Oct 29

Ben Lomond 20/08/2012


Loch lomond in all its glory

While spending a few days at my sisters house in Glasgow, we decided to go for a walk in the nearby Loch Lomond national park. We eventually settled on climbing the popular Ben lomond.


Our first glimpse of Ben Lomond covered in cloud

Our starting point was the car park at Rowardennan which we eventually arrived at after a long drive on the narrow road on the East side of the Loch.


Possibly the tallest gate i’ve ever seen

The walk started from behind the Information building and took us up through the woods.


A bridge amongst the Silver Birch trees

Once out of the trees, Ben Lomond came into view and we could see the route up to the top.


Ben Lomond, cloud and blue skies


At least we’re on the right path


Strill can’t get used to this selfie lark….. Selfie stick needed. Not a chance!!!!!!!


Looking back at the many islands on Loch Lomond

It was a straight forward ascent but the weather was looking like it could change at any moment.


T shirt weather


2 minutes later!!!!

Which it did……


The full waterproof ensemble as modelled by Mrs Kenny….


Saw a few people carrying flags

We spoke to these about carrying the flags and they told us it was for a charity to help the local hospital. Full marks to them.


The shower passing by


Loch Dubh in the background

The showers were passing over very quickly which enabled us to see the fantastic views that this walk offers..



Some of the local inhabitants


A loner


The impressive eastern corrie

Almost at the top now and the views were getting better.


The first glimpse of the summit

It was a relief to get to the top as it was a fair old slog to get there..


Belinda posing at the top

When we got to the summit (974m) it was covered in cloud and offered no views whatsoever, so we had our lunch and were just about to set off down when the clouds disappeared and gave us a glimpse the best scenery that I have seen on any of my walks.


Me at the top with a ridiculous expression


Is that a vulture waiting for its next meal?

As we were about to set off back down the Ptarmigan ridge route the cloud appeared once more which stopped us in our tracks as visibility was almost nil.


So there’s the path

A good job we stopped as it is a tricky steep decent onto the ridge.


Breathtaking views of the Arrochar Alps in the background


The pot of gold can wait for another day

Once we’d got down onto the ridge it was fairly easy walking on a descent path.


Looking over to Ptarmigan ridge


A great panorama


Still going strong

On the way down we were hit with frequent heavy showers but they were at our back so didn’t feel too bad.


Looking over to the summit of Ben Lomond hidden from view again


Here we we’re introduced to the “Wee Beastie” of Scotland

Walking down through the bracken we were met by the scourge of the Scottish hills…….Mosquitos.


Civilization again

It was good to be at the lakeshore again after a fantastic days walking.


Back at the Loch


The War memorial sculpture by Doug Cocker of Dundee. Ben Lomond and its slopes going down to the loch have been dedicated as a Memorial Park to commemorate those who have lost their lives for their country.


The memorial Stone


Back at the car park

What a fantastic days walking, We took about 6.5 hours in total and had to endure some awful weather, but it didn’t stop our enjoyment of what is surely one of the best mountain walks in Scotland. If you’ve got a day to spare, I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Nov 11

A stroll up to Castle crag 13/05/14

castle crag

Route Distance: 5.02 km. Total Ascent: 282 m

It was early May this year and it was time for my 1st trip to the Lakes. Not having done much walking, I decided on Castle Crag as it was a short walk which offered me some great views. It was a Tuesday and the weather was set fare so after an early morning alarm call, I set off on a walk I had been looking forward to for ages. I was interested to see why Wainwright had included it in his list with it being such a small hill. He describes it in his pictorial guide thus it “is so magnificently independent, so ruggedly individual, so aggressively unashamed of its lack of inches, that less than justice would be done by relegating it to a paragraph in the High spy chapter.”


Perfect conditions. The view from Rosthwaite car park

When I arrived at Rosthwaite, the conditions couldn’t be better, a bit of cloud, nice and cool with a hint of rain in the air. Just how the Lakes should be.


Stepping stones across the River Derwent

The walk started with a nice stroll along the River Derwent, passing the stepping stones.


Bridge over the ‘Derwent’

Just after the stepping stones I had to cross the bridge to the other side of the river and then continue along the path. I then had the 1st glimpse of Castle crag.


Castle crag in the distance

From the river, it was a fairly short but steep climb up to the treeline and eventually I came out and arrived at a disused quarry.



The path snakes up the pile of slate

A path has been made into the pile of slate, you can just make it out on the left hand side of this picture.


Trees spoiling the view


The beautiful Borrowdale valley

Looking back, there were some fantastic views down what is known as the ‘best square mile in Lakeland’, the Borrowdale valley


Mysterious slate formations?

After climbing the slate path I arrived at the “mysterious slate formations”, although I hardly think they are that mysterious.


Me spoiling the view


The magnificent Skiddaw from the summit of Castle crag

At the summit of Castle crag, there were great views of Derwent water and Keswick with Skiddaw in the background.


The war memorial at the summit 290m.


Another one of Skiddaw


I can’t help myself


Looking into the old quarry


The path is in sight

After coming down from the summit I made my way to the path that would lead to Seatoller, although I would be leaving the path before then.


I do like the bridges in the Lake district

For the next half hour the path was fairly level making it easy on the legs and a pleasure to walk.



Rain coming down the Borrowdale valley

It was about this time that the weather began to change and there was a threat of rain in the air.


Some of the locals




Bigger hills in the distance


The rain had hit me by this time, even the sheep needed shelter

About the time I arrived at the woods above Longthwaite, the rain that had been threatening, duly arrived in buckets and I had to take shelter under the trees with some of the local sheep.


On the descent to Longthwaite

It was here I left the path to Seatoller and headed down through the woods to Longthwaite.


A nice walk through the woods


I may book one of those pods one day

After a pleasant stroll through the woods, I arrived at YHA Borrowdale, which I have to say looked great and I will stay there one day.


Path hoggers

From Longthwaite it was just a short stroll over some fields back to Rosthwaite and the start of my journey.


Back to Rosthwaite

Although Castle crag is nowhere near the highest or most strenuous of peaks to get to, I can see why Wainwright held it in such high regard. For minimum effort you certainly get the maximum in scenery. If you have 2 or 3 hours to spare, I would definitely recommend this walk and it should suit walkers of all abilities.


Sep 08

Kinder scout 2012

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Route Distance: 13.7 km                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Total ascent 632m

It was a cold March weekend, and with nothing else to do, me and Belinda decided on a trip to Kinder scout. The forecast was for it to be cold but dry, so after a bit of planning, we got in the car for our 1st walk in the Peak district. Hayfield was where we were starting from and we were surprised to see plenty of snow about and wondered what was going to greet us when we got higher up on the hills.


Once we got out of the car, we realised it was colder than we anticipated (ice patches everywhere), we got layered up though and set off along a lane towards the National trust owned Ashes farm.



Cold but beautiful…

It may have been cold, but the scenery was stunning.


Come on slowcoach

The climbing started once we passed Ashes farm.


Mount famine?

I have searched and I haven’t found the reason why its called Mount Famine…..



Didn’t see any of those


Frozen ground with Brown Knoll in the background


I think this was walking down Jacobs ladder before we turned back

We were going to walk down Jacobs Ladder but half way down we decided not too.


Looking down the Vale of Edale


Adding a little glamour to the scene

Most of the climbing was done as we neared the plateau at the top, it was noticably colder too.



Not so me!!!!!


It was well into the minus’ up here


The trig point on Kinder low. 633m.

We had to wait about 10 minutes before everyone had left and we could have our pictures taken by the trig point alone. Once we had a bite too eat, it was time to head to Kinder downfall.


I’ve named this “Wolf rock”

We passed allsorts of amazing frozen rock formations.


Some of the stones on Cluther rocks.




The view from Kinder downfall

As we approached Kinder downfall, we could see it was frozen and there were people climbing up it. Brave people!!!!!


Climbing up the ice on a frozen Kinder downfall

From Kinder downfall, we had a good 1.5 hour walk back to the car park, but it was on the flat or downhill all the way.


Kinder reservoire down below

The views on the way down were still spectacular.


I think we had just had “words” regarding my map reading skills. Can you tell?


Kinder reservoire, and nearly finished

We arrived back at the car park about 5 hours after we had started. We both agreed that although cold, it was one of the best walks we had done. A must for all Peak District lovers…….


Apr 28

Helm Crag from Grasmere 30/03/2014

Helm crag 2014

Distance 15.2km
Total ascent 938m

After driving past Helm crag and seeing the Howitzer from the A591 every time I drove up to Keswick, I decided this was going to be the chosen walk for my 1st days walking for 2014. The weather forecast was good and I was looking forward too it. Noone was available to join me so I was going solo today which meant I could stay for as long as I wanted and could adjust my route as and when I wanted, depending on how I felt. The plan was to climb Helm crag, then onto High raise and Sergeant man and then make my way back to grasmere.


Helm crag comes into view from from Easedale road

I arrived in Grasmere about 8.30am. There was a bit of a chill in the air but you could tell it was going to be a nice day for walking. Having paid for my parking (£5 for the day) I set off. The village was deserted at this time and it was nice to walk through it and see all the “famous” places (Wordsworths garden and The Grasmere Gingerbread shop) without getting trampled on by hundreds of tourists. After a couple of minutes I was out of the village and it was a gentle stroll on Easedale road until I reached the track to take me up to helm crag.


Looks harmless enough

After about 5 minutes I arrived at Goody bridge and Helm crag came into view.


I think the ministry of useless signs had been here!

The track that would lead me up to Helm crag was just before Brimmer head farm. The climbing had started…..


This was a nice surprise. For me and them!!

It wasn’t long before I had taken a wrong turn and ended up in the grounds of Lancrigg hotel…..


Taking 5, admiring the view.

After realising my mistake, I turned round and found the right path and carried on the gentle ascent to the top.


Helm crag summit?

I arrived at the summit, or what I thought was the summit about 20 minutes later.


Or is the Howitzer the summit?

I have since read that The Howitzer is the “true” summit of Helm crag, although I have to say the rocks on the Eastern edge looked higher to me. Apparently you haven’t reached the top until you climb to the top of The Howitzer, but as there was noone to take my picture doing this, I decided not to bother. Another time maybe?



After a few minutes rest on Helm crag I set off for my next target which was Gibson Knott. After the climb up to Helm crag it was nice to be walking on the relatively flat ridge for a while.


Gibson Knott

It took about 10 minutes to reach Gibson Knott and I didn’t spend much time there as I wanted to get to the end of the ridge walking part in good time.


Steel fell beyond the cairn on Gibson Knott


Admiring the vew of the Easedale valley

Just before I reached Calf Crag I decided to rest a while and take in the views of the Easedale valley and look back on the ridgeline where I had walked.


Calf crag

After my rest It didn’t take long to reach Calf Crag, my 3rd Wainwright of the day. My next targets were High Raise and Sergeant Man which meant a slight descent before a steady climb.


Looking back to where i’ve come from


There was still some pockets of snow left

A slight navigation error meant I couldn’t be bothered retracing some steps in order to get to High Raise so I made the decision to save that one for another day and head straight for Sergeant Man.


Pavey ark and Harrison Stickle come into view

Once I had reached the top of the small climb I was surprised to see Pavey ark and Harrison Stickle come into view. I don’t know why I was surprised as its there in front of me on my map (must pay more attention).


Sergeant Man

It was good to see Sergeant Man as I had missed it out on a previous day in the Lakes when I did the Langdale pikes.


The view from Sergeant Man, Great gable in the distance

After reaching the summit of Sergeant man, I spent some time admiring the glorious views which included Great Gable, which is my favourite hill in the lakes.


Blea rigg and my way back to Grasmere

From Sergeant Man, I could see my route back which would take me on Blea rigg until The path that would lead me too Easedale tarn.


My new favourite place to rest.

While walking on Blea rigg I could see a great view of Pavey ark and Stickle tarn was opening up to me. I couldn’t resist a slight detour to have a final bite too eat and take in the great view for a while longer.


Codale tarn(left) and Easedale tarn(right)

Food eaten and the view admired I retraced my steps to the path home. The walking was easy from here on in, just a reasonably gentle descent all the way to Grasmere.


Tarn crag and Easedale tarn


One of the waterfalls of sour milk gill. It looked very inviting….


Sour milk gill


Helm crag and almost back to where it all started.


Goody bridge and back to civilization.

On returning to Grasmere, the contrast in the amount of people from when I set off, to now, was amazing, what a busy place it is ( I queued up for 10 minutes in the Grasmere Gingerbread shop before i’d had enough of waiting). I was glad I set off early and beat the rush. On reflection I have to say this was one of my favourite walks I have done, the amazing views and the lack of people I saw made it a special day for me. I would certainly recommend it to anyone.


Dec 06

Pen Y Ghent 2012

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Distance 10.5km
Total ascent 504m

It was late September in 2012 when I did this walk. It was one that I had wanted to do for a while, partly to exorcise a ghost from the past and secondly to complete the 3 Peaks, albeit on seperate occasions (I will do them all at once someday). Anyway I had a weekend to myself and set off to the Dales, Horton in Ribblesdale being my starting point.


Says it all…

My starting point was the car park in Horton in Ribblesdale and after paying the high parking charges I set off on the road towards the church that would lead me onto the track towards open country.


My target covered in cloud.

It was a cloudy and windy day with a chance of possible showers but, I was looking forward to the walk.


The campsite where my father and me stopped when we did the Pennine way in 1989

As i walked on towards the church, I passed the campsite where I stopped with my dad when we did the Pennine way years ago. It was a memorable night because we had torrential rain all night and I woke about 2.00 am with my sleeping bag under about 3 inches of water. My dad somehow slept through this inconvenience, whereas I picked my sleeping bag up and set off for the public toilets to try and get some sleep. I was again awoken by another bloke who, to put it mildly, made me feel uncomfortable being in the toilets with. Sleeping in 3 inches of water didn’t seem like such a bad idea after all, so I picked my sleeping bag up and made my way back to the tent.


The campsite. I think we must have pitched our tent in the dip.


Horton in Ribblesdale church


Not far to the summit.

Once I found the track at the back of the church, it was a walk for about half a mile til I came to the path that lead me to the start of the climb .


Looking back at the buildings which mark the start of the climbing


Pen Y Ghent


Looking back at Arcow quarry


The path was boggy in parts but generally ok.


The distinctive shape of Pen Y Ghent looking magnificent.

As i got nearer to Pen y Ghent, my pace seemed to quicken as I wanted to get to the top as soon as I could. However, as I got higher, I began to feel the wind getting stronger and stronger.


Some conveniently placed steps

As I approached the steps at the side of the hill, the wind was really strong and as it was coming from behind me, it literally pushed me up the steps.


The final climb to the summit


Looking back at a section of the pennine way


The summit of Pen y Ghent 694m

The final climb to the summit was a mixture of path walking and some easy scrambling, although I had to be careful as the wind was almost knocking me sideways in some parts of it.


A plaque on the wal


The obligitory “selfie”

After reaching the top I had some food and had intended carrying on to Plover hill, but with the wind blowing as it was I decided to get to lower ground as quickly as possible so I changed my route and followed the path that would lead me too Hull pot.


Looking back at Pen y Ghent

After a walk of about half an hour, I arrived at Hull pot, and after not knowing what to expect, I was surprised at the size of it.


Hull pot beck flowing into Hull pot


A great shot of Hull pot.

I spent a bit of time walking round here, then began my trek back to Horton in Ribblesdale, which was basically a straight downhill path about 2.5 km in length. A perfect finish to a great walk.


The western slopes of Pen y Ghent


Hunt pot


The beautiful Dales


Strange hollows in the ground are common round here.


Horton in Ribblesdale

I finally arrived back at my car about 4 hours later. It isn’t the longest walk or the highest hill I have ever climbed, but it is definitely up there with my favourites. Its setting, and what I think its almost fortress like appearance are what draws you to this fantastic hill. I would recommend everyone who likes walking to try this walk…

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