Finally managed to get in some evening walks as well as Sunday stroll. All routes and hills I’ve done many times so just a few photos to prove I don’t sit in front of the TV every evening, just most of them :)
Ysgyryd Fawr – iPhone photos as I forgot my camera and no summit cuppa due to a dodgy gas canister
Bryn Arw – another classic “small hill with disproportionately good views”
And a Sunday afternoon stroll around Hatterrall Hill. Complete with young foals – everyone say “aaaaahhhhh”
I drive past all these hills on my home from work so nice to climb them from time to time after a long day in a crappy office doing a crappy job. Equally, as they are on my way home I should do it more often. But there are so many great TV shows around I need watch though…….
Our last 3 days and very nice mix of local walks and a day out on the SW Lakes Peninsulas
Along with the Northern Funsters friend and kids we took an en-masse ramble around the local sights. The air was clear and still cold but the showers of the morning had gone. It was really rather splendid. All these little spots have names but I can’t remember most of them (Mark I’m sure will take pleasure in correcting me and putting me right!)
The kids had great fun exploring a very well hidden rift cave. Alas it was too narrow for middle-aged wobblies like me
We went down to Woodwell, a very pleasant warm and sunny spot with a natural spring and pond. We spent a very happy hour sitting around and chatting, watching the myriad of insect life, fish and tadpoles that inhabit the surroundings. Talk moved on to newts and how they are becoming increasingly rare in the UK. Mark has read that they do inhabit the pond but in all his many visits he’s never seen one. Luckily several pairs of eyes are better than one and we soon saw one, the two, then three, several in fact. It was a real highlight. I didn’t take any pictures for some reason but I think Mark did so you’ll have to wait for his blog reports. I haven’t seen newts since we bought some for our garden pond when I was a kid. We watched the swim into pond weed and never saw them again!
On the way home we went via The Lots. The views across the bay were simply magnificent as were the wild flowers and especially the orchids. The stiff breeze made it pretty difficult to get a decent macro shot alas but the wider views more than made up for that
Not hard to see why Mark and his family love it here so much when you have these views on your doorstep
Our last full day saw us take another trip to the beaches and commons around Roa and Piel Island. After stocking up on food we headed to Birkrigg Common for a picnic. Never heard of this place but it’s a really fine area of open common land with expansive views across the bay. It’s perfect for al-fresco eating on a warm May weekend. Except this was a cold and very windy May weekend. Some judicious arrangements of cars and tarp created shelter and we did what we always do and ate far, far too much food, huge hunks of bread, cheese, pate, pies and the like. It was grand. I love a good picnic and this was a fine spot for future reference.
We had planned to take another trip to Piel Island but such was the length of time needed to eat all the food we couldn’t fit it in and went straight to Roa Island for some more tidepooling. Possibly due to the cold weather and water and the fact that it wasn’t an exceptionally low tide but it wasn’t quite as great as last year. However “not as great as last year” is not much of problem as this place is just crammed with stuff anyway. We saw the usual huge numbers of crabs, small fish, anemones, sponges, shellfish and the like and spent a very happy couple of hours poking about, turning over stones and the like
The highlight was this pipe fish that TJF spotted just swimming about in a shallow pool. A magnificent specimen. Never seen one in the UK and it was a special find.
Again for some reason I only took a few photos. Most likely that I was too absorbed in poking about. Like most other childhood activities I still love these sorts of things as an adult. I was distracted as I easily am, much like my errant children. Like father like son/daughter I suppose. The views across to Piel Island were still fine although not as sunny as promised.
The day was finished off in style with more al-fresco eating, a very fine Chinese takeaway in Ulverston, eaten in the park where the kids enjoyed a seriously bouncy zip-wire. Actually the day wasn’t quite finished. When we got home there were two small and I guess young deer in the garden nibbling on the shrubs. We spent several minutes watching them treat the garden like home, entranced.
A real treat, the only wild animal I’ve ever seen in my garden is a rat!
It wouldn’t be a week in Silverdale without a trip to the Pepper Pot through Eaves Wood. To draw our week to a conclusion we took a last stroll up there before we headed home. The perfect family walk with trees to climb, rocks to scramble on and superb views.
A fitting finale. Another amazing, fun, entertaining and hospitable trip so a huge thanks to our hosts for a wonderful time. I just wish I’d taken a few more photos :)
Both Hutton Roof and Warton Crag are places I’ve always wanted to visit but despite many trips to Silverdale, we never have. Hutton Roof and the nearby Farleton Fell are the prominant limestone eminences next to to the South Lakes junction on the M6. Mark has waxed lyrical in his blog several times so this year I made a strong push to pay it a visit. After all it’s only a 20 minute drive away from his place. Alas the weather did for us. We ate very fine a chilly lunch at Plain Quarry with a warming bowl of home-made lentil and tomato soup. Warming!! In late May!! The kids blew off some steam scrambling on the quarry walls and chucking a frisbee around.
We had grand plans for an explore of this rather lovely wooded limestone hill and I was looking forward to discovering the delights Mark has often told me about. However after ambling up to the summit trig pillar, the rain promised for later arrived early and quickly became a steady fall under glooomy skies. With a disappointed air we called it a day as the weather was only due to worsen. Here is Mark’s most recent visit on a sunny evening so you can see how grand it really is
The early start to the rain the previous day meant it had cleared earlier than expected the next morning. Finally a chance to climb Warton Crag. We parked up in another quarry, this one much larger and not for any brothers, dangerous or otherwise. Warton Crag delivered as promised, a wonderful collection of wooded glades and grassy pastures among the limestone.
Occasional clearings gave views across Morecambe Bay and the Lakes. Like all these little known hills we had the place pretty much to ourselves
After a bit of searching through some particularly splendid grassy glades we found The 3 Brothers, glacial erratics (possibly!) well hidden amongst the trees.
The kids had a fine time scrambling about and posing for photos as they jumped off.
From there it was up the summit and more fine views and glades of bluebells. Despite the dark and threatening skies we stayed dry which was a bonus.
I particularly enjoyed the walk down on a gently sloping limestone edge above the quarry. The northern TBF and the DBs gave me extra time to savour it by becoming lost and emerging unexpectedly from the woods after a short delay
A fine couple of short walks squeezed in between the wetter spells, more fuel to fire that this area is one of the finest for walks of a less demanding nature but packed with interesting stuff
Our second day, and free from the shackles of the Bank Holiday we felt safe to venture out into the wide world beyond Silverdale. Mark had posted last Easter about a fine walk in the dales involving caves (you can read his post here) and the mix of walking and adventure seemed ideal to keep the kids amused.
After a aimless wander about Settle looking for toilets we were off. The start of the walk is brutally steep with some grumbles and dragged heels.
We were looking for somewhere to picnic in that classic British style when it really is too cold to do so. After rejecting many potential sites on account of the fact they were too windy or too swarthed in nettles. I was accused of doing it deliberately just to delay lunch and wind everyone up. As if! As we climbed the eminence of Pen y Ghent revealed istself
We eventually found a fine albeit slightly inclined spot and feasted. In the other British tradition we’d brought far too much food including a mountain of cheese. It was even sunny while we ate although for reasons unknown I hardly took any photos. Surprising as the views across to Warrendale Knotts and Attermire Scar were fantastic. I’d never been up this way before and its a fabulous and dramatic little corner full of crags, caves and hidden valleys. We saw a few people but nothing like the numbers you see in other better known spots in the Dales.
On to our next objective, Attermire Cave. If you look at the photo below, its the dark mark at the right of the line of crags with a green terrace to it’s left
It looks hard to get at an indeed it is. It involves a very steep scrabble up the grassy slopes and short scramble onto that green ledge which is fairly narrow and quite exposed. It had my pulse racing primarily on account of the fact that I was in the presence of the dangerous brothers who have a dangerous lack of a sense of, well, danger and who had to be restrained from running around on the ridge and giving me a coronary.
The entrance to the cave involved an awkward little step but once in its free from danger. It’s a narrow cave with a very high ceiling and is full of quartz crystals and other interesting stuff (including some large black spiders much to TJF distress)
We had a grand time exploring but it was over all too soon
Luckily there was more fun to be had. A narrow trod traverses high above the slopes below, itself a superb walk with wide ranging views and into a nameless valley to the north.
I really liked this spot with it’s limestone cliffs and green grassy paths.
A mile or so on and you reach more caves. At the bottom is Wet Cave, which was well named and quite unpleasant but above is Victoria Cave. It’s an old show cave with an artificially enlarged, and what looks like is now a largely unsafe, entrance. Ignoring the signs and barriers (I’m a rebel) I ventured in and wandered a few hundred meters into a long narrow passage before it got too narrow. You can see the entrance in the photo below just up on the left but strangely I took no other photos here either
On again to our final adventure at Jubilee Caves. These were not as interesting as Attermire but were a lot more fun. They had several passages and entrances all linked together, some very small.
The kids, big and small had a great time squirming in and out and some adults with arms in bandages who should have known better also joined in. Trouble is I like caves (and I’m a big kid at heart) and couldn’t stand not getting involved. Trying to scramble and squeeze my middle aged spread through a small hole, one handed was a cause of much amusement for the assembled posse
The weather was really rather splendid now, albeit with the cold theme that would dominate the week. We had to turn for home now with our trogladytic appetites quenched.
The walk back to Settle along the Pennine Bridleway was magnificent with great views along the Ribble valley and down over Settle
A fantastic day out and a superb walk always enhanced when you discover something new.
The Dales really are a special place and I’ve really missed them since I moved away from the area back in the mid-90s. The trips to Silverdale and the days out we’ve spent there have been superb. More please :)
After my bout clumsiness inspired self harm, the start of our half term holiday was scuppered. To the rescue came Mark and his wonderful wife and family who offered to put up with us for an extra couple of days. Clearly they had a mountain of food they wanted us to eat and a tidy house that needed a good mess up. Seriously I was and am eternally grateful for rescuing our holiday and my own embarrassment
So we got to spend a whole week oop North and despite the ice age that descended for the week we had an amazing time, a mix of some local wanders which the area has a vast multitude and a couple of longer days out mixed in with lots of chilling and quite staggering amount of food eaten.
The first day was the Bank Holiday so we obeyed the golden rule of staying well away from cars and driving. Instead we took what I consider to be a classic walk, from Silverdale, around the coast to Arnside and then back over Arnside Knott. The coastal stretch through Far Arnside, Arnside Point, New Barns (and a short diversion into Grubbins Wood this time) is a cracker. The beach was kind to us today with firm sand rather than the gooey, trainer-swallowing mud the last time we did the walk
It was a little grey to begin with but slowly, surely as we reached Arnside the skies became clearer and the sun came out.
Arnside is a lovely seaside (or estuaryside!) village on the Kent and we timed our arrival to squeeze in lunch at the local pie shop. Pies, peas, mash gravy and pickles were heartily consumed to sustain us on the major ascent of Arnside Knott (via an extended play in the very fine park). As we climbed the sun really came out to play and as always the views across the estuary to the mountains of the Lake District and over Morecambe Bay were sublime.
It’s one of my favourite small hills and Mark and the gang are so lucky to have this fine eminence on their doorstep to climb whenever they feel the need.
It was even warm enough – just – on the top for a sit down in the sun. The Dangerous Brothers led the tree climbing frivolities as always frightening the hell out of me as they always do – I’m sure they do it deliberately.
We could have stayed for hours such is the quality of the views but we had chickens to cook and at this rate we’d be eating after midnight and turning in to Gremlins
A very fine first day and bank holiday indeed
We drive up the splendid valley containing said reservoir on many occasions to access what I consider to be the better side of the Brecon Beacons. I’ve had in my head an idea to circumnavigate it by a long walk taking in some of the Brecons eastern summits, returning over the expansive moorland to the south and finishing on the fine little hill of Tor y Foel. We attempted this walk in the winter but were turned back by day that promised sunshine and showers but delivered 3 hours of ceaseless rain.
Today was sunny and blue with a keen wind although a late-ish start had us walking at a brisk pace anyway to keep us warm. We made swift progress up the steep slopes of Twyn Du and onto Carn Pica
It was windy on top and decided on the longer walk around the fine and usually deserted edges of Craig y Fan, Gwalciau ‘r Cwm and Cwar y Gigfran (evocative names up here), rather than the direct route over Waun Rydd. The latter of those edges I’ve never walked before so it was good to tread some new ground. As expected they were deserted and the sense of space up here above the deep and broad valley of Caerfannel is immense
We paused briefly to look down on the famous wreckage of a WWII bomber but as we were above it decided to press on.
We turned south and headed along the edges of Craig Fan Las and Craif y Fan Du, one of my favourite stretches of upland in the UK. Busier here as its close to the main car park for the waterfalls but nothing like the main ridge of the Brecons. Pleasant company rather than crowded.
As the wind was still keen we dropped down to the river and found a stonking spot in the warm sun by Nant Bwrefwr for a long lunch and rest as we hadn’t really stopped since we left the car
Then it was onwards onto more new terrain. The slopes up onto the southern side of the valley don’t look all that inspiring from a distance. Lots of cleared coniferous plantations that are always an ugly scar and wide scarred paths.
Indeed the climb up was hard work and uninspiring, the paths badly scarred by trail bikes. These things are becoming a real threat to upland environments in south Wales and seem to be more numerous. Luckily today we only saw their aftermath rather than hear the irritating buzz and smell of fuel. It saddens me every time I see the damage they do. Some paths, like here are little more than 30 foot wide mudslides and will take years to recover if ever, assuming the National Park authority ever decide to do something about the problem
All that negativity ended as we reached the summit of Pant y Creigiau. I hadn’t known what to expect up here, possibley endless bog and tussocks. In fact it was a fantastic high level stroll across sheep nibbled grass with superb views across to the edges and valleys we’d walked on and above in the morning and to the limestone crags and quarries of Mynydd Llangynidr
All the while the reservoir glistened blue below us beckoning us on as we still had a long way to go. Over Bryiau Gleision the it suddenly narrows to a ridge where the views are exceedingly fetching. We found a perch high above the Dyffryn Crawnon valley for a rest in the sun and out of the wind. We’d had another long stretch and I was starting to feel the strain. I could have sat there for hours.
Time was pressing though and I had drag my sorry frame another few miles. We had the option to shorten the route and head straight down to the dam and miss out Tor y Foel this time. TJS looked crestfallen at this suggestion so he convinced me trudge on. Despite the harshness of the gravelled road that leads to the base of the hill it was a good decision. We made light work of the short climb to the top and it’s always good to finish a day on a summit, especially on a day as good as this. Another one for my small hills book :)
From there it was pretty much straight down to the car, brutally steep at the top to start with.
This part of the walk wasn’t on the maps I brought with me so I was guessing my way down. I spied what I thought might be a shortcut down the side of the forest and despite some tenuous brambled sections and some deep mud that covered my boots almost to the top we were down in matter of minutes. Across the dam and back to the car
So glad that what I thought would be a fine walk was even better than expected. I’ve never seen anyone walking on the second section which is surprising as it’s exceptionally fine and highly recommended.
A long walk at 14 miles (TJS longest and probably mine for a few years) but well worth the sunburn and aching knees at the end
Back up to date again. We had grand plans for the half term weekend. We were off to Pembrokeshire in the camper to see the Puffins on Skomer Island and some quality beach time at Marloes. However due to a bout of immense stupidity by me involving a kitchen knife and an avocado, I managed to sever a nerve in my finger, requiring some minor surgery to try to repair it. Considering that the cut was only 1 cm long (albeit deep enough to see the inner workings of my hand) I’m sure you’ll agree the dressing is rather impressive if a little disproportionate. Kind of ruled out a rough camping weekend
No idea what the rest of half term week will hold but we’ll be royally looked after by Mark and his family so hopefully some adventures to report on when I get back.
When we first visited this fine and quiet corner of the Lake District in 2011 we had 4 of the sunniest, bluest days in memory. I thought then that we’d probably pay for that good fortune and so, in a way we have. We’ve had a few good days in the past few years but mostly the weather has been disappointing. This year was no exception
We’d decided to head up a day early to make the best of things and the Friday was a pretty nice day. A long drive followed by pitching the camper at Church Stile Campsite (now with added shop full of local produce) left us time for an afternoon stroll up Buckbarrow.
A fine rocky hill and one small enough for a worthy place in my guide book. Short on distance and height but big on views over the South West fells and coastline.
The bright skies with dark broody clouds made a very fine backdrop.
Even TJF seemed to enjoy the walk
The day finished off with a grand meal in The Strands pub and beers in the campsite with the gang as they arrived
The forecast for Saturday and Sunday was dire and it was raining by the time we set off on Saturday morning. Enthusiasm was low as we trooped across the fields but it was at least good to catch up with friends and be out and about. The rain seemed to be increasing as forecast so we abandoned the plan to climb Middle Fell instead plumping for an amble to Greendale Tarn to fill the day.
In fact the weather didn’t deteriorate as badly as we thought and after a lunch by the stream decided to climb Middle Fell anyway
Whilst not exactly balmy summer weather it wasn’t as bad or as wet as we’d feared and in the end we made quite a good day of it. By the time we’d reached the campsite the rain had set in and the wind was blasting the campsite. It pretty much wiped out evening frivolities and the planned BBQ as everyone went to bed to listen to the rain. It was a wild night with roaring winds that rocked the camper from side to side and was still raining in the morning. It did stop but it was grim and dreary. Luckily we now have a wet weather plan – Seascale, its beach and the fabulous Mawsons Ice Cream Parlour. We dined like kings and ate like gluttons, the ice cream here is to die for. After a stroll on the beach we went back to the site and, as you’d expect began eating again. Despite still being grey, it was at least dry and therefore a BBQ was feasible. Who says you need warm sunshine to eat outdoors. Most people actually but that’s not the point. It was a fine evening with everyone in much improved spirits after a pretty dismal 36 hours.
Monday was much better. Sunshine warmed the camper as we breakfasted and encouraged the kids out on another walk.
Buckbarrow is such a good hill that its worth doing twice in the same weekend!
It’s perfect for the kids as after a steep start it’s an easy walk and we enjoyed a long leisurely lunch (part 1) by the stream.
The top is littered with crags giving everyone a chance to practice their scrambling skills. Little DB Junior had to be encouraged not to try the E-Grade rock climbs solo!
Another lunch on the top and we all wandered down in slightly different routes.
I paused at Greendale Gill, camera in hand hoping someone would provide some entertainment and fall in. Despite a procession of unwilling stooges no-one did. Some people have no sense of theatre
Despite almost 2 days of rain in the middle it was a pretty damn fine weekend, good company made up for a lack of warm sunshine and let’s face that’s the most important thing