Archive for the ‘wasdale’ Tag

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 🙂

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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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Memories are made of this   10 comments

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May Day Weekend. Nether Wasdale. Camping. Cold. Snow. Rain That’s how things have worked the past few years. Most people would get the message and stay home. Me? I took a day off work and drove 6 hours to spend a late evening setting up the camper on my own until darkness fell and it was bed time. This did give a bonus day’s walking by myself. Skies looked gloomy but with some promise. I headed to Wasdale before the weekend crowds with a route to rekindle some old memories

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I took the same route as last year when had a fantastic day on Scafell Pike with the kids. Following the path along Lingmell Beck was as good as last time if not better. As I climbed the sun came out and abundant patches of blue sky appeared

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Its an easy grassy path to Sty Head and a sheer delight to climb with the spectacular view back to Wasdale

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Arriving at Styhead Tarn I drifted back in time to my very first wild camp here in – I think – 1987. It was another May Day weekend and there was snow on the ground. Me and ED pitched up on rather stony ground, with a rather smug looking EWO claiming his pitch was better with the immortal phrase “the pegs go in nice an easy here”. Me and ED wandered over jumped on the ground round his tent and watched it roll like a wave on the sea. He moved. Any campsite we stay on generates a “pegs go in easy” remark to remind him. Happy days

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I pushed on to reach Sprinkling Tarn, one of the finest anywhere in the UK. I’ve never camped here but I really should do. Stunning spot

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Up past the Ruddy Gill ravine to Esk Hause. Another memory of when me and ED (he features heavily in these memories) sheltered here on a foul day and decided that was enough of summits and headed down the Esk valley. It was our first view of this magnificent valley and its deep pools and waterfalls and would become a favourite spot for wild camping and swimming over the years

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I lunched on top of Great End with superb view down Borrowdale to Derwent Water, Skiddaw and Blencathra. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself.

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Then a few wisps of cloud drifted down that became a blanket within minutes. It was a gloomy procession across Broad Crag and Ill Crag to Scafell Pike summit. To cheer myself up I took my mind back through the dark ages again to a time me and ED snoozed up here on a glorious summer morning back in the late 80’s. We’d been camping in Eskdale and swimming in the river but it was way too hot so decided a summit bivvy was called for. We spent a wonderful if uncomfortable and sleepless night right next to the summit cairn on Bowfell watching the thunderstorms over the Pennines. We had the whole walk along to Scafell Pike to ourselves the next morning and celebrated with a snooze at the top. Still one of the very best weekends in the mountains I’ve ever had. Happy days.

No such sunshine this day and I headed down. My plan had been to relive one final memory by climbing Lingmell and visiting the spot where I’d camped on the summit with my dog Harry. The fog was so dense and cold that it seemed pointless so I just plodded down, my afternoon further spoiled by finding a pile of human excrement and accompanying toilet paper right on the path. I despair of the people who frequent the hills some times.

I only emerged from the cloud at around 1500 feet but at least the final views across Wast Water were good

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The Gorse was also in full boom and scent

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A decent day of 9 miles and 3,500 feet of ascent

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Back at the camp site (the ever wonderful Church Stile), all thoughts of cloud and damp were dissipated as the sun came out and I sat outside the tent with my shades on. I was joined by some of the gang and retired to the equally wonderful Strands Inn, a place of wonderful beer brewed on site and excellent food. With good company, good food and a pint (or several) of their Mild (still a Midlands boy at heart) I was very much in the holiday spirit and looking forward to the inevitable rain with a much happier frame of mind

 

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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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

Annual May Day Gathering – Nether Wasdale 2013   9 comments

Let me take you back to May Day Bank Holiday – yes the first one, still a long way behind with posts :). The annual gathering of my old university friends and their kids at our now spiritual home at Church Stile campsite in Nether Wasdale. We’ve been here for the last couple of years and had a right royal time. There was a change of owner over the new year so there is always a worry that things may change but the new owners proved to be extremely welcoming and friendly. They have kept the site just as it was, not too crowded with immaculate facilities and fantastic location with it’s own play area and footy pitch for the kids. Being away from the main walking hotspots it retains a very quiet family orientated atmosphere. In short, everything I want from a campsite. I’d like to think we can continue coming here for many years to come. We had our own little corner of the campsite near the football pitch and the woods, just perfect. We’ve already booked for next year.

Church Stile Campsite, Buckbarrow

Church Stile Campsite & Buckbarrow

The weather wasn’t very spring-like and I had to put the tent up in the pouring rain on the Friday night. The next day was bright and cloudy and Mrs Hardman very kindly offered to escort the kids to the May Day fair in the village so the rest of the adults went for a walk. I’ve often been told how wonderful Mitredale is so we fashioned a plan to take in Irton Fell and Mitredale and then back over Illgill Head

10.3 Miles,

10.3 Miles,

On the way through the splendid pastureland that holds Flass Tarn we came across this tree that looks like it had been torn asunder in a storm leaving a great view of its innards

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Storm damaged tree near Flass Tarn

After a short steep climb over Irton Fell we dropped down the other side to pick up Mitredale. Never one to turn down some R&R, I enjoyed a short rest and first lunch on this handy bench with fine views across to the Black Combe above Barrow

Irton Fell

Old Timers on Irton Fell

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View south-west from Irton Fell

We entered Mitredale and I have to say my first impressions were not favourable. It was heavily farmed with a succession of untidy fields, reclaimed forests and soggy, muddy paths. I wasn’t all that impressed.

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Entering Mitredale

Then we passed through a gate and suddenly the real Mitredale was revealed. A narrow twisting valley with a small stream, absolutely stunning and a pleasure to amble into it’s hidden confines. It gave the impression of being little walked, unsurprising as it’s not an obvious route to a well know summits which is where most visitors to the Lake District head.

Mitredale

Uncle Fester in Mitredale

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Upper Mitredale

It saved the best till last. The valley ends abruptly in a small rocky cwm with several tumbling waterfalls. The sun came out and the spot was magical. A lengthy stop was in order to take in the scene. It would make a cracking campsite if you could find a dry spot – t was a little soggy underfoot!

Mitredale

Lunch!

Mitredale

Head of Mitredale

We headed off towards Illgill Head, scrambling past the waterfalls onto the open fellside above

Mitredale

Waterfalls

Mitredale

GM atop the waterfalls

The views across Esdale Moor, Burnmoor Tarn and to the Scafell range were superb but it was clear the cloud was bubbling again

Scafell, Burnmoor Tarn, Eskdale Moor

Scafell, Burnmoor Tarn and Eskdale Moor

Harter Fell

Harter Fell

It was a long climb to the summit over the tussocky grass, always tough without a path. By the time we had all reached the summit it was cloudy and cold and I was starting to regret the optimism that had driven me to wear shorts for the day. Time to press on along the edge of the cliffs that tumble into Wast Water leaving the famous Wasdale Screes behind them

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head

Whin Rigg from Illgill Head

The path along the edge gives some sensational views and several eyries perched out above the cliffs and ridges. Most people seem to wander the lower path across the screes. I’ve been up here a couple of times now and it’s always deserted. It a superb route and one I urge you to try when in the area. Preferable to sharing your day with the massed hordes on Scafell Pike

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head, Wast Water

Illgill Head & Wast Water

We took our time sticking to the edge and peering down into all the gullies and admiring the rocky ridges. One ridge looked especially tantalising, like an alpine ridge but getting to the bottom of it would be another matter entirely

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head, Wast Water

Illgill Head & Wast Water

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head, Wast Water

Hardman looking hard

We didn’t linger on the second summit of Whin Rigg too long, partly because it was flippin cold and partly as time was pressing on and we all had hungry kids to feed. We strolled briskly back to the campsite and took part in that quintessentially British activity of having a BBQ when it’s really far too cold to do so 🙂

Church Stile Campsite

BBQ Time!

Seriously it wasn’t too bad, it stayed dry and there is nothing I like more than eating outside (and playing with fire). It was a very sociable evening and we were up until it got dark which coincided nicely with the time when it really was too cold to sit outside

Church Stile Campsite

Too cold to eat outside?

The Sunday was a pretty miserable and cold day interspersed with numerous showers. We made the most of things by loads of high quality football games full of keen tackling, one-touch passing and incidents (I was never offside!). Those kids not interested in such madness were given the treat of feeding the lambs on the farms – huge than-you to the campsite owners for inviting the kids – they absolutely loved it

Church Stile Campsite

Feeding the lambs

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TJF and her new family

The rest of the day was taken with a stroll by the cold and windy shores of Wast Water but it was pretty grim so no photos I’m afraid. The Monday looked set for much of the same with a dark grey sky and the threat of rain in the air. I played the usual game of trying to time the taking down of my big family tent before it got wet – it’s a bugger to dry out at home. Then around midday and out of nowhere the sun broke through and within the hour we had a clear blue sky above us. We decided to take the kids on a stroll through the fields and woods that mark the ground between Nether Wasdale and the lake

Greendale Gill

3.7 Miles

It’s another joy of this spot that the local walks are just as stunning as the tops. These paths around the fields are marvellous for a quiet ramble with the kids. Plenty of stiles, streams and bridges and the views along Wasdale and of the local hills are enchanting. Sometimes when you’re on a big walk you become too focused in clocking the miles, bagging the next peak to really enjoy your surroundings. A walk like this gives time to enjoy the company, look at the wildflowers, enjoy looking up at mountains rather than down from them. Sometimes a walk just needs to be a walk

Nether Wasdale, Mill Place

Nether Wasdale, Mill Place

Nether Wasdale, Scale Bridge

Nether Wasdale near Scale Bridge

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head

Whin Rigg & Illgill Head

Ashness How

Rogues Gallery

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head

Whin Rigg & Illgill Head

Wasdale

Wasdale

We stopped at Greendale Gill and under the now warm sunshine it was magnificent. The kids took their shoes and socks off and scrambled about in the stream while the adults relaxed in the sun. It was the highlight of the weekend for me, as you know I’m a big fan of mountain streams and waterfalls

Greendale Gill

Greendale Gill

EWO and OGS

Greendale Gill

Taking things easy while the kids get wet

It was a shame the afternoon was already slipping away and we all had long drives home. We reluctantly packed up and headed back towards the campsite after an hour of happy play and chilling out.

Greendale Gill

Fun in the sun

Greendale Gill

Young Indiana Jones

Greendale Gill

TJF

The fields between the Gill and the Campsite were equally enchanting. Bright green fields under a deep blue sky is an alluring combination.

Nether Wasdale

Over the green fields

Wasdale

Looking back to Wasdale

It was just a delight strolling across the grass and looking up at Buckbarrow. This is one of my favourite views anywhere

Buckbarrow

Buckbarrow

Buckbarrow really seems to hold my attention when we’re hear. It’s crags always look ready for some scrambling and it’s summit rocks and hollows are a delight. Proof that mountains don’t need to be high to be big.

All too soon we were on the final leg and heading back to the campsite. After some pretty unsettled weather, we finished on a real high.

Buckbarrow

Howeward Bound

All that remained was to say some goodbyes but on a whim, rather than a soul-less meal on the Motorway we went to The Strands pub for a mighty fine meal in their sunny beer garden. A fitting end to another cracking weekend. If Carlsberg did Lake District weekends……

Nether Wasdale Gathering – Day 2 and 3 Wast Water Wandering   4 comments

After the Pillar day out I felt obliged to spend some quality time with kids and friends in the campsite – or more correctly the weather looked crap and I couldn’t be bothered with a long walk. The campsite is a great place to spend some quiet time. It’s not crowded, the facilities are excellent and the views across the fields to Buckbarrow in particular are majestic. There are a few photos below of the kids at play, the campsite and the moon on the first night to give a flavour as my “rest day” was less than photogenic (for the moment – that would change).

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L swings in the moonlight

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Moonlight

TYG, HMB and GM went for a fell run and for a time the weather looked pretty awful and it even sleeted at campsite level. We let the kids play (they don’t seem to notice the poor weather) and we chatted over several brews.

After lunch the weather looked a little brighter so we agreed that some kids would walk to Wast Water (they all seemed keen to see it) while the rest would set off later, drive there and walk back, collecting the cars later. Inspired move.

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ED gazing at Wast Water

As the afternoon moved on the sun came out, first fleetingly and then in full bloom by the time we reached the lake shore.

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Classic Wasdale

I’ve never stopped at this particular spot before and whilst it’s a little crowded the situation and views are superb and the kids have rocks to climb on and a stream to play in. Rather than head back the adults sunned themselves on the rocks while the kids played. This is what childcare is about.

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Simple pleasures

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Lazy pleasures

It was still a couple of miles back to the campsite and there was tea to be cooked so most of us headed back.

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Walking the lake shore

The walk along the lake shore was cracking with the classic views across to the Wasdale screes and up the valley towards Great Gable and Kirk Fell. The walk was enhanced by watching some scuba divers emerge from the dark but exceptionally clear water.

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More classic Wasdale

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S poses for the camera

As you leave the lake behind there are a choice of routes across the fields back to the campsite all enchanting in their own way. I’m not sure whether it’s just been the clarity of the light in the last couple of years or the time of year but the fields seem to be the greenest I’ve ever seen. I haven’t touched up these photos so hopefully you can see what I mean.

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Green green grass

We passed goats, pigs, small tarns and green lanes before you emerge onto the wide open fields above the campsite with stupendous views right across Wasdale. Buckbarrow is the one that catches my eye and from both below and on it (we climbed it last year) it’s one of my favourite Lakeland summits.

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Buckbarrow

We headed back to the campsite to cook tea and enjoy the now cloudless but ever cooling evening that delivered another frosty cold night.

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Chapel Stile campsite

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Evening sunshine

The final day was windy and threatening and it seemed a race against time to get my huge family tent taken down before it got wet. A race we won I’m pleased to say. A few of us decided to go for a short walk across the fields before the long drive home but the threat of heavy rain was always in the air so we headed back after an hour, said our fond farewells and headed home.

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Wasdale mud

Another cracking weekend with our little posse and the weather was pretty kind to us in the end. In fact the worst of the weather was while I was unpacking the car when I got home – a right soaking

I’ll leave this weekend with my musical ensemble and for no better reason than he’s my favourite comedian here is the first of several dead-pan one liners that will be decorating my blog from the weird and wonderful Steven Wright:

“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”

or

“I bought some batteries… but they weren’t included… so I had to buy them again…”

Nether Wasdale Gathering – Day 1, Pillar   6 comments

It was that time of year, time for the annual May Day gathering of the old Manchester University Class of 86/78 etc and accompanying families. The Tartan was washed, old stories dusted down and rehearsed and we were ready to go. After last years epic weekend it was a done deal that we were to return to Chapel Stile in Nether Wasdale. As lovely a “proper” campsite as you can get and as it’s slightly away from the main walking areas, reasonably quiet and unspoilt. To be honest I wasn’t looking forward to it as much as usual. The weather the previous few weeks had been so appalling that I wasn’t really enthused with the idea of spending a weekend cooped up in a tent with some grumpy kids (and a grumpy Jane). I need not have worried, whilst it was unseasonably cold at night with frosts there was plenty of sunshine on hand and little rain. The kids as always disappeared off to play and I barely saw them all weekend. Gave me a chance for some proper Lake District walking.

I’d seen a blog post recently about the High Level Traverse on Pillar – I’d not been up that way for several years so I thought it was time for a revisit

8.1 miles, 3,900 feet of ascent

After a leisurely breakfast and extended period of faffing about we were ready to set off. We convinced ED that he should join us although having been out of action for the past few months with a damaged Achilles he wan’t suer he could keep up. In the end he was in fine shape and only a daft and unnecessary steep descent caused him any grief. The eponymous Uncle Fester also joined us together with GM and S to make a happy gang of 5 setting of at the early hour of 11:30

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Kirk Fell & Great Gable

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Mosedale Beck

We parked up just south of the Wasdale Head and enjoyed the first stroll along the river under blue skies but a keen and cold wind. Me and GM decided it was time to air the winter whites of our legs which makes the weather look somewhat warmer than in fact it was. Still it was great to feel the sun after weeks of rain and we lapped up the delights of Mosedale in the morning – sorry, afternoon – warmth.

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Mosedale, Scafell behind

As we approached Black Sail pass the path crosses the stream and makes an ideal first lunch stop. I took out my little Jetboil for a brew while ED assembled his portable range cooker. I didn’t know gas burners came that big! As always lunch was an epic affair – we just don’t believe in a basic fuel stop. Out of the wind it was warm so make the most I say.

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Lunch over time to move on

As always there were hills – well, hill to be climbed. Nice thing about Black Sail pass is the ascent is gradual with no steep slopes so you can plod upwards, chat and take in the views. On reaching the pass the views north and west were stunning, across to the Buttermere Fells and Ennerdale and Skiddaw and around to Hellvellyn.

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High Stile from Black Sail

From here a broad ridge climbs steadily to the summit of Pillar but we had a different objective. After climbing a short distance up the ridge a cairn marks the spot where the famous Pillar High Level Traverse leads off. A stunning narrow path that weaves amongst the northern crags of the mountain.

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Start of the high level traverse

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UF, Great Gable behind

The first few hundred yards are pretty eroded but it’s passable with care and eventually becomes a glorious easy walk amongst stupendous rock scenery. We did at one point lose the path that involved a greasy slimy down scramble for those too lazy to re-trace steps with the downside of a soggy bottom balanced by finding a nice icicle to play with (cue the usual SnS comment that Bruce Willis once killed someone with an icicle in a Die Hard movie)

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“…..and then he stabbed him like this”

The path continues to the prominent Robinson’s Cairn where the hardy are treated to one of Lakelands treasure views – Pillar Rock. Set in amongst dramatic crags it’s a fabulous place, almost feels manufactured for perfection.

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Pillar Rock from Robinsons Cairn

The sun was out and we were out of the wind, only one thing to do.

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” Lunch II – this time they mean business!”

I brewed up while ED launched the Space Shuttle and we settled down for another long stop. We were slighty bewildered by a couple of walkers deep in conversation who walked pretty much right through us almost treading on my sandwiches without so much as a “Hi” – where does this rate in hill etiquette I wonder. Onward and upward, we left our new friends behind with a slightly OTT cheery ta-ta (their turn to look slightly bewildered) and heading into the magnificent rock amphitheatre that holds Pillar rock.

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ED & UF on the traverse to Pillar Rock

The path traverses a broad rocky ledge that gives a real mountaineering flavour without ever being difficult, to reach the narrow neck between the rock and the crags behind.

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The ledge

GM gave us all some sport by climbing the little fore-peak of Pisgah while we tried to spot the famous Slab and Notch route to the top without success.

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GM showing off

From here its a steep walk/scramble to the top with some superb situations and views emerging dramatically on the vast summit plateau with a spread of grass large enough play a footy match on (your turn to fetch the ball).

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GM nearing the summit

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S on the skyline

The views were magnificent with the Isle of Man holding centre stage like a battleship ready for war in the Irish Sea.

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S poses on the summit

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Isle of Man

We didn’t linger as it was busy – Pillar is one of Lakelands finest and unsurprisingly popular – and as it was 4:30pm (we’d promised to be back by 4pm) we though we’d better head off. The day finished with a pleasant stroll along Pillars west ridge and an unecessary descent of some ludicrously steep grass to cut off the corner as alluded to earlier. The walk back along Mosedale in the evening sun was enchanting as we picked out wild camping spots.

Back to the campsite for that peculiarly British occupation of BBQ outdoors even though it’s freezing cold as we’ve bloody well brought the stuff so were going to enjoy it – right!

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“In the summer-time, when the weathers fine……”

You can read ED’s account of the day here and there are more Wasdale adventures to follow in the next post. For now enjoy the musical photo ensemble

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