Sunday 30 April 2017


Bank Holiday weekend, so time to head for somewhere quiet! P. and I anti-social? surely not!! Off we went to Newbiggin-on Lune to have a stroll along the old railway track.....

Looking down to Smardale Bridge from the old rail track

Lots of Primroses still about

A pair of massive Limekilns right next to the old railway

The magnificent Smardale Viaduct built under the supervision of Sir Thomas Bouch

The view back to the viaduct along Scandale Beck

Colourful Lichen on the wall.

Approaching Smardale Bridge, we then followed the track as it sweeps over the hill in the background back to the car.
Just half a days walk, but very peaceful. Just the ticket.

Saturday 29 April 2017

The Work/Life Balance

 Today there has been cause for celebration....My Work/Life Balance is about to tip a little more in my favour. I have just completed my last 5 day week!
 After 42 years and the approach of my 60th birthday, I have taken the decision to reduce my working week to 4 days.
 Due to the industry I've been employed in I have rarely had 2 days off together, other than Bank Holidays and annual leave. This with other personal events has had a "wearing down" effect over the last couple of years......So time for a change!
 I will now have a "weekend" midweek....every week! Plus Sundays of course. I hope to benefit from this more pronounced "rest" (although my legs and lungs may not agree) every week.
 The opportunity for more trips to unclimbed hills and unvisited places beckons :-)

Thursday 27 April 2017

South of Wet Sleddale

This morning saw me picking up Bill in Kendal before driving over Shap fell on the A6 to Wet Sleddale. We parked beside the dam, our targets for the day the low hills round Wasdale Pike. Like last weeks walk I've walked these fells once before, but in poor weather and almost nil visability! Bill had never been on them, and with a good day forecast off we went.....

Up beside Poorhag Gill where we picked up the path shown on the map, here bill is looking for Felspars in the Shap Granite.

A bit further up is the Lunch House, to early for us though and it was all locked up.

Next on the agenda was the significant boulder of "Grey Bull"

It wasn't far from Grey Bull to the top of Sleddale Pike, with an excellent view back to the reservoir.

It was a bit wet as we headed for the main ridge.

Here on Wasdale Pike we had lunch with the Howgill Fells to the South East

There was a thread of a path as we walked over to Great Saddle Crag

Bill on one of the many "Tops" hereabouts

It was a fair trek across rough trackless ground to reach Ullthwaite Rigg.
The reservoir and the car seemed along way off from here

At last we reached the bridleway and the going underfoot improved 

We had a quick look at Sleddale Hall, made famous in the film "Withnail and I"

From the Hall it was down to the valley floor and back to the car.
These twisted Silver Birches caught my eye in the evening light.

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.