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Friday, 13 February 2015

More driving than walking

Wednesday 11th February - Long Barrow (Dent) - NY 041 129 - Marilyn

Daughter's car needed mending so I followed her to Kendal then took her to school at Barrow-in-Furness and continued dramatically over the Corney Fell road to Egremont. 

The Corney Fell road is a desperate 14 kilometre single-track short-cut for those travelling south or north in west Cumbria, and at the times when it coincides with  a shift change at Sellafield,* you  drive at your peril when radio active commuters turn it into the National Park version of the 1000 mile Mille Miglia road race (now defunct, and only once one by a non-Italian, Stirling Moss). Fortunately I travelled in between shift changes both ways.

I had naively thought that the dual named Long Barrow (or Dent) would be a quick dash from Barrow. But by the time I had arrived, seen, and conquered, and returned to Barrow with only minutes to spare to pick up daughter at the pre-arranged 3:30 I realised I had been deluded. By the time I got back home to Arnside (via Kendal again) I had driven 175 miles.

When I parked for the ascent I saw a sign indicating I was embarking on part of Wainwright's Coast to Coast which I walked in April 1990, and back home my research revealed that there would have been no alternative but to follow the C-to-C over the summit of Long Barrow, but being unsure about this on the spot, and in any case relishing the thought of a walk and some fresh air I made the ascent, and whilst now I have no doubt I had been there before, I hadn't the slightest recollection of the terrain.

This was a pleasant walk through woods and then on to the open fell, but cloud was down and I saw almost nothing of the view. For those interested in what I might have seen, including apparently, the Isle of Man see Wainwright's description below which I hope you may just be able to read, but even better if you click to enlarge. 

Long Barrow (Dent) summit

* With acknowledgement to Wikipedia, and included here for the staggering, supposed fact revealed in the final paragraph.
Sellafield is a nuclear reprocessing site, close to the village of Seascale on the coast of the Irish Sea in CumbriaEngland. The site is served by Sellafield railway station. Sellafield incorporates the original nuclear reactor site at Windscale, which is currently undergoing decommissioning and dismantling, and Calder Hall, another neighbour of Windscale, which is also undergoing decommissioning and dismantling of its four nuclear power generating reactors.
The total cost of decommissioning, which will be borne by UK taxpayers, is now considered to be in excess of £100.1 bn.[1]


mikeywalky said...

A long time ago ('80's) I worked for a while at Sellafield installing computer systems and sometimes one of my 'approach routes' from Hampshire was via the fell road you mention (sometimes it was via Hard Knott).

One Monday morning I arrived at one of the cattle grids to find a hand painted sign to the effect that one of the participants in the 'fell race' had struck and killed a cow. Neither the remnants of the car / cow was visible!

It was during that time that I came to appreciate that the Lake District / Wainwrights were (to me) one of the finest places for hill walking (Scotland being too far from the south) with the west side (Wasdale in particular) being better for the extra distance traveled and therefore less tourists.

I conquered Dent a couple of years ago - doing it from the fell road to the east and via Nannycatch gate. Not an easy approach route down to the beck through knee deep / wet bracken / no path...

Sir Hugh said...

mikeywalky - I think you have commented before, but welcome again.

I have driven over the Corney Fell road several times before with one or two altercations, but I had a clear run both ways this time.

Was your approach still part of the Coast to Coast path? If so I would have expected it to be a bit more established than that.

mikeywalky said...

Yes, part of it was the C2C (the bit from NC Gate > Dent) and that was ok, It was the bit from the fell road that deteriorated after passing through the farm. At the time I was trying to fill in some of my outstanding Wainwrights in the vain attempt that I would eventually do them all (main and outlying) - unfortunately my right knee gave up coming down from Muncaster fell (not exactly a demanding walk!), so in the last 16 months I've switched to my summer pass-time of cycling and extended that to be year round. My knee doesn't complain about this :-)

Corney Fell was probably the main 'approach route'. Sometimes Ulpha Fell or just the other mains roads to get to the west coast. In recent times I've found I can't seem to keep up the locals using the short cuts. So my Ford Cortina 1.6L Estate must have been a lot better than than I originally thought.

Phreerunner said...

Heading for the Hall of Fame? You need to get up to 600 Marilyns - around 300 folk have got there so far. I suspect Gayle will soon be joining their ranks. One of the TGOC vetters has gone up 1553 of these protuberances, one more than another of our close friends.
Nice to use them as an encouragement to go somewhere different, I think. Well done on your own achievements.

Sir Hugh said...

mikeywalky - I know all about knee problems - three arthroscopies and one replacement. I have tried cycling but my heart's not really in it so I battle on and am still enjoying my walking.

Phreerunner - The whole attraction of climbing Ms is that I know I'm never going to do them all. Not like Munros when, after you almost unexpectedly find you have done more than a hundred (withput having had the intention of completion from the start) you suddenly find yourself under the cosh with a self imposed obligation to finish them.

There seems to be more variation and surprises with Ms, and as you say it provides a pleasingly constructive framework.

Yes, I'm watching M and G, but I had a 202 head start with Munros that qualify as Ms. They are calling in to see me on Monday and I've no doubt the familiar non-stop conversation will revolve round the Ms subject.

Roderick Robinson said...

Curious that pernicketily precise figure: £100.1bn

Sir Hugh said...

RR - What's the odd 100 million? Quite a lot - about 1% of the UK deficit, which as far as I understand is about 115 billion- that just emphasises the enormity of the whole figure of 100.1 billion

I do not understand economics, but if the UK was a limited company the decommissioning bill would be shown in long term liabilities on the balance sheet along with the 115 billion borrowing thereby almost doubling long term liabilities .

savonarola said...

that's one bill for 100M over many years but the deficit was being added to each year at an even higher rate than this and is still nearly 100M per year, despite valiant efforts to reduce it (amid a chorus of protest from left wing vested interests orchestrated by certain newspapers and publicly-financed broadcasting organisations, of course) - any yet there are supposedly intelligent people calling for yet more spending . . . .
as ever:
an election coming up, so even your blog is being hijacked as a platform for informed debate !

Gimmer said...

Yes, its a long way up the western side of the Lakes and it's another long way from the M6, hence my hunting in Upper Westmorland: the Romans and Normans (and many others) thought the area strategically nodal, so who am I to gainsay them, but it is indeed another long way to the nearest A&E, as you so rightly pointed out.
i like your idea of ticking peaks on a list you think you can never complete: it removes that daemonic urge I detect in other's campaigns, and suits me. I too have done a few dozen Munros and Marylins without being aware of it, but these days am happy to tag along where others lead, never much enjoying soloing on either rock or fell.
'Lay on, MacDuff!' should perhaps be my motto now.

Anonymous said...

"more walking than driving"
I used to try and dismiss the driving/walking ratio when I was ticking off the Munros but it kept niggling at the back of my mind. I completed several long backpacking trips to get round the problem.I admire those who do them all in one trip and was motivated by Hamish Brown's 1974 book.
Nowadays I avoid driving as much as possible to reverse the ratio and am lucky to have fells on my doorstep.
Oops - I'm ignoring all those winter airmiles to sunnier climes.

Sir Hugh said...

savonarola - Welcome to the blog. Is that your real name or your blogonym? I see he was, amongst other things a prophet. Are you confident to prophecy the outcome of the forthcoming election?

My take on politics is riddled with uncertainty - there are always two sides to an argument and I can usually sympathise in varying degrees with both. Anyway it's a change from discussions about walking up mountains and the like.


Gimmer - glad to see you didn't misquote Macbeth. Many do.


Bowlandclimber - I was highly guilty of car transport doing the Munros, but then I was over 65 when I started taking them seriously.

I too was inspired by Hamish, but then his later book, Hamish's Groats End Walk, an extended John 'o Groats to Land's End was contrastingly depressing - much whinging and despair at human nature as I remember it.

savonarola said...

Thank you for your welcome: I comment rarely on blogs, being more involved with the exposure of corruption and weak thinking in the political and business world, as did my virtual mentor.
I came across the Sellafield remarks through a comradely searcher and outdoorsman who felt the clean-up cost needed putting more into proportion against another great scandal of the age, the direct result of hubris in the previous adminstration, and asked me to make the point.
He was not really a prophet, more a caller for truth and honesty, but could see doom rushing in and warned against it: I hope I do not meet his fate, but, as Zapata said, better to die on your feet than live on your knees.
You will see why anonymity is necessary.

Adios, o hasta la vista, preferiblemente.

Sir Hugh said...

savanarola - Thanks for the perspective. By all accounts the length of time could be considerable.

If you were a regular reader you would realise that I am having some difficulty "living on my knees" - three arthroscopies and one replacement, but I am battling on and at the age of 76 recently walked around sixteen miles a day on the Cheshire Ring canal walk for three days and I have ambitious plans for backpacking this summer.