Archive for October, 2013

Bow Fell and Esk Pike

31/10/2013

The forecast for today wasn’t brilliant but just goes to show – sometimes they can be wrong. We did get 60mph winds on top of Esk Pike, but we got little rain and even some decent visibility for 60% of the walk!

We set off from Sticklebarn (91m elevation) at 1015 and headed up to Bow Fell via the Band (568m) – a stiff climb but rapidly made height work for us. As we climbed up towards Three Tarns we spotted some very colourful funghi – not sure what they were but maybe someone out there can help me identify them below?

 

Mystery fungi?

Mystery fungi?

 

As we walked up from Three Tarns to the Great Slab on Bow Fell, we spotted some fantastic examples of sedimentary rocks containing fossil remains. These must have been created long before the volcanic activity pushed the seabed up into the air so these rocks are at least 450 million years old – even older than the walk leader!!

Sedimentary rock and fossil remains

Sedimentary rock and fossil remains

Lunch overlooking the Great Slab is always a treat – even in bad visibility. The slab is another marvel of the area and well worth looking at for the rock formations alone never mind contemplation of the forces exerted to tilt this slab to this angle! After topping out on the summit (902m) we headed off to Ore Gap ( not without a slight detour back towards Three Tarns in the cloud).

Lunch stop on Bow Fell overlooking the Great Slab

Lunch stop on Bow Fell overlooking the Great Slab

The wind soon picked up and it was blowing the cloud straight over the Scafell massiff towards us – visibility was severely limited as was the ability to stand up!

Undeterred, we tracked on to Esk Pike, our second Wainwright of the day and then as we descended to Esk Hause, we were treated to some awesome views in between cloud movement down the whole length of the Borrowdale valley – fantastic views and worth the whole day trip for me!

Cloud clearing over Sprinkling Tarn

Cloud clearing over Sprinkling Tarn, Borrowdale to the right

Looking down at the Jaws of Borrowdale

Looking down at the Jaws of Borrowdale

 

Angle Tarn and the face of Hanging Knotts up to Ore Gap

Angle Tarn and the face of Hanging Knotts up to Ore Gap

We were a little late getting down Rossett Gill and finished off the walk in the dark with headtorches a little later than anticipated – such was the strength of the wind on top and the half hour detour from the summit of Bow Fell.

Still a good day on the Fells and all that remained was to hit the Sticklebarn Ceilidh, then home for a shower, food and to get ready for tomorrow’s walk from Allan Bank in Grasmere up into Easedale for the final day of the National Trust Langdale – Great Walks Programme. We leave Allan Bank (Wordsworth’s past home) at 1000 if you would like to join us for a free guided walk.

For more information call Malcolm on 07920 463172 or check the National Trust Langdale website.

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Free guided walks with the National Trust this week

30/10/2013

The guided walk programme from Great Langdale is in full swing despite some mixed weather. These free guided walks start from The Sticklebarn in Great Langdale (at the head of the valley running from Ambleside) at 1000 each day. On Monday, Langdale Ranger Laura and I led a walk up to Stickle Tarn and back via Tarn Crag, yesterday we completed a walk over the Langdale pikes (4 Wainwrights in one day) and enjoyed sun. rain, wind and even hailstones but with some lovely rainbows and views. Today we stayed dry all day as we climbed the Pike of Stickle via Redacre Gill and back via Oxendale.

Browney Gill today

Browney Gill today

The weather hasn’t all been wet either!

Pooley Bridge on the way to Langdale

Pooley Bridge on the way to Langdale

Back in Sticklebarn, pumpkin carving, chlidrens cartoons on the big screen upstairs, and Halloween activities are a plenty and a ceilidh is planned for tomorrow starting at 1800 with a band – should be fun! There’s also plenty of variety on the menu for grown ups too!

Grown ups not allowed in the shelter at Stickle Tarn!

Grown ups not allowed in the shelter at Stickle Tarn!

Tomorrow I will be leading the group up The Band on to Bow Fell, over to Esk Pike and back via Angle Tarn and the splendid Mickleden valley.

Friday sees us leave from Allan Bank in Grasmere to tackle Easedale on the other side of Langdale and visit the impressive Sourmilk Ghyll (in full magnificent flow last week) again at 1000.

Why not join us and see what the Lake District has to offer – no matter what the weather – its only rain and we won’t melt.

The falls on Sourmilk Ghyll, Easedale

The falls on Sourmilk Ghyll, Easedale

Call me on 07920 463172 or check the National Trust Langdale website for full details – you won’t be disappointed.

Stoneycove Pike and heads in the clouds with the Lake District National Park guided walk from Glenridding

26/10/2013

The MWIS website threatened a very wet and windy day in the Lake District but it didn’t deter 10 of us setting out from the Kirkstone Pass Inn to head up the fell to Stoneycove Pike – which was up there somewhere in the clouds.

Setting off from Kirkstone Pass Inn

Setting off from Kirkstone Pass Inn

The view down from Kirkstone Pass to Brotherswater and Patterdale before we climbed

The view down from Kirkstone Pass to Brotherswater and Patterdale before we climbed

Perhaps its going to clear?

Perhaps its going to clear?

It's going to clear........

It’s going to clear……..

 

Chatting about Caudale Mine and the sled gates with an ever increasing view of giant proportions opening up in the background

Chatting about Caudale Mine and the sled gates with an ever increasing view of giant proportions opening up in the background

The trail hounds were out too, but their sense of direction was heavily influenced by the aniseed and paraffin trail that had been laid down for them. All we knew was that we could hear them on the fell side somewhere beneath us – lets hope we weren’t going to cross their trail! As we climbed up to John Bells Banner, the cloud swirled around us engulfing us in a sheet of grey nothingness – only occasionally did it break with the high winds to allow us a glimpse of the tremendous view down into Patterdale and Ullswater beyond.

Looking down into Pasture Bottom

Looking down into Pasture Bottom

 

Nonetheless, we continued up the fell to Stoneycove Pike for a lunch stop amidst 35 / 40 mph winds and thick cloud – so far the views had been few and far between!

We decided to take the traverse along the top of Pasture Bottom ( I know it sounds rude – but that’s what it’s called!) despite the cross wind as the group were walking confidently and without incident – and we were rewarded half way along when the cloud curtain was swept away by the increasing wind to reveal the stunning view that is Ullswater and the north east Lake District.

The cloud starts to lift and we can see Hartsop Dodd summit

The cloud starts to lift and we can see Hartsop Dodd summit

Maybe we will get a full 'frontal'?

Maybe we will get a full ‘frontal’ view anytime soon

From here we summited Hartsop Dodd and decided to descend via the very steep nose rather than take the sled gate down to Sykeside – the wind was just too strong to walk into it so we sought refuge behind the mass of the Dodd. The decision was the right one and we all managed to descend without and ingracious slips.

Chatting about Caudale Mine and the sled gates with an ever increasing view of giant proportions opening up in the background

Chatting about Caudale Mine and the sled gates with an ever increasing view of giant proportions opening up in the background

After all the weather forecasts, we had a very windy, but dry day with cloud on top until we started to descend – 8.4 miles and a lovely walk with some very interesting clients.

IMG_0087Still – a great mountain day!

Call me if you would like a bespoke mountain day, navigation training, or even a wild camping weekend – Malcolm Wade, Mountain Leader, Lakeland Mountain Experience on 07920 463172 or email me your requirements and details at lakelandmountainexperience@btconnect.com

Not a walking post – but still enjoyable!

23/10/2013

Today was a washout – high winds and torrential rain so my planned Helvellyn lead today was put on hold. The low pressure area is moving away now so hopefully some clearer skies will appear over the next day or so.

I was walking back in from the garage this morning and although I’ve walked past these home grown vegetables for days, I hadn’t really spotted the vibrant colours – I am colour blind though so maybe that’s as good an excuse as you can get. Once spotted, I couldn’t resist taking a closer look at the textures and colours. All that remains is to enjoy them in a curry or a chilli!

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Free guided walks with the National Trust in Langdale

23/10/2013

During half term week (October 28 – November 01), the National Trust are again running free guided walks in one of the Lake District’s most beautiful valleys.
Langdale is spectacular at this time of year, with ribbons of water cascading over the volcanic rock and the bracken turning a deep red before the first frost arrives to hasten its departure.
You don’t need to me a member of the National Trust to enjoy these walks either! Led by qualified mountain leader, Malcolm Wade, you don’t need to worry about navigation or safety for you or your family.
There is plenty to see and experience as the walks cover a variety of routes and give you the full ‘Lakeland mountain experience’.
The schedule is as follows:
Monday 28 – Stickle Tarn, with superb views over Langdale and Mickleden and of course Pavey Ark and Harrison Stickle. A relatively easy walk for all the family
Tuesday 29 – enjoy the full splendour of the Langdale Pikes including Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle, Loft Crag and the Pike of Stickle. This is a full Langdale experience and whilst ticking off 4 Wainwright’s, the whole family will enjoy the challenge and the majesty of these commanding summits
Wednesday 30 – the Pike o ‘ Blisco sits at the head of Langdale and looks down all the way along to Ambleside as a sentinel and draw for all those who visit this area. We climb it from Oxendale and return via Wrynose Fell
Thursday 31 – what better on Halloween than the awesome Bow Fell and Esk Pike? Climbing from Mickleden valley up The Band to Three Tarns, we summit Bow Fell and look over at its near neighbours Scafell Pike, and Crinkle Crags. We continue over Bow Fell to Esk Pike at the North Eastern end of the Scafell massif, returning via the charismatic Angle Tarn and Mickleden looking left to see the spectacular Great Slab on Bow Fell
Friday 01 – we leave from Wordsworth’s past home at Allan Bank in Grasmere for our final walk of the week. Allan Bank is well worth a visit in its own right so it’s fitting that we start and finish from there today. The walk around Easedale is beautiful, with the fells punctured by the water of Sourmilk Ghyll. At this time of year, the Ghyll truly looks as white as milk with torrents cascading over the super hard volcanic lava left by the volcanoes 450 million years ago. We will be treated to a deserving panorama from the top of Silver Howe before we walk around the head of Easedale. We descend via Codale and Easedale Tarns and of course Sourmilk Ghyll back into Grasmere for a well earned tea and scone.

Why not join us for a fully guided walk provided by the National Trust and see what Langdale has to offer and how the National Trust care for this unique landscape.

For more details check the National Trust Langdale website or meet Malcolm at the Sticklebarn Pub at the head of Langdale (you can’t miss it) at 0930 to leave at 1000. For the Allan Bank walk meet us at Allan Bank to leave at 1000 – there is plenty of parking at Langdale next to the Sticklebarn and in Grasmere.

As well as the guided walk programme, the Pumpkinfest at Sticklebarn will be in full swing all week. Why not let the kids carve a pumpkin or watch a movie on the big screen while you enjoy a light refreshment downstairs?

Take the rain away from the Lake District and it would be just like anywhere else in the UK!

20/10/2013

The weather forecast was grim if you are easily put off by wet and windy weather and low cloud! I had already decided yesterday that I wanted to get out and take some photos in the wet to capture some of the water activity around the fells. It coincided with a need to recce an upcoming guided walk that I am leading for the National Trust from Allan Bank in Grasmere, so what more reason did I need to get my rucksack and Barney and head out to Grasmere.

The walk I wanted to recce was from Allan Bank (a past home of Wordsworth’s) in Grasmere over Silver Howe to Blea Rigg and Easedale returning via two of the most beautiful tarns that we have (in my opinion of course) Codale and Easedale Tarns dropping back down Sourmilk Ghyll into Grasmere.

As I reached Silver Howe, the cloud was swirling all around the summits just teasing me with glimpses of Grasmere, Rydal, and Windermere in the distance. Barney was already looking at me as if to say “this is not one of your best ideas”. Anyway, what else could I do? – too wet for golf, too wet to tidy the garden and orchard for winter, haven’t got my new bike yet so can’t go for a ride, too early to have a Jennings Cocker Hoop Ale – well that’s stretching it a little……..

As we neared the summit of Sergeant Man, I spotted the ribbons of water flailing down the fells and decided to head down into the Ghyll for a closer look and find a spot to eat lunch.

Sourmilk Ghyll

Sourmilk Ghyll

The ghyll was a lovely sight – teaming with fresh clean lakeland water and I thought that although I hadn’t brought my tripod for a long exposure shot, I could balance on the ghyll edge and use my rucksack for a camera support – well that was the theory anyway. So carefully setting up with a 6 second exposure I managed to get this shot in the bag at first attempt. I love the water blur as it cascades over the lichen covered rock – it portrays the power of the water against the static rock backdrop.

The falls on Sourmilk Ghyll, Easedale

The falls on Sourmilk Ghyll, Easedale

From a slightly different perspective I wanted to frame the shot with a little more of the autumnal ground cover whilst not losing the sense of the water speed.

Autumn Bracken

Autumn Bracken

Then I spotted some bracken that was turning red very nicely.  Unfortunately it’s not the greatest shot that I’ve taken, but it at least shows the bracken fronds just dancing in the moving air around the water edge.

The corner at Sourmilk Ghyll

The corner at Sourmilk Ghyll

The ghyll turns a corner a litter further downstream and with the crescendo of water bouncing off the volcanic rock, it was making a very soothing sound – so lunch spot it was! At the same time looking over the fell, I had a stunning view over into Codale Tarn with Easedale Tarn just peeping out of the cloud a little further one. Codale Tarn is one of my favourite quiet areas of the Lake District – idyllic for a picnic lunch or afternoon siesta – or a lunch in the rain!

Codale Tarn to the left, Easedale to the right - and Sourmilk Ghyll running down the fell - a perfect lunch spot!

Codale Tarn to the left, Easedale to the right – and Sourmilk Ghyll running down the fell – a perfect lunch spot!

I managed to crack off 75 photos during the walk, so I will need to edit the library strictly. The guided walk should be a good one with some awesome views into Langdale as well as over to the Helvellyn range and the Langdale Pikes. It took just over 4 hours, so not a great deal of energy expended – more time taking photos than walking!

As I reached the head of Easedale Tarn, I couldn’t resist taking another photo of the ghyll as it tumbled over the solidified volcanic lava from 450 million years ago. The successive ice ages didn’t wear it out so Sourmilk Ghyll will have no chance – I wonder what it will look like in another 450 million years time?

IMG_3291One thing is for sure, water makes the Lake District a special place and being out on a day like today should be celebrated and enjoyed to its fullest extent. So next time you see the forecast and feel like a grizzle, just smile, don your wet weather gear and search out these special places and enjoy what nature has to offer.

If you want to join the National Trust on a free guided walk in Langdale or from Allan Bank in Grasmere, check out the programme at the National Trust website or contact Stickle Barn for more details and timings. Failing that, you can always call me, Malcolm Wade, Mountain Leader, at Lakeland Mountain Experience on 07920 463172, email me at lakelandmountainexperience@btconnect.com, or visit the LME website

Autumn has arrived in the Ullswater Valley

19/10/2013
Fungi at the base of this magnificent oak tree

Fungi at the base of this magnificent oak tree

I had some spare time today on my way back from Windermere and had my camera in the car so what better than stop in the Ullswater valley to capture some autumnal colours. The day was one mixed with heavy showers and sunshine so I was expecting some good colour – and I wasn’t disappointed.  I love the texture of fungi and mushrooms against the rich simple hues of the leaves.

Late afternoon light over Glenridding

Late afternoon light over Glenridding

The sky was starting to get heavy with rain cloud and the low cloud just started to shroud Patterdale as it advanced through the Ullswater valley – wind just starting to ripple the water ahead of the shower.

I wonder where they are now and whether they are all still together?

I wonder where they are now and whether they are all still together?

A huge beech allowed me to shelter from the rain and I noticed the carved names on the massive trunk. I couldn’t help wondering how old the carvings were, whether the ‘carvers’ were still together or even where they might be – who knows?

Fungi and leaves

Fungi and leaves

As I mooched around the base of the trees by the water, I found these superb fungi amongst the leaves, contrasting the smooth an insipid colur of the fungi against the rich oak and beech leaves.

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These sycamore leaves were my favourites – just turning to yellow and spots of decay appearing on the wet leaves – such a short but beautiful life, full of spring promise, full summer vibrance and now the splendour of autumnal decay!

The oak leaves are just turning a wonderful shade now

Oak leaves turning autumnal

Oak leaves are fabulous for colour and texture not to mention shape.

Rain clouds gather over Patterdale

Rain clouds gather over Patterdale

A stop well worth making on the way home – tomorrow I am going over to Easedale and Grasmere – different landscape but we’ll see what I can find over there between the rain clouds!
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Finally, as I was leaving – I couldn’t help but see this Rowan tree in full berry – no doubt as soon as the frost arrives, the birds will have this stripped bare.

I hope you love autumn in the Lake District as much as I do – with half term approaching and the Red Deer rut in full swing – why not come and enjoy the area with us? I will be leading a full week of guided walks for the National Trust in Langdale and from Grasmere – check their website and come and see what the Lake District has to offer you – you won’t be disappointed – I promise!

You can always contact me for details on 07920 463172 or email me at lakelandmountainexperience@btconnect.com 

A great turnout for the Borrowdale Friends of the Lake District day

17/10/2013

We were treated to some superb October sunshine as we set off up towards Greenup Edge from Rosthwaite on the Fix the fells drain run. The object of the day was to clear the footpath drains of debris, sweep the stone pitching and check for any reportable damage prior to the winter weather. We were joined by students from the Lakes College in Workington to experience Fix the Fells volunteer work as part of their education programme.

The students worked extremely hard and in return we gave them snacks, and even a coffee and lunch break prior to making our way back down the valley.

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You can see how good the weather was in this view looking back down into Borrowdale from the corrie below Lining Crag.

Thank you to all the students from Lakes College and of course to FoLD for organising such a busy and pro-active Borrowdale Care Day.

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