Sun, 1 Jul 2018
What a day to remember, that day of the Martindale Round. Listing only the fells on the route, Beda Head – Angletarn Pikes – Brock Crags – The Knott – High Raise – Steel Knotts, fails to tell of the perfection of the world in which the A group walked. With the sun dried grass crisp beneath their unhurried (some may disagree!) feet, the fells unfolded sun sharpened and enticing (apart from Rest Dodd which no-one found enticing at all!). Ullswater and Brothers Water glistened beneath peerless sky and cooling zephyrs softened summer’s fire. And through it all the convivial (mostly!) murmurs of the walkers. When days drift into winter they might think of this day, which will remain in memories forever summer.
Wed, 11 Jul 2018
The A group’s objective was Scafell via Lord’s Rake. Leaving Wasdale Head, they climbed the track alongside Lingmell Gill to Lingmell. After a minor retracing of the route, the group passed under Pikes Crag and Pulpit Rock to begin the initial ascent of Lord’s Rake on loose, dry, dusty scree. When a head wall was reached the full extent of the steepness of the Rake became apparent and they scrambled up an even more steeply inclined scree slope. As the entrance of the West Wall Traverse opened up, the route was airy in places but narrow with good hand and foot holds. All reached the top of the gully uneventfully and with the ascent over, relief was palpable. After visiting Scafell, the very happy mountaineers returned via the long route down and a celebration drink in the Inn at Wasdale Head.
On a warm sunny day, the B group set out from Torver towards Torver Beck. Little Arrow Moor and the Coniston Fells soon came into view. Pausing at the old Banishead quarry, now water filled and served by a waterfall, the ascent continued alongside the beck and then up to the bridge meeting the Walna Scar path. Descending to the pretty hamlet at Little Arrow, the route continued over Torver Common through woods before reaching the lakeside path along Coniston Water. A grassy path up Sunny Bank bordered by foxgloves continued over a further area of the Common. At the quiet reservoir the path turned north to Torver. Drinks were then enjoyed outside at the pub.
The C group made use of two cars to do a linear walk from Scarness to St Bega’s church. The paths along Bassenthwaite Lake still had some wild flowers, but many had been scorched by the hot sun. Lunch was taken on large rocks, where a pied wagtail was busy hunting for insects. There were common blue damselflies, greylag geese and a pair of oyster catchers, all making it a very interesting route.
Sun, 15 Jul 2018
In Swindale, a small A group walked along the road to Swindale Head, turned on to the Old Corpse Road and then a path to Selside. The fence line took them to Artlecrag Pike and Branstree before they descended to an unusually dry dip ahead of the walk up to Tarn Crag, Grey Crag and Harrop Pike. After the descent to Mosedale Cottage, the path to the head of Swindale was followed with some difficulty but as the group rounded Nabs Crag, they had a splendid view of the valley head – deep blue sky, wispy clouds, drumlins and a buzzard displaying its skills for their enjoyment. Finally, at Swindale Head Farm, before walking back to the car park, they watched the hay gathering as five tractors worked together in balletic motion.
Setting off from Askham village on an ideal morning, with blue sky and a pleasant breeze, the B group walked up the ridge to the summit of Heughscar Hill. After dropping down to Ketley Gate, they walked through parched fields to Helton. From there a pleasant footpath was followed to the footbridge over the River Lowther. On went the group to the little hamlet of Whale and the Lowther Estate path which climbed gently above the river. A detour was taken to the courtyard of Lowther Castle to partake of light refreshment and relax in good company. The final lap of the walk descended steeply to the river, crossed Askham Bridge and followed the road into the village.
Wed, 25 Jul 2018
Setting off from Bleach Green at Ennerdale Water, the A group followed the lakeside path before crossing the bridge over Woundell Beck – no longer AW’s greasy plank! The ridge was ascended to the Ennerdale wall where the walkers turned left to the summit of Haycock via a scramble up the rocks of Little Gowder Crag. The wall was followed from Haycock visiting the tops of Caw Fell, Ennerdale Fell and Crag Fell. There were far reaching views to the west coast and the Isle of Man. Lastly was the little top of Grike from where the group made the steep descent back to the car park.
From Braithwaite, on another day of ‘the long hot summer’ of 2018, the B group’s targets were Scar Crags, Causey Pike, Outerside, Stile End and Barrow. At Barrow Door hot bodies cooled in the welcome breeze before the climb to the summit of Scar Crags. The exhilarating ridge walk to Causey Pike was over all too soon but time on the high ground was extended by a break for lunch. A rapid descent to the bridleway was followed by easy climbs to the summits of Outerside, Stile End and Barrow. The Royal Oak in Braithwaite was the final stop, where a miscellany drinks was consumed before the group parted ways.
Sun, 5 Aug 2018
The A group travelled west to Miterdale for the stunning walk above Wast Water screes. From the delightful riverside parking area below Great Bank they climbed forestry paths to emerge onto the lower slopes of Irton Fell, picking up the footpath which rises above Greathall Gill to the summit of Whin Rigg. They then skirted the edge of the crags for fantastic views down the gullies and screes, and of Yewbarrow and Kirk Fell, reaching Illgill Head in time for lunch. After correcting a few youngsters who thought they were on “Scafell” (Pike?!) the group descended to Burnmoor Tarn and the long but enjoyable descent of Miterdale back to the cars.
Mon, 6 Aug 2018
On a humid cloudy evening a small A group set off from Grasmere, heading first up to Easedale Tarn and then into the cloud to the top of Blea Rigg. They then navigated carefully downwards, finding a direct route to Codale Tarn which looked idyllic in the gloomy evening light. It was then back into the cloud to the summit of Tarn Crag, but while there the cloud cleared sufficiently to see the descent route to Far Easedale and during which the dying sun illuminated the Helm Crag ridge for a stunning finale, accompanied by two ewes fighting for territorial rights on a boulder!
Wed, 8 Aug 2018
Low cloud and drizzle greeted the A group at Over Beck at the start of their walk to Yewbarrow and Red Pike. The formidable looking ascent of Yewbarrow via Dropping Crag posed no problems and on reaching the summit cairn one group member celebrated the ascent of her final Wainwright. They descended by the “easy” route off the side towards Dore Head and on to Red Pike. Having been cocooned in low cloud so far the sun then miraculously appeared restoring summer to the fells once more as the group made their descent past Scoat Tarn and alongside Nether Beck back to the cars.
The B group set out from Orton. Many stiles and fields later they gently ascended the far end of Great Asby Scar. Following the line of the wall across the top, they struggled across a few stretches of limestone pavement. After Castle Folds Settlement the group descended to gentler grassy paths, before climbing slightly to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Monument on Beacon Hill, Orton Scar. The descent into Orton past the lime kiln and then following the meandering stream was delightful. Abundant flowers and butterflies were admired throughout the walk. The day was rounded off with drinks and delicious cakes in the local café.
From the Castlerigg Stone Circle the C group walked across to Tewet Tarn which was much recovered after the recent drought conditions. They returned to the Stone Circle area and enjoyed a coffee at the Climbing Wall café.
Sun, 12 Aug 2018
A small A group delayed its departure to allow the heavy rain to stop which it did leaving a largely dry but misty day. However the mist lifted briefly at the summit giving stunning views in all directions. Initially the route led to Skiddaw House via the Cumbria Way and from there the last 1500 feet to the summit lay across a gently rising grassy slope made more interesting by one member leaving walking poles at Skiddaw House. The summit was uncharacteristically quiet from where the group descended northward to Bakestall, down to Dash Falls, finally returning via Skiddaw House and the Cumbrian Way. Apart from a short shower later on the weather complemented a perfect day.
Wed, 22 Aug 2018
On a dismally wet morning, the intrepid B-group travelled to the hamlet of Mill Side, an outpost of Witherslack, for a walk of two sharply contrasting halves. The first involved following a pleasant woodland bridleway abounding in blackberries and overtopped by the dramatic limestone cliffs of Whitbarrow. After a steep but short climb out of the lush valley, the ramblers found themselves atop the magnificent limestone escarpment of Whitbarrow Scar, which, in clear conditions, would have regaled them with a 360-degree panorama. Traversing the long escarpment, designated a nature reserve and an SSSI, was enjoyable nevertheless, with Morecambe Bay putting in an unexpected appearance before they descended, laden with sloes, along an imaginatively zig-zagged path.
Wed, 29 Aug 2018
Far from the madding crowds, the A group parked at Longlands to do a Longlands Round. From the Cumbria Way, they picked up the main path to the summit of Longlands Fell. Then, contouring around the head of Charlton Gill, they continued to Brae Fell before turning for Little and Great Sca Fells. Knott was the next objective, with the need to sidestep bog in the watershed en route. Retracing their steps to Great Sca Fell, the group followed the ridge to Meal Fell, descended to Trusmadour then made the final ascent of the day to Great Cockup. From there, they made a direct descent to the River Ellen and, having crossed it, followed the track by Longlands Beck to the cars.
Sun, 2 Sept 2018
On the one day in September that Gatescarth Pass was open the A group nevertheless parked at Mardale Head and took the scenic walk up to Nan Bield Pass and around Small Water before finding Harter Fell in mist and drizzle. The Kentmere Horseshoe, over Kentmere Pike and Shipman Knotts, was followed to the Kentmere to Sadgill coach road and up Longsleddale on the old quarry road. The dramatic River Sprint valley with waterfalls, steep crags and much tree planting on either side was unfortunately shrouded in mist. Returning to Mardale Head, Gatescarth Pass saw very little traffic but, coming out of the mist, perseverance was rewarded with splendid views of the mountain sides running with streams and waterfalls, and a still rather low Haweswater.
Wed, 5 Sept 2018
The A group set off from Honister in sunshine and made their way towards Loft Beck glancing across to Buttermere and Crummock Water on their way. They descended on rocky steps into Ennerdale and crossed the River Liza before heading up the path alongside Sail Beck with Ennerdale Water stretching out beyond the forest plantations. The group then continued along the partly rocky path towards Pillar. A splinter group of three adventurous members took the route towards Pillar Rock, along Shamrock Traverse and steeply up to Pillar summit where the rest of the party were relaxing and enjoying lunch. The return route took the group past Kirk Fell and along Moses Trod.
Warm, sunny weather encapsulated the genial B group as they alighted from the bus at Skelwith Bridge. The linear route, towards Little Loughrigg followed deserted fields and Intake Wood, showcasing the clear fells in their full majesty. They climbed up Loughrigg and gazed at the unfolding vistas creating welcomed breaks from the heat of the day. After a lunch overlooking Rydal Water they alighted on quarries and then descended by a large cave with stepping stones. A natural end to a very sociable day was a visit to a cafe.
The B- group set off from Spout Force car park for a high level circuit of the valley. After a short walk on a forest track they climbed up through Aiken Plantation to reach Brown How and then Whinlatter Top. They continued along the ridge to Tarbarrel Moss, Lords Seat and Broom Fell before descending to Widow Hause. Even though the forest here had been cut down recently they had no trouble accessing the path below from where they walked back to the cars. It was a very pleasant walking day with good visibility showing Lakeland at its best.
A small C party set off from the Berrier road car park to explore The Eycott Hill Nature Reserve. The paths were much improved, with new hard core and board walks added. A wet area was full of wild flowers with Grass of Parnassus and Devil’s Bit Scabious. The walkers were pleased to see a Painted Lady butterfly on the Scabious, and a Small Heath butterfly close by. The walk climbed gently to the summit, with views of a Raven marking out his territory. After a short stop, the walkers returned by a slightly different route to the cars.
Sun, 9 Sept 2018
On a wet and windy morning, the B-group started their exploration of Yewdale Fells at Low Tilberthwaite. They ascended the zig-zaggy footpath passing underneath Goat’s Crag by a disused quarry before emerging above the depression of Yewdale Crag Moss. Just then, the heavens opened, but two spectacular rainbows straddling the entire area took their breath away. Lashed by the rain and battered by the wind, they made their way through bracken and heather along grassy tracks towards Low Wythow, High Wythow, Long Crag and Kitty Crag, where they could barely keep upright. Their relief was palpable as they descended along Hole Rake, a comfortable bridleway leading towards the spectacular Tilberthwaite Gill, before continuing their descent along the foaming Yewdale Beck.
Sun, 23 Sept 2018
The group of 5 A walkers set off uphill from Stannah to Sticks Pass in unexpected good weather. They meandered up Stybarrow Dodd, Watson’s Dodd and Great Dodd in drifting cloud and then ventured up Calfhow Pike and Clough Head where excellent views were on view as the clouds cleared. The descent led them to the old wagon way via Wanthwaite Crags, down St John’s in the Vale with glorious views of the hills either side before stopping at Low Bridge farm for tea and returning to Stannah.
On the same day the B group set off from Seathwaite on a simple route via Stockley Bridge, Grains Gill and Sprinkling Tarn to Seathwaite Fell where lunch was started in glorious sunshine but finished in a hail shower. The dampness, and now a cool wind, killed any enthusiasm to visit the “other top” that Wainwright recommends so the group returned to Sprinkling Tarn before heading towards Sty Head Tarn on the major footpath leading back to Stockley Bridge and Seathwaite.