Archive for the ‘Wasdale’ Category

May Day Weekend – Buckbarrow   12 comments

A very short post from the final day of our excellent weekend. Takes a while to eat breakfast and pack down the trailer so no time for a full day walk. No problem, as the delight of this campsite is plenty of high quality short walks on the doorstep.

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Today it was Buckbarrow, the prominent rocky summit at the back of the site. A very nice stroll over the fields leads to the base in 20 minutes and then a short but very steep climb (with the odd rest) has you on the summit rocks.

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The views across the lower reaches of Wasdale open out as you climb (the campsite is centre right in the photo below).

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There are plenty of rocky outcrops to tempt the scrambler. This rather greasy looking ramp looked beyond my skills but in fact turned out to be much easier than it looked.

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I picked my own route on the less dramatic outcrops.

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Its a cracking spot to look across Wast Water at Illgill Head and the screes.

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And across the lake to the Scafell Pike and Scafell range.

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We had another long stop on the top to enjoy lunch followed by a very brisk walk down so we could hit the cafe in Seascale for another huge ice cream based evening meal! Who says you shouldn’t finish the day with waffles and ice cream. Great end to a classic weekend packed with quality walks and good company.

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May Day Weekend – Irton Pike   8 comments

Something a little more relaxed and easy paced after the exertions of the previous day in the high mountains. Irton Pike was a popular spot a couple of years ago so we decided to repeat that – after another leisurely morning of indecision.

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The walk across the pastures at Flass is one of my favourite spots.

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The view across the huge green meadow studded with trees is wonderful.

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Another bright and dry day albeit with less sunshine than the previous day.

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Latterbarrow Crag always looks impressive but its on private land with plenty of warning signs to keep out. One day I’ll trespass up there….

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After the steep climb to Irton Fell we bade farewell to keener members of the group off to Illgill Head and Mitredale while we tured and headed down down the ridge towards Irton Pike.

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Its a very impressive, small, rocky and steep sided peak with expansive views out to the coast.

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As is our want we stopped for a long while for brews, lunch and in some cases a snooze.

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We took a long way back via the pub in Santon Bridge for a cheeky pint and back along the River Irt although I don’t seem to have taken any photos after Irton Pike. Trust me it was fine walk, beer and evening back at the campsite with more camp fire fun.

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May Day Weekend – Lingmell   14 comments

Most of our happy band had arrived and we woke to a glorious morning of clear blue skies. Warm enough – just – to cook breakfast outside. What could be better.

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After quite a momentous amount of faffing about we were ready to head to hills. We agreed that a repeat of the walk up into the Scafell range by following the path along Piers Gill was in order. Most of the gang had done this last year when we missed the weekend and I’ve never done that route. No-one seemed to mind doing it again.

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The views in Wasdale as parked up and began the walk were sublime. Classic views to Kirk Fell and Great Gable and back down Wasdale towards Wast Water.

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Despite the sunshine there was a keen gusting wind and it was pretty cold. However the forecast was primarily dry and I’ll always settle for cold and dry over warm and wet. The Pony Path route towards Styhead has become a real favourite of mine. A grass trod with lots of interesting stream crossings and scenery. Infinitely preferable to long main drag that flanks Great Gable that the masses seem to take. I’ve walked up this path a few times recently and rarely seen anyone on it.

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We made brief lunch stop just before the main climb before tackling the hard work of the day.

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It’s a steep route that follows the line of the deep and dark ravine of Piers Gill. As you climb, the rock scenery becomes ever more impressive.

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About 2/3 the way up there is a short and quite steep scramble. Nothing too difficult with plenty of holds but worth bearing in mind if you follow this route and find rock work to be a little daunting.

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TBF poses with the impressive bulk of Great Gable behind.

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The path from here to where it joins the Corridor Route is just superb. The cliffs of Lingmell tower above and there are numerous spots where you peer over the edge into Piers Gill.

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Looking ahead the dramatic corries and peaks of the Scafell Pike range come into focus.

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Most people up here are heading for Scafell Pike and you could see the crowds on the top and surrounding paths. Our target was the smaller and quieter Lingmell.

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As we climbed the dramatic crags of Scafell really caught the eye as well as dark and dramatic views out over Wast Water to the coast.

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If we all look a bit chilly sat on the top that may be because it was perishingly cold and a little snowy at this point.

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A cracking little summit though, superb viewpoint for Englands highest range and Great Gable and we had it to ourselves.

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DB Jr doing what DBs do best, scrambling around in dangerous places giving me unsettling moments.

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You can probably tell from the photos that Great Gable is the real eye catching peak from this walk.

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No walk up here would be complete with following the Corridor Route. Its a magnificent path through some wild and rocky terrain but apart from one short scramble a well made and very easy path.

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A couple of photos from my phone in a sunnier interval to give a flavour of what you can expect if you tackle it.

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Time for another stop (a good route deserves time to appreciate it)

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We managed to pick out Napes Needle across the valley on Great Gable and some people stood at the bottom in blue jackets. Not sure if they were just admiring it or planning to climb it.

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As we turned to head back down the sun came out in glorious abundance. Another sit down on the grass was in order. Mostly to rest and sunbathe. For me and the DBs a chance to behave like kids and fill each others pockets and packs with rocks.

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The views back from the last stretch to the car were wonderful in the evening light. Great Gable.

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And Kirk Fell.

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Superb day of great walking in great company.

What better way to finish off than a BBQ and a roaring fire.

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It was a bit chilly for sitting outside but everyone had a fun time. The campsite hire out fire pits made from old washing machine tubs. Nothing better for kids and adults who pretend to be kids than playing with fire on a campsite.

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May Day Weekend – St Bees Head   18 comments

Our annual trip to the Lake District for May Day was upon us (we missed it last year but who’s counting). We headed up a day early (me and TBF) to make a longer weekend. Seemed a rash decision as it was grey, dreary and raining when we woke up on the Friday morning. Luckily it stopped just before lunch so rather than head to the hills we headed to the coast. First stop, Mawsons Cafe in Seascale for a sandwich and huge plate of waffles and ice cream. Then onwards to St Bees for a coastal walk (feeling rather bloated it has to be said.

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We’ve only ever been to the coast hereabouts on wet and dreary days so this made a nice change. In fact the weather had turned quite rapidly from rain to glorious sunshine.

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St Bees Head is well known to long distance walkers as the official start of the Coast to Coast walk and also home to some fine cliffs, hidden beaches and a seabird colony. It’s also home to an expensive car park by the beach. Note that in Seascale down the road the car park is free!

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The grass was green, the sky blue, the gorse flowering yellow and all was right with the world.

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It’s a splendid grassy romp along the cliff tops and on a Friday very quiet.

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Fleswick Beach is a couple of miles in and looked a wonderful place to explore.

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And just beyond is the colony of seabirds. I’m not an expert but they looked very similar to the Razorbills and Guilliemots that we’ve seen in Pembrokeshire so I’m assuming that’s what they were. The largest colony of cliff nesting seabirds in NW England said the sign. On reflection probably the only colony of cliff nesting seabirds in NW England. As far as I know there are no cliffs any further north before you hit Scotland and heading south you’d have to reach Somerset before the next band of cliffs (excluding Wales of course)

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Still it was an impressive, numerous, noisy and smelly colony and were pleased to be able to see it.

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We turned tail and headed back to the car. No time explore the beach as we were on a timetable to meet TJS off the train from Lancaster.

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The coast was just as enjoyable on the return.

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As we approached St Bees we received a message telling us he’d missed his train the hopeless git. No time to return to Fleswick Beach but we now had an extra hour to kill.

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We admired the views across St Bees beach and to the Lake District. Very different to see the mountains from this direction.

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And we did have time for a potter on the beach and a sit down on the sea wall.

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Not a bad day after such a dismal start and a superb bit of coast that is well worth seeking out. Its not all about mountains!

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The day was finished off with a pub meal and a few beers in the excellent Strands Inn at Nether Wasdale with our friends as they arrived. The mountains were calling for the next day.

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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

Irton Pike

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

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