Sunday, 31 December 2017

All around Whinlatter

With the road past Whinlatter main entrance closed, subsidence caused by badgers, we were lucky that we were aiming for the car park right at the west of the forest.  

Difficulty: 5
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Isabelle (15), Grace (13), Evie (10), Poppy (7)
9:50, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (235)
11:00, 2.7km 1h09 305m, Graystones (452, Wainwright)
11:49, 4.8km 1h58 444m, Broom Fell (511, Wainwright)
12:25, 6.2km 2h35 507m, Lord's Seat (552, Wainwright)
12:53, 7.4km 3h02 532m, Barf (469, Wainwright)
14:54, 13.2km 5h03 816m, Whinlatter (517, Wainwright)
15:52, 16.0km 6h02 827m, End (236)

After crossing the river by the small footbridge, it was a bit of a slog all the way up to the first peak, Graystones.

A combination of a well deserved rest after the climb, and the way to keep from being blown off your feet.

Graystones, the first Wainwright of the day.

The path onwards led past a recently deceased forest.  We couldn't really tell if it was pining for anything at all...

Up to Broom Fell, and a very convenient shelter for lunch. 

From Broom Fell, over to Lord's Seat.  We'd been here before a few years back, but Poppy was carried then, so we needed to revisit so she could claim it properly.

And over to Barf, another first time for Poppy.  Beautiful views across Bassenthwaite and surrounding countryside.  Shame we had to bring Grace.

Evie, looking a liittle unimpressed by the view. 

After climbing down, it was a great view from the path leading into the forest - here back at Barf, seeing how close the path goes to the cliff side.

Here looking towards Skiddaw, Latrigg and Keswick.

Finally after navigating through the forest and climbing back out of the trees, we made it to Whinlatter.

We found the path down, which was amazingly narrow, twisty, downhill and slippery.

Caroline and Grace lead the way back along the track to the car.

Saturday, 30 December 2017


Second walk of the week, still with strong winds.  It was time to head upwards and discover how much snow was still around.  We parked just off the road at Longlands, space for a couple of cars, but only one other around when we arrived.  After the mistakes of the day before, I was quite keen on navigating this walk as planned, and I'm pleased to say that it all went well.

Difficulty: 5
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Isabelle (15), Grace (13), Evie (10), Poppy (7)
10:02, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (218)
10:51, 2.3km 0h49 252m, Longlands Fell (483, Wainwright)
11:44, 4.8km 1h41 408m, Brae Fell (586, Wainwright)
12:31, 6.4km 2h29 496m, Great Sca Fell (651, Wainwright)
12:56, 7.5km 2h54 570m, Knott (710, Wainwright, Hewitt)
13:39, 9.3km 3h37 594m, Meal Fell (550, Wainwright)
14:17, 10.6km 4h15 678m, Great Cockup (526, Wainwright)
15:29, 14.6km 5h27 718m, End (219)

We gave ourselves 6 hours of day light to complete the walk and were right on track, until the last few km home when we were able to speed up quite a bit...  Still, having an easy end was a comforting thought if we were late back and had to use torches.

After following the track round, we set off up the hill to Longlands Fell.

Evie at the top of Longlands Fell, looking back north the way we had come.

Grace finding it quite windy, still at Longlands Fell but this time looking south towards Lowthwaite Fell.

After crossing Lowthwaite Fell, we headed up and to the left to reach Brae Fell, our second Wainwright of the day.

The girls were very happy to find this shelter, less happy to learn it was only Little Sca Fell, and there was still an extra 30m of climbing in the strong winds to get to our next destination.  Still, it made a good place to stop for some sandwiches.

At the top of Great Sca Fell we met another group of walkers, so we able to take group pictures of each other.  Here's a rare shot of all 6 of us.

The route to Knott was fairly obvious, even in the thick cloud cover, but really windy and thick snow to walk through.  At the top it was flat but icy, so standing up was really quite hard.

In this photo Knott is top right, Great Sca is top left, and we'd come down the path between Grace and Caroline.  This path was snowy and springy heather, so we had great fun running down (Grace, Evie, Poppy & me), or tobogganing down on our bottoms (Grace & Evie).  Part of the fun was getting out of the wind and snow down to Meal Fell.

Caroline, ever focused on the goal, makes off towards our final Wainwright of the day. 

Isabelle was noticeable this week for liking to be at the back of the group, making her way up to Great Cockup.

Evie was very happy at this point, and was making New Year's resolutions never to walk up another hill.  Here at Great Cockup, looking over to Skiddaw. 

Still at Great Cockup, looking west towards Bassenthwaite.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Back up into the snow

The first walk of the week, after worries around food not arriving at the house (Tesco found us), not being able to drive safely down the small drive (not a big frost or snowfall in the night), and not having enough clothes (everyone had remembered their hats). 

Difficulty: 4
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Isabelle (15), Grace (13), Evie (10), Poppy (7)
10:14, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (126)
11:45, 3.7km 1h31 406m, Gavel Fell (526, Wainwright)
12:33, 5.4km 2h18 518m, Blake Fell (573, Wainwright)
13:38, 7.6km 3h23 576m, Burnbank Fell (475, Wainwright)
15:43, 12.4km 5h28 711m, End (127)

We parked in the small National Trust car park at the foot of Loweswater.  Not very easy to find, but marked on the 25k OS map.  Setting off through High Nook Farm and then to Gavel Fell.

After a little early shower it was mainly clear.

The way up towards Gavel Fell.

Keen children at the top of Gavel Fell.

The way up to Blake Fell was straightforward - following the fence, but conditions a little worse with sideways snow/hail.

Poppy, demonstrating the proper clothing for the conditions.

Hiding in the small shelter at the top of Blake Fell.  We camped there for a quick lunch.

Coming down the weather cleared so we could see where we were going once more.

However, it still meant we ended up in the wrong place - the instinct to climb up the nearest high piece of land not quite paying off here.

Now actually at Burnbank Fell.

More keen children - must have been post jelly babies.

View over Loweswater (left) and Crummock Water (right).  At this point my navigation failed and we ended up taking a very steep downhill route into Holme Woods, rather than the much more sensible route we were aiming at.

Now safely into Holme Wood, with a fairly straight way back to the car.  Next time I'll study the map more carefully...

Monday, 31 July 2017

Kentmere Horseshoe

This is a walk I'd been hoping to do for a while, too long for the kids for now, but just about in reach of the Duck.  The car park was as small as expected, with only around 6 spaces, however arriving around 10am was ideal - not too early a start (ie we got in our awesome breakfast first), only a couple of cars already parked, but a few more arriving over the next 30min or so.  Some websites talk about a farmers field that is sometimes open for parking, this was definitely closed for our trip...

Difficulty: 7
Walkers: Tim, Caroline
10:20, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (173)
12:01, 5.6km 1h40 550m, Yoke (706, Wainwright, Hewitt)
12:24, 6.7km 2h03 634m, Ill Bell (757, Wainwright, Hewitt)
12:50, 7.6km 2h29 704m, Froswick (720, Wainwright, Hewitt)
13:25, 9.3km 3h04 864m, Thornthwaite Crag (784, Wainwright)
13:51, 10.9km 3h31 943m, High Street (828, Wainwright, Hewitt)
14:16, 12.1km 3h55 951m, Mardale Ill Bell (760, Wainwright)
15:01, 14.0km 4h40 1103m, Harter Fell (Mardale) (779, Wainwright, Hewitt)
15:31, 16.0km 5h11 1139m, Kentmere Pike (730, Wainwright, Hewitt)
16:03, 17.9km 5h43 1146m, Shipman Knotts (587, Wainwright)
17:36, 22.3km 7h16 1169m, End (175)

Followed the fairly obvious route from Kentmere going clockwise.  We didn't extend and do Sallows as well, but we did want to try and visit Thornthwaite Crag in better conditions than the day before, and we made sure we didn't miss out High Street since we had the time.

The view south as we set off on the gentle uphill.

Really quite beautiful paths.

The view from the top of Yoke.  We got to the top of the ridge, and then started walking up in the clouds, by the time we'd reached the top there wasn't much to see...

10 minutes later, the slight drop before climbing to Ill Bell was enough to get the view again!

However, once up to Ill Bell,  we were back into the clouds.

Sticking around at the top for long enough meant we got occasional views down, here looking back to Yoke with Windermere in the distance.

Now at Froswick, and the very appealing view of Thornthwaite Crag in the distance - clear at the top over there, if we just get there before the next clouds get blown overhead.

From Froswick, looking down towards Kentmere and the obviously depleted Kentmere Reservoir.

Up to Thornthwaite Crag, with a great view back down towards Windermere.  The weather was definitely clearing up.

The slightly less impressive view north, towards the walk from the day before.

Taken from the saddle point on the way to High Street, looking north at Hayeswater.

Now up at High Street.  I'm generally pretty impressed with the views from most Wainwrights, this was a little underwhelming for me...  We did meet with a few walkers doing the walk the other way around, and compared notes about what was coming next.

Again from  High Street, the wall showing the way towards The Knott, not, however, the way we were going.

At Mardale Ill Bell, looking towards the fairly large dip and climb back up to Harter Fell, with a few more people doing the same walk the other way around. 

From the bottom of the dip, looking south at Kentmere Reservoir.  This shows the first few peaks of the walk on the far side of the reservoir.

Same place, looking north towards Small Water.

From Harter Fell.

Again from Harter Fell, this time looking at the far ridge which was the start of the walk.  Quite revealing, especially since we'd not seen much of it when we were there...

Finally at Kentmere Pike we really could claim to be walking in the sunshine!  This marks the Wainwright peak.

And just a hop over the wall is the official Hewitt.  The completest in me makes sure that we make it to both!

Last peak of the day, at Shipman Knotts.  The walk took us through the undulations ahead, and we did slightly lose the official foot path at times.  Still, we made it back down safely.

Back down to the valley floor, looking back north towards the walk we had completed.