Sunday, 10 November 2013


Above Little Langdale Tarn.

Our expedition to climb Wetherlam earlier this week was also intended as a reconnaissance of the area to help us decide on routes for our two-day expedition which we plan this summer. The dates on which this will take place are Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd July. We've not yet found suitable accommodation for the two nights but we're researching this right now.
Lyn, Pete and Bella set off up the Greenburn Valley in bright sunshine but soon found themselves in deep shade in the gloomy valley, the sun being low in the south, behind the mountain.

Deep shade in the valley, Langdale Pikes in the distance.

Our objective, Wetherlam 762m/2,500ft, forms the southern wall of the Greenburn valley. We walked up as far as the ancient Greenburn mine workings, the ruins of which stand just below the 1,000ft contour some way up the valley then turned onto a path that led up the steep fellside.

Above the Greenburn mine workings.

A sporadic path led upwards through rough boulder strewn terrain passing by several old mine workings until we reached the col at about 500m between Birk Fell and Wetherlam where, though the path improved, the going became increasingly rocky.

Ascending Wetherlam Edge
Wetherlam Edge, which leads to the summit, was still in deep shade, far below Birk Fell was enjoying the November sun.  We seemed to have picked the coldest and gloomiest route of ascent possible, there was no wind however the temperature continued to spiral downwards as we gained height and the path became  increasingly icy. We turned back about 120ft short of the top as the path was dangerously iced up. From now on this winter the crampons will go in the rucksacks as a matter of course, without them retreat was the safest course.  We plan a return to Wetherlam with full winter gear...soon.

View from Birk Fell on the descent.

We walked over Birk Fell intending to descend the ridge beyond in the sunshine rather than turning down into the sunless valley.  We followed the wall which you can see going straight ahead in the distance.

View from the wall towards Wrynose Pass.

We followed the wall over the next top (405m) expecting to pass through old quarry workings marked as disused on the map, but we came to the edge of the workings and found them impassable. We retreated back along the wall to a gate then walked down into the workings by an easier path. The quarry turned out to be a working one and we found that we had little option but to follow the mine road that led down to High Tilberthwaite. It was a bit out of our way and not quite what we'd planned but we followed a good track that led directly back to Little Langdale and were back at the car in an hour. It was a very useful recce, we learned a lot, and a great walking area too we decided for the two-dayer in July...we'll be back.

If you're interested in joining us for the two days in July ring or e-mail us. You can stay in a hotel, hostel or camp, it's up to you, I'm sure it'll be fun.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Loughrigg Fell

We met up with Skipper a fellow Border Terrier and his Mum and Dad and went for a hike from Ambleside to Grasmere over Loughrigg. Before we met them though we had to get there.

Bella was keen to get a bird's eye view of the action from the front of the bus.  Prior to getting the bus she had spotted a cat across the road so perhaps this perch was chosen by her in case another one came along.

At the front of the 555
But she was out of luck, no cats were espied again until we returned to Keswick.

We did enjoy a good hike over Loughrigg though and found a child's glove on the way which had obviously been lovingly knitted by a Mum out there, so picked it up and low and behold we came across her and returned it. Having done our good turn for the day we found a cosy spot and the dogs sniffed out the home made chicken liver treats.  Bella is still keeping her eye on the rucksack with the treats in it here.

A simple stop for tea and liver treats for Skipper and Bella

We hiked over the fell and then made our way down the slippery steps, taking our time as we were in no rush and the day was still fine with no sign of the impending rain.

Put me down Dad I can walk from here.
Easy does it down the very slippery stones.
Skippers 2nd ever fell walk, he is only 9 months old.
Skipper was hiking like a real professional and it was clear he was going to be really good at this.  Mind you his Mum knew a thing or two and was very experienced.

We headed down Red Bank avoiding all the cars which were going up and down (half term motorists) and strode into the Lamb bar at the Red Lion Hotel, in Grasmere.  Once we had ordered our beer and cheese and onion crisps we could see that the weather outside had changed from the mundane to depressing.....So we took our time because we knew what was coming when we left.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Wales hiking

We went to Wales recently to have a look at some 3000' mountains we fancied doing, but also found that we both enjoyed looking at the narrow gauge railways over there.

Once we had played with the trains for a few days we eventually went up a hill Y Garn...

The summit cairn
On the way up the cloud came down and it was difficult to take a photo, but here are Pete and Bella on the top.

We navigated in mist across from here both using our compasses because we wanted to avoid a knife edge ridge and came to the top of the Devil's Kitchen. This we descended very carefully because it was slippery and wet.

Starting the descent of Devil's Kitchen
The view down the steep descent
Just as we finished the hike the cloud lifted on Y Garn
We were almost back at the café at the bottom by the Youth Hostel when we noticed we could at last see the top of the mountain, so we took this shot, moments later the cloud descended on the summit and obscured it again.

And so as not to disappoint those of you who like a 'bit of steam'; may I present Linda...

A new addition to the Ffestiniog fleet!

Monday, 19 August 2013

The Dodds

Yesterday we hiked over all the Dodds.  We set off up to the top of Sticks Pass and then turned north onto the track leading up towards Stybarrow Dodd, oddly this summit does not have a clearly defined path to the top, so it's a good job there is a prominent cairn.

Next we hiked over to Watson's Dodd which was into the teeth of the wind.  I know it is only August still but by the time we reached it we had all donned waterproof jackets against the showers and gloves because the wind was biting. It was at this point that I chose the earflaps down on my cap option because it nearly blew off, someone did have to chase theirs across the fell side and Pete's sit mat took off too.

Watson's Dodd
Then we posed for some photographs and Sam who was a professional photographer, he's above on the left, took many more shots of the scenery before we headed up the hill again towards Great Dodd.
This is an impressive mountain and its just over 2800ft  (858m) so it was hard work against the wind. Once on the top we had a choice of lunch or take photos and go, no surprises which we chose. 

Great Dodd and blowing a gale
I am showing off the map on my Satmap navigation system to Brian and the others are enjoying the views which were very good despite it not being bright and sunny.  You really do have a panoramic view on top of Great Dodd; try it.

We dropped off the top and descended down towards Calfhow Pike which looked inviting in the sunshine, and we were not disappointed because it was indeed sunny and warmer down there.  This is where we settled down and had some lunch and where Bella decided to chase off after some sheep.  But she was thwarted because she was still firmly anchored to Pete's rucksack and it caught on a wire fence a few yards down the fellside, so dog and rucksack came to an abrupt halt much to the amusement of the onlookers. Good try Bella, but you are not going to be allowed to chase off and to make a point she was picked up and made to pose for the photograph below. You can see she is still looking for the sheep though!

Lyn, Pete and Bella on Calfhow Pike
No more drama ensued after that and we made our way over Clough Head safely before heading down over White Pike and down the fellside towards The Old Coach Road.  We only needed to find a way through the rough grass to the farmer's fields below and we were in Threlkeld before we knew it. Perfect timing for the 3.43 bus back to Keswick.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Wednesday 26th June we went up The Old Man of Coniston

Our route took us up over Dow Crag, down to the coll and then up to Coniston Old Man
We left the car park at The Old Coniston Railway Station and headed up through the woods to join the Walna Scar Road which we followed to it's highest point before it drops down into the Duddon Valley. 
Looking across to the summit cairn of The Old Man
 We walked over Brown Pike and Buck Pike towards Dow Crag.
Heading towards Dow Crag

The arĂȘte on Dow Crag which we climbed once a few years ago.
There were fine views across Goats Water far below and we could see the steep path leading to Goats Hawse above and beyond on to The Old Man.
Here we are at the trig point on Coniston Old Man  803m
 The trig point is perched on the rim of the crags which fall down to Low Water far below. The actual summit is just off picture to the right.
Lyn is holding #flatmarley a picture of special significance because by taking it to the top of Coniston Old Man she is participating in a game to raise money for Dogs Trust and Lyn has made her donation here. The reason she chose to bring it along was because Marley the Dog once hiked up Coniston Old Man before he sadly died of heart disease last December.
Bella is enjoying herself on the summit and this is her way of saying 'let's go'
We spent at least half an hour on the summit because it was such a lovely day and the views were magnificent, so if you have never been, keep it for a fine day.

Bella relaxes on Goats Hawse with Dow Crag in the distance.

More adventures are scheduled for this coming week when we all go off to Eskdale to stay at the Woolpack Inn and we hope to do Scafell not Scafell Pike. Watch this space folks.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Scafell Pike in the distance

Bella licks her nose
I have posted up the final walks for the season.  Look under the separate pages for July, August and September walks and you will find the programme.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Some new walks

Monday 15th July Blencathra Grade A Alison and Halle
Monday 22nd July Borrowdale Grade C Alison
Monday 29th July Lord's Seat & Barf Grade B Alison and Halle
Monday 5th Aug Hopegill Head/Grizedale Pike Grade A Alison and Halle
Monday 12th Aug Catbells Terrace & Lakeshore Grade C Alison
Monday 19th Aug Barrow Fell /Stile End Grade B Alison and Halle
Monday 26th Aug Skiddaw Six Wainwrights Grade A Alison and Halle
Monday 2nd Sept Borrowdale Grade C Alison and Halle
Monday 9th Sept Catbells & Lakeshore Grade B Alison and Halle
Monday 23rd Sept Dock Tarn/Watendlath Grade B Alison and Halle
Monday 30th Sept Blencathra Grade A Alison and Halle

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Pavey Ark and the Langdale Pikes today for the KMF

This was the scene ontop of Pike o Stickle at about 2.30 today.  We had set off in appalling rain and rising waters at 10.15 from the New Dungeon Ghyll car park to climb Pavey Ark, but found the river impossible to cross safely so we had to take a much longer route to detour around the problem.  Suffice it to say that Pete's navigation with map and compass was as accomplished as ever and we soon made off for the top of Pavey once we established some new bearings in the mist. After Pavey we took more bearings and set off for Harrison Stickle, then Pike of and lastly Loft Crag.  We all had a through wetting in the morning but by the afternoon the 'precipitation' eased off and we enjoyed slightly dryer hiking back to Langdale.  Not many photos could be taken in these conditions I am sorry to say.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Keswick Mountain Festival 2013

 Just a few photos from the last two days of the Mountain Festival, here we all are on day one Wednesday when we walked the ridge from Red Pike over High Stile to High Crag above Buttermere. It did not rain on our parade either!

 Here we are again, just waiting for the stragglers to catch up before we descend down to the valley.

This photo is on the top of Helvellyn on Thursday, and as you can see it keeps it's snow as long as it can.  This was another lovely day when it did not rain until the bus arrived way down at the bottom.

Another lovely photo from the top of Helvellyn, Bella our Border Terrier really enjoyed the hike.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Robinson to Dale Head

Elevenses on High Snockrigg

The snow has almost disappeared from the Lakeland Fells now, it's the last day of April and only patches remain on the higher tops. Here we take a break on High Snockrigg above Buttermere Moss. The normally boggy morass proved little obstacle today as there's not been a great deal of rain in the district recently and we climbed dry-shod to the top of Robinson 737m for lunch. That's Paul Ross in red who used to be a KR leader himself before leaving for the US where he spent the best part of fifteen years climbing in Colorado and neighbouring states...he's back! Little Bess one of his two Jack Russells is looking on and taking it all in her stride despite this being only her second outing on the Lakeland Fells. It was a fine sunny day today and a great day out; we look forward to many more of them this season and hope you'll find time to join us on a walk yourselves.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Glaramara in the Grip of Winter

 Wintery Glaramara.

Pete and Bella took a small group of intrepids over Glaramara 783m and Rosthwaite Fell 612m today. The higher tops in the Lakes are still in the grip of winter though the snow conditions today were good for walking and, though we carried them, we had no recourse to our Kahtoola Mini-Spikes except to climb the "Bad Step" that leads to the summit. It was a silent and deserted winter landscape with few walkers in evidence. This view was taken on the descent East from the three tarns on Combe Head towards Combe Door below.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Haystacks in the Snow

Innominate Tarn on Haystacks 597m.

This was the wintery landscape at frozen Innominate Tarn today 3 April. Pete and Lyn took a small group out to climb Haystacks from Honister, there was a good deal of snow on the ground though we didn't need to resort to crampons... In the distance, left to right, are Brandreth, Green Gable, Great Gable and Kirk Fell.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

In the Grip of Winter

Sergeant's Crag from Eagle Crag.

Easter; Good Friday... Sergeant's Crag, still in the icy grip of winter. Pete took this photo from Eagle Crag 1650ft looking south down Langstrath towards the snow covered high fells at the head of Borrowdale in the distance. We climbed Eagle Crag from the path beside Greenup Gill just before Lining Crag which in the prevailing conditions seemed safer than our usual route which zig-zags through the tricky outcrops of the north face of the fell. The tops were well above the snow line and there was ice about so Katoolah mini-spikes were the order of the day... nobody even fell over.  A harsh winter is usually the precedent to a good summer so we look forward to a very good summer indeed!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Out and about today

We turned a corner and there was the lake and the view up Borrowdale
Our days off when we don't go up a fell usually consist of a 'dog walk' of some sort nearer home and today we went up Springs Road and through the cut into the woods at Castlehead, this was the view we suddenly had of the lake and the clear blue streak of sky above Borrowdale.  It was bright and sunny up there away from the trees.

Not long to go now before we start our programme of regular walks and we look forward to a returning ex Keswickian's company too. He should fly back to Blighty towards the end of the month.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Scafell Overnighter July 2013

 Upper Eskdale with the River Esk below and the shapely peak of Bow Fell ahead.
Scafell Overnight Expedition 2-4 July 2013

This is a brief outline of the expedition which I'll fill in with more detail soon.

Pete and Lyn plan a three day outing based in Eskdale, staying either at the Woolpack NY190010 or at the nearby Eskdale YHA; if you fancy camping then the nearest camping is at Hollins Farm at Boot. We plan to arrive in Eskdale early on Tuesday 2nd and spend the day on the local fells. On Wednesday we'll take on the challenge of Scafell 964m/3162ft by way of Upper Eskdale, returning by a different route over Slight Side.  During the evenings we'll congregate at the Woolpack and have dinner and drinks. On Thursday we'll again spend the day walking on the Eskdale fells before returning home that evening. Of course you can join us for all or part of the expedition, it's up to you.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Spring/Summer Programme launched today

Some of the dates are empty this year. The reason is we decided to make ourselves available for private guiding.

But this is better news for you if you want to do something special like certain Wainwrights for instance. You might want to go and do a particular hill with friends or family and this we can arrrange too. Our fees are very reasonable, and if several of you go you can split the fees between yourselves.

Crag Hill
If you want to go walking with a group this year, then let us know the dates you are here and we will see if we can arrange an outing to suit several of you on the same day, that way you will be able to share the fees

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year 2013

We wish you all a happy and prosperous new year in 2013.  No photos from yesterday's walk seeing out the old year as the weather and flooding was so bad up Borrowdale we had to do another walk instead of Eagle Crag and Sergeant's Crag as it was far too dangerous to go up those two in the conditions.  So we did see out the year but had to content ourselves with Walla Crag and Ashness Bridge and then Lodore Falls before walking back to Keswick.  Never mind, the Cumbrian weather is sometimes a challenge but we all had a good day out.

We have rescheduled Eagle and Sergeants for Monday 7th January instead, so if you are interested give us a ring or book using the button.