Monday, 25 April 2016

Our Final "Outlying Fell" - 23 April

On the 23rd May 1998 we, more or less inadvertently, bagged the first of Wainwright's "Outlying Fells", Lord's Seat on Whitbarrow. Over the following 18 years we visited other Outlying Fells without ever really trying to complete the list. Usually we bagged Outlyers when the weather was too bad for the high fells or we were passing by on our way home from somewhere else, neither of which is entirely fair to the list because it contains some wonderful little hills.

Last week I realised we had bagged all Wainwright's Outlyers apart from four which were all in a cluster around Newby Bridge. Almost exactly 18 years after our Outlyer we went out to bag our final four which were Ravens Barrow, Staveley Fell . (While there we visited Birch Fell and came back over Gummers How.), Finsthwaite and Newton Fell.

I would like to be able to claim that careful planning ensured we ended up with a cluster that could be done in a day and that, even better, our first summit could be seen from our final summit but I can't. Lord's Seat was bagged long before we had heard of Wainwright's Outlying Fells and we were too busy with other things to realise the end of the list was approaching. Some of the "other things" we were too busy with are other lists and we are hoping to celebrate other completions before the end of the year. In the meantime, we will enjoy this one.

Looking North from Gummer's How

River Leven Weirs - below Finsthwaite

Haverthwaite Railway

Towards the Coniston Fells from Newton Fell (North)

Fiddler Hall (below Newton Fell north summit)

Morecambe Bay from Newton Fell (South)

Monday, 18 April 2016

Stile End & Barrow - 17 April

Easy stroll up from the road at Stoneycroft to Stile End, a Birkett lurking between Outerside and Barrow, then on to Barrow to bag another Third Round Wainwright. Barrow, in particular enjoys good views of the Northern Fells, Derwent Water and much beyond.

Northern Fells

Derwent Water and much beyond

Dale Head - 16 April

A great day out marshalling at Dale Head with Geoff Briggs. By the time most runners on both the Anniversary Waltz and the Teenager With Altitude reach Dale Head they are spread out and they arrive in small groups. This makes recording numbers easier, in good weather, but it doesn't allow all errors or omissions to be avoided and the old adage "you can take numbers or you can take photos" remains true. Numbers were more important so no race photos.

Newlands Valley from Dale Head

Leaving Dale Head

Dale Head

High Spy Ridge and much more beyond

Looking south from Dale Head

Snow flurry sweeping down Borrowdale

Walking down from Catbells into Newlands Valley

Around Thirlmere - 15 April

The northern end of Thirlmere has a collection of Birketts, a Wainwright we want to bag for our Third Round and a packhorse bridge at Smaithwaite. Our afternoon consisted of two 'rounds' - the first to Raven Crag, Castle Crag and Sippling Crag and the second to the bridge Smaithwaite followed by Great How.

The packhorse bridge has been modified somewhat and it is believed the beck was widened as part of the reservoir works in 1894 necessitating the two wooden extensions.

Raven Crag is benefiting from a new, almost complete wooden staircase to the summit which we shared with the 3 guys building the stairs. Castle Crag is signposted and has a well-walked path while Sippling Crag remains, almost, a secret. There is a trod leading away from the forest road but it remains uncairned and we weren't going to change that.

The A591 remains closed and the road around the back of the lake is reserved for the shuttle bus, taxis and cyclists. The back road has a guard to allow buses through and turn away mere mortals but she assured me that walking from the Church to Wyth Burn wouldn't be a problem as long as we avoid the machinery. This didn't matter today but at the end of the month we will be walking the Old County Tops and this is a key part of the route. On previous occasions I have been able to arrange road support here but that won't be possible this year.

Smaithwaite Packhorse Bridge

Thirlmere from the dam

Thirlmere from Raven Crag

The Northern Fells from Great How

Monday, 11 April 2016

Packhorse Bridges & Birketts - 10 April

A messy sort of Bagging day but a worthwhile one. For a variety of reasons we had a few hills around Shap left to bag, not enough for a full day but with a few packhorse bridges in the vicinity we had enough to keep ourselves amused for the day.

Classic Packhorse Bridge at Rosgill

Classic Packhorse Bridge at Rosgill again

Burnbanks Packhorse Bridge

The stables below Knipescar Common
 Have bagged the two bridges around Bampton we headed a little north to visit Knipescar Common and conclude the morning's activities.

We spent the afternoon wandering about Wet Sleddale to visit three fells on the south side of the valley. These we failed to reach one very cold day some years ago. In theory we were keeping them for better weather with drier ground and today we enjoyed the better weather and concluded the drier ground would only be found elsewhere.

Abandoned Axle

Looking back to Wet Sleddale Hall

The Packhorse Bridge in Wet Sleddale was moved to avoid it being submerged when the dam was built. When it was rebuilt in its present location the parapets were added and so while it may be a genuine packhorse bridge it has been relocated and significantly altered.

Wet Sleddale Packhorse Bridge

Late Afternoon Sunburst

Wet Sleddale Reservoir
All bridges visited and peaks bagged on a long slow afternoon trudging over wet rough ground. Away from the car park we only saw two other walkers, a couple seemingly reversing our route. The going is slow but it allows time to savour these hills and there is plenty to enjoy here

Monday, 4 April 2016

Stott Park Bobbin Mill - 02 April

We stumbled across Stott Park Bobbin Mill on our way home from Claife Heights and thoroughly enjoyed the guided tour. It is the last of very many bobbin mills that once supplied the cotton mills of Lancashire, and further afield, making a very good living for their owners. This is a wonderful piece of Lancastrian industrial history - this was part of Lancashire for all of its working life - brought to life.

Claife Heights - 02 April

With weather as bad as or perhaps even worse than forecast on Friday night and with more rain to follow on Saturday we 'folded up our plans and put them away" for another day. Great Langdale was, as forecast, a  very wet place early on Saturday morning with little prospect for improvement. Over a late, lazy breakfast options were considered and bagging Claife Heights, on the way home, emerged as favourite - a new Wainwright Outlyer, a new Trig Point and a new Marilyn. It is also, in the words of our old friend Keith, "a hill you wouldn't want to waste a good day on".

Three Dubs Tarn

High Blind How
We spent a couple of hours in the rain wandering around, somewhat erratically, attempting to follow the sporadic signposts to Claife Heights. Once we stopped trying to follow the signposts we reached the summit, saw nothing and headed back to Far Sawrey with a 'tick' or three in the bag.

Fell Running Legends - 01 April

A fund raiser on behalf of the Brathay Trust which Joss Naylor, amongst others, has supported for many years; bringing together Joss Naylor, Billy Bland and Kenny Stuart - the "Fell Running Legends". The evening was also an opportunity to catch up with old friends and look forward to another summer on the fells.

Joss and Anna Lupton

Joss and Anna Lupton

Kenny Stuart

Kenny Stuart & autograph hunter

Billy Bland explains .....

Other Fell Running Legends too