Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Monday, 27 July 2015

Glenquey Moss - Quarry Application Appeal

Great news. The Reporter has rejected CEMEX's appeal against Perth and Kinross Council's decision last November to reject an application to establish a quarry at Glenquey Moss.

We can now look forward to enjoying many more days in this area, the curlews, red kites, kestrels, buzzards and all the flora and fauna of the Moss left undisturbed.

The view down to Glenquey Moss - area left of white house - from Innerdownie.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

"Old habits die hard, harder than November rain." A brief conclusion.

At the beginning of our recent  three week holiday in the Lake District I said that we planned to roam far and wide; we did not. Generally the weather was better where we were (and very hot during the first week) although we did go to the Ullswater area (couldn't park), the northern fells, Buttermere and finished with a day on Sergeant Man and High Raise via Easedale Tarn.

It was an immensely enjoyable trip and I even managed to post regularly, though whether I'll bother to do that again remains to be seen. There is no doubt that posts are a useful personal record but I think most people much prefer to read about long walks in far off (or not so far off) lands, so I'm not sure the blog needs to be public any more. In any event Lynne keeps a diary!

While we were away I received a comment from one Geoff Jackson on my post concerning Keen Arroyo Sandals. Don't know if anyone agrees with Geoff but I did not!

Anyway thanks for your comments AlanR and DaveB.

Now home for a bit, Braemar in September then we pick up the new car in October, assuming it's built on schedule.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Saturday 11 July - Ullswater and Bowscale Fell

I must confess that the Ullswater district is not one of my favourites although it is without doubt a lovely area; it's just that it doesn't feel quintessentially Lake District. It has, if you will, a Scottish feel which is an admirable quality if you are in Scotland!

Despite the above reservations we decided to drive over to Patterdale and, if we could park, have a walk somewhere as yet undecided. Guess what? Couldn't park anywhere it being a Saturday - now that has a very un-Scottish feel to it. It was a pity but.....

never fear, all was not lost. The quiet(er) northern fells beckoned so we took the Mungrisedale road, eventually parking at Mosedale. It was barely one o'clock, plenty of time for a leisurely ascent of Bowscale Fell.

This would be my third* ascent of the fell, once with my brother and his wife on a second holiday in 1969 and once with Lynne a few years later. On the 1969 visit we'd stopped at Bowscale Tarn on a wet day and fished for perch and caught enough for tea! Unfortunately we did not catch sight of the two immortal trout.

Today a strong wind was whipping up the waters and yet a few metres higher up it was virtually calm and a perfect spot for a late lunch of ginger bread and biscuits.

Stepping out of the corrie onto the broad ridge we were hit again by the strong wind and had we wanted to stay at the cairn for any length of time our Rab Neutrinos would have been needed. It is July after all and winter looms....

A few photos and we made a quick escape back into the corrie to regain the calm, and eventually the warmth, of lower ground and another stop.

We met a few people on our way down but by and large I suspect these 'Northern Fells' still remain a refuge for those seeking solitude on busy summer weekends and especially on bank holidays.
There's no doubt that we will go back to these peaceful hills, so very different from the rest of the Lake District, and yet so obviously part of it.

*I am not certain we went to the summit in 1969 and it is even possible that we fished in Scales Tarn on Blencathra. It's all so long ago...

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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Friday 10 July - Buttermere

"..made by heaven for summer floor and purple heights with the sound of the water under the sunset" (W G Collingwood)

I first came to the Buttermere area in 1969 with my brother and his wife who had generously invited me to join them on a rock climbing holiday, thereby introducing me to the Lake District, a place I've loved deeply ever since. A day of wet weather found us having a look at Grey Crag and Eagle Crag in Burtness Comb on our way to High Stile (I think). Earlier we'd passed Low Crag, scene of a tragic accident where at least one member of the local MRT had been killed a few weeks earlier and several others injured during a training exercise.

Some years later Lynne and I crossed Scarth Gap on a backpacking trip to climb Pillar, Steeple etc. Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe were playing in the final at Wimbledon, although exactly which one I can't remember. It was a great trip.

Our second visit, a year or so later found us on the High Stile group in searing heat with nothing to drink because one of us (I'm being charitable here...) had dropped and smashed our only flask of tea. We repeated these fine hills in the late 1990s and again a few years later.

Arriving at the car park near The Fish I couldn't help wondering why we had stayed away for so long. We weren't here to walk on the fells; we were being tourists for once and had cappuccinos and toasted teacakes in the Croft House Farm Cafe. Very nice indeed.

By the time I'd had a second cappuccino the sun was out, the sky blue, so we decided to walk round the lake. What a beautiful walk, particulary through the oak trees from Buttermere to Gatesgarth Farm, the meadows full of colour and vibrancy, Haystacks and Fleetwith Edge impressive backdrops. Nearly back at Buttermere we noticed a group of women swimming in the lake and later one asked if I would take a group photograph of them with an iPhone. They told us they were on a 'swimming weekend'. Not often I'm asked to photograph women in swim suits!

Now it was hot and I simply could not resist an English Lakes double Jersey ice cream cone before, reluctantly, leaving "... one of the most perfect pictures in the whole of the Lake District".

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Saturday, 11 July 2015

Thursday 9 July - a familiar trio

Note: this post has been put together in dribs and drabs and has suffered accordingly.
We just managed to squeeze the motorvan between two cars at the little quarry car park at Rigg Beck.
After the usual faff getting rucksacks ready and a debate about whether to wear shorts or not, whether I should take my windshirt or Astron Hoodie and whether I had my sun-hat, we set off down the lanes leading to Newlands Church and Low Snab farm.

More debate: the mine track to Dale Head Tarn then to Dale Head, Hindscarth etc or the ziz-zags to Dale Head Mine and onwards or an ascent of Hindscarth via Scope End and onwards. Scope End could not be resisted especially since it was in sun unlike the other alternatives. Every step was, as usual, a delight.

Beyond the initial steepness we exchanged greetings with two other (female) walkers who'd left the car park before us and had stopped for a bite to eat and some water.

Further on a lone figure was descending and we fell into conversation. He told us his wife could no longer walk the fells because of knee problems (I sympathised having had two cartilage ops) so he had set out at 7.30 and was now on his way down (11.30) to meet his wife in Keswick for the day. There was no doubt he was a lover of the Lake District and a kindred spirit.

Before the final pull to the summit, the cold wind had me rummaging for my windshirt and wishing I had brought my Astron Hoodie. No matter how well I think I've packed my sack, whatever I want is always at the bottom, or so it seems. The two walkers met earlier passed by without a word giving the impression that we were in some sort of race. We weren't but if they were, then they lost!

A chat at Hindscarth's cairn with a couple from Kent revealed that
they had started coming to the Lake District when her husband retired and in the last ten years had spent the equivalent of two years on the fells. He was the spitting image of Chris Bonington.
As always on a fine day the view was superb in all directions. We didn't tarry too long, said our goodbyes and soon the summit of Robinson was under our feet. The two 'racers' arrived somewhat later and began their descent while we retraced part of our route to pick up the ridge to Dale Head. A group of Russians, the last to leave the top, marched by carrying massive backpacking sacks speaking loudly in Russian (well they would wouldn't they).

On our way down we noticed that 'Fix the Fells' had been repairing part of the path though neither of us could recall it needing touched when we passed only a year ago. It's going to look raw for while.
As we approached Dale Head Tarn two women asked where the track was (we were on it) and how far it was to Little Town via Dale Head. It transpired they had walked from Keswick, over Catbells, Maiden Moor etc. We helped as much as we could with timings and so on but in the end they decided to accompany us part of the way down the mine track. They were really nice people but unfortunately we couldn't offer them a lift to Keswick since the motorvan has no additional front facing seats.
An enjoyable day with a few pleasant encounters.
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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Friday 3rd and Sunday 5th July - Grasmoor, others and a walk to Butteremere (almost)

".......Grasmoor is perhaps the least visited of all the big mountains of Lakeland, and yet it presents a most challenging side above Crummock Water and is at the end of a particularly attractive set of ridges." (A H Griffin, 1970)

Whether Grasmoor is still one of 'the least visited' I wouldn't know, but certainly we only met two other couples on the top, and even on the 'attractive set of ridges' walkers were few in number.

There is a spaciousness about Grasmoor when approached from Eel Crag and its grassy expanse was a pleasing place to be on this beautiful July day. A lamb seemed unable to get up so I assisted and off it went, limping, but now able to find some shelter from the unforgiving sun. We diverted to Wandope; one day it will have to be climbed via Addacomb Hole.

Our return over the ridges culminated in our customary visit to Causey Pike's small cairn where four others were enjoying the sun, the light cooling breeze and the scene. Soon we left it to the Herdwicks.

Relaxing in the evening Lynne occasionally reads snippets from 'The Shepherd's Life' by James Rebanks. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Today (Sunday) we took the path by Rigg Beck and crossed to just above Butteremere. Had we been a bit earlier on the go the previously mentioned 'must do' ascent of Wandope via Addacomb Hole might now have been achieved. Another day.

Returning, it started to rain just beyond the watershed and eventually waterproof jackets were donned. Shorts just got wet, waterproof trousers being just a step too far in the muggy conditions.

The midges are out again tonight, blast them.
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Saturday, 4 July 2015

Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd July - a film set and a short circuit

On Wednesday we found ourselves down by Derwentwater and it was a hive of activity. Not just the usual tourists getting on and off the launch but a film set being constructed. Various stalls of vegetables (real), glass globes, harbour master's hut, fortune teller booth and so on.

In the water was a rectangular floating pontoon with two outboard motors and a 20ft high camera mount being tested. The attention to detail was impressive.

All this, I was informed, was for filming 'a version' of Swallows and Amazons. I felt like replying in Lady Bracknell fashion: 'A version'? Either it is or it is not Swallows and Amazons.

Thursday was dull and muggy despite the overnight thunder storms. The lightning display was spectacular though Lynne slept through it all.

Plans for the day were simple, involving a short outing to Ashness Bridge, over High Seat, Blaeberry Fell and Walla. It was quite a sociable day meeting various walkers at various points along the way and NT's Bark House provided a pleasant half hour halt.

Descending from Blaeberry Fell we found that the lovely grassy path beyond the sheepfold abruptly changed to a horrible, ugly concrete-like walkway: the worst path 'restoration' I have ever encountered. You might find this on a building site but it has no place on the Lake District fells. I don't know if this is the work of the National Park, 'Fix the Fells' or some other organisation, but whoever is responsible: you are a disgrace, incompetent and don't have an aesthetic bone in your bodies.

I needed a beer or two when I got back to the site. No longer will I donate to path restoration.
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Thursday, 2 July 2015

Tuesday 30 June - fell wandering

There was little incentive to drive far in what promised to be a very hot day. The small car park just outside Braithwaite was packed with people getting ready for the ascent of Grisedale Pike; we were alone in setting off up the Coledale track. It was humid and we hoped there would be a light breeze higher up. Light breeze? Strong wind, but welcome.

I sat at Coledale Hause waiting for Lynne to arrive. She'd been chatting to an American couple who lived in London and discovered that the husband was a retired geologist. Mine adits, seeping toxic heavy metals into Coledale Beck (zinc, cadmium, copper and lead in particular) and their removal all featured in the lengthy discussion. Lynne arrived, disconcertingly fresh, from her rapid ascent from Coledale Beck and we wandered over to the depression between Hopegill Head and Grisedale Pike.

It was a windy journey out to Whiteside - a delightful ridge walk - and we wondered whether the warm weather had remained firmly in the south. It arrived on Grisedale Pike and we descended in stiffling heat  and could have done without the road walk up the Whinlatter to the large lay-by and the motorvan.

An ice-cream van was parked but I managed to resist. A gallon of water was what I needed.

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