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Monday, 24 July 2017

Whitbarrow with BC, The Rockman and Poppy

Saturday 22nd. July 2017

On Friday evening I had a call from Bowland Climber. I had various "must-do " tasks for the morrow, but BC suggested a walk and there was not the slightest hesitation in ditching.

BC suggested I should find a local route and I settled on Whitbarrow, a lost world limestone plateau twenty minutes drive from home. I used its six mile circuit as a running route many times in the past and have been up there on countless other occasions - it is one of those places I never tire of.

BC had coopted his friend the Rockman and Poppy his Airedale terrier.

I do like dogs and was very attached to my old Springer, Barney, and later my daughter's Springer, Jake who I adopted when her marriage broke up, so I was pleased to have Poppy as an additional companion. Poppy turned out to be a pleasant natured dog, and at only four years old was surprisingly content to amble along with us without straying and taking everything at a a relaxed and laid-back pace. Perhaps she had been on much longer walks with the Rockman and had learnt to pace herself?

BC has written a splendid account with a good selection of photos. Because of my familiarity with  Whitbarrow, and knowing I have a stack of photos already I took none myself, and a detailed account would only be repeating BC''s post.

I looked to see if Wainwright had much to say, and of course he eulogises in Outlying Fells: "The walk described is  the most beautiful in this book..."

We climbed to the high point  - Lord's Seat, where we sat on a tailor made, natural limestone bench and munched and quaffed coffee. Wainwright - "Rest a while here and keep your chest well covered if there is a breeze..."

The descent from Lord's Seat is down a treacherous steep, slippery rocky path, and we all took great care, much more so than I can recall from previous visits. We found the obscure climber's path leading to the base of the crags. A few years ago I continued to the right as one faces the crag following a path that climbs steeply through trees and often overgrown with shrubbery, and I wondered where I was going as exposure increased, but before it starts to drop down again there is an even more obscure double back to the left through now much more overgrown jungle, but still with a distinct path underfoot ; this brings one out to a stile that leads to a glorious plateau with extensive views and pleasantly spaced mature erect birch trees. BC suggested it as a perfect bivvy spot, facing west to view the sunset. No doubt the birch trees would be useful for his recent acquisition of a hammock?

The rest of the walk completed a figure of eight. This had been a fairly strenuous 7.2 mile circuit in excellent company - both the Rockman and BC are of optimistic nature, and on this route which was a bit more than a benign country stroll their humour and good cheer increased as the going got tougher - great companions.

The road is the A 590 going west to Barrow


Anonymous said...

We need to go back and find that higher path under White Scar. Thanks for the day.

AlanR said...

You'll soon be climbing White Scar again Conrad. It's a nice area. All being well, I should be up that way tomorrow.

Sir Hugh said...

BC - Anytime!


Alan R - I think my climbing days are over. You should see the fearsome looking bolted routes on that crag - nothing less than about E3

Gayle said...

I didn't take anywhere near as interesting a route when I went up there last year, but I did set off with absolutely no knowledge as to the limestone nature of the hill, so it was a pleasant surprise once I'd huffed my way up though the woods. (And, in the bizarre way of things one remembers, I'll just throw in the fact that I ate a can of sardines for my lunch atop Lord's Seat.)

Sir Hugh said...

Gayle - I''m not sure if you are boasting or self deprecating regarding the sardines, but never fear, I heartily approve (either in oil or tomato juice)