Walks in the Lakes (mostly) - 2009

Walks and days in the Lake District (mostly) – 2009

Great Gable by Barrie


Liz by the Pudding Stone, Boulder Valley, Coniston Walna Scar and the Pudding Stone – Monday 14 December – we needed a short walk but again, nothing too strenuous. I've always loved walking from the top of Walna Scar road as you're in the hills already and can have aq short or a long walk depending on how fit you're feeling. These days I'm feeling very unfit so we decided on a a walk to the Pudding Stone and Boulder Valley. Another important consideration these days is that Sam is ageing fast and cannot now do the walks he used to – no more rocky scrambles for him unfortunately. But he still loves it. The weather wasn't brilliant but at least it wasn't raining and we managed a walk of a couple of hours. After that it was Christmas shopping in Hawkshead (the bookshop) then Hayes Garden Centre and finally Lakeland.

It was great to be back up there however short the walk. But I don't think there'll be any long walks in the near future. Jack's Rake will have to wait a bit longer!

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Caudale Moor from the top of Kirkstone Pass – Wednesday 9 September – we were wanting a walk that wasn't too strenuous but had good views. Caudale Moor from the top of Kirkstone Pass suited us well as you are already over a thousand feet and there was the possibility of carrying onto Hartsop Dodd if we were feeling energetic later on. We weren't as it turned out! It didn't start well as a very awkward stile made it difficult to get Sam over. However,we were soon up and onto the easy rising slopes to the summit of Caudale Moor/Stony Cove Pike/John Bell's Banner. The sky was blue and we were in no hurry. It looked even further onto Hartsop Dodd (I have done it from here but when I was younger and much fitter!) so we decided to linger longer where we were. We were glad we did because the viewpoint from a cairn to the north west of the summit had one of the best views I've seen in along time.

After that it was a leisurely saunter, via the monument to Mark Atkinson, back to the car, followed by the usual trips to Hayes Garden Centre and Lakeland.

Looking down on Brotherswater and Ullswater from Caudale Moor

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The tented village of the Craven Pothole Club's annual meet Gaping Gill and Ingleborough – Monday 24 August – I really can't believe how quick the time goes and it was our 3rd OFC Gaping Gill trip. I'd hoped that more would make it than last year – although the small company had been great and the weather wasn't that good – and I was nicely surprised when 11 adults, one junior and 2 dogs made it! The highlight was Peter Burgess making it 3rd time lucky and being able to launch edition 8 of our club magazine The Lost Sheep from the bottom of the pothole – a noisy and rather wet launch. Most of the party carried on to Ingleborough summit while we waited for our turns to descend but I decided that a hot coffee with my sister and brother-in-law who, as members of the Craven Pothole Club were camping there, was a much better idea.

As the weather started deteriorating and no sign of the party returning, after a short walk along the lower slopes of Ingleborough Barrie and I decided to make our descents of the pothole, having first left Sam in the care of my sister and brother-in-law. It was a rather wet descent but after about half an hour walking up and down trying to keep warm, our eyes now acclimatised to the dark, we were joined one by one, by our party.

A hasty launch of the magazine and photo call took place then a quick return to the surface – well as quick as possible in the circumstances as everyone else had the same idea. Why was it that the queue for the chair was positioned right at the wettest place in the whole cavern?

After collecting Sam from my sister's tent we headed back to Clapham – the party being broken up because of the delay in the ascents and not wanting to get too cold waiting for everyone The main plan was to meet at the pub – so that was pretty straightforward! Refreshments were very welcome and it was pleasant to sit outside as Peter handed out our Gaping Gill descent certificates. I think everyone enjoyed the day – and I'm sure it won't seem like a year until we're sitting there again – yes, I think another trip next year will be planned!

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Sharp Haw, near Skipton – Monday 20 July – a family walk with Hollie, Barrie and Sam and members of the Hiley family from Yorkshire and Cumbria. Our friends Ann and Roger Hiley were meeting their daughter to take their grandsons back to Loweswater with them. My house was a convenient meeting place and also a good opportunity to have a local walk with all of them. After refreshments and a catch up of news we set off in 2 cars and parked at the top of the quaintly named Bog Lane – it's actually very pretty and quite dry. It's a straightforward easy grass stroll to the distinctive pointed summit (from a distance anyway). It was the perfect walk for the 2 youngest members of the group, my granddaughter Hollie and Ann and Roger's granddaughter Abi who are both 3 years old. Lunch on the windy summit was enjoyed before we carried on, on new territory for me down the western slopes of what it locally known (at least by my family) as Sleeping Lady (for obvious reasons).

The walk was about 3 miles, the weather was just right and the company was the best. Now every time when I'm driving Hollie back to Skipton, as soon as we see Sharp Haw (which is in view for a big part of the journey) she pipes up 'There's Sharp Haw, I've been up there'.

Hollie and Abi at the summit of Sleeping Lady

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Tarn on the Blake Rigg ridge with Swirl How and Great Carrs behind Blake Rigg and Wrynose Fell from Blea Tarn – Monday 15 June – owing to various commitments we aren't getting to the Lakes as much as usual so when we do, we like to make it a special walk and try to get to places we haven't been to before. If we go east one time, then the next time we try to go west – although it depends on the weather forecast. Blake Rigg is a summit that we've looked at often when driving by Blea Tarn and in the Langdales and we'd said that one day we would walk on it. We parked in the NT car park at Blea Tarn then took the tarn path then headed up the slopes toward the ridge. The path is a bit indistinct in places and it was sometimes a case of find our own way. But very straightforward. The weather hadn't been too bad when we set out but we were caught mid-fell in a rather unpleasant shower and I must admit that for a couple of minutes I considered turning back. I persevered and was glad that I didn't give up because the summit and surrounding terrain is an extremely pleasant place to be with lots of little tarns and rocky knolls. We had an exploration of the area then made our way across country (super views up to Pike O'Blisco) to Wrynose Beck which we followed down onto Wrynose Pass. A short road walk downhill (thankfully) followed then we cut across Blea Moss finding the delightful dell of Bleamoss Beck before arriving back at the southern end of Blea Tarn.

A delightful walk on new territory with only a short sharp shower which didn't spoil it! The day was rounded off with the usual trip to Hayes,Lakeland and ale and chips at Gargrave. Another great day in the Lakes.

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Little Hart Crag and High Hartsop Dodd via Caiston Glen – Monday 11 May – only our second trip to the Lakes this year!!This was a walk that had been on the cards for some time. When I had been doing my round of Wainwrights this one was done during the foot and mouth epidemic of 2001 and while some of this area was open, part was still out of bounds. Barrie had done the descent via the south crest of High Hartsop Dodd before and assured me it was a super walk. The weather was perfect – sunshine, blue sky and lovely fluffy clouds – as we headed up Caiston Glen to the top of Scandale Pass. The path rises gently following partly by lovely Caiston Beck with its pretty waterfalls and pools. We had lunch at the top of the pass looking down to Windermere then continued via Scandale Tarn (which formed a lovely heart shape on my photos) to Little Hart Crag. The views to Dove Crag, Dovedale and beyond are fabulous and we took many photos. Then down the ridge to High Hartsop Dodd which has a very insignificant summit but again, fabulous views, this time down to Brotherswater and surrounding fells including Angletarn Crags.; Little Hart Crag summit cairn looking to Dove Crag and St Sunday Crag

It's a very straightforward walk down but your eyes are constantly on the view ahead! Our return route was through the campsite and then a short walk along the roadside. It was quiet enough and lovely to look back up at where earlier we'd been walking.

Our usual evening was a trip to Hayes Garden Centre then drinks and chips at Gargrave on the way home. Another fabulous day in the Lakes where everything went just right.

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We start our descent of Pendle Pendle Hill – Saturday 18 April – another non-Lakeland walk with fellow members of the Online Fellwalking Club. This time a Lancashire walk. A good sized party, plus Sam, enjoyed a walk over Pendle Hill and surrounding countryside in very pleasant weather – so different from the last OFC Pendle walk (see 20 January 2007). We walked from Barley via Ogden reservoirs (one full and one empty) and Ogden Clough with only one short steep pull. An amazingly gentle and pleasant stroll to the summit! Lunch was taken in the lee of a summit ridge wall before we made for the summit trig point where the usual summit photo shoot was enjoyed. Our descent route was south from the summit then the diagonal path joining up with the popular stepped path lower down – and meeting up with the hordes of people. Well it was busier than the rest of the walk.

It was much too nice to take the short way back to the car park so the walk was extended across fields to Lower Black Moss reservoir then over Stang Top Moor to the summit and trig point of Stang Top – super views over Lancashire and beyond. A very pleasant walk along the river bank brought us back to the car park and very welcome cold refreshments at the pub. A lovely day with good friends in lovely country – what more could you ask for? And this is definitely the easiest way to the summit – you feel like you've had a good walk but nowhere is it very steep. Just great!

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Mellbreak – Saturday 28 March – our first trip to the Lakes of 2009 was to join fellow OFC member, Ed Harrison on his final Wainwright summit, which also happened to be my final Wainwright summit – but mine was back in May 2003. We were staying the weekend with friends Ann and Roger Hiley at their cottage in Loweswater – always a lovely place to be. The weekend started very pleasantly with a trip to the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick on Friday evening to see Melvin Bragg's The Maid of Buttermere.

Saturday dawned a bit grey and windy but dry and the party of 10 plus 5 dogs set off from the Kirkstile Inn and headed for the steep north face of Mellbreak. It was a lot colder than when Barrie and I had been there for my 214th and it was still as steep but the pace was leisurely and the strong walkers waited every now and then for the less fit to catch up! After many stops for photo shoots (or was it to rest?) we were on the level summit ridge and arriving at the lower north summit. Then onto the higher south summit and champagne celebrations for us all and congratulations to Ed and many photos taken. A sheltered lunch spot was found to the south of the summit with fabulous views down over Crummock Water and to Fleetwith Pike and the High Stile range.

Lunch over, instead of making straight for the lake path home we continued the walk to Scale Force where some of the party climbed part way up the fall. Then the long but pleasant walk back along the lake shore.

Looking across Crummock Water to Grasmoor from the bridge below Scale Force

A very pleasant evening was spent in the Kirkstile Inn celebrating Ed becoming a member of the exclusive Wainwright Completers Club. We decided not to join the group for a walk on Sunday but had a very leisurely drive home via Buttermere and Honister Pass. The weather was much brighter than the day before but there was a bitter cold wind. We were glad to have chosen the simpler day – and anyway, our boots were wet! Another great weekend and thanks again to our hosts – Ann and Roger.

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A Norber erratic Crummack Dale and the Norber erratics in the Yorkshire Dales – Saturday 21 March – the majority of the OFC walks take place in the Lake District so this time it was good to meet up with friends to walk in the spectacular scenery of the limestone Yorkshire Dales. This Crummack isn't to be confused with the Crummock of Cumbria – this has an 'a' not an 'o'. But I would be walking by Crummock with an 'o' the following Saturday. Nine of us set out from Austwick passing the Norber erratics on our way – these are large boulders of Silurian rock transported by glaciers and dumped on the limestone landscape. The weather was overcast to start but as the day went on it cleared to give very pleasant but hazy sunshine and our lunch stop was taken in the sun trap by the wall at Thieves Moss – very pleasant! Our return trip took us across Moughton Scar, to Beggars Stile, (I love the names around here)stopping to look at Austwick Beck Head, then the longish walk back, passing Crummack Dale Farm, down Crummack Lane and back into Austwick.

A walk of about 8 miles. Refreshments – which were very welcome – were taken in the Gamecock Inn. And a new experience for me, a pint and a half of Thwaites Wainwright Bitter, which was most enjoyable. A great day out with great friends. And next week I'll be back in the Lake District!

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Whernside – Wednesday 11 March – owing to several things including work, family and ill health this was our first proper walk in several months. Whernside was the only one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks that we hadn't done together and we thought it would be a good one to start back on. We parked at Ribblehead and could see the summit ridge, just, as it appeared above the cloud. Penyghent was showing above the cloud , in fact most things were in the cloud to some extent. But we could see it, so off we went. It's a good and interesting walk from Ribblehead but unfortunately the ground left much to be desired – wet and muddy for much of the way and not good to walk on. Even where the path had been paved was tricky. We actually got above the snow line and there was one small step where we had to kick into the snow to climb it! It's a long time since I walked in the snow on a mountain. Lunch was taken on a rather windy summit – there was a shelter but it was only when we crossed the wall to go to the trig point that we saw the other shelter on the other side, which was rather more sheltered!

Our return route was fairly straightforward going downhill south from the trig point then east crossing pleasant farmland after an initially rough stretch. The final leg took us under the arches of the impressive Ribblehead viaduct. All in all, a very good walk and about 8 miles – which for our first proper walk in several months was pretty good going. But it was good to be back on the fells and we'll be back in the Lakes very soon.

The descent south from Whernside summit

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