I'm twixt Marilyns and W's Lakeland Outlying Fells.
With the former I want to complete the English Marilyns. There are 175. After this post, combining two trips I will have 31 remaining.
Of those, two are problematic, that is beyond a reasonable one day car journey, one being near Wendover and the other near Folkestone. Other isolated summits are possible with day car trips: Mickle Fell and Kinder Scout. There are then a group of four south of Manchester accessible by day car trips and the rest are grouped south of Shrewsbury and north of Hereford which could be mopped up with a centrally placed caravan trip taking a week or so.
On my visit to Northumberland in July 2014 I left three easy Marilyns, and on Wednesday I set off from home at 6.19 am and arrived back at 6.19 pm having summited all three.
Shillhope Law - NT 893 097
A hairy 10km drive down the undulating twisty single-track road following the River Croquet from Alwinton took me to a car park below this summit. Alighting from the car the surface was covered with frozen ice and snow. I started putting on my Khatoola spikes and then found a chain link had parted during the Dunnerdale Fells outing a few days ago. I tried with pliers to open the metal hook to fix it back on but it broke off - I managed to sort of fix it, but confidence and opinion was waning.
A steep pathless ascent through what turned out to be soft snow covered heather took me to the summit in an hour. Twenty minutes from the top I noticed one of my Khatoolas had vanished from my boot. On the return I easily followed my deep footprints in the snow and recovered the missing item - confidence in the Ks now waned to zero. If used again I plan to secure the spikes to my boot lace with one of those mini carabiners to prevent potential loss.
Ros Castle - NU 081 253
A long drive took me to near the summit. The last few hundred yards were covered in snow and ice, but I was able to park where the footpath set off for a quick twenty minute ascent. Back at the car I did a gingerly executed three-point turn and although the Yeti has permanent four-wheel-drive it also has a special off-road facility. I pressed the button and set off down the steep hill in first gear on the icy covered road, and thankfully all went well.
Housedon Hill NT 904 331
More country lane driving to get to this one. Driving in Northumberland is pure pleasure - I hardly ever saw any other traffic and the roads undulate and sweep through exciting bends with open views ahead, all enhanced with magnificent scenery. My ascent was by the south west slopes from a cul-de-sac road ending at Reedsford, up steep snow covered grass and heather.
Down at the bottom I hit the button for Home on the satnav. It took me back via the A7, a road I have not travelled before which was almost traffic free and passing through wonderful border country.
An accident had occurred just beyond the slip road for Penrith Jct. 41 on the M6. I exited the motorway and tried to go down the A6 to Shap but that was closed, so I came back and was able to get back onto the M6, so the accident, although unfortunate for those involved had happened at the most convenient location possible, just between the two slip roads. I called into the Shap Service farm shop and bought a couple of delicious pork pies and a fairly expensive bottle of red for a welcome chill-out and meal after a reviving hot bath. Not a bad day.
|Looking back to the car from the starting slopes of Shillhope Law|
|Same from higher up|
|The icy road and Ros Castle|
|Plaque on summit trig point|
|Ros Castle summit|
|Looking up on the ascent of Housedon Hill...|
|...and down from the same point|
|From Housedon Hill summit|
|Zoom from same point to mysterious looking distant uplands|
|Bishop Wilton Wold|