Following the suspension of walks due to the lockdown, the club decided to make a cautious return to walking the fells. As a trial the walks reported below were undertaken with new rules aimed at protecting members and the general public alike. For the trial, walks started from Keswick town locations, split into groups of a maximum of 6 people, and maintained social distancing at all times. Finally, where members needed transport to the start locations, car sharing was not allowed. The trial was considered to be a success and the experience so far indicates that walks a short distance away from Keswick may be worth trying next.
Wed, 22 Jul 2020
The A group met at St John’s Church at 9.30 am, walked up through Spring Wood, crossed the fields to the A591, crossed the fields past Sykes Farm to reach St John’s in the Vale Church. From there they dropped down to Bridge Farm and over the bridge to the Old Coach Road. They climbed through old mine workings to Wanthwaite Bank into low cloud, reached the high Fells along the terrace path and then climbed to Clough Head. They descended through White Pike out of the cloud to the Old Coach Road and walked to Threlkeld via Newsham House. They walked along the road to Wescoe, Derwent Folds and returned to Keswick via Brundholme Wood. (21.2km, 5¾ hours, 1000m ascent.)
The B group set off from Portinscale suspension bridge, going through Ullock and Little Braithwaite on the way to Coledale and Barrow Door passing Stile End on the right. From there it was a simple walk, unfortunately with drizzle all the way, to the top of Barrow and returning via Ullock to a welcome coffee outside at The Chalet in Portinscale.
Sun, 2 Aug 2020
The A group was split into two groups of six. The groups set off independently to walk up Spooney Green Lane and along the Cumbria Way to ascend Lonscale Fell. Heavy showers persisted for the steep ascent, slightly dampening the mood. However on reaching the summit the rain eased and a rainbow appeared which restored everyones spirits. They traversed along Burnt Horse Ridge to rejoin the Cumbria Way. The sun had now come out and after crossing the Glendaterra, they enjoyed a pleasant walk following the beck on the west side to Derwentfolds. They returned to Keswick through Brundholme Woods. (11 miles and 871m ascent.)
Leaving from Eleven Trees, the B walkers in 2 small groups made their way up past the stone circle and then across fields through High Nest before crossing Naddle Beck. Ascending to the path bisecting Low and High Rigg and then continuing through bracken to the summit of High Rigg. Grassy slopes and wet conditions took the group down to the St Johns in the Vale church. From the church across Low Rigg to Tewet Tarn, sunny skies were appreciated during the leisurely amble back along quiet roads and fields alongside a secluded nature reserve back to the start.
Wed, 12 Aug 2020
The A group left Keswick along Borrowdale Road towards Great Wood where they joined the terrace path below Walla Crag. On reaching Ashness Bridge they headed up High Strutta, pausing to cool off by Ashness Gill then continuing upwards in search of a coffee stop with some fresher air and a panorama of the fells across Derwentwater. A peaceful stroll to High Seat followed with few other walkers in the vicinity. Now it was time to concentrate on avoiding any boggy areas towards Bleaberry Fell. Unusually, the breeziest spot was the chosen lunch location, which had the added bonus of commanding views towards Blencathra. A quiet return to Keswick was accomplished before the forecast rain arrived. (Distance 15.72 km; total ascent: 743 m.)
On the hottest day of the year 2 B groups of 5 set off from the centre of Keswick. The first target was the top of Walla Crag which was reached 50 minutes into the walk. A well-earned coffee stop ensued with a spectacular view from above Derwentwater. From there they climbed to the top of Bleaberry Fell where a welcome cooling breeze awaited, together with lunch. From thence they descended to Ashness Bridge, returning to Keswick via Great Wood accompanied by the ominous sound of a thunderstorm.
A small C party set off from Binsey Lodge, to make the short ascent to the top. It was a hot sunny morning, but a gentle breeze helped. On reaching the top, a short stop was taken amongst the purple heather. Then the party returned to the cars by the same path.
Following the recent return to walking the fells, the club continued to limit groups to a maximum of 6 people who maintained social distancing at all times. A normal programme of walking on alternate weeks has not, however, resumed and walk days will be 10 days apart for a while longer. Here is a record of the walks undertaken during September.
Wed, 2 Sept 2020
With a weather forecast threatening heavy rain “sometime” plus high winds, the A group set off from Threlkeld more in hope than certainty of reaching their goal – Blencathra. From Threlkeld, they followed low level paths to Scales and climbed to the top of Mousethwaite Comb. They then followed the River Glenderamackin valley downstream, to gain the east ridge of Bannerdale Crags. Gusty wind on the lower part of the ridge persuaded a number of the group to retreat – retracing their steps – with the intrepid remnants continuing to the top of Bannerdale before admitting defeat and returning – down the infant Glenderamackin valley – leaving Blencathra for another, hopefully drier and less windy day!
A B party met at Spout Force car park to ascend Lord’s Seat. They set off up the forest road and after about half a mile they turned left on a narrow path, descending to cross the Aiken Beck. Skirting a forest plantation, they followed the path east and then northeast to Lord’s Seat summit. After enjoying the views they descended in a southerly direction and entered the Whinlatter forest park. A series of gently descending footpaths brought them to the more open area of Tarbarrel Moss, then turning northwest they came to a spot higher up on the forest road on which they had started. From here it was an easy stroll down to the car park.
Sun, 13 Sept 2020
The A Group set off from Powter How at 9.00 a.m. walking steeply up by Beckstones Gill and turning left into Beckstones Plantation. They continued along forest paths making their way to Whinlatter Fell. An easy walk in fine weather changed as they approached Lord’s Seat where they had strong gusts of wind. The wind blew them across the bog to Barf where a quick retreat was made into Wythop Woods and on through Hogg Park to view the archery targets. The C to C cycle path was followed down to Beck Wythop and then the path by the lake back to Powter How.
For the B group eight people, including three new members, met at Watermillock Church. Two groups were formed and the regulatory self-distancing adhered to. The groups walked through Swinburn’s Park to Gowbarrow, descending via the eastern path, with beautiful views of Ullswater and the misty-topped mountains beyond. From the lower part of the Falls, the group continued up the eastern side of Aira Force, then climbed to Airy Crag (the summit of Gowbarrow), returning via Swinburn’s Park.
Mon, 21 Sept 2020
The C walkers made their way on field paths from Thrushwood, passing under the old railway and crossing the A66 to arrive at Crosthwaite Church. They continued over the Portinscale bridge, and arrived at the Derwentwater Hotel. The path through the hotel grounds was followed to the river, where a lunch stop was taken on a seat overlooking the water. Swans and Mallards drifted by on the current. The return was by the same route.
Wed, 23 Sept 2020
The A Group left St Bega’s, walked along the lane, and entered the forest. A gradual climb took them to the Watches where they continued along The Edge to Ullock Pike in mist. The weather changed as Long Side was reached and with waterproofs and extra clothing added they proceeded to Carl Side. The path down was taken briefly before bearing right to use a different route to Long Doors. An easy climb to Dodd was followed by a pleasant path circuiting Dodd through Thornthwaite Forest. The Allerdale Ramble was joined through Mirehouse grounds to St Bega’s followed by paths through woods and fields back to the lane and the cars.
The B group met in Cockermouth. The walk followed the Allerdale Ramble starting by crossing the footbridge over the River Derwent and then climbing through farmland via old stone stiles, eventually reaching the A595. Extensive views of the mountains provided some compensation for traffic noise, and the short stretch of road. A footpath led to Redmain, then fields and woodland to the Isel Road. At present much disruption is caused by United Utilities. The road passed Isel Hall and Isel Church where there was a lunch stop before the River Derwent was crossed again via Isel Bridge. The woodland path led to the summit of Watch Hill with panoramic views including the Isle of Man and Criffel. Finally, all downhill to Cockermouth.
Before listing the club’s walks in October in chronological order here is a special report from the A group who climbed England’s newest mountain:
In 2018 Miller Moss near Mungrisdale in Cumbria became England’s newest mountain. It was originally measured at 609m (1,998ft), which is 1m (3ft) too short to warrant mountain status. However in that year independent surveyors John Barnard and Graham Jackson remeasured it and found it was 610.1m, which took it over the 2,000ft limit thereby qualifying it as a mountain and gaining extensive news coverage on TV. Ordinance Survey subsequently updated their maps. The main problem with climbing it is finding it, as it is an insignificant rise lying between High Pike and Knott. Undaunted 8 members of Keswick Rambling Club set off on Sunday 4th October in search of the elusive summit.
First stop was Carrock Fell, site of an ancient Iron Age hill fort and from there the party made their way to High Pike over boggy ground. The old mine track from there towards Knott made for firmer walking. Just before the Lingley Hut bothy the group struck north across open moorland eventually reaching the slight rise topped with a cairn that constitutes the summit. A return was made to the Lingy hut for lunch before finishing the climbs with an ascent up Knott which at 2,329 feet is the highest mountain north of Skiddaw. The day finished with a pleasant walk back down the Caldew valley to the cars.
Sun, 4 Oct 2020
In glorious autumn sunshine a small B group met at Seatoller. The group followed valley paths via Thorneythwaite Farm and the new hydroelectric station at Coombe Ghyll to Stonethwaite where the steep climb through woodland was joined. Passing the roaring waters of Willygrass Ghyll the tranquil shore of Dock Tarn was reached. As ground conditions were extremely wet after the storm the previous day a visit to the summit of Great Crag was omitted and a descent was made to Puddingstone Bank where the main Rosthwaite path was joined. Bus travellers left the group in Rosthwaite whilst car drivers returned to Seatoller via Peat Howe and the riverside path.
Wed, 7 Oct 2020
The C party set off from near Portinscale to walk beside Derwentwater. The path skirted round Lingholm Gardens, then the lakeshore was reached. Fortunately a large Beech tree in full leaf provided shelter from a squally shower. A good path was followed along the lake, then after a lunch stop, the return was made on a higher level path. A short visit to Lingholm Gardens was very rewarding, with still a lot of Autumn colour in the flower beds. The coffee was also excellent.
Wed, 14 Oct 2020
The A group met at the Keswick Leisure Centre at 9.0am and walked up the Cumbria Way path round Latrigg. After crossing Whit Beck the group took a track leading up Lonscale Fell to a fence line and then up a dry stream bed towards the 715m cairn, although the stones were wet and slippery. From the viewing cairn, the group followed the fence line to Jenkin Hill and by-passed Little Man to reach Skiddaw in thick cloud. The group thought that the proposed descent down the steep slate track to Carl Side was far too unpleasant and decided to descend via Sale How to Skiddaw House. They returned to Keswick along the Cumbria Way – 22km in 6½ hours.
On a glorious Autumn morning the B group left Grasmere and walked past Allan Bank. When they reached the open fellside they followed the path towards Lang How. It was then a short walk to the summit of Silver How. After a short stop to admire the panorama the group continued down to Spedding Crag and Dow Bank looking over Elterwater and Langdale. The route then continued to Red Bank and on to Loughrigg Terrace. After crossing the A591 at White Moss they walked steeply up hill to the coffin route which took the walkers back to Grasmere.
Sun, 18 Oct 2020
The C group walked through Fitz park and over the bridge into Keswick. The walk continued down the rugby club road, and towards the isthmus. The trees were in their Autumn colours, and there were lots of fallen acorns. A stop was taken beside a flat calm Derwentwater, with only ducks disturbing the tranquility.
The walk then went towards the boat landings, and back through Hope Park to the cars.
Sun, 1 Nov 2020
The B group set off from Seatoller intent on climbing Castle Crag. The Group headed west out of the village and climbed up to the path linking Honister and Grange under the Scawdel fells. After a short break at Tongue Gill, impressively in full spate, the Group arrived at the foot of Castle Crag with heavy rain falling and the wind strengthening. Leaving the climb for another day was the decision and the Bs pushed on down the rough path to the River Derwent then turning back along the Cumbria way. Lunch was taken in Millican Dalton’s cave before continuing via Rosthwaite and Peat Howe. A scramble over the wet rocks by the fast-flowing Derwent was the last obstacle.
Wed, 4 Nov 2020
It was ironic that the first good-weather Club walk day for some weeks was also the last before the November lockdown. The A group made the most of the excellent day, albeit soggy underfoot, with a route from Grasmere to Calf Crag via the Green Burn valley and then up to Greenup Edge, High Raise and Sergeant Crag which provided a wonderful lunchtime location. High views of Stickle Tarn and Codale Tarn enhanced the boggy route to Blea Rigg after which the group descended to Easedale Tarn for the long walk back to Grasmere. A failed attempt of the mud to swallow the boot of one member did nothing to dim the exhilaration of being high – and dry! – on the fells.
Two groups of B walkers left Stainton village in sunshine. Up the hill and along an “archway” of golden leaves they continued through the woodland to be greeted by a wonderful view of Ullswater and the many distant fells. They crossed fields to Dacre, then southwards through Greaves and Hesket Farm to Sparket Mill. Continuing through wet and muddy fields they passed through Hutton and Hutton John, pausing to look at St Mary’s Well and a limestone pillar named The Bogden Hagg! They returned via Dacre and Dalemain, then through the woods to Stainton.
Sun, 6 Dec 2020
The A group of 12 started from Waterend at Loweswater and headed into Holme Wood and up to the Holme Force before taking the corpse road terrace path west and then climbing up to Burnbank Fell for the mist. The group slodged up to Blake Fell where the mist, defying earlier forecasts, lifted to reveal an atmospheric mountain cloudscape and sun. After reaching Gavel Fell the group dropped down to High Nook and walked back along the south side of Loweswater to the start. Great.
After a cold frosty start the B group followed the path contouring the N.W. side of Sale Fell to Brunston Bridge. Wythop Beck was then crossed and on to the coach road around Ling Fell. Eventually there was a gentle ascent from the N.W. The summit provided extensive views of Criffel and the Cumbrian coast, also the Lord’s Seat ridge. After a grassy descent Brunston Bridge was crossed again and the path continued through Chapel Wood – a beautiful quiet wooded valley with interesting farmland. Eventually a wide high level forest track was reached with extensive views of Bassenthwaite, snow-covered Skiddaw, and beyond. Routenbeck was crossed to reach the Sale Fell path leading back to the cars; one member ascended Sale Fell.
Wed, 30 Dec 2020
It was a perfect winter scene as the A group began their ascent up snow-covered Grisedale Pike while behind them an inversion had formed across the valley below Skiddaw. Underfoot, the shallow layer of frozen snow allowed the group to make steady progress down to Coledale Hause and then up to Crag Hill where the panorama from the summit plateau was awesome. Although care had to be taken on the rocky path to Sail, the group made good time so they continued along the ridge to Causey Pike whereupon they retraced their steps for a short distance before heading down a gentle path and returning to Braithwaite. (Distance 17.01 km; total ascent 1,219 m.)