Archive for the ‘mountains’ Tag

Nether Wasdale Meet Up May 2015   13 comments

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.

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buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

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.

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buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

The bright skies with dark broody clouds made a very fine backdrop.

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buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

Even TJF seemed to enjoy the walk

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

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.

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

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

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

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, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

Buckbarrow is such a good hill that its worth doing twice in the same weekend!

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

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.

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

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!

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

Another lunch on the top and we all wandered down in slightly different routes.

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

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

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

buckbarrow, camping, church stile campsite, middle fell, mountains, nether wasdale,  walk, wasdale, wast water, greendale tarn, greendale gill, seascale, mawsons ice cream parlour

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

I’ve been busy!   2 comments

I’ve been neglecting my blog for the past few weeks. What with being away in Pembrokeshire and Cornwall for holidays and, well, just being a lazy git I just haven’t given it the loving care and attention it needs and I can tell the general public are growing restless at the lack of surfnslide antics. Well some people, well a few, well one, my friend GM but I suspect he was being sarcastic.

Anyway while I get round to some major updates for my family holidays and a cracking trip to the Arans in mid-Wales, here is a quick report on another of my post work jaunts. It’s a little gem called Bryn Arw just north of the Sugar Loaf. It’s only 300m high but in the dozen or so times I’ve been up it I’ve never seen a soul up there. It’s only a short walk but it’s perfect for a half a day stroll or when the higher summits are in the cloud.

The first section is along the road. Having read the blogs over at Beating the Bounds and Rambling On, I’m trying to pay more attention to the wildflowers when I’m out walking. On this evening it really struck me not only how much variety there is in our hedgerows but how just looking a little closer can turn what I used to see as a road trudge into a walk of discovery. I found myself stopping every few yards to look at the various plants – and in this case – fruit by the roadside.

Wild Strawberry

Honeysuckle

It’s a short steep climb up on to the ridge with several options and a pleasant mile along a broad grassy ridge with views across the Ysgyryd Fawr, Sugar Loaf, Hatterall Hill and the rest of the Black Mountains

Ysgyryd Fawr

Summit ridge

Sugar Loaf

Hatterall Hill

The late evening light gives some great effects on the clouds and the weathered trees

Evening sky

Spooky tree

If you are planning this walk just remember that during July and August the bracken completely swamps the lower slopes and as the paths are little walked they can become hard to bash through.

The walk is a mere 3.5 miles and 850 feet of ascent but its quality not quantity.

Full set of Flickr photos here

Posted July 8, 2011 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Walking

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Ysgyryd Fawr May 2011   2 comments

Short post with some photos of an after-work stroll. while J and the kids were away in Pembrokeshire (post to follow). Ysgyryd Fawr is a prominant sight right across the Black Mountains and in its isolated position provides a quality viewpoint across the Black Mountains, the Forest of Dean, and across Herefordshire to the Malverns and beyond. Its diminutive size makes it the perfect candidate for a short mountain walk. It’s only 2.5 miles round trip to the summit with 1,00 feet of ascent so as I drove home the lure was irresistable and as I now keep my boots and pack in the car I took the 2 mile detour to the car park pretty much on a whim.

The bottom section is through the trees and the last time I was here on Xmas eve it was like the Cresta Run.

Blorenge

Once on the top the snow was fortunately absent but it was still unseasonably cool and windy but the ridge is absolutely terrific and a pleasure to walk along.

View across White Castle and the Forest of Dean

Summit Ridge

It’s a popular hill and I saw several parties on the way down but by the time I reached the top I had it to myself. The views in the late evening sun were as good as any I’ve had up here and I took time out to lie in hollow out of the wind and soak it in.

Herefordshire and across to the Malverns

There were some great views across to Hatterall Hill and the Sugar Loaf where I’ve been in the last couple of weeks.

Hatterall Hill

Black Mountains

Sugar Loaf

I headed back down the ridge with a real spring in my step – no better way to work off the frustrations of a work day – marvellous!

Flickr photos here. The photos are taken with my Nokia E7 phone – not too bad although it’s not keen on the dark foreground for these late evening shots

Hatterall Hill   2 comments

This is one of my all-time favourite walks in the Black Mountains. I’ve done it perhaps half-a-dozen times since I moved to Herefordshire in 2002. Whenever I’m stuck for an idea or struggling for choice this one always seems to win. I have numerous walking guides but this walk or a derivative doesn’t appear in any of them. I find this strange as it’s such an obvious looking circuit when seen from Ysgyryd Fawr as in this photo taken a few years ago:

Hatterall Hill from Ysgyrd Fawr

It’s a relatively short walk and having got lucky with a chance to leave work early I took my chance, parking at Cwmyoy village hall. After crossing the river and fields you come to the sleepy heart of the village with its ancient church, leaning tower and bent roof to the fore.

Cwmyoy Church

Cwmyoy Church

The views across the fields to Ysgyrd Fawr are top notch.

Ysgyryd Fawr

The walk goes past a small table-top hill created by an old landslip.

I must take an alternative route and actually climb this one day. For reasons I’m not entirely sure of I always do this walk in the same direction. If I reversed it I’d see the path up this little knoll on the way down rather than on the way up when I’m already above it. Lesson learned. In no time the path is high up on one of the arms of the valley and it’s an easy stroll towards the main ridge, passing some excellent views up the Vale of Ewyas towards Capel-y- Ffin and the Gospel Pass.

Vale of Ewyas

The ridge was incredibly windy as it has been for several weeks so I had to drop down on the far side to get some shelter and admire the views over the Herefordshire countryside. In this photo you can make out Clodock Church which we passed by on our Longtown Lambs walk a couple of months back.

Looking north to Clodock

I headed down with cracking views across to Ysgyrd Fawr and the Sugar Loaf where I walked after work last week.

Sugar Loaf

Ysgyryd Fawr

One of the farm buildings high up on the slopes now sports a nice little poem on one of the Barn Walls

The lower fields were awash with buttercups although the hedgerows of the lane were surprisingly sparse in terms of wild flowers

Ysgyryd Fawr

First time I’ve actually clocked the walk so surprised to find it’s 6.2 miles and 2,000 feet of ascent. Feeling fitter by the day!

Full set of Flickr photos here

Post-work wind-down   1 comment

As I work in Bristol and live in Hereford, my drive home takes me either through the Wye Valley or past the Black Mountains providing ample opportunities to get a short walk in on the way home. I did this a couple of times a few years back so I thought it was time to revive the practice. I picked the Sugar Loaf, a prominent hill overlooking Abergavenny as not only is it a nice mountain, you can start from a car park at 1,000 feet! When I got there at 6pm the weather wasn’t quite as sunny as when I left Bristol but it was still pleasant. The views from the car park across the Usk valley and the Heads of the Valleys is great, and for anyone with smaller kids the area is great for a short walk with wide easy paths and expansive views.

Usk Valley and Blorenge from the Car Park

You can just go pretty much straight up and down but there is a much nicer route that heads across to the SW and W ridge. It involves some extra descent/ascent but it’s well worth it. The ridge is a pleasant stroll and the views across to the SW reaches of the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons are great.

Pen Cerrig-calch

Summit from the W ridge

The summit has a nice, rocky, airy feel and at 7:30pm you have the advantage of having it to yourself (it’s a popular summit).

Summit Rocks, Ysgryd Fawr behind

Summit, distant Brecon Beacons behind

I sat for a while on the top picking out other post-work walks like Ysgyrd Fawr, Bryn Arw and Hatterall Hill and watching a hot-air ballon rise up over Bryn Arw.

Hot-air balloon over Bryn Arw

Downside of being on a hill on a cloudy, windy evening at 7:30pm is that it’s cold and I was hungry so I headed down and past the usual groups of wild horses back to the car.

Wild horses

4.4 miles and 1,000 feet of ascent, not bad for an evening workout.

Full set of Flickr Photos here

A vist later in 2011 is posted here

Posted May 20, 2011 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Walking

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FA Cup Final Warm-up – Hay Bluff and Black Hill   4 comments

As part of my personal drive to get out more often, keep my weight in check and so protect my knees, I woke early and decided to head out for a half a day. My footy team Manchester City were playing in the FA Cup Final so I could do a brisk walk and still be home in time for a lazy afternoon in front of the TV to watch the match. I didn’t want to drive far so I headed to the car park at the foot of the ridge known locally as the Cats Back for a circuit of the upper reaches of the Olchon valley

The forecast was for a sunny morning with heavy showers for later in the day so I was out of the house and in the car park with my boots on before 8am. To say I was a trifle disappointed to see that the clouds were on the ridge and looking dark and threatening with rain in the air is an understatement. It was cold and windy which made my choice of shorts instead of trousers something of a schoolboy error. If the clouds continued to build I was likely to get a real soaking but seeing as I was here I thought I’d give it a go. The advantage of this kind of weather is an exceptional clarity to the light especially at this early hour.

Main ridge looking south from the car park

The car park is up at 400m and is a cracking place for a picnic (in warmer weather). There was no-one about as I set off, choosing to walk down into the valley before climbing up to the main ridge and then back along the Cats Back rather than face the steep climb back to the car at the end of the walk. The early morning views were stunning in particular this photo of tree in full bloom and a rainbow against the backdrop of the mountains.

As always I needed my mate ED to tell me what the tree is as I’m hopeless. I really must get a pocket, interactive or holographic version of him to take on walks with me – where is Star Trek Tech when you need it. Or a book!

The fields under the trees as I climbed out of the valley were still thick with Bluebells although dying off now. As you exit the trees you face a long raking climb right across the east flank of the main ridge.

The bracken was still just unfurling but it grows at an astonishing rate and to an equally astonishing height. Once you get beyond June it can be real barrier to the higher hills on the Black Mountains unless you stick to the popular paths. At times it’s like walking through a hedge maze but for now it was just a pleasant green addition

One of the other minor problems with these less-frequented paths is they tend to disappear as the gradient eases leaving with you a few hundred feet of heather, grass and bilberries to wade through. Finding them from the top is a matter of pure luck, another reason I chose this way round. By the time I reached the broad path along the ridge I realised it was very windy and very cold, time for fleece, gloves, hat and trousers – oh of course I’d forgotten the trousers – idiot. Still the weather had improved markedly and the black clouds had pretty much melted back.

Waun Fach and Pen y Gadair Fawr

I strode on briskly (too cold to do much else). One of the nice things about the Black Mountains is once on the ridge it’s pretty flat so you can lose yourself in your own world and just plod or motor on as the mood takes you. Between admiring the view and reliving the many routes I’ve done in the area my mind wandered all over the place from the usual work problems, to planning the upcoming holidays and of course how the game was going to go later.

Looking south, Ysgryd Fawr and Sugar Loaf in the distance

Almost before I knew it I was at the point where you can decide whether to turn right and start heading back over Black Hill or extend the walk to take in Hay Bluff. I was feeling pretty chipper so decided to do the extra bit.

Looking north to Hay Bluff

Well worthwhile as Hay Bluff is a cracking viewpoint over the Wye valley and across to the Brecon Beacons.

Lord Herefords Knob and Brecon Beacons from Hay Bluff

Wye Valley from Hay Bluff

Still too windy to linger so I immediately started heading back. Just after I headed off towards Black Hill I suddenly felt weary and found a sheltered spot for a rest and snack. Checking my GPS tracker I realised I’d done 6 miles straight in a little over 2 hours – no wonder I was knackered. As I set off I was overtaken by several fell runners, then more and more and more. It was clear there was a bit of race or event on, confirmed by the presence of a couple of tents and some people with clipboards on the path. I was going to stop and ask them what it was all about but they were all busy checking people in and recording times etc so I pressed on. As I continued towards Black Hill I came across an excellent sheltered spot for a campsite tucked away next to the path, an excellent place for an overnight stop although you’d have to carry a load of water up. I reached the trig point where the sun came out again and the views were great.

Black Hill

You can even see my house from here (well nearly). The photo below is of the Madley Satellite Earth Station and I live about a mile to the left in this photo.

Madley - nearly

To finish the route you walk down over the Cats Back – what passes as a narrow ridge in the Black Mountains. Not exactly Crib Goch but an airy walk with wonderful views over Herefordshire and back across the Black Mountains. Its a short walk and easy climb from the car park, so I’ve been up here several times in all seasons. The kids like it as there are plenty of rocky bits to scramble about on. L was up here last week on her Longtown adventure trip.  I took loads of photos to try and capture the sense of the ridge so hope the one’s I’ve chosen do it justice.

Cats Back Ridge

Cats Back Ridge

Cats Back Ridge

Looking across to where I’d gone up you could clearly make out the blueish tint of the bluebells in the meadows I walked through on the way up. I tried a photo or two but it didn’t show through. The weather had held off for me and it was almost warm as I started to head down.

Olchon valley

When I reached the car I was surprised to find that the walk was a few yards shy of 9 miles (I thought it was about 6) with 2,500 feet of ascent that I’d done in about 3.5 hours. Not bad!

Full Flickr Photo set here

Time to head home for a well-earned brunch of Mexican scrambled eggs and then settle down for the cup final.

MAN CITY 1 – STOKE CITY 0

Yeeeeeeeeeeessssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!

Days don’t get much better than this!

Posted May 14, 2011 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Walking

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Nether Wasdale – May Day Weekend 2011   2 comments

For as long as I can remember all my old university friends have got together for a camping and walking weekend on the first of the May bank holidays. Over the past 10 years as our respective families have grown so have the numbers and now it’s quite a major gathering. This year, thanks to Will and Kate we got an extra day although it made it hard to find a campsite with space. Fortunately The Yorkshire Gardener (TYG) and EWO rang around and got us all into the Church Stile campsite at Nether Wasdale, an inspired choice as it turns out. The weather has been pretty poor the last few years so we were hoping for something better this time around.

My lot arrived first on the Thursday evening and after a warm welcome from the owners found a perfect spot to accommodate all the tents.

The Jones family home at Church Stile

By late evening most of the party had arrived and all the kids were playing on the park and building dens in the woods while the adults put tents up and had a few beers. The site is superb with nice well laid out camping pitches, superb views and excellent facilities.

Buckbarrow from the campsite

EWO promised a decent day on Friday and wall to wall sunshine for the rest of weekend. If you read my blog you’ll know he always says this. Would he be right for once? Read on.

Friday – Middle Fell and Seatallan


The day was lovely and sunny although with a cool wind. We agreed that J would look after the kids and I’d head off for a walk so a few us headed for Middle Fell across the fields. It was warm but a strong wind was blowing that was to become a feature of the weekend.

GM and EWO, Buckbarrow behind

After climbing halfway up Middle Fell we decided it was time for a break. GM and Hard Man (HM) had found a quality spot complete with back-rests so this turned into a very lengthy stop to allow a snooze in the sun and in the case of HM and UF some loud snoring. It tried to rain and looked very threatening towards Scafell but it soon faded

"I wasn't asleep!" - could have fooled me

Galvanised by the rest we plodded a further 30 minutes to the top of Middle Fell.

Approaching Middle Fell summit

EWO with Scafell range behind

After all that effort we decided that another lengthy stop was in order once we found a sunny spot out of the wind.

Time for lunch -again

HM needed another sleep (he’s getting on poor fella) while the rest of us watched three people acting rather strangely down by the Lake. Opinions ranged from dubious terrorist related activity to the making of a porn movie (prompting many smutty remarks). Most of decided we needed some more exercise and pushed on to Seatallan while UF and S went back to the campsite.

Middle Fell

Seatallan is a nice grassy hill with some interesting views over the little-visited far western fells. The Isle of Man was clearly visible and the first signs of much clearer weather were appearing. It was a pleasant easy stroll across the grassy slopes of Buckbarrow and back to the campsite. 7.7 miles and 2500 feet of ascent completed at a very leisurely pace

GM, HM, EWO heading home

A BBQ in the fading sunshine seemed in order and while the kids built their den in the woods the adults sat round in the late evening sun and then cold wind, chatting until we all agreed it was far too stupid to sit outside any longer

The gangs all here

Women cook, men BBQ

Saturday – Whin Rigg

Before we move on to the days activities I must point out the disturbing attire that J now chooses to wear in bed when its cold. I’m not sure which kind of “special” retailer one visits in order to acquire an adult sized baby-grow but I doubyou find them in the high street.

Words fail me....

For once EWO was right! The clear skies that he +promised were here although the wind was now pretty strong. My turn to look after the kids so J and the ladies headed off to repeat our walk of yesterday while me ED and few others took the kids off to climb Whin Rigg, the southern summit of the long ridge of the famous Wasdale screes.

Wasdale Screes, Whin Rigg summit to the left

Wasdale Screes, Whin Rigg summit to the left

The wind was incredibly strong so we didn’t think the kids would like it on the top so we headed down to find some shelter by the river. After a bit of searching we found a lovely spot in the trees for a picnic and the kids got chance to play by the river, chucking stones and the like

Little rogues gallery

Picnic by the River Irt

Aaaaaahhh!

We decided to give Whin Rigg a go although ED didn’t feel his youngest (he’s only 3 bless him) would make it so he took his lot off for a lovely stroll by the Lake and we headed up the steep slopes towards the top.

The start of the climb

The wind wasn’t as strong as earlier and I have to say that all the kids (age range 4 to 11) did really well and all made it to the top. There were some low points but that was easily fixed by a plentiful supply of biscuits for that sugar hit.

Biscuit time!

Victorious on the summit

The views were sensational with a deep blue sky set off by the green hills and dark inky blue of Wast Water.

Wast Water and the Wasdale Head Mountains

They all seemed pretty pleased with themselves for getting to the top but the cold wind and late hour meant we couldn’t linger so we headed back along the ridge and down towards the campsite

Homeward Bound

The valley bottom just before we hit the road has one of the most beautiful open pastures I’ve ever seen that was just sensational in the evening light. It only took about 10 minutes to cross but it was one of the most memorable 10 minutes walking I’ve ever had. Hope these photographs do it justice.

Despite a pretty long day, 6.4 miles and 1800 feet of ascent, the kids all seemed to have energy to spare for yet more play and the usual tactics to avoid going to bed. Have to admit that I was pretty jaded as well. Back at the campsite we had a belated celebration for GM’s birthday with lighted balloons, cake and chocolates and of course a few beers.

"Happy Birthday to you"

The wind really picked up through the night but the tent seemed ok so I pretty much slept through.

Sunday – Red Pike, Scoat Fell, Steeple

It was a double-take look as I emerged into the daylight to see that well over half the tents had gone. Several had blown down in the night and several more people had bailed out early morning and gone home. “My camping days are over” seemed to be a common theme. The rubbish bins were full of discarded tents and MM had a jolly time scavenging the ground for lost pegs to call his own. Apart from a few loosened pegs all our tents seemed fine

Time for another proper walk. The weather if anything was even clearer and even windier than before. MM drove us halfway up the Lake and we set off for Red Pike hoping to meet ED who had set off earlier and was also traversing Yewbarrow.

GM at Over Beck bridge

Wasdale Screes

Another couple of very lengthy stops in the sun, by Over Beck and Low Tarn, put pay to that plan.

Lunch by Over Beck

We eventually got moving and reached the summit of Red Pike in a ferocious wind but with a sky as clear as I’ve seen in the UK for many a year. It’s been several years since I’ve been up here and I’d forgotten just what an awe inspiring valley Mosedale and the crags of Red Pike are.

Scafell & Scafell Pike

The walking on the grassy ridge was just sensational and one of those days when you just don’t want to go down.

Red Pike

Mind you let’s keep it real here, we did plan on doing Pillar but it looked a long way off so we settled on the much nearer and easier Scoat Fell and its excellent views to the north over Ennerdale and the Solway Firth.

The Buttermere fells from Scoat Fell

Ennerdale Water from Steeple

We did manage to pick off the small rocky outlier of Steeple but then it really was time to head back. We descended by Scoat Tarn and Nether Beck, a superb Lakeland valley with endless places for wild camping.

Nether Beck below Scoat Tarn

Another cracking day on the hills, and another 7.8 miles and 3,300 feet of ascent.

The balloons from the previus night had popped but the lights were still working. GM and EWO displayed a childlike wonder at the effects of a small light when placed behind a finger, in the mouth, up the nose and in the ear. Must have been the tiredness but I haven’t laughed that much in ages. Nice finish to a grand day.

GM discovers "Light"

Monday – Buckbarrow

Yet another day of cloudless skies and wind and a morning spent taking the tent down and packing – much easier when it’s not raining. Quite a few of the posse headed off to other commitments but my lot together with TYG/EHO and kids plus MM and F headed for Buckbarrow, the small rocky hill that overlooks the campsite.

L, Z, D and J striding out

The walk over the fields was lovely but as soon as we started the climb it was clear the kids needed feeding so we found a quality sheltered lunch spot by the stream.

Lunch by stream for kids and responsible adults

We all need our beauty sleep

Fully fuelled the kids made great time to the top, enjoying scrambling on the summit rocks.

Scrambling on the summit rocks, Scafell behind

TYG, E and D reaching the top

Z & L practicing their new climbing skills

The wind was fierce but we did manage to find a sheltered spot for another stop to allow L and Z to throw sheep s**t and moss at us. The way down was steep but the final walk across the fields and through the flowering gorse was a fitting finish to a cracking weekend.

The gorse in full flower

D & EWO discuss maths

A shorter walk today a mere 5.5 miles and 1,500 feet of ascent but an ideal little mountain for the kids to enjoy.

Buckbarrow - our mountain for the day

A lovely meal in the local pub with MM and F finished things off nicely and we headed home. These smaller fells away from the magnets of Scafell and Great Gable are cracking hills. Considering the weather and the fact it was a holiday weekend we saw only a handful of people on each of the days we were out. Flickr photos here and compilation on YouTube is below:

I’ve nearly run out of superlatives so I’ll finish with my favourite one – AWESOME!

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