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!


  1. Loved to hear you talking about the beautiful walks you have done. I exercise my eyes looking at them!! So wish I had come to walking many years ago when I could have done what you are doing. Great photos and info and thank you for sharing.

  2. Really enjoyed reading and looking at the photos Sharon! Please keep the blog going! It must be wonderful to get up on the hills away from the mad tourists here! ;)

  3. Looks like you had a great time! Wonderful photos.

  4. Absolutely thrilling photos. Thanks to you and Gary for sharing.