Saturday 3 June 2017

Cathedral Cave

We were driving back to Cambridge, so wanted a shorter walk.  We picked this one, basically the reverse of one we'd done before, so that we would end up at Chesters for cake.

Difficulty: 3
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Grace (12), Evie (9), Poppy (6 1/2)
10:10, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (67)
14:57, 10.9km 4h46 328m, End (62)

We started off from the NT carpark in Elterwater, a short drive from where we had been staying.

The weather was pretty good - no real chance of rain, but not too hot for some walking.

Slater Bridge, looking back the way we had some from Little Langdale.

Onto Cathedral Cave.  We went in from the west hand entrance, which has a short tunnel to the main feature of the cave - a huge cavern with a higher level opening.  

Walking towards this window led to a short scramble up some rocks so we could look in through the window.  More exploring of this area, and Grace found the entrance to the longer dark tunnel.  We had a torch, so were able to explore.  The photo below was from the flash from my camera.  There was no-one else around, so it was great exploring the damp cave puddles and having to explore to find where to go.  This tunnel led to the east exit from the caves, so we could carry on our way.

On Colwith Force, where we stopped for an uncharacteristic early lunch.  Early, so that we would have done some walking before getting to Chesters for cake.  That way we would have made some more room for cake...

From there, onto Skelwith Force, which we visited first.  We crossed over the river on the 'new' bridge - installed in 2007, and not on my map.  Maybe it's time for a new map.

While Caroline took photos the children looked on, unaware that they were being stalked by the monster of Skelwith.

The monster turned out to be surprisingly compliant when asked to pose for a photo.

And then to Chesters, were we bought a few gifts and unfeasibly large slices of cake.  A great end to a great week.

Friday 2 June 2017

Coniston Old Man

For the final day we had run out of easier peaks in the Langdales, so for a change decided to go up one of our favourite walks.  It was a chance for Evie to catch up with Grace for total number of Wainwrights walked (73) and for Poppy to move further ahead of Isabelle - by the end of this walk she was 61, Isabelle in fourth place: still on 55 after missing out on this week.

Difficulty: 6
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Grace (12), Evie (9), Poppy (6 1/2)
10:35, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (56)
12:49, 4.7km 2h13 752m, Coniston Old Man (803, Wainwright, Hewitt)
13:24, 5.6km 2h49 775m, Brim Fell (796, Wainwright)
14:21, 7.8km 3h46 902m, Swirl How (802, Wainwright, Hewitt)
15:27, 9.3km 4h52 1018m, Black Sails (745, Hewitt)
15:50, 10.1km 5h14 1076m, Wetherlam (763, Wainwright, Hewitt)
17:51, 15.3km 7h15 1080m, End (56)

After a comparatively lazy start, compared to the two previous days, we drove to Coniston and parked in the village, knowing we had to pick up more milk and bread after the walk, and then walked up straight from there.  We had a vague plan to head left to Dow Crag and home, but decided that the weather was good enough (and we had enough legs left) to make it all the way around to Wetherlam. 

First the climb up through the slate workings, retelling the story of how many times Isabelle asked to turn back the first time she climbed up here.  This has been the benchmark by which her younger sisters judge this climb...

To Low Water, pit stop before the final climb up.  Looking quite cloudy up there... 
 Brief views down to the valley floor, but mainly the 'typical' conditions.

Beyond the Old Man we went over the pimple that is Brim Fell.  Not much view to speak of.

Finally, on the walk to Swirl How the view improves!  

Turns out the view only improved as we had gone down a bit.  I'm sure the peak is up here somewhere...

The extra peak for this walk was Black Sails, a Hewitt but not a Wainwright, we'd omitted this on previous trips.

And finally to Wetherlam.  From here looking around we could see virtually every walk that we'd done that week.

We used the ridge path back down towards Coniston, really wonderful views of the lake and the rest of the hillsides.

Having reach the main path back we crossed over at Miners Bridge and joined out outward track.

Thursday 1 June 2017

Crinkle Crags and all the rest

After completing far more peaks than I'd anticipated the previous day, this was the only walk left - we could have split it into two, but with good conditions it could all be managed in a single day.  The weather report had a chance of rain after lunch, but we took those odds.  We could always have headed back early...

Difficulty: 8
Walkers: Tim, Caroline, Grace (12), Evie (9), Poppy (6 1/2)
9:19, 0.0km 0h00 0m, Start (100)
11:24, 4.5km 2h05 606m, Pike of Blisco (705, Wainwright, Hewitt)
12:23, 6.5km 3h03 768m, Cold Pike (701, Wainwright, Hewitt)
13:40, 8.6km 4h20 933m, Crinkle Crags South Top (First Crinkle) (834, Hewitt)
14:00, 9.2km 4h40 982m, Crinkle Crags (859, Wainwright, Hewitt)
14:32, 9.9km 5h12 995m, Shelter Crags (815, Hewitt)
15:34, 11.6km 6h14 1166m, Bowfell (902, Wainwright, Hewitt)
16:34, 13.3km 7h14 1268m, Esk Pike (885, Wainwright, Hewitt)
19:35, 21.0km 10h15 1358m, End (100)

Keen to avoid several miles of road walking, we parked at the Old Dungeon Ghyll NT car park.  Around the same time as the previous day, but the clouds meant lots of spaces.  

Along the valley floor, then starting the climb up, around 600m of ascent before the first peak, around two thirds of that to get to Red Tarn.

Top of Pike of Blisco, views across to Windermere, Red Tarn and the Langdale valley, and also to the Old Man of Coniston.

Now down to Red Tarn, and trying to avoid much of the bogs at the bottom, up to Cold Pike.  Poppy wasn't too happy - turned out her trousers were too tight, but we managed to find the actual path up to the ridge on the left - a big win over when Caroline and I had walked up here.  Meanwhile, Grace & Evie had decided on the direct ascent up the steepest route, and Caroline gamely followed them.  We were first to the top by a while...  The second photo shows the route to the Crinkle Crags.

After crossing much of the distance, we decided it was lunch time, so found a sheltered spot overlooking the valley.  It was pretty windy all along the ridge, I'm assuming it's always like this. 

Up to the first Crinkle Crag, Evie clearly not impressed by climbing merely a Hewitt.  Still, a good view down the valley.

Now to the second Crinkle, looking ahead here to the walk to come - along to Shelter Crags, and then up to Bowfell and Esk Pike all the way to the left of the picture.

Now at Shelter Crags, another Rhubarb and Custard each to distribute.

A rare non-peak shot, showing the walk ahead up to Bowfell.

I had great memories of the diagonal slabs of rock, which weren't as large as I'd remembered.  Clearly I've just grown since last time.

Now at the top of Esk Pike - the weather had held off, despite the cloud cover there had been no rain.  So we'd made the full walk, and had officially run out of Langdale peaks with a day to spare.

Time for the long walk back down the hill to the car.