Barrow

Wednesday 18 January 2017. Karen wanted a slightly easier walk today so we drove to nearby Braithwaite to do a short route up and over Barrow, returning via Stoneycroft Gill and the Newlands valley. This was an odd walk with most of the uphill (1,200ft) being in the first mile and a half which, at our now normal blistering pace of 1mph, took us 90 minutes to complete. It was a little chilly on the top of Barrow so we descended a little before stopping for our coffee break. I’ve added a picture of nearby Cat Bells which is just 12ft lower then Barrow but looks more “pointy”.

I was pleased that our route took us alongside Stoneycroft Gill as this enabled me to revisit the scene of a badly sprained ankle acquired many years ago whilst on a team-building exercise from work. This required us to partake in a Ghyll Scramble. For those who are unfamiliar with this hairbrained activity, you are required to lay down, fully clothed, in a freezing cold stream and then slide downstream over waterfalls and other obstacles until you reach the bottom. Unfortunately, hitting the bottom was exactly what I did resulting in the sprained ankle.

On of my photographic ambitions is to take a picture of a waterfall which has a “milky” appearance. This is achieved through a combination of camera manual settings, most important of which is the exposure time. The waterfalls in Stoneycroft Gill provided an ideal opportunity to try out my waterfall shot. 2 second and 1 second exposures were too long and 1/30th second too short. After a little trial and error, 1/15th second seemed about right. Judge for yourself from the pictures below.

The last part of the walk alongside Newlands Beck was a gentle stroll where we watched a farmer on a quad bike going from field to field to check his flocks of sheep. A little later on we met him at the farm in Little Braithwaite where he had brought in some of the more colourful members of his flock.

The walk was just 5.4 miles with a total ascent of 1,500ft.

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The Bowder Stone

Tuesday 17 January 2017. I started the day with a couple of atmospheric shots of the mist shrouding Derwentwater and Cat Bells.

Both Karen and I are suffering with sore legs as a result of yesterday’s walk up Lonscale Fell. I think it is the downhill that does this for me. Putting our aches and pains to one side, we drove down Borrowdale to repeat a walk that I did with Jacqui almost 2 years ago. Parking near the Bowder Stone we walked back up the road to Grange where, for a short while, we followed the route of the Cumbria way before turning off to cross the River Greta on the Chinese Bridge. We stopped for coffee here before heading for the Lodore Falls.

The footbridge behind the Lodore Hotel still hasn’t been repaired from the floods of Dec 15 so we made a short diversion to approach the falls from a different direction. When I did the walk with Jacqui we took an “off path” route up the side of the falls and only joined the “official path” towards the top of the falls. I was determined not to repeat this mistake and easily found the proper route. This navigational success was short-lived as soon after I took a wrong turn as can be seen on the loop near Hogs Earth marked on the map. It was at this point we were caught up by a couple of similar age who had been thrown by the diversion around the Lodore Hotel and were now trying to find their way back to the Borrowdale Road and Derwentwater. They didn’t appear to have a map and were following a route from a walks leaflet. I suggested that they follow me as I back-tracked and I would then point them in the right direction. Clearly they had little confidence in my navigational skills and headed off in the opposite direction to us. We were making for the footbridge across Watendlath Beck whilst they were heading towards the water but with no way of getting across. Needless to say we never saw them again and for all I know they might still be wandering around in the woods above Lodore Falls. It seems that you just can’t help some people, even when they need it!

We walked beside the beck into the hamlet of Watendlath where we had lunch, feeding crumbs to a friendly Robin. It was 2:20 and I estimated that we would be back at the car by 3:10pm. It took us 90 minutes to do the next 1.5 miles due to a combination of an uphill climb over Puddingstone Bank and rocky slippery descent through Frith Wood. We stopped briefly for a photo opportunity at The Bowder Stone before walking the final half mile back to the car. Both Karen and I were glad that the walk had come to and end and slumped back into the cushioned car seats totally knackered. The walk was 7.75 miles with a total ascent of just over 1,800ft.

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Lonscale Fell

Monday 16 January 2017. Before I get into telling you something about today’s walk, I must first say what a delight it was to bump into Yvonne Booth and Ann Bonington who were out training for the 10in10. I hadn’t really met either of them before but, as I took part in the 5in5 last June, they looked vaguely familiar. I follow them through Facebook and Twitter. I was pleased to help by taking an “action shot” of them before they sped off in the opposite direction. The work they do for MS can only be commended and I urge you to look at their website and make a donation, if you can.

Now, back to today’s walk. Karen has joined me for 4 days and I didn’t decide which walk to do until the very last-minute. It looked as if the low cloud might clear so I opted for a walk up the Glenderatera valley, almost as far as Skiddaw House youth hostel before turning to climb Burnt Horse Fell and then on to Lonscale Fell; a new Wainwright for me. The 1,000ft climb up Burnt Horse Fell was steady to start with but then changed dramatically as we dragged ourselves up a 1in3 slope and across a small residual snowfield. It was from here that we had a good view of a couple of walkers on Lonscale Crags but sadly, by the time that we got there, the mist had descended obscuring the view.

Our route back soon pick up the “tourist track” down from Skiddaw which brought us back to the car. I was glad that I’d driven out of Keswick and up to the small car park just below Latrigg as this cut off about 3 miles and about 600ft of ascent from our walk which turned out to be 6.5 miles with a total ascent of about 2,000ft.

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Doddington walk

Despite it raining overnight and early morning 6 members travelled to the start.

We started the walk following the path along the road to Wimblington and branched off on the left towards Knowles transport depot where at the bottom a circular walk is sign posted. We then travelled beside fields on established footpaths heading towards the caravan park on the outskirts of Doddington.

From here we turned back towards Doddington by more signed route returning beside the football field near the hospital and then back to the start..

As the weather was chilly and damp we only stopped briefly for a drink and biscuit deciding to eat lunch at home .

No pictures were taken along the route as it was a miserable day but we did spot the squirrel in the car park and many wind turbines scattered along the way.

Wereham

Sunday 8 January 2017. Eleven of us met today for Karen’s “two ponds” walk. It was good to welcome first time walkers Tori & Clay for what turned out to be fairly short walk at just 6 miles. I didn’t fancy the designated grass verge meeting point at Flegg Green and parked instead at Wereham church where I was joined by Tori & Clay and Helen & Linda for the half-mile walk out to meet the rest of the group. They must have looked suspicious parked in the middle of nowhere and had attracted the interest of nearby residents who clearly thought that they were a group of hare-coursers. A chat with the local constabulary soon allayed concerns and we were off on our walk with the vapour cloud from the nearby sugar beet factory providing an interesting backdrop.

The walk was a mixture of road-walking interspersed by short sections of muddy field edges. Having done a loop, we stopped for coffee beside the 1st pond in Wereham. From here, it was largely road-walking to the 2nd pond in Boughton where we stopped for lunch.

On the last leg of the walk we disturbed a group of Roe deer who ran off into the distance but I did manage to capture a long-range picture before they went too far. Unusually for this time of year, it was a relatively mild day at 10c and most of us felt overdressed and consequently a little too warm. I think that we’re due some winter weather later this week which will make a welcome change.

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Sandringham

Saturday 31 December 2016. Hilary kindly agreed to lead an extra walk today around the Sandringham estate. This is becoming a regular end-of-year event and there is plenty of scope to vary the route. Much of this was in woodland with restricted views so I didn’t bother with any pictures.

9 of us took part in this 6.2 mile walk taking us from the visitor centre to the edge of Dersingham and back. The route is shown below.

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Holme next the Sea

Sunday 18 December 2016. 9 of us met for today’s gentle 6.6 mile walk from Holme next the Sea. We set off up beach road to cross the A149 and follow the Peddars Way to the outskirts of Ringstead where we stopped for coffee. Our route turned east and then south to re-cross the A149 and pick up the Norfolk Coastal Path to the at Holme Dunes Nature Reserve where we sat on some well placed logs whilst eating lunch. It was only a mile or so from here back to the cars to complete the walk.

I’d arranged a night walking exercise along the beach near Old Hunstanton to see what it would be like walking in the dark with headtorches. As the main walk finished at 1:45pm, it was too early for the night walk so Karen, Hilary and I went into Hunstanton to kill some time and enjoy a fish and chip lunch/tea. We were joined later by Amanda who had bought takeaway fish and chips to eat prior to starting our night walk at 4pm.

It wasn’t fully dark when we set off to walk just over a mile down the beach and back again. By our turning point at 4:30pm darkness had descended and we were able to see how effective, or not, our headtorches were. Karen had a Petzl, which, whilst being a reputable brand, didn’t provide a very bright light. Amanda’s torch was “unbranded?” but provided an adequate beam. I had my Alpkit Viper and a cheap Cree hand torch. The former provided 125 Lumens and the latter an amazing 300 Lumens for just £2.99.

I think the lesson to be learnt from the exercise is that if you are thinking about buying a torch then 125 Lumens is a must and the more the better.

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