Saturday, 17 May 2014

More from Lakeland!

Carrying on from our last post, with Sunday's walks, our first walk of the day being Bowscale Fell, another which I've had my eye on doing for a while.  Bowscale Fell can easily be accessed from other fells in the area but I really wanted to do it via it's tarn as it looked on the map as if it was a lovely remote tarn set in a typical Lakeland comb - I wasn't disappointed, this place is a like a hidden gem, -  just gorgeous!  Apparently, if you believe in legends, there are two immortal fish in this tarn!

It poured down on the walk in but the weather soon cleared up enough to dry us off!  Here is Holly and I at the stunning Bowscale Tarn - didn't see any fish immortal or not!

Bowscale Tarn

The cloud obliterated most of the views from the summit
On our way back down, the pic below shows the view over towards High Pike where we walked the day before

After this little gem of a walk we headed back to the campsite for some lunch and then to the lovely village of Braithwaite which was our start point for this afternoon's walk.  We decided to walk Barrow and Outerside as the weather looked better in that direction!  Below you can see me walking up the slopes of Barrow which has wonderful views to both Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake as well as towards the Coledale fells.  We were really lucky with the weather for this part of the day as you can see.

Walking up Barrow (Bassenthwaite Lake behind)

Lovely views down to Bassenthwaite Lake

That's me and Holly on Barrow summit with our next target behind us - Outerside - that cloud looks a bit ominous and we were wondering it we were going to make it without getting another soaking.

On the way to Outerside with Causey Pike overlooking us 

Outerside summit with  Stile End and Barrow in the background

The clouds were really closing in now and it was soon time for another soaking!  Here is a rather wet me on the summit of Stile End which we decided to walk over on the way back down to Braithwaite.

The rain just got worse and worse and we were like drowned rats by the time we got back to the car.  The sun soon came back out though and the rest of the evening was gorgeous so we headed down to the shores of Derwentwater in Keswick for a wander.

Monday was our last day in the Lakes and by far the best day weather wise - which always seems to be the case when we're on our way home.  Our planned route for the day was to follow Dob Gill from Thirlmere up to Harrop Tarn and on to the open fells to Ullscarf.  I was blown away by the views from up there, being practically in the centre of the Lake District there were fab views all around.

The walk started through the forest which opened out into this small clearing with gorgeous views of a stunning waterfall

continued by more woodland and then the beautiful Harrop Tarn, where Holly enjoyed having a swim amongst the lily pads

We were soon out on the open fell with amazing views all around, here you can see Blea Tarn, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake with Skiddaw also in the distance.

We stopped for a bite to eat on Standing Crag before walking up to Ullscarf's summit

Ullscarf summit

We would have loved to have stayed longer up there but time was against us and we had to head back down for the long journey back to North Wales and home.

Blea Tarn again from Standing Crag

Ullscarf appears to be one of those fells which are often overlooked in favour of higher fells nearby but we loved it up there, we didn't see another soul on our walk and the route up from Thirlmere via the stunning Harrop Tarn was fabulous.

So that's it from our weekend, we're back in the Lake District again next weekend for a friends' 214th Wainwright fell. Many Lake District walkers challenge themselves to complete all the fells Wainwright wrote about in his Pictorial Guides and it has become popular (at least among the walkers we know) to finish off the last one as a big group walk and celebration so that's what Saturday's walk will be all about.  I may complete them all myself one day who knows!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Back in Lakeland

As Gary and I were in Lakeland to see the screening of 'Life of a Mountain' about Scafell Pike on Saturday we decided to take the tent and make a full weekend of it.  The weather wasn't looking great but we were very lucky and managed to dodge the majority of the showers over the weekend.

We set off on Friday morning and popped in at Castle Parks Art Centre in Frodsham where 3 of my paintings are in the Association of Animal Artists Annual Exhibition.  It felt lovely to see my work there amongst so many artists I admire - mine are the 3 above me in the middle.

After my arty fix, we headed on to Lakeland paradise.  It poured down all the way there but once we arrived the sun came out so we headed up Great Mell Fell which is an isolated fell off the A66 between the Penrith and Keswick, one I've passed many a time on my way in and out of the Lakes but not yet climbed although Gary has climbed it before. This lovely little fell is not that high at 537m but what it lacks in stature it makes up for in views - the views over our favourite Lake District mountain Blencathra is stunning from here!

There were two big sticks sticking out of the summit cairn of GMF - one of them you can see here in Holly's mouth!

 There are a few trees like this that have been twisted into the strangest of shapes by the wind!  That's Little Mell Fell in the background.

What a lovely start to the weekend.  We set up camp at Burns Farm near Threlkeld and warmed up some Chilli for tea and with the weather still looking good, decided on an evening walk up Souther Fell just down the road.  I just love this time of year when we have these longer days in which you can take in evening walks like this.

The next photo shows the view from Mousethwaite Comb, the car parked below and Great Mell Fell in the background which we climbed earlier.

Me and Holly at the top of Mousethwaite Comb - every other time I've been up here it's been to head for Blencathra and the fabulous Sharp Edge ridge which you can see behind us - Gary and I love it up here.

Here's a zoomed in shot of the spectacular Sharp Edge

This evening however, we were heading in the opposite direction, to Souther Fell, as I'd not climbed this fell before before.

Here we are on Souther Fell with Bannerdale Crags behind us and Blencathra poking up behind.  I have to say Souther Fell was more like soggy fell, very wet underfoot, but a lovely evening's walk and not a soul about, just us, the mountains and few Skylarks - bliss!

I love cairns and this lovely cairn has been built away from the summit which was marked by a couple of rocks as you can see in the pic above - lovely views again over towards Bannerdale Crags and Blencathra in the cloud

Back at the tent after a lovely day and two new summits for me and Holly

On Saturday we walked two fells which were new for both Gary and I, Carrock Fell and High Pike, situated in one of the more remote areas of the Lakes - the back o Skiddaw -  we saw only one other person on this walk and it was a Saturday too, so you'd expect to see a few more walkers about.  We started this walk from Apronful of Stones on the road which leads from Mungrisdale.  As we left the car we heard the sound of a Cuckoo cuckooing his head off and a Peregrine calling.  We didn't spot the Peregrine but we did eventually spot the Cuckoo as it flew into a tree near us, a wonderful sight to see and we watched it for a good few minutes as it flew in and out of the tree cuckooing away.  I've only ever seen one once before so it was a real treat - unfortunately Gary only had the small point and click camera so didn't get the greatest of photos.

The Cuckoo eventually flew away so we continued the steep climb through crags up on to the fell

On the summit cairn with lovely blue skies behind - the summit is also the site of an Iron Age hill fort

Lovely views ......

Holly leads the way from Carrock Fell to High Pike - which didn't seem that far away from here but as we walked down the ridge it didn't seem to get any closer!

but we got there eventually ......

High Pike summit with it's shelter, trig point with directional dial and behind that you can just see the end of a stone bench!

Then it was just a matter of walking back down, easy peasy until we reached Carrock Beck - lots of water, no footbridge, very slippy rocks which I didn't fancy risking especially after Gary nearly fell in as he was crossing ..... so off came the boots, up came the trouser legs (exposing extremely white legs!) and across I went - bbbrrrrr, cold water!!!

This was a really lovely place to walk, away from the main tourist areas, and two lovely summits.

That's it for now - hope you enjoyed the pics, more piccies to come of where we went on Sunday and Monday

Monday, 5 May 2014

Back in the fells!!!

Oh dear this poor old blog has been a bit neglected hasn't it!  Hopefully that is going to change as I'm determined that one of us will post all our walks this year, even if it's just a quick photo. We have been out and about in the mountains a few times since the last post but these times have been few and far between, the main reason being my frustratingly annoying bout of iron deficiency which has made me feel pretty lousy over the past year or so.....  but I've got my fingers and toes crossed that the root cause has been found and I can concentrate on getting back to normal at last!

Anyway our latest trip was a lovely 4 day break in the Lake District over the Easter holidays. The first day was spent at Esthwaite Water, looking out for Ospreys, Gary's favourite bird of prey.  Ospreys are fascinating birds and it's amazing to think of the journey they make here each year to breed, often coming back to the very same nest year after year.  It's a real treat to see them, even from a distance they are fascinating to watch.

The next 3 days were spent walking some of the Lakeland fells I'd not done before and a few that Gary hadn't done, which is rare as he has walked the vast majority of them in the many years he's been walking.

So, as I needed to break myself in gently we started our first day of walking with two relatively small fells, Ling Fell and Sale Fell.

Me on the summit of Ling Fell

Ling Fell is a lovely little fell with great views over towards the Whinlatter Fells which we did last year.  After a sit down at the summit to get my breath back we headed back down and across the road to walk up Sale Fell.

Sale Fell from the climb up Ling Fell

Ling Fell from the climb up Sale Fell (and what a lovely place for a farm!)

A tad breezy on the summit of Sale Fell

With these two done we headed off to Cockermouth for some lunch and a wander around the cemetery which may sound a bit strange but Cockermouth Cemetery is like a little wildlife haven which I'd heard about so when we realised we were passing we thought we'd take a look around.  It was worth it as we saw a gorgeous little red squirrel and a lovely variety of birds including my first ever sighting of the tiny Goldcrest.  Cockermouth was badly hit by floods in 2009 and it was hard to imagine the devastation caused as we walked through this lovely little town.

The 2nd day of walking was a bit tougher as we decided to do a walk in an area known as the Back o Skiddaw where there are a few fells within walking distance of each other, starting with Longlands Fell. 
This is what the great Alfred Wainwright had to say of Longlands Fell

 "Anybody who cannot manage this short and simple climb is advised to give up the idea of becoming a fellwalker"  

Hmmm well I do consider myself a fellwalker so how did I get on?  Gary had the bright idea of not bothering with the (I presume much easier) path but to save time by walking right up the side of it,  which I have to say nearly finished me off for the day but after a bit of a lie down at the top (and I'm not exaggerating here - I was goosed!) I slapped a big smile on my face and posed for the camera (I'm not showing you the 'other' pic he took of me lying flaked out on the floor!

There you go - easy peasy!

The rest of the walk was relatively easy in comparison with the 'short and simple climb' up Longlands Fell and was absolutely wonderful with brilliant views over to Skiddaw, hardly a soul around and the beautiful song of Skylarks following us everywhere we went.  It felt so good to be there and  I feel blessed to be able to experience places like this - as I know Gary does and I'm sure every other walker I know!

The rest of the walk took in some lovely fells

Approaching the summit of Brae Fell

Time for some blueberries on Brae Fell - that's Skiddaw in the background

 Great Sca Fell summit

The summit of Knott - at this point we debated whether we had time to do Great Calva but decided against it - to be saved for another day

From this point we headed back to Great Sca Fell and then over to Meal Fell where we had our lunch in the very convenient little summit shelter there - tuna and sweetcorn baps and a coffee with a view!

Heading down from Great Sca Fell to Meal Fell

Meal Fell - Great place for a spot of lunch

From Meal Fell we headed down to the lovely Trusmadoor before heading up the brilliantly named Great Cockup bringing it to the 6th new Wainwright of the day for both of us - in all his years of walking in the Lakes, Gary had never walked this particular area before today.

We headed back to Longlands from here where we had parked the car and as it was still only mid afternoon we decided to take the short drive over to Binsey and walk up that too as we were so close.  I'd always heard that Binsey was a bit 'boring' and one of those Wainwright fells that was a bit of a nuisance to do as it was out of the way but I found Binsey to be a little gem of a fell, reminding me very much of the lovely heather clad hills of the Clwydian Range where I live.  

At last a photo of Gary!!!!

We finished the day with a stroll round Keswick, fish and chips at the side of Derwentwater and a visit to Castlerigg Stone Circle before heading back to the campsite. 

Catbells over Derwentwater, what better view while you're eating a bag of yummy fish and chips after a fab day out walking!

Castlerigg Stone Circle with the beautiful Blencathra as a backdrop - currently for sale for £1.75 million if anyone interested!!

Our last day in Lakeland was a mixture of walking and wildlife - we walked up Steel Fell in the morning, and returned to Esthwaite in the afternoon to take another look at the Ospreys before returning home to Wales.

Steel Fell was another new one for me but one that Gary had done before via another route. Today's route was up the steep north ridge, so of course more puffing and panting ensued but it was worth it all for the fabulous views over Thirlmere.  Once you reach the summit plateau it's a pleasant stroll over the top to the actual summit cairn with lovely views in all directions. 

The view back down to the road and over Thirlmere from the climb up Steel Fell

Steel Fell's summit cairn

There were plenty of Herdwick sheep about affectionately known as Herdys, many with lambs in toe, this one had obviously not long been born, he was very wobbly on his feet, cord still hanging under his belly, a life brand spanking new!!!!  Unfortunately near where we saw this little chap we spotted a Herdwich ewe which we presume had died while lambing overnight poor thing.  

So that was our little trip to the Lakes, all photos were taken by Gary and we're back again next weekend so hopefully more photos to share, hopefully some taken by me this time and a few more with Gary in them rather than them all being of me!!!  If you're reading this we'd love you to leave a comment so we know you've popped by - if you've done any of the fells mentioned here we'd love to hear about it.  

I'll leave you with one of Gary's shots of the Ospreys taken at Esthwaite on our way home .....

Have a wonderful day whatever you're doing!