Posts Tagged ‘Lake District National Park’

Hadrian’s Wall – day 2

06/08/2018

From our hotel in Gilsland we drove back to Steel Rigg car park ready to continue our Badger Adventure .

Joan and Tom ready for day 2.

The weather was forecast to be cooler and our first hour was to climb Peel Crags and Milecastle 39 (Castle Nick) before gaining a view of Crag Lough Sycamore Gap. The Sycamore was made famous as a star in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner.

Joan and Tom aka Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman – and the sycamore tree as himself!

Walking up to the crag we passed the Crag Lough with some stunning views through the crags to the water. No need for a huge wall here with the crag being such a good defense against the marauding barbarians from over the border into Scotland.

View from Steel Rigg to Crag Lough.

A few more ’undulations’ and we traverse Hotbank Crags, Cuddy’s Crags and then Housesteads Crag. Coming along the wall you are greeted by the archeological site of Housesteads Fort. The Fort is one of the most important Roman sites anywhere in Europe with well preserved ruins of the granary, communal latrines, commanders quarters and much more.

Housesteads Fort / home to up to 1000 Roman infantrymen and cavalry.

The next portion of todays 19km walk took us past Busy Gap and the impressive restoration work of John Clayton in the 17th century.

Sewingshields Crag just before Turret 35a and a saxon burial chamber / crypt.

Leaving the crags behind we picked up the ditch on the north side of the wall and the vallum on the south. More sightings of Hen Harriers and a Goshawk kept our journey alive with wildlife.

Soon we arrived at Brocolitia Fort and the Temple of Mithras and the sun God. After a quick prayer we hastened our way onwards to Limestone Corner, the most northernmost point of the Roman Empire.

Temple of Mithras with altar at the far end and two Sun God worshippers!

The last part of our Badger Adventure took us along a relatively flat part of country to Chesters Fort and Roman Baths. Ritchie (Chief Badger) was waiting for us in the bus ready to adjourn to the Crown Inn in Humshaugh for libation of local ale and northern sustenance!

So another great day with Joan and Tom and ready to return to Chesters first thing tomorrow to explore the Fort and Baths before our 15km walk to East Wallhouses.

Why not tailor your Badger Adventure by following the link to the website and see what you can do!

Badger Adventures

See you tomorrow!

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Lake District Ski Club Operating Today

20/02/2015

I was on a Fix the Fells volunteering day today around the Ullswater Valley. We decided to undertake a drain run (clearing path drains and sweeping pitched paths) up Sticks Pass on to Helvellyn Lower Man and back via Keppel Cove with half of the group, and the other half branching off to Glencoyne and back via Seldom Seen to Glenridding.

The view of Catstycam as we made our way up to Greenside Mine at Glenridding indicated some light snowfall overnight but nothing major. This week since I got back from the Cairngorms on Monday evening has seen some very spring like weather which has melted lots of the snow.

Catstycam with a sprinkling of light overnight snow seen from Greenside Mine, Glenridding.

Catstycam with a sprinkling of light overnight snow seen from Greenside Mine, Glenridding.

The walk up from Sticks Pass takes you past the lake District Ski Club based on Raise. It’s sense good recent skiing but I didn’t expect to see it open today. Quell Surprise! Not only was it open and running, there was still some half decent skiing to be had. With the weather forecast indicating colder weather and more snow this weekend, maybe winter sports will persist a little longer in the Lake District.

The Lake District Ski Club on Raise (883m), part of the Helvellyn Range

The Lake District Ski Club on Raise (883m), part of the Helvellyn Range

As we reached the top of Sticks Pass, it started to snow quite well and we needed to head south up to Whiteside Bank which was a solid block of ice when we tried to climb it. A brief stop at the cairn to admire the rapidly disappearing view and it was onwards to find a suitable sheltered area for lunch near Keppel Cove.

Cairn on the way from Raise to Keppel Cove (883m) and quite chilly!

Cairn on the way from Raise to Keppel Cove (883m) and quite chilly!

It was quite difficult to gain any help from the surroundings on the plateau and with driving snow, it was a case of heading due south towards Keppel Cove to locate our path. Having found it, we descended to a sheltered depression for much need lunch for some of us (not Phil!) and a chance to admire the view of Catstycam’s North Face, Brown Cove and Swirral Edge.

Heading for lunch as we walk towards Brown Cove - Catstycam in the distance

Heading for lunch as we walk towards Brown Cove – Catstycam in the distance with Swirral Edge to the right

The walk down to Glenridding is always a gentle amble taking in the view opening up in front of you (Ullswater, Glenridding Dodd, Place Fell, High Street etc) and not a walk to rush!

The view from our lunch spot - perfect!

The view from our lunch spot – perfect!

Once back in Glenridding, our customary finale is tea or something a little stronger (Cumberland Ale) for men Ratchers Bar in the Glenridding Hotel.

Another productive day for the Fix the Fells Volunteers (3 routes completed and a great day of company with a turnout of 13 volunteers).

If you want to learn more about the Fix the Fells work or would like to become a volunteer to look after these wonderful fells check out the website at www.fixthefells.com

You will be assured of a warm welcome from like minded people and guaranteed to have a lot of fun as well as doing something very important in maintaining the Lake District Fells.

First snow arrives in Mardale overnight

08/12/2014

The first real winter snow arrived in the Lake District overnight. I woke to snow covered Pennines on one side of the house and snow topped Blencathra on the other. Fortunately I had to go with a fellow volunteer and patrol the Gatescarth Pass in Mardale after it was open at the weekend for 4*4’s and off road motorcycles as part of the regular planned opening of this ancient pass. There is no better time of the year to undertake this duty (in my mind) with the wind blowing from the north over Kidsty Pike and High Street from the Pennines and a covering of snow adding relief to the contoured slopes.

Looking back from the top of Gatescarth Pass to Kidsty Pike and High Street

Looking back from the top of Gatescarth Pass to Kidsty Pike and High Street

The volunteer work on behalf of the Lake District National Park work entails walking the pass and observing any damage caused by the traffic over the weekend, changing the lock combination on the gate at either end of the pass and taking photos of the path at various points so that we can monitor damage from traffic and weather erosion.

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It’s not an overly taxing job (that has to be done by someone) but it is incredibly rewarding and a great chance to see the area on a quiet day with a friend and an opportunity for a good natter about cycling, politics, technology, walking, holidays, plans for the winter …………….and everything else.

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The view towards Blea Water and Mardale Ill Bell with Kidsty in the centre. The island of Wood Howe is particularly exposed as is part of the village to the left – just shows how little water there is in Haweswater at present.

Let’s hope there is more snow to come and lots of great winter walking to be had 🙂 In the meantime, get out and about and enjoy the Lake District and the Eden Valley during winter – it’s not all wet, grey and miserable – quite the contrary!

What to do on a wet November day?

15/11/2014

A wet day ahead according to Carol at the BBC weather centre with strong blustery winds on the tops – so what should one do on such a day? Stay at home and read, can’t play golf (too wet), tidy the garage again (boring), do some paperwork (really?), or do you go out into the hills and undertake some voluntary work with Fix the Fells?

So be it – a 0930 meet at Glenridding with other like minded souls and head off into Patterdale and up to Boredale, Angle Tarn and Place Fell. The work of a Fix the Fells volunteer consists of keeping footpath drains clear of debris, sweeping pitched paths, clearing culverts, oh yes and most important of all, having a very sociable day with lots of tea, sandwiches and banter.

Looking down from Place Fell over Brotherswater - looks like clear skies over the west coast??

Looking down from Place Fell over Brotherswater – looks like clear skies over the west coast??

As you can see the weather was just right to spend a day in the mountains – grey, wet, windy but actually very mild (a veritable bonus). Still a wet and dirty day on the Fells beats a day in the office anytime!

Heading up towards Angle Tarn to check the drains

Heading up towards Angle Tarn to check the drains

Having cleared our way to Chapel in the Hause, we split into three groups to tackle different tasks and make use of the large turnout (must have been the lure of a good forecast by Carol :))

Fix the Fells Volunteers are never happier than when they find a blocked drain, gully or culvert :)

Fix the Fells Volunteers are never happier than when they find a blocked drain, gully or culvert 🙂

The footpath drains get blocked with the thousands of walkers feet trampling the paths and nature’s never ending attempt to do what it does so well. Drains need regular emptying to stop further footpath erosion which in turn encourages walkers to divert around the area thus creating the virtuous circle of erosion and damage.

The beautiful view from Boredale Hause down through Boredale to Hallin Fell and the Eden Valley in the distance - there is no better place to live!

The beautiful view from Boredale Hause down through Boredale to Hallin Fell and the Eden Valley in the distance – there is no better place to live!

Even on a dirty day – the air is fresh, clean and the views are still achingly beautiful to witness. Taking the time to stop and admire them is an essential part of any Lake District National Park Volunteers’ job description. After all, without this perk, we wouldn’t be that keen on doing it!

I wonder which way the rest of the Fix the Fells (FTF) group went ..........

I wonder which way the rest of the Fix the Fells (FTF) group went ……….

After a full day of restoring this part of the Ullswater Valley back to full protection – it was time to head back to the cafe in Glenridding for an afternoon tea and cakes and even more banter, jokes and story swapping. What a life 🙂

If you would like more information on the work we do or want to help look after this landscape for the benefit of future generations go and have a look at the website www.fixthe fells.co.uk

Mardale Head

28/01/2014

Today I went to undertake some voluntary work for the Lake District National Park on Gatescarth Pass at Mardale Head. The weather wasn’t brilliant but any day on the Fells in bad weather is better than a day in the office on any day.

Looking down from Gatescarth Pass to Mardale Head

Looking down from Gatescarth Pass to Mardale Head

Very wintry even on the lower slopes – and plenty of snow above 350m

Looking back into Mardale over Haweswater - one of my favourite views!

Looking back into Mardale over Haweswater – one of my favourite views!

Lowther Castle from the park on my way home after a good morning in Mardale

Lowther Castle from the park on my way home after a good morning in Mardale

 

 

 

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

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 

Easter walks in the lake District are so special

27/03/2013

I thought I would take a short (ish) walk up Blencathra today just to wear my new winter boots in before an epic trip to the Cairngorms next week. With so much snow up there, I’m in two minds whether to take walking or skiing equipment! Anyway best try and loosen my boots up for some Scottish winter days so off I trotted to Threlkeld en route to Blencathra.

The weather was cold -4 at the car and a forecast 35mph wind on the tops with some snow flurries and plenty of spindrift so it promised to be a good visibility day with some sun in between the flurries. I was amazed that I could get parked easily in Threlkeld so I was off to a great start. The Blencathra Hounds were in fine voice as I bade them good morning – such lovely dogs and so well kept – although itching to be out and running!

My plan was to walk along the intake wall and head off uphill via Doddick Fell or a bit further round to Moulscomb then hed uphill all the way past Scales Tarn and on to the top. I must have been enjoying the solitude, sunshine or my own company far too much because I walked straight past the route up Doddick so Moulscomb it was to be – it can happy to the best  if you are content with your day!

The snow was down at about 400m but there had been some significant lifting of the snow from windward slopes and dumped on to the lee slopes and into gullies because it was deep in there. As I came over the initial slope, I got my first real indication as to how much snow had been blown around. Looking over to the edge, there must have been at least a 2m cornice – although no way was I going any closer – the windslab didn’t look that stable.

I know that there is an edge somewhere near here......must have been at least a 2m cornice in places

I know that there is an edge somewhere near here……must have been at least a 2m cornice in places

A little further up, the ‘Mighty Blen’ came into view with some lovely clowd cover setting off the snow cover just to highlight this incredible mountain vista – must be one of the best mountains in the Lake District in my view.

The top of Blencathra soon came into view

The top of Blencathra soon came into view

There was even a lone skier coming off the top as I looked up – magic indeed!

The view across the valley towards Keswick and the mountains beyond

The view across the valley towards Penrith and the Pennines in the far distance – what a beautiful view back towards my house!

I love the views from Blencathra – maybe it’s because they are so different and complementary – maybe it’s because it shows the variety in landscape – or maybe I’m just biased in favour of Blencathra – who cares?

 

Looking towards St Johns in the Vale

Looking towards St Johns in the Vale and Clough Head

I have developed two nice hot spots on my heels with my new boots and can’t be bothered to take them off and apply zinc oxide / duct tape so I’ll settle for a shorter walk having got to the top and head home for a warm bath but not before I practice some ice axe arrests and self belays on the way down – a good day!

If you haven’t decided where to head to this weekend – this could take some beating – remember there is no such thing as bad weather – just wrong clothing! Head to the Lake District for some fresh unpolluted air, great views and delightful places to stay.

Have a great Easter whatever you do from us all at Lakeland Mountain Experience – if you would like a guided walk this weekend, call me on 01768 361949 or come along to the free National Trust guided walk at Sticklebarn in Langdale on Monday (just turn up at 1000) or why not try some basic navigation training with the Lake District National Park Rangers at Glenridding Tourist Information Centre on Saturday (booking essential) at 1000.

See you this weekend I hope,

Malcolm

Bonfire night on the fells!

06/11/2012

I spent today with 4 LDNPA volunteer colleagues (Tricia and Simon Brown, Graham Wood and Sarah Cook) up around Red Tarn under Helvellyn polishing up some work on a Guided Walk Leader’s Assessment day due to be held later this month. It gave us the ideal opportunity to spend some quality time on the snow in bright sunshine too. The snow really adds to the perspective, giving the mountains real definition. Looking from the Hole in the Wall back over the Eden Valley, a deep inversion lay in the valley all day with the snow clad North Pennines rising out of the fog. Stopping at the Hole in the Wall for lunch we were greeted with the sight of a semi naked walker (no doubt a hard Geordie!) basking in the sun!

With the prospect of a good day walking ahead, this was the view from Pooley Bridge over to the Helvellyn range. The excitement of a great day ahead was building!

It doesn’t take much to make me enjoy the Lake District area, but views such as this just make the hairs on the the top of my head stand up (if I had any :-))

Catstye Cam, Striding Edge and Helvellyn glint in the midday sunshine with a perfect blue sky

As we settled in to a sun drenched lunch we were greeted by a sun worshipper too…………..

Sun worshipper at the Hole in the Wall – possibly a Geordie ……….

Even at midday in winter, the sun casts long shadows. The snow really highlights the magnificent wall though. They don’t build ’em like that these days!

Simon, Tricia, Sarah and Graham at Red Tarn beneath Striding Edge

As the day and the sun started to lower, a cunning plan developed. Why don’t we extend the enjoyment by taking a night walk in the clear sky and deep snow from Glenridding back up over St Sunday Crag? After some initial and cautious “it would be a nice walk, but……” moments, Sarah and I decided it was too good an opportunity to miss. Dry weather, lots of snow and ice to contend with on the climb out of the valley up to Birks (622m) and then to summit St Sunday Crag (841m) after a 6 hour day around Red Tarn – it wouldn’t be too hard to add another 5 hours on to the day would it? The track up Thornhow End being north facing would be very icy, as would Birks and the ascent up St Sunday but we could always take an escape route down Bannerside and Deepdale if it was too difficult couldn’t we?

So it was set, Sarah and I said goodbye to the others and we left the car park at 1600 and set out in the setting sun anxious to get as far as we could before needing to use head torches and crampons. The path up Thornhow End was covered in verglas but at least we were ascending, passing some very wary walkers heading down to the warmth and comfort of a deserved beer! We did get some odd looks as we headed into the sunset but pretty soon there were no more walkers, no noise other than crunchy snow under our feet and the sound of laboured breath as we headed up.

The end of a beautiful day and the beginning of a challenging night walk

We reached the top of Birks and Blind Cove when we had to employ headtorches – the last light had faded with the sun setting behind St Sunday over Grisedale Tarn. The walking was beginning to become more challenging with deep snow and the steep ascent ahead towards the head of Pinnacle Ridge. We still had to summit St Sunday and then face the challenge of a potentially steep and slippery descent on to Deepdale Hause to find the south west route to Grisedale Tarn  – still we had bale out options of (a) returning down the icy Thornhow End, (b) heading east via Bannerside, (c) descend Sleet Cove on our rucksacs as sledges, or (d) camping out overnight!

The ascent up St Sunday, whilst steep and in deep snow was remarkably quick. Surprisingly, despite Sarah’s usually frequent food and drink stops….we made the summit by 1800 and sat under a cloudless sky to eat our cheese and tomato sandwiches, bananas, and chocolate! A quick phone home (very strong Vodafone signal on St Sunday Crag) to confirm whereabouts and eta , we started our descent to the Hause.

Sunset from Birks looking over St Sunday Crag

It was amazing how steep the drop off to the north of St Sunday Crag looked with the snow and absolute blackness of the Grisedale Valley beneath us. It felt much steeper than normal daylight conditions and much narrower as we inched our way down to the Hause.

Once we started to level out it was straight forward to spot our drop off point and the deep snow awaiting us. So far we had not needed crampons due to the depth and softness of the snow but I felt that the initial drop of 100m might require them. In the end we comfortably tackled the initial drop into the gully and started the relatively straight forward traverse towards Grisedale Tarn before heading towards the Brothers Parting Stone and the Coast to Coast Path leading back to Patterdale.

We started losing the snow covering, but replaced by a very dangerous verglas ice all the way back. Although quite warm due to walking, it was very clearly starting to freeze hard.

“I think Ullswater is down there somewhere” – at the top of Birks the snow had been melted a little by the daytime sun, but the way forward was going to be a little different with lots of snow. 

We arrived back into Glenridding car park at 2030 (4.5 hours to complete the night walk) although after a 10.5 hour walking day, I must confess I was looking forward to a hot bath, beer and food. All in all, a quality mountain day……and night!

Guided walk from Latrigg car park – 4 Wainwrights Lonscale Fell, Bakestall, Skiddaw and Little Man for only £10 per person?

02/10/2012

The weather is improving for a lake district guided walk with Lakeland Mountain Experience. Grab your boots and meet me at Latrigg car park for a 1000 start in the morning. Unexpected availability means that I can offer a short notice guided walk for a stunning price of £10 per person. The walk takes us over Lonscale Fell and on to Bakestall before climbing back up to Skiddaw and Little Man before descending Jenkins Hill back to our start point.

Call me on 07920 463172 or email lakelandmountainexperience@btconnect.com to confirm your place.

Hope to see you there……….


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