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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Howes and Seat Robert (Outlying Fells, chapters combined)

Wednesday 20th April

Langhowe Pike             NY 528 134
Nab Moor                     NY 503 111
Howes                          NY 502 151
High Wether Howe      NY 515 109
Fewling Stones            NY 513 117
Seat Robert                  NY 526 114
Great Ladstones          NY 532 123 

Within the last ten days my tumble dryer packed in, my tv. remote packed in, and now, my camera got dirt on the sensor creating a blob on the images.

The Panasonic Lumix TZ40 is almost 2 years old to the day bought from from Wilkinson Cameras in Kendal - cost £225.  I went back to Wilkinsons, but they made no offer of recompense whatsoever.

 So be it. So what do you do?

I ended up buying the TZ60 (which is already obsolete) and now only costs £190 and additionally of value to me: now 30 x optical zoom, an optical viewfinder, and updated image stabilisation. I could have saved buying on-line but there is the danger of  unsupported foreign imports, and at least I can go back to Wilkinsons for advice. The photos here were taken with the new camera and so far I am well pleased. The larger zoom is much more practical with the increased stability, more so at 30x than the TZ40 was at 20 x.

The obvious place to start our walk was Truss Gap Farm down Swindale, but we knew there is a huge project afoot by United Utilities taming the river and installing a fish ladder and parking is almost impossible, so we decided on the location shown on the map. That was a good job. Out of Shap we took the turning to Keld, but there was a road closure notice for those going on to Rosgill, Swindale, and Haweswater.

In previous posts I have praised Dunnerdale, but I think Swindale is my all time favourite Lake District location. There is no vehicular access beyond Truss Gap Farm, and there is a unique atmosphere of calm in this steep sided valley supporting a rich mixture of crags and trees. Walking was easy and sheer delight in glorious cloudless sunshine as far as the end of the valley. The climb up to Nab Moor and then Howes was strenuous to say the least and from there onwards the rest of this long round was mainly across tussocky, pathless, boggy terrain. There is a track shown on the map, but it is often water-logged and indistinct, and it is frequently more practical to take alternative routes. This was fell walking for the connoisseur. We had a welcome lunch-munch on the side of a steep magic stream descending from Howes and there was great temptation to stay longer and soak up the sun.

Later, on reaching Seat Robert, our next to last summit, I sat down at the large cairn and I noticed BC followed suit without comment. We both finished off our flask drinks. That is the only time on all these walks we have done together that we have taken a second proper rest.

Shadows were lengthening as we went for Great Ladstones and picked up the last part of the track back to the car, mainly on cropped turf, providing the best walking of the day and a pleasant finish to our biggest walk so far, and for me, I think the most enjoyable and rewarding.


Langhowe Pike - looking down into tempting Swindale

Descending into Swindale

United Utilities at Truss Gap constructing river re-direction and fish ladders. I hope they are going to do a job on landscaping when they've done...

...and it doesn't look as though much thought has gone into this ugly bridge which has replaced the perfectly adequate and integrated footbridge that has been removed.

Zoom to the main climbing face on Gowther Crag - BC has climbed there but not me. Unfortunately it was in shadow at this time in the morning.

Where the river comes into Swindale from on high. In wet conditions there are some of the best, but little known waterfalls in Lakeland up there.

More of Gowther Crag

Back down Swindale from well up towards Nab Moor

Mosedale Cottage - well off our route to the south. It is used as a bothy - visited by me on my Broads to the Lakes walk which ended an hour or so after my visit when I fell descending Nan Bield Pass and cut a vein in my leg - happy memories?

Fewling Stones (I think - all a bit confusing with seven summits) - only three more to go

Rest number 2 - Seat Robert

Lengthening shadows at Grreat Ladstones

We walked clockwise starting at the yellow road, top right


AlanR said...

Very nice outing. Dunnerdale takes some beating.

afootinthehills said...

I can't keep up with your postings Conrad. That does look a lovely part of the Lake District and I really must make time to visit Swindale. That bridge looks hideous though. When the Burnfoot windfarm (Ochils) was being built a new bridge was constructed over the River Devon near the reservoir, but thankfully the old stone one was left intact. We always use it,refusing to cross the new monstrosity.

You've got a real bargain with your new camera and got a perfect day for its first use.

Anonymous said...

Your pictures with the new camera look good despite that male model.

gimmer said...

These two adjacent valleys you have 'horseshoed' recently really do look inviting - as they are hardly a stone's throw from here, an evening stroll is definitely 'on' - when this arctic spring is over (snow predicted tonight).
Your daily distances seem to be increasing steadily - you must have a major objective in mind and be thanking your lucky stars that you opted for 'no op' !
Well done - beats the Lambeth Walk I did yesterday, although the discovery of the best tea shop ('theatre' is a better description) in London enlivened the day hugely (as were the cake quality and portions, Gayle might be doubly interested to learn).
I endorse the camera report - I too was impressed and bought one a year or so ago when my baby Leica was killed.
Looking at your previous post - I too have never had quite as memorable a moment or seen a photograph so evocative as that glimpse from Scafell backslope all those centuries ago! Different, maybe more spectacular, maybe more dramatic, but none so magical or memorable !

Sir Hugh said...

Alan R - I'm not sure which one you are favouring, but it doesn't really matter - it would just be splitting hairs - the two are on different scales and each have their own special attractions.


Afoot - I have been aware of my frequent posting but I wanted to create a written record of this campaign and this is the best way to do it without duplicating the work elsewhere.


BC - Surprisingly the male model didn't need much persuading and also came for free.


gimmer - I seem to remember, in your uni days you promoted the concept of "valley bottom walking" - at our advanced years, and especially for an "evening stroll" these would be ideal locations to take up that pastime again.

There is no agenda afoot here, just to complete the summits in W's book, and there has been a vague policy to leave the longest chapters to the last - one more to go now - The Bannisdale Horseshoe, except for Walna Scar, and I'm setting off to do that on my own within the next half hour - BC has already finished all the rest.

afootinthehills said...

Sir Hugh - I wasn't complaining. I'm doing the same with the Grahams and will also be using my blog to record our remaining Corbett ascents.

Mark said...

You've been very busy! I walked a similar, but slightly shorter circuit at around the same time of year a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. For future reference, there's a permission path which runs along the other side of the valley, below Gowther Crag, which avoids the road and is really splendid walking.

Sir Hugh said...

Afoot - with other long distance walks I have published my own books through Lulu Self Publishing and they are a great source of reference for me, especially when fellow bloggers are doing the same walks. I hate the idea of my blog posts being out there with the possibility of disappearing altogether and for completed long distance backpacking trips I copy them into a file on my Mac having given up on the Lulu thing because of software problems. The initial preparation is done in a Microsoft Word doc. and then converted into a PDF to send up for publishing and my version of Word is no longer up to the job, and even when it it is working properly it is a very clunky and time consuming process.


Mark - thanks for the info. I could well be back there again soon.

afootinthehills said...

Sir Hugh - I downloaded your LEJOG book yesterday. Looking forward to reading it.

Sir Hugh said...

The LEJOG book was the first Lulu one. My daughter hi-jacked my journal and photos from the computer and produced the whole thing as a surprise present. She did a good job matching photos to text, but there are anomalies and the photos are very small - we learnt a lot from that exercise. Later books, although still very amateurish are much kinder to the reader with larger text and photos.

By the way, when we met on that track between Cluanie and Achtilbuie what was the trek that you were embarked on at the time?

afootinthehills said...

Sir Hugh - I thought Jill's idea and her Foreword were delightful. When we met you in 2008 we had just climbed A'Chralaig and Mullach Fraoch-choire for the second time, 1986 being the first.

AlanR said...

Duddon Valley, (Dunnerdale) beyond Broughton in Furness.