Wednesday 31 December 2014

Holme Fell

A bit of a disaster in the morning meant that I'd injured my back - I'm blaming having to get out of bed to turn off an alarm on an iPod, but the problem was more caused by unhealthly lifestyle caused by too much work - at this point I was most of the way through my 2 year EMBA course.

Anyhow, I really couldn't walk without being in quite a lot of pain, and I suspect I wasn't too kind to the rest of the house, so it wasn't very conducive for a long walk.  It was also forecast quite a bit of rain that day.  Still, getting out and active is better than nothing, so we picked the nearest short low walk to do.

Difficulty: 2
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Isabelle (12), Grace (10), Evie (7), Poppy (4)
10:10, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (99)
11:27, 1.8km 1h16 226m, Holme Fell (317)
12:46, 4.2km 2h35 278m, End (108)

We parked in the car park just off the road north from Coniston, just past Yew Tree Farm, once owned by Beatrix Potter and one of the places we stayed on honeymoon.  We started walking along the road to the farm, and then going up the track to the right of the farm.

Climbing up the hillside you get a good view of Yew Tree Tarn.

This wasn't our most challenging walk, although I felt it was challenging enough to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  With another couple of years experience with a bad back I think this is actually the best thing to do - be active, but it feel really crap at the time.  Anyhow I think everyone else was trying to stay away from me - this was a photo look back down the hill, with most of the family visible...

 And this photo was taken seconds later showing impatient Grace already miles ahead.

Not much view to speak of either.

Unsurprisingly Grace got to the top miles before anyone else, and at least got a nice rest with Coniston Water appearing out of the cloud.

At last everyone made it to the top, Caroline pleased to get some reception at last.  Still at least it didn't really rain, so we made it back fairly dry.  Caroline was so unimpressed by our efforts that morning that she and Grace went for an extra walk that afternoon, from the house going some way around Coniston Water - of course getting very rained on in the process.

Tuesday 30 December 2014

Wansfell & Baystones

The next target for this week was really a walk we'd done before - leaving Ambleside and going to Wansfell Pike. Previously, before targeting Wainwrights, we'd made it to the top of the hill in the wind and returned, but this time we knew to continue on to get to the Wainwright of Baystones.

Difficulty: 3
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Isabelle (12), Grace (10), Evie (7), Poppy (4)
10:33, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (54)
14:00, 4.3km 3h27 461m, Baystones (487)
16:18, 8.5km 5h44 494m, End (54)

We once again parked at our favourite car park in Ambleside (where Caroline and I broke down on our honeymoon), and started up the Stockghyll Fall.  Reaching the top you leave the woods, turn left and there is a short stretch up a road before heading up the hill on the opposite side of the road.  Once on this path, the route to the top is only too obvious.

Quite stunning views as you climb up, looking down towards Windermere

A rare picture of Caroline!

Grace and Poppy, hiding from the wind on the sheltered side near the top of Wansfell Pike.  The walk up had quite a few others making the same trip up from Ambleside, and quite a few people having lunch and admiring the view.

Our ultimate destination lay to the north east, where there were many fewer people.

At this point I was mainly taking pictures to use as backgrounds on my computer.  It gets tricky as you need to think about where the icons go and what needs to go behind them...

Evie was map reading.  Well, carrying the map.

I wasn't always sure that she had a clue where we were or where we were going.

Still, we made it to Baystones, Poppy happily on the summit.

 And returning by the same path, we once again get views down into Ambleside, with Loughrigg Fell rising up behind Ambleside and the thin sliver of Grasmere visible to the right.

Monday 29 December 2014

Helm Crag

We set off from the large car park in Grasmere, aiming to test Poppy's climbing legs up Helm Crag.  It was definitely a test, but not really of that.  Here are the details:

Difficulty: 3
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Isabelle (12), Grace (10), Evie (7), Poppy (4)
10:50, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (68)
13:23, 3.4km 2h32 339m, Helm Crag (405)
16:40, 9.4km 5h50 498m, End (68)

We followed the roads through Grasmere, then along Easdale Road.  By this point you get a very good view of Helm Crag rising up from across the flat valley, but despite this being the fairly obvious objective we were not letting on what we were planning - the thought of a climb is often worse than the actual climb itself.  Still, we fairly quickly started climbing up and got great views of the mist clearing off the valley floor.

All the concern was about Poppy, but motivated by Isabelle and the challenge of beating people to the top, she was away and in the lead.  Evie on the other hand was taking it slowly, taking great delight in announcing to the world that she was at the top, and it was time to go back to the car!  By dint of a large amount of persuasion, I managed to convince her that she should only announce this after every 20 steps.  So she did.  Every twenty steps.  All the way to the top...

Grace, on the other hand, had no problems and was enjoying the task of map reading.  Well, enjoying the task of carrying the map at least.

Quite a nice view for a picnic, after the majority of the climbing was over, and Helm Crag was reached - Poppy was the first to the top.

We then walked along the ridge to where we thought Gibson Knott was, but not having the GPS way points marked we missed it by about 100m, it's about the next bulge along the ridge.  Slightly annoying to discover this when going back through the GPS logs, but too big a miss for a gimmie.

Poppy investigating the cairn.  I'd love to say that she was contributing to it, but looking at the previous picture I'm not convinced.  The Helvellyn range is in the background.

Looking back down towards Grasmere with the winter afternoon low sun.

A few more pictures of the descent down back to Grasmere.

Sunday 28 December 2014

Black Fell

After a gap of 18 months, waiting for Poppy to grow from the size you can manage in a carrier to a size where she can walk up proper hills, we were back!  Staying in a house on the edge of Coniston over the New Year, we'd tried to bring enough warm gear to survive the week.  We started fairly gently for the week, mainly to see how much Poppy would be capable of, but also conscious of the likely weather.  We started off by visiting Tarn Hows, but with designs on the fairly low Black Fell.

Difficulty: 2
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Isabelle (12), Grace (10), Evie (7), Poppy (4)
10:34, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (211)
12:44, 3.6km 2h10 171m, Black Fell (323)
15:13, 8.1km 4h39 250m, End (210)

The route started from the car park at Tarn Hows, skirted around the left hand edge, but just before the head of the lake taking a left and striking out.  There was a very obvious farm track where you turn right, and follow that for a while before turning left and making north for Black Fell.

Firstly, a walk around the edge of the lake in brilliant sunshine.

Poppy demonstrating our best small child walking coat - does up at the back, has a great hood and is really warm.

However, it was warm enough to trip off!  Grace obligingly carrying Poppy's shed layers, and showing her the way after Isabelle successfully navigated us to 'not Black Fell', but the closest piece of high ground.

Now at the top of Black Fell.

Time for some lunch, and unusually for us we've even put the food in boxes, rather than just using the nearest plastic bag that comes to hand.  They are actually a bit of a pain, harder to pack and taking up more room when empty, so a bundle of sandwiches in a plastic bag does make some sense.

Moving off after lunch, and we pause to take some pictures of each other, otherwise clearly the walk didn't happen.  Evie has her photocall...

Isabelle, too cool for school.

I even relent.

Grace and Poppy once more.  Grace's gloves were great, although not so much in the wet, so I think they didn't get used every day.  Grace's fleece neck warmer was superb.

Back to Tarn Hows to complete our circumnavigation of the lake.

Still part frozen, and not too far some sunset.

All in all, quite a good warm up and the first Wainwright of the week conquered.