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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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Brown Clee Hill, Caer Caradoc Hill, Pole Bank (Marilyns)

Thursday 31st March

Today was the first big test of my new found facility to navigate with my Tom Tom satnav using latitude and longitude. Settings in Memory Map can alter position formatting from OS grid to lat/long and they can then be entered into Tom Tom. In the past I used to try and find a place name nearby to the starting point for a walk, but now I can go to the exact spot. I wish that I had that ability when doing Munros Scotland.

The journeys between the three summits today have been on a very complicated network of minor roads, often single track and quite heart stopping with agonising anticipation of vehicles coming the other way, but Tom Tom triumphed and made it more of a pleasure.

Brown Clee Hill is also the county top for Shropshire. A good steep path lead to the summit in about forty minutes. There is a well fashioned cast bronze viewfinder and near its foot an OS bench mark, and a few yards further down some steps, set into the ground, an OS tri-spoke theodolite fixer as found on the top of trig points. There are masts and structures all over and a sort of twin summit which the map gives equal height with the viewfinder, and just in case I visited both.

Half an hour's hairy car ride got me to a very marginal parking spot for Caradoc Hill. That is a very steep ascent, but on immaculate turf. I have often driven down the A49 and seen this hill to the east just before Church Stretton .

More narrow lanes with steep hills and twisty bends had me down to Church Stretton then up the road to Long Mynd which rivals anything in the Alps for scary drops into the Carding Mill Valley. I walked up there last summer on my Macmillan Way and hadn't realised how close I had been to Pole Bank.

I called in at Ludlow and shopped for a good steak and onion pie from an old established butchers and that has just gone very well.

Blue sky, sunshine and puffy white clouds have made for a great day's walking with the pleasure of knowing I return to the comforts of the caravan.

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I have tried to post photos with Blogger Dashboard and with Blogpress but without wifi it doesn't seem possible. I'm doing fairly well getting this out with just a 3G signal.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Wrekin and Titterstone Clee Hill (Marilyn's)

Yesterday afternoon I decided to sort tyre pressures on the caravan - easy little job? To access the valves I had to lever off the wheel trims with a large screwdriver. They are made of plastic and had become so brittle they fractured all over - a happy half an hour's struggle, and as always with me and anything to do with mechanics, skinned knuckles. Next I decided to hitch up the caravan to the car to save time in the morning. It took twenty minutes of fiddling and half a can of WD40 to remove the hitch-lock. All a bit of a contrast to watching Ed, Mike Brewers mechanic on Wheeler Dealers confidently and effortlessly winging his way through these kind of jobs.

Six forty-five this morning I was having an early breakfast prior to departing for Ludlow with the caravan, and was entertained by Alan Sloman's latest post, and I commented mentioning my "obsessive ticking off of Marilyn's."

I got the message back from Alan ticking me off for the idea of ticking off Marilyns together with a few suggestive and tempting ideas - chance would be a fine thing!

I had Google Earthed the car park and lay-by for The Wrekin and reckoned I may need to be there early to be able to park with the caravan. I was right. The best I could do was an 11:00am arrival after a nearly three hour drive. There was just one possibility where I was able to squeeze off the road beyond the car park. That car park would not have allowed me to turn round with the caravan, and in any case it was full. Steep paths lead to wider tracks with scores of families and couples ascending and descending. I noticed many of them clutching bottles of water. That is something that seems to have become a fashion icon recently rather than an essential need.

After a quick up and down I drove to my farm caravan site east of Ludlow where I had telephoned booked for seven nights a few weeks ago. On arrival it seems they had me down for 29th April - the site wan' even open. Anyway, I was admitted and by 3:00 pm I was installed with my telly working on all channels,ma 3G signal on the phone snd iPad permitting Internet access - looks like it is going to be a comfortable stay. I was able to drive to within twenty minutes walk of the second Marilyn of the day and had incredible extensive views with blue sky and rolling white clouds.

As far as I know I was far from remonstrating withe these two Marilyns, quite the opposite.

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I am now going to try and post this'd without photos, because previous experience tells me they cause problems. And a usual it has been a toil doing this on the iPad. The editing facility is clunky, clunky, clunky. I can't even scroll back to the top to read it through  so please excuse any typos.

Wednesday 30th March.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Naddle Horseshoe - Chapter 50 - Outlying Fells

Scalebarrow Knott         NY 519 153
Harper Hills                   NY 510 144
Hare Shaw                     NY 497 131
Nameless                       NY 492 143
Nameless                       NY 496 149
Nameless                      NY 505 152
Hugh's Laithe Pike       NY 502 151

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Friday - 25th March

Bowland Climber has bought a new car. It is described as: "a something or other MCV."

Keen to demonstrate, BC offered to take us on from my house to the start of our next Outlying Fells trip. Not sure what to expect I Googled "MCV" and learnt that it was a "Manoeuvre Combat Vehicle with a 105 inch anti-tank gun." I presumed BC had plans for forthcoming trips on non-access land where some resistance may be encountered, or perhaps he had flipped and decided to become a grouse shooter?



Fortunately Chapter 50, with its seven Wainwright summits, takes the circuit of The Naddle valley access land, a rarely visited venue sandwiched between Haweswater and Swindale (even Swindale is remote with only limited motor access).

Since I purchased Memory Map's 1:25000 map, and after years of wandering across all our countryside, regardless of trespassing or not, I have become amusedly aware of access land as now delineated on the new map.

Thursday was a day of non-stop rain, and as I write this on Saturday we have had non-stop rain again - talk about weather windows - our day in between was glorious. And even though this was a bank holiday weekend we never saw a soul, not even at a distance, all day.

Sadly, having driven through Shap at various times of day recently I notice that the well favoured Abbey Café appears to have closed.

This walk was on a fifty-fifty mixture of tracks and some pretty rough going over tussocks, bog and heather, but all sheer delight with an uplifting feeling of isolation.

The 105 inch anti-tank gun was not deployed.


PLEASE CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE
Our route is up on the ridge to right - to left looking down Swindale.  Gowther Crag is the dark area - a good climbing  crag

On the way - Scalebarrow Knott on skyline 

Knipe Scar - another Outlying from a few posts back

From Harper Hills summit. The pointy one left end is Kidsty Pike

"Chimmney" as marked on OS map and mentioned by Wainwright.

Dam end of Haweswater from Hugh's Laithe Pike, our last summit

BC looking back to our last summit

The deer on this zoom shot were about quarter of a mile away 



Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Heughscar Hill and Dunmallet (Wainwright's Outlying Fells)

Chapter 48 - Heughscar Hill

Chapter 47 - Dunmallet


Sunday 20th March.

After the previous day's exertions round Devoke Water I  had just about decided to take a rest day.

What changed my mind was breakfast.

Yesterday Bowland Climber had us stop to buy eggs at Crosbythwaite Farm before descending back into Dunnerdale. I was given two of those eggs, and boiled they provided that breakfast along with toast and marmalade, and my usual multi cups of tea; I was re-energized and raring to go.

Tea generates the return to life in the morning, but by ten I get the jangles for coffee, and that coincided with my arrival at Askham. Askham is a sort of model village on the Lowther Estate which is also the venue of Askham Hall where there are various visitor attractions and a café, but BC had recently done Heughscar Hill and told me about the village shop which also has a couple of tables and serves coffee etc., and the present owners have only been there a few months, so I wanted to support these people in what is likely to be a precarious existence - long may village shops continue.

A steady climb on immaculate close cropped turf took me to the summit of Heughscar in about half an hour. The views overlooking Ullswater were magnificent, and further dramatically enhanced with the Striding Edge face of Helvellyn high up in the background still with lingering snow.

Well established tracks lead onto the old Roman road of High Street, a visit to the Cop Stone, and then a small stone circle, and back to Askham with views across to Lowther Castle.

From the summit of Heughscar I could see the small prominence of Dunmallett above Pooley Bridge, another of W's Outlying Fells, but I knew that the bridge had been destroyed by recent floods and it would be an unreasonably long detour to get there compared with the ten minute drive from Askham with the bridge in operation.

As I arrived back at my car a fell running guy also arrived at his car. He had just run twenty-two miles from here up to Thornthwaite Beacon and back! We had interesting conversation and he then told me that today was party-time at Pooley Bridge because they had installed a new crossing there and celebrations were the order of the day.

There were cars and people everywhere. I managed to park up the hill outside Pooley Bridge then walked through Pooley and over the new (probably temporary) bridge. Dunmallet is ascended through trees and is also wooded at the summit with no views. There is supposedly the site of a fort on top, but Wainwright says quite rightly, "...and for a learned few the remains (barely distinguishable) of a fort..."

That was a damn good day out.

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Welcoming committee - just a few yards from the car

Helvellyn across Ullswater from near the top of Heughscar 


That is the scar of Heughscar on the left. The brown humpy hill at the righthand end of Ullswater is Dunmallet

Zoom to Ullswater from Heughscar


The Cop stone on High Street - walkers on the old Roman road in the distance


Lowther Castle


A bit of history. First day of the replaced Pooley Bridge. Dunmallet path goes straight up from across the bridge.

Dunmallet summit

The best of a bad job - just about the only view from Dunmallet

Monday, 21 March 2016

Circuit of Devoke Water & Stainton Pike (Wainwright's Outlying Fells)

Chapters 33 & 34

Devoke Water (33)

Rough Crag
Water Crag
White Pike
Yoadcastle
Woodend Height
Seat How

Stainton Pike (34)

Stainton Pike
The Knott

Saturday 19th March 

It is as well we were not relying on my old iPhone 3 for navigation on this longer two chapter combination. I had that phone for a long time before agonising over the vast expense of acquiring my new iPhone 6S Plus last October.

A few days ago I was sitting in my living room chatting with my daughter when we heard a strange sharp sort of noise in another part of the house. After searching we could find no cause.

On Friday night I was debating whether to take the old iPhone 3 as a back-up on the morrow because it still features Memory Map. I went to locate it in my study and found it had obviously taken upon itself to explode.

Google confirmed others have had the same problem, and no satisfaction from Apple who say that the battery has a finite number of re-charges before something like this happens. Well I'm glad it didn't happen in my pocket. Even if injury was avoided it could give someone of fragile disposition a heart attack.

As it was no tech was needed on this round where we could see most of our route for most of the time, albeit often crossing fairly rough pathless terrain.

Contrary to  a mediocre forecast we eventually had long spells of sunshine improving as the day progressed. Devoke Water featured most of the time along with clear views of many of the larger Lake District summits, and there were sections of pleasurable ridge walking making this an all out classic round

PLEASE CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE




Well, he did capture me in a similar situation a few days ago.
We wondered about the purpose of this iron gate contraption at the outflow of Devoke Water





Zoom to crags on The Knott






Friday, 18 March 2016

Whit Fell (Outlying Fells)

WHIT FELL - Chapter 35

Buck Barrow                     SD 151 910
Whit Fell                           SD 158 929
Burn Moor                        SD 151924
Kinmont Buck Barrow     SD 146 909

Wednesday 16th March


When I am walking alone I have recurring thoughts accompanying other random musings. One of those frequent visitors, in the appropriate context, is imagining that I am "on top of the world," and so it seemed this day.

The Corney Fell Road rises from sea level at the foot of Dunnerdale to climb over the fell. It is steep, undulating, mostly unfenced, and single track, cutting off a massive loop of the A595 for the adventurous on the way to points north including Seascale and Whitehaven. If you choose the wrong time of day this wilderness and quiet road is transformed into the local version of the M40 by workers fearlessly commuting to Seascale nuclear reprocessing plant - timing is unpredictable unless you are in the know because Seascale is  staffed on a shift system.

Our starting point was from the remote summit of the road. This Wainwright chapter is the equivalent of the South Shiel ridge when Munroing when you bag seven summits in one outing - here we bagged four, and three of them had splendid three hundred and sixty degree views from rocky prominences, including the Isle of Man, and for the first time for me, with a little stretch of imagination the coast of Ireland. The feeling of vast open space was enhanced with a huge blue sky and invigorating spring in the air, hence the visitation of my "on top of the world" leitmotif.

Other examples, especially on backpacking trips, are making mental mathematical calculations of time and distance to predict arrival times at certain destinations, pondering on the nature of my digs for the evening whether pre-booked or to be identified (hopefully) on arrival, wondering on the possibility of refreshment opportunities such as cafés, shops, chuck wagons, or pubs, and on starting a steep descent, the recurring phrase "please fasten your safety belts".

Today there was no room for such thoughts in the good company of Bowland Climber with an endless exchange of interesting conversation and admiration of our surroundings.

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Kinmont Buck Barrow (left) ascended on the return. Right, Buck Barrow which Wainwright likens to Stac Polly

From Buck Barrow summit

Whit Fell

Whit Fell summit

Isle of Man - full zoom






Cafes, refreshments

Monday, 14 March 2016

Great Worm Crag - Outlying Fells

Great Worm Crag - SD 193 968

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Sunday 13th March


Am I OCD?  For example, is that usage correct? One can suffer from OCD, but not be it grammatically, but that now seems to be common usage.

I have a fixed idea of how a good day walk from home, as opposed to a backpacking day should go,  and if it doesn't work out I can become frustrated.

1.Set off early and get back in time to have a relaxing evening at home.

2. A walk with varied scenery, and if possible a bit of adventure, few stiles, a sheltered spot with a good view to have a break and a munch, or a café at the end, and perhaps meeting somebody interesting rather than a cliché exchange of opinions on the weather.

3. Back home: a hot bath followed by recovery on the settee with fixzzy water bottle to hand and land-line and mobile phones (to avoid having to rise if a call comes through), and iPad and spectacles and book for a bit of browsing, or alternatively I may doze for quarter of an hour.

4. Preparation of meal, to be ready in time for  6:00 pm news on tele.

Yesterday that didn't happen exactly.

I was off to a good start at 9:00am. Wainwright makes the best of a bad job turning the ascent of  an unprepossessing hill into a round involving several rocky summits and a bit of scrambling, so I had some adventure, and challenging wilderness trekking on a more or less pathless circuit. All in all a most enjoyable hill outing.

My walk started from the fell road running over the tops from Dunnerdale to Eskdale - a remote unfenced road that used to be rarely used, but today it seems to have developed into a rat run.

Driving to Broughton-in-Furness and beyond up Dunnerdale on a Sunday, even at that early hour, is busy these days, and the return journey later in the day even more so.  Every week in the Westmorland Gazette yet another new scheme is announced to attract more visitors to the Lake District.

I had not taken food or flask intending to call at a café after the walk. Broughton Bakery was closed again and I drove on to Café Ambio at Haverthwaite next to the Lakeland Car Museum (its sister venue at the Kendal Auction Mart close to Jct. 36 on the M6 is the Ambio I usually go to with Pete after our Thursday walks).

The large car park at Ambio was nearly full. Despite Ambio having seating for a hundred or so there was a long queue and I couldn't see a vacant table. I exited and headed for home - so that was the part of my OCD routine that was scuppered. The rest of the day was fine. For retired folk like me Sundays and bank holidays are just a nuisance.

Lying in the hot bath I had no concept of the intended content of this post, but the outline formed, and here we are. One may think the Archimedean hot bath myth far fetched but I have found time and time again I have had some of my best ideas whilst soaking. I wonder why that is?



Little Crag and Great Crag. I ascended via the grassy gully shown with red dots - CLICK TO ENLARGE

This and below: close up of rock on Great Crag - faces are 30/40ft high


The Scafells from Great Crag. Not a great day for photography, but either you get this or nothing at all

Devoke Water from Great Worm Crag summit






Thursday, 10 March 2016

Black Combe

Wednesday 9th March

These are the summits Wainwright mentions in "Black Combe" (Chapter 36).  I have already climbed Black Combe and didn't include it in this trip.

Note: W does not list Stoupdale Head  after the chapter heading as he does with other inclusive summits in each chapter, but his map shows it but not visited on the route. List compilers generally include it as one of the 116, so don't overlook it if you embark on this campaign.

Black Combe       SD 135 854
White Combe       SD 154 862
Stoupdale Head    SD 151 873

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Today's plan was for a different chapter accompanying BC, but he had to unavoidably cancel, so this was my plan B. I think I subconsciously contrived to remedy my missed visit to the bakery café in Broughton on Monday. The route is near enough, and short enough to give time for a visit to that café.

Faffing is often a feature of walks and I am never sure if it derives from some anal desire to delay proceedings or from genuine needs, but this morning I faffed, then the car displayed the windscreen washer fluid warning light, and in any case I needed to fill up with diesel. I then found the coolant also needed topping up, and the filling station which incorporates a mini supermarket had a long checkout queue  - I thought I was never going to get off.

The parking spot was empty, but before I set off another car arrived and two chaps emerged and started donning boots. I was irritated thinking they would be coming on behind me. I decided to walk the short, unpleasant, footpathless road section first so I would return directly to the car from the lane opposite the parking.

An old drove road leads on pleasant turf nearly to White Combe summit, but it is unremitting and quite a slog. I watched the farmer on his quad bike with his two dogs rounding up sheep, and then he made his way to meet me and we had a pleasant chat. His family have had the farm below for 96
years. Interestingly he said he was cold, there was a ferocious nippy wind, but he was virtually inactive on his contraption whilst I was steaming with the effort of steep uphill walking.

At the summit I saw the two guys from the parking approaching, they were doing the circuit the opposite way round. We had a friendly chat and it was then a short slightly rising trek to Stoupdale Head and descent by the attractive steep sided Whitecombe Beck valley or more accurately, ravine. The beck is a glorious tumbling cascade of endless mini waterfalls with water of total clarity, a sheer delight all the way.

Despite my earlier faffing frustration I arrived at the café for 2:0 pm and all was well up to standard. A pot of tea and imaginative flapjack with hazelnuts and raisins. Mission accomplished.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

The Duddon estuary towards Barrow

Farmer and dog rounding up sheep - he came to talk to me - decent guy

White Combe summit

Modest cairn on Stoupdale Head. What is that monster approaching from bottom right?

Starting the descent of Whitecombe ravine

Looking back up the ravine

Lively tributary of the Whitecombe Beck


I sent this pic to BC. He was convinced I had bought a new hat!