Date - 1st March 2009 Distance - 5.5 miles
Map - OL4/OL5 Start point - Layby below Smaithwaite Bank (NY 307191)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Bleaberry Fell 1932 590 NY 2856 1957
High Seat 1995 608 NY 2870 1804



"It's Sunday tomorrow, so are we going to Yorkshire to walk with Uncle Bob", enquired Shaun.

"No", replied Dad. "Uncle Bob is not available, so we are going to the Lakes, to climb Bleaberry Fell and High Seat".

"Yippee", cried Allen, "that will be two of my outstanding Wainwrights done".


The Walk

To reach the start we drove to Ambleside and then over Dunmail Raise and alongside Thirlmere. Just beyond the end of the lake, Dad turned left to cross the huge dam of the reservoir, and then right again to a layby opposite where the path starts for the ascent to Raven Crag.

As we arrived the rain came down so we sat patiently in the car for a while until it cleared off. To be frank the weather was showery for most of the walk and only really cleared up on the latter part. While it was wet at times from the sky Dad can testify that it was nearly always wet underfoot, such is the nature of the ridge along which we were to walk. It is not the first time that we were glad to be inside his rucksack!

Setting off along the road, we then walked the bridleway that skirts by the woods below The Benn. This continued although not exactly as shown on the map to come to a gate and bridge over Shoulthwaite Gill. We crossed this and then started the steep climb up to and below Goat Crag. It was still raining, and for Dad it was one of those days where it was a real effort to make the climb. We said that we would not mind if he had wanted to turn back, but Dad replied that he would not disappoint Allen & Little Eric, so on he plodded.

Below the crag Dad got above the path and amongst the rocks, which were slippery so it took a while to carefully cross them. Once clear we rounded the crag and then made the rest of the climb to the summit of Bleaberry Fell. As we leaped out to have our picture taken, another couple reached the summit and asked about us. The lady kindly offered to take our photo with Dad. It was nice as it was Little Eric's 1st birthday, oh, and Dad's birthday too.

There were good views at times and nice effects of the light on the hills to the north. Here the sun shines on High Rigg while the rain pours down in the valley behind.

The next objective was High Seat, and we could see it clearly to the south. This ridge is always wet and the track was very muddy as it wound its way through bog. Dad gets his trousers dirty at the best of times but nothing compared to today. What would Uncle Brian say. Soon then the trig point was reached and Dad took the our photo.

Looking across to Borrowdale it was raining heavily, and we thought back to our walk there in August last year, when we endured similar conditions. That day it lived up to its reputation as being the wettest place in England, and it seemed that today was no exception.

Again, as with that day last August it was sunny in Keswick, just a few miles down the valley.

Here is the trig point with the cairned outcrop called Man, backed by the fells known as the Dodds.

We did not linger here too long, and after climbing to the outcrop called Man nearby, crossed the stile and headed east down towards Shoulthwaite Gill. Not before however, Dad took this dramatic picture of Blencathra.

Here it was tussocky boggy ground, but Dad is well used to this, having done all those walks in Yorkshire with Uncle Bob! Some of the weather we had seen over Borrowdale crossed over here too - rain, hail and even a few flakes of snow. Overall a cold day really and completely different to the dry weather in Morecambe, according to Uncle Brian, when Dad rang him. Ahead Dad could see a gate in the fence, so we headed for this, having first crossed the stream that forms Shoulthwaite Gill.

This turned out out be the best decision, as it brought us to the forest road rather than the bridleway on the other side of the gill. Dad was not happy about walking that due to the difficulties crossing Mere Gill. The forest track was quite dry and a joy to walk on after the rest of the terrain. This brought us to the top of the path from where the final ascent is made to Raven Crag. This was just great as we were able to make a straight descent to the car, so avoiding a long loop round.

After all the effort he deserved the tea stop today. He went to Darryls in Windermere for two mugs of tea, scone with butter and jam and chocolate flapjack. All for £3.85! Not a fancy place but great value. So ended Little Eric's and Dad's birthday walk.


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