2015 July to December

Wed, 1 Jul 2015

With a warm day in prospect, the A group set off from Rydal to climb slowly on to Nab Scar, Heron Pike, Great Rigg and Fairfield where a strong cooling breeze made this the summit from which to play “spot the tops”. They continued now more comfortably around the horseshoe with lunch being enjoyed on Hart Crag. After Dove Crag the party followed the wall to High Pike and from Low Pike, they descended to Rydal Beck and Buckstones Jump where full use was being made of the natural pools formed by the huge glaciated boulders found there. A leisurely walk then back to Rydal.

On what turned out to be the hottest July day since records began, the B group set off over-Thirlmere Dam. Suitably sun-screened, and wearing an eclectic collection of sun hats, they tackled the steep and direct route through the midge infested trees to Raven Crag’s summit. There, low flying fast jets of the USAF and the RAF provided some entertainment. Next, the forest road to Shoulthwaite Farm was taken before crossing the A591 at Rough How Bridge. A clockwise circuit of High Rigg took the party back to the start line. The day ended with some much needed rehydration at the nearest watering hole.

The C group started from Ouse Bridge, across fields and through a small wood at the rear of Herdwick Croft to join a bridle lane as far as Long Close Farm, branching off on a fisherman’s track to an idyllic lunch spot by the River Derwent. Wild summer flowers and the banks of the lane, with Honeysuckle and Dog Roses in the hedgerows gave added interest on the return circular route back to Ouse Bridge.

Sun, 5 Jul 2015

The A group walk was supposed to be Crinkle Gill, but due to forecast thundery rain a more local walk was started at Ashness Bridge, up Ashness Gill to High Seat for coffee, thence onto Bleaberry Fell before descending to a rather crowded Walla Crag. Two members then guided the group to a remote crag high above Cat Gill for a quiet lunch with Derwentwater spread out beneath. Descending Cat Gill, the cars were reached before the rain arrived.

Despite the same threatening weather forecast, the B group set off from Braithwaite village past Braithwaite Lodge and then directly up the Barrow ridge to the summit. It was then on to Stile End, across Low Moss and up Outerside before descending to the miners’ track. This led to the Sail Pass where the party sheltered out of the wind for a late lunch. The ascent to Scar Crags and along the ridge to Causey Pike followed. No stopping there as rain was threatening; the group took the route down to the miners’ track to pick up the path to Barrow Door and the lovely descent back to the village.  Five peaks, a good day!

Wed, 15 Jul 2015

The A group began their walk at Hartsop on a bright sunny day. They followed the path to Hayeswater then along its western bank before continuing up the valley alongside Hayeswater Gill to the Beacon at Thornthwaite Crag. From there the party made their way over to Mardale Ill Bell before joining High Street, pausing on several occasions to enjoy the scenery along the way. Next a detour was made over to Kidsty Pike and Rampsgill Head before the group made their final ascent of the day up Rest Dodd. Still in sunshine they returned to Hartsop via Satura Crag.

The B group met at Elterwater, taking the bridleway and then footpath to Stang End in Little Langdale. They then took a boggy footpath to Hodge Close where the deep quarry was viewed, before continuing by road and footpath to Low Tilberthwaite for a stop by the river. The party then took the upper track from High Tilberthwaite, branching off on a footpath to Cathedral Cave where some time was spent spotting the goldfish! The return was over Slater Bridge and via the massive Elterwater Quarry and Chapel Stile.

Starting at Uzzicar, the C group followed a green lane to the Newlands Beck back with its wide variety and abundance of wild flowers and roses. Continuing on this path to Braithwaite village and up to Braithwaite Lodge, the walk looped back to the car along the road at the bottom of Barrow.

Sun, 19 Jul 2015

On a day which started wet but was allegedly to improve, the A group drove through rain to Walna Scar Road (“WSR”) above Coniston. From there, they climbed in showers, wind and cloud to the “Old Man” and on to Dow Crag, with only brief glimpses of the land below. The cloud mercifully lifted for an exhilarating walk along the Dow Crag ridge, crossing WSR to White Maiden and White Pike before descending to High Pike Haw. The direct route back to WSR and the cars proved tricky; Ash Gill Beck was crossable with care but Torver Beck was too full to cross safely, so the party followed the Beck upwards to use the WSR bridge.

Wed, 29 Jul 2015

After deluges of unseasonal (?) rain, a good day! The A group made the tortuous journey to Longsleddale and knocked off Grey Crag, Harrop Pike and Tarn Crag on the East side of the valley before lunch, which was spent in amongst the remnants of Wrengill Quarry, en route to the West side. They then carried on up Wren Gill, and walked south westwards above the crags before turning back to visit Kentmere Pike. Goat Scar and Shipman Knotts completed the day’s “tops” before returning to Sadgill and a shower of rain!

The B Group enjoyed the beautiful sunshine by climbing to the summit of Seat Sandal. Walking from Town Head to Mill Bridge, they climbed above Little Tongue Gill, across Hause Riggs to Hause Gap and Grisedale Tarn. Stopping to enjoy the views of the tarn and beyond to Ullswater, they then took the path along the Western rim of the tarn before climbing the steep path to the summit cairn with its magnificent 360 degree panorama. The return took the group gradually down the South Ridge to Mill Bridge.

The C group drove to Scarness, parking near the caravan park. They walked along the muddy path of Scarness Bay where the wild flowers were in profusion as part of the field was fenced off to keep the sheep out! At Bowness Farm they turned “inland” past Greehill Farm and crossed the fields to St Beda’s Church. After lunch gazing at Skiddaw they crossed a hay meadow, returning to Scarness along the road.

Sun, 2 Aug 2015

From Seathwaite, the A group ascending Sour Milk Gill found the dashing waters much as they ever are and the dark crags below the Hanging Stone familiarly dank in grey rain. The coffee stop between Base Brown and Green Gable provided the usual wit and banter and the clearing mists on the summit of Great Gable afforded the expected panorama of sunlit fellside and sparkling waters. From Brandreth and Grey Knotts the rocks and valleys served as commonplace reminders of the ice and fire which wrought this land and the descent through the wad mines an unsurprising evocation of dark and pitiless toil. How extraordinarily privileged we are to live such unremarkable days!

The B’s set off in drizzle, sunshine and good spirits from Elterwater, to a gushing Skelwith Force and to Skelwith Bridge. A short climb through field and wood soon brought views of Loughrigg Tarn which was passed before the steep climb up to Loughrigg Fell. The rained stopped, the sun came out and the view was stunning – 4 seasons in a morning! After lunch on the summit, the group hurried to the shores of Grasmere, talking to the many visitors on the way. The rain returned as they traversed the side of Silver Howe through the interesting juniper trees. Elterwater quarry and the village soon came into view leaving enough time for coffee and cake! A quintessential Lakeland walk with the two things which were predictable – good company and muddy boots!

Wed, 12 Aug 2015

An A Group set off from Lanthwaite Green and climbed the steep, rocky path onto the Whiteside ridge via Whin Ben. Hopegill Head was soon reached further along the ridge and they then headed down over Sand Hill and on to Wandhope. After lingering in the warm sunshine the descent was made via Whiteless Pike and along Rannerdale where the bluebells were long gone and bracken was now king. A pleasant walk alongside Crummock and up through the woods took the group back to the start. The sun shone brightly all day and the fells were shown off in all their glory.

The B group started in beautiful sunshine by walking along the road and fields from Rigg Beck to Keskadale Farm and then through bracken as high as some of the walkers until the ridge was reached just below the top of Knott Rigg. From there they enjoyed a lovely walk admiring the views to the top of Ard Crags.  The return was by the direct route over Aikin Knott and along Rigg Beck back to the cars.

Isel Bridge was the starting point for the C group. They walked E on the permissive path adjacent to the River Derwent until reaching the road. After a short road walk towards Dunthwaite House, the group crossed the stile to take them up the fellside on the S side of the road. Rampant bracken meant a new lunch location from previous occasions in the same area, before returning to the road and back to Isel Bridge.

Sun, 16 Aug 2015

An A party set off from Gatesgarth up Fleetwith Pike, taking advantage of the ideally placed Low and High Raven Crags from which to look back at the unfolding scene along Buttermere. From the summit, the group continued to Black Star and watched a Via Ferrata party make their way out of and up, the mountain. Then through the slate quarries and up on to Grey Knotts and Brandreth. Following Coast to Coast reminiscing, the group headed for the top of Loft Beck en route to Hay Stacks. With clearing skies the group continued to Blackbeck Tarn and then the hut with a view. The numerous waterfalls in Warnscale Beck provided entertainment on the descent to Warnscale Bottom, in sunshine.

Sun, 23 Aug 2015

The B group started from Skelwith Bridge, following the Cumbria Way westwards through fields and woods, stopping to admire the waterfall of Colwith Force – impressive after heavy rain overnight.  At High Park farm they followed a quiet lane to the Oxenfell road where they joined the long, ascending track known as the Mountain Road.  After a brief detour to the shore of Tarn Hows the group turned north through the Iron Keld plantation and across open country to the summit of Black Crag which, although not high, offers a splendid panoramic view of the southern fells and lakes. They then descended gently on a northward path, returning to the Cumbria Way and retracing the first part of their outward route.

Wed, 26 Aug 2015

The A group parked at Cow Bridge and in the remnants of overnight rain made the steep ascent direct to Hartsop above How. As the day improved, so the wind became more troublesome, but Hart Crag was finally reached and after a sheltered lunch the group paid a visit to the Priest’s Hole where several walkers were drying out after a wet night on the fells. A superb grassy gully took them onto Dove Crag before the descent route via Little Hart Crag and High Hartsop Dodd. The path from Hartsop Hall beside Brother’s Water brought the group back to Cow Bridge.

From the lay-by above the Travellers Rest at Grasmere, the B group walked along a minor road and then along a wooded footpath passing by Thorney How and the Lancrigg Hotel eventually joining the made up path leading to Helm Crag. They then walked along the terrace path to Gibson Knot, having had a stop for lunch in a sheltered spot. Approachong Calf Crag, the wind speed increased and walking became unpleasant, so the group decided to drop down towards the Green Burn valley where it was sheltered, warm and sunny. After negotiating the stepping stones they made their way back along the valley to Town Head and the cars.

The C party set off from Rydal along the south side of Rydal Water, pausing at the cave, and then along to Loughrigg Terrace, appreciating the sunshine and warmth and the views across the valley. At Red Bank top, they took the path through the woods down to Grasmere and followed the lakeshore path to the point where they had to join the road back into Grasmere village.

Sun, 30 Aug 2015

This was a special walk in memory of Tony Rogers who died in March. Last year he was unable to lead a walk to Pike de Bield, which would have been his final Birkett of 541 Lakeland summits. The A party set out from Seathwaite and climbed via Grains Gill and Ruddy Gill to Esk Pike. It was then a short distance to Pike de Bield where the group stopped for lunch. This was an excellent viewpoint overlooking the River Esk and surrounded by Scafell, Scafell Pike, Esk Pike, Bowfell and Crinkle Crags. The occasion was celebrated earlier with chocolate muffins! The route continued through Ore Gap, down towards Angle Tarn and then onto Allen Crags and back to Seathwaite via Styhead Tarn.

Wed, 9 Sept 2015

Parked in Glenridding, the A group walkers hiked in a SW direction past Gillside farm towards and over Birkhouse Moor. An anticlockwise figure of eight route was planned, so that the group veered to the W, passing Red Tarn en route for the Catstye Cam ridge. Four walkers briefly visited the summit, the others progressing up Swirral Edge on dry rock, topping out on to the Helvelyn plateau after the steep short scramble. After a bite to eat, they set off in patchy cloud down Striding Edge, over which everyone coped without any drama, including the 10m high chimney, returning to Glenridding via Red Tarn and Greenside YHA, calling in at the Travellers Rest for a well-earned drink.

A large B party enjoyed a coastal walk – the first 6 of a 9 mile walk from St. Bees being the start of Wainwright’s ‘Coast to Coast’ walk. Not much in the way of bird life at this time of year on the coast but the viewing platforms were used to admire the fine cliff scenery. The day was sunny so the group had a minor diversion to the beach at Fleswick Bay for a very pleasant coffee stop. The walk continued along the cliffs as far as the Saltom Bay quarry, and then inland to Sandwith before dropping down to the railway the route of which was followed for the final stretch back to St. Bees.

Starting at Windermere station the C group walked parallel to the railway line until they joined the byway leading south towards Pinethwaite. They skirted the southern end of School Knott and then gained the summit from above the tarn. This was a marvellous viewpoint. From there they continued southwards and then east on the Dalesway path into Bowness. Despite the proximity to Windermere, this route passed through varied countryside and lovely landscapes.

Sun, 13 Sept 2015

On a cloudy morning the A group departed from Swindale Foot along the bridleway running the length of Swindale and then up into Mosedale. Unfortunately the valley bottom is currently the site of extensive construction work aimed at improving the flow of Swindale Beck. Nabs Crag, climbed to escape the wetness of Mosedale, offered a splendid vantage point, after which they ascended Branstree via Howes. Lunch – a relatively brief affair because of the wind – was taken by the cairn on Artlecrag Pike, from where a good path, made particularly attractive by the High Street backdrop, led to Selside Pike. Descending from the Pike, now in sunshine, the group crossed the old corpse road and ambled along the south side of the Naddle Horseshoe back to the car.

The B group set off from Old Dungeon Ghyll and followed the Cumbria Way along Mickleden Beck to the footbridge where they then followed the deceptively easy zigzag path up alongside Rossett Gill. The clouds had lifted and at Rossett Pass the group looked down on Angle Tarn before the short climb to the summit of Rossett Pike. They followed the ridge over Buck Pike and picked up the path around Langdale Combe to the high point of Stakes Pass, then taking the path leading to Stake Gill and then down to the footbridge from where they retraced their steps back to the start.

Wed, 23 Sept 2015

Rain threatened, but the A group met at Stonethwaite and toiled up Stanger Gill to Bessyboot then onwards to Rosthwaite Cam. After “passing through” Comb Door, Combe Head was visited, but the rain had arrived and haste was made to Glaramara summit via the scramble with lunch “enjoyed” below the crags in as much shelter as possible. The return route, sadly still in rain, was down the ridge path over Thorneythwaite Fell, crossing Comb Gill above the waterfall and back to Stonethwaite.

The B group set out from Spooney Green Lane to climb Lonscale Fell, taking the path to the side of Latrigg then the main route up Skiddaw, turning off to follow a narrow path through heather beneath Jenkin Hill, up to the ridge and on to the summit where there were good views to Keswick and Derwentwater. The weather deteriorated at midday, bringing cloud and drizzle with intermittent spells of sunshine which highlighted small areas of High Rigg delightfully and gave Derwentwater a metallic glow, visible from the steep path down off the south side of the fell. The party returned via the path below the fell and back to Keswick.

The C group travelled by bus to Dunmail Raise and walked back to Swirls, initially using the footpath adjacent to the road and then, after the footbridge over Birkside Gill, via the excellent forestry track. The group had lunch overlooking the castellated “Reservoir Building” and with an excellent view of the High Seat ridge.

Sun, 27 Sept 2015

Some days are made for walking and this was one of them. The A party took the narrow foot bridge spanning the sparkling River Liza before crossing a meadow to the Drove Way and up onto Lingmell. Ennerdale water and all things west opening up behind us as they gained height. Then came the many false summits of the ridge up to Steeple the magnificence of Mirk Cove below Little Scoat Fell making the long climb worthwhile. The breathtaking ridge from Steeple to Little Scoat Fell, followed by the tangle of boulders down to Black Crag and the descent to Wind Gap. The finalclimb of the day was the easy scramble to Pillar. What perfect conditions to attempt the climb of Pillar Rock, but for today the group satisfied themselves with just admiring it’s immense west wall while they descended from Pillar to White Pike on the ridge down, to cross High Beck and then plunge down through pine needle carpeted woods to the lower forest track, all aglow after a superb day on the fells.

Wed, 7 Oct 2015

The B party set off over Calvert Bridge up Latrigg Fell, coming out of the ‘dark dark’ wood close to the summit. The pre-ordered sunshine was somewhere above the misty shroud, but they descended from it down the East ridge to the railway path, and coffee. After the bridge crossing the River Greta it was up to the Stone Circle, a magical place on any day, then across the fields to High Nest, over the main road to Rake Foot and the ascent of Walla Crag. Then down Cat Gill (a challenge needed!) and back along the lake shore to Keswick and tea on the river bank of Toll Bar Cottage. A wonderful day of walking with good company; nearly cancelled due to the weather forecast.

Sun, 11 Oct 2015

The A group set off from Bowness Knott car park in perfect walking weather, and started with a climb up to the forest fence round Bowness Knott. Some of the party made the short ascent to the Knott summit, rejoining the rest of the group for the rocky ascent beside Rake Beck to the trig point on Great Borne. Descending eastwards, they had wonderful views as the ridge was followed to Starling Dodd and then up the final steep climb to Red Pike. A well-cairned path down to the valley passed White Pike to the left, reaching the forestry track at Gillerthwaite, from where the group concluded the walk with the trudge back alongside Ennerdale Water, looking gently serene in the calm air.

The B group took the path up Greenup Gill with its waterfalls and the steep cliffs of Eagle Crag. Before Lining Crag they dropped down into the desolate valley below Long Crag and made their way up the slopes of Sergeant’s Crag. From the summit, views of Langstrath and the Borrowdale fells were enjoyed before descending to the ridge approaching Eagle Crag. The group carefully avoided Crag Gully (Wainwright stated that ‘descents here will end fatally’!) and after scrambling up onto Eagle Crag made the pleasant descent to the sheepfold on Greenup Gill, and returned to Stonethwaite along the beck.

Wed, 14 Oct 2015

The run of good weather continued; a small A group was extremely fortunate to be out on such an exquisite day with perfect blue skies, very clear views, virtually no wind and an ideal walking temperature. It hardly mattered where they walked, but the route from Patterdale up Angle Tarn Gill to Brock Crags, and then onto Angle Tarn Pikes meant that Angle Tarn looked more beautiful than usual. Deer were sighted near Brock Crags and the stags could be heard in the distance. The group continued to Place Fell and The Knight before descending back to Ullswater, by which time the gathering cloud hardly mattered.

The C walkers started from Cow Bridge carpark and walked up through the attractive village of Hartsop. At the top they turned down the stream to reach Brothers Water where they had a coffee stop. The path continued along the shore to the campsite where the group took the path across to Hartsop Hall. As soon as they again reached the shore of the lake lunch was taken in beautiful sunshine before returning to Cow Bridge with stops en route to admire the view down the lake from the outflow.

Sun, 25 Oct 2015

The A group met at Dockray, first walking up the quite road to High Row with its pretty cottages and autumn colours. They then took the coach road to Mariel Bridge – an opportunity to stretch legs and socialise. From the bridge, the group ascended by Mosedale Beck to Calfhow Pike before a “nearly path” to Stybarrow Dodd: (nearly summiting Great Dodd and Watson’t Dodd!) where a low wall just below the summit provided inadequate shelter for lunch in the cold wind. Then on to Hart Side and Birkett Fell before descending to the final, most scenic, stretch; along the ridge to Common Fell overlooking Ullswater. A terrific day for seeing the magnificent autumn trees plus, back in Dockray, a nostalgic reminder of the Tour of Britain in the shape of a few yellow bikes.

The B group parked at Church Bridge, Little Town, and took the long Newlands Valley route southwards in the shadow of their objective – High Spy – to Dale Head Tarn which provided an ideal lunch venue. More climbing then brought them to High Spy and on to Maiden Moor before the descent to Hause Gate. Half of the group visited the summit of Cat Bells while the remainder went ahead down the rough bridleway back to Little Town.

Wed, 4 Nov 2015

On a cloudy but dry day, the C group’s walk was in a well-wooded part of Borrowdale, where the muted autumn colours were still enjoyable although past their best. Starting from Seatoller, the group walked along the north west side of Seathwaite Beck, making a diversion uphill for a closer look at the Borrowdale Yews, the three survivors of Wordsworth’s “Fraternal Four”. From Seathwaite Farm, the route continued on the south east side of the valley back to Borrowdale Road at Strands Bridge and across fields to Combe Beck. Here, the two hundred year old refurbished mill with its intact waterwheel was inspected. The group re-joined the road at Burthwaite Bridge and continuing to Mountain View Cottages, their path across Folly Bridge led back to the cars.

Sun, 22 Nov 2015

The A group set off from Fellside in clear, cold weather, which rapidly became misty. They took the track to the top of Hay Gill, the entrance to its top mine level still clearly visible, and then continued to ascend towards High Pike, passing the remains of old grouse butts on the way. High Pike was snowy and misty as they reached the cairn at 1900 feet, but as they turned to walk to Great Lingy Hut the sky began to clear and there were lovely views of the surrounding mountains and valley. They then continued on the track up to Knott (2400 feet) as the mist came and went at intervals. Having paused to greet some past members of the club, the group continued to Great Sca Fell and then branched off to descend Yard Steel. They finished the walk along the Dale Beck valley, noting the many mines in the area and the disturbed state of the track due to the heavy rain of recent weeks.

The B group set off from near the Saw Mill Café to ascend Dodd, following a well graded forest road with superb views (in almost sunshine) that reached the path up to Dodd summit and its memorial pillar. Returning on the north west side of Dodd, they were down in time for refreshment at the Cafe and return to their cars.

Wed, 25 Nov 2015

The A group was delighted to be able to enjoy the fells for the second time in four days after such appalling November weather. With a forecast of a strong but bearable wind, cloudy tops and maybe drizzly rain, they met at Mungrisdale, and aimed for the East Ridge of Bannerdale Crags, crossing the potentially swollen Bannerdale Beck high up the valley. After climbing the ridge and gaining the Bannerdale summit, the group descended to the “source of the River Glenderamackin hause” before ascending to Atkinson Pike and on to the Hallsfell Top of Blencathra. They returned to Mungrisdale via Scales Fell and Souther Fell, glad that the forecast was partly wrong – the rain never arrived!

Wed, 9 Dec 2015

A large combined A and B group met at Greystoke village car park on a wet and windy day, determined to get some “fresh air” after the many weeks of bad weather, and the horrific events of the 5th December weekend. Fortunately, the forecast was reasonably accurate (the rain wasn’t constant!) and most of the walk was on firm tracks. The group set off into Greystoke Estate, passing close to the Castle before walking through Home Farm and on up to below Summerground Crags. Just after the Crags, they rested briefly in the lee of a wall for coffee and mince pies before turning back towards Greystoke, finally retracing their steps to the arched entrance to the estate.

The planned C group walk along the railway footpath was modified due to flood damage, but the party enjoyed a dry and breezy two-way walk along the road from Threlkeld to Wescoe and then down to the banks of the Greta where they had a good view of the beleaguered bridge and the still swollen river.

Wed, 16 Dec 2015

Courtesy of the leader, the A group set off up the stairs of The Barn for a nice cup of coffee, whilst rain fell gently in Borrowdale and red squirrels frolicked on the balcony. Then girding their loins and other bits, they eventually set off into the gentle misle; along past Stonethwaite and up the 1200 steps by Willygrass Gill at the top of which were beautiful views of russet Eagle Crag. Continuing to the placid Dock Tarn and making a squelching ascent of Great Crag before descending vertically to the main path, their lunch was taken astride smooth rounded boulders. Upon meeting the Watendlath path and with the rain increasing, the decision was taken to head back for another coffee at The Barn. The path down had been devastated by Desmond; long deep gullies – awful.

The B group set off from Thirlspot towards Thirlmere dam, crossing very wet and muddy fields to take the forest track to the A 591. They then went up the gently climbing track to St. John’s in the Vale church where a festive lunch (including a small sherry) was enjoyed by all. Along the path around the bottom of High Rigg there was much evidence of the devastation caused by the recent gales and floods. It was a short but interesting winter walk.

The C group cancelled their planned walk and then modified the replacement – all on account of the weather. Instead of climbing Binsey which was shrouded in mist, they had a very pleasant woodland walk along paths and lanes in the Overwater area, with a visit to a nearby café for a welcome bowl of hot soup.