For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Watch Hill and Clints Crags (Outlying Fells)



Saturday 27th February 2016

Watch Hill and Setmurthy Common      NY 149 318 and NY 159 318

Clints Crags                                                  NY 159 352

Wainwright's chapter "Watch Hill" includes the two summits above. I had previously ascended Setmurthy Common which is also a Marilyn.

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This post is mainly for the record and the photos, and the trip finishes off the northerly group of Wainwright's Outlying Fells. The remaining western chapters will be approached by the long drive to Broughton-in-Furness, then further north up the A595 to Cleator Moor. There also remains the multi- summit chapters on the eastern boundaries of the Lake District National Park which defines W's boundary for his book - these include the multi-peak Wasdale, Crookdale and Bannisdale horseshoes .

Of the 116 summits included in W's chapters I have now done 56, so I have 60 left to do.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Watch Hill from the road

On the way to Watch Hill summit

Perfect walking along a classic ridge between the two summits. I met the lone walker ahead on his way back from  Setmurthy Common summit. He was another peak bagger having completed various lists including the Wainwrights (All the 214 main Lake District peaks listed by W in his other books - I have done 98 of them, but never had a target to complete them)

From Setmurthy summit - better weather than 14th March 2014 - see next photo from that date

My caption at the time: The uninspiring summit of Setmurthy - not even a cairn.
The photo is from the same viewpoint albeit with less zoom.

From Clints Crags summit - Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite lake.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Faulds Brow and Caermote Hill (Outlying Fells)

Wednesday 24th February

Faulds Brow     NY 299 407

Caermote Hill  NY 196 371 and St. John's Hill (Caeremote Hill N. top) NY 196 376

In Wainwright's book he lists the hills included in each chapter immediately after the chapter headings. In Chapter 45 he only lists Caermote Hill, but St. John's Hill which is the natural continuation of Caermote only half a kilometre further north is shown on his map as part of his route for his suggested walk for this chapter. Most lists, including Harold Street - CLICK FOR THEIR WEBSITE include St John's Hill in W's Outlying Fells list.

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Faulds Brow

Each one of these hills could be ascended from the most advantageous road point within twenty minutes or so.  Today I wanted a proper walk so I followed W's 4.5 mile route starting from Caldbeck to ascend Faulds Brow. Caldbeck boasts the WATERMILL CAFE

If you are into cafés this is as good as it gets - just look at the website. Coffee and toasted teacake set me up for the walk after the long drive to this northernmost of W's Outlying Fells.

I set off with  a more than normal sense of well-being and enjoyment at the prospect of venturing into territory I had not explored before, striding and ascending out of Caldbeck, with blue sky and a nip in the air. That feeing stayed with me for the rest of this day.


Watermill Café

Back to Caldbeck. Blencathra on skyline right

Faulds Brow summit

Old bobbin mill, see below


John Peel's grave in Caldbeck churchyard.
I knew this was there, but amongst hundreds of graves it looked like a lost cause trying to find it until I met a couple from Canada who were able to point it out- fancy that! Not many people in the old UK would have even heard of John Peel, never mind visitors from abroad.
There is another connection here - my father was a follower and secretary of the Airedale Beagles for 25 years, and as a pre-teenager youth I was dragged out on hunts with him - a bit different from being taken to football matches, eh? These days I would be more likely to be accompanying the hunt saboteurs.

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Caermote Hill and St. John's Hill

It was only ten minutes drive to Caermont Hill. The ascent started from  the road  where a Roman fort was marked on the OS map in the adjoining field  covering quite a large area. There was not the slightest trace of it on the ground just marsh, bog and reeds. As I was leaving the road through the gate I met a fellow walker returning down the road towards me who I think had just completed the round I was embarking on. He turned out to be a fellow hill bagger targeting W's Outlying Fells and also the Birketts. We had interesting conversation and an exchange of contact details.

Caermote Hill

The back of Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite Lake. This side of Skiddaw is much more interesting than the view from Keswick


Caermote summit with commemorative plaques now eroded beyond readability. Distant views accross the Solway would include Criffel "on a clear day"

From St John's Hill just half a kilometre further on trom Caermote




Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Knipescar Common - NY 527 192 (Outlying Fells)

Monday 22nd February


Devotees of obscure stone circle viewing would likely have Knipescar low on their list. This shy limestone plateau north of Shap boasts one such circle on the OS map, but from what I could only questionably observe, it exists mainly in the imagination of academic archaeologists.

However, on a crisp, blue sky, nip-in-the-air winter's morning it was sheer delight. I took a concocted route so that I could arrive at the northern end and walk back along the whole plateau to take in the highest point, and hopefully, the stone circle. The former turned out to be indeterminate, and the latter was unconvincing in its apparently natural appearance. BUT, the cropped turf, wide Land Rover track along the undulating fell top, which is not shown on the OS map, provided the perfect walking surface, even in  the prevailing muddy conditions.  There were splendid views to the larger Lake District hills, and a glimpse of Haweswater across the Lowther valley - spring was on the way.


Part of Knipescar Common plateau 


I've always thought farm gates were in themselves a design fault - too much weight to support, but here a wheel has been added. A good idea, but not perfect if conditions are muddy. I've never seen one like this before. Note the dead moles hanging on the gate.

North west from approximate summit of Knipescar

Big zoom to Haweswater

Riggindale and High Street


My car is just visible on side of road, top left - spring is here.


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Thursday  18th February

A short walk with Pete a few days before the above gave us even earlier signs of spring.


We wondered what was sticking up on this summit so...

...a touch of zoom with the camera, and who needs binoculars?

Ahhh! Yes I know...

Ours was the pink route - location - from the A 509 Conston road, just up from Greenodd




Saturday, 20 February 2016

Katie's next birthday present?



Granddaughter Katie was four years old last October, so there's a bit of time to save up for next  October.

During this half term mum took K to the Ice Cream Farm near Chester, a multi-activity venue for kids.

Click for link

Here is K operating a JCB after only a couple of minutes instruction. It seems she handled this intuitively, so goodness know what the portents are. Anyway, I want to know if adults are allowed and if affirmative I will be joining them next time.



Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Latterbarrow ( Wainwright's Outlying Fells)

Tuesday 16th February


A tortuous drive on  minor roads to the west of Windermere took me to the start, and it being half term those roads were busier than normal. I had to back up perilously a couple of times to permit oncoming cars to pass.

It was the same on the walk - there were people everywhere.

The campaign to walk all these hills in Outlying Fells has so far, more or less, been managed on the basis of nearest home first, but I am now having to do longer drives. The motivation came from my friend Bowland Climber and we have been doing the more adventurous ones together, but whilst he is off on travels abroad I am cherry-picking these minor single ascents which BC will easily be able to play catch-up with in his own time.

Latterbarrow - 0.4 of a mile away in a straight line...

...and now a bit closer with half-termers righthand end. Looking north, the higher snow covered hills behind - click to enlarge

Latterbarrow - Langdales in background

My route was anti-clockwise (opposite to blue arrows).

Monday, 15 February 2016

Three more Marilyns

Shining Tor          SJ 994 737

The Cloud            SJ 904 637

Gun                      SJ 970 615


Sunday 14th February

"After a day's walk everything has twice its value"
                                                  George Macauley Trevelyan

I came across this quote and Googled finding this scorching appraisal of Trevelyan:

Historian Roy Jenkins argues:
"Trevelyan's reputation as an historian barely survived his death in 1962. He is now amongst the great unread, widely regarded by the professionals of a later generation as a pontificating old windbag, as short on cutting edge as on reliable facts."

Well perhaps that was his only perceptive uttering, and not very profound at that, but whatever, I go along with it.

Not really "a day's walk", more two hundred miles of motoring and three short ascents, but a satisfying day indeed. An early start had me back home by four in the afternoon to partake of added value rewards. A hot bath, home-made curry (with great presence of mind, taken from the freezer before departure), a home-made fruit salad, filter coffee, and later, to accompany my on-going journey through Shakespeare, a cheap, but remarkably good value bottle of Chilean merlot with cheese and Stockans thin oatcakes.

My newly discovered sat-nav attribute, the ability to enter a latitude and longitude destination, saw me arrive precisely at the Peak View Café on the Cat and Fiddle road. It was 9:30 am. The café didn't open until 10:00 but no matter, Shining Tor was evident, standing out above the roof half an hour's walk away. It was bitterly cold and I donned an extra layer before setting off. There were unusually for that early hour numerous people about.  Thankfully the well trodden muddy paths were frozen solid. I had the summit and extensive views to myself.

The café rated eight out of ten for coffee, and nine-point-five for the coffee and walnut cake compared with one out of ten for a bacon and omelette bap and cardboard carton of tea from Greggs at a motorway services earlier. 

Sat-nav steered me to The Cloud, and a climb up some steps and another few hundred yards had me at this popular summit. There were quite a few folk about and a sort of holiday atmosphere, well it is half-term. Views were again superb, and in particular distant Jodrell Bank telescope.

The finaL summit, Gun, was accessed by a muddy path rising only a few metres in less than a kilometre to the trig point. Here were the best views of the day looking across to The Roaches, and Hen Cloud, well known climbing venues, and way to the south the Wrekin just visible - another unclimbed English Marilyn on my list. I met a lone, local lady walker and she pointed out various landmarks and took a photo for me.

Back home it was Henry 6 Part 2 - bloodthirsty and full of megalomaniacs. Trevor Peacock as Cade was genuinely scary leaving you in no doubt about his abilities as a crazy dangerous rabble rouser - he also played a wild and energetic Talbot in Part 1, but by now Talbot was long gone as with many others by the end of this play, including Cade himself - shame, Trevor doesn't seem to feature in Part 3.

Peak View café and Shining Tor

Frozen muddy path up to Shining Tor

Shining Tor summit

The Cloud summit

Jodrell Bank telescope

Gun trig on horizon with a party of ramblers 

Hen Cloud

The Roaches

Just the added value rewards to come now (after the hundred mile return journey)

Friday, 12 February 2016

Top 'o Selside and Carron Crag (Outlying Fells)


Wednesday 10th February

Brock Barrow      SD 298 898

Low Light Haw    SD 301 900

High Light Haw   SD 303 904

Top 'o Selside       SD 308 919

Carron Crag          SD 325 943

The title refers to Wainwright's chapter titles and the list above shows the fells visited in those chapters.

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Doing a walk with a fellow blogger presents a problem when writing  the post - if your companion has posted before you the story has been told, and often photos are almost identical.

The map here and Bowland Climber's account tell the story of this trip.


Although only just over eight miles this was a tough walk for me, but it was a perfect weather day and a wholly satisfying round.

Last summer I was averaging sixteen miles a day on my backpacking trips, but rough terrain and around 2000ft of ascent make a big difference.

I recall a similar experience from Northumberland last year:

I'm often asked if I enjoy such outings, and my answer this time may be undecided, but the view from this very remote top and the feeling of utter isolation and tranquility on a perfect, weather-wise day compensated for the trials, and I had that little glow of knowing that I had conquered against some difficulty.

  CLICK HERE IF YOU WANT TO READ THE FULL ACCOUNT


Do I learn from mistakes? I can recall numerous thrashes across felled forest landscape, by far the most difficult terrain to traverse, and my avowals to avoid such in the future. The problem here was to gain the return bridleway from the summit of Carron Crag, and the route we took was more or less the same as shown on my map. BC refers to our combined 100 years of experience, and that told us we would be in for trouble on that course, but just look at the map, bearing in mind the forest rides marked are non-existent due to new planting. In retrospect we should have returned by our inward route to rejoin the bridleway south of Mustard Hill. So much for multi-years expereince.

I seem to have become obsessed with the zoom facility on my camera, and this foreshortens the foreground and reduces the feeling of extensive wilderness that we tackled on the tops - BC's photos convey this better than mine.

Brock Barrow - our first summit

Coniston Lake, Dow Crag, The Old Man of Coniston, Swirl How and Wetherlam,

Distant Top 'o Selside but picture foreshortened due to zoom, reduces the feeling of extensive tracts of rough terrain

Zoom to Dow crag - look how far away it is on second photo!
I know I've chopped off the top, but it's not easy holding still at that extent of zoom combined with the difficulty of seeing cleaerly in the viewfinder. I suppose I should have a tripod 

Carron Crag. The benign looking bare patches are actually felled forest - the worst of terrains

BC going for the summit of Carron Crag

From Carron Crag

Pink is actual route of ascent



Our return route passed the old farmhouse of Low Parkamoor which I saw in June 2013 on a previous (Marilyn) ascent of Top 'o Selside.



Low Parkamoor here and the next pic. My route descended the valley before it. The old farmhouse is joint privately owned with the National Trust and they hire it as a holiday cottage - if you want ?
Here, an extract from their advertising:

"It is eco living all the way with no mains services. The house is served by a traditional Lakeland composting toilet, pure fell water straight from the well, with cooking and hot water provided by the restored Georgian wood-burning range. Living at Parkamoor is a unique experience. It takes care and consideration but the rewards of the simple pleasure of sitting by the fire or cooking on the range make it a treasured experience."

Mmm?