ALLEN'S SUMMIT BLOG - WAINWRIGHT OUTLYING FELLS

My name derives from Allen Crags, one of the many fells and mountains in the Lake District National Park. It is in fact alphabetically the first of the Wainwright Fells. So, it was decided that it was most appropriate for me to write the blog relating to the Wainwrights and Wainwright Outlying Fells. The Birkett Fells cover all the summits of 1000ft within the Lake District, so again I was nominated to write the blog. It currently details our adventures from 2009.


16th March 2016 - Lower Eskdale & Muncaster Fell from Muncaster Castle

A quite glorious day with lots of sun and quite terrific views. The summit was to be a bag for Uncle Eric and Southey. Met at the car park for Muncaster Castle. Walked the short way back in the direction we had come, to a sharp corner, here leaving the road and going straight on up the wide track called Fell Lane. This climbed steadily reaching a brow and then descended a little to a junction. We went left a few yards where the notice read private to see the pretty Muncaster Tarn and take a picture. Then continued on the track a short way to a signpost. Here took the track right that led us on and on up lower Eskdale. Delightful with woodland to the left and to the right at times, and views up the valley to Harter Fell. We saw the pepperpot like monument that was built in the 19th century to mark the spot where King Henry VI was found wandering after a battle and was taken by shepherds to Muncaster Castle. He later left his drinking cup there in thanks. This is called the Muncaster Luck, and so long as it is there the family will be always own the castle. Also passed the site of a Roman Tile Kiln, as marked by a battered sign and a hump in the ground. Soon after this we took a path climbing left through Horse Parks and on up towards Rabbit How. Along here there was a stone edged path that ran quite straight and it may have been the route for the pack ponies to carry the tiles to Hardknott Fort. Keeping by this we cut off a bit of a corner to gain a good track and pass through a kissing gate. Walked ahead a little way then went left. The path was a bit churned up at first but then became clear as it climbed below Silver Knott and was at times buttressed. On and on we went as the path meandered across flat areas between outcrops finally coming by a wall and on then to a gate in the wall ahead. Here there was a choice of paths and we took the one right that seemed better, but in doing so missed out seeing Ross's Camp. Now the path climbed and dipped as it meandered on with the summit objective now in view topped by a trig point. There was a short steep climb to attain this. Wow, what superb views across the valley to Harter Fell, Scafell, Wasdale Fells etc., and we were only at 757ft! So glad for Uncle Eric that the day was clear. Just below we found a place to sit for lunch. Then followed the clear path to eventually reach the signpost again and follow Fell Lane to the start. Grand day!

 

12th August 2015 - Great Worm Crag from Birker Fell Road

On one of the few glorious summer days we had the company of Uncle Eric on this walk to Great Worm Crag, so that he and our pal Southey could bag this summit. We parked a little way past the start point along the road at a small pull-in. Then walked back towards Ulpha to the waymarked post pointing the way north on the intermittant and at times non existant footpath that skirts Syke Moss, to after about a mile come to and cross Highford Beck. Having decided not to climb to Great Crag, we traversed roughly east below it keeping a little way from the beck, over more boggy terrain with tussocky grass, to come below the south end of White Crag. From here we turned south to make the steady climb to the cairns on Great Worm Crag. We visited both as they are close together. It is a moot point which is higher, but as far as our picture was concerned it was taken at the larger cairn, as Dad did the last time we were here. Then it was a matter of making a straight descent passing left of Rough Crag to the road, coming down close to Freeze Beck where there was for once a pretty clear path. This was the route we had taken in ascent on the walk in 2009. The views were superb of the mountains above Wasdale, Scafells, Esk Pike Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, & Coniston Fells as well as Walna Scar, Caw, Stickle Pike etc. Also out west the IOM was clearly seen. Another couple were doing a similar walk and we met them finally at the summit of Great Worm Crag and Dad chatted. Then we saw then again at their car, having another chat. It turned out they were from Kendal like Uncle Eric. Good day!

 

3rd December 2014 - Caw, Pikes & Green Pikes from Seathwaite

These summits were some of Uncle Eric's outstanding Outlyers, so Dad suggested this walk. Apart from Southey, we had climbed them before, it was a new ascent route today. We met a Seathwaite in Duddon Valley, parking by the church hall. The day had started very cold with the first real hard frost this winter. A calm day with hardly any wind and quite a bit of sunshine. We walked back a short way along the road, and then took the track left through two gates, to follow this right by the wall. This is called Park Head Road and goes eventually to Broughton Mills. The route climbed steadily and after a gate we soon reached the point where a track went sharp left. This was the road to the long abandoned Caw Quarry. We took this, climbing again to eventually reach the sparse remains of the quarry. A large spoil heap, a roofless stone building, and a level running into the fell. Now climbed steeply right, following a line of small cairns to a col, where a grassy path emerged. We were now only a 100ft or so from the summit of Caw and the trig point was clear to see. Climbed on to this it being perched on a rib of rock. With no wind we were able to sit on top for our picture - hooray! Superb views all around. Morecambe Bay, Duddon Estuary, Coniston Fells. Scafells and beyond to Wasdale. There were a number of rocky outcrops and Dad could not really remember which was Pikes, especially as we had not to climbed Caw this way, back in 2008. Dad read the compass wrong and we headed to what we thought was Pikes but was in fact Tail Crag. Eventually realised our error as GPS did not match, and so now headed correctly to Pikes crossing a depression and then making a bit of a scrambly ascent. Then correctly worked out which was Green Pikes our last top today and descended over the trackless grassy ground to summit it. Below was the intake wall that we descended to and followed right. We came to a short section of fence where Uncle Eric correctly surmised was where the wall had collapsed and not the gate we wanted. Wrongly Dad insisted and this was climbed then following a path right where we soon found the gate! Dad apologised to Uncle Eric. Now followed the at times intermittent old drove path that wound down the fell. Stopped for lunch by some rocks with a fantastic view of the Scafells etc! The path continued down criss-crossing a stream called Gobling Beck to finally come to the gate we had taken at the start. A grand day out. Saw no one else other than from a long way off a couple with their dog early on.

 

26th June 2014 - Bannisdale Horseshoe-north section

Our pal Little Eric was ever so excited, as Uncle Eric and Dad agreed to complete the Bannisdale Horseshoe by doing the north section, meaning that on reaching Long Crag he would complete the Outlyer challenge! We drove to Uncle Eric's then went on in his car the few miles to park at the lay-by on the narrow road just off the A6 that leads past Thorn Cottage. The day was dry throughout, but cloudy with light winds. Very wet underfoot after overnight rain. Walked along the lane to take the signed bridleway right just before Thorn Cottage, strolling up the pasture to a gate. Here we followed left by the wall to another gate and beyond soon struck off right up the fellside on an unclear path between three trees. Suddenly a tractor track emerged leading to a small ruined building. Took the gate on the left, then immediately left through another gate to walk on with the fence on our right on an unclear path and so reach the cairn marking the summit of Lamb Pasture. Now the next part of the walk was laid out before us. This involved descent by the fence on the right to at its junction with a wall take the gate right through it and then after a few yards the gate left though the wall. Beyond the way was pretty trackless, as could be said for the majority of the upland part of the walk. Boggy too here in places as we went ahead then drifted right to climb to the ridge and on over a number of rises to finally come at last to the one which is the unnamed summit at 1736ft in Wainwright, and given the name of Borrowdale Head by Birkett. A cairn marks the summit. White Howe with its trig point was clearly in view across the next depression. Walked on over more trackless terrain, to cross the stile in the fence and ascend the 150ft or so to the summit, where we were able to sit on top of the trig point for our picture. Descended from here going across to follow by the wall on the right. Crossed a broken wall then climbed on to Long Crag, drifting left to the highest point at a rocky outcrop. "Yippee, I've done it, completed the Wainwright Outlyers!!" cried Little Eric. "Thanks Dad, it is so good of you to have repeated over half of the summits so I could to this." We all gave him a hug in congratulation, and after we had sat for our picture he had his taken on his own with the book open at the Bannisdale page. It was here that we met, rather surprisingly, the only other walkers today. Don from Ings with his friend Roy from the Midlands. Roy was doing the Outlyers and had persuaded Don to come along on the round for the third time! Dad says he has had enough having done it twice!! Don commented on us, so Dad explained, and he took our picture, which duly appeared in his blog on the Wainwright Society website! Dad mentioned our site too. Chatted quite a bit, then they headed off to White Howe. Now Dad had remarked to Uncle Eric that if we met anyone else on the walk today he would eat this hat, so it was perhaps just as well he was not wearing one! Here we had lunch taking our time and enjoying the rest. Setting off we climbed the ladderstile over the wall and made the at times tricky crossing of the peat hags and bog to finally come down to join the surfaced track, we had walked along when descending on the south side walk. Went through the gate then wound down to the buildings of Bannisdale Head Farm and on along the access all the way to Dryhowe Bridge taking the tractor track left just before. This meandered around the wood and on. There was a divide and Dad went right but he admits we should have gone left. Eventually we got to the same place a gate in the fence. On then to take a right fork but this was wrong as we should have taken the left and rising track to come to the gate we had passed through just before starting up Lamb Pasture this morning. Climbed up by the wall and after walking through the bracken got back on track. Then walked to the gate on the right into the field and down to the road and so to the car. So peaceful that at times there was no sound whatsoever, just perfect and deafening silence, a commodity not much in evidence these days. So a good day and it has progressed Uncle Eric's Outlyer total too of course. Little Eric was a very happy bear having completed the challenge, which he told his pals all about when we got home.

 

12th June 2014 - Great Paddy Crag, Buckbarrow, Kinmont Buckbarrow, Burn Moor, Whitfell, Plough Fell & Stoneside Hill from Corney Fell Road

Nice to be on the hills with Uncle Eric, who suggested doing this walk. Little Eric was very happy too, as this one of his two outstanding Outlyer walks. We met Uncle Eric at the small parking area at the summit of Corney Fell. We had left home in sunshine, but here, despite there being no rain the mist was down and this persisted until just after we left Whitfell, when it finally cleared off and all the landscape was revealed. Setting off we crossed the road climbing the track/path by the wall passing by Peg Crag and Little Paddy Crag, until out of the mist the rocky bastion of Great Paddy Crag loomed. Although not much climb was involved to the summit, we could not see it. Following Birkett's instruction and the path, we turned right and followed it as it climbed, then cut back left to find the summit, where a tiny cairn is wedged into a triangular rocky niche, just beyond the wall- we were out for our first photo! With the mist we were rather wet but it did not bother us, even Southey who has only recently joined the group. Uncle Eric kept checking the map and with the invaluable help of the GPS and Dad's compass, we were able to navigate to the summits despite the mist. Without these aids however it would have been foolish. So now headed north and soon a band of rocks appeared at the base of Buck Barrow. Crossed these with care, then continued up to find the pointed rock upon which stands the cairn marking the summit. Now a decision had to be made about whether to go to the Plough Fell that is just a Birkett summit. Dad and us stated that we would not mind if Uncle Eric did not want to do this, but nevertheless he agreed, so our next top would have to be Kinmont Buck Barrow. Not in view due to the mist, we had to use compass navigation. Descended west off the fell then circumnavigated Great Paddy Crag, to cross as expected the ruined wall. Then followed a path that went more to the right and reached the next wall where the pallet had conveniently been removed from the gap. Then heading on Kinmont Buck Barrow loomed up and we started the ascent. We saw an outcrop, but looking at the GPS, Dad said we needed to go more left, and indeed shortly the summit was reached. Our photo done, we then headed north over boggy ground to come eventually to the fairly recently erected fence enclosing Prior Park. Climbed this and crossed Buckbarrow Beck then crossed Littlecell Bottom and climbed gently on now bearing NNE to finally rise to the cairn that is considered the summit of the wide flat top of Burn Moor. Taking a direction NE we descended to a col at 520m, and intersected a path, where going left led us all the way to the summit of Whitfell crowned with a huge pile of stones, some of which have been fashioned into a large cairn and shelter. Sat in the shelter for our lunch, and then Dad took our photo and some others. There should have been a superb view all round from here of the coast and mountains, but sadly all this was obscured by the mist. Setting off again we followed the same path down, keeping on this at about 1500ft passing below Burn Moor. Now the mist was gone and the fells we had climbed were revealed in all there glory, especially Buck Barrow with its rocky pinnacles. This path probably goes between the Buck Barrows, but we took a narrow trod left to contour below the north side and gained a low ridge that was then followed left to make the gentle climb to the flat top of Plough Fell, that afforded extensive views of the Duddon Estuary and towards Ulpha. Retraced, but keeping more left to cross rough ground towards the ridge we had climbed this morning to Buck Barrow. Kept on but finally Dad suggested we made a short steep climb, where we gained a narrow path that soon led to Peg Crag and then down to the road. Crossed this and now made our way to Stoneside Hill with a short steep last section to the summit. Here there were extensive views of Black Combe etc and the coast. Worth the walk and another Birkett bagged by Little Eric & Southey. So that was 7 summits in all 4 of which were Wainwright Outlyers. Then retraced to the car, passing two gentleman who were walking with their dogs from the parking area to this summit. The only other people we had met all day. A good walk and for Little Eric he just has the north side of Bannisdale to complete his Outlyer challenge! Good day and thanks for your company, Uncle Eric. Here's to next time!

 

8th August 2013 - Bannisdale Horseshoe-south section

So finally Uncle Eric gets his wish and Little Eric too, to bag some of the summits on the Bannisdale Horseshoe. Today we were doing the south section, and we had dry weather with sunny intervals and a nice breeze that kept it pleasantly cool. The approach to the valley is a narrow single track road with few passing places, so thankfully in both directions we did not meet another vehicle! Parked on the layby at the road junction just above Dryhowe Bridge, where the beautiful valley stretched away before us. Turning our eyes from this we looked left to see the gate onto the trackless hillside, that was our route. Setting of we climbed steadily through some patches of tall grasses and bracken. Crossed the wire fence going under the barbed wire where it had broken away, then on to come to a wall. Here we properly should have gone on further up by the wall, but a gap where it was broken down was too good a chance to miss, to cross. Then went left and into and up a small valley to then come into sight of and cross the rough ground to the tall summit cairn on Whiteside Pike, where there were great views. Then on north-west, down to a stile in the wall (made since CRoW), and pick up and follow a thin track to the summit of Todd Fell, that provided a wonderful view of the adjacent valley Longsleddale. Down now towards a junction of walls, the path leading us, as had been the way across before the CRoW, to the cross wall, but we went right instead, to climb the new ladderstile. Then went left to join the wire fence and follow this on the long rather uninsteresting climb to Capplebarrow, the summit according to Birkett being by the fence where there is just one stone as a cairn. Have to say that there were rises on either side that could be higher! Then continued ever on along the ridge to come finally to a cairn on the other side of the fence, at the highest of an number of spot heights. This is the unnamed summit in AW's book at 1819ft, but is named as Ancrow Brow by Birkett in his listing, as the name is shown on the OS map. So that was the summits done for today, and we have finally got our picture taken at them too. 4 Birketts and 3 Outlyers for Little Eric and 2 Outlyers for Uncle Eric. Walked on a little and then sat by the ruined wall for lunch-smoked salmon sandwiches for Dad - how posh! Then continued on meeting the only other walker we saw today. A young man who was bagging the Wainwrights. We kept our council about having done them. Walked on to pass the 540m spot height and to the 541m spot height, that is the 1771ft nameless summit in AW's book. Where the fence turned away, we now made the descent to the valley taking a route that went towards a rock outcrop that Birkett says to head for for the rest of the horseshoe. Rough and trackless, Dad and Uncle Eric kept stoppping to check the grid ref against the map, to ensure we were going in the right direction. After a while we picked up a track left by a quad bike and following this right we came to the start of the stony track, which we followed descending steadily and in zig zags to Bannisdale Head Farm. One of only two habitations in the whole valley. Then we followed the access road for just under 2 miles to finally cross Dryhowe Bridge and reach the car. We had enjoyed good views of the distant Lakeland Fells over to Conistons, Scafells etc and closer excellent views of the Kentmere Horseshoe, Tarn Crag and Grey Crag. A super day and both Uncle Eric and Little Eric are closer to finishing the Outlyers.

 

20th June 2013 - Boat How from Dalegarth Station, Eskdale

At Uncle Eric's suggestion, we went to Eskdale today, meeting at Dalegarth Station, the terminus of the Ratty (Ravenglass to Eskdale Railway). This was so we could climb Boat How, an Outlyer he and our pal Little Eric had still to bag. From the station we walked along the road to Brook House, here turning left into the tiny community of Boot, crossing the bridge to pass the Eskdale Water Mill, and so on through a gate, then going half right along the bridleway. After about 150 yards, we left the bridleway right, through a gate on to the path that leads to Burnmoor Tarn and ultimately Wasdale. The way led through walled pastures, at one point passing a team of volunteers who were repairing the path to provide a gully to prevent flooding. Finally exited to open fell, where ahead and right was Eskdale Fell backed by the mighty Scafell and Slight Side. Just so majestic! Walked on, until coming opposite a derelict building. Here turned left to it, and then on over the rough trackless ground, crossing a shepherds track, and so on to the rocky & grassy prominent outcrop that is the summit of Boat How, with just a single stone as a marker. Uncle Eric wanted to add to this to make a cairn, but he could not find any loose stones lying about. So, Dad got the flag out to add colour to our picture, which pleased Little Eric. There were great views from here. To the west the ridge of Whin Rigg and Illgill Head. To the north Pillar, Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Scafell with Burnmoor Tarn in the foreground - this was our view as we had lunch! So, that done, we headed south towards the antiquities . We followed a tractor track that rather kept east of Low Longrigg, so missed the first two stone circles, instead coming to Brat's Moss and the other three. One can only wonder who and why they were made all those centuries ago?! Kept on along the track coming to a group of ruined stone buildings that Birkett says were peat houses. Here we joined a clear bridleway - a stony path, that descended to Boot. Just before the hamlet, away to the right was a substantial stone ruin sitting on an embanked mound. Uncle Eric thought that it may have been associated with the railway, as originally it was built to serve quarries here, and ran further on than the present terminus at Dalegarth. Now strolled to the start where they went to the cafe at the station for tea and cake. We sat on the station waiting for our pals Barnaby, Lee, Ginger and Grisedale to arrive after their ride to Ravenglass. In all we saw two trains, both hauled by non Ratty locos. Sampson from Romney Hythe & Dymchruch Railway, and Wroxham Broad from the Bure Valley Railway in Norfolk. Dad found out later after asking the assistant in the shop, this was because some Ratty locos had failed and were in for repair, so these were here on loan. Finally we all had our picture taken sitting in a toy train in the play area. A good day!!

 

20th April 2013 - The Wet Sleddale Horseshoe

Repeated this walk last done in November 2005, so that Little Eric could advance his Outlyer and Birkett total. After today they stand at 93 and 344. The last time it had been very wet underfoot, as the name belies, but today it was drier but still very boggy in places. The day itself was dry throughout with a lot of sun and a brisk south west wind, making it feel cool. Parked at the dam. As Dad got out of the car another couple arrived, and he remarked, "I did not think that there would be anyone else here today". It turned out the couple were from Ulverston and were doing the Outlyers, having only these and the Black Combe ones to do. Dad chatted a bit more as he got ready and then as he we were settling in the rucksack, the husband said, "do you have photos on the Internet." Dad replied ,"yes under Stagwalks. "I recognise the bears", said the lady. They then said there were some good photos for which Dad thanked them, and they said that the site had been quite helpful in giving them a view of what to expect on some of the walks etc. We were all pleased! They then headed off going back down the road to follow exactly AW's walk, but we could not see the point, just taking the grassy track up to the wall. As a result we were about a summit ahead of them all day. The way was indistinct at times, but presented no difficulty keeping near to the fence on the left, to come to some gates. Went through left onto a good track and then immediately right along this to climb to the Lunch Box-a large wooden hut for grouse shooting meets. Then it was on upstream on a very intermittant path for about half a mile, to then strike right to the large boulder of pink Shap granite, called Gray Bull. We scrambled up of have our picture taken. Now it was north-west over trackless heather and rough grassy ground to the small cairn marking the summit of Sleddale Pike, our first summit. Grand view of the reservoir from here too. It was now south-west heading for the prominent Great Saddle Crag. Very rough going here over the heather, but once over the fence it was more grassy, but still rough and hard going and Dad had to watch out for bogs. Finally after crossing Saddlecrag Gill we made the steady climb to the summit cairn, although the top could have been any of three small rises on the flat top. The next objective was Ulthwaite Rigg that was basically north-west. Using the GPS we headed west for a while crossing rough ground and a few small watercourses including the infant Sleddale Gill, to then turned more north over some very boggy terrain. Dad had been very careful to avoid the bogs, but here for a few steps he lost concentration and wandered into a patch and ended up getting both feet wet. Ahead as we began to ascend, two farmers on quad bikes were driving the sheep away so Dad did not get any such pictures today-hooray! It was a relatively gentle ascent to Ulthwaite Rigg, where there was a small cairn on the flat top. Looking back saw a herd of about 20+ deer crossing the fell, and interesting sight. Headed due north, and Dad used the fell Scam Matthew, to keep on the line. First down the fellside between drainage channels and over very rough boggy ground, to finally reach a path and then on up to the bridleway. As it was not far Dad decided to take us up Scam Matthew, as only Dad had climbed this back in 1997. Then it was along the bridleway passing through two gates. By the first gate we stopped a few minutes for lunch. A farmer was coming along on his quad bike, so Dad opened the gate for him, getting his thanks. After the second gate we took the path right that zigzagged down to Sleddale Hall and then a lane, climbing the stile on the left, to cross Sleddale Beck by the stone arched bridge. The path led on to a ladderstile, and then went right to come to a footbridge and so join a good track to the start. Hard going for Dad, but a good day! Refreshment time and Dad went to the Old School House in Tebay, run by Steve and Joanna. We sat on the table. Dad had tomato soup, then all day breakfast with a welcome pot of tea.

 

27th January 2013 - Dunmallard Hill, Dacre & Dalemain from Pooley Bridge

So on a blustery day, with just the odd shower we headed north to Pooley Bridge. The village was quiet being winter so Dad was able to park on the street. It would have been £7 otherwise in the car park. Rising behind is Dunmallard Hill a Wainwright Outlyer, Little Eric had not climbed. This would advance his total to 90 done, and my summit total to 999, so on course if the weather is OK next Sunday to reach 1000, in exactly 8 years. Friday's snow had been washed away with the rain and it was milder too. The downside was the ground was no longer frozen, so very soft and muddy underfoot! Crossed the bridge over River Eamont and took the facing path right under Dunmallard Hill. It rises quite steeply for a while as it circuits the hill eventually levelling out. Where the path goes off right to Dacre, we took the unsigned path left rising steeply to a fork where left the summit was attained - a mound with some of the trees that clothe the whole fell. Followed the path in a loop, then descended by the same route. Continued the circuit, finally leaving by a narrow path the ran above the road, to the A592. Here crossed to a gate in a flooded pool and into a very wet field! "Oh that the ground was still frozen", said Dad with feeling. Picked our way left through the boggy ground to another gate and then to follow a track rising right. At the waymark went left as directed to climb on into Salmond's Plantation following the path along high above the lake. Climbed the stile right to double back above the fence and then left to double back again just below the highest part of the hill and on beside Rumney's Plantation. The pasture was very soft and cut up too, making for hard going. Still the magnificent prospect of the mountains covered in snow made up for it. Followed the newish hedge on the right down to a corner and then went right by a mature hedge to a barn. Walked round the barn and through the gate on the right, to walk on over a big field and then on over another stile. Climbed the next stile left and made the short steep climb to Maiden Castle. Believed to be a defended settlement from 1st millennium BC. The ramparts with a narrow ditch between can be seen and two mounds that may have been hut bases. Descended to the main path again and went on over rough wet pasture to stile and on over then next field to emerge onto a narrow road, Crossed this into Waterfoot Caravan park, following the waymarks to emerge via a stile into field. Walkwd over this to a gate to come into the boggy field and so to the A592 again. Sat on seat by the road junction for lunch, then retraced the path above the road, going through the gate and the final part of the Dunmallard circular path to the car park by the river. Walked through this and on by the river to a gate out of the trees and on to next gate. We all, completely missed the waymark pointing left which we should have followed. So as a consequence we walked on to the next cross wall where we turned left and cresting the rise, we saw that the path we should have taken came into this field. So arriving at the A592 took the path opposite to the road at Soulby. Walked right to a junction then left on road into the village of Dacre. At the first sign it was right on a good track to pass Dacre Castle, which is lived in. Followed the track for about a mile to arrive at the imposing Dalemain House, currently closed to visitors for the winter. Walked round so that Dad could take a picture and on to cross the bridge over the beck and gain the footpath. We then continued over the park climbing to a stile by the woodland and so on over more fields and round and down right to the A592, using a track to a gate to cut off the corner. Just a few yards left on the road then right down steps and over the field, there being three tiny bridges to get over small becks and damp ground, to rejoin and follow the river. Here some of the fields were very wet especially that near to a pond. This led back to the car park and so into Pooley Bridge. After changing Dad went to Granny Dowbekin's Cafe, where he had pot of tea with extra hot water and chocolate caramel shortbread. His kind of cafe. We bought some homemade gingerbread to take home for Uncle Brian.

 

13th January 2013 - Staveley Fell from Staveley-in-Cartmel & Finsthwaite Heights from Newby Bridge

Well winter has finally arrived, as we woke up to a cold frosty morning. The views were quite good to start, but soon the mountains disappeared, as snow, albeit light, set in by lunchtime. It had been decided to get another two of the Outlyers done for Little Eric. First it was Staveley Fell. This overshadows the village of Staveley in Cartmel, where we parked near to the village hall. Walking along we noticed some narrow railway track in a large garden of a house. "That's the Millerbeck railway", said Dad. "It is owned by a friend of Uncle Brian and mine. It operates for public rides at bank holidays etc." Very soon we went left on a path signed Simpson Ground. The metalled lane gave way to a very muddy track that soon swung left. After about another 100 yards, we took the gate on right into a large open enclosure. The path climbed steadily winding its way over the enclosure to a tall gate into a young plantation, the narrow ongoing path climbing on to another tall gate, leading to a forest road. Here we walked left, above a tall fence on the left. Fairly soon as it turned away left, this was our cue to cross left and enter the trackless mature conifers to attain the ridge. Dad picked his way carefully climbing over fallen trees in the process. At the ridge we followed a narrow trod north through thick heather, to the first cairned top. Here we enjoyed extensive views of Windermere and over the plain of the village where we had started. Two further summits were seen ahead the one to the right being the objective as highest point. A fairly good path led across the grassy ground to a small valley between the tops. At the crest Dad climbed right over the rise, then on another short way to gain the summit, marked with a neat cairn having one stone standing upright. We jumped out for our photo. Continued north a short way to a wall and descended right by it to soon reach a depression, where we joined a rough track to soon regain the forest road. We stood a while on this road to enjoy the absolute silence-such bliss!! Walked along this for nearly a mile keeping right at the junction, to come again to the gate used earlier through which we retraced the route to the car. It was snowing now but only small flakes. After Dad had photographed the church, he then drove the short distance to Newby Bridge, tucking the car in a pull in close to the Swan Hotel. By the hotel it was left to cross the railway bridge, then immediately left on track and soon then right on path that climbed up, 48 steps helping the gradient. Kept on this for another 300 yards then followed it on as it swung sharp right more steps helping the gradient. Briefly we went to the view point to Hampsfell & Newton Fell, but now lost in the snow clouds. Soon now reached the tall tower on Summer House Knott. Then we walked a little way north through the trees to the actual highest point that is unmarked. This is the summit of Summer House Knott and by definition Finsthwaite Heights. This achieved we now returned the same way, the snow falling continuously. So our pal Little Eric has now done 89 of the 104 Outlyers, and I was two nearer my 1000 summits, the total standing at 996. Time for tea for Dad, but first he went to the new Booths store in Milnthorpe to get a few items. For a change today Dad went to Beetham Garden Centre, where he had a nice scone with raspberry jam and a pot of leaf tea with extra hot water. Dad's kind of cafe.

 

16th December 2012 - Knipescar Common, Whale, River Lowther & Bampton Grange

This pleasant walk ticked off another Outlyer for our pal Little Eric. It is also a Birkett summit too. A mostly cloudy day, with some light rain at times and a rather cold wind, but it is December after all. Views not very good. There was just enough room for Dad to squeeze the car behind the one already there, at the pull in by the path up to the scar. Very muddy and wet in places and Dad's boots really sank in making progress difficult. Headed up the rough path following the two waymarks to get you on the right way, then it was just reading the map, as no more were in evidence. Climbed the ladderstile, then up the rough pasture to a gate in the right corner, and on by the wall to its corner just a few yards on, here turning left to descend to the sad forlorn and long abandoned ruins of Low Scarside Farm. Rounded these then on upwards to a gate onto the open land of Knipescar Common. Masses of tall gorse bushes here, but wide paths have been cut upwards and across to get through. We made our way left and up in steps to come beside the top wall. Then left on the clear wide grassy path to climb gently, to the summit marked by a trig point set in the ground. Judging by the wet roads on route it must have rained heavily last night, and this was reflected by the trig point being full of water. We sat round, careful not to fall in. On along the scar, then left down the a wide path. We missed a right turn, so walked back along too far and in consequence Dad had to climb back up. Then on the correct path, came to a gate and muddy path to High Knipe Farm. With the help of the farmers wife found the bridleway sign. The reason we missed it is that it is hidden behind a building when descending. This wide track led on, waymarked for the most part, but not always when perhaps they were needed most. Along here we met the only two other walkers today-two ladies going in the opposite direction. A group of about ten sheep had got into the lane here too, and we walked behind them as they trotted along and after a while went into a field where the gate was open. Crossed half right to an ornate gate and another immediately beyond, then to another half left over the field. Beyond on to a fence corner, were it was right beside this. There were sometimes blue arrows and sometimes yellow waymarks that had been added later, which had so faded to be useless. So though another gate down and up a dip then into Hill Plantation a narrow band of trees in a small valley. Down then up the far side and through a gate to open pasture to where the path crosses with the access road from Whalemoor Farm. We went left here along the access road, down to the hamlet of Whale. Large farm and a few houses. Just beyond the last house, it was left on a path crossing the pretty Whale Beck by a small bridge, then through a gate and over wide long field to emerge on the road. Then on the road to its gated end onto the Bampton road. It was on this section where the showers occurred. We met the two ladies again here too. One lady said they has missed out a chunk of the walk, looking at our map it was clear that they had not walked far enough along the scar to find the gate we had used to get on to it this morning. We now took the path right over wet boggy ground to cross the suspension bridge over the River Lowther, then along the path by the river eventually to the road and left into Bampton Grange. Here we visited St Patrick's Church, then walked the short way uphill to the car. Nice day.

 

29th November 2012 - Circuit of Devoke Water

A beautiful sunny cold day, with hardly any wind. We saw no one except a couple walking along the track as we were climbing to Rough Crag. Just peace and silence. Did not even see any sheep, so for once there will not be any such pictures in the eventual story! Overnight there had been a sharp frost so in places the roads were icy, so Dad took care as he drove along to the start on Birker Fell. From the junction walked along the access to the lake. As instructed shortly beyond the gate we struck off half right over trackless rough ground to gain the rocky outcrops of the summit of Rough Crag. There were lovely views of the lake, blue under the skies and with the hills on the south reflected in it. Wonderful clear views to Great Gable, Lingmell, Scafells, Esk Pike, Bowfell & Crinkle Crags. Most covered in snow on the upper slopes. A majestic sight. So onwards on a clear path the led unerringly to Water Crag. In Wainwrights Outlying book the height is shown as 997ft, but the current OS map shows 305m (1001ft), and as such it qualifies as a Birkett summit too. There is a large cairn, but the highest point is just a few yards north, where Dad took our picture, and at the cairn. So, that is the fells on the north side done - the easy part too. Now followed a path to descend to lake level. There was lots of boggy ground all over today, but for the most part it was frozen, so Dad's boots did not sink in. It would have been very wet progress on a warmer day. Arrived at the side of Linbeck Gill the outflow from the lake that eventually joins the River Esk. Full and flowing fast, but there is a rocky part at the crossing point. Anywhere else too deep! Dad had not brought his stick again today, but here it would have been useful to provide some extra balance, as Dad boulder hopped across. Got halfway OK, and he had the rest planned, but the next step although it looked OK, proved to not provide firm footing and his left foot went in well over his boots. Still he got right foot on next rock as planned and regaining his balance, we were in tow more steps on the far bank. Now crossed more boggy ground and then started the steep climb to White Pike (1450ft). Its tall cairn had now disappeared, but the way was south so we just kept heading towards the sun (it was about midday and the sun is due south at that time). The difficulty was that being so low at this time of year meant he could not really see the route. There are no tracks so just had to plod on up, and finally after a number of rises the twin rocky summit came into view, the right one having the tall pillar like cairn. This is the hardest part of this walk and Dad was glad when it was over. Looking left the next two summits Woodend Height and Yoadcastle were clearly seen and not very far distant. There are good views west over the lowlands of the Esk, and Sellafield of course and today too the IOM was quite clearly seen. Followed the clear path that led between Woodend Height and Yoadcastle, and made the short scramble right to the small perched cairn on Yoadcastle. Then crossed on a clear path to top of Woodend Height. Large cairn, but the highest point is just a few yards south on a small ridge of rocks. The boathouse beside lake is clearly in view, and we made a beeline for it, down the trackless shoulder to near lake level. Seat How the final top was to the right the ascent being on its eastern side. So we cut right over boggy ground crossing two low walls, and so up a green ride to find the route to the top, marked by a cairn. Returned the same way down the ride but then crossed right to descend to the track, and walk along this to the car. All done in 4hrs total including an hour for stops to take pictures etc. It was about 14.45 now, so we headed straight home, getting there before it went dark. A good day, and it moved Little Eric's Outlyer total on by 6 to 86, and my quest to achieve 1000 summits, has now reached 993.

 

18th November 2012 - Langhowe Pike, Great Ladstones, Seat Robert, High Weather Howe & Fewling Stones from Swindale

The forecast was for a dry sunny day, but a cold wind. Well they were nearly right. We had more cloud and some hail and we caught the edge of a rainstorm. Five tops today, which advanced Little Eric's Outlyers and moved on my summit total to nearer 1000. Parked at the end of the unenclosed road in Swindale, the limit for tourist traffic. As we arrived a farmer was there with his wife and grandchildren. They had a sheep stuck in the crags, that could not get down. He had walked up and could see it was still alive, but was waiting for mountain rescue to retrieve it. He joked it would then be confined to lower pastures to stop this happening again. Walked along the road into the valley, which was slippery in places with ice. At Truss Gap we crossed Swindale Beck by the footbridge, Dad sensibly not risking the stepping stones! Gained the green path that went left, eventually climbing up the skyline at about 1100ft. This is an old corpse road and leads on eventually to Shap. At the skyline, we turned sharp right on a tractor track and where this petered out made our way south over boggy ground to the first summit Langhowe Pike, adorned like all the tops today with a cairn, where we posed for our photo. This area is untamed wilderness, with no proper tracks just those made by sheep and quad bikes. There is extensive boggy areas that were unsurprisingly very wet after all the rain. Squelch!!! Now headed for Rowantree Crag, which although not a summit Dad climbed the few feet to the top, for us and he took our picture. No rowan trees as Wainwright indicates in his book, but there is a holly tree, so perhaps a rename is in order!! From here headed south east over the rough boggy terrain to gain the cairned summit of Great Ladstones. We had a bite to eat here. Now it was basically south, but Dad kept a litttle west of the book route, to gain Seat Robert, with its nice rounded cairn, shelter and OS ring embedded in the ground. View here of Haskew Tarn that seems to be mostly overgrown and may well disappear in a few years. Now headed south-west to reach High Weather Howe, where there was a fine view of lonely desolate Mosedale. After taking our picture Dad had another sandwich. The route was north on the ridge passing a cairned outcrop and on to the rocky outcrops on Fewling Stones, the highest one having a tiny cairn perched on it. So, that was the summits done. Descended and picked up the intermittant quad bike track boggy in places to come to the wall corner by Gouther Crag and the ravine of the gill of the same name. Nice little waterfall on it here too that Dad photographed for the story. We crossed the gill and walked a few yards ahead to the path that wound its way down, and so to the footbridge, where after crossing, we walked back along the road to the car. A good day and Dad said that for the first time in a while he did not feel he was struggling. The benefit of the regular walking recently has clearly brought his hill fitness back. Of course it was refreshment time and he went to junction 38 services for beef and onion pie with mash veg and gravy and tea.

 

11th November 2012 - Dales Way ramble including Grandsire & Brant Fell

A fine day with plenty of sunshine but cool, but it is November after all. We had last done this walk in 2006 as part of bagging Brant Fell, that is apart from our pal Little Eric who had not been born then, so we were repeating it for his sake today. From the lay-by walked along the lane on the Dales Way. Metalled at first it becomes unsurfaced after the houses, and is a pleasing way passing through 4 gates. There was a pool to the left with nice reflections. The route leads eventually to the town of Windermere, but about half way we went off right, keeping on the Dales Way, on a path we had walked before below the slopes of Grandsire. "I know we have all been to that summit before, but can we go again today, so that I get ever closer to my 1000 summits", I implored. "How can I refuse", replied Dad striding off up the fell. The summit was soon attained and we sat on the cairn for our photo. Lovely view to Windermere and the fells from here, the cloud hanging low over the lake. Now descended by the wall, and through the gate to Hag End and the road, where it was right to Outrun Nook and then left through a gate to follow the Dales Way over muddy ground to Crag House. It was muddy going on many of the paths today, with more rain having fallen just last night. Will it ever stop!! Just past the buildings the paths divide, and leaving the Dales Way we went right through a gate and along a lovely meandering path through a small valley. The streams were all full and rushing along. Crossed a footbridge, but had to ford the very same stream it spanned twice just before to reach it! The path eventually led to the Crook Road, near the Wild Boar Hotel. Now went left along the lane through the pretty hamlet of Mitchelland and on, to just before a brow, strike off half right on a rough track. Here a high pitched noise filled the sky - someone flying their model plane. Very expertly too. At a gate we went right on a footpath that meandered through scrub and then beyond a gate, over pasture to the access to Low Lindeth and to the road Lindeth Lane. Walked right on the lane to the cross roads and went ahead on the narrow road, to take the first footpath left and climb to Brant Fell. Wonderful views over Windermere and of the mountains. We sat for our photo, and Little Eric has now bagged another Wainwright Outlyer. Returned to the road and continued past the junction to Matson Ground, to soon join the Dales Way right that finally led back to the lay-by. Nice day! Surprisingly for once Dad did not go for tea and cake, as he said he was not hungry. Must be sickening for something!!

 

21st October 2012 - Potter Fell, Brunt Knott & Ulgraves, including two unnamed summits

Our pal Little Eric had not bagged the Outlyers on Potter Fell, so this was rectified today. By way of a change from previous visits it was decided to follow Wainwright's route in the Outlying book, which is indeed much more pleasureable than the ascent from Garnett Bridge. Parked on the narrow road from Bowston to Staveley, then strolled on a few hundred yards to take the road right, leaving it after a while to go ahead on a track and come to Side House. Pretty waterfall on beck here, which Dad photographed. Continued up the track through a gate and on, to turn rght at the sign, and climb steadily up the clear path to Potter Tarn. The day was clear blue skies and warm after cool start, such that from Brunt Knott, Dad just walked in t-shirt. Superb views of the Lakeland Fells today-wonderful, we all sighed!! Walked across by the dam then over the step stile and going immerdiately left on a narrow trod, that soon became a clearer path. Where the wall turned away left we continued half left to a gate in the wall. Here skirted the crag and then on over a couple of rises to the final one, where it was just right a little way from the wall to the unnamed summit at 1296ft (395m), marked by tiny cairn-despite previous visits, this was a first for us all, Dad included! However as unnamed it does not count towards our list of summits done. Descended to the wall corner and over the stile then up the steady ascent to trig point at summit of Brunt Knott. Great view of Kentmere Fells from here. We sat on trig point for photo, then had lunch and Dad phoned Uncle Brian. Now descended to the stile in a fence then on to a stile in the wall. Crossed this, to walk by the right angled wall on its right.This is now a proper footpath acording to the sign, the land having been opened up due to the rights of way act. The narrow path climbed by the wall and when Dad judged right, we went away right up the rise and had just to back track a short way to the 1280ft (390m) uunamed summit. After our photo had been taken, we returned to wall and walked on. As this was a footpath we expected there to be a way over the cross wall, but no! All barbed wire and tall wire fence above the left wall. However never daunted these days Dad made easy work of climbing this, and so we were now on the book route again. So, on ahead through gates, the ground pretty boggy in places. Finally we took the gate in the wall on the right, to make the short steep climb to the tall cairn on Ulgraves. Super view from here of Longsleddale. Now west down and then up to the gate in wall, then on along the narrow path to climb the stile in the fence and gain the track round Gurnal Dubs tarn. Walked right round the tarn to the building. Here we sat on wall above the tarn for another sandwich and to take in the pretty view. Then up path over the ladderstile and so down to Potter Tarn again. Crossed the dry out flow then it was left on wide grassy path down past Ghyll Pool and more steeply on a stony path to t-junction where it was right through a gate and along an overgrown bridleway to High Hundhowe and the road. Then strolled right along this to the car. Super day. Little Eric bagged all 4 tops, while all of us bagged then 395m unnamed summit. Drove on into Staveley, then to Bob Parratts, where Dad had a roast beef lunch and tea. Nice day and I feel my fitness in returning.

 

14th October 2012 - Humphrey Head, Allithwaite, Cark & Cumbria Coastal Way

A nice day dry with some sun, little wind, and warm by the afternoon. For Little Eric's sake we decided to get another of the Outlyers done, so Dad made up a walk, although we had been on most of the paths before, but not necessarily in the same direction. Not bothering to measure it, we were all unaware it would be just over 12 miles. Used the parking opposite some houses just out of Flookburgh. Just one space as it seems to be used by residents, although there is nothing to say that the public cannot use it. Walked south along the road, then went left at the junction, joining the Cumbria Coastal Way. Opposite is an industrial estate, including the home of Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding! Heaven to us all as we love sticky toffee pudding!! The narrow road led on and at the next junction it was right now towards Humphrey Head. Leaving the Coastal Way we went into the entrance of the field centre, then immediately right on the grassy path to climb gently to the summit marked by a trig point. Humphrey Head has the lowest height of any in the Outlying book at just 172ft. With so little wind we were able to sit on the trig point for our picture. From here you really get an idea of the size and expanse of Morecambe Bay. We waved our paw to Uncle Brian and the rest of our Hug friends. Close by is Cark Airfield and all day a plane was continually taking parachutists up. Retraced the route now to the Coastal Way. The path entrance was flooded to well over boot depth but Dad managed to edge along the side and get past without wet feet! The path crosses the headland then beyond a gate goes left. A muddy patch was so wet that the ground wobbled under pressure. Dad quickly retreated and edged safely round, warning walkers he met coming in the opposite direction. Many of the paths were wet and boggy, but this was no surprise as the land is barely above sea level, and there has been so much rain. Crossed the stone step stile and then went under the railway and over exceptionally boggy fields to Allithwaite. Dad said he did not think he had ever walked on such wet ground. Boot sucking a times, through the mud, but he made it without wet feet. At one kissing gate the water was so deep but he had to stand on the rails to avoid it. Walked through Allithwaite past the church and school and the lovely millennium mosaic. Just after the houses took the path left to Templand Farm. Long ago there used to be a lovely garden with wishing well etc, but this has been overgrown for years. Continued ahead to the road then right to take the footpath left to Birkby Hall. We got confused here by not properly reading the map, so ended up in the wrong field and too far south. Dad then realised we should have kept right, and now doing this got back on track, and down to the buildings and on to the road. Crossed and walked over pasture to another road, where we stopped for a bite to eat, then up the track to Lower Bank Side and left on the Cumbria Coastal Way to the road and into Cark. Crossed the bridge then it was right by the pub and left to cross the railway and now follow the Coastal Way to the buildings at Sand Gate, and on round via Lenbrick Point, Cowpren Point and on the old embankment to West Plain Farm. Stony path first then grassy and boggy, and finally good and dry on the embankment-oh joy. At the farm joined the road for the about 3/4m walk to the car. Although late Dad, went to Jane and Sam's, for apple apricot and almond crumble and tea. We decided to stay in the car, but we were missed as Sam commented, where are the Bears.

 

10th October 2012 - Ratherheath & Cunswick Scar from Ashes Lane

This walk was published in the Westmorland Gazette in 1994, and Shaun and Tetley had done it in 2002, but it was completely new to Grizzly, Little Eric and I. The start is along a loop that was once the main A591 road. Parking near the start of loop, and once ready, we walked down past the junction with Ashes Lane, to the signed path left through the lovely woodland, to cross Ashes Lane, then through the gate opposite continue in the woods to come out by Ratherheath Tarn. Pretty with the trees surrounding it and good reflections in the calm, if cool day. Tarn is a private for an angling association. Climbed the step stile to gain open pasture and crossed this to come finally to a step stile to Ratherheath Lane where it was left, to then go right along the access to Moss End. Just before the house went left over an undulating pasture to reach a gate in a wall. Beyond took the left of two gates (the one on the right we would come through on the return route). Climbed the pasture to the house of Bank End. We should have taken the gate below, but seemed to us to be private, so went right to climb stile on to access track. Doing this however rather confused the directions, so we walked to the house, where all became clear. Retraced along the access, then we spotted by the wood the gated stile into the field. Walked up and over this to a stone step stile in the right corner then on across the next field through a gateless gap, and then right along by the hedge to the Crook Road. Crossed to the stile opposite and via pasture and through the woods we made the ascent of Cunswick Scar, going to the summit cairn, where we had our picture taken. Sat and lunched here too, taking in the views and quiet and peace of the surroundings. Walked along the scar. The actual route did not take in the summit, so we were on a higher path hence we walked a short way past the gate, to descend through Scar Wood, exiting into a field, adjacent to Cunswick Tarn. Crossed this to enter and exit Ash Spring Wood, then go left down to the track to Cunswick Hall. The route did not pass the Hall, but Dad walked down to get a picture. Returned to the point where the path met the access road, going left now over rough pasture, curving round right and descending on a narrow trod. The route was then left through the gate in the wall, to enter on the other side a narrow walled field. Turned right and walked to the top left corner, then through gate and the opposite gate too, and so down to access to Fell Gate Farm. Walked through the farm and on along the access road, where just before a cattle grid took the stile on the right, then over the clapper bridge and so up to the gate to the Crook Road. Turned right to High Brundrigg, where in the yard went left through a gate then round the back and on over pasture to come through the gate and so rejoin the outwards route. A lovely stroll. Refreshment time for Dad now. He went to Low Sizergh Barn, but the cafe was full. However before leaving he bought some black bomber cheese, bread and pork pies. So instead he went to Sheila's Cafe at Bob Parratt's where he enjoyed sausage & mash with vegetables, syrup sponge and custard and tea. Very nice too, Dad said.

 

7th July 2012 - Gummers' How & Birch Fell from Bowland Bridge road. Raven's Barrow (Cartmel Fell) from High Newton road

The weather had been pretty bad lately, with lots of rain, so it was somewhat of a surprise to find that today was forecast to be dry, warm and quite sunny, so shorts were the order of the day for Dad. We decided to grasp the opportunity to go for a walk, but stay quite local, and advance our pal Little Eric's Outlyer challenge. It was a lovely drive through the Lyth Valley, and then up Strawberry Bank and on to the car park below Gummers' How. We were last here in April 2006, and like then it took Dad just 20 minutes to walk up to the summit. There are superb views from the trig point and just a short walk west reveals a dramatic view along Windermere. Little wind, so we were able to scramble up the trig point for our usual picture. Now we headed on the path north and then right downhill to reach the edge of an extensive bog, where we turned left alongside. The path was very muddy after the rains, but taking it carefully we reached the ruined wall. It was right alongside this and indeed to avoid the boggy ground Dad walked along the top as much as possible. At the cross wall Dad climed over and then we made our way through the larches to meet a fence. We needed to go left and soon came to a junction with another fence running east/west that Birkett says crosses the summit. It was a shame that Dad had not consulted the photos of the previous visit, as we would have realised that in fact the rocky outcrop that is actually considered the summit is a short distance south of the fence. There is not much of a difference in height however, and as Little Eric is not intending to complete the Birkett challenge he can be deemed to have climbed this fell. In 2006, only days before we climbed this fell, Dad had acquired the Birkett book. We looked back at Dad's comment that day, and find it reads -'Birch Fell-this is a Birkett out of my new book, but this should NOT be construed that I intend to climb all 540'. Well, it just goes to show how wrong one can be, with just one left currently to complete them!! We returned via Gummers How, and part way down we stopped for lunch with that wonderful view before us. Back at the car, we then drove along to Cartmel Fell, parking just above the church, at a pull in on the narrow road. Walked the short distance to the road junction, where opposite we climbed the ladderstile, following the path to cross a wall by a stone step stile and climb on steeply by it to very soon reach the the monument on Raven's Barrow the summit of Cartmel Fell, although there is possibly slightly higher ground just beyond, which we walked over as we crossed the access area, and then did the circuit back via the bridleway to the road. Passed by the car to walk the overgrown path to the lovely St Anthonys Church, where we went in and sat for a little while, before returning via the road to the car. Dad recalled that he had given one of his teddy talks in the village hall, some years ago now, and before most of us were adopted. Refreshment time for Dad now. Sam and Jane were on holiday, so instead he went to Bob Parratts. Here had a large delicious and very reasonably priced bacon bun, then lovely apple crumble, all washed down with a good pot of tea and extra hot water. Definitely Dad's kind of cafe!!

 

 

17th June 2012 - Newton Fell North from Barrow Banks & Dixon Heights (Newton Fell South) from Yew Tree Barn

Newton Fell North
Yesterday had been so wet with torrential rain, but thankfully today was dry but with a cool wind. We wanted to get out for a walk, but Dad did not want to drive too far, so we suggested doing these fells again, so that our pal Little Eric could bag the summits. We parked in an old section of road, then walked along a short distance to climb the stile over the fence and head up the fell. There are a number of paths and on the ascent Dad used one that kept closer to the beck to come to its crossing point. Although pretty full getting over presented no problem. Then we followed the path by the wall bearing right to visit the outcrop White Stone, that stands prominently above the main road. Then descended to rejoin the wall and come to and climb the stile in the cross wall. To reach the actual summit it is necessary to cross the wall on the right. Not possible on previous visits, but since the rights of way act, it has been broken down. So, climbed now with the wall to the right on a clear path to the rocky outcrop with its cairn that is the true summit, where we settled for our picture, of course. Returned by same route, but used the waymarked path once over the beck.
Newton Fell South - Dixon Heights
We drove now to Yew Tree Barn, where we parked for the ascent of Dixon Heights. Walked along the old road to the junction, with the bypass. Dad was not paying attention and did not look closely enough at the map, taking what was the wrong path to Moss End Farm and Buck Crag. At the farm, the farmer redirected Dad, on the correct route, Dad giving his apologies. So retraced and walked down the bypass (not very pleasant with the traffic speeding by!), to take the next drive to Eller How. Walked down and through the houses, and then on along the track taking the right fork, and climbing to the col by the very overgrown Tom Tarn. Here we walked right to climb to the remains of the tower marking the top of Dixon Heights and Newton Fell south. There were extensive views over Morecambe Bay from here. Returned by outward route.
Then Dad went to Jane & Sam's (Hat Trick Cafe), and we got to go in too, sitting quietly on the chair opposite Dad. The cafe was busy, which was good to see! Dad had the lovely Carolina Gold sandwich, then delicious apple apricot and cranberry crumble with cream and tea of course. There was some of the usual banter, but not a lot today as Jane & Sam were kept busy. A nice easy day, which moves Little Eric's Outlyer challenge on. 69 done now.

 

14th June 2012 -Hesk Fell & The Pike from Ulpha Bridge

We had done this walk in Feb 2006 just two days after it was published in the Westmorland Gazette, as part of our quest at that time to complete the Wainwright Outlying Fells. Repeated it today, so that Uncle Eric could bag the summits and our pal Little Eric too, who had not been born in 2006. Met Uncle Eric at Ulpha Bridge, and set off walking about 09.50. The day was dry and mild and but rather windy at times. Crossed the bridge, where there was a beautiful scene along the River Duddon, and walked on to the post office, where we took the signed path that climbed to a junction. Here it was right along by the woods and then over a stile to walk through these, and emerge on the Birker Fell road at the top of the very steep hairpins. Onward climbing steadily up the road to emerge from the trees and have a clear view of our first objective Hesk Fell. At the sign to Hazel Head we went right on the access track, and on through the gate ahead on the track, to come to the house called Brighouse. Here it was through the grounds and on above Crosby Gill. At the corner of the fence and trees we went ahead, but soon realised we should have gone left then diagonally right to a gate. Found our way to this and then headed towards the road. Here we met two girls from Sheffield Uni (Abi & Fran). They were over seeing a group doing the Duke of Edinburgh Gold award. They asked if we had seen them, as they should have been through about half an hour before. Uncle Eric replied that we had not, the only people being two gentlemen from the National Trust at Hazel Head. As it turned out we saw them later distantly from the slopes of Hesk Fell, crossing the field to the road - good news for Abi & Fran! So, from the road we walked left to cross Crosbythwaite Bridge and take then next path right climbing steadily to the left of Hesk Fell. Espied the hurdle in the wall and walked right to it and once over climbed steadily the slopes to the flat summit marked by a small cairn. We jumped out for our picture. The walk referred to a fence crossing the top, but it has gone. Dad said, "I'm sure it was there in 2006." He was right as looking at the summit photo from 2006, we had sat by it. Made the descent, going to the wall corner where there was a ladderstile to cross. The Pike was directly in front and from the dip about 200ft of climb saw us at the summit, by the wall, which is as high as the flat rocky outcrop on the other side which AW shows as the top. Descended to cross the fence by the stile again, and just below Uncle Eric had found an excellent flat area with a shelf to sit and an upper shelf for us, to have lunch. It was out of the wind too. Would score highly on Trip Advisor! Our route now was round to the right under The Pike, the path being joined by contouring down, then along this to the gate at bottom left corner. Now a short distance bearing right to then go through the gate on the right across a pasture and then another long pasture to Rainsbarrow Wood. To get into this we crossed three stiles in close succession (wooden step, stone step, wooden step), then followed the narrow path in the woods. At a small signpost - height suitable for bears and sheep, we continued ahead. The route should be between the fence and wall, but so overgrown, we walked to the right of the wall, crossing it further down to then cross a wood stile and a ladderstile over a wall. Walked on across the next field, where we saw some deer, then right through a gate, and on down to recross the wall much lower via a gate - this contrived way avoids a steep descent on the other side of the wall. Then on to a deer gate, and suddenly we knew where were, having used this path to get to and from Bigert, last year. Exited from the enclosure via another deer gate-the fastening thankfully now freed so Dad did not have to climb, as last time. Then on down to the forest road and so right to the Bootle motor road. Went left here to return to Ulpha Bridge. A lovely walk especially through the woods. We saw no walkers at all today, with the exception of the the DoE group from a distance and the two overseers Abi and Fran. Nice day and Uncle Eric and Little Eric are nearer completing the Outlyers.

 

5th May 2012 -The Naddle Horseshoe from the Swindale road

This is a circuit of the Naddle Valley, over some of the fells to the west of Shap. For Shaun and Tetley, it was the third time round, and today we were doing it so that Little Eric could bag the summits. In all we were to visit 9 summits, of which 7 are Birketts, and 4 Wainwright Outlyers, so an advance on two fronts for him. The day was sunny to start, but soon clouded over, with just a few sunny intervals and cold for the time of year in the biting wind. Parking is a layby on the Swindale road, by its junction with the waterworks road. We walked a few yards along this, then went left on the track over Rosgill Moor. This soon brought us below our first summit Scalebarrow Knott (B & WO). Taking a right fork, and then right again uphill the summit cairn was soon reached. Next was Harper Hills (B & WO) seen ahead on the skyline. Regained the main track, then forked left on a tractor track that undulated over knolls, to gain the cairned summit. Then ongoing path led eventually to the main track and a gate in a cross fence, beyond which Powley's Hill (B) rose up. We kept on the track, rising to the crest, then struck left over rough ground on a narrow trod to gain the summit ridge, at its north-east end, which Birkett says and I cannot really disagree is perhaps the highest point. The ordnance survey however, show the summit further south, so we continued to find the small ridged outcrops at this position, matching the grid reference we recorded last time. No cairn here, so Dad got the flag out to liven up our picture. Now continued south-west over the 474m spot height and past the standing stones to, after crossing more undulations, reach the furthest cairn and summit of Hare Shaw (B & WO). So that was one side done. Good views across to the fells beyond Haweswater - High Street, Kidsty Pike, High Raise etc. Also of Branstree, Selside Pike, Harter Fell & Nan Bield Pass. It was really cold up here, the wind very cutting, so we were all glad to get on the way down. No path, so Dad just picked a line through the knolls and over the bogs to regain the wall, then going left a few yards to the gate. Once through, it was immediately left to climb the hurdle and so gain the path in Naddle Forest. Wide clear and grassy this led to a fence gate. Ignored this, instead bearing left and climbing directly to the summit of Naddle High Forest (B, and also the 1427ft nameless summit referred to in Wainright's book). Now ahead clearly seen was Wallow Crag (B), beyond the substantial fence and wall. Dad followed Birkett's advice and kept to the ridge line, to finally be faced by the tall fence and substantial wall with the summit just beyond. There is a gate lower down, which we had used last time, but now too there is a gap in the wall at this height, with the fence changing sides and a gate in it. This was great and so it was just a few yards of climb to the cairn on Wallow Crag (also the 1380ft nameless summit referred to in Wainwright's book). Fine views from here too. We all had a snack, then Dad phoned Uncle Brian. Here we saw distantly on High Forest two other walkers, the only other people we saw today. Just three tops to go. As there was a path we decided to head to Hugh's Laithes Pike (WO) first, this time. It undulated on with the tall unclimbable fence to the left. The cairn on the other side of the fence came into view and we climbed to the highest point on this side. Dad was about to get us out for our photo, when I noticed that a hinged section about 3ft square had been cut in the fence, so for the first time we were able to reach the actual summit and cairn, which we climbed up to have our picture taken. Fine view here of Haweswater and the dam. Who has cut the fence we do not know, but it is good to be able to have access again to the cairn. We suspect there was no fence in 1974 when AW published his book. Recrossing this, we now headed south to the unmarked top of Naddle Low Forest (B). So that just left the truly unnamed summit at 1296ft. No doubt about this as a neat cairn marks the top, and after crossing some bog this was attained. Now looped back south towards Low Forest on a path that came to a hurdle in the fence and so on to descend Highfield Crag to the valley track. This was followed left to Naddle Farm, here taking the signed gate on the right. Crossed the stream (almost completely dry) by the ford and climbed the steep zig zag track eventually to a gate in the wall, so regaining Rosgill Moor where our route was retraced to the car. A good day and our pal Little Eric was a very happy bear! Dad planned to go to junction 38 services for a hearty meal, but the cafe was closed, perhaps because it was bank holiday, and these services are mainly used by lorries. So instead he just drove us home.

 

15th March 2012 - Brock Barrow, Low Light Haw & High Light Haw from Selside Beck car park

The day was dry with just the odd spot of drizzle at times, but the heavy low cloud, meant there was little to be gained from going high, so it was decided to do these again and so progress Little Eric's outlying list. Last time we did these with Uncle Eric in 2006, it was a gloriously clear day. Today we had to imagine those wonderful views of the Coniston Fells! Started from the small car park by Selside Beck and walked along the road to Nibthwaite, going up the short narrow lane and through the gate. Took the path right by the wall and climbed up towards Brock Barrow ahead. The path skirts under it to the right but the old path up the hill on this side is long gone, so we took a spur left until reaching an old plantation with a ruined wall. Here climbing right we found the path that led to the neat tall summit cairn, which we climbed to have our picture taken, imagining the fabulous view we would have had, had it been clear. Then on to the lower cairn by the ruin, and right to climb soon to Low Light Haw with its cairn. Then on to High Light Haw. There is a cairn where Dad took our picture, but the top is about 50yds further on unmarked amongst the heather and moss. The cloud was down on Top O'Selside and as we had all been there before, it was decided instead to miss this out today. Gained the main path and followed this towards Top O'Selside, until the track from High Parkamoor came into view. Crossed to this, and walked left along it. This leads to Nibthwaite. We had however noticed a gate from the car park leading up the hillside, and reasoned that it led to this track. So when we reached the point where Selside Beck crossed the track, we took the kissing gate on the right and followed the path down. At first Dad thought we were wrong as the path went along in completely the opposite direction, but soon it described a circle leading unerringly to the car park. After Dad had phoned Uncle Brian, we then went to Jane & Sam's, where we always get to come in too. Dad had lovely vegetable soup and bread, followed by delicious apple apricot and chocolate crumble with cream. Nice time, and although a short walk Little Eric has ticked off 3 more outlying fells, taking his total to 61.

 

14th October 2011 - Irton Pike, Irton Fell & Great Bank from old quarry beside Eskdale Bridge to Santon Bridge road

On a cloudy and very misty day we drove over Birker Fell to Eskdale, parking in the old quarry below Irton Pike. Due to the very poor visibility, few photos were taken, but of course our reaching the summits was recorded. The main objective was Great Bank, our penulitmate Birkett summit. From the side of the quarry we climbed the path, signed 'footpath to Wasdale Head', through the trees. Birketts walk ignores Irton Pike, because it is less that 1000ft. However it is one of the Wainwright Outlyers, so we wanted to go there again for Little Eric's sake so he could tick it off. So, at the junction of paths, we turned left instead of going on ahead. As the climb levelled and at the t-junction, it was left to walk the clear path and make the gentle climb to the summit of Irton Pike. AW promises a great view of the Wasdale Fells, but this was lost in the cloud today. Our photo taken, the route was retraced, then keeping on ahead to the stile over the wire fence to open fell. The wide grassy ridge stretched out before us, the limit of visibility today being our next objective Irton Fell. Beyond it rises first to Whin Rigg then to Illgill Head, the grassy ridge above the forbidding screes that fall vertically into Wastwater. A clear path led on, but a herd of cows with big horns were straddled across it, so for safety's sake Dad took a detour left to avoid them. They stood staring at us as we passed by. Soon the path began to descend, so Dad struck up right towards some rocky outcrops, to join the main path along the ridge, that keeps close to the wall on the right. At the point where a path comes up from Miterdale, forestry work was being undertaken, felling a wide swathe of trees. One man with a tractor and cutting attachment, then a push, and it's 'timber'!! Continued to a cross wall and beyond the gate climbed into the mist, then we struck a little way right off the path to the cairned top of Irton Fell. Our pal Little Eric bagged this top today. We were to see no other walkers today, and it was eerily quiet here in the complete and utter silence, giving a very lonely feeling. The photo taken, Dad then walked on ahead to find the old wall, which was followed right, down to the corner by the forest. Crossing the fence, we then made the climb of Great Bank. This is clothed in thick heather and tussocky grass, and the fact that there was no clear path up the fell, Dad considered that it is probably little visited. The flat top is unmarked, so we sat amongst the heather for our photo. We all let out a shout of 'one to go'. I doubt my pals and I will ever come here again. Returned to the corner, then followed the wall on the left up, to come to the path by the gate. Returned down the fell keeping to the path by the wall, to come to the stile by a gate. The cows were there again, and stood staring at us. They did look rather fierce with their long horns. Beyond, the track descended to the junction, where we used the outwards route to the car. The paths were very muddy and wet, and nearly every step was squelch. Dad took a photo, to explain to Uncle Brian, why his trousers were so dirty. Driving back, Dad stopped at Jane & Sam's, for lunch, and we got to go in as well, as usual. He had lovely piping hot vegetable & chick pea soup, then delicious apple & blackberry crumble with custard. So.......that just leaves Pen, to complete the Birkett challenge.

 

16th April 2011 - Blawith Knott, Tottlebank Height & Burney, from the Giants Grave on the Woodland Road

We had not been out for two weeks, as Dad had been busy with other matters, so it was music to our ears when he said we were going walking. Dad had a long journey coming up on Monday to meet Uncle Bob and Aunt Ann at their caravan in the north Lakes, so it was decided to stay localish. Most of the remaining Birketts are a long drive, so instead, to push on Little Eric's Outlyer total, we returned to the Blawith Fells last climbed in August 2006 with Uncle Eric. We did the same tops, but a different route, covering some ground we had never crossed before. It was the first walk outing in Dad's new car too. The seats are very comfortable, and shaped in such a way that we do not roll around at all on the corners. Dad was glad too, not to meet any car on the narrow road single track road from the A5092 to the start by the Giants Grave. Once ready, we struck off up the clear path from the Grave, leading directly to the summit of Blawith Knott, with its neat cairn by the path, just adjacent to the viewpoint cairn. The day was dry and warmish, but there was a cool wind at times. The views were hazy at first impoving as the day went on. Continued on across the depression to tiny Lang Tarn. This is remarkable as with Foxes Tarn it is the smallest named tarn in the Lake District. Wainwright's route goes to left of tarn, but this path has fallen out of use, and a clear track bends right soon to reach the summit of Tottlebank Height, some large stones on a outcrop marking the summit. Then we descended the rough side of the fell to the buildings of Tottlebank. Went left for a few yards then right through a gate into a field. The waymark on the gate was confusing as it pointed right. Across the field there was no way over the fence, so Dad descended to where the farmers were tagging the lambs. Dad was right and the route lay beyond the gate at the bottom then by the wall to a corner. Passed through the kissing gate and over the next boggy field to intersect a cross path. Crossed this to a gate ahead, then drifted right to a small footbridge over a stream and up the field beyond to the buildings of Crooked Birch. All the time our next objective Burney dominated the scene in front. The fields were full of ewes & lambs- a lovely sight!! Walked to the road and a short way along until it became unfenced. Here we took the narrow path left to climb first to Little Burney and on to Great Burney, its summit marked by a trig point. Dad had pointed this out to us from the road this morning. Beautiful views from here of Coniston Fells, and west over the many outlying fells to Black Combe. Also of the Duddon Estuary. We had lunch here, gathering in a circle in the lee of the trig point out of the wind to eat our sandwiches. Now we retraced the route to the road, then struck ahead across the very boggy ground ( Dad's experience in the bogs of the Dales was handy here), to pick up the access road to Birch Bank. Where it entered the farm, we continued left on the track, that was deeply flooded in a number of places, but there were wide verges. This joined the bridleway from Tottlebank, and going left brought us to the start. A nice day out. Out pal Little Eric was happy to tick off another 3 outlying fells. So, guess what now. Well of course if was cafe time. We went to Jane & Sam's, where we get to go in too. Dad had a lovely ham lettuce & tomato sandwich, followed by apple rhubarb & cranberry crumble & cream (this is to die for). As usual there was plenty of banter with them, and Dad enjoyed a nice to chat to a lady & gentleman from St Bees - they come for the coffee!

 

1st March 2011 - The Crookdale Horseshoe from near Hause Foot, Shap Fell

When deciding where to walk today, Dad suggested to Uncle Eric doing some of the Outlying Fells he had not done, and in so doing helping along our pal Little Eric's total too. The nearest were those above Crookdale on Shap, and for our route we used that in the Birkett almanac. This started from the old drove road below the current A6 just south of Hause Foot and Crookdale Bridge, where we parked on the verge. The day was dry throughout but cloudy, only clearing to blue skies later in the afternoon. A cool breeze persisted all day. Walking a short distance along the road, we then climbed steeply left up Hazel Bank, to reach a cross wall that was climbed, to then continue over the rough terrain, on an easier gradient, to our first summit High House Bank named from the hill above the building of High House in Borrowdale below. There is a neat cairn but it is not at the summit, so we had to sit on the rough ground for our picture. Then on to eventually descend to the col, and through a gate in a fence, to cross very boggy ground to a gate in a wall. Beyond we climbed steeply left to Robin Hood, a small cairn making the highest point. Just below is a larger carin overlooking Borrowdale, where we sat with the lovely view for our lunch. Today was in fact our Dad's 60th birthday, so Uncle Eric kindly took his photo with us here to mark the occasion. Continuing along the ridge, the path descended before climbing again to the summit of Lord's Seat, the last on the south side of the valley. The top, just to the left of the path, we took to be the mound where there are a few stones, so completing the summit bagging today for Uncle Eric and Little Eric. Now for the return along the northern ridge, which we had in fact walked in December 2009, but in the opposite direction. Some hard walking was in prospect over the rough tussocky ground to reach the opposite ridge. Headed NW to descend over rough ground crossing Bleaberry Gill, that with other unnamed streams forms Crookdale Beck that flows in a sinuous course through the lonely deserted valley. Then on to round the ruined walls of Crookdale Fold, before climbing steeply by a ravine up Lawyer's Brow and on over more rough ground, although a thin path developed that made progress easier. This brought us finally near the fell wall, but before reaching it we cut off right, to the summit of Great Yarlside. In December 2009 it had been raining, so today was a better day all round, with fine views of the valley and fells. Despite the previous visit we still insisted on having our picture taken. So on, to descend the steep path, then find the hurdle to cross the wall and make the short climb to Little Yarlside, its summit being a little way to the left of the wall - we were out again for our picture. Quite a long descent and ascent east followed to Whatshaw Common. The last part by the fence was deep bog and although Dad was carefully walking along the wire, he slipped off and went deep in with his right foot, getting very wet. To avoid a repeat, he climbed over the fence to drier ground to gain the corner, warning Uncle Eric too. At the corner Dad climbed the fence to the unmarked summit of Whatshaw Common, our last of the day and our final picture too. Recrossing the fence, we then walked with it to our right, to come in sight of the A6 and down to the gate on the right to the bridleway. This too is part of the old road before the current A6, and lead in a loop down to a gate and over a field to Hause Foot where we crossed Crookdale Bridge and walked the road to the car. A good day, but hard going at times over the wet boggy terrain. This is very very lonely and unfrequented country, so it is perhaps good to have a pal with you, as if one fell, you might never be found. We saw no other person at all today! Just a few sheep now and again. And finally - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!

 

24th February 2011 - Claife Heights (High Blind How) & Latterbarrow from Ash Landing, Far Sawrey

Dad did not want to have to drive too far, so we suggested doing a couple more of the Outlying fells for our pal Little Eric. It was a dry but cloudy day (sunny in Morecambe so Uncle Brian said when Dad phoned him), with a cool breeze on the summits. After driving through the villages of Near Sawrey, where Beatrix Potter lived, and Far Sawrey, we parked at Ash Landing NT car park, on the road to the Windermere Ferry. Taking the path from the rear of the car park, towards the ferry, we soon arrived at the ruined building of West Station (nothing to do with a railway but a place to view the landscape in former times). Here we went left and climbed the steep winding path through the trees, then on over Mitchell Knotts to a gate on to a bridleway. The path like most today was very muddy and slippy, hardly surprising after all the rain. Here it was left (signed Far Sawrey), but soon we took the signed path right, heading north. We were actually on the 'white post' route (the tops of the signposts were painted white and numbered). This leads eventually to Hawkshead, and in fact we were to follow it to the start of the climb to Latterbarrow. The track led in past a small tarn, that had overflowed the path so Dad used stones by the wall to keep his feet dry. A good wide track that eventually climbed steeply up Low Pate Crag to come by a wall on the right. Here at the signed junction we took the path left through the trees. Rather indistinct and hard to follow, disappearing altogether beside Black Stone Mires, a bog to be avoided at all cost. Ahead we saw the small bridge we had to cross right. However first there was the obstacle of a large fallen pine tree across the path. Not possible to climb over due to sharp branches, so Dad had to crawl under having taken off his rucksack etc. Not very elegant! Over the bridge the track climbed through the trees, and in a clearing we spurred off right to the trig point on the rocky outcrop of High Blind How, the summit of Claife Heights. We sat on the top for our picture, then played jump off the trig point to see how far we could roll down. I won! Safely tucked in the rucksack again, we descended again to the path and on to a junction, where it was left to come shortly to a forest road. Going right, we very soon went left, to climb up and down on a narrow rough muddy path, that finally come out at a bridleway. We went straight on to the next junction marked Guide Posts on the map (well there is a complex four armed signpost). Here is was left, to, after about a quarter mile, turn off right to Latterbarrow, whose tall cairn could be seen distantly. The path went down and then up and to round a fenced area and on into trees, to a stile. Now finallt we left the "white post" route, that continued ahead towards Hawkshead, to climb half right up the easy slope to the summit of Latterbarrow with its tall elegant monument. Sadly the views were obscured by the cloud, so the hills were not in view but Hawkshead could be seen below on one side, and on the other Windermere and Ambleside. After a snack, we retraced the route, deviating trough the fenced area via the huge ladderstiles at each end, to the bridleway mentioned earlier. This we took right, the wide track undulating to pass the pretty Wise Een Tarn and Moss Eccles Tarn, eventually descending to Far Sawrey. Walking past the hotel, we climbed to the left of the road on a footpath in front of houses to descend again to the road - cut off a corner and safer than the narrow road. Then on downhill to the car park. Good walk, and our pal Little Eric has completed half the Outlyers. Dad then went to Jane and Sam's at Hat Trick Cafe, where we got to go in too. He had a pot of tea, and delcicious apple apricot and chocolate crumble with custard. And finally it was our pal Shaun's 14th birthday, which we celebrated on Latterbarrow, with some special cakes that Tetley and I had baked. Happy birthday pal, from us all and Dad too of course!

 

20th February 2011 - School Knott, nameless summit, Grandsire & Dales Way, from Ings

The day was very misty, with a biting wind at times. The paths, were very muddy in places, which is hardly surprising after all the rain recently. There had been a fall of snow on Friday/Saturday, but here it had all gone apart from a few patches on the hills. If we could have seen the views to the Crinkle Crags, Scafell Pike etc & The Langdales, we would have seen that they were all glistening white. Dad had originally planned to take us to Loweswater intending to tick off more Birkett tops, but he had been very busy of late and frankly could not face the long drive, and with the visibility the views would have been poor. So instead we suggested doing some of the Outlying tops that Little Eric has not done, these being only a relatively short drive. When we had last done this walk, before Little Eric had been adopted, we had started from Ings and Dad decided to do this again today as there is plenty of parking. In fact it is right by the Little Chef, and Tetley suggested, "You can go there for a meal after the walk". "Good idea", replied Dad. Walking through the village and passing the Watermill Inn, it was then left on the gated road, passing under the railway, to then take the first signed path on the right over the fields to Whasdike Farm, the path skirting it to the left of the buildings. After following the access track for a short distance, we then passed through a gate to head in the same direction over pasture and into Schoolknott Plantation. Once through, Dad took the first path left to ascend to the rocky outcrop at the summit of School Knott. Then using AW's route from the Outlyer book, we descended to the tarn, crossed the outfall, and stile beyond to reach the bridleway to Hag End. Crossing this and we made a direct climb to the nameless summit by the wall. As AW says the rocky outcrop on the other side is probably higher, but the land is private. We sat on the wall for our picture. Then descended right to the bridleway and once through a gate, climbed left to gain the elegantly cairned top of Grandsire. It was really cold up here in the biting wind, and we could not wait to get back in the rucksack after our picture and Dad was glad to get down and out of the full force of the wind. Descended by the wall, to regain the bridleway and pass through the buildings of Hag End Farm, and so to the road. Here it was right, to Outrun Nook, then left through a gate along the Dales Way, following this past Crag House, and on through three gates to a junction of paths by a wood. Here we left the Dales Way, taking the bridleway left to Borwick Fold. The sheep in the field followed us, baaing loudly. I guess they were being friendly to Shaun. At the road, we walked right a short way in front of the house, to go left along a footpath over pasture and through the end of the wood, to then descend to the road. Turning left this was followed all the way to Ings and the start. A nice walk and probably the best option bearing in mind the weather. Great for Little Eric to get his total to 49. Uncle Eric had quite a lot of Outlyers still to do, and Dad will be accompanying him, so this can only be good for Little Eric too. Maybe if this gets his total into the 80's, Dad might just agree to let him complete the challenge. I said to him, "don't tell Dad though." Having got his boots off, Dad indeed took advantage of the Little Chef for his main meal, having the Olympic breakfast, orange juice and tea. Well fortified, he then drove us on home.

 

15th December 2009 - The Wasdale Horseshoe, from Shap Summit, A6

Walking with Uncle Eric today. He still has quite a number of Outlyers to do, including the four that form this round. We had done these in 2005, but our pal Little Eric had not been born, so he too ticked off these tops, both as Outlyers and Birketts. It is a lonely and desolate area boggy at the best of times, but after all the recent rain, every step was squelch as Dad and Uncle Eric paddled along. The weather forecast was for drizzle at first, but in fact we endured rain and strong winds up to Little Yarlside, after which it was dry. From Shap Summit on A6 road, crossed the fence by the telephone sub station and over rough ground, to climb by a fence, to a meeting of fences. Over the fence to the left was the position of the OS map spot height marking the indeterminate summit of Whatshaw Common. Recrossed, then headed up by the wall, in the driving rain to climb to the summit of Little Yarlside - a wide flat top, so Dad used his GPS to locate the map spot height. On again by the wall towards Great Yarlside, its summit being on the opposite side, so we crossed using the gap. A relatively short but steep ascent, to soon arrive at the grassy mound of the summit, marked by a few stones. A short distance on the wall became a fence making it easy to recross. Now at right angles to our direction so far, over more bog, peat hags and rough terrain, then a path emerged, that led directly to the summit of Wasdale Pike. When Wainwright published his book in 1973 there were two cairns. One has now completely disappeared and the other has collapsed. Uncle Eric did a good job piling some of the stones up again and it looked much more like a cairn when we left. We appreciated his efforts too, as it enhanced our picture. Continuing, we now trended right to the fence. The sad remains of Wasdale Head Farm lay below, which we descended to, then along its old access track, to reach the edge of a plantation. Up the side of this, having to cross a rather wide beck swollen after the rains. Dad paddled his way over, while Uncle Eric walked over the fish trap using a head high wire to steady himself. A final steep section brought us the the A6, and up this to the car. We met no other walkers. Otherwise we were fortunate to see two groups of deer. Unusually we did not see one single sheep today.

 

10th December 2009 - Stainton Pike & The Knott

My very first blog at the bottom of the Outlyer page, explains why climbing Stainton Pike, was deferred for another day, and indeed Dad decided that it would become the last one to be climbed, to complete the 103 summits of the Outlying Fells. The other blogs [Outlyer page], include accounts of some tops none of us had ever visited, and others that Grizzly and I needed to climb, so that Shaun, Tetley, Grizzly, Dad and I completed them on the same day. It is also a Birkett top too, but there are still over 70 of those to do. For weeks it has been raining and Cumbria was affected by terrible floods, so walks were called off, but finally the weather changed. Despite the short days, and a very long journey to the start, Uncle Eric and Dad resolved to do this walk. There was low cloud as we drove over the Corney Fell road, but the day was dry throughout with sunny periods and no wind, even on the tops. Parked by a gate opposite Millside, and backtracked up the road to take the bridleway left, signed Bigert Mire 3 miles. Where the track bends left to Grange Farm, went through the gate ahead on the muddy wet and rather indistinct track. After some distance we reached the parapet of an ancient enclosure, so knew we were on the right route. Now crossing to, and climbing rather steeply up the ravine we came to the highlight of this approach, the beautiful double drop waterfall of Rowantree Force. Well worth the effort. Climbing further, crossed the gill and fence, then the final ascent to Stainton Pike, with its impressive and shapely cairn. We all let out a cheer and felt quite elated. Another goal achieved! Yes, they are lesser fells on the periphery of the main fells, but they are not pushovers, and have required some considerable effort over the years. Dad took our picture, and Uncle Eric took us with Dad. Now on to The Knott. Descended steeply by the fence, then crossed this and headed north under the slopes of Yoadcastle, to ensure avoiding the impassable bogs below. Soon a narrow trod materialised, and when due east of The Knott, we forked left and made a beeline for it. There are two cairned tops, but the one to the north is slightly higher although with the smaller cairn. Just a quick picture stop here. Uncle Eric bagged this top, too today. Down, and over a terribly wet and trackless field - hard going, to a gate, where we joined the muddy track to Stainton Farm. Then along the access track to Broad Oak, and the main road, and just a short walk uphill to the car. A great walk with good views, especially from Stainton Pike, and of the fells orange in the setting sun as we walked towards Broad Oak.

 

15th October 2009 - Cunswick Scar & Scout Scar

So the day dawned when Grizzly and I would finally catch-up with Shaun and Tetley. These modest fells are close to Kendal, so we started the walk from Uncle Eric's house. He had planned the route and it was full of interest. Walking down the private road off Kendal Green, Dad told us that Alfred Wainwright had lived along here. Across pasture, through the Hallgarth Estate, and over open country to Hollins Lane, to walk to the main A591. Some of the trees were showing their autumn colours and looked beautiful. Once across the main road and the Crook Road, we entered the woods and climbed gently up and out to a gate, then just a few yards to the huge cairn on Cunswick Scar. Sadly it was cloudy so the view to our beloved Lakeland Fells was obscured. Strolling south along the scar, we came to the Underbarrow Road. This crossed, it was just a short ascent to Scout Scar summit, marked by the "Mushroom". This is a stone cross shelter with a mushroom shaped roof. Inside all the fells that can be seen are shown round the rim. Almost without exception we had climbed them all, and we felt rather proud. Below was the beautiful and timeless Lyth Valley, a charming sight. Descended to a cross of paths, going left on a wide meandering track to a kissing gate on to the Old Racecourse. Although not used as such since the 19th century, the track was still clearly discernable. After some road walking, Uncle Eric then took us into Serpentine Woods. An enchanting place with a myriad of paths, wooden sculptures and relics from bygone days. None more so than the sturdy rectangular stone built block. Uncle Eric informed us that this was once the emplacement for Kendal's 1 o'clock gun. From 1873 until the 1930's it was fired to mark the normal dinner time for working men. It was fired by electricity through a telegraph wire from T & E Rhodes jewellers shop in Highgate (the main street). Descending it was not very far now to Uncle Eric's, but not before we had crossed a path called 'The Tram'. There had once been a tramway here to bring stone from Kettlewell Quarry, which at the time was used to build much of the property in Kendal. It is a grey stone, giving Kendal its nickname as "The Old Grey Town". A fascinating walk. Now for us all just Stainton Pike remains to complete the Outlying Fells.

 

30th August 2009 - Orrest Head & Allen Knott

Another poor day in prospect for the weather, so not worth going on the high fells. Instead Dad took us to Orrest Head. Grizzly and I needed to bag it as part of our Outlyer catch-up, so it would be good to get it out of the way - it was in fact our 100th. Little Eric bagged it too. From the Windermere Hotel, the large sign states it is 20 minutes to the top, and even stopping for photographs, that was all the time it took. The views are magnificent, and we looked over to all those fells that we had climbed on our many adventures. Continued north, eventually to Far Orrest, where we made the short climb to Allen Knott. Having the same name Dad took my picture on my own. It has similar excellent views, but we did not see them as the fells had disappeared in the rain that was fast approaching. Returned to Far Orrest, then over fields, climbing many step stiles, to Near Orrest. More of the same brought us to Common Farm, then along the road and into Common Wood - a delightful walk through here. Once in open pasture again, it was a relatively short descent to the main road and the car. None of us had been to Allen Knott before.

 

25th August 2009 - Black Combe, Stoupdale Head, White Combe & White Hall Knott

Uncle Bob was holidaying in Coniston, so we were especially pleased to be walking in the Lakes with him. He had never climbed Black Combe, and we were eager to do it again, to complete all the Birkett tops in this little group. From Whicham Church, a narrow road led to open fell, where we climbed right on a clear path. A steepish and unremitting climb all the way. When the upper slopes came into view it was a fantastic sight - all purple with heather. The path traversed left across the hillside, then turned right. Now, leaving the path we climbed right to soon reach the south top, with super views over the Duddon Estuary and for miles along the coast. Down tpast the small tarn, then a short climb to the trig point on the highest point - superb views to the high fells, Scafells etc etc. Descended to walk along by Blackcombe and then Whitecombe screes. Dramatic with steep drops. Then a gentle climb slightly left brought us to the cairn on Stoupdale Head. Now, backtracking a little to find the path, it was left along the ridge to the huge cairn on White Combe. Here we were afforded dramatic views of Black Combe, clearly showing why it is so named. The final summit was now clearly ahead below. After a steep descent to the col, traversed right to climb to the narrow ridged top of White Hall Knott. Went steeply down the face of the fell to gain a path through the bracken and so down to a gate. Here a very muddy path took us to the main road, then just a quarter mile on this to Beckside, where Uncle Bob's car was parked. He then drove us to Whicham to Dad's car. A cracking walk! Little Eric bagged all 5 tops, while the rest of us bagged two more Birkett summits. It was especially enjoyable to me, as it was my 5th birthday, and what better way to spend it!

 

5th August 2009 - Ponsonby Fell, Stone Pike & Swainson Knott from Blengdale

Today we were to bag the last of the four Outlying Fells that are most distant from home, as well as two Birkett tops in the vicinity. Near Gosforth a narrow road led to a car park by the River Bleng. We then walked up the wooded valley by the river, crossing by a footbridge. After climbing a path, and then along the forest road, we came close the the remote farm Scalderskew (but what a view they have!). From here on the terrian was rough tussocky grass and quite boggy too. Made the direct climb now to Ponsonby Fell (Outlyer). Breathtaking views east to Crag Fell, Caw etc with Great Gable, Scafells and Wastwater Screes. However the same cannot be said looking west, as it is dominated by Sellafield. Now north down to a col and bridleway. Crossed and climbed by the fence to Stone Pike, its top surrounded by now broken walls of a large sheepfold. Now an easy climb soon led to the Swainson Knott. An abortive attempt to walk through forest to the west, led to us contouring round the fell and so back to Stone Pike and down to the bridleway. Followed this to Scalderskew, then reversed our outwards route. A lovely day in what for us is a remote corner of Lakeland, and with such wonderful views.

 

16th July 2009 - Carron Crag

Walking in the Grizedale Forest, to reach its highest point at Carron Crag. This was another that Grizzly & I (and Eric too) needed to bag, on our catch up with Shaun & Tetley. On the way up and down enjoyed the views of Coniston and the fells behind, most notably the Old Man. A day of showers, especially when we reached the summit, where there was a torrential downpour for about 20mins or so. Dad sheltered under the trees but still got drenched. After it passed over our picture was recorded at the trig point. It took Dad a while to dry out. Of the 17 summits (15 for Grizzly), needed to be bagged to catch up with Shaun and Tetley, there are just three now left.

 

8th July 2009 - Dent etc from Cleator Moor

With Uncle Eric today. We were finally going to tick off some of the tops that are over near the west coast that we all had not climbed. Starting from Cleator Moor, we did a circle to take in firstly Flat Fell, and then descend to the Nannycatch Valley before climbing to the summit of Dent (this is in fact not actually in the National Park). However it is on the Coast to Coast route. The first part was pretty steep but once over the enormous ladderstile the ascent was quite gentle. Followed the signed route down and then through the forest to the road, then right along this to reach the car. Then a drive along some narrow roads brought us to Cold Fell. We actually met the farmer who owns the fell and talked for a while. It was a steady climb over trackless ground to the flat topped summit - a small cairn has recently been placed to mark it. The fell is unremarkable but the views are good to Scotland and today too we could see the Isle of Man.

 

21st June 2009 - Heughscar Hill from Askham

This was the last of the two tops I alone needed to catch up with my other pals. We started from the pretty village of Askham close to Lowther Castle Estate, and soon accomplished the gentle ascent. A fine and sunny day with nice views over to Ullswater and the fells beyond. To make it a round Dad took us by and over Moor Divock. We passed a stone circle known as The Cockpit, and visited a large stone called the Cop Stone, before passing more ancient standing stones on the moor. Wonderful views to the Pennines as we walked down to Askham.

 

24th May 2009 - Hampsfell from Cartmel

Our objective today was to climb Hampsfell. This is the hill behind Grange over Sands. We started from the village of Cartmel, with its magnificent Priory. Also famed for Sticky Toffee Pudding (something Dad is partial to). Wonderful walking through the woods with just the sound of the birds and hurrying stream. The blossom was out so we saw laden Hawthorn Trees. Also on one lane the verges were massed with Yarrow - breathtaking sight. As we climbed up to the summit there were extensive views of Morecambe Bay. At the summit is a building with a viewing platform known as The Hospice. It is a very popular walk, so there were lots of people there. One kind lady took Dad sitting wth us. It is an easy walk down with beautiful views over Cartmel. Dad took us on a tour of the village on the way to the car.

 

2nd May 2009 - Across Birker Fell

The lonely Birker Fell Road that runs between the Duddon Valley and Eskdale was our start point. A real mixed bag of tops today. The first was Great Worm Crag, a Birkett, and one of our few remaining Outlyers. Then we crossed White How and the rocky spine of Birker Fell, reaching a high point at Green Crag (1604ft). This is a Birkett top, but more importantly for Little Eric, it is a Wainwright summit which he bagged. The rest of the summits were all Birkett tops, first the rocky tower of Crook Crag, then descending to Great Whinscale and lower still to Kepple Crag. A long traverse now over rough and boggy ground. Dad admitted he got rather too low here so made harder work of it, but eventually he sighted the final tops on Birker Fell, namely Broad Crag and Great Crag. After these summits it was easier going keeping high up to avoid the bog and rounding Rough Crag to rejoin the outwards route.

 

26th April 2009 - Cocklaw Fell & Hollow Moor

Part of the catch-up for Grizzly and I, as well as us all bagging a probably little visited Birkett. From the A6 north of Kendal a narrow road runs for 5.5 miles up the valley called Longsleddale, to Sadgill. The day was dry with some sun but a cool wind. We crossed the bridge and climbed the By Way that leads to Kentmere. Leaving this left on a path we climbed on up and soon Cocklaw Fell our first objective came into view. Dad made for a gate in the fence, and soon the summit was reached, where there was a fine view of Skeggles Water. Walking over boggy ground we regained the path by a gate and then descended to another gate. Going right here off the path we now made the straight ascent to Hollow Moor the highest point on Green Quarter Fell. Wow, what a great view we had of Kentmere and its surrounding fells from here. Dad then crossed right to the unnamed summit referred to by AW in his book. The map has no spot height but AW says it is 1370ft, which was exactly what Dad's GPS indicated. Descended to the By Way and returned to Sadgill. Another little corner of Lakeland done by us all!

 

16th April 2009 - Dunnerdale

Walking with Uncle Eric today. He had not walked in this area before, so bagged all the summits. We had been to most of them, but for Grizzly, Little Eric and I, Stickle Pike would complete this group. It was sunny all day but the wind was very strong. Started at Kiln Bank Cross, above which towers Stickle Pike, to be our last top today. Instead we headed east on good paths passing the long abandoned Stainton Quarry, before climbing to the ridge, and reaching Raven's Crag (the unnamed summit in AW's book). I have mentioned the wind, and we must thank Uncle Eric for sheltering us while Dad took our picture. Along the ridge to descend to the col, then a steady climb to The Knott with its large cairn. A steep descent then right past Knott End Farm to the road, then over the beck and through Scrithwaite Farm. Along the bridleway and after the last wall we made the steep climb to the trig point on Great Stickle - in this wind no chance of sitting on top for our picture! Now over boggy ground on clear paths to reach Tarn Hill. Aptly named as about 5 tarns are scattered around this pretty area. Now over rocky ground we gained a path that led to a col below Stickle Pike. A steep but clear track led to the large summit cairn. All that remained was the descent, passing pretty Stickle Tarn, to the car.

 

5th April 2009 - Reston Scar etc from Staveley

I cheered when Dad said this walk would tick off more tops for Grizzly and I in our catch-up operation. A cold cloudy morning with the mist down on the hills, but it did brighten up somewhat later. From the village we gained a track that loops up the fell to the ridge and the cairn on Reston Scar. The next top was Hugill Fell, and thanks to the CRoW Act, the whole area is now access land. Thus we could walk directly to it, instead of having to return to Staveley and walk towards Kentmere to ascend. The track meandered and climbed to the small cairn at 273m. This is actually the highest point, but in AW's day was probably private, and so is not the Outlying Book top, but Dad took our picture nevertheless. On over the fell we soon reached the fine cairn that is Hugill Fell, and then down to the road. Along this beside the River Kent with the fields full of lambs - ah!! A footpath brought us to a bridleway, then off this up to a wall, over which we gained summit of High Knott with its impressive cairn the Williamson Memorial. A perfect lunch stop with a wonderful view of Kentmere. After reaching Heights Farm, the signed route crossed fields with step stiles over the walls to descend to the A591, and so to Staveley. One of the advantages for Dad of coming here is going to Wilfs for tea and delicious cakes!

 

5th April 2009 - Whitbarrow from Mill Side

A glorious day with blue skies and sun, which made a nice charge after the week of wind and rain. This was one of the tops I alone needed to bag so I was excited and eager to be off. A signposted footpath, after the houses led though a farm and into the woods. Various paths now climbed back and forth to the expansive top of the scar. Wow what a view - just stunning in all directions, but especially to the Lakes Fells, the names of which Dad rattled off. A clear path now undulated and wound its way along the scar eventually to the wall that encloses Flodder Allotment, known as the Hervey Nature Reserve (see the story for more details). Within this is the highest point known as Lord's Seat, where there is a neat cairn with the tablet dedication to Canon Hervey. We sat on the rocks to have our picnic and enjoyed the view of the Lakeland Fells and Winster Valley. Down to the fell wall, then and over the ladderstile. Ahead then left at the first hollow to cross a slight rise and then reach a stile in the wall again. Seems Dad might just as well have walked down left by the wall! The path now descended steeply and then zig zagged down again to reach a road. Walked left on this passing Witherslack School then took a bridleway left. This led to Beck Head and then Mill Side and the car.

 

16th March 2009 - Woodland Fell & Beacon Tarn

To the west of Coniston is this quiet corner of Lakeland and three summits that Grizzly, Little Eric and I had not climbed before. The tiny hamlet of Woodland was our start point. It was dry with sunny spells but still a cool wind that blew strongly at the summits. We set off along the road through Green Moor Wood and close to Hawes Farm, then along a walled track and on to open fell. The lovely way climbed up with Yew Bank the first objective ahead to the right. At the summit of the pass a path climbed right to the summit of Yew Bank with its impressive cairn. We clambered up it for our picture. The path through the heather passed another cairn, then a faint path up and down over very rough ground brought us to Beacon Tarn - a beautiful setting. Such a peaceful and tranquil place with no one around at all. Ahead was Beacon Fell and Dad made short work of the climb. Wow, I said what a superb view of Coniston Water. Descended then walked along the west bank and found a nice place to sit for lunch - just idyllic. Then we made the easy ascent to Wool Knott visiting both tops, the one to the right having the cairn where we were photographed. From here a good path led west to come to the bridleway. This was followed to Green Moor and on through the woods to the car. We only met two other walkers the whole day.

 

26th February 2009 - Bigland Barrow

A low walk today as the weather forecast was poor, but in the end it was dry all day. Dad took us to this top, so Grizzly, Little Eric and I could tick it off. Started from Rusland Pool, walking by the river. Then along the narrow roads to a section now a dead end that was once the main road. Into woodland on a delightful meandering path. This finally dropped down to the Lakeside to Haverthwaite railway line which we crossed. A path led to a bridge over the River Leven and then a tunnel under the A590. Into the village of Backbarrow and up into woodland. Here the path was indistinct for a while, but Dad soon found the way. At the bridleway we went left and climbed to the brow. We all remarked at the superb views here over the Leven estuary and to Hoad Hill above Ulverston. Another path doubled back up to the ridge, and on to a path that led unerringly to the summit of Bigland Barrow with its wartime look out post tower. We sat at the top of the steps for our picture. The clear path descended to the road at Mungeon Farm, then uphill to the gates to Bigland Hall. Walked through the grounds and by the tarn. Along the Cumbria Coastal Way now, descending through more lovely woodland to Low Wood. By the River Leven now, which is tidal here. It was in flood as it was high tide. In Roundsea Wood we took the path on the right to come again by the river and cross it by the old railway bridge (on part of the Lakeside line no longer in use), and then by the river to Rusland Pool.

 

22nd February 2009 - Walna Scar etc from Torver

This was to be the start of Grizzly and my catch up of the Outlying Fells, so that eventually we will all finish this challenge together. There were some Birkett tops too that none of us had done. It proved to be a wild day with the area we were in covered in cloud. Starting from Torver we headed to the Walna Scar road passing the old Bannishead Quarry. We met some other walkers who were heading up on to Dow Crag. Dad did not envy them knowing the dangers of being on that fell in high winds like today. Now in cloud we went in the opposite direction and after a short easy climb reached Walna Scar's small cairn. It was Birkett Fells from now on the first being White Pike, reached on a clear track that led straight to the huge cairn. White Maiden was next. Dad followed a path and then cutting off right to the cairn. Here the wind was horrendously strong and just blew continuously. Boy, were we glad to get our photo taken and down off the top!! The wall was followed for a while then we drifted away left on what seemed a good descent, and it was too, as we missed most of the worst of Dropping Crag we had to get down. There was one bit on a ledge and down into a stream but once that was over it was easy to the valley. Wonderfully we were out of the mist and the sun was out as we reached the rocky top of High Pike Haw, our last summit. Now NE on a clear path to intersect a footpath, where we went right and descended to cross the stream by the stepping stones. A rough track led down to Low Torver Park and left to Scar Head, then just a short stroll to the car. Oh, and just for the record, Walna Scar stayed stubbornly in the mist all day.

 

10th February 2009 - Howes & Nabs Moor etc from Swindale

We were with Uncle Eric who needed to bag these two tops to complete this area, so Dad had agreed to climb them again. Little Eric bagged them too. This year we were really having winter, so most of this walk was in snow. A great experience and the landscape looked fantastic as it was virtually cloudless all day. Drove as far as is allowed along Swindale, then walked the road passing Truss Gap and to Swindale Head Farm where it ends. The track now started to climb and the snow was quite deep. We met the only other walker today descending this. Just beyond Nabs Crags by a stream we turned steeply uphill away from the path. The snow was soft so making for hard going and Dad floundered at times, but with perseverance eventually level ground was reached. Rounding the crags it was just a short climb right to Nabs Moor summit. What magnificent views and we just stood a while to take them in. Now it was south to Howes. Easier ground here there being little gradient and in places the snow was hard frozen so making progress better. Crossed the fence that runs to the summit of Selside Pike, then headed SW to reach the summit of Howes, where there was more contemplation of the superb views. We saw many tracks in the snow left by animals, some mystifying in shape. Descended to a stream then down to the valley of Mosedale - deep snow again in places. We could see the bothy Mosedale Cottage, the only building. Joined the track then at a ford, we kept ahead through the snow on a narrower path above the valley floor, that eventually contoured left to a broken wall. No one had been here so we were in the deep snow again as we descended to recross the fence and come to the head of Swindale, where the bridleway led down to Swindale Head Farm. A wonderful day and a walk we will remember for sometime.

 

25th January 2009 - The Knott & Muncaster Fell

This was to be a day of extreme weather contrast. The quickest way to the start was over the Corney Fell road, but this was closed due to snow, so the longer route on the A595 delayed our starting off. At Broad Oak Farm the track led towards the hills, first to Stainton Farm. Finding the footpath from here was difficult so Dad asked the farmer - a very nice young man who pointed out the stile, tucked away. He said Dad would be better on the track through the yard, and looking at the rough ground on the opposite side of the beck we were all very glad. He said "look out for a yellow digger and then take the gate beyond on to the fell". It was rough terrain and hard going, so we felt sorry for Dad as he laboured on, but soon we were climbing the slopes that led eventually to the summit of The Knott (interestingly the locals call it Dyke Knott). The forecast said the weather would brighten but the opposite happened as a storm came over that lasted nearly an hour. The blackest of skies with torrential hail, rain and strong wind. Dad tucked us securely in the rucksack and sheltered as best as possible himself until it passed over, then Dad took our picture. We were dry but Dad was soaked. Our intention now was to climb Stainton Pike so off we went. The ground however was so boggy that it proved impossible to safely get across, so Dad decided to leave it for another day, and returned by the outward route. He had planned too, to climb Muncaster Fell, if time allowed. Dad now drove us to the castle car park, and then we walked up the track called Fell Lane - a steady unrelenting climb. This then became a footpath and branching left soon the summit, which is Hooker Crag, was reached. Such was the improvement in the weather we were able to sit on the trig point for our photo. The day was lovely now with blue skies and sun and the view was superb. Black Combe and all the fells running up to Harter Fell, Crinkle Crags, Scafells, Illgill Head, Wasdale Fells, Haycock, Caw etc. Tremendous! Most were covered in snow too. They say you can get all the seasons in one day in the Lake District and today bore this out.

back