Monthly Archives: March 2016

Naddle Forest Circuit.

The sun is shining once more as I collect Sir Hugh for another Wainwright Outlying day. I turn up in my new car which has the letters MCV on the tailgate, I couldn’t explain them so he quickly googled and came up with – Manoeuvre Combat Vehicle (機動戦闘車 kidou-sentou-sha) is a wheeled tank destroyer of the Japan Ground Self-defence Force!  We hadn’t destroyed anything when we parked on the lonely road at the entrance to Swindale. There is no easy access into the Naddle Valley and we never saw another person all day. we were soon on the first top, Scalebarrow Knott, with clear views back to the Cross Fell group and the closer limestone Knipescar. I think underfoot we had crunchy granite. Tracks led up to the cairn on Harper Hills on the very edge of the deciduous trees creeping up from Naddle Valley. Our next landmark was supposed to be a chimney over the wall, we were lucky to spot it in the trees. Probably has been the gable end of some long forgotten building.

Our first summit - Scalebarrow Knott.

Our first summit – Scalebarrow Knott.

Distant High Street.

Distant High Street.

Rough walking then took us up to the sprawling Hare Shaw, a cairn and my altimeter suggested we were at the summit. From here Gouther Crag could be seen down in Swindale, memories of The Fang and Bloodhound climbs. Ahead were remnants of snow gullies on High Street and Harter Fell. The triangular Kidsty Pike was prominent and brought forth our reminiscences of the C to C walk done many years ago.

Distant Gouther Crag with Truss and Fang Buttresses visible.

Distant Gouther Crag with Truss and Fang Buttresses visible.

Now down to the navigational ‘handrail’ of a wall which led us onto Naddle Forest ridge. A high hurdle gave us food for thought, climb it, pole vault it, lift off the top section or more simply just open the lower section.

There was no defined ridge and we wandered about on sheep tracks. Remnants of the forest were all around us and it was gratifying to see much new planting which should change the appearance of the fell in 10 years time. We need these trees and more to combat our flooding problems. A couple of small cairns on nameless summits 435m and 433m were passed and we headed through the difficult trackless heather to a high point, 426m, Ignored by AW.  Close by on the edge was the well cairned Hugh’s Laithes Pike giving views down to Hawsewater and its dam. A sheltered spot out of the wind gave us an ideal lunch spot. One more top, 395m, was easily reached. I’ve lost count of our tops by now. We found a lovely winding track down into the wooded Naddle Valley, Birch, Oak and Alder were prominent.  On our way out of the valley we spotted a group of deer next to Frith Crag.

View back from the last top = Hugh's Laithes Pike, Haweswater and Measand Beck.

View back from the last top – Hugh’s Laithes Pike, Haweswater and Measand Beck.

So not the most of interesting fells but we enjoyed good weather and views. The woods were delightful. It was a strenuous round with a lot of ascents and we reflected that it was far better than spending time in the gym – not that I have ever.

Extended Devoke Water Circuit.

Eight fells in one.

This was a grand day out, everything seemed to fit – good weather, excellent walking with views and interesting companionship, Sir Hugh. I had concocted an extended circuit of the Wainwright Outliers surrounding Devoke Water and wondered whether we would be up to it not knowing the terrain.

Devoke Water is the largest tarn in the Lakes and boasts a two storey boathouse and a tiny island. The first two summits, Rough Crag and Water Crag, to its north were reached with little effort and acted as a warm up for the day. Looking back three men were on the same circuit. Having dropped down to the stream coming out of the tarn there was a tedious climb up to the much higher White Pike and its columnar cairn. From this lofty height we gazed into Eskdale and reminisced on walking over Muncaster Fell on the classic Ravenglass to Shap walk. Muncaster Castle could be seen in the trees, I have a couple of Rhododendrons purchased from there which are about to come into flower in my garden. Nice connotations for me.

The three men on Rough Crag.

The three men on Rough Crag.

The other three slowly followed but we came off the ridge, plunging down the crags [Sir Hugh resorting to the ancient art of bum-sliding] to visit the volcanic pimple of The Knott. From here we worked out a traverse across the moor before a steep ascent up to Stainton Pike. We were still out of breath when the three gents joined us and wondered at our erratic course, mutual group photos were taken with the Scafell Range and Great Gable in the background. Lunch was taken in the warm sunshine.

The Knott and White Pike from Stainton Pike, Muncaster Fell in the background.

The Knott and White Pike from Stainton Pike, Muncaster Fell in the background.

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An exhilarating high march across Yoadcastle and Woodend Height, lovely triangular cairn, provided the best views of the day into central Lakeland. From there it was a direct line down to the boathouse. Gaining our last summit, Seat How, proved more difficult as it was ringed by broken crags breached only on the eastern side.

Yoadcastle and Woodend Height along the ridge.

Yoadcastle and Woodend Height along the ridge.

Cairn on Woodend Height.

Cairn on Woodend Height.

Seat How on the right.

Seat How on the right.

Last view down onto Devoke water.

Last view down onto Devoke water.

Hopefully Spring is here but I’ve known it snow at Easter.

Lonely Skylark Fells.

The Pike, Hesk Fell and Great Worm Fell.

The Pike from the Duddon Valley.

The Pike from the Duddon Valley.

After a couple of sunny afternoons bouldering at Craig y Longridge my shoulders screamed out for a rest, so I headed back up to the Lakes.  I parked up on the Birker Fell road mid-morning just as mist descended on Great Worm Fell, something about early bird catching the worm came to mind. The Pike however was clear so I climbed the boggy slope to its summit first. From this aspect all was dull hillside but once on top you realise how steep it rises from the Duddon and hence the bird’s eye view.

View from The Pike, Dunnerdale and the Coniston Fells.

View from The Pike, Dunnerdale and the Coniston Fells.

It took forever to trudge across the depression and climb over several false tops to Hesk Fell. A few stones possibly marked the top. I realised I was overdressed for this hot sunny day and was in danger of sun burn. The sky was alive with the sound of bird song, the Skylarks waking up from Winter.

Lonely Hesk Fell.

Lonely Hesk Fell.

By the time I was back down to the road the mist had lifted from my original objective so I set off up again following Wainwright’s description. This was a great little circuit of craggy hill tops before reaching the rather desolate Great Worm Crag [no crag]. I spent some time at the base of Great Crag tracing out new climbs up the 40ft faces of good rock, unfortunately I discovered later on the FRCC site they have all been done before. Ah well – there can’t be many unclimbed bits of rock left on this Island.

Great Crag.

Great Crag.

As I reached Great Worm ‘Crag’ I had the strange vision of a JCB wandering across boggy ground flattening it with the bucket. ?a new track or some strange form of land management. I didn’t make the effort to go across and question the driver. Nearby views of Green Crag and Eskdale with the Scafells and Bowfell as a background.

The Pike and Hesk Fell from Great Worm.

The Pike and Hesk Fell from Great Worm.

On my direct descent I came across a couple of Ravens talking to each other in a series of clicks and squawks.

The farm near my parking place was selling free eggs and I couldn’t resist, looking forward to my breakfast tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve just realised there has been an unintended bird theme to this post.

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Remote stones.

Whit Fell, Wainwright outliers.

Would you tramp across the fells to locate this pile of stones …..DSC00200We, Sir Hugh and I, were on a mission to complete Wainwright’s chapter 35 in  the Outlying Fells book – Buck Barrow, Whit Fell, Burn Moor and Kinmont Buckbarrow. These stones are on Burn Moor, there is nothing else here. Sir Hugh is concerned he is becoming obsessive about list ticking – thank heavens I’m not!

The day is sunny and fairly clear for our little circuit of these tops, from the highest, Whit Fell, I was sure we could see Scotland, the IOM, Ireland and Wales. Sellafield Nuclear Fuel centre was prominent on the coast below .There was the usual debate as to which high tops we could identify. We happily wandered from one pile of stones to another, navigation not being a problem in the clear conditions. In the meantime we sorted out the forthcoming EU referendum and criticised today’s budget. Generally the going was good but there were boggy areas where fancy footwork was needed.

Deep in Beatrix Potter country.

Distant Latterbarrow.

Distant Latterbarrow.

Claife Heights, Latterbarrow and an important other.

Early morning mist hadn’t cleared when I set off so I changed my direction of route to hopefully have better views later. Wandering through the forests up to Claife Heights there was no view anyhow. The trig point, occupied by a family, was barely above the trees and I soon plunged back into the forest musing on what this area looked like prior to planting. There was no sign of Peter Rabbit.

A mirky Claife Heights.

A mirky Claife Heights.

House of cards.

A House of Cards.

The sequestered summit.

The sequestered summit.

National Trust Land. With my ability to misplace keys this would be a nightmare.

National Trust Land.
With my ability to misplace keys this would be a nightmare.

Plenty of people were out and about on the well signed tracks and when I arrived at the prominent tower on Latterbarrow it seemed crowds were gathering. There was some brightness by now and there were views to the bigger fells, Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes being prominent. A dog was chasing a Frisbee with great skill and his owners were interesting to chat to. A drone then appeared at great speed and started aerobatics which looked decidedly dangerous for the assembled crowd, a definite intrusion into the day. They are apparently becoming a big problem, in Holland the police are training eagles to snatch any from the sky that maybe of criminal intent.

Distant Bowfell and Langdale Pikes.

Distant Bowfell and Langdale Pikes.

Frisbee champion.

Frisbee champion.

Unwelcome drone.

Unwelcome drone.

The track back to my car was delightful, through birch and alder much nicer than those conifers. It was a shock facing the traffic through a busy Ambleside. As the day was perfect by now I drove up a minor lane above Windermere and parked at Causeway Farm for a quick ascent of Orrest Head. The footpath mentioned in AW’s chapter was closed since 2007, it would have helped if there was some clue as to its successor. Further down the lane I found a signed route up to the summit. If I thought Latterbarrow was busy I wasn’t expecting the number of people up here. Some were struggling up the path from Windermere in the classic hill going high heels. All the benches were occupied. The view finder recalls the fact that this is where Wainwright first set foot in Lakeland – the rest is history.

Epiphany!

Epiphany!

Modern day AW.

Modern day AW.

A popular view point.

A popular view point.

 

 

A sparse but busy week.

After all the walking activity of the last few weeks things have slowed down, in fact stopped. For many reasons – visiting dentist and optician, purchasing new washing machine, boiler and car, catching up with family and introducing a new rescued cat to my household [phew] I don’t seem to have ventured far. But things are changing, there has been less rain and some sunny days, boulderers are venturing onto Craig y Longridge, joggers and cyclists are everywhere and the sunsets from my garden show promise of better things to come.

Cor blimey what lovely weather.

CAW FELL – Dunnerdale.

 

Coniston vista early in the day.

Caw is the peak far left.

The shapely summit of Caw has been a prominent sight from many of the Outlying Fells in the SW Lakes I’ve been exploring this winter. By chance we parked up on this frosty morning at the exact point that our route  set off up the fell side. Seathwaite in the lovely Duddon Valley, I remember staying here on a Ravenglass to Shap walk, the Inn was serving extra large steaks on the eve of the Beef Ban as a result of BSE. Wallowbarrow Crag above Seathwaite is a favourite climbing venue, low lying, sheltered and catching all the sun going.

Wallowbarrow Crag above Seathwaite.

Wallowbarrow Crag above Seathwaite.

Caw Fell rising above kept us in cold shadow, a mine track made the initial accent easy but it was life giving to emerge into the sun at the remains of buildings and an ancient dripping adit. Already the view towards the icy peaks was outstanding.

The start of the useful mine track.

The start of the useful mine track.


Approaching Caw summit.

There was a group of happy walkers at the trig point, 529m, when we crunched up the summit snow, they had been staying at the Inn. They had picked a good weekend and the previous day had been able to see Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Scotland from the summits. Today we only managed the Isle of Man, but the Lakeland peaks were striking once we had orientated them. Haycock, Pillar, Scafells, Esk Pike, Bowfell, Pike O’Blisco and the Conistons. We toyed with idea of continuing up the Walna Scar ridge towards the bulk of Coniston Old Man but being old men we were satisfied with scrambling up the nearby Pikes and the smaller Green Pike. Lunch was taken, then an old weaving path found heading downhill, when this was lost we just took a direct route back to the valley.

The Lakeland skyline.

The Lakeland skyline.

Rough going to Pikes.

Rough going to Pikes.

One of those magic days – did we really only walk 4 miles?