Archive for the ‘Lake District’ Category

A New Favourite Introduced   8 comments

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It seemed that the theme of the weekend was South Lake District Limestone. As the weather was so bad on Easter Monday (me and Mark managed a very short and very wet walk in the rain), we decided to stay an extra day on the basis of a decent forecast for the Tuesday afternoon. There was scepticism aplenty but right on cue the weather cleared after lunch to abundant sunshine and we all headed out en-masse to meet with the Tower Captain, Captain Faff or whatever one of his many nicknames was in use on this day.

This time it was to be the Limestone edge of Scout Scar, across the Lyth Vally from Whitbarrow Scar where we’d been a few days earlier. After a bit of messing about with cars  so we could do a linear walk we were parked up at the northern end and we were off

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Another quite superb piece of quiet and undiscovered Lakeland, helped by the bright warm sunshine and clear expansive views

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There had been some quite heavy snow in the Lakes the day before but it seemed to have all melted back

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On Whitbarrow Scar the paths run quite a way back from the edge. On Scout Scar you can walk right along the cliff edge.  It’s a spectacular walk

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Views back across towards the Pennines and Howgills

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A Dangerous Brother in full flow

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TC had his two dogs with him, very bouncy they were and seemed thrilled to have a whole gang of people to throw them sticks. Made me remember how much fun walking with a canine companion is

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Across the Lyth Valley and Kent Estuary, Arnside Knott in the distance

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We took in this small church on our way down. No idea what it’s called as its doesn’t have name on the map (I’m sure Mark will add that detail when he comments)

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It’s certainly right up there, high on the list of Ecclesiastical buildings with a great view. Another book maybe?

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We finished the walk through the woods of Brigsteer Park to see the Daffodils. Have to say I found that stretch a bit tiresome as it was relentlessly muddy. It didn’t spoil either the walk or indeed what had been a tremendous weekend with great walks and great company. A proper holiday indeed

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And yet there was one more treat to come before the long drive home. TC is so named as he’s involved in the local church as a bell-ringer. He therefore has access to the tower and asked if we’d like to take a look. Absolutely

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After climbing the very steep and narrow stairs he showed us how to ring the bells and how it all works, nothing like how I imagined

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Then  it was time to climb up to the tower roof. No spiral staircases, just a ladder, a very exposed move across the rafters above the bells and then a steep metal stairway. The younger me would have relished the adventure, the older me was scared witless by it

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The views were superb and even though it had clouded over a bit we had a sunset to admire

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The Tower Toppers

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I found the roof a bit scary as well, probably due to the low wall and the fact I had two Dangerous Brothers skittering about the top

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A view of the bells, when in “storage” they are facing upwards. I never knew that.

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We thanked TC profusely for letting us make the visit. Something special, almost felt wrong or rather naughty in a way and we felt smug waving at everyone else below. A fine way to end the weekend

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A final sunset over the garden before we headed home. Massive thanks to Mark, TBH and the family for making us so welcome and of course as is tradition, trying to add several pounds to my waistline 🙂

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A dream fulfilled on Farleton Fell   15 comments

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I’ve probably driven along the M6 in Lancashire and Cumbria hundreds of times heading for the Lake District and beyond. As you approach junction 36 for the South Lakes, Farleton Fell dominates the view to the east of the motorway, a massive limestone escarpment that catches the eye and begs a walk. Despite having driven up this way for over 30 years I’ve never been up there. Time to put that right.

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I’ve always known this as Farleton Fell but the map seems to show that applies to the northern slopes with Farleton Knott the most prominent, if not the highest point (that doesn’t have a name) with reference to Holme Park Fell and Newbiggin Crags as well.

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The road climbs pretty much to the highest point and we set off into what was a very keen and very cold wind. Another beastly one.

The first thing that caught my eye was view across Lancaster and Morecambe Bay to what looked like Blackpool tower far in the distance. There was much scepticism from the kids but I think this proves I was right. You can see the massive rollercoaster in the Pleasure Beach as well on the left of the skyline

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It was a pretty gloomy day but we did have some shafts of bright sunlight and as you can see this area of Limestone is rather splendid such that even on a cold grey day its a fine spot

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Another one for the much talked about but never to be published “small hills” book

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Striding out for the summit

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Panorama across the bay

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It’s actually quite a distinct edge with some impressive limestone pavements and crags. The DBs were in their element. Until the elder DB banged his arm and DB Junior fell over onto his knees, a painful experience on hard angular rock

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The top was colonised by cows sheltering from the wind so we joined them for a short rest. No-one but me seemed all that keen to climb to Farleton Knott but I convinced them

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I’m sure, like me , they were glad they did as the views and the limestone scenery were superb

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Looking back to the highest point

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From summit I could look down on the M6 South Lakes junction that had me excited for reasons probably only I truly understand. Dreams fulfilled we headed back down. It really was bitingly cold

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On another day the full circuit of the plateau looks a really rewarding stroll. DB Junior was still deeply unhappy and it looked like everyone else had had their fill so I’ll have to save that for another day. There were some glorious sunny spells that lit up the trees with moody skies behind but I was never quick enough to catch them. This was my best effort

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A nice happy photo to finish off

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Probably able to round this up to 4 miles if our recent discussions of the accuracy of various mapping methods is anything to go by

Farleton Fell

 

Whitbarrow Wander   16 comments

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Easter normally involves a trip to Scotland for some backpacking. TJS is now a regular but college commitments meant that would be tricky to organise. An alternative plan for some trailer camping near Fort William was invoked to join my good friend Mark and his family in bagging Ben Nevis (TJS hasn’t climbed it and neither have I for over 20 years – I think). However with Scotland still in the grip of winter (and not wishing to take the Dangerous Brothers into a Scottish white-out on Britain’s highest mountain) we needed an alternative, alternative plan, a plan C if you like.

We sort of invited ourselves to Marks place for a few days and as always they welcomed us with open arms, fed us like kings and queens and tolerated our bad habits and boorish behaviour. A weekend of serious mountaineering was replaced with some more laid back easy walks, eating, games, eating, more eating, games and eating. And many laughs. Just what a hard-working project management professional needs in fact.

Our first outing took us to the Limestone eminence of Whitbarrow Scar. There are several of these low escarpments in the South Lakes and they make for excellent family walks. Views are expansive and they are always quiet while the masses head to the more famous peaks.

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We parked up at the south end and climbed the steep slopes via a very well-made path through Buckhouse Wood. It was a little gloomy and we had a spell of rain.

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Mark’s TBH wanted to stop in the rain – when she’s hungry she’s focused! We managed to convince her to walk on a short way until the rain stopped before settling down for lunch. A good call as we had some watery sunshine while sat and scoffed. A very fine lunch stop in the end

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As we walked along the broad ridge the weather, while still chilly, showed promising signs of brightness

Panorama looking across Morecambe Bay

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And approaching the summit

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The DBs found endless small crags to play on and made short work of a short climb to the summit of the cairn on Lords Seat

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As we began our descent down the very steep slopes of Bell Rake we found this mine adit. Needless to say that the DBs were straight in there and even convinced DB Senior, namely me to join them

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It was a surprisingly long tunnel although there was no evidence of whatever the people who excavated it were digging for. The DBs were as happy as pigs in muck as you can see

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I tried a couple of shots in the passage but it was, unsurprisingly, a little dark

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Mark did some dedicated research and you can read about his findings and his take on the day here

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Once back at the base of the escarpment, the terrain turned from dry rocks to soggy mud as the water that permeates through the Limestone emerges as springs where it hits the impermeable rocks underneath

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The sun was becoming more apparent and we were treated to some fabulous views of the striking cliffs as we emerged from High Park Wood

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These are the cliffs of Chapel Head Scar

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And a panorama of the same

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We were well pleased that such a gloomy start turned into a sunny finish. The views from the car of the end of the ridge while thoughts turned to home-made pizzas

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My map shows around 7 miles although the other route tracking apps seems to show 8 miles so I’ll accept the longer estimate for the purposes of morale

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Great start to what was a cracking weekend

A Review of 2017   18 comments

I’ve read quite a few blog post in the past few days reviewing other peoples 2017 exploits. I enjoyed them so much I thought I’d do the same. Good excuse to look back through my photos and remember what we got up to. At my age I need help remembering stuff!.

Acutely conscious of the modern trend for these awful “round robin” letters you get at Xmas (we get one of these smugograms every year) I tried to select photos that bring back a particular memory for me so its more a personal, family introspection on outdoorsy stuff, than a blow by blow account of the year. As its based on my photo collection if I didn’t photograph it, it ain’t here!

January

We started the year off in Tenerife and New Years Day was spent on this rather splendid beach (the earlier part of the day was in the mountains but I cocked up the photos from that part of the day!)

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Returning to the British winter, a walk along the Cats Back in the Black Mountains with TBF, memorable for a cloud inversion after a very wet morning. A reminder that despite our travels we are lucky to have some stunning scenery on our doorstep

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A solo day out in the Brecon Beacons, the first snowy walk near to home and pretty much the only one with significant snow during the early part of the year (made up for it at the end)

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A glorious day out in the Black Mountains with TJS and a cooked breakfast on a cold Table Mountain. I like this photo though as it has Mynydd Troed in centre shot, my very first mountain climbed when I was about 10

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And my usual skiing trip (only a weekend this year) to finish off the month. Snow was a bit rubbish but we had a laugh nonetheless

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February

Another solo day on Fan Fawr in the Brecon Beacons. I remember this day for a very mild Friday afternoon (16C) and snow in the mountains 18 hours later

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A short walk with TBF on Hatterall Hill

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March

The first weekend of the month is always spent in Scotland with friends of long standing. A new location at Bridge of Orchy and a two out of three days were magnificent winter days. The walk along this ridge high above Rannoch Moor on the first day was superb

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Me and TJS also managed a cheeky backpack into the Black Mountains. Straight from work on the Friday for a one nighter in my new tent. Need to do more of these this year

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2017 is the year I rediscovered cycling – mainly to help my knee and also to be less of a lazy layabout during the week. The Hardman – a VERY keen and VERY fit cyclist caught wind and insisted we meet up in the Peak for a trip along a couple of the old railway trails. A cracking sunny day and I survived cycling with the Hardman!

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And we finally managed a meet up in the Berwyns with Uncle Fester after a few aborted attempts

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April

More cycling and solo trip through the Brecon Beacons on the “Gap” route. Cycling to over 600m was a first for me and I started to feel that I almost, might, actually enjoy cycling.

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Easter and a major backpacking trip with TJS to the Cairngorms. The weather was wild and windy but we had a couple of superb wild camps and TJS bagged his first Scottish 4000 footer

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I even coaxed TJF out for a bike ride along the Brecon and Usk canal

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May Day weekend was mostly in April. Mixed weather but we had a fine gaggle of friends on a hike around Greendale, taking in Buckbarrow and Seatallan

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May

No finer way to celebrate a birthday than a lunchtime hike. This one was on one of my local hills, Bryn Arw with TBF

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Followed by a weekend away in Cornwall. It almost felt tropical on the white sands just north of Padstow on one of our walks

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Whitsun weekend was spent with our good friends in Silverdale. The Sunday was a real winner with a long but easy stroll and a fantastic pub lunch. Weather was mixed the rest of the time but great company, many laughs and a chance to relax

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June

A different walk from the usual mountains. One of the small hills that overlook Gloucester and across to the Cotswolds. Not something I’d do every day but a nice change

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One of the highlights of the year was the long-planned backpacking trip with the kids into the Howgills. Despite poor weather we gave it a go and it was a huge success. The kids really enjoyed the adventure and I’m hoping they have caught the wild camping bug

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July

After the backpack trip I was out of action for a few weeks recuperating and resting after a minor knee op. Didn’t affect my water based fun though, a nice albeit far too long trip down the river Wye

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By the end of July I was back in the hills again (the knee op has been a great success I’m pleased to say). A fine evening stroll with TBF and TJS on Ysgyryd Fawr (we even took a cheeky cold beer to drink on the top)

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Another “local walk for local people” – this time Garway Hill where we reached the top, saw this nasty storm approaching and raced it back to the car. We won.

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Late July brings the annual camping trip to Towyn Farm on the Llyn Peninsula. We packed in lots of walks and beach fun in a very mixed few days of weather. My abiding memory though was this game of Kubb which was huge fun with both adults and kids alike taking it far too seriously and larking about in equal measure. A happy afternoon

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August

The big family trip of the year, a rail trip around some of Europe’s finest cities. An real change from our usual outdoor camping trips and it was real success. We all took took to the city life rather well you might say. One of my best ever holidays. A few photos that made me smile

One of the many fountains in Paris (we called this one the fountain of throttled fish)

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A monster thunderstorm in Turin

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My favourite seafront walk in Venice

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The Colloseum in Rome – of course

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Schloss Belvedere in Vienna (courtesy of an unplanned extra couple of hours from a very late train)

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The thermal baths in Budapest – “like taking a bath in a wedding cake”

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A stroll along the Spree river in Berlin on a sunny Sunday afternoon

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And the railway bridge over the Rhine in Cologne

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September

Back to earth with a bump. A few days after the heat and sun of Europe we were walking in the Black Mountains in driving rain and cold winds!

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But there was still enough warm weather left for a round of the hills near the Talybont Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons

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October

A walk with friends in the Roaches on the dreariest day of the year (when everywhere else was sunny – I’m not bitter)

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More evidence of my new found cycling passion (probably too strong a word). A ride around the tracks of the New Forest while TJS took a look around Southampton University

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And why settle for one trip to see major cities when you can do it twice. As a special treat for TJS 18th Birthday we spent a week in Barcelona. Probably my favourite city but despite all its famous sights, this little known hill and its view overlooking the city was my favourite spot

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November

After sunshine comes the reality of winter. A couple of cold but beautiful days. One in the Black Mountains on the Sugar Loaf and Crug Mawr

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And one of my favourite walks in the Black Mountain

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A delayed birthday treat weekend for TBF saw us in Padstow for a couple of nice meals and walks along the Cornish coast and Dartmoor

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December

And last into the proper depths of winter. The first snows saw me and TJS head into the highest peaks of the Black Mountains

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The day after saw the biggest dump of snow I’ve seen in my own backyard for many a year. Walks around my village in deep snow under crisp blue skies were wonderful

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The start of the Xmas holidays is marked with an annual get together of my University friends and their families. Always great fun but this year we could climb the hills in snow (rather than wet rain) and play at snowballs

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Finally coming full circle with a return to the Canary Islands to spend Xmas in Lanzarote and Xmas Day sunning ourselves on the beach

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Well I enjoyed looking through my photos, choosing a few and reliving a great year. Hope you enjoyed it too. All the best for 2018 🙂

The Shorter Side of Wasdale   6 comments

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Last day always involves a good deal of packing. My trailer despite flipping open/closed quickly still takes a couple of hours to unpack and stow everything, empty water containers and the like. The windy weather helped out by taking my awning down for me the previous morning and bending my poles into interesting new shapes which was nice

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It was after lunch before all was done, leaving time for a short leisurely stroll to Wast Water. The kids decided to stay back and play footy. Like the day before there was plenty of blue sky and sunshine and it was nice to catch up with everyone without worrying about covering long distances or the kids happiness

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The lake-shore path at the SW end is the best way to experience the classic Wasdale view of Wast Water, Yewbarrow, Great Gable and Lingmell

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As well as the Wasdale Screes on the opposite shore (great to look at, awful to walk over)

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We sat on the grassy bank and chatted for a while, even daring to paddle in the chilly lake waters

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Alas we all had very long drives home so the walk was short yet perfectly formed. In fact a decent day until EWO drew a dark cloud over us all during a discussion about backpacking next Easter. I have no idea where this wording came from or what he was thinking but he said, and I quote ” how many more backpacking trips have you got left in you?” Both me and ED were stunned and momentarily lost for words until we told him we had a limitless supply. I intend to live forever for no other reason that to be an annoyance to every one who knows me for an eternity. Needless to say once we recovered our composure we saw the funny side and began what is likely to be an endless mickey take. Every conversation we ever have now, about anything will conclude with a “I don’t know how many (insert wording as needed) I have left”. Me and ED have a already started and it will probably appear as a regular guest phrase in most of my blog posts

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An entire weekend up here without significant rain is almost unheard of. Probably just as well we were there for this one because……

I don’t know how many more of these weekends I have left in me 🙂

The past 4 post photos all collected into a single slideshow with an awesome, Brian Cox endorsed tune for your pleasure

The Smaller Side of Wasdale   6 comments

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I’ve often looked across the Church Stile campsite and thought that I ought to climb Irton Pike as it looked a suitably rocky and a well positioned view point. Well at least I would have thought that had it actually been Irton Pike I was looking at and not Latterbarrow that sits in front. Still the idea was sound and after another endless faff trying to get everyone together we set off

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Through woods and fields filled with bluebells

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And through the pastures below the wooded peak of Latterbarrow. There was some vague navigational muppetry and everyone seemed convinced there would be no path around the base of Irton Pike and we’d have walk down to the road at Santon Bridge and back up. I had faith and indeed there was a splendid path that traversed around the slopes to the very steep path to the summit

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And a very fine and extremely windy summit it was. Expansive if hazy views and after a bit of searching we found a sheltered spot for a lazy lunch. Another chapter for the “Small Hills with Disproportionately Good Views” book I’m writing – well sort of writing.

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On the way down, ED and TBH played the ” just looking at some art in the village hall” card. We introduced the kids to the delights of a pub drink (just lemonade!) while we waited. And waited. And waited. Seems they had no idea we were outside the pub they walked right past and were trying to catch us up. Yeah, right! Choosing to spend some quality time together by dumping their kids on us more like

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Luckily all the kids were in fine form, cheerful and enjoying the walk, a pleasure to be with in fact and we had a laugh as we enjoyed the long riverside stroll by the Irt back to the campsite, all taking a chance to poke fun at ED and TBH in their absence. That’ll teach ’em

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Cracking walk, nothing serious but almost 8 miles and good company equals good memories

The quieter side of Wasdale   12 comments

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With a mild hangover (spot the pun from the previous post) we spent the usual eternity agreeing where to go for a walk. Not fancying using the car or the crowds no doubt attracted to the honeypots higher up the valley, we hit the heights of Buckbarrow and Seatallan. Hills of contrast, one rocky, one grassy. A nice combination that see’s very few footprints if my experience is anything to go by

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Over the fields and a steep climb alongside the tautological Gill Beck.

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Buckbarrow is splendid summit if you can call it that. In reality, just the rocky end of the grassier Seatallan but littered with small rocky outcrops. I’ve climbed it several times in the past few years and its become one of my favourite places.

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DB Senior who apparently wasn’t all that keen on a walk had a whale of time scrambling up some pretty tough little routes. Always adds to the pleasure for me to see one of the younger members of the gang enjoying the mountains same way I used to. I feel like I’m passing on the baton as I get older (more of this in a couple of posts time!)

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It was an overcast day but a few glints of sunlight kept us bright and the clouds were off the summits making for pretty fine views

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We stopped for a very long lunch after a long stretch where we walked for almost one hour! We compared stoves (my Jetboil won of course), talked nonsense with a little politics thrown in and laughed at great deal

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Time to move on as OGS was getting restless. I compared middle aged ailments and injuries as we strolled to the broad grassy summit of Seatallan. The views from here are unusual in that you see hills and valleys you wouldn’t normally see or know of. Here we have Haycock and Caw Fell above the wonderfully name River Bleng. Looked a fine spot for quiet wild camp some time

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We could see the Isle of Man although its summits seemed to be in cloud

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The main Scafell Pike range looked impressively dark and forbidding

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The descent towards Middle Fell was impressively steep and I declined the offer of an ascent of Middle Fell in return for a very wet, soggy and leg grazing traverse around Greendale Tarn.

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The rest of the day was whiled away with the steep descent along Greendale Gill and the return across the fields to the campsite for a chilly BBQ in the ever increasing wind

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Quite a long walk in the end at 8 miles and a very one enjoyable one as well. Nothing to challenge the brain so the focus is just on enjoying being out with good company both young, old and very old (sorry OGS!)

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