Archive for September, 2013

The Sherpa Expeditions Coast to Coast Walk September 2013


After 14 days of walking in mixed September weather I left Robin Hoods Bay in blistering sunshine yesterday having said goodbye to new friends from Australia, Canada, America, Jersey and England.

We started from St Bees in gale force winds, and endured heavy rain, thick mist and very cold winds through the Lake District before high pressure arrived to give us some fine settled weather for the walk through the Yorkshire dales, and the Vale of Mowbray before arriving into the North Yorkshire Moors. The weather on the Sunday had been awful with very heavy rain and high winds, so it was with some trepidation we all set off down to the beach to find suitable stones to carry from the Irish Sea at St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay on the North Sea coast – that should confuse the archaeologists in a few centuries time!


The ‘Coasters’ at St Bees seafront

We managed to walk through the strong gale force winds on the first day of 14 miles but it set the scene on what was to come as we reached Ennerdale Water in the Lake District.

IMGP1231The weather turned particularly wet, cold and with very low cloud, the days through Ennerdale, Borrowdale, Grasmere and Patterdale were tough. The group slipped and slithered their way over Loft Beck into Borrowdale and then climbed up and down Greenup Edge to Grasmere. The weather marginally improved by the end of the Grasmere leg and we were dry by the time weIMGP1228arrived at our lodgings. The next day we climbed over into Grisedale in a biting cold wind, mist and rain which brought the temperature with wind chill down to -5 degrees C – it was no wonder the Australians within the group were cold!

However we soldiered on through minor injury and major blisters to Shap where we left the iconic Lakes behind for the Yorkshire Dales.IMGP1245

The Dales met us with good clear weather and the wet weather gear was well and truly stowed away. Early arrival in Richmond gave everyone a chance to see the town, visit the castle and tend to the ‘wounded’, which now included a number of severe blisters, chest infection, cut forehead, black eye and colds – nothing serious but enough to cause some to miss days to recover. The average success rate for Coasters of 75% was beginning to rear its head!

As we walked through the Dales, we enjoyed great sunshine and warm conditions and arriving in Reeth for a suitable libation or two was very welcome.

Osmotherly Green

Osmotherly Green

Walking on into the heart of the dales was beautiful, with scenic dales and pretty villages everywhere we went.

A real live steam festival celebrating 40 years of the North Yorks Railway greeted us on arrival into Grosmont

A real live steam festival celebrating 40 years of the North Yorks Railway greeted us on arrival into Grosmont

The town was packed with steam enthusiasts enjoying the September sun and reliving their boyhood dreams of being an engine driver no doubt. For me it rekindled many happy memories and was an added bonus to what was turning out to be a great walk.

Just because I'm from the North East!

Just because I’m from the North East – The Cock of The North!

The Sir Nigel Gresley - my first model train when I was two years old - aaaah!

The Sir Nigel Gresley – my first model train when I was two years old – aaaah!

On arrival in RHB, the North Sea looked spectacular and it framed the cliffs perfectly as we contemplated the delights to come, getting the walking boots off, fresh fish and chips, and beer of course! Although not before Robin carried out some running repairs to aching legs.

Ribin applies some Vegemite or deep heat?

Ribin applies some Vegemite or deep heat?

Looking back along the coastline towards Whitby

Looking back along the coastline towards Whitby
Liz enjoys the tropical North Sea and 'fills her boots' in Bay Town - Jersey was never as good as this........

Liz enjoys the tropical North Sea and ‘fills her boots’ in Bay Town – Jersey is never as good as this……..

The first sign of the end....

The first sign of the end….

The end was in reach, although the distance by road is shorter than our headland finale.

Tired but happy Coasters

Tired but happy Coasters

All in all, a wonderful two weeks of walk leading for Sherpa Expeditions with some lovely people. I can’t wait for the next one! A big thank you to you all and I hope that you all enjoy your memories of these two weeks in England on the C2C.

If you would like more information on the Coast to Coast Guided Walking Holidays, please visit the Sherpa Expeditions website or contact me at Lakeland Mountain Experience


Coast to Coast walk looms large


Next weekend sees me leading 13 Australian visitors across Northern England from coast to coast. The challenge created by Alfred Wainwright in 1972 starts in St Bees on the Cumbrian coast and crosses the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors before arriving in Robin Hoods Bay on the Yorkshire coast. These national parks encompass the most dramatic upland scenery in England.

Undertaken in one go, the C2C is a long, tough walk. In the 200 or so miles we’ll ascend and of course descend the equivalent height of Mount Everest! The walk covers an average of 14 miles or 23km, day after day, for two weeks, in fair weather or foul and whilst nursing an array of aches and pains.

If you fancy undertaking this challenge, there are a number of organisations that offer guided and self guided tours. One of the best is Sherpa Expeditions and they can be contacted via their informative website at or by telephone on 020 8577 2717.

At least for 15 days with Australians, I can wax lyrical daily about The Ashes victory – not often an Englishman can do that!

Two superb days of walking in the Lake District


Over the last two days, we have had some great walking weather and tremendous days. Long walks of 7+ hours and at least 16km with 1200+m of ascent both days to help my client improve her stamina and fitness prior to heading off to the Himalayas in 6 weeks time.

We walked the Coledale Horseshoe on Wednesday in searing temperatures (25-30 degrees) and bright sun all day – not bad for September in Northern England and were treated some fantastic panoramas from the ridges – visibility extended to as far as the eye could see – Scotland, Morecambe Bay, North Pennines, Yorkshire Dales, and all points in between.


Looking from Grisedale Pike towards Sail and Causey Pike

The Coledale Horseshoe is always worth the climb no matter what the weather and today was no exception. The ridge over Sail looked spectacular when framed with the gateway to the North Pennines in the background. Wouldn’t this have looked special when the glacier carved its way towards the Pennines before turning to the Irish Sea?


Ridge over Sail with Catbells in the near background and the North Pennine gateway in the centre background

Today we headed back into Great Langdale to walk the Crinkle Crags and Pike o’ Blisco – a good 7.5 hour walk and some great scrambling sections up Blisco and the Crinkles. The cloud moved in and out with some very atmospheric moments.


Looking down into Langdale with the Langdale Pikes half covered in cloud shadow

One minute we could gaze at Morecambe Bay and the next we could hardly see 100m ahead. It all added to the mystique of the Lake District and the need to be able to navigate in all weathers and all visibility. As we walked up to Crinkle Crags, it was good to see that the Fix The Fells / National Trust teams had been out clearing the drains all the way from Red Tarn up to and over the Crinkle’s – thanks guys, without your work, the Fells would be a much worse place.


The cloud obscure the Crinkles temporarily as Yvonne surveys the view west to the Irish Sea

We stopped at 2pm on the first crinkle for lunch and as I read Wainwright’s account of the Crinkle’s, I spotted his drawing of the second and highest crinkle (2,816 feet), Mickle Door and the third crinkle (2,740 feet) seen across Great Cove. The photo below is almost exactly as Alfred drew it! He must have sat where we were for lunch to draw his picture!


As Alfred Wainwright drew it on page 12 of Crinkle Crags in book 4 – The Southern Fells

We had a lovely day with plenty of views to entertain us for the entire day. A steady walk back down The Band and homeward bound for a hot shower, Beef Stroganoff followed by Jelly and Cream – what more could a man want after a great fell day?


Scafell, Scafell Pike and Bow Fell loom large out of the cloud

Well it’s Yvonne’s last day tomorrow , so we will head nearer home and take on the might that is Helvellyn no matter what the weather may throw at us. It certainly won’t be able to dampen our enthusiasm for walking in the Lake District.

If you haven’t experienced it yet, contact us at Lakeland Mountain Experience on 01768 361949 for a bespoke mountain day

Langdale Pikes in September Sun


The view from the North Rake of Pavey Ark as we climbed to the summit

Continuing my week with a private client, the weather today was lovely – great cloud cover gave a wonderful lush colour to the landscape and a Mediterrranean colour to Stickle Tarn. Our walk today was from Sticklebarn (National Trust pub and car park – great food and hospitality by the way!) up Stickle Ghyll to the tarn and then up to Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle, Pike o’ Stickle and back via Martcrag Moor and Stake Pass to Mickleden. This is one of my favourite walks and always good in any weather – especially the September sun!


This wall always amazes me. Firstly it’s on the summit of Pavey Ark and secondly it frames some fantastic volcanic rock in the background, reminding us that this was the site of one of the Lake District’s volcano’s (450 million years ago)

The top of Pavey Ark is a great place – 360 degree panorama gave us the Pennines, Morecambe Bay, Solway Firth, Scafell Pike, Helvellyn, Skiddaw, The Old Man of Coniston and more! There is a great feeling of being perched up here looking down into Langdale and our start point. Even better is the foretaste of Harrison Stickle and Pike o’ Stickle yet to come.


The perched boulder atop Jack’s Rake. How long has it been there – more importantly, how long will it stay there?


Looking over to Loughrigg and Blea Tarn from Pavey Ark


Pike o’ Stickle from Harrison Stickle summit. The summit of Great Gable just shrouded by cloud in the distance. The Pike is always worth the climb to take in the view – only a modest scramble.

As you can see, the weather is tremendous – just right for walking with a little cloud cover and gentle breeze. Where better to spend your early September break than the Lake District?

My client is training for a Himalayan trek in 6 weeks time and she is relishing the long days and good visibility. Just right to build stamina and endurance ready for her trip to Kanchenchunga. Will the weather be better than the Lake District though? – maybe not!

If you need any stamina training or just want a guided walk or navigation training, give us a call at 07920 463172 or email us at


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