Monday, 21 September 2015

Tidying Up – 20 September

For a year or more we have been thinking about completing the Marilyns in Region 36 – our ‘home region’. The three remaining hills were almost as far south as Crewe in Cheshire and about an hour’s drive apart. This latter characteristic we didn’t realise until yesterday when we visited all three. After yesterday’s glorious sunshine Sunday’s heavy clouds were something of a disappointment. Raw Head, the first of the three, is the highest point on the Sandstone Trail and attracted a pretty steady stream of walkers and dogs. The Cloud was even busier while we had Gun entirely to ourselves, apart from the occasional drop of rain. In total we drove for more than 3 hours and walked for fewer than 3 miles but we did bag all three and completed Region 36 some 19 years after bagging our first and nearest Marilyn, Winter Hill. I do hope we are able to complete the other Regions (apart from Region 25, St Kilda) somewhat quicker.


20150920_002_cheshire-24-EditContemplating on The Cloud

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Stone Arthur – 19 September

On a day when very little, almost nothing, went to plan we found ourselves with a bit of a sunny afternoon to spare and had a gentle stroll up Stone Arthur. We have been on Stone Arthur twice before but not for almost 13 years and had quite forgotten the views it provides from below the Fairfield Horseshoe.



20150919_002_dunmail-15Waiting at Dunmail Raise

20150919_003_dunmail-18Still waiting at Dunmail Raise

20150919_004_dunmail-60-EditLooking west from Stone Arthur

20150919_005_dunmail-80-EditGreenhead Gill

20150919_006_dunmail-97Greenhead Gill

Monday, 14 September 2015

Lake District Mountain Trial 2015 – 13 September

A year ago I was nursing an injured knee round the Mountain Trial and carefully picking races that might give me points in the Club Championship without doing any further damage. A year later after almost no racing my knee is as good as it is going get and the acute problem seems to have been cured. A year ago I also wondered if I had made a mistake entering the Medium rather than the Classic but this no such doubts existed and having seen the Classic map I think the Classic is now always going to be beyond me. This isn’t a problem – the Medium is a tough enough day out, even when you don’t make any serious errors.

Despite the poor visibility at the start I didn’t lose much time finding (stumbling across) the control below Galaramara. Thereafter visibility improved and although there were places I could have picked better lines the only poor call was getting the two tarns on Haystacks the wrong way round. In comparison with errors I have made in the past on or around controls late in the race this was really neither here nor there!


20150913_001_LDMT-22-EditWhat might have been?

As ever, the Mountain Trial is a great day and huge thanks are due to all involved in making in happen.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Bampton Common – 07 September

We met Keith and his grand-daughter’s dog Jackson at Askham for a wander down the old Roman Road to High Street. That was the plan but the warm sunshine made us reconsider our ambitions. After a leisurely second breakfast high above Ullswater watching the the steamers ply up and down we settled on a more leisurely round as far as Bampton Common so the we could bag another Birkett before wandering back up the side of the River Lowther to Askham. A very fine way to spend a Monday it was.


20150907_001_beethamcottage-286Morning Sun over Brothers Water



20150907_004_beethamcottage-311Pennines from near Askham

20150907_005_beethamcottage-63Inversion over Pooley Bridge

20150907_006_beethamcottage-96Ullswater from Whinny Crag

20150907_007_beethamcottage-99Jackson on the cairn at Whinny Crag

20150907_008_beethamcottage-102-EditLoadpot Hill with Helvellyn and the Dodds beyond

20150907_009_beethamcottage-109Ruin below Bampton Common

20150907_010_beethamcottage-111-EditRiver Lowther

20150907_013_beethamcottage-131Farmhouse near Low Knipe

20150907_012_beethamcottage-126Low Knipe

20150907_014_beethamcottage-132Red Tractor

Wainwright Bagging – 06 September

In an effort to finally complete our third round of Wainwright’s High Fells and our first round of his Outlying Fells along with Birketts and other lists we sometimes end up with slightly awkward routes and today was one of those times. From Beetham Cottage over Gale Crag (Birkett) to Hartsop Above How (Wainwright, as are all others) and on to the Fairfield Horseshoe between Hart Crag and Dove Crag. Over Dove Crag (doesn’t count today) to High Pike then down to Low Pike and so far this a fairly obvious natural crossing however here we turn and look back up to High Pike because it is to there we must return. High Pike to High Beckstones which doesn’t seem to be listed but does have a very fine cairn which provides an excuse to sit on the sun and contemplate Little Hart Crag and High Hartsop Dodd where we are headed – more significantly we can see the Brotherswater Inn which will be the last tick of the day.

20150906_001_beethamcottage-257Morning sunshine reaches High Hartsop Dodd and Dove Crag

20150906_002_beethamcottage-1Looking back to Place Fell

20150906_003_beethamcottage-7Pauline climbing towards Hart Crag

20150906_004_beethamcottage-10Towards Hartsop Above How

20150906_005_beethamcottage-19Ambleside and Windermere from Low Pike

20150906_006_beethamcottage-20High Pike from Low Pike

20150906_007_beethamcottage-25The Coniston Fells and much more from Low Pike

20150906_008_beethamcottage-30Towards St Sunday Crag from Little Hart Crag

20150906_009_beethamcottage-36Hartsop Hall

20150906_010_beethamcottage-44-EditAfternoon sun on Brothers Water

Grisedale Horseshoe fell race – 05 September

For the first time in ten years I have been able to avoid injury and keep my diary clear for the Grisedale Horseshoe, one of the best races in the Lakes. Well organised, well marshalled and still enjoyably low key. 10 years ago I didn’t race with a camera and now I can’t afford the time to take pictures during a race but Pauline should have some on her blog before too long.

20150905_001_beethamcottage-301Worries Faces – and this is just for the Prize Giving!

Needless to say it was a tough day out and I should thank these three guys from Lostock for dragging and pushing me round in a time I would have been delighted with, had I been given it before setting off – thanks Mike and the Two Marks! Had I not gone the wrong way after the last Checkpoint my 03:12 would have been a bit quicker but I am happy with the way everything else went.

Huge thanks to Tony Shanley (RO), all the marshals and everyone else involved on Saturday

With no need to rush home we retired to the Travellers Rest for a shandy before settling in at Beetham Cottage for a couple of days.


20150905_002_beethamcottage-313-EditThe Store, Glenridding

20150905_003_beethamcottage-215-EditEvening sun over Brothers Water with Red Screes in the distance

20150905_004_beethamcottage-220-EditLast of the sun on High Hartsop Dodd

20150905_005_beethamcottage-226-EditBrock Crags with Place Fell beyond

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Allt-fawr – 31 August

IAbove the slate quarries of Blaenau Ffestiniog are a number of ridges twisting away from the A470 to Betws-Y-Coed and of these one is of interest today. Having identified the place to park and having found the ‘Footpath’ sign we set off. The footpath sign isn’t complimented by a footpath on the map which is, surely, unusual and there are no real sings on the ground which is less unusual. With the map set wrongly we headed off to one of the wrong ridges but not for long. Once through the low lying bogs which are just beginning to fill up for winter the going is good along the ridge as are the views in all directions. Most of these hill are unfamiliar so it was enjoyable identifying where we had been during the last few days. Allt-fawr sits high above the slate quarries that dominate Blaenau Ffestiniog and so provides contrasting views – industrial devastation in one direction and quiet rolling hills in the other.

20150831_001_Snowdonia-101-EditLlechwedd Slate Caverns

20150831_002_Snowdonia-105-EditGloddfa Gonal Slate Mine

20150831_003_Snowdonia-119-EditOver Llyn Conglog to Cnicht and beyond

20150831_004_Snowdonia-126-EditBoth slate quarries with the town beyond

Yr Aran – 30 August

More than ever on Bank Holiday weekends is there a case for seeking out quiet hills away from the ‘honey pots’. Yr Aran is such a hill although the initial approach uses the less popular but nonetheless busy Watkin Path to Snowdon. After leaving the Watkin Path we headed for the ridge above Afon Gorsen without going to Coed yr allt. This provided a steep, grassy and very quiet route to the ridge on one of the stillest days of the year.

After gaining the ridge we wandered along to the summit drinking in the views of Snowdon and the ridges around Cwm Llan. Crib Goch appeared in the distance and we are happy to be away from the crowds and queues. A pair of trail runners popped up over Yr Aran as we approached the summit but their concentration was on their feet, the path and bringing them together safely.

It wouldn’t really have been Snowdonia on a Bank Holiday if we hadn’t joined the crowds briefly so descending to the Watkin Path through the disused quarry we shared the sunshine with the crowds swimming and paddling in the river.


20150830_001_Snowdonia-48-EditSnowdon and Y Lliwedd with Crib Goch in the distance

20150830_002_Snowdonia-54-EditFrom Yr Aran summit to Snowdon

20150830_003_Snowdonia-63-EditLooking North West from Yr Aran summit

20150830_004_Snowdonia-71-EditDisused quarry on Yr Aran

20150830_005_Snowdonia-77-EditThe Watkin Path

Moelwyn Mawr and More – 29 August


20150829_001_Snowdonia-309-EditFrom Pen-Y-Pas towards Capel Curig

An uncertain and somewhat mixed weather forecast helped us decide to avoid the crowds on Cnicht and head up the other side of the valley to Rhosydd Quarry from Creosor. The old quarry road makes for an easy ascent and today it was an easy ascent above the cloud base. From Moelwyn Mawr we could see nothing, not even the “easy path” to Craigysgafn. Instead we headed back to the quarry and on to Moel-yr-hydd. Cnicht’s cloud cover remained firmly in place and we returned to Croesor through the quarry.

The weather finally improved and as we reached the car park the summit of Cnicht finally cleared!

















Early evening sunshine flooded into Nant Peris, just to rub in a bit of salt!


20150829_009_Snowdonia-399Crib Goch from Nant Peris

20150829_008_Snowdonia-393The end of Crib Goch from Nant Peris