the high fells!

Looking south from one of the 'heights' of Tom Heights to Coniston Water

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Looking back to Sandyhills from the coastal path at Torrs Hill A walk along the coastal path from Sandyhills toward Rockcliffe – Thursday 3 January – a Scottish walk for my first one of the year and a solo one too.  I was enjoying a few days with Sophie, her partner Lee and Hollie, staying in the lovely log cabin we'd stayed in back in September 2006.  It's situated in pine trees right in the middle of a golf course and while I didn't see any this time, last time we'd had red squirrels running about outside.  On this day, I had the choice of either going with them to the big 'city' of Dumfries, perhaps to spend some money, or having a walk along the coastal path between Sandyhills and Rockcliffe.  As the sun was shining, even though there was quite a chilly wind, I chose the walk!  I walked for about 2 hours and thoroughly enjoyed the fresh air and much needed exercise.  The tide was well out and unfortunately it was quite hazy so I couldn't quite see the distant Lakeland fells.  I can say that I climbed a hill though – the quite diminutive height of Torr Hill.

Oh well, not a long walk but I think I chose the much better option – and my purse was much better off too!  We'd woken up to snow but it didn't last long, thank goodness and had all disappeared by the time I was walking.  I'm not a great snow walker so I didn't mind at all.  But all in all it was a very pleasant short break in southern Scotland.  And in only another 5 weeks we'll be in Aviemore.

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