Sep 13

Big Jims day out on High Street….. 07/2013

Distance 13.7 km Total ascent 946 m

Distance 13.7 km
Total ascent 946 m

It was early July 2013, the weather was set fair and my mate Jim and me were at a loose end, so we decided on a day out in the Lakes. Well, it was more my decision than his, but he agreed to come anyway as long as it wasn’t too strenuous as he wasn’t the fittest he’d ever been in his life. I chose this route as I didn’t think he would have any problems doing it and once we got to the top it would be mainly ridge walking along High street.


Kirkstone pass

We arrived at the car park at Cow bridge near Hartsop after stopping for a while at the top of Kirkstone pass to take in the views, Jim was impressed!!! After getting ourselves sorted, we got our bearings and set off back up the A592 for about 2km until we started the climb up Caudale moor.


Jim taking control with Hatsop dodd in the background


Rest assured folks, he was only adjusting his belt......

Rest assured folks, he was only adjusting his belt……


A view of Dove crag from the A592

Pastures beck

Pasture beck

After stretching our legs on the road we eventually found the path to start the climb up caudale moor, and what a steep one it was too! Jim loved it, having to stop every 20 yards for a rest and a cry!

The climb up to Caudale head (it was as steep as it looks)

The climb up to Caudale head (it was as steep as it looks)

Despite the time it was taking and the pain he was enduring, I’m sure deep down Jim was secretly enjoying it. When he could speak without breaking down, he did say the views were superb…..


Brothers water in the background

After we arrived at the disused mine, we worked out we wouldn’t have enough water for the day and it was up to me to replenish our supplies from the Caudale beck at the bottom of a steep gulley…. The things I do to stop a grown man from crying!!!!


More water required


Entrance to a disused mine on Caudale moor

After the mines, it wasn’t long before it started to level out and the walking became easier and my walking partner started to perk up a bit.


Jim loving it !!!!!

It took about 2 hours to reach the top of caudale head which wasn’t bad considering all the stops and motivational speeches I had to make.


He’s happy now he’s at the top


Caudale head

It was decided that this fine achievement should be marked by yet another rest and a sandwich…. Lunch done we then headed East and the short trek to Stoney cove pike.


Summit of Stoney cove pike. 763m



Lake Windermere in the background

Its amazing how someone’s spirits can improve when they think all the climbing is done. All this gaiety would change when he saw where we were heading….


He’d lost 3 stone getting to the top and he couldn’t keep his strides up….


Me, spoiling the view…..

We had a steep drop into Threshthwaite mouth and then another steep climb up to Thornthwaite beacon. Cue lots of whining…..


The drop to Threshthwite mouth and the path up to Thornthwaite beacon


Thornthwaite beacon

It was tricky getting to the bottom of the hill but the views either side were fantastic.


Looking down to Threshthwite cove



A steep descent before a steep climb


Windermere in the distance

The old saying “what goes down, must go up”, or something like that, was very appropriate, as we had one more climb for the day, up to Thornthwaite beacon. As you can see, Jim relished the challenge and after about 20 minutes we had completed the last climb of the day.


Apparently its not as easy as I had promised….



Thornthwaite beacon


Thornthwaite beacon. 784m

Once we arrived at the beacon, we had the obligatory photos and a brief rest. We could also see the rest of the route we were to take, which gave Jim the reassurance that it was flatish and downhill all the way back to the car.


On High street

I have to admit, much to my disappointment, that we never found the Trig column that marks the highest point on the walk. To be honest I didn’t realize there was one….. I shall have to visit it at some other point.



After walking North on the straight of Riggindale we arrived at The Knott, and I had to make a quick dash to the top for my photo taking….


The knott. 739m


Looking back at our route

After leaving The Knott, we turned West and in our excitement and we missed the path that would lead us to the track to take us back to Hartsop. We had reached satura crag (extended route marked in red on the route map) before we realized our mistake. This left us with 2 choices, retrace our steps back to the correct path, or head straight down the very steep slope towards the track. Scrambling down the hill was our preferred option.


Taken from Satura crag and realizing we had missed our turnoff…


After a tricky walk across to the path, more water was needed…

After a strenuous scramble, we crossed Hayeswater gill and eventually reached the track. With hindsight, the 1st option would have been better. From here it was a gentle stroll towards Hartsop.


The path that would lead us back to Hartsop


Looking back


A sheep standing on a wall !!!!


Hartsop Dodd in the background


Hatsop livestock market


Walk completed….

Once we got back to the car, it was a quick change and then a pint in the Brotherswater Inn up the road. We both agreed that apart from the start it was a great days walking, great company and a lot of laughs. If I was to do this again I probably wouldn’t start from the same place as it was a grueling climb to start with. Jim has since promised he enjoyed it so much, he will join a gym and will be a lot fitter next time he comes with me. I doubt this will happen but it was a nice thought anyway….


Aug 16

Haystacks 05/2013

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Distance 14.1 km
Total ascent 1171 m

It was early May 2013 and myself and Belinda had a Monday off together and decided on a walk. The main reason we chose Haystacks was I had been wanting to see the final resting place of Alfred Wainwright and to see why he chose this place to have his ashes scattered. A trip North meant an early start as usual, 6 o clock to be precise and we made good time, arriving at Gatesgarth in the Buttermere valley around 8.30.. The weather was quite chilly to start with, but the skies were blue and it promised to be a good days walking.


The car park at Gatesgarth filling up already


Belinda with Haystacks in the background

We set off looking for the path to take us along Warnscale bottom that would lead us to the climb up to Blackbeck tarn and then onto Inonimate tarn.


Wait for me….

The start of the walk was nice n steady as we passed by the northern slopes of Haystacks, which were still in early morning shadow.


Looking up from Warnscale bottom

After about 10 minutes we started the climb in earnest, leaving the valley floor behind and the beautiful valley revealed itself the higher we got.


Me with Buttermere in the background


Looking back at Buttermere


An old quarrymans hut

The walk to the top was great, as the higher we got, the more you could see of the beautiful valley below. We carried on until we came to the disused hut just below the top. We decided  to take a break here and realized that Belinda had bought sparkling water instead of the good old fashioned stuff that I like. It was undrinkable as far as I was concerned and we tipped all four bottles out and filled them up again from the fairly fast flowing stream hoping there wasn’t a dead sheep lying in the water further upstream. We set off after our pit stop and after about another 10 minutes of climbing, we arrived at the top and was surprised to see a more rugged landscape. We had left the lush green valley behind and arrived at what looked a more desolate rocky moorland type landscape. You could see Great Gable and Pillar on the other side of the Ennerdale valley and I was beginning to see why Wainwright had chosen this place for his ashes to be scattered.



Great Gable in the background

We walked past Blackbeck tarn which gave us great views of the mountains across the valley, and then we arrived at Inonimate tarn and I couldn’t help but remember the words of Alfred wainwright… “All I ask for, at the end, is a last long resting place by the side of Innominate Tarn, on Haystacks, where the water gently laps the gravelly shore and the heather blooms and Pillar and Gable keep unfailing watch. A quiet place, a lonely place. I shall go to it, for the last time, and be carried: someone who knew me in life will take me and empty me out of a little box and leave me there alone. And if you, dear reader, should get a bit of grit in your boot as you are crossing Haystacks in the years to come, please treat it with respect. It might be me.”


Inonimate Tarn. Resting place of Alfred Wainwright

We spent a while at the tarn watching a lot of people arriving and was struck by the fact that everyone seemed to talk in hushed tones if at all. It was as if the place was a shrine to the man, and people just came to pay their respects, it was great to see. Eventually we set off and it didn’t take long before we arrived at the summit of Haystacks. Again we stopped, not for a rest this time, but to shelter from the hailstorm that suddenly hit us.


Haystacks summit. 597m

After the storm had passed we set off to descend into Scarth gap, which would be followed by a very steep climb up to High crag.


Looking over to High Crag our next climb


Buttermere under the clouds


The very steep climb to High crag


Plodding on with Haystacks below


High Cag summit. 744m

Once we got to the top of High crag we had a short rest and set off towards High stile. It was a fairly gentle ridge walk with just a little effort needed for the final climb to the top.


Buttermere and Crummock water way down below


High stile summit. 806m


Belinda looking natural on High stile


Red pike summit. 755m

Once red pike was reached we decided to abandon the rest of the walk wwe had planned as it was getting late and were feeling a bit tired. It was a tough steep descent that wasn’t good on our knees. My GPS battery had also run out of juice so it was a case of using a map to guide us down, which as it turned out wasn’t too difficult.

Bleaberry tarn

Bleaberry tarn



A nice shot of Crummock water

We finally made it down to the shore of Buttermere and we had a final flat couple of kilometers back to the car.


Walking along the shore of Buttermere


Looking across to Buttermere Fell


These look like trouble


Peggys bridge


Haystacks in the setting sun


The last ones here

We finally made it back to the empty car park after about 8.5 hours of walking, exhausted and exhilarated after another great day on the hills. It was the 1st time I had visited this beautiful valley and it certainly won’t be the last.


Aug 06

Kirk fell 2012

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Distance 10.3 km
Total ascent 1063 m

It was Early May 2012 when myself and Dave decided we needed to get up to the Lakes. We decided to on Great Gable again in order to forget the disaster we had trying to climb it on another occasion. We had also booked ourselves in at The Screes Inn at Nether Wasdale, so we could afford to take our time and was assured of a hot meal and a few pints when we had finished. The forecast wasn’t great but it wasn’t going to deter us from conquering THE GABLE at last…100_6402When we arrived at Wasdale, we were greeted with low cloud and a bit of drizzle. No problem for us seasoned hikers, so we tooled up and set off on our walk.


Dave putting his order in for when we finished


Our planned route up Great Gable


Following Lingmell Beck before the climbing started


Dave enjoying himself (it wouldn’t last)


Looking up at the climb ahead of us

After about a mile, we started to climb out of the valley and onto the slopes of Great Gable


Looking back down the valley towards wastwater


I was struggling a bit at this point


Mad for it…



The famous Napes Needle. No climbers on it today though


Sphinx Rock

We had decided to cut across on the climbers traverse so we could see Napes Needle and Sphinx rock. Once seen we headed back and then Dave had a brainwave. He wanted to climb up the rocks to the top instead of by the route we had planned. Never one to argue I agreed, and wasn’t overly surprised that it turned out to be a bad decision. The rocks had got steeper and was a bit too much for our limited experience so we decided to cut across back to where we were supposed to be. And then it happened…. We reached a point where we had to jump from the rocks onto some flattish ground below. So Dave, in his infinite wisdom took off his rucksack and threw it on the ground below. It landed on the flat and bounced about 10 ft down the hill. He then insisted on throwing mine and promptly threw it nowhere near his and we just watched as it bounced about 150 meters down the scree slope until it came to a fortunate stop. After a few choice words, it was decided it was Dave who should go and retrieve it…. Begrudgingly he did……


Go and fetch it Dave….


Keep going


Rueing the error of his ways


And he’s back



In the meantime I had managed to slip on one of the rocks and injured myself

Once Dave got back, we decided to rest for a bit so he could get his breath back and I could try and stop myself from bleeding to death..


That’s gonna fall some day


Looking back at wasdale


Nearing the top as the path turns left to go round the rocks


Posing next to Westmorland Cairn. What a view……

The final climb up to the summit was fairly steady, we took the obligatory pics next to Westmorland cairn and found ourselves on the rocky top of Great Gable..


The summit of Great Gable. 899m

Notice I am wearing a glove on my injured hand as it wouldn’t stop bleeding.


The war memorial on Great Gable


Looking down Ennerdale with Buttermere in the background

Great Gable comquered, it was now onto Kirk Fell. It was while descending Great Gable that we think we had discovered a new sport. That being the sport of Scree surfing. After not quite finding the path down towards Kirk fell we had a choice of either walking about 50 meters towards the path or, head straight down the scree slope. Being lazy sods that we are, it was the latter.


Dave making it look easy


A great view of Great gable


The route down Great Gable. Notice how steep the scree section is..



Looking back at Great Gable from the summit of plateau like Kirk fell


Kirk Fell summit 787m.


That’s got to be the coolest looking lamb I’ve ever seen

Originally we had planned to climb Pillar after Kirk Fell, but after considering the time and our need for a pint or 2, we decided to save that climb for another day.


Pillar in the background

We descended from Kirk Fell towards Black sail pass and followed Mosedale Beck which would lead us to wasdale and our well earned reward of a few pints.


Mosedale beck





Done it! The bridge next to the Wasdale Head Inn


View of Great Gable from wasdale


Happy days


Our hosts for the night. The Screes Inn at Nether Wasdale


The Strands Inn

Yet another great day on the hills. Despite my injury and Dave’s mishap with my rucksack, it was a superb walk. The weather was perfect and we managed to conquer Great Gable together. With the spectacular scenery and endless walks that can be done from there, Wasdale is definitely my favorite part of the Lakes. Our night in the Screes Inn was excellent too, having been upgraded when we got there, we had some lovely food and several pints there and in the Strands Inn to celebrate another great day…..

Apr 14

Assault on Great Gable (take 2)

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Distance 8.3 km
Total Ascent 834 m

It was late 2011 and had a week off so decided to plan a trip to the Lakes. After a few phone calls, I had managed to persuade Struddy and Dave to come along too. The plan was to go early Monday morning, do a walk and then stay over in Keswick and catch the quiz in The Golden Lion ( with 2.5 brains between us, we were bound to win). With all plans in place, I recieved a call off Dave on Saturday night saying he had to cover for someone at work and couldn’t make it. I personally think his hair straighteners had broken and he didn’t have time to replace them!!!! Undeterred by Dave’s lame excuse, myself and Strud set off with the intention of conquering Great gable, smashing the quiz, drinking the town dry and doing another walk the day after…..


Strud posing in front of Sour milk gill

Having studied the map countless times, I still couldn’t work out how we went so wrong when I first tried to climb Great gable with Dave, so I opted for a different starting point this time. We arrived at Seathwaite in good time and got ourselves prepared. The weather wasn’t looking too great, but we were hopeful it would clear and we’d be able to see some of the scenery. Setting off in the right direction wasn’t a problem this time as we could see where we were supposed to be heading, which was straight up following the path by the side of a fast flowing Sour milk gill.



Looking back at Seathwaite farm


Waterfalls on Sour milk gill


Steady is his middle name

I have to say, it wasn’t the easiest of starts to a days climbing as it was almost a 1:3 gradient for the 1st half hour or so until it flattened out as we walked around the base of Base brown.


Still looking fresh with the valley behind me


Looking towards the head of the valley


Taking a breather after the initial climb

Walking round the base of Base brown was a lot easier for about 20 minutes until we started the climb up to Green gable.


Looking back at the path that follows Sour milk gill


Looking North-East towards base brown


Climbing up towards Green gable.

At this point we started to feel the wind pick up considerably and it was a struggle as we were walking into it. A case of head down, punch on.


Possibly Thirlmere in the background?


Does his bum look big in those pants?


Green gable summit. 801 m

Reaching the top of Green gable was a relief and we decided to rest and shelter from the powerful wind for a bit.


Top of Green gable 801 m. Great gable behind in the mist. The wind was horrendous at this point.

From Green gable we could only see fleeting glimpses of Great gable, which didn’t bode well for seeing much when we got to the top of it.


Windy gap. We could see how it got its name!

We decided to wait for the wind to die down a bit before we attempted to cross windy gap.


Looking down Ennerdale with Buttermere to the right.


Great gable in the mist

Once we crossed Windy gap i think we must have taken the wrong path as the climb to Great gable involved some proper rock climbing. Not easy in the windy conditions.





Buggar. He forgot his skis


Great gable summit

As we were approaching the summit, the cloud came over again and i knew we weren’t going to see much, if anything!


Sheltering from the wind


Great gable summit 899 m

As we thought, we couldn’t see a thing at the top, so we sheltered from the cold wind and took our souvenir pictures and had a bite to eat and a drink.


On the descent looking towards Wastwater


Styhead tarn

The descent towards Styhead tarn was a tricky one as it was steep and rocky, meaning you had to be careful where you placed your feet. I bet there’s been a few twisted ankles on this part of the route.


My legs seem to have shrunk!


The path home

We could see our route back in the valley below, which is always a welcome sight.


Probably gets plenty of use

Once reached the stretcher box at Sty head it was a case of following the path that ran alongside Styhead gill towards Stockley bridge.


Styhead tarn


A gentle stroll back


What a handsome chap


Seathwaite in the backround


Stockley bridge


Stockley bridge

Once we reached Stockley bridge, we had a rest before the last stretch towards Seathwaite.


Keswick youth hostel the morning after. The river must have risen about 4 feet overnight..

What a fantastic walk, although it was my 2nd attempt on Green gable, I was still disappointed I still wasn’t able to see anything at the top. I knew I would be back soon….. We got to our accomodation for the night which was Keswick youth hostel, to the news that they were expecting 100 mph winds during the night, with rain as well. If the forecast was right, our planned walk on Tuesday was looking a bit dodgy.  The night in Keswick was a good one, although we didn’t win the quiz, we gave a good account of ourselves. However, the weather forecast proved to be spot on and we did indeed get the wind and rain as promised and as we were both nursing rather painful headaches, we decided to abandon our planned walk and just go home, thankfully I wasn’t driving.

Feb 25

Dove Crag 2012

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Route distance 11.3 km
Total ascent 894 m

It was Belinda’s birthday weekend and i decided to treat her to a weekend in the Lakes (where else ). We were to go early Friday morning, do a walk and then go to our Hotel in Ambleside after and just chill out for a couple of days. I was looking for a walk that wasn’t too far from our digs and eventually settled for Dove crag as i was interested in seeing the Priest hole. Friday came and off we went, and eventually arrived at our start point of Cow bridge near Hartsop.

Tooling up at Cow bridge

Tooling up at Cow bridge

It took a few minutes to get ready and after issuing Belinda with the map and working out where we needed to go, we were off.


Belinda and her map in front of High Hartsop Dodd

The start of the walk was very gentle as we followed the path from the bridge to Hartsop Hall.


High Hartsop Dodd


Looking over to Brothers water to Brock Crags

Once we reached Hartsop hall, we left the path, crossed the stream and walked across a couple of fields that led us to the foot of High Hartsop Dodd.


Belinda in front of one of the giant erratics

There were lots of huge boulders here that have been left over from the ice age, as well as a dead lamb that had been picked clean by the local wildlife.


Slightly unnerving

Not knowing how big the local meat eating wildlife was, meant we didn’t hang around too long and soon came to Caiston beck which we would follow and the climbing would begin.


The famous Kirkstone pass

Once we reached Caiston beck we turned right and followed the stream that flowed between High Hartsop Dodd and Middle Dodd.


Belinda having a rest with Brothers water in the background


Me and my new toy.


Some waterfalls on Caiston beck


Belinda lagging behind

It took about half an hour to reach Scandale pass at the top and we stopped for more food while taking shelter from the wind behind the wall at the top.


Taking a break with Little Hart crag in the background


Little Hart crag

Our route from here would take us passesd Little hart crag, although not over it and follow the fence that would lead us towards Dove Crag.


Looking down on Brothers Waters from the path to Dove crag


Yet another rest stop


The final climb giving us some great views

We finally reached the top of the final climb and the views all round were fantastic.


Me posing with Windermere in the background


Dove crag summit 792 m.

After reaching the top it was time to don the hat and gloves as the wind had got up and it was a lot colder than it had been. We made the decision to miss out Hart Crag and instead head down and see if we could find the priests hole in the rocks below the summit.



Its around here somewhere

Heading down, we never found the track to the Priests hole (if there is one), and after climbing on the crags for what seemed an age, we were about to give up when we stumbled upon what looked like a track that would surely take us too it.


The priests hole

What a fantastic place it turned out to be. We had some more food and took the obligatory photos from inside the cave.


View from inside the cave. I would love to camp here one day


Me posing again, the route down just over my right shoulder


Big mouth


Looking back at the Priests hole


Dove crags in the background

From here we could descend into Dovedale or cut across to Hartsop above How and finish with a nice ridge walk.



Looking down into Dovedale


Hartsop above How


The path showing the wear and tear of thousands of walkers

The walk along the ridge was fanastic gave us great views on either side.


Belinda with Brothers water in the background

The final descent off the ridge was very steep and had me wishing we had dropped down into Dovedale which would have given us a nice flat finish to the walk.


Struggling down the steep path


Hartsop Dodd behind Brothers Water


Hartsop village

The final few hundred yards saw us walking through Low wood and we eventually arrived back at Cow bridge.


Cow bridge


All smiles now


Ambleside bridge house

A fantastic walk with spectacular views and some interesting things to see. The priests hole being the highlight for me and a must see for anyone walking in these hills. After the walk it was time to sample the delights of Ambleside for a couple of nights. We stayed at The Churchill Inn which was excellent at reasonable rates, it also had free car parking which was also a bonus. All in all it was a great weekend and Belinda thoroughly enjoyed her birthday.

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