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.
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.
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.
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.