ALLEN'S SUMMIT BLOG - WAINWRIGHT 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.


20th August 2017 - Buttermere Ridge (High Crag, High Stile & Red Pike), from Gatesgarth

11 years since we did this walk. Although Dad had not done much on the fells this year thought he would give it a go and in the process move on Little Eric's Wainwrights and Birketts. A dry day with fairly light winds but cold for the time of year. Much better conditions than the last time as the tops were clear of mist and the views were good. Parked at Gatesgarth paying the £4 fee. Then through the farm and over Peggy Bridge to start the long steady ascent to the top of Scarth Gap between Haystacks and Seat. Dad always tries to be careful but a momentary lapse meant he caught my foot on a stone in the path, stumbled and fell headlong to the rocky ground taking the impact on his knees. Having checked no bones broken he got up then inspected his knees. The right was just bruised, but the left was skinned and more heavily bruised, as well as a graze on the back caused by my stick. Well, perhaps a sane person, knowing that the walk was rocky and steep up and down, would have just decided to return to the car. That is not our Dad and he did not want to disappoint Little Eric. Very soon a narrow grassy path spurred off right this becoming a clear rocky climb of Seat. Met a group of three men from Barrow. They had been on Grasmoor etc yesterday in strong winds and horizontal rain. A challenging day. The summit of Seat is left of the path on a rocky rise. There are two the first with the less prominent cairn being the actual top, where we hopped out for the first summit picture. Descended to the path and walked on. Fine views over to the Grasmoor group and to Pillar etc as well as Ennerdale Water. Dropped down then on towards High Crag, the ascent being up Gamlin End. A steep and unrelenting climb as we remembered. The path zigzags up to the left of the scree that once long ago was the route. On and on Dad trudged to eventually come almost unexpectedly to the summit cairn. High Stile was now before us a mile away. So made the descent off High Crag the path meandering at times close to the vertiginous drops to the right, that provided fine views of Buttermere. So trudged on making the ascent, going a bit right to the large cairn that marks the top of Grey Crag and is in fact by 1m the highest point of the fell. Photo done, then walked across to the cairn above Chapel Crags that is the Wainwright and summit of High Stile. Here we met a young couple from York who were doing the walk the opposite way. Dad had a lovely chat and they liked the us! This was the case with other people too today. Full of our own importance once again! So Red Pike beckoned. Made the rough rocky descent off High Stile then it was a bit more grassy across the col and up to the summit with cairn and shelter. Our photo done, Dad talked with two young men with a beautiful golden labrador. Soft as anything. When Dad went to get his hanky out, the dog looked soulfully at him, they lads saying he thinks it's food. So now started the descent, which we had all forgotten just how long and unrelentingly steep this is to the lake shore The first section, The Saddle is so eroded that there are just scree gullies. Dad had to be so so careful. There was still grassy parts beside and he used these, which eased this somewhat. So at the bottom the path straight ahead was taken for the quite short climb to Dodd the last summit of today. Met a couple coming down, the girl saying, "tell me it's not far now." Dad pointed back saying, "the summit is the top of that crag, but the path is steep and rough." So Dad took our last summit picture at the cairn on Dodd. Then returned the same way and went left and down to Bleaberry Tarn. This and beyond down Old Burtness & Burtness Wood is a constantly steep path that has been repaired so for Dad makes very hard going and put lots of strain on the knees!!! Oh was he so glad to get down to the lake shore We kept meeting three young men, who I think were either Dutch or German. They too agreed how steep it was!! Finally called goodbye to them at the shore path. Now with a few rises made good progress on the shore path. Past gentleman who said, "have the bears behaved"! "Of course", Dad replied. Met a lady with her elderly mother where Dad had stopped to have a drink and she commented on the super view across the lake. She noted us too, loving the idea that I take them on the walks. So finally the welcome sight of Peggy Bridge and soon at the car. The tea bar was open so Dad had a lovely mug of tea and mars bar. Commenting to the lad about the tea, he said "it's the water. It comes from a spring on Robinson opposite." Chatted for quite a few minutes. So for Dad a hard day but rewarding. And the summit tally. For Little Eric and Southey it was 6 Birketts including 3 Wainwrights.

 

10th August 2017 - Seathwaite Fell from Seathwaite Farm

So back in the Lakes after a long break. Went to Uncle Eric's then continued in his car to park on the verge approaching Seathwaite Farm. Views terrific, and ahead in the centre was our objective for today. Set off through the farm and along the wide stony track to Stockley Bridge. Crossed and continued ahead on the climbing track towards Styhead. Passed through a gate in the wall where looking left to the towering Aaron Crags and the grassy gully that is very steep at the upper section being Wainwright's route A. We had decided against this so continued on until coming to a stream crossing the path. This was the point to make the ascent via Wainwright's route B, a wide grassy gully through the crags. We think that most of the ascents are done this way as a narrow path led off by the stream. A steady climb on the first section to a small level plateau. Then a narrow trod wound it s way on upwards contouring the steepening climb to reach the upper plateau, where the path led left for the final climb to the rock tor that is the Wainwright summit surmounted by a nice cairn. We quickly jumped out for our picture. Wide views over to Great Gable, Green Gable as well as distantly to Derwentwater and Blencathra etc etc. Great End dominates with Broad Crag, Scafell Pike and Lingmell. South across the wide flat top is the actual highest point Great Slack, a Birkett top. The area of the top is grassy with small pools and tarns and boggy in places. We descended by the way we had climbed the tor, and crossed avoiding a boggy area to take a narrow path left that led up eventually to Great Slack with its summit cairn. Sat just below to have lunch. Then off again descending to cross to a path that led south to join the track from Styhead to Esk Hause. Turned left passing the pretty Sprinkling Tarn, then up and down to a depression, where we took the path left that makes the long descent of Grains Gill, finally reaching Stockley Bridge and then reversing our route to the start. The day had been glorious with plenty of sun and light winds. Very busy on the fells unsurprisingly. During the day at least 4 people commented on us, saying like, "love the teddy bears. Fantastic." When Dad commented to one gentleman that some had done the Wainwright and Birketts he replied, "that's more than me." We were rather full of our own importance! So then then drive home, that was to take three hours! This was due to a coach having broken down just before Low Wood near Ambleside. But we joined the tailback between Grasmere and Rydal!! Goodness knows how far it eventually tailed back!! So a good day and another Wainwright ticked off by Uncle Eric and Little Eric.

 

30th July 2016 - The Calder Horseshoe from Coldfell road

So exactly 10 years to the day that we did this walk with Uncle Bob, repeated today so that Little Eric & Southey could bag the summits. Early start from home at 07:30, meant we were ready and walking just after 09:30. From the verge pull-in made the direct climb of Blakeley Raise. The fence came into view and the cairn, but we thought, there is something different. This is that the forestry has been felled. We sat at the cairn, then off again descended by the fence to a dip called Kinney How. A gate on the left allowed access to a short track to the forest road. Went right as Birkett instructed with Grike before us. After a while spotted the gate in the fence to open fell. Crossed the rough ground to find another forest road. New since Birkett book and actually was a straight on, where we had turned right. Through the gate then followed the clear path that climbed steadily to a stile and then shortly to the summit of Grike marked by three piles of stones one being fashioned into a shelter. The low cloud kept sweeping in obscuring the top of Lank Rigg to our right, and at this point caused Crag Fell to disappear, but it soon cleared off. Followed the track passing the weather station and on to a stile and then a good path that climbs steadily to the summit cairn on Crag Fell. Here met the only other walkers - three young lads and their dog. Dad was busy with the our picture, by which time the walkers had set off back. We then walked down the few yards for the superb view over Ennerdale, up the valley and across to the fells - Herdus, Great Borne etc. A path descends south, our route. This went on down and down to a stile into the cleared area of forestry and to the forest road. A few steps left the path continued, bearing round left to a stile by the Ennerdale Fence and another in a new fence a few yards further. Walked on by the wall to a corner and another little way to then strike right across pathless ground up the slopes of Whoap to finally pick up a path and arrive at the solitary stone and a small cairn at the summit. The ground generally was wet and boggy something we have not encountered for a while. A path crosses the summit but our next top, Lank Rigg was across the deep valley of Whoap Beck. A shoulder divides this from the valley of Red Gill, and this we followed on a good path to cross the stream and then climb steeply Lank Rigg to the trig point and cairn at the summit. Windy so we had to sit at bottom of trig point. Passed the little tarn, then headed towards Kinniside. Long descent, trackless and hard going. At the bottom crossed the rather soft and boggy Poukes Moss negotiating a few peat hags, and then up the fairly gentle slopes to the cairn. Now a clear path dropped into a depression before rising up the gentle slopes of Latter Barrow with its three cairns the one to the left being the summit. Swarth Fell and Burn Edge the last summits were to the right on the far side of the River Calder. We set off down encountering some rocks, but then saw the shepherds cairn mentioned by Birkett, so crossed to this for a virtually rock free descent to a stile an on to descend the steep side to the bank of the River Calder. Birkett says this is 'usually no more than a shallow stream'. Hmph! Not so at all! Dad looked to cross a calm section but it was deep, so went to section rushing over some rocks. Tried to use these but too slippery, so hell, he just waded over. OK he had wet feet but it was not too far to go to the end. Climbed the far bank to a stile in fence to open fell, and then up the steep flanks of Swarth Fell. Dad said, "this is hard going lads, but guess I am tiring a bit now." There is really no ridge so he just kept on going up and right to reach the rather elegant summit cairn (Birkett's words). Phew!! A path led down and up to Burn Edge. Following Birkett's instruction walked on past the 311m spot height going half right to the higher rise that is the summit. Amongst a few stones one is taken as the summit where we sat. So all the tops done. From here and from Swarth Fell we had stood and looked at the view of the Horseshoe pondering on the days events. Then made a direct descent towards the road and car, just using a very few yards of the bridleway to the road. Good day. Little Eric and Southey bagged all the summits. 9 Birketts including 3 Wainwrights. It was now 15:30, so Dad decided to just drive home arriving about 17:10, to Uncle Brian's surprise as he had expected us to be rather later.

 

12th July 2016 - Grasmoor, Wandope, Whiteless Pike & Rannerdale Knotts from Cinderdale Common

So much to our pal Little Eric's delight, this walk would see him finally complete all the fells in Book 6-North Western Fells. The day was dry throughout, but cloudy and at times quite cool, so not really feeling like July. Drove to Uncle Eric's then went on in his car using Newlands Pass to get to the start, a rough parking area on Cinderdale Common, just a little way past Hause Point. Walked round to gain the right side of Cinderdale Beck, following a clear path the climbed though the bracken, close to the beck. Soon it swung right and climbed steadily to reach the flat top of Lad Hows with just a single stone marking the summit, where we sat for our picture. The views were very good and throughout the walk they were extensive. Buttermere Ridge, Haystacks, Fleetwith Pike, Scafell Range, Great Gable, Helvellyns, Loweswater Fells, Fellbarrow Group, Skiddaw etc. Also distantly Ingleborough and Scottish Fells. Photogenically not so good as rather dark and little contrast due to the cloud. So walked on towards Grasmoor the path for a while being more grassy. Then less so as we climbed over a heather girt knoll. Here the path swung left and the gradient now became severely steep up the more narrow ridge. Rough and stony it zig-zagged the gradient unrelenting until this section was topped where the path suddenly became grassy. Phew!! From here more easily the climb continued to intersect with a wide path and here go left to soon reach the summit marked by a huge cairn fashioned into shelters. Here we settled for lunch, having snuggled into a little niche. A family, who had come up the same route as us, arrived soon after and commented on us, so Dad explained. The gentleman took our picture. Lunch over we said goodbye to them and headed off along the track we had used to the summit, keeping on this all the way to the crossroads, below Crag Hill. The path to this climbed ahead, but we went right to then almost immediately fork left on a grassy trod that climbed gently to the cairn marking the summit of Wandope. Its near vertical edge drops to Sail Beck in dramatic manner and impressive too is the huge hollow of Addacomb Hole. Done here, headed west on a clear path to the cairn we could see, marking the top called Third Gill Head Man. From here we had an impressive view of our next summit Whiteless Pike, reached by descending the narrow ridge of Whiteless Edge to the col at Saddle Gate and then a short steep ascent to the summit. Photo done, now made the long at at times steep and rough descent with and easier section in the middle, to finally come to the wide grassy path that goes right for the ascent to the final summit of Rannerdale Knotts. Not entirely as straight forward as it looked from above as the path undulated. The initial goal was a prominent rocky outcrop, which for a while we never seemed to get any closer to. Finally gained and crossed, the next outcrop was only a short way further this being the summit with a shapely cairn. "Yippee", cried Little Eric. "At last I've completed book 6! We all congratulated him and after we had had our picture taken, he then posed on his own with the book open at Rannerdale Knotts to record the occasion. Ready for the off again, we walked on north a little way to descend to a hollow and follow the path left. This made a steep rough descent to Hause Point and the road, and shortly along this to the car. "Well", exclaimed Tetley, "that has been a truly grand day out."

 

21st June 2016 - Black Star on Honister Crag, Fleetwith Pike & Haystacks from Honister Hause

Both Uncle Eric and Little Eric & Southey needed to bag these tops, so we devised the route. It was 10 years since we had last been on these fells! The day was dry with sunny periods and bit breezy in the afternoon. Getting to the start needed a diversion, as the Borrowdale road was closed from Keswick to Grange for resurfacing. That makes two walks in a row, with Uncle Eric where this has happened! So it was necessary to go on the west side of Derwent Water to Grange and then on to the slate mine at Honister Hause, parking in the NT car park. From here we headed up the quarry road to take the zig-zags and then soon after strike off on the path to Fleetwith Pike, part way climbing right to the rocky knoll that is Black Star on Honister Crag, where we hopped out for our picture. Dad insisted that we sit just below the top as behind was a long vertical drop that the wind could have blown us over! So the Birkett bagged we then walked on to the summit of Fleetwith Pike. Here met a young lady who Dad chatted to. On seeing us she said, "wonderful" From here and from Black Star and on the rest of the walk we had at times the breathtaking view of Buttermere, Crummock and Loweswater. The high fells, Gable, Kirk and Pillar and the Buttermere ridge were in superb definition today. Forgotten how beautiful and majestic this area is. So now took the winding descent path to the track at Dubs Quarry, here going right through the long abandoned spoil heaps. Crossed Warnscale Beck on the stepping stones and then followed the very rough and rocky path via Blackbeck Tarn and Inominate Tarn, to the summit of Haystacks with its rocky upthrust with cairns at each end. The one to the right is considered the top, although there really seemed no difference in altitude to us. Then we walked back to stop for lunch overlooking Inominate Tarn the resting place of Alfred Wainwright. Now retraced the route to Dubs Quarry and then keeping on the quarry road, passed round some mountainous gravel heaps and so down to the start. A truly grand day. As we left, the road descent to Borrowdale was closed, so we returned via Buttermere and Newlands Pass. Superb and with Dad not driving he was able to admire the views too.

 

5th June 2016 - The Dodds & associated Birketts from Dockray

To progress Little Eric's outstanding summits in Book 1, we decided to re-climb The Dodds, but doing all as one walk instead of two. It was a hot day with strong sun at times making for hard going on the ascents, but bearing in mind the heat Dad was pleased with his performance. Drove to Dockray, and then along the narrow road to Dowthwaite Head, parking in the rough area at Red Moss. Just two other cars there. Set off along the Old Coach Road to pass Wolf Crags and so to Mariel Bridge, with Clough Head, our first summit rising in front. A walk sheet we had used last time states there is no path but this is no longer the case. Just after the bridge it was left through the gate in the fence and then right by it to the second slight corner, to then branch left on the clear path that climbs first to White Pike, then round this and on up the fell, joining another path (the route in Wainwright), and shortly then to the summit shelter and trig point. Arrived with a group of walkers who had come up the other path. They were a little amused by us having their picture taken. One commented I was cool with my rucksack and rope and ice axe. Now on a clear wide path we headed down, to branch off right and gain the summit of Calfhow Pike with its cairn where we sat for our picture. Sadly the day was hazy so the views where not so good but the outline of the vast array of fells could be seen. Dropped down to rejoin the path that leads to Great Dodd. It climbs steeply to the ridge St John's Common, and here we took a narrow path right to the cairn marking the summit of Little Dodd. It would have been so easy to just climb to Great Dodd now, but other fells had to be done. Continued on the narrow path round Mill Gill Head to join another path from Great Dodd and then at the junction go right to the prominent cairn on Watson's Dodd. That done did the second side of the triangle to join the path to Stybarrow Dodd. At first Dad went right, but soon realised this was to the south-west top, so he turned back and then up the trackless slope to pass the cairn at the summit, and on to the stretch of broken wall. Here we met a gentleman called Jeff Spencer, who seeing us said, "I have met you before". He said it was a couple of years ago on Sheffield Pike, however we had not been on that fell for 8 years. He took our picture and with Dad too, to show his wife. Later he e-mailed, telling us that his wife had confirmed it was in 2008, and we can recall meeting Jeff his wife and another couple at Heron Pike. So now we walked down and up to White Stones on Green Side, a Birkett summit that Little Eric needed to bag. Then returned to Stybarrow Dodd, passing Jeff coming the other way. At the summit cairn we hopped out for our picture. Descending we took the third side of the triangle and so finally up to Great Dodd, the summit being the large cairn beyond the shelter. Dad stopped to phone Uncle Brian. A small cairn ahead and left marked the path down off the fell, and on to Randerside, where sa path branched right to the summit. High Brow was next and we could see that there was a path to it. For a short way Dad descended over the rough ground to gain this and then follow it on and on to the summit with its cairn. From here the wide tractor track wound on eventually to a hollow below the last summit Low How. At a small col Dad struck right up to the summit with a small cairn. Then we returned to the track which led to the Old Coach Road just yards from the gate and car park. A great day Little Eric & Southey bagging all 10 summits. On the drive home, near Penrith we ran through torrential rain. Just glad there had been none on the fells. Grand day!

 

29th May 2016 - The Knott, High Street, Thornthwaite Crag & Gray Crag from Hartsop

A glorious day with lots of sunshine and light winds, so it was shorts for Dad. This walk today would be a milestone for our pal Little Eric as it would mark the completion of Book 2-Far Eastern Fells. Wanting to get the climbs done before the real heat of the day, we set off at 07:45, driving over Kirkstone Pass to Hartsop, parking on the rough area at the far end of the hamlet. There were already quite a number of cars parked, but it is Bank Holiday. Ready and off by 09:00 we headed up the track. A notice told us that work was ongoing on a hydro-electric scheme, so whilst the main path was open, there was the alternative along the road to the Filter House. This was used to purify the water when Hayeswater was a reservoir. No longer now and the dam has been removed. Beyond the filter house climbed the large step stile and then crossed the gill by the footbridge, climbing on to reach Hayeswater. Towering above was our first objective The Knott. From there the path climbs relentlessly on a trudge to finally join the main path from Angle Tarn. Following other walkers we left this to climb right by a wall the final section to the summit of The Knott. We sat at the cairn and being seen by a Scottish lady she kindly took the photo with Dad too! So now descended to the track and followed it towards High Street. Paused to view Riggindale and Haweswater and see the ridge of Rough Crag we had climbed last Tuesday. A couple asked Dad if it was Haweswater. He told them that Riggindale was the home to the only Golden Eagle, but it is thought to have died over the winter. Walking on the path divides and they asked, "which way to the summit." Dad replied , "left by the wall." As we had been at High Street only last Tuesday, we decided not to bother having out picture taken. The views were magnificent. From Coniston Fells, Scafells, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Langdales, Fairfield, Helvellyn, Dodds to Blencathra & Carrock Fell. So then had another sandwich and sat here a while before walking to Thornthwaite Crag. Probably the most recognisable summit with its tall chimney shaped cairn. The formalities done, it was north to Gray Crag. Another couple were ahead and stopped seemingly debating. Dad had stopped to take picture of view to Ullswater, and then said, "this is Gray Crag", to help them. Dad explained the summit was by a wall the highest point being just before and the cairn that AW considered the summit just beyond. We got little behind them as Dad phoned Uncle Brian, who was about to settle down to watch the Monaco GP. A cross wall was reached, which confused the couple. Dad apologised and told them it was further on. After ups and downs the summit was finally reached and we all walked to the cairn together this being the summit in the Wainwright shown as 698m. The couple now turned back, and we said goodbyes wishing them well for the challenge to climb the 214 that they had embarked on. So that was it Little Eric had finished Book 2. We all gave him a hug then there were the photos. First, all of us, then Little Eric on his own with the book open at Gray Crag. Then for completeness we walked back to cross the wall to the 699m spot height and highest point. Here we found the couple from Manchester sitting behind having lunch. Dad used the GPS to get position and we sat against a rock for our picture. Finally now saying goodbye to the couple, it was across the wall and on past the cairn, to make the steep winding descent to the main track and so down to Hartsop. Great day and of course Little Eric was a very happy bear!!! I should add that Southey also bagged the same summits. Time for refreshment for Dad, going to the newly opened Cafe Ambio at Ings. Here Dad had a pot of tea, a huge fruit scone with butter jam and clotted cream and piece of very fruity flapjack. A perfect way to round off the day he said.

 

24th May 2016 - Rough Crag, High Street & Mardale Ill Bell from Mardale Head

Dad suggested this walk, as it would enable Uncle Eric to complete all the fells in Book 2, and advance Little Eric's goal in this respect too. The drive from Uncle Eric's was longer than expected due to the closure of the road from Shap to Bampton. The diversion took us via Askham. The day was cloudless skies to start but the cloud rolled in from about midday. Cool on the tops in the easterly wind that got up. From Mardale Head took the path on the north side of Haweswater, to take a steep narrow angled path left to gain the ridge above The Rigg. Here we met a gentleman who was doing a similar walk to us but also taking in Harter Fell. Chatted a few minutes. He had been on High Spy and Dale Head yesterday. He was also interested in the Pictorial Guides, wanting to get the originals. He was only 47, so soon disappeared from sight. So then we made our way along the ridge the path never in doubt. Scrambly in places as it wound its way over the crags, to reach Rough Crag with its cairn. This was a Birkett that Uncle Eric and Southey bagged. Then descended to the grassy dell of Caspel Gate, before climbing Long Stile the steep final push to the wide flat top of High Street. Then it was just a short stroll left to the trig point. Views fantastic today from the Solway Firth north to Blackpool. Wonderful view of the fells. Coniston, Scafells, Gable, Blencathra etc. Met African gentleman here, and we had a bit of a chat. He was interested that Dad and Uncle Eric could name the fells, and in the Pictorial Guide. We sat on top of trig point with help from Uncle Eric. So now made the gentle walk across grass to the main surfaced path and go left to gently climb to Mardale Ill Bell. This was the completion of Book 2 for Uncle Eric and for Little Eric moved him closer to the goal. The route was now down to Nan Bield Pass, stopping in the shelter of a large rock for lunch. Then made the rocky steep and rough descent on the winding path to Small Water. The path then continued the descent at first close to Small Water Beck with a pretty waterfall and on to the start. A grand day out and a good work out for Dad. Great to be back in the Lakeland Fells!!

29th November 2014 - Holme Fell, Black Crag, Tarn Hows & Glen Mary from Glen Mary Bridge

Another lovely autumn day, with blue skies and little wind and mild, although the views were very hazy and closed in more as the afternoon wore on. We started from the car park at Glen Mary Bridge. Walked the road to Yew Tree Farm, taking the track right before the farmyard through woodland and into Harry Guards Wood. At the waymarks by a large boulder we took the path left that climbs steeply. This went on and on finally cresting the ridge at Uskdale Gap on the wide area that is Holme Fell. Immediately took a path left climbing on to eventually reach Ivy Crag with its substantial cairn. Although not a summit we leapt out for our picture. West across a basin with various ancient trackways is the higher outcrop being the summit of Holme Fell. There was another couple on this and we effectively exchanged places as by the time we reached the summit, they were at Ivy Crag. Descended to the basin and crossed to the narrow scrambly path that steeply led to the summit cairn. Photo time again! Now headed north down off the fell to the depression. It was a little hard to follow Birketts instructions. He says to cross a dam wall, but Dad was not not sure if he actually crossed the wrong way. However a narrow path led on and soon we saw the wide bridleway track we wanted and so descended to it. There were a group of teenagers who were dashing around up and down orienteering. Good for them too. We passed them sitting having lunch with their adult teachers, on our way past the huge hole that was once Hodge Close Quarry. This led to a gate onto another track. Went right and followed it through High Oxen Fell, where Dad timed it right to hold the gate open for some 4x4 vehicles. All the passengers said thank you. At the junction it was left to Low Oxen Fell & the A593. Here we met the couple who had been on Holme Fell and Dad chatted to them, to the main road where they had parked. They noticed us and commented. Crossed the road and took the track rising left that climbed on and on up Hollin Bank. Met a group of walkers coming down, and one lady said, "I am glad we are not going up!" A gentleman noticed us and commented. So on through a gate left in the wall and on and on again through another gate and so finally to another gate onto the fell. Here there was another group of walkers looking at the view. Dad stopped to have a drink and we were noticed again. Walked on a few yards then, Shaun said, "we should be going up left by the wall we have just come through." "You are right", replied Dad. Climbed this path to eventually take another climbing right, and so on to ascend finally to the trig point at Black Crag the summit of Black Fell. A sign on trig point tells you exactly where you are. Here we met a gentleman from Blackburn and chatted. He totally understood about us, saying he knows someone who takes a penguin! He told us that one of his walking pals is doing the Birketts. Dad remarked that we had done that. Whilst not windy there was enough of a breeze here that prevented us sitting on top of the trig point so we had to sit a the base. Then headed down on the main path and into Iron Keld Plantation, walking down to a gate where it was left on a descending track. Here a group of about half a dozen land rovers were trying to get up. At the time the lead one was stuck against a large rock and all the other drivers were looking on. Dad said how are your reversing skills. There was some laughter. As we walked on, then heard a cheer and sounding of a horn. He had got over the rock. Dad called back "well done." Just the others had to get up now! So at the corner took the path left and walked to Tarn Hows, and on by this to Glen Mary. Lots of people walking here, unsurprisingly. Nice moody views of the Tarn. Descended Glen Mary passing Tom Gill waterfall to the car. Met the group again we had seen just by the start of the climb to Black Crag. They were climbing to Tarn Hows where they were parked. Dad exchanged some cheery words. So now drove home via Coniston etc. Great day. Good to be on the fells and another step closer for Little Eric having bagged two Wainwrights and two Birketts.

 

5th November 2014 - Lingmoor Fell & Side Pike from Blea Tarn

This was one of those days where the views were amazing!! It was great to be out and on our beloved fells. We had not climbed these since 2006, so today Little Eric and Southey bagged the summits. Terrific views of the Langdale Pikes from above Elterwater, Dad stopping to get a shot. Then on to the end of the valley where the road turns sharp left and up the zig-zags, having to wait for a digger to move off that was working on the side of the road. Then on along the narrow road walled to one side past Bleatarn House to the car park. We walked down to take a picture over the tarn of the Pikes, before setting off along the road descending towards Little Langdale. Passed a disused quarry and then after a few yards saw the grassy track with the barrier to stop vehicles on the left. This was the route. Climbed, then crossed a boggy area, where the path emerged along by the wall. Through a gate then forded the beck. Dad climbed up a small stream as this seemed the path, but looking back saw we should just have gone right up a rocky step. Then on and on under the slopes of the fell. Dad stopped to take his jumper off and this is where he left his stick by the side of the track!! This is the third one he has lost!! Met a couple, Dad chatting briefly, then on to the buildings below the wall. Taking a shot looking back of Little Langdale Tarn, it was here he realised no stick! Dad decided not to go back, so someone will benefit! Followed the wall on to then start the climb of the old quarry track off left. A walker was taking a photo and headed off. Dad noted a glove on the ground and called to him reuniting him with it. They chatted a little. Climbed on up the zigzags, and at a cairn we kept right by the wall. On a rise was a stone seat where we sat a while and Dad took our picture. Coming to the main track again and it was on and on passing the wavy wall. At one point there was a superb view of the Crinkle Crags etc. Oh what joy! So finally to the summit crossing the rickety stile. Lots of people here too. we sat on the cairn for our picture and remained there while having lunch. Not long before we were noticed by a man who took our picture. Then Dad chatted to him and his party. A lady reckoned she had seen us before or the website! So finally set off on the rough rocky path to descend and come to the base of Side Pike, the gentleman whose glove Dad had found being there too. There is a flake of rock with a narrow gap between it and the fell that is the path. Necessary to take the rucksack off to get through. The gentleman kindly took Dad's when he passed it. Poor Southey got his nose rubbed against the rock, but said he was non the worse! Dad squeezed through then the gentleman kindly held his rucksack for him to slip on. Walked on seeing again another couple who we had first seen crossing a stile onto the ridge. Dad had chatted a bit earlier to them and the gentleman now he asked about the GPS. He said his wife was often worried they would get lost. It certainly is helpful So now we climbed steeply to Side Pike which like Lingmoor, Little Eric and Southey bagged. Then returned to ridge and continued down. Rough and rocky steps. Hard going. Not having been on the fells recently Dad felt he had lost some of his strength, and his knees were hurting too. Came to road by the cattle grid. A couple were just ahead, and the gentleman held then gate open for us. On and off Dad talked to them as we walked along the path that leads behind Blea Tarn and so round to the car park. There were lots of people with cameras and tripods just taking the views in the excellent light and visibility today. The cafe at the shop in Chapel Stile was closed today and Chesters at Skelwith Bridge, from the number of cars must have been packed out, so we just came home and Dad had his tea and biscuits then, as did we. A super day!!

 

21st September 2014 - Kentmere Pike, Goat Scar & Shipman Knotts from Longsleddale

Dad has been suffering with the recurrence of this shoulder & neck pain, but this is getting better thanks to visits to the osteopath. As a result we had not been walking, so today it was great to be going on the fells again. Wanting to progress Little Eric's book 2 fells, it was decided to do some on the Kentmere Horseshoe. We drove to Sadgill along the narrow road of Longsleddale. Stopped at the church to take photos, which meant we missed meeting the van and car coming the other way. Got past a cyclist, but then met another car that kindly backed up for us. Then rounding a bend we met the group of 8 sheep in the road, with a car coming the other way, but that could not progress because of the sheep. So using the car Dad gently drove them the short way so that they went into a gateway, allow both cars to progress! This was all before we even got to the start. The day was dry with sunny periods and a cool wind at times. So set off up rough track of the pass with the fells we were to climb to the left and Buckbarrow Crag on the right. Climbed on until just past the zig zag, to find a metal hurdle in the wall. Climbed then crossed the River Sprint, and by the ruined wall made the steep climb up Steel Pike. After the lay off Dad was pleased that he performed well not getting too out of breath, but he said his legs had lost just a bit of strength. The ascent was scrambly at times, and seemed to go on and on, but eventually more level ground was reached. Then headed on the rest of the climb to the ridge. There is no path, and we took a route more to the right of that shown in Wainwright, crossing a boggy area, then up by some outcrops and on to gain the ridge with just a short adjustment right to the trig point at the summit of Kentmere Pike. Despite the wind we insisted on sitting on top, and after a bit of difficulty Dad snapped out picture. Then We climbed the stile for our picture on the cairn. Returning to the trig point, we then walked by the wall and fence to the cairn at the viewpoint on Goat Scar, that gives a terrific view of Longsleddale, but a little hazy today. There were super views too of the other side of the horseshoe (Ill Bell Froswick etc), but again hazy. Dad took our picture at the cairn. However the actual summit is just over the stile at the corner of the fence, so Dad took a GPS reading there too, but as it was not very far from the cairn we did not bother to get out again for a picture. Now walked down to cross the ladderstile and on to Shipman Knotts. AW has the summit on the left of the wall, but this is not accessible,, and the small cairn stands on a rock at about the same height on the right side. Again we settled for our picture. Decided to have lunch so Dad moved his stuff a few yards to free the summit for an approaching couple with their lovely sheep dog Kegs. We had not moved by the time they arrived, and had thought their eyes had deceived them! They thought is was lovely idea Dad taking us walking and mentioned our website. They headed off and we then had lunch. Setting off again, Dad eventually took a path away from the wall, but less steep that brought us to the track nearer to Kentmere side, so making a slightly longer walk back to Sadgill. Along here met two cyclists. One commented on Dad's camera bag, saying, "you don't see many of those now." Dad agreed saying, "the company has closed down." This led to more chat about different things , then he saw us. Dad explained and they both thought this was great and quirky too, such that one and one suggested to the other that he tweet my website later. Great we thought more hits then! So leaving them to ride on to Staveley and Wilfs Cafe, we walked on to the car. So nice to have met the lovely people today!

 

31st July 2014 - Hard Knott Roman Fort, Border End, Hard Knott, Yew Bank & Lingcove Bridge from Jubilee Bridge

This was a repeat of a walk we had done in July 2006, was new to Little Eric and Southey and Uncle Eric too. They all needed to bag the Wainwright summit Hard Knott, and for Little Eric the others advanced his Birkett total. The forecast was for showers at times, but whilst it was not sunny, it stayed dry throughout. Some cloud on higher fells but this did lift off for a little while. Met Uncle Eric at the parking area at the foot of Hard Knott pass just beyond Jubilee Bridge, which has been a familiar start point over the years most notably for the successful conquest of Pen to complete the Birkett challenge. Walked the road up the pass to then take the signed path that initially climbed by the wall then swung away right upwards to Hard Knott Roman Fort, which we looked around, and took in the commanding views over the Esk Valley and up to the summit of the pass. The Romans certainly knew exactly where to site it. Then leaving by the NW gate, followed the path on that looped round behind some outcrops and so on to the road again but much higher up the pass, to walk on to the summit marked by a cairn. Although not a mountain summit we insisted on having our photo taken. Hard Knott is one of the most difficult and challenging routes for motorists in England, and care is required negotiating the sharp bends and steep climbs. All the time the bulk of Border End, our first summit had towered over us. Within a few yards took the clear path climbing left up to the ridge and reaching a boggy hollow. Birkett in his book says to now bear off left a cairned outcrop, but now a path goes on by the hollow and then bears left avoiding the cairn and straight to the next rise that the OS consider is the summit. There is a cairned outcrop further on but although it seemed higher it was probably the cairn that made it seem so. So now retraced and down to the hollow. It might have been better to walk back further before climbing Hard Knott as we would have been on the main path. Still another path led up, if quite steeply. Climbing a rise right we then had to descend east to a hollow and then up to the summit marked with a cairn with a metal rod sticking out of the top. Dad remarked laughingly to Eric, "is that a mobile phone tower?" In a way if had it would have been useful as that as there was no service at all in this area!! That is why there is a phone box by the road at the entrance to Brotherilkeld Farm. So that done we headed north on a clear path that descended the long shoulder with Mosedale to the right. After the initial descent the rock towers of Yew Bank came into view left above a small tarn. We climbed to this summit. So that was the summits done - 3 Birketts and 1 Wainwright. Had our lunch here, then walked on down the shoulder to reach the Mosedale Path by Lingcove Beck. The head of the Mosedale was before us between the Crinkle Crags and the ridge of High Gait Crags, Pike de Bield and Esk Pike. This scene was a truly dramatic prospect. The Crinkle Crags dominated above Mosedale to the right, then Bowfell and Esk Pike ahead. Round to the left are Ill Crag, Broad Crag, Scafell Pike, Scafell & Slight Side!! Also lower the fells such as Scar Lathing adding to the drama. An amazing scene. Along here we had seen the only other walkers a couple heading in the opposite direction. So at the beck we turned left and walked down to Lingcove Bridge. The path is steep and very rough and rocky. Hard going. Lingcove Bridge is just a delight and we were pleased to visit it again. The graceful arch of the packhorse bridge spans Lingcove Beck just at its confluence with the River Esk. A lovely scene. So now all that remained was to walk down Eskdale on a more level and less rocky path. We got a view of the 50ft Eskdale Needle, high on the hillside to the left. Lots of sheep throughout the walk. Our lovely Herdwicks with lambs. After a ladderstile the path was pretty grassy to a gateless gap then via a gate into a fenced path above the river, and so out to the yard of Brotherilkeld Farm. Walked the access to the road and uphill to the parking (nearly another 100ft!) So a good day, with Uncle Eric for company and we were pleased for him as he had never been here before.

 

23rd July 2014 - Little Carrs, Great Carrs, Swirl How, Great How on Swirl Band, Grey Friar & Hell Gill Pike from Wrynose Pass

The Coniston Fells were on Uncle Eric's to-do list and indeed our pal Little Eric's too. Dad suggested this route starting from Wrynose Pass and ascending via Wet Side Edge, to which Uncle Eric agreed. Uncle Eric drove, taking it carefully through the narrow roads of Little Langdale, then on up Wrynose Pass to park just below the Three Shires Stone. Walked on a few yards to then go left crossing the stepping stones and following the clear path up the fell. We were passed by a party of school children from Church Stretton in Shropshire. The leader chatted a bit to Dad and Uncle Eric as he passed and then later as they all passed us again having stopped for a rest. The ridge reached we climbed on up, passing Hell Gill Pike that was decided to be left for the descent. Soon Little Carrs was reached the cairn being just yards off the path, and we were soon out for our picture. Then more steeply on the stony path to the summit of Great Carrs, the cairn finely placed above the steep precipice that drops to Greenburn Valley. Pictures done here, it was on round the rim of the crags and then the short climb to Swirl How. A family from Austria?, were at the summit. They are spending 8 weeks in the Lakes doing the Wainwrights. One son proudly showed off how many they had done so far, and the ones that they were planning to do in the coming weeks. Very nice people and they loved the idea of Dad taking us! So then we headed on the short distance to Great How on Swirl Band, a rocky upthrust of a crag, the cairn again being just yards from the path. This was a Birkett and Uncle Eric had agreed to do this so that Little Eric and Southey could bag it. It was not too far from Swirl How, about a third of a mile. Here we had lunch with the superb view over Levers Water and down to Coniston. Also on the opposite side of Seathwaite Tarn. All day we had had magnificent views, of these fells, Scafells, Helvellyns, Bowfell etc etc. Wonderful! So now we headed off taking a contour west under the summit of Swirl How to join the path that climbed steadily to Grey Friar, the summit being the small upthrust ridge to the left with the smaller cairn. The one to the right had a much more impressive cairn! There is a rock here that looks like the Matterhorn, and I hopped out of the rucksack and did some rock climbing on it! Dad put the picture on Facebook which pleased me! Now made the reverse descent then took the path half left, that skirted below Great Carrs and rejoined the main track, and continued on down, deviating the short way left to the summit of Hell Gill Pike. So that was the summits done, 6 Birketts and 3 Wainwrights bagged by Uncle Eric, Little Eric and Southey. So on down the path we had climbed this morning. At a cairned junction we should have gone left, so therefore had to make the last part over trackless grassy terrain, but it was not too difficult, and it only involved about 300ft to the road. At the Three Shires Stone, Dad took our picture again. Allen & Grizzly were sitting in Lancashire, Shaun and Tetley in Cumberland, and Southey and Little Eric in Westmorland! A great day, and what fabulous views we had had.

 

20th July 2014 - Angletarn Pikes, Brock Crags & Rest Dodd from Patterdale

With Dad having been away at Armathwaite Hall and other commitments it was three weeks since the last walk and so great to be out again. The day was sunny at times but more cloudy in the afternoon with a little light rain for a short while, but very warm. This walk was to further progress Little Eric's, Book 2 campaign. Also we had not been to these summits for over 7 years. Parked at the Patterdale Hotel as usual for this start, and then walked the road towards Glenridding to soon go right on the access to Side Farm. Through the buildings then right on the wide surfaced track to a gate then to another and here left though the gate to open fell. Then we made the quite steep climb to Boredale Hause. There was a guided party of walkers along here and we passed them, and then they passed us as Dad took a rest. We thought they were going up Place Fell, as they took a path left of the main ascent, but later we saw them coming along the High Street path behind us, and then later ahead above Angle Tarn. Did not then see them again. So at the Hause, it was right on the High Street path, to come after a while below Angletarn Pikes. In truth we should have taken a left fork at a junction, as this would have saved Dad a little bit of climb on rough grass to gain this path! Then followed it as it wound right then left and up to the summit of the north pike the highest and so the Wainwright. We were out for our picture as usual. Three gentlemen from Carlisle arrived and saw the us so Dad had to explain. They were doing the Wainwrights and had about 70 to go. Chatted about various walks including Ennerdale where one of the party had once lived. We all remarked on the long walk in to Gillerthwaite! On request Dad took their picture, and one gentleman took us. So they headed off to Place Fell, while we descended then climbed to the south pike (Birkett). Superb view of Angle Tarn. It is quite beautiful nestled in its surrounding low hills. Also superb views of the Helvellyn Fells, Fairfield Horseshoe & the valleys of Dove Dale and Deepdale and to Red Screes. Wow!! Then it was on down to the main path and round the tarn and towards Satura Crag. Short of this took a path half right to join a path that led to the summit cairn on Brock Crags. More superb views over Hartsop & Gray Crag, Caudale Moor, High Street etc. We had our lunch here. Now that just left Rest Dodd the highest today. So retraced and then kept by the wall up to the gateway, then went right over Satura Crag. We had worked out that we needed to climb to the left of Rest Dodd to gain the ridge and climb right to the summit. Well to our delight there was a clear path leading all the way! Not too steep and a steady walk brought us to the cairn. Our for our picture and rejoicing by Little Eric to have bagged another 3 Wainwrights and 4 Birketts today, and Southey too, of course. Then just reversed the route to join the main path and walk this past Angle Tarn and on to eventually come to Boredale Hause, here taking the lower path to the gate. Then along to Side Farm where there is a cafe! Good planning Dad! He had a pot of tea with extra hot water and piece of chocolate caramel shortbread for £3! We outside in the sun. Very pleasant. Then just along the access to the road and back to the car. A good day!!!

 

1st July 2014 - Steel Knotts, Beda Fell & Hallin Fell from Martindale Church

A dry day with plenty of sunshine and hot for walking in the afternoon. On the quest to now complete Wainwright Book 2 for Little Eric, we went to Martindale to bag these three summits for him, and of course Southey too. It was eight years since we were last on Beda Fell and nearly nine for the others. Set off early and so it was very quite on the narrow road via Howtown to the church, parking opposite, arriving just before 09:00. There were just two other cars, one where another gentleman was getting ready to walk and Dad exchanged pleasantries. So set off down the road to the old church and onto the path behind. We took the wrong one yet again here, despite what AW says! "When will I ever learn!", said Dad. "Next time", Shaun replied, "Except there will probably not be one as we will not have to come here again as all the fells are done." We walked the lower path by the wall that was thick either side with bracken! We had got a long way before we realised our error, so there was nothing for it but to strike up the fell through the shoulder high bracken. Came to the wall and after climbing the hurdle again as last time, we struck on up by the wall to gain the right path. Then traversed to the path up on to Steel Knotts and its rocky pointed summit called Pikeawassa. We loved this top sitting vertically on the rocky pinnacle for our picture. Descended to the main path and then Dad made a swift descent to the old church. Walked the road to cross the bridge at Winter Crag Farm, then take the rising bridleway to the ridge of Beda Fell. Turned left up this to cross rocky Winter Crag, and then eventually on more grassy terrain to make the steep climb to the first cairn and on to the summit cairn called Beda Head. Fine views all round and of the valleys too on either side on the ascent. Beautiful. Photo done we returned by same route and at the bridleway, took advantage of the metal seat to have lunch. Now descended to the farm and returned on the road to the new church, turning up Hallin Fell. By now it was hot and airless as there was hardly any wind, and despite Dad having left the easiest fell to last it was hard going, and a few stops to catch his breath were needed. "It reminds me of a similar day when we climbed Mellbreak", said Dad. "That was extremely hard going." However soon the top was in view and we arrived at the large summit cairn that can be seen for miles. Probably one of the best in all Lakeland. Dad took our picture and got all done, just as a couple arrived. The gentleman said hello, but then Dad got talking to his wife, her enquiring about us starting it off. She shook our paws when she found out most of us had done to 214! They are from Edinburgh and are doing the Wainwrights having about 35 or so go. Dad talked on quite a bit. They had done the Munros! Impressive!. They headed down and then Dad took some shots of the superb view of Ullswater. We then caught them up again on the descent and Dad talked again to them until we got to the bottom. They were bound for Steel Knotts now, us to the car. A good day and looking at it there is just three more walks needed for Little Eric to finish Book 2. Now tea and cake beckoned for Dad. So to Greystone House at Stainton, where Jane looked after Dad. A lovely girl. He had tea, and chocolate caramel shortbread and a piece of lemon cake. Then it was just a quick run down M6 and home.

 

22nd June 2014 - Low Kop, Wether Hill, Loadpot Hill & Arthur's Pike from Moorahill Farm

Dad did not feel like driving all the way to Crummock, so Grasmoor etc would have to wait for later, and for Little Eric to complete Book 6. So instead he turned our attention back to Book 2 Far Eastern Fells, as Little Eric had already done 21 of the 36 fells, so this was perhaps another that might be completed for him, this walk today ticking three more off. We drove to Shap taking the road to Bampton Grange and on to Bampton Bridge where very shortly after taking the Helton Road, it was left along a very narrow road, parking at its end just before Moorahill Farm. We only met one other vehicle and fortunately Dad only had to back about 50 yards to the passing place. We had never been on this road before, and the ascent to the ridge was new, as well. Took the path by the wall to the south of the road, and then down to cross Cawdale Beck by a small slate bridge. Then passed by Towtop Kirk, and ancient stone circle, but not very visible. Joined the clear path and climbed Hause End and along The Hause eventually passing between two plantations either side and so finally to reach Low Kop, a Birkett summit. It is a large flat area with tracks running either side, and after a bit of casting about we decided that a small rise was the unmarked highest point. We had been up here before in January 2009, and on checking the grid reference, found that we had come to the same conclusion this time, to within a few feet. Had our picture taken with the flag! Then it was on along the centre of the shoulder still with the clear track. Lots of birds here-crows and seagulls. Bit Alfred Hitchcock! So this brought us to the level of High Kop, where then making a level traverse the ridge was finally reached, where we went right. Superb views to the left of the Helvellyn fells - breathtaking. Walked on climbing a bit to fairly soon reach the cairn at the summit of Wether Hill. Then continued on, the trig point on Loadpot Hill being seen on the skyline. Descended to the depression and then made the steady 180ft climb to its summit, passing the heap of stones that is all that now remains of the Lowther House chimney. Nice little cairn with boundary stone in centre, and a few yards on the the trig point. Now, the map shows the cairn as higher but we are sure it is the trig point. Anyway this is where we had our photo taken sitting on top. Walked on descending and following the Roman Road. Arthur's Pike could be seen ahead and where the main path drifted right, we kept ahead to the summit. After Dad took our photo, we moved a few yards away and sat and had lunch. So that was all the tops done today. It had been 2005 since we had been to those on the ridge. Before leaving took Wainwright's advice and walked to the Beacon, a large cairn, and yes the view of Ullswater is truly stupendous!!! Now crossed slightly boggy and rough ground using then GPS as guide to regain the Roman Road. Turned left and very soon came to the fork, where our route was right. The tractor track meandered down and soon Knotts came into view, so knew we were on the right track. Then it was not very clear how we could get to the bridleway below Scales Farm, so we had opted to head for the road we could see left, which would have meant a long walk round. By chance however met a couple, who presumably were local, and the gentleman asked where we were headed. He then pointed out that a track (not on the map), ran to the right round Knotts and suggested we follow that. He also said that at a junction of the bridleway there was a wind turbine that would act as a marker. So thanking him Dad headed off. The path was wide and clear and rounded the fell. It then started to rise, but Dad took a right fork that descended finally to Scales Farm. Here we went right through a gate and steeply down the field to another gate and suddenly there were now waymarks for the bridleway! Followed these until they ceased to appear again, crossing the beck and then climbing a field to go left through a gate. Walked up this field and between the wall and wood to take a gate right and follow round the wall and so come to the wind turbine. Now it was just a simple matter of following the rough access track to the road. Walked right on the gated road passing Rough Hill Farm where sheep were being sheared. Shaun was very quiet here!!! This finally brought us to the road we had driven this morning and walking right over the cattle grid we were at the car! A really good walk and mostly new except for the ridge part. Dad said it was a good workout too and he I did not find the walk very hard, so he must really be getting his fitness back.

 

8th June 2014 - Blencathra from Scales

Well the forecast before the weekend had not been good, but Sunday turned out to be OK, so despite having walked on Thursday, Dad decided to take us out today. It pleased Little Eric as we were to climb to all the tops on Blencathra, and by doing so he has now completed all the summits in Book 5-Northern Fells! Parked in the layby just beyond the White Horse Inn, on the A66, and once Dad was ready we walked the few yards along the road to take the signed path left between the houses, and up to the gate through the fell wall. Here it was right taking the higher path that climbed steadily the slopes of Scales Fell in an easterly direction. The weather was sunny periods with a cool wind at times, with just one brief shower. At the junction our route was left on a straight climbing track, that then turned at right angles more steeply, then drifted left again reaching a brow, where the mountain was revealed in all its majesty. We walked on seeing the ridge of Scales Fell and after passing over one rise, the next was the summit. Two groups of walkers passed by as Dad was taking our picture with the flag out, and stopped to comment. Dad explained, and one lady kindly took Dad's picture with us. So on upwards and soon Doddick Fell top was reached the summit being the rise just to the left of the path. Photo done, it was on up the zig-zags to finally attain the summit. Little Eric a very happy bear!! Three gentlemen from Newcastle arrived as Dad was taking our picture, and so again he had to explain. One gentleman kindly took Dad with Little Eric, to mark our pals achievement. Dad then took their group shot for them. He chatted a bit and then shook hands with each as they headed off. Dad then took Little Eric with the book open at the trig point. Now we walked across the saddle passing the small tarn and the stone cross, to Atkinson Pike where Sharp Edge comes up. Photo done there we then walked back to Hallsfell summit and headed off on along the ridge, to the next top Gategill Fell, again the highest point being just left of the path. A short descent followed and a further climb to the final summit Blease Fell, the top being marked by a small cairn. Another gentleman commented on us and before he headed off kindly took Dad's picture again with us. It will be nice for Dad to appear in the story for a change. There had been great views if a little hazy, of Helvellyn Fells, St John's in the Vale, Derwent Water and all the fells over there. Magic! So now followed the clear wide stony path down the fell, there being a succession of sweeping zig-zags for a while. Beyond the path was more grassy and less steep for a bit before it steepened again. This came to a path that went left and east diagonally across the fell eventually coming to a wall, where it then descended steeply down to the fell wall. Went left through the gate. After a little Dad spotted a rock for us all to sit on and have lunch. Then continued on the good path crossing a stile and on with the fells of Blencathra rising to the left. Mostly level until reaching Doddick Fell, where it was necessary to climb over the lower slopes so a short bit of steep climb. Scaley Beck had to be crossed the descent into the ravine being rather awkward over shiny rocks. Not a very elegant sight! Then soon we were at the gate we had taken at the start, and it was just the short walk to the car. Refreshment time for Dad so he went to Greystone House at Stainton. He had a nice pot of tea and two cakes (well after all the effort he deserved it!). Chocolate caramel shortbread and toffee and marshmallow crispie. A great day. So we were a very happy band, especially Little Eric.

31st May 2014 - Mungrisedale Common, Bannerdale Crags, Bowscale Fell & The Tongue from Mungrisedale

We had last visited these tops in March 2007, so for a change we did the walk in reverse which seemed to actually ease the gradients, Dad always knowing that as a consequence he would this time face a very steep descent off The Tongue. The repeat was mainly for our pal Little Eric, to bag outstanding summits in book 5. We made and early start from home and so were walking by about 08:50. The day was dry with sunny periods, but there was a cool wind at times. Parked in the unmade lane off the road putting the £2 fee in the honesty box. Walked past the houses and through the gate to open fell the view before us being dominated by The Tongue. Crossed the footbridge then very soon took the left fork, on the path up the Glenderamackin Valley. This meanders ever on with the river down to the left. A bare valley, but this will change in a few years as the large number of trees planted either side of the river grow. Eventually we rounded White Horse Bent and below was the footbridge we had crossed when coming down from Souther Fell. Today it was onward and steadily upwards. Here we saw the first walkers today, a couple coming down with their dogs. They stood to let us pass and Dad chatted briefly. The gradient steepened a bit to reach the col and a cross of paths. There had been superb views of Blencathra and Sharp Edge on this part of the walk. Paths left to Blencathra and right to Bowscale Fell and Bannerdale Crags. Our way was ahead towards Mungrisedale Common, our least favourite Wainwright! We were trying to find the path branching left, and would have if I Dad had walked on past the cross gully, where there was a small cairn marking the junction. Instead we stuck off left up the fell, only after a while realising we were going in the wrong direction. Turning right got us back on route seeing the Common distantly. Finally gained the path, which was horribly wet and boggy. Passed a walker who we had seen by the cairn, chatting briefly. He was Wainwright bagging. Strode on and fairly soon reached the cairn marking the summit. Why Wainwright included this is a mystery as he himself admits it is just a flat area at the rear of Blencathra and not a fell as such. There is nothing to recommend this summit, apart from the rather arty cairn. Soon done we turned back and walked the boggy path to join the main path and so regain the crossroads. Turned left then almost immediately right to follow the wide grassy track that climbed steadily the 200ft or so to Bannerdale Crags. From this way the first cairn is the summit, being about 10ft higher than the main cairn where the ridge path from Bowscale Fell comes in. Dad chatted to some walkers at the main cairn then we backtracked to the summit for our photo. Then, from the main cairn, took the path left that rounds the crags and the head of lonely Bannerdale and on to climb steadily to the shelter that is the summit of Bowscale Fell. There is a large cairn just a few yards on but this is at a slightly lower level. We were settled for our picture when a couple arrived with their two dogs. They saw us so Dad explained and there was some amusement. One of their dogs had done all the 214, but they were doing them again for the other one. They had about 80 to go. Sounds a bit like Dad! They headed off to Bannerdale Crags, while we sat and had our lunch. Then it was off again walking the half mile to the east top of Bowscale Fell. From here contoured round the head of the valley of Bullfell Gill, to gain the pathless route to The Tongue. Passed another walker here, who was going to Bowscale Tarn before heading to the summit. He remarked how steep the climb to The Tongue is. We know too! The pathless boggy ground of Bowscale Fell descends to a depression and soon beyond Dad found a path that climbed steadily first over the 541m spot height, then on to the summit marked by a cairn. So that was it 5 Birketts and 3 Wainwrights done and bagged by Little Eric and Southey. Now all that remains is Blencathra for Little Eric to complete book 5. At first the descent was not too steep, but soon it got very steep and on the lower slopes we got to the right of the path, but this was not easy see as we guess that not many walkers go up and down here!! Finally it was done and we gained the track from Bannerdale. Followed this left to cross the footbridge and soon arrive at the car. There was a group of three walkers the lady having got a bit behind, so as a result the gate was kindly held open for us. Dad chatted briefly to them. A great day and Dad felt he had performed well. So now to Grasmere, and the Wordsworth Hotel where we went in too. Dad had his usual ciabatta and tea. Kim was on but busy, but Dad did get a couple of brief chats, and as we left he was able to give her a hug and wish her well for her move to Manchester. Good day!

 

26th May 2014 - Greenburn Horseshoe - Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott & Helm Crag from Grasmere

So at last Dad felt his recovery was complete as we tackle this walk that he promised to do for Little Eric to enable him to finish all the fells in Book 3! It was raining when we arrived in Grasmere, but this soon went off and the day steadily improved with sun in the afternoon and clear views. First there was a quick visit to the Wordsworth Hotel to see if Kim was going to be there. Although not on this morning, her car was which led us to guess correctly that she would be on later. So we parked again at Broadgate, and then soon set off taking the Easdale Road to Goody Bridge, then right along the narrow road for about a mile to Ghyll Foot, and on to the two cottages. The rhododendrons were out, and we saw some beautiful colourful displays. By the second cottage a gate gives access to Green Burn, a valley owned by the National Trust. Dad kindly held the gate open for a fellow walker, who took the path immediately right. After brief photo stop, we then followed the gentleman on the up the fell. The ascent distance was about 1.5 miles being fairly steep and mostly grassy. The path skirted a rocky outcrop and continued over Ash Crags. The mist was down so we could not clearly see the way ahead, but the path was never in doubt. One rise followed another until finally the last was reached, where the path now rather rocky zigzagged up to gain the summit area. A cairn is reached on the line of an old fence, where just a short way left is the higher cairn marking the summit at Dead Pike. As we got there the mist cleared off giving a reasonable view north of Thirlmere. We quickly settled on the cairn for the first picture of us today. So now descended to follow the path by the fence, and where this turned away right we went the short way beside it to see the lovely view of the Wythburn Valley. Then it was back to the ridge path that meandered over at times very boggy ground, to pass some little tarns and then follow the posts of an old broken fence, and finally climb to the cairn on Calf Crag. Photo here done, we headed off again. Now began the return on the opposite side of Greenburn valley with Easdale to the right. Superb views of this, and as the walk progressed, of Grasmere. The path descended doubling back for a little way, but soon turned right as the ridge proper was gained. The path from here to Helm Crag was winding rocky and very undulating-typical Lake District. Along here we began to meet many other walkers who had come up via Helm Crag. Some saw us, and Dad had to explain and told them about our website. One lady said that she would look it up and read the stories to her grandson! Another lady and gentleman obviously liked this idea too, shaking Dad's hand, and saying they would look at the stories. The gentleman took our picture saying he would e-mail it to us. In all we had our picture taken a few times by other people today! Dad chatted with another gentleman who was from York. So flat there is was glad to be out on the hills again. He told us that tomorrow he was going up Silver How. So finally we arrived at the cairn on Gibson Knott. A gentleman was sitting at the side, waiting for his friends, who were doing the Coast to Coast, to arrive. We scrambled out and settled on the cairn as usual. Dad once again explained, and he was quite amused! Then Dad chatted to him for a little while. More undulations followed before we reached the final 300 feet of steep ascent to Helm Crag, coming up by the 'Howitzer' the top of which is officially the highest point. It was like Blackpool up here with lots of families. As Dad a bit breathlessly reached the level ground a man commented, "it is a bit steep." Dad agreed saying "well that's the last of the four tops today." "Four!", he replied rather incredulously. "It took us all our effort to get up just this one." It had been quite a hard walk we must admit so this made Dad feel good. People were climbing all over the rocks of the Howitzer and some made it to the top, but needed some guidance to get down. We did not attempt it as it would have been all but impossible for Dad to take us up there. However we went some way up where Dad took our picture and of Little Eric on his own to mark his achievement. "Yes!", he called out, and we all gave him a hug. Then after a snack, we set off again along the summit. Dad took shots of the Howitzer and famous Lion and Lamb rocks, and a few looking to Grasmere. So just the descent that Dad was not looking forward to, as pretty steep and he was worried about his knees. However as it turned out they did not hurt today, for which we were all thankful. The path meanders down on a partly new route and was graded in places where it had been very eroded. Eventually this brought us to a gate adjacent to the gate we had gone through earlier this year to Lancrigg. Today we walked along the road with a good view back of Helm Crag and Lancrigg to the left. This brought us to the Easdale Road, which we followed to the village and the car. A super day, thanks Dad! So now we all went to the Wordsworth Hotel where Dad had a nice snack and tea. Kim was indeed there and she came to chat to Dad a while. She has just two weeks to go before moving to Manchester, so Dad was pleased to see her and to wish her good luck in her new job and her prospective university course to study to become a nurse. We and Dad will miss seeing her, but perhaps sometime she will come and visit us at home.

 

3rd May 2014 - Branstree, High Howes, Selside Pike & Brown Howe from Mardale

Today the walk was tougher, as Dad want to see how his recovery from his operation was going. This round had last been done in November 2006, so our pals Little Eric and Southey bagged the summits. The day had been forecast as sunny, but as it turned out it was cloudy all the time and cool, so Dad was not in shorts today. It had been a while since we had been to Haweswater, so it was nice to reacquaint ourselves with this area. Parked at the lay-by just before the Corpse Road. Only one other car when we arrived and just four by the time we got back. Many more cars had passed by heading for the popular Mardale Head. Walked on along the road, to cross the bridge over Hopgill Beck and then through the small gate, starting the steep climb up the narrow winding path. Dad stopping to catch his breath, we enjoyed the fine views over the reservoir to Riggindale, with Kidsty Pike to the right. Dramatic too at Mardale Head, of Harter Fell, Mardale Ill Bell and High Street. "Wonderful" cried Southey, who had not been here before. Passed the Hollow Stone a large boulder with a cavernous base, then climbed on to pass the ruins of two buildings and so gain the north ridge of Branstree, in a less steep gradient. There is no path as such, but Dad followed a sheep trod, that took along the right side and when it started to go down, we climbed left up the ridge. It seemed to be never ending and just when we thought we were near the top, as we crested a rise, found that there was another flat area to cross before the final climb up a grass and rock slope. A fine cairn stands here at Artlecrag Pike, but checking the GPS, Shaun said, "this is not the summit." "I hope it is not that distant top I can see", called out Southey. "No lad, that is Harter Fell", replied Dad. "We just need to follow this path in the same direction for a short way." Well Dad was quite right and after a few hundred hundred yards we soon came to the small cairn and the ring trig point embedded in the ground, marking the true summit! We were quick to jump out for our picture, then Dad rang Uncle Brian to check he was OK. "The wind is a bit cool, so come on lads, get settled as I want to get going again", said Dad. Returned towards the large cairn, but then took a tractor track going right and down to climb the fence, and walk on to the old masonry survey tower. Beyond a tiny tarn the path climbed again to shortly reach the cairned summit of High Howes (unnamed on OS map, but named by Birkett). Photo time again. Selside Pike was clearly in view and we headed for it, down the shoulder to the fence. Climbed the hurdle in this and then up the slope ahead to the summit of Selside Pike and its large shelter cairn. Dad took our picture, then we sat by the shelter for lunch, leaving the inside for a couple who we following not far behind. Now headed on the clear path roughly north, down the fell. There was a dramatic view of Swindale at one point! "Beautiful", said Southey. "I am so glad you let me join the club." "You're welcome", I replied. "It is great to have your company." This brought us to the Corpse Road by an old post. Turned left along this and after a while went off to the right to make for and find the cairned top of Brown Howe. Last photo of the day of us! Then descended to the Corpse Road again and followed this down, steeply at the end to the road. "Both my knees are hurting", said Dad as he tackled the steep descent. Then we drove to Shap, Dad going to the Abbey Coffee Shop for a snack. Nice place and friendly staff! He had a cheese and onion pasty, a piece of chocolate flapjack and a warming pot of tea with extra hot water. Must add this to the list of Dad's tea stops. A good day and Dad was pleased with his performance, so the Greenburn round including Helm Crag is likely on for later this month if the weather is OK.

 

8th April 2014 - Stone Arthur from Swan Hotel, Grasmere

Dad was still feeling the effects of his operation, meaning he has to rebuild his stamina, but was resolved to do a higher fell after Castle Crag. We had not been up to Stone Arthur since 2005, and it was an outstanding one for Little Eric. The day was cloudy with rain threatening at times, but just a few spots on our side of the valley. Windy on the top and cold. Not very spring like. Parking in the lay by on the A591, then walked the short distance south to take the road left by beside the Swan Hotel. This curved left, and very soon it was right along the very narrow road beside which danced the rushing Greenhead Gill. The lane ends at a gate, where it is right to Alcock Tarn, and left to Stone Arthur, as directed by the sign on the gate. Followed the path that soon turned uphill by woodland, climbing steeply the steps created on the once very eroded path. Seemed to lead to a locked gate into the wood, but the path contoured right as it continued to zigzag upwards. Levelled off to cross a stream then swung right up and across the face of the hill. At the end of this the route turned left and continued with a steady gradient. The outcrop that is Stone Arthur was now ahead, the path climbing over this to the right. It then continues on to Great Rigg on the Fairfield Horseshoe. Here we took a faint path left to the rock marking the summit. Rather windy so we had to really hang in for our summit picture, Southey being blown forwards, but Dad eventually got the shot. Two other walkers joined us, having no doubt heard Dad telling us to sit still!! "Oh well who cares!!", said Dad. Fabulous view of Grasmere and Calf Crag, Steel Fell and Loughrigg & Silver How. And more distantly to Ullscarf, Harrison Stickle, Pavey Ark and Crinkle Crags, when the cloud had cleared off them. Saw too, all the lakes and tarns - Alcock Tarn, Coniston Water, Esthwaite Water, Windermere & Easdale Tarn. Returned by outward route. There were plenty of people on the path, most of whom were headed on to Great Rigg. Afterwards Dad had intended going to Wordsworth Hotel, where we parked, but it was closed for a private function, being told this when we got to reception. Although Kim's car was on the car park, she was not on at reception until 16:00, so we did not see her today. Instead Dad went to Heidi's again, having the hog roast-lovely local pork, stuffing and apple sauce in a baguette. Then the delicious lemon cake, and tea. All very nice. A good day, and another summit bagged by Little Eric.

 

30th March 2014 - Castle Crag from Grange in Borrowdale

Dad had had a major operation six weeks ago, so he was still recovering. However he wanted to get back into the groove again, and this modest fell was one Little Eric had still to bag. Parking by the road below Grange Crags, we then walked path by river, to cross Grange Bridge into the village, then taking the narrow road almost opposite the church. Followed this, a dramatic view of our objective being seen ahead, until a track went off left, which we followed. Cool to start, here it quite suddenly warmed up so Dad was glad to be in shorts! The track led through woodland, finally coming close to the river, where just beyond we took the right fork to follow the track between High Spy and Castle Crag. Under the crag we took a narrow path left off the track, to climb steeply to a stile and on upwards to another stile, having stopped to sit on the seat below the Hamer memorial. Once over the second stile the path went right, before zig-zagging steeply through the slate spoil heap, after which followed the final easy climb to the summit, a rock outcrop on the flat top. Just one gentleman there, when we arrived who Dad talked to. He set off, but then called out "do you have a camera." "Yes" replied Dad. So he came back and took our picture with Dad, and Dad took his picture. More people arrived including a Scottish couple. The lady commented on the us, not realising at first that we were with Dad! She had done all the Munros. Phew we thought, that is some achievement! When they left Dad talked to another couple, taking their photo. And he said he used to be shy. We don't believe it! Made the descent of the spoil heap, then took the stile on the left to cross boggy ground and then through a wall gap and so down to a gate into pasture following the path half left to a gate onto the path by the river. This was now followed to eventually come to back to the path divide earlier, and so follow the outwards route to the car. There are superb views from Castle Crag over Derwent Water and to Skiddaw etc,, but rather hazy today unfortunately.

 

30th January 2014 - High Spy & Maiden Moor from Grange in Borrowdale

This was the only decent day this week with the weather still very unsettled with wind and rain. So we took the chance to get out and tick off these fells for Little Eric. Our pal Southey came along too, as Dad was going for a snack at the Wordsworth Hotel afterwards. Drove through the Lakes, and down Borrowdale parking at the pull-in beside the road below Grange Crags. Walked along to then cross the old double arched stone bridge over the River Derwent into Grange, and on along the road the short distance, to opposite the Borrowdale Gates Hotel, go through the gate and follow the narrow winding path to a kissing gate onto open fell. The ridge we had to attain towered overhead and the climb of nearly 2000ft was to be quite arduous. The day was dry but cloudy and there had been a frost overnight the fields being white. Not much wind but it was cold nevertheless and the temperatures on the tops was not much if any above freezing all day. The path led on never really in doubt, climbing eventually over Cockley How and then on under the crags, narrow and rocky at times, to climb the rise by Nitting Haws. Here it turned right and headed for the ridge, a steady and unrelenting climb, that made us feel for Dad's poor knees. We were glad for him when the ridge path was reached by one of the frequent cairns that mark the path. Here it was left and almost immediately we could see not very far ahead the cairn on High Spy, Dad negotiating patches of snow en route. The cairn is beautifully constructed of slate as a squat rounded tower, and we could not wait to scramble up it and settle for our picture. The views around were quite majestic although not very clear distance wise, but the Helvellyn ridge was majestic under snow, as was Dale Head, Great Gable and the Scafells. Cold here, so Dad did not linger and he even had to put his gloves on at times! Then returned on the ridge and onwards passing below Blea Crag which no doubt has a superb view of Derwentwater, but perhaps not much better than that we had had from the ridge and on the ascent. Then it was onwards over Narrow Moor crossing a depression at 1860ft, to then take the path left at the fork and climb the 100ft to the summit of Maiden Moor marked by a small pile of stones. Picture time again! Then we followed the clear path to descend to Hause Gate below Catbells. It was like market day on the summit of Catbells, with many walkers, but hardly surprising being such a popular climb. Then we followed the path down to the road at Manesty. It had been reconstructed in places, and was hellish hard on Dad's poor knees and ankles!! Joined the road and then walked back to Grange and on to the car. Good day - thanks Dad as always. We had last been up on these fells in 2006.

 

16th January 2014 - Knott Rigg, Ill Crag (Newlands) & Ard Crags from Newlands Hause

It was a dry and cloudy day with a cold wind that blew at times, but we took the opportunity to get out on the fells and tick off some more summits for our pal Little Eric and also our pal Southey came along too once again. This was a new route of ascent that we had not done before starting from Newlands Hause. Moss Force tumbling down the slopes of High Snockrigg made an impressive sight, after all the rain. The clear path was signed at the start reading 'Ard Crags 1 and a fifth miles', but in fact it is 1.83 miles. After a little way the path climbed more steeply to the nose, where the ridge was followed with some more gentle gradients to the summit of Knott Rigg, marked by a small pile of tiny slate pieces. It was necessary to use the rucksack as a wind break for Dad to take our picture. There were grand views left of Whiteless Pike, Wandope and later Scar Crags & Causey Pike, which present vertiginous slopes on this side. Then it was on the little way to the next bump of Ill Crag, a spot height on the map, but named by Bill Birkett. From here we descended to the depression at 1660ft to then ascend over a few false summits to the top of Ard Crags, that has a small cairn, where like at Ill Crag we had our picture taken. So that done, we then just retraced the route to the start. Nice little outing and that is 3 Birketts and 2 Wainwights ticked off by Little Eric.

 

11th January 2014 - Carrock Fell, Round Knott & Miton Hill from Stone Ends

We wanted to be up on the fells again. Whilst Dad is not repeating all the outstanding Wainwrights for Little Eric, our pal has just a few to bag in books 3 and 5 so Dad has agreed to complete these for him. So, Carrock Fell was one to do, having last been up here in 2007. Then afterwards Dad bought a little bear from Greystone House who was named Carrock, so he came along with us today as did Southey. Parked just beyond Stone Ends Farm. Despite the forecast being for dry weather, overnight and indeed on the journey there had been bouts of rain that had fallen as snow on the tops. However on the walk it was dry, but there was a cold and quite strong wind. At the summit of Carrock Fell and on the ridge, the mist was down. It kept clearing and then coming in again and so on, for most of the time. Many more cars near the start than we had expected, this explained by us hearing the hunting horn and seeing hounds on the fell. All tucked in Dad's rucksack we set off up the fell, the path angling left across the face climbing steeply, and then steeply again by the ravine of Further Gill Syke. Finally crested this and then on the good path lightly covered in snow, the rest of the ascent was more gentle, to the well made cairn marking the rocky summit. Two ladies who had preceded us, reached the summit just a little ahead and sat in the shelter for lunch. Meanwhile Dad was busy taking our picture settled by the cairn. Our pal Carrock was very pleased with himself to reach the summit and he told his pals all about his adventure later! Onwards down off the fell, to the wide ridge, leaving the main path to go left over boggy ground to the cairn on Round Knott, where we jumped our for our picture again. Then we followed a narrow path to reach the main path on the ridge again that crosses Miton Hill, the final summit today. The cairn is a few yards to the right of the path and we had our picture taken again. So our pal Little Eric had bagged 3 Birketts and a Wainwright. Descending into the dip we reached the path going right at the Red Gate. We guess it is so named due to the colour of the rocks, that were once long ago, extensively mined for minerals. A rocky path at first, but soon after Dad had strode Carrock Beck, it joined a surfaced track. This was the track from one of the long disused mines on High Pike, and was followed to the road, and then along this to the car. The ford on the road was very full and if the indicator was to be believed 4ft deep. So just as well there was a footbridge! A good walk, thanks Dad as always. Now Dad went to the Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere, taking Carrock and Southey in with him. Kim was not there, he was told she was coming on soon. Meanwhile he went and sat in a corner in the bar and had a ciabatta-bacon brie and tomato, with chips and tea. Kim noticed Dad after a while and came to chat, and later a bit at reception. She told Dad that she had bought walking boots. We wonder if Dad and us have inspired her? Then it was just the drive home, us all feeling good.

 

17th November 2013 - Souther Fell from Mungrisedale

Just a half-day outing climbing this fell so that Little Eric could tick it off as did Southey who came along again too. The day was good at first with blue skies and quite cold, but as the walk progressed the cloud moved in, and in the afternoon there was some rain and extensive low cloud, but I had finished by then! It was our first hill for nearly two months and Dad said he could tell that he had lost some of his fitness and strength. Parked on the verge, and then walked along towards the village, to cross the river by the footbridge to the Mill Inn, and then left along the narrow road until reaching a gate across it. Immediately beyond, we took the narrow path right climbing steadily up the fell. It swung left then right to crest a rise and come to the main path. Going right the the clear path led to the summit marked by an embedded stone. We settled for our picture, being observed from a distance by two couples, who soon reached the summit too. They asked Dad why he was photographing teddy bears, so he explained! Settled again in the rucksack it was on along the path on the ridge. There were fine views of Bannerdale, Bowscale Fell, Bannerdale Crags and Blencathra. The path led unerringly down to a crossroads, where it was right to then soon cross the footbridge over the River Glenderamackin, then going right and following the clear, and at times very muddy, path by the river to the gate into the village. Joining the road we then went right past the inn and so over the footbridge again the car. We had come up the M6, so Dad decided to return through the lakes taking the road through St John's in the Vale and then the A591 and so on home.

 

30th September 2013 - Loughrigg, Rydal Cave & Loughrigg Terrace from Grasmere

Well, while Dad is adamant that he is not redoing the Wainwrights for Little Eric, we had not climbed Loughrigg since 2006, so in deciding to revisit, Little Eric ticked it off. For a change we walked from Grasmere, giving Dad an opportunity to see Kim, too. Got ready, then we walked to the Wordsworth Hotel. Kim was on, and being perhaps surprised to see Dad so soon, said "again". On asking, Dad told her where we were going, and she also saw us albeit tucked in the rucksack. So, the route was along Red Bank Road, that is narrow and has quite a bit of traffic. It runs above the west side of Grasmere, so Dad got a few nice pictures. Where the road began to climb steeply, we took path left through the lovely woodland. This brought us to Loughrigg Terrace, at the start of which the much repaired path climbs steadily up the fell, and with some stops to admire the stupendous view back over Grasmere, the lake being deep blue today, we reached the trig point marking the summit. It was not surprisingly busy on ascent and at top, but it is a very popular fell and not too demanding either! Good views to Langdales etc, Wetherlam & Elterwater, as well as the Fairfield group. Quite warm and despite being breezy on top, shorts and t-shirt were the order of day for Dad. We had a snack looking at the wonderful views, then made the descent roughly east via the multitude of paths, to reach that above Rydal Water, by Rydal Cave. Dad took us in the large cave - a first for us too, but Dad had been here before, with Uncle Brian. It is man made being the result of the extraction of slate. Then north on the path that leads to Loughrigg Terrace, and so on along this. Busy with walkers. Fab view of Grasmere!! A few times today, as we passed other walkers going in our direction, we heard comments of "look at the teddy bears!" At the end of the terrace we then followed our outwards route to the village. We then sat in the car having another picnic, while Dad went for a snack at the Wordsworth Hotel, and having a nice chat with Kim. For lunch, he had a beef sandwich, bowl of chips and pint of Tetley. Our pal Southey, who came from here, was with us today, and went on the walk, then going with Dad to see Kim. After, Dad went for a walk round Grasmere village - being a tourist for once! He went to the jigsaw shop and saw the biggest in the world, that has just over 32,000 pieces. Heck, that is truly immense!!! Thank goodness too, he did not consider buying it. A good day.

 

14th September 2013 - Raven Crag, Castle Crag (Shoulthwaite) & The Benn. Castle Rock from Smaithwaite Bridge

With Dad having been away on holiday, it was three weeks since we last walked, so were itching to get out. Went on Saturday which was a beautiful day with sun and clear views, because Sunday was rain and gales. Dad parked in the layby opposite the ascent path, and once ready we set off through the gate signed to Castle Crag Fort. The path climbed steadily through the trees to a forest road where there was a superb view of the precipitous face of Raven Crag - our first objective. Crossed, and then through a double deer gate and steeply on to another gate onto a forest road. Across this and the path climbed on looping round to the col. This area was rather churned up as forestry operations going on, and the large sign directing walkers to Raven Crag has fallen down. Went left on a narrow path beside a small valley, to wind up still quite steeply with steps to help, and so reach the cairn marking the summit. Here we hopped out for our usual picture. Our pal, Southey had come along to go later to his hotel, where he was adopted, and rather than leave him in the car we invited him to come on the walk, Dad zipping him in the front pocket of rucksack.
He commented afterwards, "what a wonderful day I have had seeing the breathtaking scenery. Thanks for inviting me along."
"You are most welcome pal", I replied.
From the cairn we then walked the few yards down to get the superb view along Thirlmere and of the fells-the Dodds, Blencathra etc. Breathtaking!!! Now returned to the col and then went left through a gate and along a path, crossing a footbridge, to very shortly reach the site of Castle Crag Fort. An ancient monument, although there is not much to see. Dad wound round right to ascend to the rocky knoll that is the summit. More fine views to Bleaberry Fell etc ridge, and the Skiddaw Fells. That done returned again to col, going left then shortly off right up a churned forest road, and at a flattened cairn then left on narrow path that wound its way on to finally ascend up the left side to The Benn. More breathtaking views of Thirlmere, and to Skiddaw etc. Majestic!!! Dad took photos including us of course and then we just stood a while drinking in the wonderful views. Then down a narrow muddy path to the north, Dad slipping slightly at one point causing him to sit down and get a wet bum. Rather unfairly we all laughed about this! Soon dried out through. This led to a forest road, where we went right along it, to reach the double gates, and so descend by the route we had taken up from the start.
Now repositioned to Smaithwaite Bridge for the assault on Castle Rock, that stands above the start of the road to St John's in the Vale. Walked along the old road that links to the one through the vale, then just a little right, to climb the steps and through the gate on the left. Steady ascent across the field to the aqueduct. A bridge crosses it but not our route. We went right over a broken stone step stile and along the path into trees. Where barred by single strand of wire, Dad climbed the fence left via some stones, and took the path through bracken to come by a wall. Left by this and then followed it right to climb on steeply to below the south tower. Rounded this to the right and on up via steps to ascend by the south tower, where people were rock climbing. Dad chatted commenting that he did not recall it being this steep, to which the gentleman replied, "you were younger then." Dad agreed he was right too!! At top of the steps it was left between the crags and then ascended right, and so reach the summit at the north end. So, that was 1 Wainwright and 4 Birketts bagged by Little Eric!! Superb view of St John's in the Vale and Blencathra and Skiddaw Fells. Well worth the effort. A notice by the steps had warned about a crack that his opened up on north tower and we could see this from the summit. The warning is for climbers to avoid as not clear how stable/unstable it is. Returned by outwards route.
Now we went to Grasmere and the Wordsworth Hotel, Dad hoping to see Kim, Southey going in too. She had just come on so Dad got to chat and Southey got fussed. Lovely to see her and we are glad she is happy and she looks well too. Dad then went and had a smoked salmon sandwich and pint of bitter. Then before leaving he chatted to her again.

 

25th August 2013 - Wren Crag, High Rigg, Naddle Fell & St John's in the Vale from Smaithwaite Bridge

Well, having done Pen and thereby completing the Birketts, the pressure was off. So, it was nice to be able to choose a walk without it needing to contribute towards a challenge. It was decided to redo this one, as for our pal Little Eric it would mean some tops bagged-3 Birketts and 1 Wainwright. Parked on the verge adjacent to Smaithwaite Bridge. Crossed this and then through the gate right following the path, soon taking the one rising left. This climbed steadily with ups and downs too, to finally reach the top of Wren Crag-summit not marked and a little indeterminate, but Dad did take us sitting on the same rock as last time!. There would have been stunning views but the high fells were shrouded in mist. Followed the path on again with ups and downs to climb a stile in a fence and go right. This led past a small tarn in a hollow, and then on eventually to a stile in the wall. Here the path goes on by the wall in a corridor with Moss Crag left. Immediately after the crag we went left with a small tarn on the right. Then took the clear path up the rise in front that led to the 343m height that Birkett calls High Rigg. Well the words are in capitals on the map here! Now followed the path north to soon reach the highest point that is unnamed on the map, but known as Naddle Fell. We had our picture taken on each summit of course. We could see a group approaching from the north, so decamped a little left and sat on a rock for our lunch.. The first three of the party arrived then three more ladies, who came up right past us. We were spotted and they asked why Dad brought us along, so he explained. One lady asked our names, and we were all introduced, and Dad had to further explain why I was so named. It will certainly be a talking point for them, and the ladies all lay down around us while they had their picture taken!!! We and Dad loved the attention. So they went their way and we finished our lunch, then descended to the road. Then along to the pretty church. It was rebuilt in 1845 and Dad's great great grandfather John Bateman was one of the people who brought the stone to the site. So on along the road to soon take the gate right and walk the track under the fell. This brought us to Sosgill Bridge-lovely packhorse bridge, that we deviated to, to take a photograph. Then past Low Bridge End Farm, Dad resisting stopping for tea! Finally on to come by the beck and climb right, high above it and over the shoulder to reach the gate and road again. Good day. Then went to Grasmere and the Wordsworth Hotel, where Dad had a cream tea-two scones butter jam and cream and pot of tea. He asked for a second pot, offering to pay but the lady would not charge him! The main reason for going was he hoped to see Kim, but she was not on at reception today. Always another time! Grasmere was thronging being Bank Holiday and it was the sports and show too. Going home Ambleside was gridlocked so Dad took us via the struggle to Kirkstone and then via Troutbeck and Moorhowe Road to Ings, missing all the traffic. Saved a lot of hassle!

 

17th February 2013 - Capple Howe, Sour Hows & Sallows from Browfoot Lane end

On a day where the sun shone for the most part, we were back on the Lakeland Fells, revisiting these last done in November 2006. Today we followed the route suggested by Bill Birkett in his Complete Lakeland Fells. This involved driving to the very end of the narrow Browfoot Lane in Kentmere where it forms a junction with a bridleway. Not used by motors much except for access to the houses, it is not in the best repair. There was indeed limited parking Dad squeezing the car by the wall just on the bridleway, but it was the only car here today. Soon ready, it was right along the bridleway a wide unsurfaced track. At the first junction we went right, then on to another signed junction, where we went right through the iron gate, signed to Kentmere. Initially the path was grassy and muddy, but soon developed into a narrow track muddy and flooded in places. This led on through about 4 more gates with open land to the right and walled pasture left. Birkett then says take the path left just before the stand of rowan trees, but this is a bit confusing now as there are at least two of these, and in fact the ones he means have either fallen or been felled. Dad missed it but we did spot it on our return. It did not really matter as what we had to do was to gain the wall corner then walk with it to the left. We did this by crossing some rough ground, to find the path. At the end of the wall it was through the gate to open fell where, in Birkett's words, we made the strenuous climb to Capple Howe, just a few stones lying as a tiny cairn. Sour Hows lay directly ahead. Walked on to the fence/ruined wall by the conifer plantation. The stile referred to does not now appear to be there any more, seemingly as the fence has subsequently been replaced, but it was obvious where people had bent the fence top down and climbed over. Then headed straight up soon picking up a good path that led to the summit of Sour Hows. Extensive majestic views of Windermere, Coniston Fells, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Esk Pike & Langdales, although the visibility was somewhat hazy today. Now followed the path down that wound through hillocks to then follow the wall on the right, climbing to reach the stile in this, that gives access to Sallows, ascending the ridge to reach the summit at a small ridge like prominence. From here there were additional superb views of Red Screes, Caudale Moor, Stoney Cove Pike, Thornthwaite Crag, Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke. So, that was the tops done, just our pal Little Eric bagging them - 3 Birketts and 2 Wainwrights. Continued east on the ridge descending, to soon come to a stone shooting butt. Here we turned right to descend the flank - rough and steepish which Dad's knees did not enjoy - to come to the old track from the quarry. Going left this led to a stile into a pasture, and down this through a gate to rejoin the bridleway, some large boulders allowing an easy crossing of Park Beck. Then it was just a reverse of the outwards route to the start. We met no one on the fells, but quite a few people on the path back to the car. Thankfully we again did not meet another vehicle on Bowfoot Lane (there are no passing places on the latter section!). Great to be on the hills again.

20th January 2013 - Skelghyll Woods, Troutbeck, Wansfell & Wansfell Pike from Ambleside

I was mainly the reason for doing these fells today, as part of the plan so that I can achieve 1000 summits, the 1000th being a repeat of my first. After today my total stood at 998. Little Eric bagged the tops too. Most of the country had been blanketed with snow on Friday, but the north west and Lakes had escaped, but nevertheless the fells were snowbound from earlier falls. Drove to Ambleside and parked at Fisherbeck just opposite Hayes Garden Centre. Walked south a short way, then took the road left to soon go right uphill on a narrow road that served a few houses and on going is the bridleway to Troutbeck. Fine views of the fells all blanketed in snow. Truly majestic. Eventually the surface became a track and we walked through Skelghyll Wood, that has the tallest conifer in Cumbria, although we could not decide from the contenders which one was actually the tallest! Onwards to exit the woods and now the path was covered in snow, so requiring more effort at times to make progress. Passed through the yard of High Skelghyll and on dropping down then climbing a snowbound pasture and on along by a wall. The track crested then dropped steadily becoming free of snow, to reach Troutbeck, where we walked through the village to find the path left-Nanny Lane. As we climbed, soon the track was snowbound and the route would remain so until we had descended from Wansfell Pike. Walked the lane to its end passing the path left to Wansfell Pike. At the end climbed the ladderstile, and then made our way over rough terrain to summit Wansfell reaching the cairn that is considered the top and the Wainwright too. The OS map however shows a spot height north of the wall, but the lack of stile and the barbed wire strand over the hurdle seems to discourage walkers to venture to it. Nevertheless Dad did climb over and walked to the highest point as far as could be determined. Dad had so far walked without gloves, but the strength of the wind made the consequent chill vicious, so he had to don his gloves to warm his hands before recording the grid ref and taking our picture. Not the most pleasant of times here today. Wonderful views however. Then we returned, Dad climbing the wall this time, to the cairn and we sat for our picture again. To his annoyance Dad's hat kept blowing off! The GPS recorded a height difference between the spot height and the cairn of just 4ft! So for the grid reference we intend to still treat the cairn as the Wainwright but use the spot height as the Birkett. Now in somewhat less wind we walked the ridge to Wansfell Pike and then made our way down. The steps were covered in sheet ice in places, so Dad had to walk beside the path for safety in the snow, slipping and sliding at times. Finally we reached the lowest track that was largely snow free and this led to a road by some new houses and so to the car.

 

8th August 2012 - Whin Ben, Whiteside, Gasgale Crags, Hopegill Head, Sand Hill & Gasgale Gill from Lanthwaite Green

On a recent visit to Armathwaite Hall, Arturus and Natalia, asked for a suggestion of a walk from Crummock Water, so Dad suggested a round done in August 2005, starting over Whin Ben and Whiteside. This was before the buying of the Birkett Book. Gasgale Crags is a top on the ridge towards Hopegill Head, and looking closely at the map we noted that the spot height is just to the left of the path, so we and Dad agreed that it was likely that we had not actually gone to the top, so just to make absolutely sure we had to go there again, before the attempt on Pen again. Uncle Eric and Little Eric had not been to Whiteside before, so Dad suggested it and Uncle Eric was happy to do the walk. Parked at Lanthwaite Green in the rough parking area, crossed the road and headed towards Whiteside gaining the path after crossing the Liza Beck, by the newish footbridge. The first objective was to climb to Whin Ben. A good path, but steep and scrambly at times. Someone now has put a tiny cairn to mark the highest point. For whatever reason this is not recognised by Birkett, so has no significance in any of our challenges, other than to count it as a summit achieved. After a dip we climbed on, a good path leading to a large rocky tor, that the path climbed over, to continue left on the final push. Rough rocky and scrambly in places it climbed over two rises, to finally at the top of the third reach the summit. A low rocky outcrop otherwise surrounded by grass, with a rough cairn. This is the Wainwright and after taking our photo, Uncle Eric and Dad had the usual Kendal Mint Cake. Then we continued along the top of the fell to the east top, which is unmarked. It is higher, but nevertheless AW classed the west top as the actual summit. Dad took us here as it is a Birkett and Little Eric bagged the top. Looking ahead along the path to Hopegill Head, and relating the landscape to the map, it was clear, where the summit of Gasgale Crags lay. If only about 10 yards, it is off the path to the left and slightly higher, so we would have passed it by in 2005. Uncle Eric was there first and by the time Dad and us arrived he had collected some of the stones into a small cairn - how very kind, and we thanked him very much!! We gathered round this for our picture. Now onwards to Hopegill Head. The rocky path descends to a dip then rises over a rock prominence, and then the final pull to the top, which is small and alpine in feel. Met a few walkers here and Dad and Uncle Eric chatted a few minutes. So now the easy down and up to Sand Hill. Dad did not take our picture here or indeed at Hopegill Head, as we had all been here before. Then followed the longish descent on the rough stony path to Coledale Hause, about 600ft lower than Hopegill Head. Here we went right to return through the narrow steep sided valley of Gasgale Gill. The River Liza runs through it and was our constant companion. Ever running swiftly with numerous falls. A bubbly mass of white all the way. Just a lovely walk through here and the first time we had ever done it. The path was good, if rocky at times and just a few awkward bits. This brought us to the footbridge and on to the car. A good day, and good views too. Cloudy to start and cool at times in the breeze, but sunny and warm in the afternoon. Now there are no doubts whatsoever that we have only Pen to do to complete the Birketts.

 

20th June 2012 - Eagle Crag, Sergeant's Crag & Langstrath from Stonethwaite

We were with Uncle Eric today, who had always wanted to climb these fells and we and Dad were glad to do them again, as too, our pal Little Eric would bag the summits. Also the walk would be done in the reverse way we had done it in 2005. The day was dry and quite sunny but more cloud later. There was little or no wind. Parked in Stonethwaite by the telephone box. Crossed the bridge and walked right long the valley on the Cumbria Way to Smithymire Island. All along here we had terrific views of our objectives. Crossed the footbridge as if going up Langstrath, but turned immediately left along by the wall. The path was clear despite the bracken, but this was not in full glory as yet. Passed through a wall via a gate then on to a more ruinous wall crossing this via a stile. Now the climb started in earnest, keeping by this wall on a clear path. Pretty steep, but not as steep as some we have done! Eventually the path veered left away from the wall then climbing cunningly in a series of zig-zags to finally reach the wall abutting the crag where a stile allows passage. Then on steadily up to soon reach a gully on the left, which is the key to the ascent. Scrambled up to level ground below the upper crags. Here the path went right to then zig-zag up on a series of shelves. The first is pretty narrow above Heron Crag and there is a rather exposed vertical drop, so a head for heights is needed. Eventually Eagle Crag summit is reached, a bare outcrop of rock. There is now no cairn. Sergeant's Crag was clearly in view half a mile south, and we followed the clear path to a wall corner, then on by the wall, to incline away from it to finally reach the cairn marking the top of Sergeant's Crag. Continuing south we descended to cross a stile and follow a path below a tor and above Bull Crag. The path disappeared eventually, and we just picked the way above Brown Crag, to get beyond it then make the steep rough descent to the Langstrath Valley. Here, now again on the Cumbria Way, we turned right and walked the undulating path to Smithymire Island, crossing the footbridge and walking back the way we had come this morning to Stonethwaite. Unbeknown, Dad had left his camera on after the last walk so the battery was flat, hence no photos at all today. He was sorry for Little Eric as there is no record of him bagging these summits. None too of the views nor of the Herdwick sheep and lambs (well we are not too bothered about this!).

 

3rd June 2012 - Grange Fell, Watendlath & Great Crag from Rosthwaite

The forecast was good for the north Lakes, so this is where we headed today. It was dry all day and clear views too, but cool and windy on the tops. We had not been here for seven years, so it was nice to repeat this walk, and our pal Little Eric bagged both the summits, thereby getting half way through the Wainwrights. Parked in Rosthwaite, then walked to main road and crossed just a little left, to take the path past Hazel Bank and climb the stony way going through two gates to come to the junction of paths. Went left through the gate, towards Keswick and down by the wall. Soon after rounding a corner, we took the stile right to climb steeply at times on the clear path that led to the rocky towers, and the one with a tiny cairn marking the summit of Grange Fell (named Brund Fell on the map). On the ascent there had been some fine views of Borrowdale and the surrounding fells. Windy up here so had to shelter out of the wind for our picture. Descended to the wall and crossed the stile, to head over damp ground to the main path and so down to Watendlath. Pretty with its few houses, and packhorse bridge, nestling by the tarn. After Dad had taken a few shots, we sat on a convenient seat to have our lunch. Then along the path by the tarn, that then meandered on to a gate, where it climbed steeply beside Great Crag. We left the main path at a corner and struck ahead then right. Here we met another couple who were trying to find the top. Dad could not remember after so long, but soon we spotted a narrow path to a col, then right on up and across to the cairn. The couple were intrigued with us, and took our photo, also of us with Dad. Nice for once for Dad to be in the shot. They were doing the Wainwrights - this was their 79th. Returned down the same way then regained the path to pass by Dock Tarn. The outfall is Willygrass Gill which we followed by at times. The path descends Lingy End. It is pitched, but the zig-zags are tight a very steep - Dad really had to concentrate and take care. Got down safely, then right along the path to Stonethwaite Bridge, but kept on ahead by the beck, to join the outward path, where left just a short walk to the main road and the car. After all the effort Dad deserved some refreshment and where better to go than Armathwaite Hall, where he had a nice meal and saw a talked to many of the people we know who work there.

 

9th May 2012 - Barf & Lord's Seat from Whinlatter Forest Park Centre

Uncle Eric had never climbed these fells before, so Dad kindly offered to repeat this walk in his company. A day with good sunny periods & little wind so it for once nearly felt like spring. The views were magnificent. Terrific as we drove through the Lakes. Wonderful reflections on Windermere, Rydal & Grasmere. Parked at the Whinlatter Forest Park Visitor Centre, our start point. Walked along past the buildings and past a junction numbered 15, and on to a second junction where we went left uphill over a stream and then round a right hand hairpin, to come to angled crossroads, where we sat on Bob's Seat and looked at the superb view over to Keswick and the fells around. Now left uphill the path curving left round another hairpin and to another junction where we turned right along a track eventually to a junction numbered 8. Along here there had been good views of Barf our first summit and of Bassenthwaite Lake, Armathwaite Hall standing out clearly at its northern end. Here took the right fork descending by the forest and latterly entering the trees, to then branch right to a stile. Over this we forded Beckstones Gill and then climbed the good clear path to Barf summit. A flat bare area of rock surmounted by a flat cairn marks it. A large military aircraft flew over the lake, and Dad, snapped off a photo or two. Then again we followed the clear path that descended into a shallow col before climbing on to reach the bare flat top of Lords's Seat. A fence post and few stones marking it. A superb viewpoint, not only of the Lakeland Fells, but over the Solway Firth to the Scottish mountains, and today too the Isle of Man. Descended to the stile seen below and on along the track, to come to junction 5 where we took the path right by the trees. It was time of lunch, and eventually a sloped rocky area on the left provided a place to sit. We gathered in a circle to have our sandwiches, and chat about the day so far. Walking on the path led to junction 3 at Tarbarrel Moss, where our route was left along the wide forest road. This led to junction 2, where we went on ahead downhill quite steeply to the road, and left along this for the short walk to the car. Dad and Uncle Eric went to Siskins Cafe for tea and unsurprisingly Dad had a piece of cake too. Although we had only done this walk a few weeks ago, we were happy to do it again as the views are so extensive and wonderful and Dad got a few more pictures for the inevitable story! Uncle Eric too, ticked off another two Wainwrights.

15th April 2012 - Barf & Lord's Seat from Whinlatter Forest Park Centre

A lovely sunny day, if rather cold, and it did cloud over later, nevertheless the views were magnificent. Terrific as we approached along the A66 of Blencathra then the Coledale Fells and those above Derwentwater. We never ever ever tire of seeing these fells round here. The verge parking just beyond the visitor centre, our start point has been fenced and is being grassed over, so Dad parked at the visitor centre for the princely sum of £6.90. Ready and settled in the rucksack, we walked along past the buildings and then ahead at a junction numbered 15 and on to a second junction. Here it was left, uphill, over a stream and then round a right hand hairpin, to come to angled crossroads, where there was a seat, so we all sat and looked at the superb view over to Keswick and the fells around. Then Dad noticed the plaque on the seat that read Bob's Seat, to we just had sit on it and have our picture taken! Now left uphill, the path curving left round another hairpin and to another junction where we turned right along a track eventually to another junction numbered 8. Along here there had been good views ahead of Barf our first summit and over to Bassenthwaite Lake. All the tracks were forest roads, in excellent condition and great to walk on. At this junction we took the right fork descending by the forest and latterly entering the trees, to branch right a short distance to a stile. Over this we forded Beckstone Gill, and then climbed the good clear path to Barf's summit. A flat bare area of rock surmounted by a flat cairn marked it, and we sat here for our photo. Our pal Little Eric was pleased as he bagged the summit too. Then followed the clear path that descended into a shallow col before climbing on to reach the bare flat top of Lords's Seat. A fence post and few stones marking it. No one there but just a minute after two couples arrived. The first saw us and this led to Dad saying we had done the Wainwrights. The couple were in the final throes of this challenge having just 10 or so to do, and as they left to walk to Barf, Dad wished them well. Then chatted to the second couple who were taken with the idea of the us climbing the fells. The lady asked if there was a a blog, so Dad told them the website address. It was bitterly cold in the wind up here so they moved off to keep warm, and soon after we did too, descending to the stile seen below and on along the track, to come to junction 5 where we took the path right by the trees and down to junction 3 at Tarbarrel Moss. We had been close to this before when we had climbed that Birkett. Went left now to the next junction 2, where it was right downhill quite steeply to the road and a short walk to the car. Dad changed then went to see the ospreys sitting on the nest. The camera shots are in HD and so clear. Where else now but to Armathwaite Hall, where Dad had a meal in the Brasserie. Leek and potato soup and then the barbeque rib with chips and salad. Arthurus was serving, who Dad had not seen for a while. He made a real fuss and after other people had gone chatted a while, mostly about walking as Arthurus likes climbing the fells too. Dan took over, who had served Dad afternoon tea recently, and so more chat ensued. Before leaving he saw Johnny. He and Sunshine are off on holiday next week to Rumania and Dad wished them well. Finally there was just time for a few words with Mia, and Kim on reception, Dad wishing Kim good luck for her driving test next Thursday. A nice day and good to be on the hills again.

8th March 2012 - Binsey & Whittas Park from Binsey Lodge

Taking the right turn by the Castle Inn, we drove up the Uldale Road parking just beyond Binsey Lodge. The day was dry but lots of grey cloud with a cold wind too, so not ideal for photos. We climbed the clear path, with extensive views behind over the Uldale Fells, Skiddaw & Bassenthwaite. Soon the summit of Binsey was reached with its tumulus, trig point & shelter. We always like to sit on top of the trig points, but that was a non starter today due to the wind, and even by it Tetley was blown over, before Dad got the picture. So far we had done this part of the walk before, but now descending north we were on completely new ground, and so it was to remain until we reached the start again. The going was rough over the heather with no clear path, but the wall corner we were aiming for was clear to see and once there we passed through the gate and walked on ahead by the wall on the right. We could see the ladderstile over to the left and we and headed for this climbing over to get on bridleway. Interestingly on the gate into the field we had just crossed there was a sign 'private no right of way'. Now we walked effectively the way we had come by the wall on the left, the grass soon becoming a track, that crossed the stream that goes under the name Humble Jumble Gill!! The route was now clear just continuing ahead to near High Houses. Here at the signpost we turned left, but not before Dad took a picture of sheep who just seemed to want it taken. Is word getting around? Then on climbing to a brow to reach a gate on the right where a footpath comes in. Here it was left over Whittas Park. No path as such but just kept on ahead passing below a small hill, to then drop down to cross a wall and gain a very muddy way along by a wall on the right below the slopes of Binsey. Finally we took a gate ahead to cross the wall and walk down to Fell End Farm, climbing the fence to gain the road and so walk back to the start. Nice to make it a circular route and complete the exploration of Binsey. Being so close, Dad now went to Armathwaite Hall for lunch in the Brasserie. He saw Lorraine, who told him that the walk with Sunshine and Gemma, last Sunday had been the Newlands Round. Well done them! Dad had a nice meal, and saw Prem, and then Justine who took over. They both chatted to him. A nice day.

 

19th February 2012 - Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell & High Seat from Great Wood, returning via Ashness Bridge

Well finally after Dad being ill, we were back to walking again, and more importantly in the Lake District and on the fells! It was a quite superb day with clear skies so there were superb views. Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake were inky blue and the tops of the mountains were covered with snow. Despite Dad saying he was not coming to the north lakes, after all those long journeys last year, here we were nevertheless. It is in our and Dad's opinion the most beautiful area, and we all just love walking here. There was also the added advantage of Dad being able to go for a late lunch at Armathwaite Hall afterwards, having got permission from Uncle Brian. Our start point was the National Trust's Great Wood car park, a short way up Borrowdale from Keswick. Soon ready we set off walking through the wood, to then take the path climbing left up the fell, just before the footbridge over Cat Gill. A steady climb by the gill, and once above the tree line the wonderful views opened out. The ascent levelled off, and then it was a more gentle climb beside the wall, crossing this by a stile to reach the summit the cairn on Walla Crag. From Keswick, this is a very popular tourist climb, but today we had the summit to ourselves. We were eager to sit on the cairn to have our picture taken, but we had to be patient while Dad photographed the views. Just so good to be on the hills, and an extra special moment for Little Eric as he bagged this Wainwright. Then followed the steady walk along the ridge on a clear path, that eventually curved left to to climb more steeply to Bleaberry Fell. There are a number of cairns at the top, but the one fashioned into a shelter marks the top. About a mile away the next objective, High Seat, could be seen ahead the trig point standing out clearly. This ridge is perennially boggy, and we had indeed wondered why Dad decided to venture here again, after the comments he made last time. The day was cold, as it had been for a while now, but the upside to this is that the ground was frozen, so he did not sink into the bog, and for once his trousers kept clean. There had been little or no wind when we set off, but on arrival at High Seat is was blowing quite strongly, and consequently it was very cold, and Dad nearly had to put his gloves on. He is a hardy sort though. Too windy to sit on the trig point, we had to be content to have our picture taken just sitting by it. Then we sat in the lee, just below the summit to have our sandwiches. Despite being out of the wind Dad soon began to cool down, so we did not linger. On past occasions we have always climbed these fells from Thirlmere, so today's descent into Borrowdale was a new route. A clear path leads north-west winding its way to Ashness Gill, where the descent steepens, becoming rough and stony, coming eventually to a gate in the wall. Here a more grassy descent soon brought us to the road at Ashness Bridge. This is a very popular tourist place so unsurprisingly it was busy, with people having their picture taken on the bridge. It is renowned too for the view of Derwentwater and Skiddaw, but we noticed that this is now partly obscured by silver birch trees, that have grown tall. Our route now lay along the footpath that leads ultimately to Keswick. The first part being a short climb to a gate in a wall. Here beyond this is that wonderful view, totally unobstructed. Shortly taking the left fork, the path meandered up and down to come finally to the footbridge over Cat Gill, where we rejoined our outwards route, and the short walk to the car. Dad changed, then drove to Armathwaite Hall, where he had a nice meal in the Brasserie, served by Prem who Dad chatted with. Later he saw Ana, Prem's wife, who also made a fuss. Our pals Fletcher and Polly had come along too and they went to say hello to Kim and Mia on reception and Dad chatted to Kim too. Then we all went to have our picture taken sitting on the lawns. Super day and just wonderful to be out in the Lake District.

 

30th September 2011 - Lingmell (Ennerdale), Haycock, Little Gowder Crag, Caw Fell & Ennerdale Fell from car park below Bowness Knott

There have been some tough walks amongst the last eight to complete the Birketts, but this was perhaps the toughest of all, and we and Dad in particular is glad that it is finally done. Being Ennerdale, it was about the furthest drive - 90 miles and 2hrs each way, so this made for a very long day indeed. But at last we have completed all the fells in the north and west, so there will be no more long journeys up the M6 and along the A66. So an early start at 07.15, arriving just after 09.00 at Bowness car park. The weather was good, dry mostly sunny and very warm, but on the tops with the strong breeze, it was thankfully somewhat cooler. Vehicles are banned beyond this car park, so the walk was extended by some 3 miles, there and back to Char Dub Bridge. So, soon ready we set off along the road, giving Dad a good walk in before the climb. Crossed the bridge and walked on the track between the fields to a gate, where we went left to cross Woundell Beck by the substantial new bridge. This recently replaced the old bridge that was decaying and at times of flood was underwater. Soon we reached the track going diagonally right, and due right the drove way. Either route could be taken, but it was decided to use the drove way. Very muddy at first, but soon a proper path materialised on the steep and unrelenting ascent. Eventually, we reached the fence with a gateless gap, where the ascent became rocky but there was a path winding its way up through this. Finally the gradient eased, and then Lingmell's summit cairn perched on a large boulder was attained. That was one Birkett ticked off. Looking back there had been superb views of the lake, and over to the ridge of Starling Dodd etc, where we had been last time we had walked from here. So that done we looked ahead and Haycock seemed to be and still was a long way off. Leaving Lingmell we crossed heather to then traverse left to gain a path that led first to Tewit How. Now about 2000ft, there was still another 600ft to go. The ridge to Steeple bent away left, but Dad kept ahead and then slightly right to gain a path that finally led to the ridge between Scoat Fell & Haycock. It had been a long and arduous climb but finally it was done much to Dad's relief! Turning right, all that now remained was about 300ft of climb to the summit cairn on Haycock. Dad took our picture of course. Little Eric cheered as it was another Wainwright bagged. Then we sat and had lunch. Sadly the visibility was pretty poor today, restricting photo opportunities. The rest of the summits were now basically a ridge walk beside the wall ruinous and rebuilt known as the Ennerdale Fence. First the rocky tor of Little Gowder Crag. Descended from this to then make the gentle ascent to Caw Fell with its neat cairn. Another Wainwright for Little Eric. So, now just Ennerdale Fell left to do. We crossed to the south side of the wall then followed this as it turned right and descended to the depression. Here a stile over the fence on the right would be use later for the descent. However first there was the steady climb up Ennerdale Fell. The wall is fully rebuilt, so as we neared the cairn on the opposite side, we looked for the gate, that according to Birkett, allows access. There is no gate!!! Dad walked a little further on and found a short stretch of wall where the barbed wire has been broken away and we guess other people have climbed over. With a little difficulty this is what Dad did and soon we were sitting at the cairn. "Two", we all shouted at the top of our voices. Just two Birketts left!! Dad re-climbed the wall (he took great care and did not do any damage), then we headed back down to the stile passed before. We paused here while Dad consulted the route description and I said "that looks like a step stile in the wall going down the fell, so that is the way to get to the cairn on Ennerdale Fell." Now we started the long and very arduous descent between Silvercove Beck and the wall on the left. Steep and really no path. It seemed endless and later, looking back we realised how far we had come and how tough it had been for Dad. Finally we came to the point where the wall turned away left. In front was a fence, which we climbed up right beside to the corner, where Dad then followed it down the fell, again on very intermittent path through heather and bracken. Dad should really have climbed on further up the fellside to find a path, but having done so much climb today, he thought this was the lesser of two evils. Eventually, we reached a fence corner and a stile, where we joined the proper path. This stoney path led down easily and reached a junction with footbridges left and right. Dad took the one left and after a very short climb, we were soon down to the valley floor. Followed the forest track right to come to the gate, to the path to Char Dub Bridge. Then the 1.5 miles back along the valley road to Bowness. We met a couple from Nunthrope, Yorkshire on the last half mile, so Dad chatted to them. The gentleman was 80. They do not go on the tops now, today having done a round in the valley. A nice way to round off the walk. They talked about Bob Orrell, who they had met some time ago. He lives in Ennerdale. Dad told them we had met him on Great Gable. We were noticed too, so Dad briefly explained about us. Then Dad phoned Uncle Brian, to let him know we were back safely, before heading home. He stopped at Junction 38 Services where he enjoyed the fish, chips & mushy peas and plenty of tea. Finally home just before 19.30. A long long day and Dad felt the effects for the next two days afterwards, but now this walk is done the completion of the Birketts is in our grasp. Summit tally - Little Eric bagged all 5 including 2 Wainwrights. We and Dad bagged 2 - Lingmell and Ennerdale Fell.

 

31st August 2011 - Esk Pike, Pike De Bield & Broad Crag (Scafell) from Seathwaite via Grains Gill

Today's walk was in the area of Lakeland's highest mountains, to tick off two more of the few remaining Birkett tops. The day was cloudy but dry apart from a few minutes of drizzle in the afternoon, and there was little wind. Our start point was Seathwaite in Borrowdale- already busy with cars by the time we got there soon after 09.00. When we got back it was obvious many more had arrived afterwards. Set off through the farmyard, and on along the wide track to Stockley Bridge, where having crossed it we turned left up Grains Gill. A long steady climb with massive bulk of Great End dominating the scene ahead. The path has been extensively repaired and graded. Whilst this makes for easier going, it was hard on Dad's knees on the return descent, and we felt for him. Reaching the top we crossed the gill to join the path from Styhead, and walked on up to Esk Hause its large cairn marking the cross road of paths. Ours lay on ahead to Esk Pike. There was a steady stream of walkers heading on the path to Scafell Pike, but few going to Esk Pike. A rough climb over the extensive rocky terrain, but then there was a section of grassy level ground, where the rocky summit was finally revealed. There are two sections split by a gap. A large cairn stands on the left section and a smaller cairn on the right. This is slightly higher so is the actual summit as depicted by Wainwright in his book. We did not have our picture taken just then, as Dad decided to leave doing this until we had been to Pike De Bield. As Dad was standing on the highest point, a gentleman with a younger lad, asked if this was Esk Hause. "No", Dad replied it is Esk Pike. How they had missed it we do not know, but they were bound for Scafell Pike and Dad pointed out the route they needed to take. "I'll not be popular" the gentleman replied heading off having thanked Dad for the guidance. We actually met them later on, as we were heading to Broad Crag, on their return from Scafell the Pike. Descended to easy ground and walked across grass passing an outcrop with a large cairn, and so on to the easy climb to Pike De Bield, with a neat cairn having a standing stone in the centre. This must have been recently built, having compared it to the picture on 'Striding Edge' website, where in July there was just a small untidy heap of stones. Stupendous views over to the Scafells, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and down to Eskdale. "Wow"!!, we all exclaimed. That was the first Birkett bagged, and Little Eric too had bagged Esk Pike as a Wainwright. Dad walked back to Esk Pike, where for the sake of completeness he took our picture at both cairns. Then it was on down to the Hause, where a decision had to be made whether to climb to Broad Crag. Dad had been finding the walking hard today, but despite all, he did not hesitate and headed up Calf Cove on the path to Scafell Pike. Some of the path has been repaired and graded so making easier going, but still hard walking amongst the rock, something a gentleman commented on as we passed him. Dad said "I'm not a fit as I was". "Nor me either" he replied. His younger companion said the same, to which he replied, "You were never fit!". We crossed with care the area of large boulders, from which, it was just a short distance down and up to Broad Crag col and a clamber over the boulders to the shaped rock with a small cairn marking the top of Broad Crag. So that was today's Birketts done, so just 5 to go now. We were glad there was no wind as we had to balance on the boulder to have our picture taken. As Dad was finishing, two other walkers arrived a gentleman and a younger man. Dad offered to take their picture for them, and offer that was gladly accepted. A further bouldery clamber followed to regain the main path where we retraced the route to Esk Hause. As we arrived a typhoon fighter aircraft came screaming over and disappeared between Great End and Great Gable. What a terrific noise!! Dad was just ringing Brian so he heard it too. Dad had hoped to do Great End as well, but he was just too tired. However Little Eric, who had not been there before, did not mind. So along the path towards Styhead, then over the gill and down Grains Gill. On the lower section we met a lady who was going to check on a Duke of Edinburgh group. They were camping tonight at Angle Tarn. Today they had come over from Grisedale Tarn area, via Fairfield. To reach Angle Tarn they were climbing via Rossett Gill. "I hate Rossett Gill", Dad said. The lady agreed too. She had walked extensively, having done the Wainwrights and Munros too. Wow!! Chatted about 10 mins, about various parts of the lakes, favourite areas etc. She had two lovely border collies with her too. It was not too far then down to Stockley Bridge and on the Seathwaite. Dad stopped at Jake's Snack Shack at the farm, run by a lad of about 13, serving drinks and biscuits chocolate bars etc. A welcome large mug of tea was had, which was just what Dad needed. As he deposited the cup in the bin, Dad thanked him. How enterprising - he will go far. And so home via Junction 38 Services where Dad had sausage chips & beans and a large mug of tea

 

21st August 2011 - Little Dodd (Loweswater) & Hen Comb from Maggie's Bridge, Loweswater

This was another of the walks to tick off the Birketts, and yet another long drive, crossing again Whinlatter Pass, but this is the last time we will have to go to Loweswater. Hen Comb is not linked to any other fells, and is flanked on either side by becks, that can be hard if not impossible to cross after rain, which we had plenty of recently. Birkett suggests a route that involves crossing Mosedale Beck, but Dad reckoned that this might impossible to cross today, so we decided to take a route on the other side. This was also influenced by the fact we started from Maggie's Bridge, the bridleway from here, leading to this other side. A very narrow lane in Loweswater village leads to the unsurfaced NT car park. Crossing the small bridge we followed the access track to High Nook Farm, then on through the farmyard, to pass through the gate in the intake wall to open fell. A path led on, and at the divide we took the left fork. It would have been easier if we had followed the wall left by the gate, as we were to find out on the return. The fells towered around, Carling Knott, Fellbarrow Group, Mellbreak the latter two having been subject of recent walks. Strolling along we realised that we had been this way before, then taking the right fork which leads up the slopes of Carling Knott. This was in 2005 when we had climbed to Burnbank Fell etc., in a round to bag the Wainwrights. The path led under the slopes of Black Crag, but then we had to descend to the valley containing the Whiteoak Beck - steep and rough. The beck was flowing fast, but after casting about along the bank, Dad managed to get us across dry. Then it was up the steep opposite slope to the shoulder, and so along the narrow trod to the rocky knuckle of Little Dodd, its grassy summit being unmarked. To add colour to our photo, Dad got the flag out for us. The day was mostly cloudy and breezy, so the flag cracked out. That was the outstanding Birkett done, now just seven to go. Then we walked on across rather wet boggy ground-not too surprising after the rain, to climb steadily the dome of Hen Comb, and reach the cairn on a little rocky outcrop. This was for Little Eric's benefit to bag this Wainwright. It was his 100th too. Dad took his photo on his own to mark the occasion. Looking ahead we could see Starling Dodd, Gale Fell & Great Borne where we had been last week. Lovely view of Loweswater and Fellbarrow Group. It looked dark over to Honister, so were were glad perhaps not to be in Borrowdale. Dropped just below the summit to get out of the wind and had a snack. Then retraced the route following a tractor track that went to the right of Little Dodd, and so on down eventually to the intake wall. Here we went left by the wall to drop down to the beck again. The banks were steep, but fortunately there was a pole with a frame below to catch debris secured across the beck. Dad sat on this and shuffled across then on to rocks and up over the fence. Just a pity no one there to take his picture! Continued on by the wall to reach the outward track and so to the car. Dad had made it tougher for himself on the way out, but finally done now. We won't be going back to these fells again for a long time if ever, as we have all done them. On the way home Dad unsurprisingly went to Greystone House, for tea and lovely apple crumble with custard.

 

14th August 2011 - Bowness Knott, Brown How (Ennerdale), Herdus, Great Borne, Gale Fell, Starling Dodd & Little Dodd (Ennerdale) from the car park below Bowness Knott

Today we did one of the two most distant of the remaining Birkett walks, from Ennerdale - 180 miles round trip and about an hour and three quarters hours driving, to the car park below Bowness Knott, the limit of vehicular traffic unless you are at the Youth Hostel or Field Centre. The sign says welcome to Wild Ennerdale and this is certainly true especially the upper sections dominated by Great Gable, Pillar etc. Setting off early we the there just after 09.00, but it came on to rain heavily, so sensibly we sat in the car until it passed over. Finally we set off about 09.50, the day dry from thereon and sunny in the afternoon, with a cool wind. Returned along the road to the end of the forestry, climbing the stile on the right by Rake Beck. The path climbed steadily through the bracken to come to the forest corner, then continued a little way right of the fence. Brown How the second top of the day was ahead to the left. Found the stile in the fence, over the crest, to gain access to Bowness Knott. The trees have been felled in the recent past, so any path has largely disappeared and the ground is covered in branches and debris, making for a rough and unpleasant trek to the summit, but a super viewpoint over Ennerdale. Dad was very glad though, when he had regained the stile. Don't suppose we will return again. Then just a short climb to the rocky knoll of Brown How. That made up for the time to Bowness Knott. Herdus, the next top towered over beyond, and we looked across to the steep ravine of Rake Beck, via which there was 800ft to climb to Herdus summit. Crossed to the path up Herdus Scaw and started the ascent. Being hidden in the heather etc, there was not much in view at any time, but there was never any doubt, and rough and rocky in places it climbed steadily winding its way up the fell It never felt really steep, unlike Scale Knott, and was an interesting scrambly climb that we can recommend. Eventually the ascent levelled and Herdus summit was to the left with Great Bourne ahead and right. We found the narrow trod leading left and soon we were at the cairn on Herdus. So that was three outstanding Birketts done. It was still misty at times and Great Borne disappeared whilst here, but it soon cleared. Crossed the plateau, and followed a path the climbed easily then on to the trig point on Great Borne. We sat on it for our picture. Then we lunched sitting by the shelter. The views were clearing although the mist was still hanging round Pillar etc. Walking on we descended by the fence bearing left at the corner along the path to Starling Dodd, but at the lowest point, we struck left to the stout corner post in the fence, marking the summit of Gale Fell. This had not been visited in 2005, so only now could we claim to have climbed it, and this truly left us 8 summits to do. Crossed a dip to rejoin the main path and climbed soon to Starling Dodd. There are two cairns - one in stone and one mainly of the old fence posts as we remembered from last visit. We sat on this for our photo. Views were now very clear and stupendous. To the Fellbarrow Group, Mellbreak, Hen Comb, and wonderful of Crummock Water backed by Grasmoor etc., and of course to Great Gable, Pillar etc across the valley. Oh how lucky we are! It was then just a short down and up to the final top today, Little Dodd (Ennerdale) that has a similar fence post cairn marking the top. This was a significant milestone for our pal Grizzly, as it marked his 1000th summit. We gave him a hug of congratulation, as did Dad. On the day, Little Eric bagged all 7 tops, which included two Wainwrights. The rest of us & Dad bagged 4 Birketts. It was down to the valley now. Dad made an error here in that he did not walk on to the head of Gillflinter Beck. Instead he went straight down, making it much harder through rocks and heather. Finally this was accomplished and the proper path gained. This wound on down to reach the unsurfaced road in the valley at Gillerthwaite. More wonderful views up the valley towards Black Sail. Great Gable, Kirk Fell, Pillar and its Rock, Scoat Fell. Awesome. Turned right along the track, to walk to the car - about 2 miles. A great day out and we made significant progress on the few remained Birkett tops not climbed. Now Dad was faced with the long drive home, so he decided to get a good way back, before stopping for a meal. He went to Junction 38 services, where he had steak and vegetable pie, chips, & vegetables, then a piece of chocolate rice crispy cake, all washed down with tea. Well he really did deserve it. It was then just about a 40 minute drive home. Thanks for a great day, Dad.

 

30th July 2011 - Arnison Crag, Birks, Gavel Pike, St Sunday Crag, Cofa Pike & Grisedale from Patterdale

On a lovely summer day, we started the first of the eight remaining walks to complete the Birkett fells. Mostly sunny with little wind, and rather too warm by the afternoon. We were excited, as we enjoyed the delightful drive over Kirkstone Pass, with Red Screes sharply defined in the early morning air. In the valley Brothers Water was mirror smooth. "What superb reflections", remarked Tetley. So on to Patterdale parking opposite the hotel. Dad was very glad that they have tarmacced the entrance, removing the deep potholes. Soon ready, we settled in Dad's rucksack setting off by taking the path to the right of the Patterdale Hotel that curves to join the main route. Through the gate we then climbed on to another gate. Here to Little Eric's delight Dad decided not to go through the gate , but go left and climb beside the wall so that we could again visit Arnison Crag, so he could bag the summit. We paused at the top of Oxford Crag to take in the superb view of Ullswater. Continuing along the path, the wall veered away right, and soon we took the narrow path left rising to the cairn on Arnison Crag, where we hopped out for our usual picture. Birks now dominated the scene west with the tops of Gavel Pike & St Sunday Crag behind. These were all on the agenda today. Returned to path, and walked on to come to Trough Head, and where the wall forms a loop enclosing Glenamara Park. We walked on by a ruined wall running from that enclosing Glenamara Park, leaving this as it turned right, to find the path cutting back up Birks. This then brought us again by the ruined wall, which we followed. Joining the main path, a short walk left brought us to the cairn on Birks, another Wainwright bagged by Little Eric. Now the onward scene was set out before us - Gavel Pike to the left and ahead St Sunday Crag. We walked on descending slightly to the come to the main path that bypasses Birks from Thornhow End. This was followed, until a path went left contouring the slope of the mountain. We took this, which led unerringly to the cairn perched on the summit of Gavel Pike. That was the first Birkett ticked off. Not having been here before we were particularly eager to sit and have our picture taken. Below there was a superb view of Deepdale, a lonely valley whose head leads up to Deepdale Hause that we would reach later. Now it was a short walk and about 200ft of climb to St Sunday Crag. Quiet here, Dad took our picture, but soon a steady stream of walkers arrived. Dad chatted to a couple who had climbed via Gavel Pike. They said it was a good route up the mountain. Like us they were going on to Cofa Pike, but then on over Fairfield, to return via Hartsop above How. We sat and had our lunch here, Dad chatting a young couple who commented on us, saying it was a great idea that we climbed the fells too. So now we headed down the stony path to Deepdale Hause. Cofa Pike towered up to the left - 500ft of climb. Our little hearts sank at the sight, but Dad said "we have got to do it, so it's best foot forwards." The rough path climbed steadily, then it became a bit of a scramble through the rocks on a clear path to finally reach the cairn. Second Birkett done -only 11 to go now. By now the first couple had almost reached Fairfield, and seeing Dad on the top, called out well done! We all waved as Dad called his thanks. So that was it the summits planned for today done. Retraced the route, to the Hause, and then took the path left to descend the rough eroded path to Grisedale Tarn, where just above we stopped to eat again. We sat on an adjacent rock to eat our sandwiches. As we munched away we talked about the wonderful views we had seen, The distant fells were a little hazy, but from Gavel Pike it had been majestic of Dove Crag, Hart Crag and Deepdale. Then north across to Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Striding Edge & Helvellyn. Seat Sandal is a wonderful backdrop to Grisedale Tarn. The best view of the tarn today had been from Cofa Pike. Dad had met a group of ladies at Deepdale Hause. They had commented on us and Dad had explained. They had been on Helvellyn, and said it was so busy with literally gangs of people, and many crossing Striding Edge. Just bears out that it is Lakeland's most visited summit. We were glad not to have been there today. Now we took the path down Grisedale. It is a long long way down, but Dad ploughed steadily on. On the way we met the young couple again and chatted. They had decided not to return over Helvellyn. A good decision, we thought as it was by now very warm for walking. Eventually we came to where the beck from High Crag joins Grisedale Beck. Here we walked across to take the bridge over the latter, to continue down the right side of the valley. This path eventually became a road that soon joined the main road in Patterdale, where going right it was a short walk to the car. A long and quite tough walk, we had nevertheless achieved all we set out to do, and finally we got Cofa Pike ticked off. Little Eric bagged all five summits that included three Wainwrights. The rest of us just bagged the two Birketts. Also this was the last of the 66 summits in the Central Fells as defined by Bill Birkett.

 

10th July 2011 - Fellbarrow Group - Darling Fell, Loweswater Fell, Low Fell, Sourfoot Fell, Smithy Fell, Fellbarrow on Mosser Fell & Hatteringill Head on Whin Fell

We had been looking forward to walking with Uncle Bob, in Yorkshire, but this was cancelled at the last minute due to him twisting his ankle. So instead of a 50 mile round trip, Dad ended up with a 160 mile round trip, as we went Birkett bagging from Loweswater. We had decided to do the Fellbarrow Group, comprising seven summits, just one of which we had not done before,. But for our pal Little Eric it was completely new ground and he bagged all seven including the two Wainwrights (Low Fell & Fellbarrow). The day was dry throughout, with sunny periods and a nice breeze. Dad found a pull off by Loweswater and we then walked the short distance to the track signed 'Mosser unfit for cars'. It is surfaced but rough in places hence the sign. Walked this climbing out of the trees to gain a good view of the lake and fells beyond. We could see where we had been last weekend. Dad spotted an animal ahead and after observing it carefully, realised that it was a fox. Climbed the stile at the sign 'footpath to Foulsyke', and then ascended steeply (but not as steep as Scale Knott however!), zig-zagging through the bracken and then by the fence. When this turned away we kept ahead to climb the stile and reach the top of Darling Fell. Beyond a shallow dip is a cairn that seems to be considered the top of the fell, but without doubt the highest point is that immediately beyond the stile. Another breathtaking view from the cairn - classic of Crummock Water with Buttermere beyond, surrounded by the mountains and fells. So, that was the outstanding Birkett done (13 to go now). We now descended steeply to cross Crabtree Beck and climb up the other side, then forking right to Loweswater Fell. Again that breathtaking view of the lakes and mountains. We just wanted to parcel it up and bring it home! Tearing our eyes from the view, we now walked north descending to cross a stile and then up the nose to the cairn on Low Fell - paradoxically the highest point reached today. The clear path then meandered up and down crossing two stiles, before we climbed left to the flat top of Sourfoot Fell a few stones marking the summit. Descended to rejoin the path then made the short climb to Smithy Fell, the highest point being at the fence corner. Descended once again to cross the stile on the left and climb steadily by the fence to the trig point on Fellbarrow. We spent a little while here thinking about Uncle Bob, as this is where we first met him in September 2005. Dad got chatting and on that day we did the rest of the walk together. Since then what a lot of adventures and great days out we have had together. The last top, Hatteringill Head on Whin Fell, was clearly seen just a little north, so we descended to cross the ladderstile giving access. There were cows with young grazing, so Dad was wary, taking a wide circuit to avoid them, but paradoxically a calf was standing by the cairn. It did after a minute or so give way and move off, so Dad was able to get the GPS reference and more importantly our picture at the cairn. To get down, it was necessary to reclimb Fellbarrow. As the trig point came into view, Dad remembered how he had seen Uncle Bob taking James's picture standing on the trig point. From the summit we descended west on an intermittent path, leading finally through bracken to a track that led to the Mosser track once again. This was then followed left to the start. A good day and all this group are now done. Refreshment time for Dad, and once again he went to Greystone House at Stainton. A pork and apple burger with salad, followed by delicious apple and blackcurrant crumble with custard, and tea to drink. So, suitably fortified he drove us home.

 

3rd July 2011 - Scale Knott, Mellbreak & Mosedale from Buttermere

A beautiful summers day with mostly clear blue skies and light winds. Frankly a bit too hot for walking by the afternoon. How is it that it is always hot when we climb Mellbreak! Dad parked in Buttermere, by the roadside just above the church. We took the path past the hotels leading to the lake, but our route was soon right through the gate to Scale Bridge. Superb reflections in mirror smooth water of the beck. The majestic fells all around were clear and provided a wonderful sight! Over the bridge followed the path right above the shore of Crummock Water. Grasmoor, Whiteside etc provided a wonderful view to the right. The path eventually bent away from the lake, and becoming a bit indistinct came to Scale Beck which we crossed. Scale Knott towered above and the fence rising up could be clearly seen rising out of the bracken. Crossed to this and started the very steep ascent, that got even steeper higher up - hard work on such a warm day. At the point where the fence turned away left, we continued ahead, still steeply up to finally come to what seemed to be the highest point on the flat top of the fell. A tiny pile of stones marked this and we gathered around for our obligatory picture. Marvelled at the views around, particularly across Crummock and down to Buttermere. Mellbreak was next, and clear path climbed on up. The ascent was steep, easing at the end as the path contoured across to then curve left to the summit. Just a bare patch of rock where the cairn once was. A tiny cairn has been built with small stones by it. Looking ahead we could see the north top, which clearly looked higher, but in fact is 3m lower. How the eyes play tricks. So heading on we descended over at times boggy ground to the dip then up to the north top. Fantastic view of Loweswater! Oh joy!! The plan now was to return to the dip and take the path down to Mosedale. However a path left the north summit, so we followed this, as Dad correctly assumed that is would join the path from the dip and so steeply down to the valley. It had been planned to do Little Dodd and Hen Comb across the valley, but Dad decided this was just too far bearing in mind the heat. Also crossing the valley is difficult-very rough & boggy, so we all decided to do this separately, from Loweswater village as this is really to only sensible way up. So we walked south along the valley, Dad taking a picture of the Holly Tree that is named on the map. Followed the path as it wound left, thinking we were all the way down. There did not appear to be a path on ahead and that to Floutern is largely lost in the bog now. Finally, however when we saw how high above Ling Crag, Dad tumbled to the fact that the path had taken us to the col between Mellbreak and Scale Knott. So having over shot, we backtracked to a cross of paths and descended the main path down Scale Knott to pick up the valley path. Then crossing a stream near a footbridge, Dad climbed the fence ahead and walked over bog to eventually drop down to the main path and so back to Scale Bridge and Buttermere. A good day and it was absolutely the right decision not to attempt Hen Comb. Then Dad took us along Crummock Water and over Whinlatter Pass, to then drive to Greystone House, where he had cottage pie with new potatoes, broccoli & carrots. followed by a scone with butter and jam. Plenty of tea too. It was home then after a great day out. Thanks Dad. Now only 14 Birketts to go! Click for - Full adventure

 

28th June 2011 - Birkett Fell, Hart Side & Glencoyne Park

A lovely summer day with blue skies, although some cloud in the afternoon. When we walked the Dodds (Great, Watson's & Stybarrow), in 2005, Dad was not sure that we had visited the cairn on Birkett Fell (at the time we had not discovered the Birkett challenge), so we decided to make a point of climbing it, to remove any doubt. Unsure whether there was any parking in Dockray (we noted as we went through that there is a small area by the bridge), we instead parked in the old quarry, as we had when climbing Round How etc. Climbed the narrow path by the wall to come to the stile over it. Whilst on this side there were wood steps, they had all gone on the far side so Dad abandoned it. After a further distance, he noted where people had climbed the wall and managed rather inelegantly to get over. The path took us past Bracken How, Round How, Common Fell, Swineside Pike & Brown Hills, and we recalled climbing them all in December 2009. Needless to say we did not trouble to visit any of these summits today! There were wonderful views of Ullswater and the fells above it - Place Fell, Hallin Fell etc and up towards Hartsop, as well as Birks & St Sunday Crag. Also later of Sheffield Pike Helvellyn, Catstycam & The Dodds, reminding us of our many adventures climbing them. Beyond Brown Hills the path left the wall to cross boggy ground to reach the wall that rises up Birkett Fell. We climbed now by the wall a path emerging after a little way. It was steep easing a little after the initial climb. This is a fell where there seem to be endless rises, but finally the cairn came into view a little way left of the wall. Embedded in it is a plaque reading 'Birkett Fell', so there is no excuse for not knowing where you are. We leapt out and settled by it for our photo. Then we followed the wide path over more wet ground to accomplish the very gentle climb to Hart Side - a Wainwright that our pal Little Eric bagged. As Dad looked back from the summit, the scene he had viewed in February 2005 came back to him as if it was yesterday. Dad pointed out the alternative path that crosses the 740m rise, which we had taken that day, and so we were sure that we had NOT visited the cairn on Birkett Fell, before today. We took the chance to have lunch here, and Dad phoned Uncle Brian . We then explored the summit. AW shows 4 cairns but the one nearest the ditch has collapsed. The ditch has rather filled in with stone. The reasons why such and excavation was undertaken is lost in the mists of time. Our descent was via the path we took in 2005, to eventually rejoin the path by the wall and then retrace the route to below Brown Hills, here crossing the stile to take the path down and through the lovely Glencoyne Park with its glorious woodland. More enchanting views too, of Ullswater. So to the road, and then just a third of a mile climb to the car. Now to Greystone House at Stainton once again, so that Dad could have some refreshment. He was recognised by the lady in the cafe, from last Friday and by one of the staff in the shop!! He had delicious carrot and coriander soup with a cheese sandwich, then scrumptious apple and summer fruits crumble with custard & tea. Duly fortified is was home down the M6. A great day!! Click for - Full adventure

 

12th February 2011 - Hare Stones, High Pike (Caldbeck), Great Lingy Hill, Little Lingy Hill & Coomb Height from Mosedale road end

In a week of changeable weather, today was bright and quite sunny, if rather cold on the tops, with mist coming in from time to time. We resolved finally to tick off the last of the Birketts in the Northern Area. This walk had been deferred a couple of weeks, because of our Dales walk with Uncle Bob to Gragareth etc. Dad drove to the tiny hamlet of Mosedale, beneath the slopes of Carrock Fell, turning left up the narrow valley to where the road ends as you cross the narrow bridge over Grainsgill Beck, parking just beyond at the side of the rough track that forms part of the Cumbria Way. Once ready and settled in Dad's rucksack, we recrossed the bridge turning left along the wide track up Grainsgill, on the Cumbria Way. This was a former mining track and we saw the long abandoned remains of some of the mine buildings and shafts. Now the path became a narrow trod, muddy in places after all the rain, alongside the rushing beck that unsurprisingly was in spate. This led on steepening over the last section to gain the ridge below Coomb Height on the left, that was to be climbed later. For now we turned right on the path along the ridge under the slopes of Great Lingy Hill. Beyond after descending a little, the easy slope was climbed to Hare Stones and its cairn just to the left of the path. Our first summit photo of the day! Continuing in the same direction we ascended to High Pike, the top marked by a large cairn, trig point and slate seat. This was our only Wainwright summit today. With Dad we sat on the seat for lunch. While there, a group of people from Caldbeck arrived and seeing us asked for an explanation, so Dad obliged and mentioned our website. From the summit there were extensive views to Carrock Fell, Uldale Fells and north to the Scottish hills. Then retraced our route over Hare Stones, and from the depression we cut half right over rough ground to find the shapely cairn at the summit of Great Lingy Hill. So far, no new summits had been bagged, except for our pal Little Eric who had not been to any before. We could see, in the same direction, across a dip the cairn on Little Lingy Hill and this was soon reached. At last a summit bagged. That just left Coomb Height, and to reach this we had to return to the top of Grainsgill. The hardest walking now ensued, as Dad tramped over rough boggy ground above Miller Moss, and under the slopes of Great Lingy Hill. Crossing the beck, we headed up the rough slopes to finally top out at the cairn on Coomb Height. It had made our day that there was a cairn on every summit, with the exception of the seat on High Pike, that we could sit on for our picture. So, that was it the Northern Area of the Birketts done. Hooray! The plan now was to make our return down Grainsgill, but a clear path led from the summit in the direction we wanted to go, so Dad opted for this route, knowing full well that the last part would be very steep. The path disappeared a times in the tall heather, but finally after a number of descents, we reached the very steep path that wound down the nose of the fell. Dad took it carefully, as it was slippy in places, and we got down safely, to the track by the bridge and just yards from the car. As we had descended there had been fine views across to Bowscale Fell, Blencathra, and Mosedale the valley we had driven along. A couple followed us down Coomb Height and as we passed them in the car, Dad stopped to comment on the steepness. They were parked on the Caldbeck road, so Dad offered to give them a lift along the valley, saving them a couple of miles walking - his good deed for the day.

 

16th November 2010 - Castle How, Swinescar Pike, Lang How & Silver How from Grasmere

Today we were bagging Birkett tops again completing the last of the 22 in the Langdale group. Dry, but a day of two halves. Still in the morning and early afternoon, with mist cloaking the fells, only lifting when the wind started to blow. In the mist it was mild, but later in the clear conditions and wind it was colder. From Grasmere, walked along the Easdale Road, to take the familiar path leading to Easdale Tarn. Distantly we could see that Sour Milk Gill was in spate. Beyond New Bridge, we went left through a gate to cross pasture and passing a house through another gate on to open fell. Beyond, ,the path at first was indistinct, and as we climbed the spectacular waterfall on Blindtarn Gill came into view, Dad moving closer across the brackeny terrain to get a picture. Meanwhile Uncle Eric climbed on up, finding a good path, that we then followed to pass Blindtarn Moss. Beyond again it became indistinct, so we just climbed the grassy slope though the trees. Eventually a path emerged again as we ascended Swinescar Hause to come finally to the main path on the ridge. The mist enveloped all so we could not get a view of the landscape. We, met a couple having lunch, who had come from Blea Rigg, and they assured us the path was easy follow, although they had not climbed to Castle How. The path skirted some bog and climbed on rocky and rough to eventually cross Little Castle How, and reach a cairn at a junction. Here going left under the slope, finally Castle How came into view up to the right, and after a short ascent the top with its cairn was gained. Jumped out for a quick photo, then off again as it was already 13.30 and we had a long way to go. Retraced the route to the hause, then followed the ridge path to very soon reach Swinescar Pike, a little grassy knoll being the summit. No cairn, but Eric kindly built a small one for us to sit by, and indicate the summit to other walkers. It was in view for quite a while, as we strolled on! By now the mist was lifting and we could see across the valley to Fairfield and the Helvellyn ridge although those tops were still in cloud. Followed the path crossing a small cairned hill, then down to come under Lang How, and climb left to its summit at the north end marked by 3 stones. At the other end the craggy rise looked to be higher, but when we walked to its top, it was clear the OS were quite right and where we had been was the highest point. Our eyes playing tricks. Descended again to the path, then on SE to finally find the path climbing to Silver How its cairned top overlooking Grasmere. My second visit and it brought back memories, of the first visit in July 2007, when Dad, Shaun and Tetley had completed the Wainwright challenge. Little Eric bagged it today. By now we were happier, as all the climbing had been accomplished and there was still a good hour and a half of daylight. Before heading down we sat just below the summit, out of the wind, to eat a late lunch. The descent was then by the usual route, passing the house called Allan Bank, where Wordsworth lived for two years from 1808. Soon then we were in Grasmere. While we rested in the car Dad and Uncle Eric went to the Miller Howe Cafe for tea, Dad, not surprisingly, having cake too.

 

10th November 2010 - Skelgill Bank & Catbells from Hawes End. King's How from Bowder Stone car park

Amidst days of rain and stormy winds, today was an oasis of calm, with cloudless skies and no wind. We were to do two separate walks to achieve these tops, first on the west side of Derwent Water, then on the east. From Portinscale, we followed the road to find the small rough roadside parking area at Hawes End, just below the cattle grid. Walked up the road to find the good path signed Catbells 1m. A few stops were made to take in the fantastic views, across to Causey Pike etc, Robinson Hindscarth and over Derwentwater to Skiddaw and Blencathra. As the gradient eased, it was just a short stroll to the top of Skelgill Bank. Only 1109ft, it was nevertheless very significant, as this was the one summit we needed to bag to catch up with Dad on the Birkett tops. Then on to climb the 350ft or so to Catbells. Dad had kindly done this for Little Eric's sake, as he alone had not been to its summit before. The views over Derwentwater were breathtaking. We could see that soon it would be very busy here, so after chatting to two young lads, Dad headed off down. At the col we took the path half right to descend eventually to the bridleway above the road to Grange, for a level walk to the car. This provided a variation to our outward route.
Dad now drove to Keswick and on down Borrowdale, to the Bowder Stone car park. We could see across the lake, Catbells, and we reflected on the superb views from its summit. Going right along the road we took the gate by the Hodgson memorial, and followed the path ahead then left to a junction. Turned right along the path to a gate in the wall, the sheer crags of King's How, our objective towering above. Just before another wall and gate we took the narrow path right, climbing steeply-the gradient is relentless. Finally at the top, continued by a fence, to swing right and wind to the summit of King's How. The views were breathtaking, especially of Derwentwater backed by Skiddaw. We were in awe and it was with reluctance that we walked on. Just a little way down is the memorial plaque to King Edward VII by his sister Louise, hence the fells' name. At the marker cairn, the path descended steeply to a stile, then on to a ladderstile. Followed the clear path beyond to climb, then descend steeply towards Rosthwaite. By the plantation, we climbed the stile over the wall and then immediately took the path right that led to a gate in a wall, following the path beyond through woodland to the road. Walked right, to then take the signed path off right to the Bowder Stone. We had not been here before. It is a huge boulder, probably left behind after the ice age. Awesome! Climbed the ladder for our picture on the top. A couple had arrived with their very young baby. The husband looked quizzically at us, so Dad explained and told them about our website too. Dad then took a shot of the stone, before striding off to the car. Suddenly we saw the wife of the couple. She had Dad's stick, which he had forgotten - he is always doing this, as he told her. We walked with them to the car, Dad chatting all the way. They are fell walkers too. It was nice to have met them. Another super day!

 

17th October 2010 - Mickleden, Stake Pass, Black Crag (Mickleden), Buck Pike, Rossett Pike & Rossett Gill from the Old Dungeon Gill

Sunday, and we were walking on our own, so it was decided to mop up another two remaining Birkett tops. The start point was the Old Dungeon Ghyll, in Great Langdale. As Dad drove up the valley, we enjoyed the dramatic view of the Pikes. Walked round the rear of the hotel and on to a gate then on the wide track through Mickleden. To the right tower up Loft Crag and Pike o'Stickle, while to the left rises the ridge of The Band. The day was mainly cloudy and cool, more so on the tops where there was a light wind. As the path curved right the objectives of today came into view - Rossett Pike, Buck Pike & Black Crag, sandwiched between Rossett Gill and the Stake Pass. Everywhere our beloved Herdwicks were grazing, so Dad was happily snapping away with the camera. After about a mile and a half, we crossed the footbridge over Mickleden Beck, where we immediately went right to climb the steadily rising path of Stake Pass. With all the bends on the path we thought Snake Pass would be a better name! Topping out the climb the path then goes right, crossing Stake Gill. To the right the ridge running to High Raise was clearly in view, and left to the Langstrath Valley. Our route was left on a narrow path towards the crags ahead, heading for Littlegill Head. We needed first to climb Black Crag, so a steep ascent over rock and grass had to be undertaken to get through the crags and eventually reach the summit of Black Crag. That out of the way the climb thereafter was easy. Terrific view down Mickleden but rather lost in the low cloud that hung all day over Bowfell. Great views to Allen Crags and the ridge to Glaramara. Walked on to cross Littlegill Head, then up to Buck Pike, the top marked by a small cairn. So that was the Birkett tops complete, and all that remained was to rejoin the path that led unerringly to the substantial cone shaped cairn on Rossett Pike. We had all bagged the first two, just Little Eric bagging this. In the same direction a short descent brought us to the main path, where turning left we made the steep descent down Rossett Gill. The old pony route is the path, winding down first away from the gill proper, before cutting under the lower slopes of Rossett Pike to the footbridge in Mickleden. The path has been substantially repaired too, and this time Dad got down without mishap. Then strolled back along Mickleden to the car. A good day and another corner of Lakeland done. On the way home, Dad stopped at Brambles Cafe in Chapel Stile. Here he enjoyed a nice pot of tea with extra hot water, and gorgeous piece of chocolate cake.

 

10th October 2010 - Harter Fell, Demming Crag & Horsehow Crags from Birks Bridge, Seathwaite

The intention on this walk was to climb the last Birkett fells in the area he defines as Southern. This involved climbing most of the way up Harter Fell, so as Little Eric had not done this before, Dad decided to visit its summit again. We had not been along the Seathwaite Valley in Dunnerdale for a long time, indeed since February 2005, when last climbed Harter Fell. It is a lovely drive, even if the road is very narrow in places, but we were glad we did not meet much traffic. The start point was the car park at Birks Bridge. There were a group of Mountain Rescue people training dogs, and we saw just a little bit of this, with a dog finding a man hiding in a tree. Walked along the forest track and down to The Birks (Hostel) and a little way on a path east. However we soon realised that Dad for once had misread the map slightly, so returning to the forest road, a few yards left, a low "bear sized" sign pointed to Harter Fell. The path was rough and lose on the lower sections as it climbed steeply, to finally reach a gate in a fence. Dad's original plan had been to contour right along this, but having got so far up he decided, much to Little Eric's delight to climb on its summit, which was deserted. First Dad scrambled up rocky outcrop to reach the highest point. We had our picture taken here, and then by the trig point, which less adventurous walkers class as the summit (there is 4m difference). Suddenly there were people everywhere! A guided walking party and some other groups too. Dad chatted to two gentlemen, who told him they had climbed the Coniston Fells yesterday, and had nearly been blown off Dow Crag (we all know exactly how they felt, having had the same experience!). One was an experienced walker but the other man was just starting out on the Wainwrights - Dad wished him the best of luck on his quest. We had a snack here, then headed down the same path to, at the cairn, branch left along an at times muddy path, after a while leaving this left to the summit of Demming Crag. From here and from Horsehow Crags, our next objective there was a wonderful plan view of Hardknott Roman Fort. Superb views too, to the Scafells and Coniston Fells etc. Then regained the path, and after crossing a stream, plodded left over wet ground to cross a fence, and climb to Horsehow Crags. That was the last of the 78 fells in the Southern area. Turning east across the top, we could see the gate below we had to reach. The terrain here was very rough and tussocky, so it was rather slow progress but thankfully not too far. Now, following the bridleway through the cleared forestry, we eventually descended to the forest road and so left to the car. A tea stop next (what else), so Dad called at Jane & Sam's for tea and apple and blackberry crumble with loads of custard - delicious! The good thing was we got to go in too. Super day. Click for - Full adventure

 

2nd September 2010 - Troutbeck Valley, Roman Road via Scot Rake, returning via Froswick, Ill Bell, Yoke & Garburn Pass

With my completion of the Wainwrights in the last walk, we left the choice of today's walk to Uncle Eric. He suggested climbing the Roman Road, and returning over some of the Kentmere Fells he had not done. This was good for our pal Little Eric, who bagged the tops too. It was a lovely summers day with warm sunny periods and little wind. The first part we had done before when we had climbed Troutbeck Tongue. Starting from Church Bridge in Troutbeck, we walked through the churchyard and on over the fields towards High Green, to the road where it was right to the A592. Crossing carefully we then walked along Ing Lane through Troutbeck Park. Following the signpost the route climbed Hall Hill to come below Troutbeck Tongue. We recalled our climb of this and could pick out the route we took. Walking right under this, the path then turned left up the valley below its slopes. We were on the course of the Roman Road, as it continued up the valley, then steeply at times up Scot Rake, to finally reach the ridge between Thornthwaite Crag and Froswick. Although there is no evidence of the Roman Road, we still marvelled at the expertise of the engineers who built it all those centuries ago. The ascent had been a lovely walk with the valley behind laid out and the ridge of the Kentmere Fells above to the right. At the ridge we joined the main wide stoney path, turning right to climb to our first summit Froswick. Super views over Kentmere from here. Then it was down and on to climb the rough and at times eroded path to Ill Bell with its three tall cairns, the middle one being the top. I got my rope out so Tetley, Grizzly & I could climb up for our photo. Shaun was able to climb without aid and Little Eric rode on his back. By now we were hungry, so walking on a short way to get away from the flies that were inhabiting the summits today, we sat on some convenient rocks for lunch. Dad joked that we were on the "Yoke view terrace at the restaurant". We sat at a separate table. Sounds like a good title for a play! As we munched our sandwiches we enjoyed the fine views of the Kentmere and Troutbeck Valleys, with Windermere beyond, through the haze. Then continuing we made the gentle climb to Yoke, for our final picture at the cairn. Beyond was the long descent to reach the Garburn Pass. This was the first time Dad had done these fells from north to south, and he felt this was the best way, as it avoided the long drag up to Yoke. Then it was about the 2 miles or so on the at times rough descent of the Garburn Pass to come to the A592 and so to the car, at the end of another super day on the hills. Thanks Dad from us all. Click for - Full adventure

 

19th August 2010 - Kinn, Grisedale Pike, Hobcarton Head, Hopegill Head, Sand Hill returning via Coledale

So, after many days in the Lakes, the day I had dreamed about had finally arrived., Amongst the summits we would reach today would be Grisedale Pike, that would mark the completion of my challenge to climb all the 214 Wainwright fells, like my other pals Shaun, Tetley & Grizzly. We arrived at the old quarry on the Whinlatter road about 09.30, getting one of the few remaining spaces. The sign by the steps at the north end read Grisedale Pike, so we climbed them and followed the path beyond through the trees that sheltered us from the rain shower. There were a few of these early on, but basically it was a dry day, although windy on the tops. The path wound in a loop climbing above the trees on open fell by a fence. At a corner in this, the unremarkable summit of Kinn was reached. We hopped out for the first of our pictures, Dad planting the flag for extra colour. Walking on a little descent followed, before the climb steepened over Sleet How, followed by the steeper final rocky climb to Grisedale Pike. "Hooray done it" I cried, and immediately posed on my own by the cairn to mark the achievement. Dad explained to another couple of walkers, who added congratulations. He then took all our pictures, before I was photographed again on my own with the Wainwright book open at the appropriate page. The gentleman then kindly took me posing with Dad - a lovely reminder of the occasion. After taking in the magnificent views, we walked on, descending, to then climb to the intermediate summit of Hobcarton Head. This was another milestone for me. as I now caught up with Shaun, Tetley & Grizzly on the Birkett challenge, this being my 500th top. The path then continued round above the hugely impressive Hobcarton Crag to the summit of Hopegill Head, the second Wainwright of the day. It has a small summit area being at the end of the ridge from Whiteside. There are tremendous views over Whiteside, and back to Grisedale Pike. North too over the approach ridge from Ladyside Pike. The massive bulk of Grasmoor dominates south west, and south is Eel Crag rising to Crag Hill with Sail etc running east. Breathtaking! This truly is one of our favourite areas of the Lake District. Following the path south, we made the short climb to Sand Hill, where Dad took our last picture of the day. This was while Uncle Eric was chatting to a couple from Culcheth, who we had met earlier in the day. Then we made the rough descent to Coledale Hause, Eel Crag literally towering above us, the narrow steep ascent being visible above the initial scree. Here turning left we started the descent into Coledale that was to lead us all the way to the start. After a short walk we were out of the strong gusty wind, so settled on some rocks for a late lunch. The path was rough and stony, and wound down like a snake, eventually coming beside the top of the impressive Force Crag with its lovely waterfall. The path descended to its right and below we could see the buildings of the closed Force Crag mine. The path led down to cross the beck and join the mine road. This level easy path then led us all the way directly to the car park, at the end of another great day. I was over the moon to complete the 214, and Dad was pleased too, to have come to the end of the 56 tops he had had to repeat in the process. Little Eric and Uncle Eric bagged all the tops today. Then while we sat in the car musing on the day, Uncle Eric and Dad went to the cafe at the Braithwaite camp site for a refreshing pot of tea, with Dad having a scone with jam too. This rounded off their day before heading home. Click for - Full adventure

 

8th August 2010 - Low Birk Fell, Bleaberry Knott on Birk Fell, The Knight, Place Fell, High Dodd & Sleet Fell from Sandwick

Shaun, Tetley & Grizzly needed to bag just three tops to break the psychological barrier of 500 Birketts. So it was decided to do the walk over Place Fell, where three of the six tops were outstanding. Little Eric would bag them all including the Wainwright. Our start point was Sandwick, reached along an extremely narrow road from Martindale Church. Fortunately we did not meet another car! The road just ends by houses and a farm. By the side of the house is the good track to Patterdale. Along this we went to eventually cross Scalehow Beck, then shortly at the wall corner, we struck off steeply up the fell through the shoulder high bracken that made route finding difficult. Finally the bracken gave way to grass and a reasonable path only to disappear in the bracken again. The cairn on Low Birk Fell was visible now and soon reached. Wow what a viewpoint - stupendous of Ullswater. From there the path was clearer as it wound through the bracken and over Kilbert How. Then climbing diagonally up the hillside and on unerringly to the cairn on Bleaberry Knott the summit of Birk Fell. Looking south we could see The Knight the next objective, backed by Place Fell itself. The path led right round a boggy area, but then crossing rocky knolls disappeared but Dad kept on in the same direction and reached as expected the path that rises from Ullswater. This was followed up to the col where we struck left to the narrow grassy rock edge of The Knight. Returning to the col we completed the climb to Place Fell and its trig point. This the Wainwright, was Little Eric's 80th. The weather had been sunny to start, but now the low cloud had moved across from the Helvellyn Ridge, so the views had completely gone. Two couples arrived and saw us, so Dad explained. After they had gone, another couple arrived. The lady, Adele Pennington, seeing them remarked to her husband that she is glad there are people as mad as her. She has a bear that goes walking but had not come today - he is called Ted the Mountaineer. She said he would have loved to have met us. During conversations later it came out that she had climbed Everest and Ted had been there too! Then a family from Leighton Buzzard arrived and they spotted us sitting on the trig point. Their son was fascinated by us and his Dad took his photo with them. He especially liked Little Eric. All in all it was a very lively time on Place Fell. In the mist we set off along the path over Hart Crag, coming out of the cloud as we descended. Onwards to Low Moss, to soon strike off to the summit rock and small cairn on High Dodd, and another superb lake view. Descended east to regain the path, following this to bear left along the shoulder to Sleet Fell. The large cairn at the north end is clearly not the summit. Consulting the map Dad read the landscape to determine the loop of a contour that is two humps split by a depression, the spot height being on the first one. When we got home Dad measured the map and found that he had correctly interpreted the map. We had the last of our many summit pictures today, here. From the ruined wall, a good path led down steeply at times, to join the outward track at Sandwick. A very satisfying walk and not only did we reach 500 tops, but we completed all the fells in the Eastern Area as defined by Bill Birkett. Time for food now, so Dad decided to go again to the Old School House in Tebay to see Steve and Joanne. He had a delicious roast beef dinner, followed by a lovely scone with butter and jam. Excellent. Thanks Dad for another super day.

 

21st July 2010 - Great Calva, Little Calva & White Hause from the Orthwaite Road by Peter House Farm

The last few days had been very wet with heavy rain, but today the weather settled down. A dry day with superb views in the afternoon. Great Calva was the main objective and I was very excited as it would be my last Wainwright in Book 5, leaving me with just one to complete all 214. Uncle Eric and Little Eric bagged it too, and we all bagged the other two that are Birkett tops. We had walked the track to Skiddaw House before but not from this start point. Off the A591 a narrow road leads to Orthwaite, and just before Peter House Farm on the right is a lay-by where we parked. The adjacent gate gives access to the Cumbria Way, a road that leads to Dash Farm, but at the signed junction the Cumbria Way forks right. Ahead was the spectacular Whitewater Dash Falls, flowing strongly after the rain. A stirring sight. Once above these, we passed through a gate and followed the good track that leads to Skiddaw House (Youth Hostel). To the right towers Bakestall, reached by the steep Birkett Edge, over topped by Broad End and Skiddaw - a magnificent prospect. The dark forbidding Dead Crags below Bakestall, were spectacular with the mists swirling round. To the right is the slopes of Little Calva and then Great Calva. Eventually we crossed Dead Beck, immediately taking the thin path left that meandered upwards through the heather to join another path coming in from the right. From here it was just short walk to the south top, and then another 100 yards or so to summit of Great Calva, with its large cairn. Dad took our picture and one of me on my own, being as it was my last in Book 5. Then we had lunch, sitting in the lee of the cairn out of the strong wind. There are good views from here to Blencathra, Bowscale Fell, Carrock Fell, High Pike and the Skiddaw Group. Descended following the fence, before cutting half left over boggy ground to climb to Little Calva its top marked by a cairn. Then, climbed the fence and went NW down the shoulder, until we intersected a narrow path. This we followed right and soon White Hause came into view. The path contoured round and we left it to make the short easy climb to White Hause. There are a few boulders and we sat by the one nearest the summit. The summits done for today, we contoured down to the path, going right and on down to Dash Farm. There is no public right of way through the farm, so we walked right by the wall to a gate. Here, going left across a field, to join the track from Orthwaite. A short way left, at a gate, we joined the farm road that was followed to the start. Another corner of Lakeland done and a good walk. Dad and Uncle Eric wanted a cup of tea. so they went to the cafe at Dodd Wood. Dad had a piece of chocolate cake too. No surprise there we all said! I can't wait for the next walk with Uncle Eric, to Grisedale Pike to complete my Wainwrights, and catch up with Shaun, Tetley, Grizzly & of course Dad. Click for - Full adventure

 

13th July 2010 - Brown Crag, Helvellyn Lower Man, Helvellyn, White Side & Raise from Stanah

The day started bright, sunny and summery, with excellent visibility providing majestic views particularly to the west and north. As the day progressed cloud increased with strong gusty winds on the higher summits, and a consequent drop in temperatures, so feeling more like winter. Just at the end it came on to rain heavily. We were with Uncle Eric, and this was to be a good day for him bagging all the summits and especially Helvellyn. I was very excited as two of my four remaining Wainwrights would be ticked off. Set off from Stanah, just at the start of the road to St Johns in the Vale. Walked up the lane, climbing the ladderstile, then through the gate to cross the bridge over the water conduit and finally another gate to open fell. Sticks Pass was ahead, our return route. We went right along the wall on the path signed to Swirls. Crossed Fisherplace Gill, which was flowing quite fast after recent rain. Then to the point where the path comes up from Thirlspot. Consulting the map and Wainwright Book 1, we backtracked a short way to find the path climbing up, and after crossing the gill, took a right fork to climb steeply through the bracken. This finally gave way to grassy terrain as the path wound on towards the bulk of Brown Crag our first objective. Skirting left we gained most of the height, then struck right to quickly reach its summit - a rocky outcrop. Another Birkett ticked off and the last in the Helvellyn Group. Walked on climbing towards White Side, but took the path right to walk along the slopes to round the mountain above Helvellyn Gill with the dramatic Browncove Crags across the valley. A steepish pull finally brought us to the col on the ridge. Here right it was a fairly short steep ascent to Helvellyn Lower Man (Birkett catchup Little Eric and I). Then just a short stroll to Helvellyn itself. Not surprisingly it was busy, but we took our opportunity to bag the cairn for a short while for our picture. That was three tops done but still two to go. Returned over Lower Man and down to the col. Ahead was the steady 200ft of ascent to White Side with its cairn and lowish shelter. This was used for lunch, but it was now quite cold so it was only a brief stop-suddenly it was like winter. Ahead was Raise reached after 250ft ascent from the depression, its top adorned with a beautifully constructed cairn. A work of art! I was eager to sit with my pals for my picture, as it was my 212th Wainwright and the last in Book 1. Descending we could see clearly ahead the cross roads at the Sticks Pass. Our route was left on the grassy track with some steeper eroded sections. Finally we were amongst the bracken again, the path led to the signpost where we taken the path to Swirls. By now it was starting to rain, but we were the car and safely inside before it turned heavy. Another super day.

 

15th June 2010 - Rowling End, Causey Pike, Scar Crags, Sail, Crag Hill & Eel Crag from Stoneycroft Bridge

A glorious day with sunny periods, warm and hardly any wind - quite a contrast to last week!. There was excellent visibility too - we could see all the fells viewable from the summits, if rather hazy for the more distant ones - magnificent. Just visible too was the IOM. Parked at Stoneycroft Bridge, where immediately opposite was a sign post indicating our path - it was obviously there for us, as it was just a few inches tall. The path led up a steep climb over Elias Crag to top out finally at Rowling End. The path wound its way up, a mixture of rough stoney surface and bare rock. Ahead now was Causey Pike rearing up to its impressive rocky summit dome. We made easy progress along the shoulder of Sleet Hause, to then make the steep climb to Causey Pike. Hands & paws needed on the last rocky scramble. Beyond is the cockscomb crest of the fell and we made our way over these before dropping down to the shoulder and making the climb to the cairn on Scar Crags. A steepish descent then followed to Sail Pass, which we were to return to later for our descent route. Ahead was the long diagonal 500ft of ascent to Sail, along a wide rather eroded path. The summit is just right of the path, but the untidy cairn that Shaun, Tetley & Grizzly remembered in centre of the small boggy patch has disappeared. Now ahead was Crag Hill our next objective. About 100ft of descent, before climbing over a rocky pinnacle, that led to steeper ground of the rocky ascent to the summit. There is a cairn marking where the gradient eases, from where it was just a short stroll to the trig point. Wainwright calls this fell Eel Crag, but on the OS map it is shown as Crag Hill. Eel Crag is actually a separate summit just a short distance away. Here is perhaps a good point to say what a social walk this was for us, Dad and Uncle Eric. An old gentleman from Ayr was making the same climb as us, and over the day they chatted to him number of times. Uncle Eric chatted to some people from Wiltshire and to a gentleman from Devon, while at that time Dad was chatting a man from Blackburn, where Wainwright was born (he had been to a meeting of the Wainwright Society there, where the speaker had acted being the great man!) At the summit of Crag Hill we met a couple who done all the 214 Wainwrights and were now doing there favourite tops. Then a party from Staffordshire arrived (husband wife & son). They saw us, and he asked if he could take a particular picture for a village photo competition, they theme being "my best friend." Dad readily agreed. He needed a picture of just one of us poking out of the rucksack with Dad looking back. Tetley was the lucky one to be chosen. Lets hope he wins!! Now we made the short walk across the fell to the separate top of Eel Crag. The cairn at the highest point had collapsed, but Uncle Eric built a small one from the stones for our sake. Well, that was all the objectives of the day achieved, and we were a very happy lot as a result. Returned to Crag Hill and on down towards Sail, stopping at some convenient rock seats to sit and have a late lunch. Then on over Sail and down to Sail Pass. Left here to descend below Scar Crags and over High Moss, and on along the path in Stoneycroft Gill. To our left were the fells, Outerside, Stile End and Barrow while to the right was Causey Pike and Rowling End. This path led unerringly to Stoneycroft Bridge. An excellent day!!! Oh, and the summit count. Shaun, Tetley, Grizzly & Dad bagged the Birketts - Rowling End and Eel Crag. I bagged as well, Sail & Crag Hill thereby ticking off another two of my few remaining Wainwrights. Little Eric and Uncle Eric, bagged all 6. Click for - Full adventure

 

9th June 2010 - Ling Fell, Burthwaite Heights, Lothwaite, Rivings & Sale Fell from Brumston Bridge, Wythop Valley

With Uncle Eric walking in the Wythop Valley and its surrounding hills. It is to the west of Bassenthwaite Lake, the hills representing the northernmost outpost of the North Western Fells. We had been to Ling Fell & Sale Fell in 2005 but today we were to tick off the three associated Birketts, too. The day was cloudy with drizzle early on, cold and windy - more like winter on the tops! Parked at Brumston Bridge, the small car park being surprisingly busy. Crossed the bridge and walked uphill to the road junction at Eskin, going right, to soon pass through a gate on the left onto the grassy track known as the Corpse Road. This climbed steadily round the slopes of Ling Fell. We met a lady from Hampshire, who admired us and chatted to Dad and Uncle Eric. She gets to come here just a few times a year - how lucky we are to live on the doorstep. Eventually we took a path left and then struck uphill off this through the heather (hence the name of the fell), to the trig point on the summit. From here were extensive views to Broom Fell, Graystones etc fells we had climbed last year. Now SE on a clear path to reach a metalled track. Followed this right, then left it to keep by the fence to a gate on the left. Through this we followed a small ditch to then climb the slopes of Burthwaite Heights (Dad used the GPS to locate a near as possible the highest point on its wide flat top. Descended to a gate in a wall, then on down the field to another gate and on to the road at Old Scales. Walked right to the bridleway over fields and into Chapel Wood, where we walked right on the grassy track that climbed gently. We kept on this almost to the forest and as we climbed a superb view over Bassenthwaite opened up. Just a shame that Skiddaw etc was in cloud. Just before the forest a narrow trod led easily to the ridge, where going left we were quickly at the rocky outcrop marking the summit of Lothwaite. The wide grassy ridge with a clear track led on to Rivings. However first we sheltered in a little hollow to eat our lunch. Now just a short stroll Rivings (when Bill Birkett wrote his book its summit was unmarked but there is now a large cairn). Sale Fell was away to the right, an easy climb leading to its summit. A wide clear path led down in the direction we had to go, eventually meeting the footpath from Kelswick to Wythop Church, close by a wall. We followed it left to Kelswick. Here, joining the road turned right and this soon brought us to the car. An interesting walk, and we all had enjoyed exploring the area. Everyone bagged the Birkett tops, Little Eric and Uncle Eric bagging the Wainwrights too. Dad and Uncle Eric then had a refreshing pot of tea and cake at the Tea Rooms in Portinscale.

 

6th June 2010 - Adam Seat, Little Harter Fell & Harter Fell, from Mardale Head

The original plan for this Sunday had been to walk over in Eskdale, but due to Dad having a late night on Saturday for a concert in Manchester, he decided to take us to Mardale as the drive is shorter. The weather could not have been more of a contrast to the previous Sunday. No wind thankfully, but instead low cloud that persisted all day. From the car park, our route today was up the zig zagging path by Gatesgarth Beck to Gatesgarth Pass. Soon after the start Dad snapped a view of Haweswater - just as well, as soon we were enveloped in the mist. We continued to climb, reaching the col and the gate in the fence. Here we climbed by the fence to the corner, where a small stile allowed us in a few yards to attain the summit of Adam Seat. Here stands a stone with an H on one side and L on the other, marking the boundary between the Haweswater & Lowther estates. We sat by the stone of our obligatory picture. Recrossed the stile and followed the fence to the main path, crossing this to follow a narrow trod that quickly brought us to the rocky cairned top of Little Harter Fell. That was the main objective of today done, and two more Birketts ticked off. We now simply followed the track by the fence to reach summit Harter Fell. This a Wainwright too, was bagged today by Little Eric. We were only sorry that the mist obscured the views. Headed on west over the flat top of the fell, to descend the rough path to the crossroad of paths at Nan Bield Pass with its large shelter. This was the only section where there was any wind. Our way was right. The first part was rough, eroded and steep in places to the pretty tarn of Small Water. There we passed two small shelters that we considered were very suitable of us. At the outfall from the tarn we crossed Small Water Beck to descend its right bank. A gate was reached in a wall, by which time we had finally come out of the mist and Haweswater lay before us. On easier ground now we were soon down to the car. This was a short walk by our standards, but it had served to achieve the objective. Adam Seat is the first Birkett on the list, so we are glad to get it done, and that Dad can finally put in a climbed date. Something else too that made Dad's and our day. On the drive along by the reservoir, to the start, one of the increasingly rare red squirrels darted across the road. Wonderful to see.

 

30th May 2010 - Rough Crag, High Street, Rampsgill Head, Kidsty Pike, High Raise, Low Raise & Castle Crag (Mardale) from Mardale Head

Just with Dad today to tick off a few more Birketts, and take in four Wainwrights, which were bagged by Little Eric. It was Bank Holiday, and the car park at Mardale Head was already nearly full when we arrived around 09.30. Haweswater reservoir was low with the top end dry, but unsurprisingly as there have been weeks of dry weather. Walked round the head of the lake then right, to take a narrow path climbing steeply left to reach the ridge of The Rigg that forms one side of Riggindale the home of the only Golden Eagle in England. Now a narrow at times steep winding rocky path led over numerous rises to eventually reach the cairned top of Rough Crag. There were superb views of the lake and to the fells at the head of the valley - Harter Fell, Mardale Ill Bell. The tarns came into view with a superb view of Blea Water. Descending to Caspel Gate with its little tarn, we then made the steep rocky ascent of Long Stile over which the narrow path wound its way up to High Street, emerging at the cairn on the edge of the flat grassy plateau, with just a short walk left to the trig point. We had never climbed this ridge before - it is a great climb and recommended. The view to the Helvellyn Ridge etc was superb. No rain today unlike last Wednesday. It was windy here and this got worse as we walked along to round Twopenny Crag on the path towards Kidsty Pike. However first Dad walked the short distance to Rampsgill Head for Little Eric's sake. Then it was just a short stroll to Kidsty Pike. We met a couple who were doing the Coast to Coast walk, and they were carrying a bear just like me, except he had trousers. Now there's a coincidence! I wonder where the trousers came from? They would make for warmer walking! Now we followed the path and made the easy climb to High Raise. Little Eric's 4th Wainwright today. It was extremely windy now, but we sat below the shelter, facing south out of the wind, for lunch. Low Raise could be seen to the north east, and it was an easy 10 minutes stroll on the clear track, to its summit adorned with a large cairn and shelter. We were doing well, but the next part took longer than expected as the SE ridge was totally trackless and rough going on the steady descent, that eventually steepened and here Dad had to pick his was through the craggy outcrops to Lady's Seat. A short walk left now brought us to our last summit today, the separate little top of Castle Crag. From the south side it looks nothing, but on the north side it drops away vertically and stepping over would have meant certain death. We circled left to pick up an old narrow trod that contoured down to a small enclosed plantation. Looking back the impressive vertical crag could be seen in full glory. Now followed the trod right to join the path by the lake. Going south we crossed Flakehowe Crags, Gate Crag, Bowderthwaite Bridge, The Rigg to return to the car. A super walk and three more Birketts done. We all enjoyed it despite the wind, but it was lovely to get into the calm of the car. On the way home Dad went to Junction 38 Services at Tebay - roast beef dinner, chocolate cake & tea. We enjoyed the rest of our picnic in the car. Click for - Full adventure

 

26th May 2010 - Birkhouse Moor & Catstycam from Glenridding, via Mires Beck returning by Red Tarn Beck

Walking with Uncle Eric again, and to an area he had not been to before. I was very happy too, as the summits were another two of my outstanding Wainwrights and Birkett tops. It was a day when the weather would be perhaps the most talking point. We started from Glenridding in sunshine and it was quite warm. Walking past the camp site, left the road and set off on the long haul, steepish at times ,on the winding path up Mires Gill. The path has been repaired and is graded so made the ascent easier. Finally we topped out on the col and reached the wall. It was raining now so we huddled in the rucksack to keep dry. The path wound on up by the wall rounding the corner to soon reach the untidy pile of stones that mark the highest point on Birkhouse Moor (2356ft), where we sat in the rain for our picture. The most dramatic part about this ascent had been when Catstycam came into view, its tall pyramid shape backed by Helvellyn with its edges Striding & Swirral. The scene was very dark through the rain, and cast some doubt on whether our second objective would be reached. To make the round we continued on to the Hole-in-the-Wall where the ascent of Striding Edge starts. Our route was then on the path to Red Tarn, and as we continued the weather brightened and the rain stopped. After viewing the tarn backed by mighty Helvellyn, we continued on the right side climbing the path towards Swirral Edge. At the ridge a path doubled back right to make the quite easy climb to Catstycam (2919ft). This is a proper mountain summit with a small area and cairn, the ground dropping away steeply on all sides. Superb! The clouds were coming in again and swirling below in the valleys, making wonderful effects. Returned the same way. Stopped by the side of the path for lunch. The skies had darkened and next there was two loud rumbles of thunder. Time to get going again! Then the rain started and we huddled inside again. First it was hail then just heavy rain, and poor Dad and Uncle Eric were soaked. Taking the path left we descended the steady good path by Red Tarn Gill. It wound its way down with good bridges over the becks, finally returning to the gate that we had gone through on our outward route at Gillside. By now the rain had thankfully stopped. As a variation, crossed Glenridding Beck and walked in past the pub and houses to the car park. A great walk and Uncle Eric, Little Eric and I were very pleased to have ticked these tops off. It had been cold when we had lunched and all the way down in the miserable conditions, so for Dad and Uncle Eric the warming tea and piece of cake at Fellbites Cafe was very welcome. A really typical Lakeland day weather wise. Click for - Full adventure

 

6th May 2010 - Watches, Ullock Pike, Long Side, Carl Side & Dodd (Skiddaw) from Dodd Wood

I gave a cheer when Dad said he and Uncle Eric were taking us to the Lakes, especially as it would mean I would tick off a third of my outstanding Wainwrights. Our start was at Dodd Wood above Bassenthwaite Lake. We crossed the bridge then headed on the forest tracks that led north through woods called Old Plantation and Rabbit Warren, finally joining the path that leads up from the road by the Ravenstone Hotel. Through the gate took us to open fell, and we followed up by the fence, before striking right to the ridge. Away to our right was Ullock Pike my first Wainwright today. However we walked a short distance left to the cairned top of Watches, a Birkett top we all needed to bag. Then it was the ascent of The Edge. A series of bumps that take you ever higher before the final steep section to the dome of Ullock Pike. This however is not the top, as a further dome ahead is higher. Time for our picture. To the west is Bassenthwaite Lake with the Whinlatter Fells beyond. One of the many magnificent views today. The other south is to Derwentwater and all the fells in its vicinity - breathtaking! As we had climbed we could see to the left lonely Southerndale. There were not even any sheep and we wondered if anyone visits it. Beyond this was mighty Skiddaw whose summit stayed stubbornly in the clouds all day. Being much higher it did keep the cloud off the ridge we were walking and made it less windy too. Ahead was the gentle 200ft ascent to Long Side, which was soon accomplished. Descending the path continued ahead and cut left below Carl Side towards Skiddaw. At this point we climbed over grass to the main path to and from Skiddaw and the cairn on Carl Side's summit. So that was four tops out of the way and we just had Dodd to do. First down on the main path then leaving this right to make the steep and winding descent eventually to the stile in the fence giving access to the forest road. We had come down about 1100ft in all. Dad and Uncle Eric commented that they would not relish climbing that path. Now in front was Dodd, but first lunch was most important, and we had spotted a seat just a little way up on the route to Dodd. It was perfect, as it afford a most spectacular view of Keswick and Derwentwater. Then best foot forward along the meandering path that soon took us to Dodd summit, marked by an upright slate memorial slab. Here too was our final spectacular view of Bassenthwaite. It is on the west slopes of this fell that the Ospreys were currently nesting. Reversed our route, then along the forest roads and so to the start. A wonderful day. Little Eric and I bagged all the tops as did Uncle Eric. Click for - Full adventure

 

9th February 2010 - Binsey & Green How on Aughertree Fell

We had not been on the fells since December due to the extreme winter conditions, so it was great to be able to start ticking off those final few Wainwrights I have to do. A really cold winter day with a bitter east wind. From the road side parking at Binsey Lodge we passed through the new gate in the wall and climbed the track steadily to Binsey's summit. This is long narrow ridge with a huge pile of stones - an ancient tumulus, trig point and modern cairn. Despite the wind we hung in on the trig point for our picture. Uncle Eric and Little Eric too bagged this top. Superb views across to Scotland, but not so south as clouds were down on Skiddaw range and other fells. Descended by same route. A short drive beyond the village of Uldale, we parked just off the road on the left. This was so we could climb Aughertree Fell, a Birkett top and the most northerly in the Lake District. To make more of this hill, we first walked north east to the cone of Dale Hows. Then turned west across the rough grass to come by a wall, where lies Elfa Well. There was a depression, still filled with snow, close to the wall which we took to be it. Now south west up to the high ground and the flat top of Green How, it's summit. There is a cairn but this is not at the highest point, which is unmarked. We sat on a tiny ridge for our picture. There were fine views to Scotland from here too. Both the hills are Birketts, so Little Eric and I bagged two today.

 

8th October 2009 - Thorn Crag, Langdale Pikes, Thunacar Knott & Pavey Ark

I had longed to climb these fells, being the obstacle to my completion of Book 3. So on a glorious sunny morning we set out with Dad to Langdale. Starting from the New Hotel, our route climbed by Dungeon Ghyll. A convenient seat allowed us to pause and enjoy the fantastic view of the Crinkle Crags and Oxendale. As we climbed further, Great Langdale was spread out below - a breathtaking view. The initial ascent, gave way to level ground, before the final steep climb to the col. Here going right we soon reached Thorn Crag, our only non Wainwright summit of the day, but another Birkett top bagged by all. To the west, Loft Crag and Pike o'Stickle were in view. The first was soon reached by an easy climb. Terrific views of Mickleden below and across the valley to Blea Tarn. The Band was clearly seen rising to its col and above this Bowfell etc. Traversed to Pike o'Stickle making the rocky scramble to its summit. We could see the ridge rising from Harrison Stickle, to Thunacar Knott, our route for later. Returning by the ascent route we crossed the boggy ground, then steeply up the narrow path to the rocky summit of Harrison Stickle, the last of the three Langdale Pikes. It was busy with walkers here, including a group who arrived just after us. The lady leading them saw us and said to Dad, "I have met you before, on Wetherlam, where I took your picture". Dad replied, "yes I remember now". What a coincidence we thought! The classic view of Great Langdale was wonderful from here. A clear path now led to Thunacar Knott. It has two tops divided by a depression containing a small pretty tarn. Both were visited, as the first is the highest and thus the Birkett top, but the north and lower one is the one Wainwright considered as the top. This was my 200th Wainwright too. It was east now over some boggy areas to climb to the rock summit of Pavey Ark, and my last in Book 3! Well, all downhill now, but hard going as the North Rake descent to Bright Beck is very steep and hard on Dad's knees - he was glad to get it over. At Stickle Tarn we sat a while looking across to Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark towering over it. Majestic! Now all that remained was to descend Stickle Ghyll to the start. A wonderful walk! Little Eric bagged all the tops too. Click for - Full adventure

 

27th September 2009 - Whinlatter, Tarbarrel Moss, Seat How, Ullister Hill, Lord's Seat, Broom Fell, Graystones & Kirk Fell (Lorton)

A rather poor day with low cloud and some rain in the middle of the day. Picture opportunities were limited, so this is the sole record of this adventure. Little Eric was to bag all nine tops, the rest of us just five. From Spout Gill we took the path behind Darling How through three gates. Immediately then went right on a narrow path climbing steeply through the forest to a fence. Now on open fell, continued steeply up to Brown How on Whinlatter. AW considered this the summit, but the east top (Whinlatter Top) has since been shown to be the highest point. We walked on to this. Over the rough ground we dropped down and climbed to the fence corner and the heathery summit of the bizarrely named Tarbarrel Moss. Through a gate a path dropped steeply in a dark tunnel in the trees to one of the many biking tracks, then to the main forest track at a fork. Went left then and left again before taking a track climbing right. This skirted the forest and led to a hollow where a narrow path through heather climbed to the bare top of Ullister Hill. To complete all the tops in this area, we took a detour. Descending back to the track and going left through the forest we finally emerged from the trees and so to the rocky bare top of Seat How. Here Keswick and Derwentwater provide a superb view, but sadly not today. Returning to Ullister Hill, headed roughly north on a good stone track through boggy ground, and on to climb to Lord's Seat. It is the highest fell in this area, but the tiny pile of stones as a cairn does not do it justice. A clear ridge led us to Broom Fell, where a tall well made cairn clearly marks the summit. We enjoyed fine views to Ling Fell and Sale Fell, which we will be revisiting to bag some other smaller Birkett tops. A long walk down the shoulder led to Widow Hause, then the short but steep ascent to Graystones, the south cairn being the highest point. A short distance west lies flat topped Kirk Fell. A small cairn marks the summit. "Phew", we said, "that's the last of the day". All that remained was to traverse over Sware Gill to the slopes of Graystones. A very steep descent now to the road, and along to car. Quite a day!

 

15th September 2009 - St Raven's Edge, Caudale Moor & Hartsop Dodd

Another fine day with lots of sunshine, affording more superb views from this walk. We were walking with Uncle Eric too, which pleased us all. Used two cars to avoid a long walk up Kirkstone Pass at the end. From the Inn, made a shortish but steep and at times rocky climb to the ridge of St Raven's Edge. Here there is a large cairn, but the actual summit is a rocky outcrop a little further along. Onwards by the wall off the ridge, then up the gentle slopes of Caudale Moor. First we went over left to view the Mark Atkinson Memorial, before making the short climb to a large cairn marking the summit known as John Bell's Banner. Fabulous view from here towards Ullswater. Along by the wall again and soon the cairn on Stony Cove Pike was reached. This is the highest point and is the Wainwright top Caudale Moor. Uncle Eric, Little Eric and I bagged this top. More terrific views, this time to the Kentmere Fells. To reach the cairn we had crossed the north/south wall, and this we now followed descending the ridge, before making the final short climb to Hartsop Dodd. I was very excited to reach this Wainwright top, as not only did I bag it, but it was also my last summit in Book 2 - Far Eastern Fells. Now a very steep descent was to follow. Fortunately Uncle Eric and Dad located the groove, which traversed left and right across the fell taking us all the way down to the Kirkstone Pass road, where Dad's car was parked. He then drove Uncle Eric up to his car, by the inn. Another great walk and over the last three walks my outstanding Wainwrights tops has dropped by 10 to just 18. It was to Wilfs at Staveley now, for tea and cake. Well deserved too. Click for - Full adventure

 

13th September 2009 - Lonscale Fell, Skiddaw, Broad End, Bakestall etc

Finally the weather had settled down, so Dad decided to take us up Skiddaw. Little Eric and I were over the moon as we were to bag all the 12 tops reached today. Instead of taking the tourist path we went along the Cumbria Way, and at a gate turned up the fence for the unremittingly steep climb to Lonscale Pike. A short walk now to the summit of Lonscale Fell, then on to Jenkin Hill. Ahead now steeply again to Lesser and Little Man. Now just the final climb passing South and Middle tops to High Man on Skiddaw. There had been superb views to Derwentwater and the fells behind and beyond, during our ascent, and now there was a terrific view of Bassenthwaite. Despite the strong winds it was just wonderful to see the landscape laid out before us. The North top was next, then after descending to the col, a short walk brought us to the wide flat top of Broad End. Now we followed the wall losing height, before a short ascent to the Bakestall, the final summit on this ridge. Then steeply down Birkett Edge, to the main track near Dash Falls. We now felt really sorry for Dad on the long long trek back via Skiddaw House to eventually reach the car park. I was overjoyed however that he had enough energy left to take us the short walk to the top of Latrigg. This was our final summit today, and we were wowed by that fantastic view over Keswick & Derwentwater. The tally was 12 Birkett tops, which include 5 Wainwrights. Click for - Full adventure

 

6th September 2009 - Little Hart Crag, High Hartsop Dodd, Middle Fell & Red Screes

The weather had been appalling this week, but Dad resolved to take us out today. For me this was great as I would tick of another three Wainwrights. From Ambleside we took the road then track that leads to the pretty High Sweden Bridge, then on up the valley of Scandale, with Low and High Pike towering to the left. Not surprisingly is was muddy in places and the streams were swollen, but Dad forded them safely. Now the steady ascent started to the Scandale Pass. However part way up we struck left to gain the wall, and then ahead and right to climb steeply to Little Hart Crag. Now crossing to the east summit, we then took the path down the ridge over a number of small humps to the small cairn marking the summit of High Hartsop Dodd. Returned up the ridge, but cut left below Little Hart Crag and so to the Scandale Pass. The steep 900ft ascent to Red Screes now faced us , and our little hearts sank, but Dad climbed steadily resting now and then. We were in fact first going to Middle Dodd, so when he judged we had reached the level of that summit, we cut left on a path that bought us to the bottom of Smallthwaite Band. It was then just a gentle stroll its summit. From here, and from High Hartsop Dodd, we had had fine views to Brothers Water and the fells beyond. Now all that remained for climbing, was the ascent of Smallthwaite Band to the trig point and shelter on Red Screes. Here, as at all the summits it was very windy, and knowing the vertical drop a few yards behind us, we were glad to get safely tucked up in the rucksack. It had been dry, but now the rain came on, which together with the strong wind, made for an unpleasant descent off the fell to the Kirkstone Road and down to Ambleside.

 

9th August 2009 - Eycott Hill, Little Eycott Hill & Great Mell Fell

A walk of two parts today. First we were Birkett bagging. From the Mungrisedale road, we tramped across fields, forded the Naddles Beck and crossed rough boggy terrain, to ascend to the rocky summit of Eycott Hill. Then heading north after crossing a beck and boggy hollow, we made the second summit, Little Eycott Hill. Descended and traversed across to Naddles beck, then via outwards route. These tops we suspect are little visited, but provided fine views to Blencathra, Souther Fell, Bannerdale Crags, Bowscale Fell etc. Also south to Great Mell Fell our next objective. Dad parked on the Matterdale Road. Climbed the rough track then at the second gate, followed the clear path that eventually led all the way to Great Mell Fell's summit cairn. Extensive views all round the Dodds being particularly clear. Steeply down towards the old rifle range, then right on an intermittent and at times wet path following, but above the boundary fence. This eventually led to the first gate by the track. Then just a short walk to the start. Little Eric and I were very happy as Great Mell Fell is a Wainwright we had not climbed.

 

25th July 2009 - Hindscarth, Dale Head and Robinson

A superb walk taking in the Newlands Fells, where Eric and I bagged three more Wainwright summits - Dale Head, Hindscarth & Robinson. From Newlands Church we ascended to Hindscarth via the Scope Fell ridge. Along this we took in the three Birkett tops, that none of us had climbed before - i.e. Scope End, Red Knott & High Crags, before the final steep climb to Hindscarth. Then we crossed Hindscarth Edge to Dale Head with its tall shapely cairn. Now returned along the edge and then over Littledale Edge to climb to the summit of Robinson. Steeply down to reach High Snab Bank and so to the valley and the start. Views all day were stupendous - one of the best days ever. We will remember this walk for a long long time. Click for - Full adventure

 

19th July 2009 - Sleddale Fell

A glorious day with plenty of sunshine. We started from Sadgill Bridge, reached from the A6 north of Kendal along a narrow road for 5.5 miles in the Longsleddale Valley. Here it becomes a track that leads eventually over Gatesgarth Pass to Mardale and Haweswater. This was our route initially, with fells towering up either side. After a level section and passing Buckbarrow Crag, the path rises to a gate. After this a signpost points right for Mosedale & Swindale. This boggy path was taken rising to a fence. Here we climbed steeply beside it, to the highest point on Sleddale Fell - Tarn Crag. This is a Wainwright and Birkett that Little Eric and I bagged. Returning to the fence we descended into a hollow then climbed up to the fence corner. Here for Little Eric's sake we diverted left to soon reach the tall cairn of Harrop Pike. Fine views here over the Shap Fells and to the Pennines. Returned to the fence corner, and then ahead to climb gently, and soon reach the cairn on Grey Crag. A clear path now descended to a stile. Crossed this, then proceeded along the spur of Great Howe, its summit being just off the path. Down to a fence and over this to descend rather steeply to Sadgill. I should add that Little Eric bagged all the tops today. Superb views, unlike the last time Dad did this walk when it was misty. Click for - Full adventure

 

5th July 2009 - Loweswater Fells East of Lamplugh

It was raining when we arrived in Lamplugh, but the clouds soon cleared and good conditions prevailed all day. Today we were ticking off a number of Birkett Fells, but visiting two Wainwrights that Little Eric bagged. Opposite the church a track led over the fields. Past the double gates went left on the rising track to another gate and up left to climb the fence. Then on up the fellside to the large cairn on Oswen Fell, providing good views to the coast and Scotland. An easy walk down and up and we were soon at Burnbank Fell. Along the fence, Blake Fell was directly ahead, but first we had Carling Knott to climb. Crossed the stile then over the fence to the left and 20 mins or so over rough boggy ground brought us to Loweswater End on Carling Knott. Then returned on the ridge to Carling Knott proper with its large cairn/shelter. During this we had super views to Loweswater, Grasmoor etc, Mellbreak and Hen Comb. Descended, then a steepish ascent finally brought us to Blake Fell - highest point in this area. Sharp Knott was next. Down to the col and just a short climb to the cairn. From the col steeply down to a stream. Just before to the left was the start of a good forest road which we walked to a junction. Right on a track and at the second of two sharp left bends, took the indistinct path right by the trees to a fence. Climbed this then immediately the fence to the left. Walked up by the wall and trees through the long grass and then struck right to the top of High Hows, marked by a single stone. This was the last of the day. All the tops had cairns, so good seating for our pictures. Now down over fields using the gates in the fences to a track down a field to another track going right. Crossed the stream and stile. On the left were the double gates. A great walk and super views. All the tops in this area now done!! Click for - Full adventure

 

24th June 2009 - Brae Fell, Knott etc

We were with Uncle Eric today. While some of the tops to be bagged were Birketts, it was the Wainwrights that were most important, as will be explained. It was a very warm summers' day with few clouds, but thankfully a cooling wind. From Green Head, we set off along the road that then became a track, almost to the ford at Charleton Wath. Climbed the path in a groove up the slopes of Brae Fell, bearing left on a clear track that led to the summit. Uncle Eric bagged this, as did Grizzly, Little Eric and I . Superb views across to the Solway Firth and Scottish hills. Also of the Lakes Fells and Bassenthwaite. A clear track led to Little Sca Fell and then just a short walk Great Sca Fell. On a boggy and at times rather indistinct path to the summit cairn on Knott. This was a cause for celebration, for our pal Grizzly, as this was his last Wainwright. Dad took his picture on his own. I am so proud of him! Little Eric and I bagged it too. Now west on a path, then over rough moor to Burn Tod, its top marked by a single quartz stone. A narrow path led back along the side of the fell, after which we contoured left to the flat and unmarked top of Frozen Fell, the final summit today. Climbed to regain the path to Knott and so return over the Sca Fells and then on a path left towards Lowthwaite Fell. Instead of going up the fell we kept low and followed a track until it turned away left, whereupon we descended to the path above the gill and down to Charleton Wath. Crossed the ford and walked the track and road to the car. An excellent walk. Grizzly was ecstatic having completed his 214!! Click for - Full adventure

 

31st May 2009 - Western Circuit of Gavel Fell

This walk would result in climbing another eight Birketts. The day was cloudless and promised to be, and was, very hot. Behind a "football score"sign - Kirkland 1 Rowrah 2 at a junction, through a gate, a clear track led by hawthorn bushes glorious in blossom. After another gate we climbed right to the summit of Kelton Fell at a cross of walls. Descended over boggy ground, then climbed to the grassy top and small cairn of Godworth. Beyond climbed up, then into the ravine of Croasdale Beck. A number of streams feed in here and Dad actually ascended by the wrong one, so we did the opposite two sides of a square, to the flat top of Banna Fell. Climbed the fence then down over wet ground before the short climb to Floutern Cop, with a nice view of Floutern Tarn. Superb views too, of the high fells around - Gras moor Group, Buttermere Fells, Starling Dodd & Great Borne. Now crossed Whiteoak Moss to climb the fence then up by this to the summit cairn on Gavel Fell. This was our single Wainwright top that Little Eric bagged. On a clear path through the heather we were soon at the next cairned top High Nook on Gavel Fell. Now followed a tough trackless walk over rough ground to a stile in the fence that descends from Gavel Fell. We now followed a track until clear of the steep descending ridge of Blake Fell to gain this at a lower level and cross the fence onto a clear path, which crossed the next tops of High Pen and Low Pen. Then on down to and right on the forest road. Although not easy to spot Dad found the narrow path up through the thick forest. It was exceedingly steep and in the heat of the day made for hard going, but Dad was determined and would not give up. After the stile over the fence there was more air on the open fell, but the gradient was unrelenting as we made the final climb to Knock Mur ton, with its large cairn and superb views to Blake Fell, Ennerdale and the coast. A rough descent down to the track and then along the remains of an old railway to the road. Click for - Full adventure

 

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. Click for - Full adventure

 

19th April 2009 - Ullscarf Round

This was our second attempt on this walk. Last time ice had closed Dunmail Raise so preventing us reaching the start at Dobgill. Today warm and sunny with a light breeze. Along the road then through a gate. Then a steep unrelenting ascent of the fellside. Wow, what superb views back to Thirlmere. As it eased off we could see the first objective. Soon then we were at the balanced rock on summit of Brown Rigg - first of seven summit photos today. Now slightly roundabout, made the next top Blea Tarn Fell. That done it was to Standing Crag. Descended to cross the gill, followed by a very steep climb to the ridge, then a slight back track on this to the summit marked by upturned fence posts at the fence corner. Wonderful view of Blea Tarn from here. Keeping up walked in an arc on pathless terrain to Coldbarrow Fell-Low Saddle with its neat cairn. Then an easy walk down and up to High Saddle - bouldery cluster with a small cairn. Although hazy the views were still superb of the whole range of fells behind Borrowdale etc - magic. Dad said it made his effort worthwhile. Now it was an easy ascent to Ullscarf. This is a Wainwright that Little Eric bagged. On totally trackless terrain as we headed east to pick up the ridge above the Wythburn Valley. Dad, as advised, kept near the edge but not perhaps quite as close as intended but in doing so he missed a lot of the rocky crags. Finally Wythburn Fell came into view and the rocky top was reached. A magic view now of Thirlmere and the Helvellyn ridge. Dad picked his way off the fell, avoiding the crags. Once under the beacon, we found the old path and followed this down to Harrop Tarn. Then the constructed path down to Dobgill. A superb day and 6 Birketts done too. Click for - Full adventure

 

19th March 2009 - Tarn Crag etc from Grasmere

This week had been the best so far this year with blue skies and sun, so we were excited to be out on the high fells. An attempt last year of this walk had ended in disaster when Dad fell so we were laying the ghost today. From Grasmere, ascended via Stythwaite Steps (now a bridge, but Dad used the stepping stones), so avoiding the boggy area where Dad fell. We now climbed the east ridge over a number of humps and crags, and so finally to the cairned summit of Tarn Crag. The onwards route was over rough ground on a path that at times was intermittent. This brought us to a steep climb up the ridge and so to the rocky top that is Codale Head (Birkett top). All the way at times great views of Easdale Tarn and Codale Tarn, and the surrounding fells. NW the summit of High Raise could be seen, and being so close Dad took us to it - great as Little Eric and I bagged it and indeed all the tops we did today. After a steady trudge the trig point was reached. There was a party of people there - mostly foreigners from Dad thought Tibet. He chatted to one of the English guides, who helped to hold us while Dad took our picture on the trig point. After lunch we walked the easy half mile or so to Sergeant Crag. We met a gentleman who Dad chatted to. It turned out he had done all the the Birkett Fells, except for Pillar Rock. We will be in a similar situation when we have done them! He is the first person we have met who had done them all. Now down and along the ridge, following a meandering path to the final summit Blea Rigg. To ensure we got to the top Dad checked the summit plan in AW's book. An at times rough descent to Easdale Tarn, and along the tourist path via Sourmilk Gill eventually to Grasmere. A great walk and Little Eric and I had knocked off 4 more Wainwrights. Click for - Full adventure

 

1st March 2009 - Bleaberry Fell & High Seat

A wet walk - from the sky at times and almost always underfoot. Little Eric and I were to bag these two Wainwrights today. Along the road then on a bridleway that skirted by the woods below The Benn. This continued to a gate and bridge over Shoulthwaite Gill. Crossed this and then started the steep climb up to and below Goat Crag. Dad admitted it was a struggle today, but did not want to disappoint Little Eric and I, so plodded on. Eventually the rocks were crossed and rounding the crag we soon made the rest of the climb to the summit of Bleaberry Fell. There were good views at times and nice effects of the light on the hills to the north. As we settled for our picture, a couple reached the summit and they asked what it was all about. The lady kindly offered to take us with Dad too. It was nice as it was Dad's birthday and Little Eric's 1st. Then along the very boggy and muddy track that wound its way to High Seat. It is always wet on this ridge. Soon the trig point was reached and it was our picture time again. Looking to Borrowdale it was raining heavily yet sunny in Keswick. How often must that happen? We did not linger here, and after climbing to the outcrop called Man nearby, crossed the stile and headed east down towards Shoulthwaite Gill. Tussocky and boggy ground but Dad is well used to that from the walks in Yorkshire. Some of the weather we had seen in Borrowdale crossed over here too with rain, hail and even a few flakes of snow. Ahead was a gate in the fence and after first crossing the stream that forms Shoulthwaite Gill, we headed to this. Beyond was the forest road that was quite dry and a joy to walk on after the rest of the walk. This brought us to the top of the path where the final ascent of Raven Crag is made. Great-this saved Dad a loop round, instead just descending straight to the car. Click for - Full adventure

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