Wed, 10 Jan 2018
The A group met at Skelwith Bridge on a murky day but with promise of clearer tops later – sadly unfulfilled. Despite that, the group enjoyed a relatively low-level winter walk firstly ascending Black Crag by a mostly pathless southerly route. With little to see at the summit, they quickly descended via Tarn Hows and Glen Mary to the iconic Yew Tree Farm. A path round the back of Yew Tree Tarn took them on the route to Hodge Close, with a return trip en route to the summit of Holme Fell for a viewless lunch. The awe-inspiring Hodge Close quarry was viewed from both the rim and water level before a return to Skelwith Bridge via Stang End and the Cumbria Way.
For the first B walk of 2018 the group ascended Barf and Lord’s Seat. The steep ascent from Powter How was icy in places and the short scrambly bit half way up seems to get worse every time. Good weather on Barf was followed by misty conditions on Lord’s Seat. Icy conditions between the two Wainwrights made the going easy over what would have been very boggy terrain. A route continued to Seat How, thereafter descending via Combe Gill and forest tracks back to the cars.
With the forecast of mist being slow to clear on the Solway coast, the C group decided to postpone its coastal walk. Instead they met at Binsey Lodge to walk up Binsey then along the ridge, returning by the same route. Their lunch stop was just below the summit where a pair of kestrels hovered above on rocks. Throughout the walk, the winter sun highlighted rising and falling mist over Bassenthwaite Lake and the surrounding fells gave the walkers a quickly changing scene.
Thur, 11 Jan 2018
In early evening, a combined A and B group set off from near the Lancrigg Hotel in Grasmere to climb Helm Crag under torchlight. The weather was kind, being dry and not overly cold, and the stars shone. From time to time sheep watched in amazement, their eyes shining like headlights, as the walkers climbed the steps and rocky path close to White Crag on to the summit. After descending the zigzag path the group passed along a road close to Ghyll Foot and Low Mill Bridge before reaching Thorny How and back to the cars. A glorious evening concluded with a hearty meal at the King’s Head at Thirlspot before heading home.
Sun, 14 Jan 2018
The forecast of low cloud and strong winds prompted the leader to forgo the plan to ascend Blencathra via a ridge and instead the A group set off up Blease Fell from Threlkeld. Although it was a fairly calm ascent into cloud to the summit ridge care was needed along the ice and snow covered path to the summit. Along the way, assistance was given to three young ladies who were finding progress very difficult. The strong wind on the summit reduced the temperature to -10 C and rime decorated the walkers as they decided to return along the ridge and retrace the ascent route. The wind continued its icy blast, with some sleety snow added for a short time, but there was an easy descent back to Threlkeld and its wonderfully warm Coffee Shop.
On a cold, damp and blustery morning, a B- group left Bassenthwaite village by a narrow lane, crossing a stone stile and the narrow bridge over Chapel Beck. After walking across several fields and a short stretch along the Orthwaite road, the group headed up into the beautiful valley of Southerndale. The wind was by now severe and it became a struggle for the walkers to remain upright. The final push to the top of the ridge was not undertaken and the group retreated, with disappointment. It was agreed that another attempt would be made on the Watches in calmer conditions. Hot coffee and tea at the Sun Inn revived spirits somewhat.
Wed, 24 Jan 2018
The B- group set off in strong winds from the Ravenstone Hotel to walk through the forest to Dodd. Almost at the forest edge they came to a solid barrier erected within the previous week to prevent the use of the track while trees were being felled. Turning back but continuing to climb, they came out of the forest on a track below the Watches. After reaching the Orthwaite road, the group made their way by paths and tracks to St Bega’s church and then back to their start point at the Hotel.
Wed, 31 Jan 2018
Despite the weather forecast of blizzard conditions, a small A group ventured out from Grasmere intending to climb Blea Rigg. From Goody Bridge they headed towards Allan Bank, finding the stepping stones over Easedale Beck under water. Consequently, they turned back and continued up Easedale taking a path from New Bridge towards Little Castle How before following a contour path round to join the path towards Lang How and onwards to Silver How. Here there were full blizzard conditions and common sense prevailed. The group followed various paths towards Loughrigg Terrace, the Caves and Rydal before taking the coffin route back to the cars.
Wed, 7 Feb 2018
Having caught the Carlisle bus to High Side, the A group headed for Skiddaw. From the Orthwaite road, they followed cart tracks into Barkbethdale then the sled tracks to the head of Barkbeth Gill. Here they turned onto a heather trod heading to Broad End and continuing to the 831m cairn. Initially it was possible to follow the path but as the snow deepened it disappeared and everyone took turns to plough through the deep snow up a steep incline to Skiddaw Man. The views were spectacular – far and wide to the Isle of Man, Galloway, the Pennines and across the Lake District. Near Jenkin Hill and in very deep snow, the group abandoned the planned route to Lonscale Fell and turned gratefully towards the tourist path and back to Keswick.
The well wrapped up B group left Skelgill walking along the wide terrace path under Cat Bells, far into the valley with Dale Head and Hindscarth above. Crossing Newlands Beck and continuing around Scope End, a short ascent was made in fresh snow to a little used narrow path leading to the reservoir and dam beneath Littledale Crags and the lower slopes of Robinson. An easy walk back along the other side of Scope Beck took in an invitation across fields to view a 300 year old farmhouse currently undergoing restoration, before skirting Little Town and returning along the path back to Skelgill.
Sun, 11 Feb 2018
The A group set off from Grasmere on a bright but cold, breezy morning. As strong winds and hail showers were forecast it was decided there would be flexibility about the route. Having reached the bridge at Stythwaite Steps the group was soon ascending towards Tarn Crag, enjoying ploughing through the new snow and taking in the very wintry but beautiful scene all around. The fierce wind on the summit helped decide the onward route and with team navigation the bogs were mostly avoided and a largely frozen Codale Tarn reached. The watery sun above Belles Knott encouraged the walkers over to join the icy path, which would lead them on the careful descent into Easedale. The waterfalls were almost the final treat of the day.
Sun, 18 Feb 2018
From Smaithwaite Bridge the B group followed the tree lined path up to the many paths and crags of High Rigg. They followed the meandering paths over stiles, past tarns and through incipient bogs encroaching on the route. The highest point of the ridge was soon in sight and the summit cairn reached. After a steep descent to St John’s Church the group followed the path to Tewit Tarn, where a few stones provided sheltered seats for lunch. Returning to St John’s Church, the route followed the valley path below the fell and in spite of much mud underfoot reached Low Bridge End Farm – a welcome spot for refreshment before completing the walk.
Wed, 21 Feb 2018
The A group walk was to High Cup Nick. Leaving Dufton, they followed the old mine track – detouring over Dufton Pike and Great Rundale Beck path – to the Shooting Box. Clear views of Great Rundale Tarn enabled them to locate its outflow and follow the stream to Maize Beck Bridge and the Pennine Way. Arriving at High Cup Nick, they paused frequently to appreciate its geology and walked around the rim to Nichol Chair. The route back to Dufton was on the Pennine Way. A day of diverse interest and underfoot conditions accompanied by superb weather and views.
On a beautiful winter day the B group set out from the centre of Ambleside following Stock Ghyll and admiring the Force on the way. Thereafter the route to the top of Wansfell Pike was a straightforward but sometimes steep set of stairs that allowed plenty of opportunity to stop and look back across Ambleside to the Coniston Fells, Langdale and further afield. Once at the top most of the climbing was done as the group headed towards Nanny Lane and into the village of Troutbeck. From there they turned into Robin Lane, over the ford at Low Skelghyll, into Skelghyll Wood, pausing at the viewpoint at Jenkin Crag before dropping back to Ambleside.