Posts Tagged ‘lakeland guided walks’

Hadrian’s Wall – day 2


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!


Coast to Coast – May 2016 Day 12


The penultimate day and we are back to full strength for the 11 miles from Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge. It’s all downhill today (literally) and suits some but not all!

Mark suffered from his post ‘race’ exertions with Trevor yesterday along the old railway track to Blakey. Muscle fatigue hit his legs ( not due to Black Sheep he declared) and he kept a watching brief on the group from the tail 🙊

The wind through the night was pretty wild and no less so when we left Blakey – gusting to 35mph and a wind chill of 4c taking it down to about 8c! This made it positively ‘baltic’ for our Australian Coasters – normal May temps for us Brits!

Passing Fat Betty and on through Great Fryup Dale, we stopped for tea at the Glaisdale Tea Garden and enjoyed scones, tea cakes, and cake in the summer sun!

Karen, Cheryl and Kelly from Australia enjoy a UK summer tea in the garden

Karen, Cheryl and Kelly from Australia enjoy a UK summer tea in the garden

Hardy Brits Liz, Trevor and Mark  enjoy summer sun

Hardy Brits Liz, Trevor and Mark enjoy summer sun (Trevor having just mopped up the spare cream, jam and milk! – using his knife too – what would his wife say?

So tea done and it was a short roll down the hill to Beggars Bridge, through the woods and into Egton Bridge and the Horseshoe Hotel for an early afternoon libation (sleep for Mark though!)

Tomorrow is our last day – 17 miles to Robin Hoods Bay and the termination of this crossing. It’ll be a sad farewell on Sunday after breakfast to this lovely group of people. They have been an absolute pleasure to lead across the 192 miles with laughter, fun, some pain, but above all some brilliant moments that will live forever hopefully in all of our memories.

Still, one more day to go and the opportunity to enjoy the walk into The Bay and celebrate a tremendous achievement by all of the ‘Magnificent Seven’


Coast to Coast May 2016 – Day 9


Twelve miles from Reeth to Richmond is nothing for this group now – bouncing along like the proverbial Spring lambs we see every day!

The day started with us walking through Reeth village green and Jo being greeted by a window festooned with support for her charity walk. Jo is raising funds for Macmillan and Cancer Research so please give generously for this worthy cause by visiting the Just Giving website and searching for Jo Randall – I can promise you that she is walking hard with blisters and the pain and discomfort they are giving in the aid of raising funds – she is going the extra mile on a daily basis for the cause of these charities!

Jo Randall raising funds for Macmillan and Cancer Research

Jo Randall raising funds for Macmillan and Cancer Research

In all other respects today started as normal, the ladies beginning the day with a healthy option breakfast and Mark, Trevor and myself opting for the Super Full English Breakfast, preceded by cereal, and followed by toast and marmalade. As per usual, Trevor polished off the sausage that Mark couldn’t eat with his usual aplomb.

The blister friends that Jo has been living with are still there, Karen and Cheryl have worked their way through 5 packs of Compeed (25 blister treatments), a roll of duct tape, and various other dressings in the 120 or so miles so far – shares in local pharmacy’s are seeing massive rises according to the local press! Kelly’s toes are mashed but her new style of walking (aka the Ministry of Silly Walks and John Cleese) seems to be helping a lot with relieving the pressure. Liz is suffering sore feet but so far is walking strongly with no new injuries to concern her with now that she has reverted to her old boots. I am sure Mark’s success so far is due to the calorific intake obtained from his constant supply of Full English breakfasts – although I am privately worried that he will suffer tomorrow as he has ordered smoked haddock for breakfast and I fear it far too healthy for his honed metabolism! Meanwhile, Trevor keeps leading from the front, eating all that he can get hold of and walking like an automaton across every kind of surface.

We are Italian tonight and he let is know that this was a first for him – having never been to an Italian restaurant in his life. Well Mrs Hart – a King Prawn Salad starter, a lasagne, the remains of Karen’s ravioli, the rest of Liz’s cannelloni, and a modicum of Mark’s garlic bread with cheese later – he has sampled a good portion of the restaurant menu! It’s no wonder he requires a mid morning Granda nap just to prepare for the upcoming meal’s.

Trevor allowing his digestive system to work up an appetite during a mid morning coffee stop

Trevor allowing his digestive system to work up an appetite during a mid morning coffee stop – where does all that food go?

Throughout the morning we walked through some lovely grass meadows and glades full of emerging bluebells and violets with plenty of primroses lining the sun kissed banks.

At this time of year, there are all kinds of wonders to see, with livestock starting new lives as well as plants and trees.

Moooove over Mum

Moooove over Mum


It’s still special to see the lambs gambolling in the meadows and see how happy they seem to be in the spring sunshine.


The seasons are wonderful and when you do the C2C at different times of the year, each crossing brings new sights, sounds and smells.


With our destination coming into view mid afternoon, we found a group photo opportunity in Richmond and headed to our accommodation for some to take ablutions and for others to nap, shop, or eat (Trevor).

Welcome to Richmond

Welcome to Richmond

Tomorrow is a BIG day – 26 miles from Richmond to Osmotherley across the Vale of Mowbray (not a pork pie in sight!). I’m pretty confident we’ll arrive before dark but I know they are going to be very beaten up by the relentless need to get the miles in. Still, one day at a time and no need to look any further than tomorrow. So it’s breakfast at 0645 in the morning and off as soon as we can.

Please don’t forget that Jo and Trevor need your support for their charities of choice and both will be highly appreciative of anything you can give.

If you want to see how you can make your own crossing of the Coast to Coast, see the website at


Oh what glorious weather to be in the Lake District


What a day today 8 degrees c, bright blue sky and wall to wall sunshine.  We’ve had better weather in the last three years at this time of the season – it seems a pity to miss a day like this. Add to that a walk in Langdale with my wife Linda, a lunch at the Sticklebarn (The national Trust’s only owned and managed pub in the UK) to make an altogether pleasant day! Mind you, I did sprinkle sugar on my fries instead of salt due to not using my glasses inside the Sticklebarn doh! Still they kindly provided two more portions (oh forgot to mention – Linda did the same :-)) to go with the delicious fishcakes.

Stickle Tarn and col between Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark

The view over Stickle Tarn to the col between Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark

The vistas were tremendous and hardly a soul about until we got back to Sticklebarn. We still managed to find a seat outside to enjoy our lunch in the warm, bright sunshine though.

The 'Boss' in front of Pavey Ark

The ‘Boss’ in front of Pavey Ark

Come and enjoy the Lake District – learn how to navigate, even take a NNAS course with us, or just enjoy a pleasurable guided walk with Lakeland Mountain Experience – check out our website for details of scheduled walks or call / email us for an opportunity to tailor what you want at a price that makes sense! Maybe even share a coffee with us……….

Time for a coffee!

Time for a coffee!


Bonfire night on the fells!


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 St Sunday Crag


What a lovely day we had today – fine weather 15 walkers and St Sunday Crag! This is one of the Lake District Classic Walks. It has tremendous scenery at every step, from Deepdale Hall up the glaciated hanging valley up to Deepdale Hause with Fairfield imposing on the skyline and then onwards to the summit of St Sunday Crag and the 360 degree panoramic views. The valley is usually so quiet that it represents all that is good about Lake District Guided Walks. Great history and evidence of bygone times be they 450 million years ago and the volcanic formation of the rocks, 10,000 years ago when the last ice age sculpted the rocks or a mere 150 years ago when mining in the area was an alternative to sheep farming. Today we are left with an area rich in evidence of all those time portals but with a peace and quiet that it is all too hard to find in today’s modern life – a perfect antidote for our hectic 21st century lifestyle!

The view back over the Deepdale Valley towards the twin peaks of Angletarn Pikes. Two of the best packhorse bridges in the Lake District are just out of view to the bottom left at Deepdale Hall  

The walk up the valley soon starts to allow the walker to view Dove and Hart Crag on the left with Fairfield and its crags dominating the forward area and the steep flanks of St Sunday Crag complete the frame of this remarkable area. The glacial terminal moraines or drumlins are clear to see and from the Hause you can easily visualise the glacier flowing down Deepdale to meet the glacier in the Glenridding Valley now occupied by Brotherswater and Ullswater. The ice wasn’t able to cut into the volcanic rock headwall below Angletarn Pikes and was forced to turn left towards Glenridding.

Looking from Deepdale Hause down the hanging valley towards the main glacier of Glenridding Valley. The drumlins can be seen clearly where the glacier ice melted and left deposits of finer rock and debris over 10,000 years ago

Lake District guided walks not only help appreciate the area as presented today, but help you understand the incredible force of nature and really bring home the fact that we are merely caretakers for a brief period of time after all man has mercifully not been able to change this landscape that much in 150 generations since the last ice age!

From the summit of St Sunday Crag we could see the North Pennines, the Coniston Fells, the Scafell Range, Great Gable, Borrowdale, the Buttermere Fells, High Street, and the Helvellyn Range.

Looking from St Sunday Crag over Grisedale Tarn to the Scafell Range

The Lake District National Park runs free guided walks from April to the end of September and publishes an Events guide online and in hard copy. All walks are graded along with a brief description of the walk and duration. With knowledgeable voluntary rangers, you will be able to explore the area in the knowledge that you will learn as much as you want to or just enjoy a led walk without any navigation worries.

If you want to explore the area with a qualified mountain leader contact Malcolm Wade of Lakeland Mountain Experience to talk about whether you want to bag some Wainwright’s, get off the beaten track, wild camp, or learn to navigate more efficiently.



Guided walking in Eskdale


I just got got back from leading a two day guided walk / wild camp in Eskdale. Day 1 took us from Boot up to Slight Side (2500 feet / 762m) and then on in the mist up to Scafell (3163 feet / 964m). The day started in bright September sunshine and promised us good visibility but alas being so high, the wind from the west brought in a thick mist to help us test our navigation skills.

The temperature inversion lay heavy over Windermere as I drove down Kirkstone Pass

The start of this walk is very gentle with a long stretch across Cat Cove with the prospect of Slight Side ahead of us for such a long way. This is always a good way to take novice walkers due to the fact that the potential severity of Scafell Crags / Broad Stand / Scafell Pike are hidden from view for such a long time – (all morning if you have mist!). Of course a guided walk with a qualified mountain leader from Lakeland Mountain Experience removes the risk or uncertainty of walking on your own. Once over Slight Side, it’s always a longer ridge walk on the ground than it looks on the map – just remember to keep the drop on your right side. Soon the Scafell summit shelter comes into view and our objective achieved and rewarded with a snack. Our chosen route for descent was to be via Foxes Tarn and then down the outflow waterfall towards Cam Spout and the Esk valley.

A dry descent down the Foxes Tarn outflow today – but care still needed to safely get us to the Mickledore path and the Esk valley

Once down into the upper valley we only have one more tricky area to negotiate – the slabs next to Cam Spout waterfalls. I am sure that these rocks were once the waterfall until the earth shifted and the current chasm of the waterfall was formed to the side. This makes the descent slow but safe.

The lower reach of Cam Spout waterfalls – the path is to the right over water smoothed rock

One of the highlights of the Upper Esk valley for me is Lingcove and its bridge and delightful sheepfold.

Lingcove Bridge and sheepfold

The bridge is a testament to workmanship and the craft of stonemasons past and present.

Natural beauty of stone packhorse bridges and fast water

So a long walk down the valley and some rest and refreshment for tomorrow and the other side of the valley – Hard Knott, Harter Fell, and Green Crag before circling back to Hard Knott Pass.

The day started with ascent of Hard Knott, a modest 1801′ / 549m but a spectacular viewpoint (if the weather allows?). Well judge for yourself – this view shows the previous day’s ardours – Slight Side, Scafell, Scafell Pike, Broad Crag and Ill Crag – taken from Hard Knott summit.

Pure heaven! The Scafell massif in all its early morning glory – fabulous!

It’s hard to believe that on a day like today, the view down the entire length of the Esk Valley takes us from the Roman Fort at Hard Knott to the power station on the west coast – over 2000 years separate the two structures – the Fells have seen them all come and go……….

Over two thousand years span the coastal power station and Hard Knott Fort

How about this for an aerial shot of Hard Knott Fort?

Hard Knott Fort – no admission fee!

Another two day’s that remind me of the tremendous variety the Lake District has on offer. Two mixed day’s of weather but what views and enjoyment – why not take advantage of a guided walk with Lakeland Mountain Experience or navigation training (NNAS accredited provider) combined with a walk. Check out our website for details or call us to discuss your requirements for an unforgettable day in the Lake District.


Mardale in September sun – and four Wainwright’s too!


Started the day with a volunteer patrol for LDNPA over Gatescarth Pass in Mardale. The pass is open for 4×4 and motorcycles once a month on a permit system through the National Park. We need to check condition and change the combination on the locks at either end of the pass – so a great excuse to hit the Fells afterwards on the way back to Mardale Head. Oncce at Brownhow Bottom on the south side it’s only a short climb to Tarn Crag and Grey Crag – the former being the home of an unusual pillar. This was a survey post used during the building of the Longsleddale Tunnel which carries the aquaduct south from Haweswater to the Mancs.

Tarn Crag ‘aquaduct marker’

After a detour to Grey Crag, it was a long leg over to Branstree (I’ve only ever been up here in mist) so was I surprised by the views!

Haweswater and the North Pennines in the distance (at least 40 miles away) from Branstree

Even the small tarns looked magic in this light

Not a cloud in the reflected sky

Between Branstree and Selside there are some really well built cairns and a further aquaduct tower – and a lot of boggy ground to cross to get to Selside.

Cairns between Branstree and Selside look resplendent in sunshine

After Selside I decided to navigate across the moor towards the Old Corpse Road and then back towards Mardale Head. Navigating open fell is easy in this visibility but it makes for great practice on contour recognition and pacing.

Mardale Head and Wastwater

Finally hit the Old Corpse Road (this was the route inhabitants from Mardale (now flooded by Haweswater) took their dead for burial at Shap) – not a reference to the liveliness of the photographer I hasten to add!

A desirable one bed in need of renovation on the Old Corpse Road overlooking the drowned village of Mardale

The weather looks good and settled for at least the first half of next week – and I am off to Eskdale and Wasdale for a two day wild camping expedition with some people from Yorkshire. Call me or email if you would like to enjoy this kind of lakeland mountain experience.

Malcolm Wade – Mountain Leader – Lakeland Mountain Experience

Another dry day around Ullswater on a Lake District National Park guided walk today


The weather didn’t look too promising as we set off on the steamer from Pooley Bridge to Howtown…..

The weather for the Pikeawassa / High Street guided walk didn’t promise to be good after some serious overnight rain. With a forecast of 45 mph winds it was hoped that any rain would blow through quickly – and it did – in fact there was no rain other than a little mist early in the walk. We took the Western Belle steamer to Howtown and began the walk with an ascent of Steel Knotts and Pikeawassa (421m). We carried on over Brownthwaite Crag before lunching at  the Fusedale / Martindale path junction at the ‘Little Chef’.

View from the ‘Little Chef’ over the Northern Fells as we had lunch

After our ‘all day breakfasts’ we carried on from Gowk Hill up to Wether Hill on High Street (650m). The sky cleared and some good views were our reward for the climb.

Clear skies, greenery – well worth the climb!

From Wether Hill navigation became easier with no mist to Loadpot Hill and then on to Arthur’s Pike for one of the best viewpoints over Ullswater. From here we carried on to the ancient stone circle at Cockpit before heading back to Pooley Bridge in bright sunshine.

Ullswater – if Carlsberg did lakes this would be the best in the world – probably!

All in all another great walk provided by the Lake District National Park and its Voluntary Rangers. Anyone interested can check out the events programme at and seeing where you can visit this September. The Ullswater Outdoor Festival kicks off on Sat 22 September until 30 September with a host of guided walks (most free) – so why not take advantage of the Indian Summer and head to the Lake District for some genuine R&R?

Malcolm Wade – Lakeland Mountain Experience

A brilliant August day at Ullswater


The weather around the Ullswater valley yesterday was simply beautiful! For me there isn’t a better place in the world to spend a day walking than around Ullswater. I was leading a group of visitors to the National Park on a Lake District National Park guided walk high above Glencoyne. In the evening two of us led a commentary cruise on Ullswater with Ullswater Steamers and the Lake District National Park. As you can see, the weather was stunning and the scenery …..well very special! Check out the free guided walks at the Lake District National Park website and the Ullswater Steamer site too for some unforgettable days out around Ullswater.

Looking towards Patterdale from “High above Glencoyne” – a Lake District National Park free guided walk.

All aboard for an evening cruise with Ullswater Steamers and the Lake District National Park

View over Sandwick Bay into Boredale from ‘Lady of the Lake’ – Ullswater Steamers evening cruise with a Ranger

‘Reflections’ – view from ‘Lady of the Lake’ back into Howtown and Hallin Fell – Ullswater Steamers and The Lake District National Park Guided Walks

by Malcolm Wade, Mountain Leader Lakeland Mountain Experience

for guided walks in Cumbria’s Lakeland, wild camping and navigational training

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