Stonethwaite

Thursday 28 June 2018. This heat wave is becoming ridiculous, making walking a near impossibility. The temperature in Keswick hit 29c, vindicating my decision to take a day off. I decided to make an early start today and hit the trail from Stonethwaite at 8:30am. It was still incredibly hot, even at that early hour, but I’d planned a short walk.

I was retracing some of my steps on the Coast-to-Coast route as I headed alongside Stonethwaite Beck, stopping at Smithymire Island after only 1.25 miles for coffee and to take a few pictures. From here I headed a short way into Langstrath with the intention of turning round about a mile later. I soon came to a footbridge over Langstrath Beck and the decision was made to cut this short walk even shorter.

I was soon back at the car having walked just 2.5 miles with 300ft of ascent. I returned to the caravan to seek what shade I could find to get out of the burning sun. Any shade that there was to be had soon disappeared as the sun rose higher in the sky and I had to retreat inside the caravan. This resembled a sauna with the temperature hitting 37c by mid-afternoon. I’m rapidly melting into a sweaty blob and long for cooler weather. There is none forecast until next week so I doubt that I’ll be doing much more walking.

Stonethwaite – walk route

Aerial View

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Buttermere Circuit

Tuesday 26 June 2018. Today’s walk was a fairly low-level affair. Just 500ft of ascent on the 5 mile walk around Buttermere. I could have driven to Buttermere but the roads are not the best so I let the bus take the strain; catching the 09:30 which went down Borrowdale and over the Honister Pass to Buttermere. John Horner had told me that the bus broke down a couple of weeks ago on reaching the high point at Honister and a lady on today’s bus said that it had broken down twice yesterday. It therefore came as no surprise when the drive stopped the bus just 4 miles out of Keswick, at Nicholl End, to call back to base to report an alternator problem. He was told to carry on and that a new part would be fitted when he got back to Keswick. There were no further problems and the bus pulled into Buttermere, a little late, just before 11am. I needed to fuel up for what would be a warm walk so a stop at Sykes Farm cafe for a bacon butty and a pot of tea was in order.

I decided on a clockwise circuit heading out along the north shore and returning along the south shore. It was a very popular route with lots of other walkers having the same idea as me. I was relieved to find a mobile refreshment van at Gatesgarth Farm where I had a very welcome ice cream.

The bridge at Buttermere Dubs had been damage by floods, resulting in a detour a little further north to get back to Buttermere village. I had time to kill before catching the 2:24pm bus back so I called into the Bridge Hotel for a pint of lager & lime. The knee held up well with no significant pain.

Buttermere – walk route

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Barf & Lord’s Seat

Monday 25 June 2018. I last did these two Wainwrights with Karen, Bea & Terry in August 2012 so it was time that I visited them again. Last time we started from the Whinlatter visitor centre and had a steady climb up to Lord’s Seat. Today, I started from Powter Howe, near the shore of Bassenthwaite Lake. This meant that my ascent of Barf was short and very, very sharp; climbing 1,100ft in a distance of just one mile. Needless to say, I needed a few stops along the way. The reward was great views from Barf back down to Bass Lake, across to Skiddaw and Keswick.

Suitably rested, I made the short walk across to Lord’s Seat. This involved losing some of the height already gained only to climb again to the summit at 1,811ft. After this it was all downhill. My reason for chosing today’s walk was that there might be some shade in the trees. This wasn’t true until I hit the trail alongside Comb Beck where it was lovely and cool providing some relief from the midday heat. I finished with a mile or so of road walking which I could have done without but it was the only way to get back to the car.

The walk was 5.25 miles with a total ascent of 1,800ft. My knee held up well but I think that tomorrow I’ll do a fairly level circuit of Buttermere so as not to put it under too much strain.

Barf – walk route

Aerial View

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Weeping Window

Sunday 24 June 2018. I wanted to watch the England game at 1pm and to further rest my knee. What better way to fill in the morning with a visit to the Weeping Window poppy exhibition at Carlisle Castle. It was just 30 miles to drive and I was first through the gates when they opened at 10am so that I could get some pictures before the crowds obscured the views. Although the castle is run by English Heritage, there was no admission fee for the duration of the exhibition so I made a charitable donation.

The stewards advised that the best views are in the afternoon when the sun shines directly onto the cascade of poppies. Even so, it was quite spectacular and I wished that I’d made the effort to view the installation when it was at the Tower of London.

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Coledale

Friday 22 June 2018. Coledale is an area that I know well although it has always been viewed from a high level on peaks such as Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Sail and Causey Pike. I’ve looked down into the bottom of the valley and wondered what it would be like to walk through the valley to Force Crag Mine at its head. As my sore knee wouldn’t like too much up and down, today was an opportunity to try out this new walk through the valley starting from Braithwaite. The first half of a mile required some bracken bashing on a narrow path, with the attendant risk of tick bites, to join the wider track/road leading up to the mine. It was a gentle climb of just 400ft in the first couple of miles but then the going got tough.

At the mine I had three route choices. I could have a very easy day and retrace my steps back to the start. I could have a really tough day and climb up the zig-zag path to Coledale Hause, around the back of Crag Hill and down Sail. This would have added over 2 miles to my walk and another 2,000ft of ascent. This option was one that I had considered doing with John last week. I’m glad that we didn’t do it. I decided to stick with my intended route to cut across from the valley floor to join the path coming down off Sail. This short section of the walk was only three-quarters of a mile but had an ascent of over 900ft. Much more than I had thought! I needed a sit down and stopped at this highest point of my walk for lunch with a view.

All I needed to do now was to walk down 1,350ft back to the car. It was a steadily descending path, rocky in places, but not too bad. I resisted the urge to climb over Outerside and Barrow on the way down and followed the easier path through Barrow Door. My knee was beginning to ache by now and it came as a great relief when I spotted the Coledale Inn on entering the village of Braithwaite. It had been a very warm walk so I rewarded myself with a pub lunch and a pint of lager shandy. The walk was 5.5 miles with over 1,500ft of ascent.

Tomorrow is a rest day. Watching rugby in the morning and going to cheer-in the 10in10 and 5in5 finishers in the afternoon.

Coledale – walk route

Aerial View

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Latrigg Loop

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

Aerial View

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Not Raven Crag

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

Aerial View

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