Tuesday 31 January 2012

Mountain Bike ride from Ings

Troutbeck valley from Garburn

Across Windermere to Wansfell
The weather forecasters let me down today, once again I awoke to a dull overcast day, like living in a tupperware box! Anyway a plan was quickly formulated, and with the mountain bike loaded up off to Ings, between Kendal and Windermere. Truthfully my ideas for the day were pretty fluid, with a visit to Blacks in Ambleside the overall "target". So a very short stretch of the A591 then right on the Moor Howe Road, leaving the bulk of the traffic behind on this minor road. I left the tarmac behind I rode up Dubbs Road, this bridleway has a durable surface, it hasn't altered since I first rode up here as a boy over forty years ago. Height is gained easily, there is normally a great view just below Garburn Quarry but not today. Anyway downhill it was a lovely descent all the way down to the Kirkstone Road, back on tarmac for the steep climb up to Troutbeck village. Up again on Robin Lane, this bridleway skirts Wansfell visiting High Skelghyll on route to Skelghyll Woods and the descent to Ambleside. Next a bit of gear shopping! Ian had tipped me off about silk mummy shaped sleeping bag liners, reduced to £15. I think I got the last one, it went through the till at £8! Now that's a bargain! Might do a bit of a first look on this shortly. Onwards on my mystery tour, over Rothay bridge and along the Langdale road as far as the footbridge to Brathey Church, a handy bench appeared for lunch. This was eaten pretty cold before I froze my bits off. Out on the Hawkshead road, before branching left towards Wray. Just after the entrance to Wray Castle I took the bridleway down to the Lakeside, I rode along this all the way to the ferry. No wait the ferryman waved me aboard "Mallard" and across Windermere we went. On the ferry I had a quick look at the map, I decided to have a mootch round some of the tracks I used to ride along in my youth, everywhere seemed alot more built up. I rode up "Middle Entrance Drive", (Private, very posh!) Didn't get accosted, so continued south almost to Winster, taking a left along another short bridleway, Lindeth lane took me back northerly and eventually the bridleway past Cleabarrow which is part of the Dales Way. Old Droomer and yet another bridleway partly through housing on the edge of Windermere, before open fields led me to cross the A591. The minor roads past The Common were followed back to Moor Howe Road and then back to the car. A really great ride, more Rough Stuff than "proper mountain biking."

Sunday 29 January 2012

Loughrigg Tarn

Loughrigg Tarn from The Oaks

A cold overcast walk awaited us as we parked near Tarn Foot Farm above Skelwith Bridge. Our plan was to circumnavigate Loughrigg Tarn, and this is what we did! Widdershins (counter-clockwise) was the order of the day, many stops for photo opportunity's were taken. The rather flat light meant the results are far from flattering, however the reflections were excellent. We used the permissive path to return, which in theory follows the shore, but isn't signposted in anyway shape or form.


Sunday 22 January 2012

RSF ride from Chapel House Wood

The Fox Sculpture, Grizedale

A different starting point today, the Forestry Commission (that shows my age, think it's Forest Enterprise now?) small car park. Five of us for the group ride, braving the stiff north-westerly wind laced with showers, as we rode off downhill through Staveley-in-Cartmel to Newby Bridge. The rain eased off once we turned up towards our first cake stop at Lakeside. The lake steamer's were tied up, must be the off-season! Cake and coffee consumed our route was north, past Low Stott Park, turning off near Graythwaite Hall to drop back down to the shore of Windermere. At Cunsey Beck we entered the first bridleway of the day this well graded track follows Cunsey Beck to emerge on tarmac near Eel House. We rode the road towards Hawkshead beside Esthwaite Water it was then uphill first on tarmac then the bridleway to Grizedale, which i've always known as "Devils Gallop." This bridleway has taken a bit of a battering from 4x4s by the look of it, a shame, we had to walk odd bits of it. Lunch was taken on the top in the sun, but also in the wind, we checked out the "Fox" sculpture before we enjoyed a long descent on forest roads to Bogle Crag. Time for another Cake stop, this time the visitor centre at Grizedale where I had possibly the largest hot chocolate ever! The bridleway/forest road down the west side of Grizedale was the way onward to Satterthwaite and then Force Mills. ere we branched of to the left on the last bridleway of the day, easy going this one, after a council of war the route of return was decided taking us via Rusland and the stiff pull back over to Newby Bridge and the River Leven. From here our outward route was reversed back to the cars at Chapel Wood.
The Rusland Valley

Thursday 19 January 2012

Allt Duine

A short post this, I'll do no more than ask any of my followers or readers, or indeed anyone with a love of the Great Outdoors and those wild places which are so special, to look at Alan Slomans Blog http://alansloman.blogspot.com/    This man deserves a medal!

Cartmel Ramble

Reflections on the Cistercian Way
A pleasant ramble on paths and bridleways, making a circuit combining sections of both the Cistercian Way and the Cumbria Coastal Way. Our route took us below the rather pompously named "Mount Barnard," all of 154m! All the paths are extremely wet and muddy at lower levels. We were fortunate today with the weather it remained dry all the time we were walking, the sun shining on our sheltered lunch spot. The rain appearing just as we got back to the car.

Sunday 15 January 2012

RSF ride to Helsington

Tracks in the frost  at White Moss

The meeting place for todays ride was the "Refreshment Rooms" on Carnforth railway station once again. I chose to ride to the start on the towpath of the Lancaster canal, I made good progress as the ground was frozen hard. However once coffee had been taken I found I had a puncture, not the best start. There was a good turnout today, ten folks, I think, it was a shame to keep them waiting whilst I changed the tube. Once underway we rode across the River Keer and through Warton, eventually taking the permitted bridleway round the cricket club, past Hyning Farm to arrive in Yealand Conyers. Through Yealand Redmayne, then a bridleway across the frost covered fields to White Moss. We were making good time, a little bit of road work, and a good bit of downhill off road along Dollywood Lane. The quiet village of Storth was passed through quickly and soon we were on the minor roads of Milnthorpe Marsh. Sadly we had no option but to use the A6 for a short distance, this provided the link to Levens. A short way north of the village we climbed the bridleway over open grassland on the bridleway to Helsington Church, stopping part way along for butties sat in the sun. Soon chilled off mind! We rode another bridleway and minor road which brought us down to the racetrack aka A591, this takes some crossing at this point, anyway more lanes to Natland and another bridleway via Larkrigg, then across the old suspension bridge over the River Kent. There were calls for another coffee/cake stop, with few options at this time of year, Low Sizergh Barn was visited. Very busy but quick service and not overly expensive was the verdict. Mindful of the short hours of daylight and some of the group having a fair distance to ride home, it was minor roads for the rest of the trip. Our route took us through my home village of Holme, I continued south to Cinderbarrow before saying my goodbyes and retracing my steps(wheels?) home. A great day in good company, my feet were pretty cold for much of the day mind!
The group enjoying the view from Helsington Church 

Thursday 12 January 2012

Strawberry Gardens

Eastern Fells from the West shore of Windermere
A stroll in the sun on the west shore of Windermere, remarkably quiet, pure magic. I played and fished here on so many summer evenings after school. Looking back to those days we never knew how lucky we were, I'm sure we didn't appreciate the amazing scenery all around us. I now realise how fortunate I've been to have lived within 30 miles of here all my life, it's part of what makes me who I am. Sounds a bit corny when I see it in print but thats exactly how I felt as we walked beside the lake this afternoon.

Monday 9 January 2012

Quick Spin in the Moonlight

Looking back at the prom from the stone jetty at Arnside
A full and very bright moon lured me out into the chill air of the evening, on the road bike. I rode through the lanes to Milnthorpe and onto Arnside, I hardly needed my headlight the beam lost in the glow of the silvery moon. The estuary was calm and quiet as I pedalled past the exposed sandbanks. From Arnside more lanes led me home the moon now in front of me like a beacon leading me back to Holme

Thursday 5 January 2012

River Eamont

Brougham Castle, in the foreground are the ramparts of the Roman fort Brocavvm.

Today the rain stayed away, blue skies were seen and the wind moderated! At last! Anyway just a short stroll beside the River Eamont, near Penrith, the Eamont drains Ullswater and today there was lots of water to drain, it was a raging torrent. Starting from the village of Eamont Bridge we headed downstream following the north bank as it twists and turns on its eastward course, the footpath was extremely muddy, flooded in parts. We reached tarmac at Brougham Castle Bridge, quite a relief really, not often you'll hear me say that. We walked past the closed Brougham Castle and the outline of the Roman fort of Brocavvm. Quiet minor roads took us to Brougham Hall, which is used by a number of different businesses, we had lunch here sheltered from the cold north wind. It was only a short distance back to the car crossing the River Lowther on the way.
Footwear today:- Brasher Freelite Goretex lined (discontinued several years
ago) these are very comfortable and lightweight, I've had 3 pairs of these but
these are the last, shame.

Monday 2 January 2012

Holme Fell & Black Crag

Cairn on Holme Fell

Trig on Black Crag
Todays footwear:- Goretex XCR lined trail shoes, I can't remember
the name of these, about 4 years old still waterproof but the soles
are worn out!
Quite a change in the weather today, a lot colder. It was a bitter wind that met me when I got out of the car at Oxen Fell, on the high point of the A593 between Ambleside and Coniston. My father lived here at "Larch Grove" between 1947 and 1955, so I always feel a bit of an affinity with the hills hereabouts. I walked up the steep minor road to High Oxen Fell, there was a light scattering of hail and snow above about 600 metres, and another shower of hail blew in as I reached the farm. Waterproof trousers on, I carried on the byway (from this point unsurfaced) towards Hodge Close. I decided to branch left on the bridleway behind the quarries of Parrock and Hodge Close saving a bit of distance and tarmac. The southern end of this bridleway gives a superb view of the huge hole left by the quarry workers, it then meets another bridleway, which gives access to the open fell. The muddy path climbs first past an attractive little reservoir before striking out over steeper ground which becomes heathery. The highest point is crowned by a cairn with a grand view in all directions, Coniston Water prominent to the south. Descending to the grassy col , I then followed the well worn path down into Yewdale, seeing a number of Belted Galloway Cattle on the way. The National Trust are encouraging farmers to rear these hardy breeds which seem more than happy outside the intake walls. Next on the agenda was Tom Gill, this path takes you past the waterfall of the same name and brings you out at the tourist hotspot of Tarn Hows. I took the eastern path which has a superb surface, many families were out all well wrapped up against the wind. A permissive path cuts across a field from Rose Castle plantation to Arnside Intake. This old track is deteriorating quite quickly, a left turn followed by a right took me into Iron Keld, this was a dense plantation but was all felled a couple of years ago, so Wetherlam can be seen as you climb gently on the broad track. Leaving the bridleway at the gate the undulating path manages to choose fairly firm ground and steepens for the last few metres to reach the trig point on Black Crag. It was blowing an absolute hoolie up here today compounded by a terrific hail shower. I sheltered behind the wall for my lunch. he photos must be a bit blurred I'm sure. I dropped off to the west over broken ground, pathless at first and soon reached the bridleway near Low Arnside. The footpath leaves the bridleway at this point and drops down to the road. Its only a short way back from here to the car. This is a great trip for times when the higher fells are blanketed in cloud or as today when the wind would have made things wild to say the least. Well the year's 2 days old and that's 3 hills climbed, things won't continue for long in this vein as it's work tomorrow!

Sunday 1 January 2012

Wansfell Pike

Summit Wall (and lunch shelter)
The new year starts, with a walk from Waterhead. I walked up past Stagshaw gardens and on up to pick up the Skelghyll track which climbs through the mature woodland to Jenkin Crag. The view from here is excellent, on a clear day, alas today the cloud was low so rather restricted. The bridleway rises to High Skelghyll before descending to Hol Beck, famous in it's upper reaches for the beds of Trilobites. These small fossils are in the beds of slate hereabouts. I was brought here one evening as part of the Lakes School geology club, one of a number of visits to interesting sites in the area surrounding the school. Climbing away from the beck I branched of along "Hundreds Lane", this is a permissive footpath which after a kilometre or so it meets the more popular footpath from troutbeck. Through the wall and the path rises gently at first and then steeply until the summit is reached. The wind was gusting strongly, so shelter was sought behind the was to eat my butties. The mist/low cloud was just on the top, but this hadn't deterred lots of folks from making the steep ascent from Ambleside. I jogged down the pitched path to the road above Stock Ghyll. I had walk round the waterfalls of Stock Ghyll, then back through Ambeside and eventually Waterhead and the car. I had been lucky the rain had held off whilst I was out.
Today's footwear of choice:- New Balance 606 All Terrain, worn today with Goretex socks!