Monthly Archives: March 2012

St Sunday Crag & Fairfield

What a day! If yesterdays drive to Keswick was hell then today’s walk was just heaven. A perfect summers day in late March – too hot really and my legs and arms are sunburnt. I took the precaution of applying sun cream to my neck & face but wasn’t expecting to be wearing so few clothes. The short drive to the start of the walk was done in long trousers and a short sleeve shirt topped off with a thin pullover. The trousers were replaced by shorts in the car park before setting off on the walk and the pullover came off on the first incline.

I’d set myself something of a challenge with this 9 mile walk including 3,500ft of ascent. Starting from Patterdale at 500ft, I made the steady climb to the summit of St Sunday Crag at 2,700ft. From here there was more up and down before reaching Fairfield at 2,850ft. On the way I could see across to Striding Edge & Helvellyn while down below was Grisedale Tarn. The last time I was there was on my Coast to Coast walk last June when the weather was miserable: cold, raining and blowing a gale – what a contrast.

As they say, what goes up must come down so I now had a 3,500ft descent. Some of it was easy and in some parts it was a scramble. The last mile or so was along the valley bottom in Patterdale where I was able to enjoy the fabulous scenery of the surrounding fells.

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Blencathra

After the exertions and sunburn of yesterday, I thought that I’d tackle something a little easier with the precaution of applying sun cream before setting off. Although only 4 miles in length, my walk up Blencathra included a total ascent of 2,160ft to the summit at 2,820ft. Starting from Scales, it was pretty much straight up to the top. I wasn’t in a hurry and it was about 20c, so I stopped once or twice on Doddick Fell to take in the views. I didn’t see any other walkers until reaching Blencathra summit where it became a little busier.

My route down was dominated by views of Sharp Edge. This is a notoriously difficult route and several walkers have fallen off to their deaths. Needless to say, I stayed well clear of it but took a few photographs of more intrepid walkers on their way up.

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Place Fell – eventually!

My plan for today was to do a walk from the remote location of Mardale Head at the far end of Haweswater. Access is via narrow country roads so I set up my sat nav to take me there. I thought that Mondays drive to the Lakes was the journey from hell but today beat it by far. My sat nav took me to completely the wrong place and some 3 or 4 miles down a farm access road only just wide enough for my car with stone walls on either side. The road was a dead end finishing in a farm yard where I had no option but to turn around and go back the way I had come. My faith in sat nav completely destroyed, it was back to a road map and general sense of direction which eventually saw me on the correct road to Haweswater. I thought that it couldn’t get worse but it did! The road alongside Haweswater to Mardale Head was closed for the installation of a mains water supply to a local hotel and I had no option but to abandon all thoughts of doing the planned walk.

My fall back position was to head to Patterdale and do a 7½ mile walk with 2,500ft of ascent over Place Fell. The first part of this route was familiar to me as it was along the Coast to Coast route that I did last year. On reaching Boredale Hause I left the C2C route and headed north for the summit of Place Fell at 2,150ft. From here it was largely downhill to the shores of Ullswater and back to Patterdale.

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Journey from Hell

As I was driving north this morning on my way to Keswick I saw a car that had hit the central reservation barrier of the A1 near Wittering and had blocked the south-bound carriageway. I thought lucky me as I passed a long queue of south-bound traffic and continued on my way north. Little did I know that the north-bound carriageway was also blocked between Leeming Bar & Catterick due to a lorry carrying straw having caught fire. The only way forward was to get off the A1 and detour either west or east. I chose the later as it seemed like the better route but it took an age to crawl around/through Northallerton and back onto the A1. The queueing on the A1 and a 14 mile detour added almost 2 hours to my journey which took me nearly 6?? hours to do 244 miles. The A1 north won’t be re-opened until 18:30!!?? I’m glad that I’ll be on foot from tomorrow and won’t encounter similar problems on the fells.

The caravan club site at Troutbeck Head near Keswick where I’m staying doesn’t have wi-fi so I’m relying on my Vodafone dongle for internet connection. Blog updates may be problematical??

Wansford

20 of us met on what was a chilly and misty start to a 7.5 mile walk from Wansford, passing through Yarwell & Nassington. A 2 mile loop in the middle of the walk took us to the memorial where Glen Miller played his last “hanger concert” before being killed in an air crash. Our lunch break was taken in glorious sunshine which added to the enjoyment of our walk back through Old Sulehay Forest.

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Downham Market and Denver

Despite the early morning mist a group of 24 started the walk from the car park in Downham today.

As we walked the sun came out and warmed us all up and the mist disappeared; our first stop was in a field with horses in. They came over to see us as we sat down and thought we had brought apples for them. When sitting on the grass horses are huge especially when they want your apple (see pictures).

The group did split which meant a smaller group returned back to the car taking it slower and all arrived back within a few minutes of each other.

As we neared Tesco supermarket we passed the old courthouse with the coat of arms on the top (penultimate picture)

An enjoyable walk unknown to most close to Wisbech our base.

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Hayfield

It was another wonderful day for my final walk of the holiday with clear blue sky and less windy & warmer than yesterday. The 7 mile route with 1450ft of ascent started from Hayfield and followed the banks of the River Kinder to the Kinder Reservoir. From here there was a short climb onto Middle Moor before dropping down to Little Hayfield. The main climb of the day (500ft) then followed up the side of Lantern Pike. This saw me stripping off, again, to shirt & pullover. With the climbing behind me it was all downhill back to Hayfield.

I’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather and have managed a total of 50 miles and just over 10,000ft of ascent on 6 walks. Not bad for late Feb/early Mar.

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