Monthly Archives: August 2014

Staveley

Sunday 31 August 2014. Today is the last day of summer and my last day of walking from my base in Kendal before moving on to Clitheroe tomorrow. It was a beautifully sunny day so I made the short drive to nearby Staveley for a 6.8 mile walk with 970ft of ascent. Although not in the high hills of the Lakes, Staveley is a good starting point for a relatively easy walk with fine views. This walk had two stiff climbs to reach Potter Tarn, a steady descent and then a couple of miles of riverside walking on the Dales Way to get back to Staveley.

I’ve seen quite a few Swallows flying around over the last couple of weeks and thought that it won’t be long before they leave these shores. I was therefore surprised to see a clutch of fledglings in a nest made in a farm barn doorway.

Although the weather has been mixed during my time in Kendal, I’ve still managed to do 8 walks totalling 62 miles and 16,000ft of ascent. I fulfilled my ambition to go down Gapping Gill; ticked off 6 new Wainwrights and added 3 new Howgills tops. It has been most enjoyable and, as the weather seems likely to better next week, I’m a little sad to be leaving but will be back at some time soon.

Yarlside

Saturday 30 August 2014. Writing my “Howgills” blog first thing this morning got me thinking about going back to bag Yarlside (2,096ft), the hill that I missed the other day when on Randygill Top. My first thought was to go up the side of Cautley Spout which I’d already done 2 or 3 times before and then to swing around Hare Shaw to Bowderdale Head before the climb to Yarlside. This would have added unnecessary distance and ascent to what would still be a stiff walk.

Setting off from Cross Keys, I made my way to the foot of Cautley Spout but instead of climbing up the side, I detoured in a northerly direction towards the hause at Bowderdale Head. From here, the route turned north-east up steep open fellside to another hause before the final push to Yarlside. It was at this second hause that the weather took a turn for the worse. I could see it closing in from the west and just had time to get the waterproofs on before being enveloped in a combination of low cloud, drizzly rain and a strong westerly wind. The last 150ft of ascent to the small cairn that marks to top of Yarlside were climbed in less than ideal conditions and the view from the top was masked by the low cloud. I hung around for a couple of minutes in the hope that it would clear but to no avail. As sod’s law would have it, by the time that I’d descended back to the hause, the weather had improved with patches of blue sky. I couldn’t be bothered to go back to the top for the view.

The walk back followed the same route as on the way out. Although it was only 4.5 miles there was 1,800ft of ascent. The pictures at the start and end of the walk show just how the weather changed during the morning.

The Howgill Fells

Saturday 30 August 2014. There has been a mixture of heavy showers and more persistent rain here in Kendal for the last couple of days and today has started in the same vein, although it may brighten later. As I haven’t walked for the last 2 days, I thought that I would use the time to record the routes that I’ve done across the Howgill Fells. It is an area just to the east of the M6 and to the north of Sedbergh and is about 7 miles from north to south and 5 miles from east to west.

It is fast becoming one of my favourite walking areas; largely because of its feeling of remoteness and the absence of fences and walls. Consequently, you can walk at will in any direction. There are some well defined paths but much of it is open fellside with the right to roam. The highest point, The Calf, is just over 2,200ft whilst Sedbergh lies at around 450ft.

Randygill Top

Wednesday 27 August 2014. I awoke to clear blue skies this morning and made the easy 20 mile drive to Ravenstonedale on the northern flanks of the Howgills. The plan was to walk to Randygill Top (2,047ft) and to then see if I had the energy left to take in Yarlside (2.096ft). There doesn’t appear too much difference in height between these two hills but to go to Yarlside would add 2½ miles and a further 600ft of up and down.

It was easy going as I left Ravenstonedale on what would be an out and back walk. I was soon on open fellside following the faintest of footpaths and at times sheep tracks. I followed the course of Wyegarth Gill as I made my way steadily uphill and around the side of Knoutberry. I stopped for a rest on Grere Fell before making the final push for Randygill Top. By now I’d walked 4.3 miles and decided not to bother with the extension to Yarlside.

On my way back I took in both Green Bell (1,984ft) and Knoutberry (1,686ft). The return leg was largely wandering over trackless fells and I was glad of the assistance from my GPS to confirm my location and direction of travel. In the 4 hours of my walk I only saw 2 other people and they were at least a mile away from me. If you like wide open and empty spaces then the Howgills are ideal. My walk was 8.3 miles with a total ascent of 1,868ft.

Inexplicably, the micro SD card in my tablet died yesterday and along with it went almost 20gb of data including all of my digital mapping. Although I was able to use the digital mapping on my phone for today’s walk, it doesn’t have the same battery capacity as the tablet, but it still works just as well. I wasn’t sure if it was the tablet or the micro SD card that was at fault. The former would be expensive to replace whilst a new micro SD card from the nearby PC World only cost £20. Luckily it did the trick and I then spent the next 3 hours downloading the mapping for the Lake District and Clitheroe, on a very slow internet connection, so that I can go back to using the tablet for the remainder of the holiday.

Hartsop and High Street

Tuesday 26 August 2014. The weather forecast for yesterday was both poor and wrong in that it suggested a rainy day, which didn’t happen. Instead of walking, I met Jacqui for lunch at the Highwayman Inn at Burrow near Kirkby Lonsdale.

The weather was much better today so I met Jacqui at Staveley and we then drove across the Kirkstone Pass to start the walk at Hartsop. There is only a very small car park in the village and we were lucky to find a space. Others, who had arrived later, managed to park but without any consideration for those already there. It was a steady walk out of the village alongside Hayeswater Gill until the point at which we started the climb of Gray Crag. This was an incredibly steep grassy bank which involved many stops until we reached the first rocky outcrop. The climb continued, unrelentingly, until we reached Gray Crag (2,290ft). By now, we had climbed 1,650ft. Soon after we saw a solitary Red Deer as we continued the climb to the beacon at the top of Thornthwaite Crag (2,550ft). It was here that we stopped for lunch. There had been a very strong wind blowing for much of the climb and we were glad to find some shelter for a little while.

After lunch we made our way up on to High Street with a short diversion to bag the trig point on Racecourse Hill (2,716ft). The next objective was to bag another new “Wainwright”, The Knott (2,424ft). I’d walked around this hill on my C2C walk but didn’t have the energy at the time to divert to the top.

From here it was all downhill as we made our way back to Hartsop. The path marked on the OS map didn’t match that on the ground but route finding wasn’t really a problem. It had been a super 7.3 mile walk with a total ascent of 2,600ft. The initial climb was something of a shock to the system but we made it to the top in 2 hours. The views all around were magnificent and well worth the effort.

Swaefas Way

Sunday 24 August 2014. Eight members turned out for this walk circum-navigating Swaffham. After a crisp but sunny start, the temperature rose nicely, for ideal walking conditions.

Scout Scar

Sunday 24 August 2014. Yesterday started brightly but heavy showers/rain developed soon after lunch. It didn’t bother me though as there was sport on TV all day and I had planned a rest from walking.

It was another bright start today so I made the short drive to Scout Scar for a 5.8 mile walk with 970ft of ascent. I last walked on Scout Scar some 7 years ago when staying with my motorhome at the Caravan Club’s Kendal site. I walked from there, into Kendal and then up to Scout Scar. This time, I started from the car park near the top of Scout Scar and saved the 500ft foot climb from the town centre. The walk along the edge of the Scar is fairly level and soon took me to “The Mushroom”. This is an elaborate topograph from which there are great views of the surrounding fell tops.

Leaving the edge of the Scar, there was a steepish drop down through woodland to Underbarrow. Having come down over 500ft, I then had to regain all of this height on the climb back to the car as can be seen from the route profile.

I’ve updated the blog for the Kentmere Horseshoe by adding a rather interesting route profile.