Monday, 24 April 2017

Around Knock Murton - 23 April

A meandering wander around Knock Murton in the Western Fells to bag two Wainwrights (Burnbank Fell & Blake Fell) for our Third Round. Along the way we bagged nine new Birketts to bring our Birkett total to 500.

Now our Third Round needs only Tarn Crag in Easedale for completion and we have only another 41 Birketts to visit.

The new Birketts were

  • High Hows
  • Owsen Fell
  • Loweswater End
  • Sharp Knott
  • Gavel Fell - High Nook
  • High Pen
  • Low Pen
  • Godworth
  • Kelton Fell

Fishing on Cogra Moss

Leaving Blake Fell

Grasmoor dominating the North Western Fells

Over Cogra Moss to the Solway Firth

High Spy - 22 April

Marshalling on the Anniversary Waltz/Teenager with Altitude on High Spy. A glorious bright, sunny day tempered by a cool wind - perfect for running and pretty nearly perfect for the marshals too.

Over Catbells to the Northern Fells

North Western Fells from High Spy


On The Scrounge


Approaching High Spy

Having Too Much Fun

More race photos here.

Base Brown - 21 April

Despite the forecast for a dry day and glimpses of sunshine when we arrived in Borrowdale rain drifted into the valley as we set out for Base Brown. The climb by the side of Sour Milk Gill became a climb into the clouds and a little rain. The latter didn't last but was quickly replaced by the cold wind which has become so familiar of late.

We reached in the summit in zero visibility and followed the path from Green Gable back to the top of Sour Milk Gill, dropping below the clouds as we did so. Only three more "Third Round Wainwrights" outstanding now.

Borrowdale Below the Quarries

Borrowdale from the side of Sour Milk Gill

From Base Brown

Looking into Grains Gill

Top of Sour Milk Gill

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Creag na Sroine - 17 April

Creag na Sroine sits above Stronetoper on the west side of Glen Feshie. Coming here was a "last minute" decision which meant no research on routes until walking down the glen. A fairly unconvincing track climbs from Stronetoper in the direction of the summit but whether it reaches the summit or not cannot be determined at the bottom.

Heather-bashing is rarely an attractive option and today is no exception so after crossing the river from Achlean we followed the road up the glen to reach the track that climbs back over the shoulder of Creag na Sroine. Eventually it becomes a path and about 500M away from the summit we followed a firebreak to the summit. Low clouds and restricted views made this a bit of joyless trudge but the three deer running immediately in front of us, twice, made it a worthwhile.

A bitter wind drove from the summit while gathering, heavy clouds persuaded us to follow an old track back towards Glen Feshie. This turned out to be the track rising from Stronetoper which saved a great deal of time and avoided a serious soaking because we were only minutes from the car when the heavy rain arrived.


Upper Glen Feshie

Lower Glen Feshie

Creag na Sroine Summit looking towards the Cairngorm plateau


Beinn Bhreac & Carn an Fhreiceadain - 16 April

Easy stroll over Beinn Bhreac & Carn an Fhreiceadain on the big track out of Kingussie. Low clouds probably hid the best of the views but the wild life more than made up for it.

Four hares playing in the heather wearing the last of their winter coats suggested Spring is just around the corner although the weather doesn't seem to be paying attention. A little further up Beinn Bhreac a fifth hare seemed unsure whether to keep an eye on us or on the pair of ptarmigan cavorting nearby. Descending Carn an Fhreiceadain a black grouse wandered over to see us, stood on the track and chatted at length before turning his back us, seemingly in disgust, and walking away.

Looking down to Speyside

Beinn Bhreac Summit

Carn an Fhreiceadain Trig Point

Carn an Fhreiceadain Cairn

An Torr & Creag Dhubh - 15 April

Creag Dhubh is a fine Marilyn above the A86 at Newtonmore with a subsidiary summit, An Torr.  A cool wind driving snow flurries accompanied us all along the ridge - saving the heaviest flurry for the summit. The Cairngorm plateau remained concealed by heavy clouds all day and we were glad to be below the worst of the weather.

Ruthven Barracks

Snow Storm on Speyside

Kingussie Carpet Shop (i)

Kingussie Carpet Shop (ii)

Kingussie Bench

Glen Tromie - 14 April

Weather forecasts for Easter Weekend in the Cairngorms suggest winter won't leave the plateau for some time yet so we arrived in Kincraig with a long list of lower hills to bag, far more than a weekend's worth. The area between Glen Tromie and the A9 looks interesting but we have no idea how good or bad the ground might be so a walk down the glen and back over Croidh-la should give us an idea.

The heather cover is almost complete and without a path, trod or track to follow the going will be difficult and, probably, slow. Even paths shown on the map are faint and not always easy to find or follow as Croidh-la proved. Today's conclusion is while the said area is of interest it won't be explored this weekend.

The Ospreys are back on Loch Insh and much to our surprise and delight we were able to watch them on and around the next this afternoon.

Looking West from Croidh-la

Croidh-la Trig Point

Work In Progress (i)

Work In Progress (ii)

The best way up and down the glen

Osprey Watching

Monday, 10 April 2017

Around Grisedale - 08 April

Glorious sunny Saturday on a pre-Easter Holidays weekend and the honeypot hills are somewhere between busy and very busy. A little, low Synge Keldas overlooking Ullswater is our first of the day and we have it to ourselves. The solitude won't last so we saviour it and contemplate the "queue" already forming, above us, for Striding Edge.

Traversing three of the four summits of Birkhouse Moor with the "forming queue" is timely reminder our preference, today, to avoid Helvellyn's  Edges is a good one. Even the descent from the "Hole In The Wall" to Grisedale is busy. No matter because this isn't the place to come if quiet hills are required. An easy crossing from Birkhouse Moor to St Sunday Crag isn't easy to find and we don't find it. A grass rake allows us to climb steeply to join the path between Deepdale Hause and St Sunday Crag on our way to Gavel Pike.

Descending from Gavel Pike to Birks gives us our second "Third Round Wainwright" of the day to reduce our outstanding summits on the round to four. A pair at the far end of Ennerdale and two well separated singletons remain but other plans mean it could be the middle of the summer before we finally bag them.

Ullswater (i)

Ullswater (ii)

Place Fell and more

Helvellyn and The Edges 

Going to Striding Edge

"And we used to come down that gully"

Going Up

Across to Striding Edge

St Sunday Crag

Far Eastern Fells

Ullswater at the end of the day

  • Keldas
  • Birkhouse Moor
  • Birkhouse Moor South Top
  • Birkhouse Moor Extreme South Top
  • St Sunday Crag
  • Gavel Pike
  • Birks

Friday, 7 April 2017

Lantern Pike - 05 April

Lantern Pike is a sub-Hewitt we probably wouldn't have gone out of our way to bag but we strolled over it (and missed the fallen Trig Pillar) while out with some friends. A dull day (in terms of the weather only) with a keen wind, sufficiently keen to keep us below the Kinder plateau.

I am not particularly familiar with the area between Hayfield and Kinder and kept walking into small areas I remembered from various years doing the Kinder Trial. Slightly unsettling experience but great fun trying to remember if I really knew where I was either today or during the race.

Towards Mount Famine

Power Lines

The ruined mill is near Phoside Farm and is so overgrown it is surprising how much is left standing and how high the remaining walls are.