Thursday 21 June 2018. Tuesday night was wild and windy, not as bad as Storm Hector last week, but still strong enough to dislodge a few of the pegs securing my caravan awning to the ground. I decided to give walking a miss on Wednesday. The overnight rain stopped just in time for me to catch the 09:30 bus to Ambleside for a look around the shops. I caught the 11:30 bus back to Keswick getting me back in time for the first World Cup football match of the day.
I promised not to post anymore pictures of my body-parts but feel compelled to share with you a couple of pictures of the first ever tick that I’ve picked up whilst out walking. I’m not sure where this came from as it wasn’t there when I showered yesterday but mysteriously appeared today. I hadn’t been out in the countryside in the intervening period and it must have been hiding in my clothes. Luckily, if that it the right expression, it was on the front of my left thigh. Had it been anywhere else then I probably wouldn’t have spotted it. If my luck holds, it won’t have passed on Lyme disease but I’ll be watching out over the next few days in the hope that the tell-tale bullseye rash doesn’t appear.
Today dawned bright and breezy. I didn’t want to do anything too challenging but wanted to test out my sore knee. I decided to stay local and do a walk up to the summit of Latrigg. I last did this in November 2011 on the HF holiday where I first met Jacqui. It was just 1.75 miles to the top of Latrigg with a climb of 850ft which was achieved in exactly one hour. Not too bad, but I wasn’t in a race. It was very breezy at the top but there were great views to be had. I found shelter in the lee of the hill for my coffee break whilst looking down over Keswick and Derwent Water.
Rather than going back the way that I came, I extended the walk a little further to the east before heading back to the car park at the foot of the Skiddaw tourist path. Karen and I parked here in Jan 2017 when we did Lonscale Fell. I was soon retracing my steps back down towards Keswick where I passed a steady stream of walkers on their way up. My knee was grumbling towards the end of this 4.25 mile walk with just 1,000ft of ascent.
Latrigg – walk route
For today’s walk I had planned a route that would take me up to Raven Crag to bag a new Wainwright. From here I would then ascend further to Castle Crag and descend alongside Shoulthwaite Gill. I parked the car by the side of the A591 knowing that the small road running down the western side of Thirlmere had been closed for some time. As I walked along this “closed” road there were further warning signs and another advising that there was also a footpath closure. I ignored all of these, as did some other walkers that I saw later, and headed to the point where the climb up Raven Crag should have started. It was obvious that the path was impassable due to a large number of fallen trees and a footpath closure notice on the access gate reinforced the point. This was a great disappointment as the path was closed in March this year for a minimum of 6 months.
What to do now? I could have driven to other walks in the area but, instead, I back-tracked to the eastern side of Thirlmere to follow a permissive path around Greathow Wood. Although it was only a short walk at 2.5 miles, there was still 500ft of ascent and, other than a few twinges on the downward slope, my knee was much better than yesterday. Still not up to doing the 5in5 but it gave me hope that I would be able to do other gentler walks for the remainder of this holiday.
When I got back to the car I spotted a notice not more than 20 yards away advising that the Raven Crag path was closed. Had this been on the other side of the road, in the direction of Raven Crag, then it might have been of more use.
Raven Crag – walk route
Monday 18 June 2018. I haven’t done any walking for the last couple of days. Saturday was given over to watching rugby internationals on TV and yesterday I intended to do today’s walk but decided to watch the Lakesman Triathlon which was based in and around Keswick.
Today’s walk was intended to be something of a trial to see if I would be up to doing the 5in5 challenge walk this coming Saturday. This is no small undertaking being just under 10 miles with 3,500ft of ascent. Another reason for doing today’s walk was that it would enable me to tick-off two new Wainwrights; Bleaberry Fell (1,936ft) and High Seat (1,995ft).
I drove around to the other side of Derwent Water and parked in the NT’s Great Wood car park. It wasn’t long before I was climbing up the side of Cat Gill. This is a particularly steep route to get up onto Walla Crag with 600ft of ascent in just under half a mile. I needed a coffee stop on reaching the top. Whilst sheltering from the breeze in the little valley of the stream that feeds Cat Gill, I was joined by Sarah who was overseeing 5 groups of Duke of Edinburgh award walkers who were out and about in the area. We must have chatted for over 15 minutes until the first group of walkers came along. They were doing the same route as me and we leapfrogged each other as we made our way up and over Bleaberry Fell, across to High Seat and then down to Ashness Bridge.
My knee has been giving me trouble since I arrived last Monday and today’s walk would be a good test. It is okay going up but coming down in a painful experience. The climb up to Bleaberry Fell was steady on a clear path, only becoming more steep as I approached the summit. The walk across to High Seat crossed some boggy areas which were negotiated without getting my feet wet. I stopped briefly for lunch on High Seat before making the long descent to Ashness Bridge. This wasn’t too bad to start with but the strain on my knee was beginning to tell. I should have taken some painkillers but didn’t and a 10 minute stop for tea in an NT barn seemed to do me the world of good.
I set off on the last mile os so back to the car with a pain score of about 2 compared to something approaching 5 or 6 on the way down from High Seat. Although the walk was only 6 miles it had a total ascent of 1,980ft and took me just over 6 hours to complete. Progress was painfully slow coming down and I now know that I wouldn’t enjoy the 5in5, even if I was able to complete it which I very much doubt. Walking for the next few days will be confined to lower levels or something like Fleetwith Pike which I can climb up and get the bus back down from Honister.
High Seat – walk route
Friday 15 June 2018. The weather forecast for today wasn’t very promising with showers set to develop by late morning. With this in mind, I was out walking by 8:20am. My plan was to go over the top of Cat Bells and to walk back along the lower level terrace. This plan was quickly changed as there was a chilly breeze blowing and the threat of rain looked all too real.
Instead, my walk took me just 1.3 miles along the Cat Bells terrace and down to the side of Derwent Water at Brandelhow Bay where I stopped for coffee. A short walk then took me through the woods on the lake shore to Victoria Bay where, at 9:40am, it started to rain. This was enough to make me put a coat on. Thankfully, I wasn’t very far from the car and this 3 mile walk ended at just 10am.
Part of my plan for the day was to call in at the Lingholm Kitchen for the obligatory holiday bacon butty and a pot of tea. This provided a welcome stop on the way back to Keswick.
Under Cat Bells – walk route
Thursday 14 June 2018. John and Linda invited me to join them for dinner last night – fillet steak no less. Their hospitality is most generous. I got back at around 9:30pm by which time the wind was really starting to pick up as Storm Hector grew ever closer. I had some concerns for my caravan awning but as it was on the leeward side of the van, I hoped that it would be okay. I should have know better.
I hadn’t been in bed long before Hector grew in intensity and the caravan started to shake in what was now becoming a fully grown gale. I can’t say that I slept very well as I could hear my awning slapping against the side of the van. At 1:30am it had become so bad that I feared that some serious damage might be caused so I got up to take a look. Most of the pegs securing the awning to the ground had been pulled up and it was flapping about like a sail. I did my best to secure it, hoping that it would last until daylight.
At 4am Hector was at full blast and I couldn’t stand it any more. I just had to get up, in the wind and rain, and to take the awning down. This didn’t take too long as it was only fastened to my caravan by the awning channel running alongside the roof. I quickly slid the awning out of the channel, rolled it up into a large untidy ball and threw it onto the back seat of the car. Tables, chairs and mats etc were quickly gathered up and thrown into the boot of the car.
I had hoped that these actions would give me some peace of mind as no further damage could be done and I might catch up on some sleep. Sadly no; I was awake again at 5am and listening to the radio on my TV, via satellite. At 7:30am there was a most almighty gust of wind and the satellite signal had been lost. My satellite dish had blown over and I had to go out and re-site it in a more secure position under the jockey wheel of the caravan.
By now, many of my fellow caravanners were out taking down what was left of their collapsed awnings. There was a scene of devastation with debris everywhere and branches broken off trees. The storm abated a little my lunchtime but in my sleep-deprived zombie-like state I decided that the neither I nor the weather were best suited to walking so I’m having a day off.
The awning is a wet soggy mess on the back seat of the car so I’ll have to put it up again if only to dry it off and provide some shelter for the rest of this holiday.
Wednesday 13 June 2018. For my second and final walk with John on this holiday we chose a route which would take us into a less frequented part of the Lake District at the back of Blancathra. The area is generally referred to as Mungrisdale Common. Parking alongside the A66 at Scales we made the steady ascent around the side of Scales Fell and into the Glenderamackin Valley. We walked to the hause at the head of the valley before heading for Bannerdale Crags where we stopped for lunch.
Returning to the hause, we now had a steep 800ft climb up Blue Screes to the top of Blencathra. It was getting a little breezy by now as Storm Hector wasn’t too far away so we didn’t linger on the top and made a hasty descent. I say hasty, but it was more like a steady plod as my knee was hurting me by now and I had to pop a couple of paracetamol.
Our route down was one that I hadn’t done before taking us over the top of Scales Fell to pick up our outward route back to Scales. This walk was slightly shorter than yesterday at 7.2 miles but still has a similar amount of ascent at 2,670ft.
Bannerdale Crags & Blencathra – walk route
Tuesday 12 June 2018. After a drive of over 5 hours to Keswick yesterday I was pleased to accept an invitation to dinner with good friends John & Linda Horner. Linda had cooked a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings which was a welcome change from my normal diet shakes.
In return for this excellent meal, John joined me today for an exhausting walk up to High Street. I’d done this before with Jacqui, but it was a case of jumping in at the deep end for a first walk of this holiday. Including a trip out and back to Kidsty Pike, it turned out to be 8.1 miles. Unusually the total ascent and highest point of the walk were almost the same at just over 2,700ft.
Starting from Hartsop we made our way on a good track up the side of Hayeswater Gill until the time came to branch off and tackle the never-ending climb of Gray Crag. It took us about 2.5 hours to walk just under 3 miles to Thornthwaite Crag where we stopped for lunch. By now we had climbed almost 2,000ft.
After lunch we made our way to the trig point at the top of High Street (2,716ft). This walk was a series of firsts for John as he hadn’t been to High Street before. For good measure we diverted and climbed some more to Kidsty Pike, the highest point on the Coast to Coast route. Having reached the top, we now had a descent of over 2,000ft back to the car. We skirted around The Knott and made our way down a knee-jarring rocky path. Thankfully this gave way to a grass track down to Hayeswater and the gill-side track back to Hartsop. I was just about on my knees by the end and couldn’t have walked another step. I hope that I recover in time for tomorrow’s walk.
High Street – walk route