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.
From Kettlewell car park, the C group walked along Derwent Water’s lakeshore path, through woods then past the Lodore Hotel, before crossing the Chinese Bridge. After finding a rocky sheltered spot for their lunch break, they returned the same way, but incorporating a detour to view Lodore Falls.
Wed, 7 Mar 2018
After parking at Roehead, the A group walked to Pooley Bridge, took the bus to Patterdale and then headed for the eastern side of Ullswater. Following a path that contoured the lower slopes of Place Fell, they arrived at the Low Moss sheepfold and descended into Boredale at Garth Heads. Walking on roads as far as The Coombs, they re-joined paths to take them to Mellguards and the ascent of Swarth Fell. As height was gained, the snow became unsafe on steep gradients. Consequently, the group retraced their steps down the fell before picking up a path along the lower slopes of Barton Fell leading to The Cockpit and back to Roehead.
Having started their exploration of Grizedale Forest at Moor Top, the B group soon hit Silurian Way – one of the several waymarked trails in the area. After many twists and turns, and a few interesting sculptures, they reached the still-frozen Grizedale Tarn, the only natural tarn out of the twenty scattered throughout the forest. Having caught a glimpse of Morecambe Bay, they followed the purple trail, which conveyed them to the delightful hamlet of Satterthwaite, nestling at the bottom of the valley. The undulating route then led past some even more intriguing sculptures and a well-concealed zip wire, with the final stretch running along a comfortable bridleway – rather welcome at the end of a ramble.
The C group walk was to Derwent Water shore. From the boat landings the walkers proceeded to Friar’s Crag but alas the wind was too cold to linger. A good path was followed to a small wood, where a colony of frogs was in full voice. After a short break, with dark clouds gathering, the return path was taken back to the boat landings.
Sun, 11 Mar 2018
From Thirlmere Bridge End, the A group walked alongside St. John’s Beck to Low Bridge End Farm, continuing to Fornside Farm and up towards Calfhow Pike via the sled track. They climbed until Calfhow Pike was visible and then headed straight across rough grass. The sky was clear and the views were magnificent, well worth the effort of the steep ascent; underfoot the snow was melting but the ground beneath was frozen solid. Great Dodd, Watson’s Dodd and Stybarrow Dodd were a delight before the descent via Sticks Path to the cars.
Leaving the car park at Park Brow, the B- group crossed the Aira Beck then followed a path through fields, emerging on the lane at Ulcat Row. From the hamlet they followed a path steeply uphill alongside Todgill Sike, skirting a large area of new tree planting. Coming to the open fell, they gained the summit of Gowbarrow by an easy path. From there they continued towards the ruined Shooting Lodge then followed the delightful terrace path, enjoying beautiful views over Ullswater. After passing Lyulph’s Tower their route was uphill through woods beside Aira Beck, making a quick detour to enjoy a view of the spectacular Aira Force.
Wed, 21 Mar 2018
The A group set off from Buttermere and speedily completed the ascent to Newlands Hause. From there they joined the ridge to Knott Rigg and Ard Crags – meeting bitingly cold, fierce winds. After dropping down from Ard Crags they climbed to join the path to Sail Pass where, despite the strengthening wind, the brave decision was taken to continue over Sail and on to Crag Hill. Their descent was made down to Whiteless Edge and over Whiteless Pike to the welcoming hospitality of the Bridge Inn.
Starting from Pooley Bridge, the B group walked along the lakeshore path on the eastern side of Ullswater, followed by a short distance on the road. Turning onto a track beside Sharrow Mire, they arrived at the southern corner of Barton Park wood. From there they climbed to White Knotts and continued along the ridge to Loup Knott and Whinny Crag before turning to the cairn on Arthur’s Pike. After walking over Barton Fell to The Cockpit, a 3000 year old Neolithic stone circle, they continued via Roehead back to Pooley Bridge.
Watendlath was the destination for the C group walk. They parked at Surprise View and walked south along the road for a short distance before following a track leading down through the wood. Then the riverside path was taken all the way to Watendlath where the tarn was still partly frozen over, as were various waterfalls. After lunch the return route was along the road, with a stop to marvel at the view from Surprise View.
Sun, 25 Mar 2018
The A group started at Wha House Farm in Eskdale. After a pleasant stroll through oak woodland, they ascended on a bracken covered rake to a dry stone wall. Here a steep incline followed the fence line to Spothow Gill before a steeper “off piste” climb to the summit of Harter Fell. After descending to the western edge of Dunnerdale Forest they encountered the boggy bit and after a few false starts arrived at Green Crag. Dropping to Low Birker Tarn via a grassy path with not a soul in sight, they continued along a drovers’ path to Doctor Bridge and the Woolpack Inn. Blessed with a lovely sunny day, the walkers enjoyed welcome refreshment sitting outside the pub with Harter Fell an impressive backdrop.
The B group set off from the Aira Force, following the river to Dockray. Leaving the village, they crossed Watermillock Common to contour above the wall below Brown Hills. On reaching a gate in the wall, the group descended steeply through the mud to Park Brow and then returned to the car park.
Sun, 8 Apr 2018
The change from the recent run of cold, wet weather, with a sunny day forecast, led to very busy parking below Cat Bells, where the walk for the A group started, and a line of people to follow up the path to the fell top, even though it was quite early on a Sunday morning. The route continued up and over Maiden Moor affording good views until just before High Spy, where some thin cloud hung about. Walking across towards Rigghead Quarries and down alongside Tongue Gill, the group picked up the Allerdale Ramble path to Grange and the opportunity to have refreshments at the café. The walk was completed by taking the lakeside path alongside Derwent Water to the Hawes Centre and the road where cars had been parked.
From Loweswater village the B group made their way along Mosedale (the well-named ‘boggy valley’) until within sight of the solitary Mosedale Holly Tree. Here they turned uphill on a steep path, emerging onto the plateau of Mellbreak, halfway between the two summits. They headed first to the north summit, with fine views over Lorton Vale towards the Solway, then retraced their steps and continued to the south summit, which offered even more beautiful views over Crummock Water and Buttermere towards the high fells. They descended to the Scale Beck and followed this to the Crummock shore, then followed the lakeshore path northwards and back to their starting point. A drink in the garden of the Kirkstile Inn made a delightful end to the day.
Leaving Felldyke car park, the B- group walked to and around the far side of Cogra Moss. Whilst enjoying a coffee break on the shore, an osprey was seen catching a fish and flying towards Bassenthwaite. Wet tracks and forest paths were followed, before ascending the steep and muddy path to the summit of Blake Fell. After sheltering on the top in mist, the ridge was followed across High Penn and Low Penn to descend gently, using the narrow Donkey Trod to return to the water’s edge and thence to the car park.
The C group walked along the good track from Brumston Bridge to Kelswick Farm continuing to Old Wythop Church. A nuthatch could be clearly heard, giving a brief glimpse as it flew away. The track through the wood then became very muddy, but the sight of primroses gave hope of better weather to come. On reaching the viewpoint, a misty Skiddaw could be seen and it was a good place to admire the views. The walkers then retraced their steps to the cars at Brumston Bridge.
Wed, 11 Apr 2018
A large B group headed east from New Dungeon Gill car park along the old road to Robinson Place. In unbelievably warm weather, they took layers off, put sun cream on and then headed vertically up behind Harry Place Farm to Sheep Crag, the top of Megs Gill and on to Silver How. Over and around various bumps they continued to Blea Rigg followed by Stickle Tarn. Their descent was down delightful grassy paths to the east of Tarn Crag then the steps back to the New Hotel and the reward for a wonderful day.
Wed, 18 Apr 2018
After sitting for 30 minutes of rather persistent “patchy rain” a small A group emerged from the car at Mardale Head for High Street. Rough Crag was the chosen ascent route which was safely negotiated despite low cloud, occasional rain, strengthening wind and greasy rock. Rampsgill Head was to be the next “top” but in the less than ideal conditions it was decided to make straight for Kidsty Pike where the cloud began to lift and High Raise – the next objective, came into view. Next was Low Raise, before the group turned down to Castle Crag and Haweswater for a pleasant stroll back to the car in the (now) fabulous sunshine.
From Hesket Newmarket, the B group took a wild-garlic-adorned path along the River Caldew, crossed Cald Beck and scrambled up a steep riverbank to join the Cumbria Way. Trying to dodge copious amounts of mud, they ascended the wooded slope of Parson’s Park, beyond which sat the farm at Low Parkhead, surrounded by eye-catching limestone formations. From the hamlet, the route led across several fields, dotted with gambolling lambs, towards Warnell Hall, a Grade II listed building dating back to the 16th century. Having descended towards the River Caldew, the group re-joined the gorse-lined Cumbria Way and followed it across Dentonside Wood before returning to the village along the initial, quite delightful, path.
Sun, 22 Apr 2018
Starting at Bassenthwaite, the B group cut across the wooded slope above the village towards Uldale Fells. Lashed by the biting wind, they then ascended Orthwaite Bank and fought their way up Little Cockup and Great Cockup before finding a welcome shelter in Trusmadoor. With half of the group enjoying a break on the pass, the other half made a quick ascent up Meal Fell, re-joining the rest in good time. From Trusmadoor, the route led along the bottom of the beguiling ravine of Burntod Gill, with the winding beck having to be crossed several times. Emerging from the ravine, the group followed a comfortable bridleway descending towards Orthwaite Road and then followed a minor road back to Bassenthwaite.
Wed, 2 May 2018
The A group parked at Grasmere, walked along the minor road following Greenhead Gill and from there climbed steeply to Stone Arthur with splendid views over Grasmere. The route continued to Great Rigg and Fairfield where the wind was stronger than expected, so the planned descent via Cofa Pike was abandoned and the steep rocky path to Grisedale Tarn taken instead. Rounding the west side of the tarn, the group climbed the north ridge of Seat Sandal. From its summit, the descent to the Travellers’ Rest was all the more pleasant with the prospect of refreshment, taken outside in the sun.
Leaving Glen Mary car park the B group took the path to Uskdale Gap, before ascending higher to the summit of Holme Fell. A grassy descent was made to the visible reservoirs and the dramatic scenery of Hodge Close Quarry. Tracks and quiet roads were followed towards Iron Keld. Many of the group were delighted to hear their first cuckoo call of the year in this area. A there and back detour was taken to the summit of Black Crag, before descending to the shore of Tarn Hows. The track along the lakeshore took the group to the head of Tom Gill and its waterfalls and the delightful path down to the cars.
Sun, 6 May 2018
From near the Coledale Inn, the A group headed towards Barrow Door then veered south westerly to traverse under Outerside before ascending the zig zags to Coledale Hause. After a couple of water stops, they arrived at a breezy Grasmoor top for a brief break inside the summit shelters before moving on to Wandope. With hardly a cloud in the sky, the views over to Scotland and across the Lake District were a wonderful reminder of the reasons for living and walking in Cumbria. On to Crag Hill, down the airy ridge to Sail, and via Scar Crags to the final Wainwright of the day, Causey Pike, followed by a steep direct descent to Barrow Door and return to the Coledale Inn for refreshments.
In ideal walking conditions, the B group set out on a linear tramp from Whinlatter to Keswick. The unrelenting north east ridge of Grisedale Pike challenged the party. Once on the summit, however, the descent to Hobcarton Crag, Coledale Hause and, eventually, to Braithwaite via the mine road took place in fine style. The lure of the Royal Oak in Braithwaite was irresistible on a hot day. Suitably refreshed, the group ambled back to Keswick by field paths and minor roads.
On a calm sunny morning a small B- group set out from Thackthwaite and walked up a narrow stony path and onto a wide green path, an old drove road, which wound its way up the fell towards the northern end of the Low Fell ridge. From Watching Crag the group followed the undulating ridge to the southernmost viewpoint. A magnificent panorama included Crummock and Loweswater and the surrounding fells. The group returned by the same route, enjoying the magnificent landscape to the full.
Wed, 9 May 2018
The day of the club’s annual coach outing, this year to Teesdale, and once again the weather was very kind. The coach took everybody to High Force waterfall carpark from where the B group started their walk. The A group, however, were taken 5 miles further up the road towards Alston, being dropped off at the interestingly-named Peases Cottage from where they set off “cross country” to Cow Green Reservoir. After crossing the dam they dropped down to intercept the Pennine Way and the immediate spectacle of Cauldron Spout waterfall. The group then followed the Pennine Way alongside the River Tees to High Force waterfall and the carpark including the rather tortuous 90+ steps back up from the river. In the meantime, the B group had descended the same steps to the river, going initially downstream to Low Force waterfall and Wynch Bridge. At this point they turned away from the river and gained higher ground to its south, heading then upstream with excellent views of Teesdale. They eventually descended back to river level and enjoyed a further short distance along it to High Force before girding up loins for “the steps” back up to the coach. Before returning to Keswick, the combined groups had supper at The Teesdale Hotel in Middleton-in-Teesdale.
Wed, 16 May 2018
Starting at Newlands Chapel Bridge, the A group walked via Low Snab to the ridge leading to Hindscarth. Initially it was cloudy with a cold wind but towards the summit the sun came out offering clear views over much of the Lake District. After descending to Littledale Edge then climbing to Robinson, the walkers descended until a relatively sheltered spot was found for lunch. Buttemere Moss was much drier than usual and, wet feet avoided, they continued to Newlands Hause. The challenging climb to Knott Rigg was met with ease as was the further climb to Ard Crags. The final descent was via Birkrigg followed by quiet lanes to the cars and on to Little Town for refreshing drinks.
From the New Dungeon Ghyll hotel, the B group strode towards Side Pike via Old Dungeon Ghyll and, by-passing ‘the squeeze’, embarked on the steep, but direct, ascent to gain the craggy and heathery Lingmoor Fell ridge. Although breath-taking vistas all around necessitated frequent stops, it wasn’t long before the summit was reached. The path along the fell’s eastern shoulder zig-zagged its way down to Dale End past the remnants of the area’s industrial past: stacks of slates, old ruins and disused quarries. Having admired the profusion of bluebells adorning the fell’s lower slopes, the ramblers followed a comfortable bridleway to Oak Howe, where it joined the Cumbria Way, which then conveyed them to the starting point.
The B – group went to Rannerdale primarily to see the bluebells and were not disappointed; the flowers were in full bloom and the weather warm and sunny. From Cinderdale Common, the group walked along the Squat Beck, stopping to admire and photograph the bluebells, then made their way onto the Rannerdale ridge. Lunch was enjoyed at the summit of Rannerdale Knotts, after which the group descended into Buttermere for ice creams. A very pleasant walk alongside the river and lakeshore led back to the cars.
Using 555 buses, the C group had two short walks. From White Moss Common, they walked along the high path back to Grasmere before catching the bus to Swirls. From there they went on the restored path down to the lake shore and followed it as far as Dalehead Hall and then the bus back to Keswick.
Sun, 20 May 2018
The A group left Seathwaite for Styhead Tarn and made their way via the Climbers’ Traverse to Great Napes. After viewing climbers on Napes Needle from the Dress Circle the group scrambled underneath Sphinx/Cat Rock onto Little Hell Gate and after some scree-work broke off right to attain the Great Napes summit. They then scrambled up Westmoreland Crags for lunch at Westmoreland Cairn before strolling over to Great Gable summit where a National Trust choir was warming up to sing. The return was via Green Gable and Gillercomb to Seathwaite.
On a fine sunny morning, the B group left Rosthwaite. After crossing the Derwent, they followed the path beside Tongue Gill climbing steeply up to Rigghead Quarries. Skirting Dalehead Tarn, they carried on to Dale Head summit. A sheltered spot out of the strong wind was found for lunch after which the party descended to Honister Hause. Here they picked up the path to Johnny Wood and Rosthwaite, stopping for coffee in the sun at the YHA.
Thur, 24 May 2018
On a beautiful sunny and warm evening, a combined A and B group met at Mungrisedale Village Hall for a straightforward climb up Souther Fell, ascending via the nose immediately behind the village, and after passing over the summit, descending the pleasant diagonal grassy path back to the village. A good pub meal at The Mill Inn rounded off a very pleasant evening.
Wed, 30 May 2018
The Old Dungeon Gill was the start for the A group walk to Crinkle Crags. First though the ascent of Pike Of Blisco alongside Redacre Gill. Descending to Red Tarn the group contoured under its crags before gaining the summit of Cold Pike. On to Crinkle Crags where the long legged enjoyed the scramble up the bad step and those of shorter stature took the “sensible” route around to meet up again on Long Top. The rocky traverse of the Crinkles brought the group to Three Tarns although after all the dry, warm weather it was more like one and a half. The descent was by Hell Gill but, on this occasion, it proved to be a heavenly way down.
The B group set off from Cow Bridge carpark to walk alongside Brothers Water, turning beyond Hartsop Hall to take the waterfall path in to Dovedale and the climb up the steps leading towards Hart Crag. After lunch the grassy area below the crag was crossed leading to the Gill Crag ridge of Hartsop above How giving fine views of Dovedale and Deepdale valleys. After descending several craggy outcrops, the group followed the woodland path back to the carpark.
After walking along the promenade from Silloth, the C group followed a quiet lane to Skinburness, taking time to reflect on the now demolished Skinburness Hotel. Lunch was taken overlooking the estuary, where skylarks were reeling above. A green lane took the walkers back to the coast and they then returned to Silloth via the promenade.