Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Crookdale Horseshoe

A walk close...ish to home was required today. Checking the maps out this morning, I thought ahh...The Crookdale Horseshoe! I have walked this once before a long time ago, on a poor day in the clag. I felt it would be good to see if there was anything to see other than the wet ground I seemed to remember....

I parked close to Hause Foot under Shap summit, the car soon receded as I ascended the steep Eastern slopes of High House Bank.

A bit of rough ground and I was on the top of High House Bank.
A good view down Borrowdale and down Mintdale towards Kendal

This is the summit of Robin Hood, any similarity to Sherwood Forest is entirely coincidental! 

This was my turning point today Lords seat, with an excellent view down Upper Borrowdale.

I crossed Crookdale Beck near the derelict sheepfolds and made a beeline for Great Yarlside

The summit of Great cairn...nowt! Well a pair of trekking poles but I took them!

Quite a drop down to Little Yarlside, much better going than I remember

At least Little Yarlside has a small cairn.Tthere's a large pit next to the cairn, which I would guess was probably for walling stone?

The last top is Whatshaw Common, no cairn just this pool of water.
Then just an easy walk back down t the car.
Its a grand walk, don't just do it on an off day. Its worth more than that....I'm glad I gave it another chance :-)

Monday, 17 April 2017

All the Lakeland Passes (except Dunmail!) on the Motorbike

Out on the motorbike today. I haven't done this ride for any years for one reason or another, and today's weather wasn't the best either. Perhaps familiarity does breed contempt...although I think the increasingly busy Lakes roads probably have something to do with it.
Anyway here's a series of pictures of the passes ridden....look away now if pictures including the motorbike offend :-)

From home via Ambleside and Grasmere to cross "Red Bank"

Up Great Langdale and over "The Blea Tarn Road"

From Little Langdale over "Wrynose" 

Down to Cockley Beck and ascend "Hardknott"

Down Eskdale and at Gosforth I picked up the A590 for a few miles before a crossing of the Cold Fell Road (not really a pass). Ennerdale Bridge, Lamplaugh, Loweswater along the Vale of Lorton to climb to the summit of "Whinlatter"

Up and over "Newlands". The weather was improving a bit!

Beside Buttermere and this is "Honister"

Down Borrowdale into Keswick, east along the A66 for a few miles before a turn South through Dockray to Ullswater. Just one more pass..."Kirkstone".
From here its only 45mins or so to home.
I really enjoyed myself pottering along, 7hrs to ride approx 150 miles.
I won't leave it as long before I do the trip again :-)

Friday, 14 April 2017

Mopping Up Marilyns Round the Cheviots

The first part of the Easter holiday gave me the opportunity to get over to the Cheviots. Having booked the Thursday night in Wooler YHA,I was off early for the long and tortuous  drive over to the Coquet valley.....

I parked in the upper Coquet valley near to Shillmoor.

The broad Eastern ridge was steep at first, but the short cropped grass made for good progress.

Before long I was at the summit of Shillhope Law, as with many Marilyn's the view was excellent. The whaleback in the background is The Cheviot.

Cheviot's? in the Cheviots

A drive back down Coquetdale and having parked in Great Tosson under the Peel Tower I was on the path towards Simonside and ultimately Tosson Hill

The rocky outcrop of Simonside

Tosson Hill is a fair hike across the thankfully dry moor, it was back the same way. 

Another short drive to the North side of Rothbury and I parked in what felt a slightly dodgy spot.
I set off into the forest towards Long Crag wondering if the car would be OK while I was away.

The summit of Long Crag, the last Marilyn for the day. You can't see in this image but the North Sea is over there to the Northeast!
Back to the car the same way, out and back in just over an hour.
It was only 15 miles or so up to Wooler from here, I was glad to relax in the YHA after a long day.

Just a few miles drive this morning to the foot of Housedon Hill, noted for it's Gorse as you can see

A real steep pull, but height gained quickly and I was on the top. There was a stiff breeze, the air was clear giving great views back to the Cheviots

Back close to where I had parked was this wonderful rural scene...couldn't resist.

Next on the agenda Belling Hill, this is as easy as they come from an effort point of view...

But sadly its not the finest viewpoint, due to the conifers. It'll get worse, because behind me as I took this photo were thousands of 2metre high trees! Back to the car the same way

Round to Kielder next, a lot more effort required for this one....Peel Fell. The initial section is through conifer plantations before you arrive at this point and actually see your quarry.
I made a serious error of judgement further on as I used a short forest road to gain the Southern slopes in the photo above....really horrendous going above the tree line :-( 

But as always if you persevere the summit arrives eventually. The view was superb, you could see the Cumbrian Fells, I doubt they'll be visable on this image. The hill with all the adornments is Deadwater Fell. 

I followed the England-Scotland border, which had a path...alot easier!

Once back below the tree line it was really warm out of the breeze. Once I'd completed my loop it was back through the trees to the car. A bite to eat and the drive home.
A great trip dry almost all the time, new places explored and 6 more Marilyns to tick off.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

North Through The Pennines to Hexham On the Honda

The weather was set fair so today I had a full day on the motorbike through some of my favourite areas....

Across to Ingleton and over  to Hawes, with a quick stop to admire Ribblehead Viaduct

Then over the Buttertubs into Swaledale, I always like to stop here at Wain Wath Force, ot much water in the besk today though.

The long gradual climb up West Stonesdale brings you to Tan Hill....

...behind the pub on some of the outcrops are carvings. Many of them listing the landlords/residents of the Tan Hill over the years. 

Through Barnard Castle, Stanhope and over Crawleyside to Blanchland. Where lunch was taken.

Hexham Abbey. It's ages since I actually walked round Hexham, I had forgotten how nice it is!

Then it was time to wend my way back home, Firstly West to Allendale, then up onto the moors I love the wide open spaces and quiet roads in this area.
Sorry gratuitous motorbike picture!

I stopped at Carrsheild and had a good look round the old mine workings. Between the wind, rain and the beck their slowly but surely being destroyed :-(

Its not far from Carrsheild to Nent Head, where again I had a look round the lead mines adjacent to the main car park. This is the entrance to Caplecleugh Level I think! But what is the galvanised arrangement inside the portal, they have an electrical connection!

Over Hartside, where the weather had taken a turn for the worse. It was freezing!!
Down Hartside into the Eden valley, before a climb over Orton Scar and back home.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

New (to me!) Motorcycle Day :-))

After much deliberation I have decided to have a change of motorbike, something a little more practical. Probably more fitting of a silly old duffer as well! So......'s goodbye BMW F800S, we've had some great times together over the last 3 years.......

.....and Hello Honda NC700X .
A new motorbike day is always a great day.
It's certainly not going to set any ones pants on fire, but on today's increasingly speed restricted and busy roads it makes a lot of sense (to me anyway!) Its also supremely practical, if anyone wants to read a review with a few stats have a click here
The weather could just do with warming up a bit....please!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

A Wet Walk Above Dowthwaite Head

Today was one of those days when many would question my sanity!.....But I needed to be out in the elements, without disturbance from anyone else. I certainly picked a wild spot. As I left the car at High Row above Dockray it was pouring with rain. It didn't let up all the time I was out ......

I walked along the valley floor to Dowthwaite Head, the becks were running high.

This is the top of Brown Hills, I've been here before a long time ago...and it wasn't as wet!

Ridge walking but not as we'd like it, it was a lot worse than this for much of the way as well

And this is Swineside...nothing to see here as they say!
From here it was back to Dowthwaite Head with the wind and rain on my back.
Once back at the car I was handily placed for a visit to Penrith where I had a bit of business to sort, with a clear head. The correct decisions were taken and will be noted on the blog over the next couple of months.