Thursday 26 April 2012

Clapham to Austwick

Just an easy walk taking advantage of the surprising weather improvement which certainly wasn't forecast. Parking in Clapham on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, we walked to Austwick on field paths. Stopping en-route for lunch, although the rain stayed away, the wind meant we sheltered behind a wall. The path crosses an ancient settlement, not that obvious on the ground, but the field system was very clear to see.
A stroll through Austwick, then a short climb up past Austwick Hall and Town Head brought us into Thwaite Lane. This led us back to the car in Clapham, the wind behind us now and the sun shining, it was really rather pleasent.
Robin Proctor's Scar from Thwaite Lane

Sunday 22 April 2012

Langdale Valley Paths

Loft Crag, Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark

The significance of the photo is in the old saying:-
"Oak before the Ash, there will be a splash!"
This is good, as the Oak trees were well ahead of the Ash today.

Pike O'Blisco, Crinkle Crags and Bowfell

Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and Rossett Pike

As rare as Hens Teeth?
What was noticeable was how quiet the Lakes were today,
perhaps the cost of fuel, or maybe the goose that lays the
golden eggs has been winged just a bit?
We managed to defeat the forecast today, we were promised showers possibly heavy. What we got were crystal clear views, warm sun, a light breeze, and no rain until later when in Ambleside.
The walk today was rooted in the valley bottom, starting from and returning to Harry Place Farm. Crossing to pick-up the Cumbria Way on the South side of the valley and walking back from the ODG on the North side. An easy day, the Southern and Central fells looking superb.

Thursday 19 April 2012

Far Easedale & Sour Milk Gill

Helm Crag

Today's walk started not at all promising, the wind and rain as we left the car chilled us to the bone. From Pye Lane in Grasmere we walked along the A591 until we could leave the traffic behind to cross fields and stepping stones to reach the lane which runs under Helm Crag. The rain became heavier, full waterproofs required, turning off to pass the old YHA of Thorney How. The narrow lane brings you onto the trade route up Far Easedale, which we followed, much against the flow of pilgrims on the C-to-C. We had lunch before the bridge, then crossed it and climbed over the shoulder of Tarn Crag to arrive at the top of Sour Milk Gill. The sun was now shining and things were warming up nicely. The path was quiet amazingly, looking down to the foot of the falls a new "posh"bridge has been built. Upon closer inspection it appears that the area has been prepared for some sort of archaeological dig, I would guess that perhaps there has been an iron bloomery here. (Nothing I can find on the internet) I must have walked past here hundreds of times over the last 50 years, and never noticed anything! Our route back took us back to the car via the grounds of Allan Bank and the delights of "Cotswold Rock Bottom", always dangerous.
Sour Milk Gill

Monday 16 April 2012

Robens Mythos Duo, first view

Pitched here on only 6 pegs, has a look of a larger Phreeranger
The eagle eyed will see Ingleborough in the background.

Anyone only interested in ultralight gear best look away now. However the Mythos Duo is far from heavy, inner, outer and poleset weigh in at 1814g on my electronic scales. 12 pegs are required, those supplied are DAC V channels, not the lightest but certainly bombproof. I shall combine 8 of these with 4 old pheonix skewers, this will give a in use weight of 1900g.
I was attracted to this tent in the first place because of its very short pack length of 36cm, ideal for packing in cycle panniers. It offers loads of space for one when cycle camping, with 2 spacious bells and interior space of 120cm x 210cm. There would be good space for 2 backpacking.
It has the benefit of inner and outer together pitching or outer first. This evenings first pitch was easy even in a breeze on top of the fell, 6 pegs see it up, 6 standard guys would make it pretty secure. Its not intended to be pitched in exposed situations (I've got an Ultra Quaser for that!) but seems good and sturdy, time will tell.
The other point which put the Mythos Duo on my very short list was it's bargain price, purchased last week from Cotswold at the offer price of £179.00. The service I received from both the Keswick branch and Bournemouth, (where it actually came from) was excellent.
Good interior space, several storage pockets

Thursday 12 April 2012

Lowick Common

The "Southern Fells"

New paths for today, with the exception of about 200 metres (Cumbria Way). Lowick Common lies to the south of the A5092, broadly between the Crake Valley and Ulverston. It is rather interesting, lots of hidden nooks, small tarns and paths all over the place. The views from here towards the Southern Fells on a day like today are excellent. We were able to make a circuit of approx 6 miles in this quiet area well away from the busy central lakes. An added bonus was that we were in the sun and other than a few drops, dry! All around the sky was dark with curtains of rain hanging from the bubbling clouds.
One of the many reedy pools with Lowick Beacon beyond

Monday 9 April 2012


Bridge at the junction of the Glasson Arm
Galgate is a large village just south of Lancaster, adjacent to the M6. Its interest for us was the Lancaster Canal, and in particular the branch to Glasson Dock. This gave access to the sea for goods from the towns and city of Lancaster. Sadly we didn't see any of this to great advantage due to the incessant rain which varied from tipping it down to heavy drizzle which wets everything all the same! Lunch was taken under one of the canal bridges, which would have done any F1 team proud as a wind tunnel. Only one boat was seen to be moving, most folk probably had more sense.
Quite a lot of wild fowl was seen however, Moorhen, Coots, Goosander, several pairs of Mallards and 2 pairs of Swans, one of whom was sat on her nest.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Cycle ride to Haverthwaite

Ultra Galaxy when first built

Another step along the way towards my cycle holiday in France. Today I felt I should test the new bike with the load I'll be carrying. I have built the bike over the winter, and 300 miles later I'm really pleased with it. The four panniers, barbag and all the gear comes to a total of 13kg. I'm glad the bike's carrying it rather than me! I'm planning on 50-60 miles a day, as I make my way from near Grenoble to Rosas in Spain, via the Vercors, Ardeche, Cevannes and across the Pyrenees. So while many bloggers are heading across Scotland, I'll be cycling across France.
So today I rode from home over to Grange-over-Sands, Cartmel, Cark, Holker and eventually Haverthwaite. I had a brew up and lunch near Roudsea Wood before climbing the monster hill from Low Wood to Bigland. Back home through the drizzle by High Newton, Lindale, Levens and Storth. Just over 55 miles with a good few hills, no problem.
The Ultra Galaxy is a delight to ride, having chosen and assembled every component I feel I'm justified in naming it "Eigenbau"
Ultra Galaxy fully loaded at Roudsea

Friday 6 April 2012

High Cup Nick Backpack

I parked in Middleton-in-Teesdale, and followed the Pennine Way up to High Cup Nick. I camped on the rim of the Nick, arriving just as the sun was setting
The fountain in

Low Force

High Force from the "free side"!

Cauldron Snout

South rim of High Cup Nick
Laser-Lite at the head of High Cup Nick

This morning after a wet night I walked back over the watershed and took the metalled road past Cow Green to Langdon Beck. Henceforth field paths via Ettergill, then back across the River Tees at Low Force and followed the west bank back to the car in Middleton-in-Teesdale. The wind blew and the cloud was down hence no photo's of note for today. The late fall of snow had made for slow going, especially crossing stiles where the snow was often level with the wall tops. Although I have walked all of this route in sections, it was a long held ambition to do it as one walk, and it didn't disappoint.

Sunday 1 April 2012

Smardale and Scandal Beck

Smardale Viaduct
Last of the wonderful sunny spring days? Anyway we parked at Newbiggin-on-Lune, crossed the busy road and walked paths which I had never been on past the reedy tarn that is Hag Mire. We happened across a ewe which was having trouble giving birth, but feeling rather helpless, as soon as we approached her she tried to walk away. Having retired to a "safe" distance, she managed to get the lamb out, we hung round to make sure the lamb was ok. Onwards and we reached the disused railway, it was built to transport coal and coke from the Durham area to the ironworks in Barrow. Sadly closing in 1963, the Smardale viaduct has been preserved and is quite magnificent. Having crossed the viaduct we walked back on a permissive path to the bridleway before crossing fields and following Scandal Beck to Ravenstonedale. More Bridleways and field paths led us via Will Hill back to the car. Another beautiful day sunny day in a quiet area.