Tuesday 28 June 2016. The weather forecast for today wasn’t great with rain forecast by noon. With this in mind I drove around to Portinscale to meet with Josephine and Karen for a short walk along the shore of Derwent Water. We walked past the HF house at Derwentbank to the foot of Cat Bells before stopping for coffee at the Hawse End jetty. Our plan was to catch the ferry across to Keswick so we had to stop our walk after just 3 miles at the Brandlehow landing stage. We only had to wait 10 minutes for the boat to come along on its clockwise circuit of the lake. Most of the passengers got off the boat before we boarded and the ticket collector must have been distracted as he didn’t come and ask us for our fares so we got a free ride.
It was 12:15 when we arrived outside the Moot Hall and we agreed to meet an hour later to share a taxi ride back to Portinscale. This would give us some time to do our own thing around town and I opted for a fish and chip lunch. It had started to rain by the time that we gathered again at 13:15, just before the rains intensified.
Derwent Water – walk route
Sunday 26 June 2016. I was joined today by Jacqui, Josephine and Amanda for an 8½ mile walk up Walla Crag with a total ascent of 1,625ft. I have to say that after yesterday’s marathon walk this felt relatively easy. Starting from Keswick bus station we made our way through the town and past Rakefoot Farm. I wanted to do this walk as the last time that I was here I made the mistake of not crossing a wall to gain the true summit of Walla Crag at 1,243ft. The mistake wasn’t repeated and we joined a dozen or so other walkers who were enjoying the view back across Keswick to Bassenthwaite and out to the Coledale hills.
With the uphill walking behind us, we made our way down to Ashness Bridge where we stopped for lunch. The final leg of the walk was down the road to the Ashness landing stage and back along the shore of Derwent Water where we passed the Centenary Stone. One final stop was made for a post-walk cup of tea in the Theatre café before a short stroll across Crow Park brought us back to the cars just as it started to rain.
Walla Crag – walk route
Saturday 25 June 2016. It was a rainy morning yesterday so, rather than walking, I took myself off to Rheged to watch a film, “The life of a mountain – Blencathra”. As the title implies, it was all about the mountain and the people who use it for work or pleasure. I sat in a huge cinema with just 6 others to watch this film which ran for 2 hours. It could have been condensed into half of that time and an hour long version will be shown by the BBC later this year. After the film I went to GO Outdoors in Penrith to buy a new rucksack with a 20% off discount voucher from the Camping and Caravanning Club. My spending spree didn’t end there as I later stopped off in Keswick to buy some new Aku boots.
Back to the walking on Saturday when John and I tackled the 5in5 charity walk in aid of MS. John’s wife, Linda, kindly drove us to Buttermere where the 5in5 started. This was also the half-way point for the 400 or so participants who were doing the much harder 10in10. The 5in5 title relates to doing 5 mountains in 5 hours but as this entails walking 9.8 miles and climbing 3,850ft the target is tough and John and I managed to complete if 6hrs 8mins.
After registration at Buttermere we set off to join the chain of walkers/runners making their way to the top of the first mountain, High Snockrigg at 1,726ft. As we were soon to discover, having climbed one mountain there was a downhill section to follow and more uphill to the next one. The second peak was Robinson at 2,418ft which was a new Wainwright for me. By now we had been walking for 2 hours but had only covered 3 miles and it was time for lunch.
More down and up followed as we made our way to our third mountain, Dale Head, which at 2,470ft was the highest point of our walk. We’d now been going for 3 hours covering the grand total of 4 miles and it was time for our second and final refreshment stop. There was a steep descent from Dale Head to the tarn at the bottom before climbing again to our fourth mountain, High Spy 2,142ft. By now we’d been going for 4 hours and had still only covered 5¼ miles. The good news was that it was downhill to our fifth and final mountain checkpoint on Bull Crag at 1,890ft.
We desended further to the hause on Cat Bells before dropping into the Newlands Valley to make our way to the end of walk checkpoint at the Swinside Inn where we were greeted with clapping and chearing from marshalls and early finishers. Although this was a charity walk, it was the equivalent in distance and height of a walk up Scafell Pike and is no small undertaking. Those who did the much harder 16 mile 10in10 route have my greatest respect. At the end we were given our completion certificate and a 10in10 monogrammed baselayer which is valued at £25 and almost offset the entry fee. I’ll have to make a separate donation to MS to ensure that they get some much needed funds.
5in5 – Walk Route
5in5 – Route Profile
Thursday 23 June 2016. Yesterday’s walk around Borrowdale with a total ascent of around 1,500ft was fairly easy so I thought that today’s 8.1 mile walk around Loweswater with a total ascent of 1,880ft wouldn’t be too difficult. How wrong could I be? It started gently with a walk along the road and then up the now disused Mosser Road. We walked past a stile, hidden in an overgrown hedge, leading on to Darling Fell and had to double back a short distance. It was here that the going got considerably harder with a near 600ft climb up a 1in3 grassy fellside to the summit of Darling Fell at 1,282ft. Needless to say I had to stop many times before getting to the top.
We then had a descent of 200ft to Crabtree Beck where we stopped for lunch before making another 250ft climb to what Wainwright thought to be the summit of Low Fell. The true summit was a little further north and all of 35ft higher at 1,388ft. More down and up brought us to the top of Smithy Fell before the final climb to our second Wainwright on Fellbarrow at 1,365ft.
It was more or less all downhill from here as we made our way back down to the Mosser Road and Hudson Place before walking through Holme Wood on the shore of Loweswater. For those who had to contend with heavy rain in the South East I should say that it was a beautiful summers day here in the Lakes.
Loweswater – walk route
Wednesday 22 June 2016. Both John and I found yesterday’s walk to be very exhausting and he wisely decided to take today off. I was unsure and waited until this morning before making my decision on what to do. I had contemplated a walk up Skiddaw but opted instead for a much easier wander around Borrowdale. Using my OAP pass and saving £7 on car parking, I took the bus down Borrowdale to start my walk in Seatoller.
I made an inauspicious start to the walk with a navigational error, foolishly assuming that I knew where I was going. I soon realised that I was on the wrong track and headed higher up to meet the track coming down from Honister. This was a popular route and I saw many other walkers along the way. My target was Castle Crag which at only 951ft is one of the smaller Wainwrights. Nevertheless, the was a climb to be done up the the heaps of waste slate to the top of the Crag. There were good views from the top looking across Derwentwater and back to Keswick.
I then walked down to the banks of the River Derwent for a woodland walk towards Rosthwaite. I’d planned to stop in the Flock In café and skip the last 1¼ miles back to Seatoller. This plan went out of the window when I found that the café was closed for redecorating. What kind of business closes at the height of summer? Just beyond belief. It was 2:15 and my bus back left Seatoller at 2:50. It would be touch and go if I made it in time and if I didn’t then I’d have an hours wait hanging around in a car park for the next bus. I took a safer option and went to the nearby Royal Oak Hotel where I was served with a pot of loose leaf tea for just £2.
The buses up and down Borrowdale were delayed today as road sweepers were picking up the chippings from the resurfacing of yesterday that had meant that the road was closed for a couple of days. My bus was more than 15 minutes late and had I known then I could have walked to meet it in Seatoller. I wasn’t overly concerned as the 5 miles that I’d walked with a total ascent of just under 1,500ft was more than enough for me today.
Seatoller – walk route
Tuesday 21 June 2016. My former work colleague John Horner and his wife Linda are staying in Keswick for the same 2 weeks as me and we had arranged to do some walking together during this holiday. John fancied doing Red Pike and High Stile which tower above Buttermere. I’d done them both a few years ago but didn’t mind doing them again so we set off for the National Trust car park which is situated just a couple of hundred yards to the north of Butttermere village.
The walk started with a gentle stroll to the end of the lake at Buttermere before the climbing began in earnest. We had a climb of over 2,000ft to the top of Red Pike (2,477ft). There were stone steps for the first part of the walk to Bleaberry Tarn where we stopped for coffee having done about 1,300ft of the climb. The last 700ft to the top of Red Pike was much as I had remembered it being a loose scree covered path where the use of walking poles greatly aided our ascent. We met a guy coming down the way the we were going up; rather him than me although we could see a little later that he had made it safely to the bottom.
We had been fairly sheltered on the Red Pike climb but having made it to the top we then had to contend with a very stiff breeze for the next section which was an undulating walk down and then up again to the twin summits of High Stile at 2,647ft. By now we had been out for over 3 hours and had only covered 3.3 miles, nevertheless it was time for lunch with an excellent view down to Buttermere and Crummock Water with the Scottish hills on the other side of the Solway Firth visible in the far distance. A little later on we were able to see the Isle of Man away to our west.
Our walk then took us along Coombe Crags to the minor summit of High Crag (2,440ft). This marked the start of the very steep descent down Gamlin End the first half of which was a loose zig-zag track where again walking poles came into their own. The bottom section had been engineered with a series of stone steps and made the going a little easier. At the bottom of Gamlin End we were faced with a choice of routes. We could have made another climb over Seat to join the Scarth Gap Pass or we could follow a very rocky descending path to pick up the Scarth Gap Pass a little further down. I was just about knackered by now and John felt the same so the idea of further climbing was quickly dismissed and we opted for the descending route. This was the worst part of the walk and although it was less than a third of a mile in length we descended almost 650ft.
The rest of the Scarth Gap Pass down to the shores of Buttermere was relatively easy going leaving us with just under 2 miles back to the car. It had been a “good walk” which had taken us nearly 7 hours to walk 8 miles. I wasn’t surprised to discover that the total ascent worked out as 3,479ft. This was a serious walk and wasn’t far short of the 3,900ft of ascent that is involved in going up and down Scafell Pike.
John & Linda invited me back to theirs for dinner and whilst this meant missing some of the Euro 2016 football it was a small price to pay for a very enjoyable meal and a good end to the day.
Red Pike – walk route
Red Pike – Route Profile