Skip to main content

On Fleetwith Pike with the Good Captain.


The last time me and Capt Dave were on Fleetwith Pike it was bloody miserable. The cloud was low, we could only see a few feet in front of us and there was a cold dampness in the air. I told him that day how beautiful the view over Buttermere was and that I would bring him back up in fine weather.

At least the weather was better today albeit not perfect.  We parked up in the YHA car park at the top of Honister Pass and set off up the old tramway path as far as Drum House which is where Moses Trod leads off to the left. We took the right hand fork which went over boggy grassland to the old slate mine working on Fleetwith Pike.

Buttermere and Crummock Water

The Moses Trod path got it's nickname  from a man called Moses Rigg, a Honister quarry man. He distilled whisky, conveying the illicit liquor down to Wasdale Head in loads of slate. Whether this was in pony panniers or a sledge is not known. His ‘still’ must have ranked as the highest building in England for it was located quite incredibly at the top of Gable Crag which is high up on Great Gable!


Close up of Buttermere and Crummock Water

The path winds its way through the old quarry workings with its many slag heaps and mining relics and is never difficult anywhere. At one point you get a direct view down between the crags to the Honister Pass over a 1000 feet below which is quite an airy position. Shortly after that, the path gives you it's first view over Buttermere (above). The day was overcast but there was just a bit of sunlight on Mellbreak so I stopped at took a couple of photos.


The Good Captain on the sumit

The path then makes it's way gently up to the top of the fell. The cloud was just touching the tops of the high fells but the view was still pretty spectacular. Looking North you have Buttermere, Crummock Water and the tip of Loweswater below and to the right of Buttermere are High Pike, High Stile and Red Pike.


Shaft of light on Windy Gap

Then to the west is mighty Pillar. Unfortunately the light was so bad that we couldn't make out Pillar Rock or any great detail. Then it's round to Kirk Fell and the unmistakable top of Great Gable with Haystacks in front (above). I was lucky enough to get a shaft of sunlight beaming down between the two high fells which looked just like a spotlight on a stage. I suppose that is what it really was but the stage was Nature's stage. Moments like that always have me scampering for my camera. Usually they have disappeared before I can get it out of my rucksack but today I was lucky.


Great Gable from the summit

We were joined on the summit by a family who had climbed the Fell via the ridge from Gatescarth which is much too steep and exposed for me these days; give me the gentler routes anytime. They disappeared along Fleetwith Pike on the path we came up on which was a bit of a strange way back as they would have to walk down the Honister Pass road to get back to their original starting point. They seemed young and fit enough so we left them to it.


Sunlight on Robinson and Hindscarth.

The sun then made a guest appearance on Robinson and Hindscarth which was only a fleeting one but it did stay there long enough for me to take a photo (above). You can just see Causey Pike in the gap with Skiddaw behind it.


Fleetwith Pike summit

We sat down to take in the summit view and to share a coffee plus have a quick snack before setting off back along the path we came up on. Dave always brings me a bag of Mini Chedders and shares his Mars Bar and coffee bless him. I usually just provide the navigational skills!


Honister Pass

At the old quarry works we decided to take the old, steep mine road which zig-zags back down to the pass which you can just make it out in the top left hand corner of the photo (above). For a road it is bloody steep but it gets you back down without incident. One more shot of the pass and it was back to the car.

Of course we could have done the walk via the Via Ferrata  which means 'Iron Way' in English. It is literally a series of exposed scrambles amongst the crags linked by metal ladders leading to the summit of Fleetwith Pike which starts off in the old mine workings high above the pass.
http://www.honister-slate-mine.co.uk/via_ferrata_at_honister.asp 

...........or maybe not.





Popular posts from this blog

Wharfedale

These are just a selection of photos I took a few weeks ago. The first bunch are of Linton Bridge and the River Wharfe just outside Grassington. The concrete retaining walls of Linton Mill by the side of the bridge now support a housing development called ‘Linton Falls’. A corn mill has probably stood on this site from Medieval times. In 1788, Robert Hargreaves & Co of Addingham built a worsted-spinning mill there. Soon after a new tenant, Samuel Gill, and until 1804, his partner James Parker, turned the mill over to spinning cotton. By 1830 it had returned to worsted spinning under the ownership of J & W Birkbeck. Birkbecks then built a five-storey cotton mill on the site in the mid-19th century. This mill burnt down in 1912 and was replaced by a smaller structure. This went out of business during the 1950s. It was demolished in 1983 apart from the houses facing onto the footpath that crosses the river. Prior to demolition, the mill’s rare uniflow steam engine was rescued an…

The Old Brown Horse :

On the minor road to Scarness Bay in Cumbria, there has been a small stable where 2 two horses have lived for years. On passing it the other week with Dave and Chris, we noticed an R.I.P sign and only one horse. He or she looked so sad and forlorn.

As shown in it's eyes, it was obviously missing it's old mate. Thanks to Sal for the verse which it is rather apt.





The Old Brown Horse :

The old brown horse looks over the fence
In a weary sort of way.
He seems to be saying to all who pass:
“Well, folks, I've had my day-
I'm simply watching the world go by,
And nobody seems to mind,
As they're dashing past in their motor-cars,
A horse who is lame and half-blind.”


The old brown horse has a shaggycoat,
But once he was young and trim,
And he used to trot through the woods and lanes
With the man who was fond of him.
But his master rides in a motor-car,
And it makes him feel quite sad
When he thinks of the days that used to be, and of al…

Derwent Valley, Castleton and The Devil's Arse!

I had this day out and took these shot's at the beginning of June when all the rape was in bloom in the fields above High Bradfield. The cloud cover was kind to me as well, letting the sun burst through intermittently,  lighting up the yellow fields beautifully.

I love this area which is on the edge of The Peak District and can't thank Sal enough for introducing me to it. The view over Bradfield Dale to the distant Derwent Edge is one of our favourites and has to be one of the loveliest in the area. Coupled with this are a pair of nice pubs, a beautiful Church and a brewery which makes Bradfield an ideal stopping off point. No pubs for me today though.

Sal had often mentioned The Derwent Valley so I thought I'd go and have a bit of an explore and then drive on to Castleton. The moor road over to the main A57 passing Strines resounded with the call of the Curlews so I presumed it was their mating season. I love their call, it is an unmistakable, plaintive, and lonely …

Snow in Ribblesdale

Yet another one of those days when I leave Bradford in sunshine and, by the time I do the twenty odd miles up to the Dales, the blue skies have disappeared and the cloud has moved in. This has happened to me every time bar one this year. I did manage to see a few glimpses of the sun just outside Horton in Ribblesdale and then just for a fleeting moment at Ribblehead but apart from that it was pretty gloomy. I was very fortunate at Ribblehead as the sun lit up Whernside beautifully.

I parked the car on the edge of Horton and had a walk around the network of country lanes in the vicinity. All lead up to Brackenbottom Farm which is the usual start for walking up Pen y Ghent. There weren't many takers which I thought was a bit strange as the weather would have been ideal. Mind you, it was midweek so I suppose most people will have been working. It was pretty damned cold though and I was glad to get back to the car and head for Ribblehead.

I had thought of going all the way up to Hawe…

To Lochinver via Coigach

Again, I don't really think many words are needed for this blog. The photos tell the whole story of one of the best drives in the UK.

The route chops and changes from mountain to coastal and back again and is possibly the best section of the Wester Ross Coastal Road. I was fortunate enough to be at Gruinard Bay when the tide was out so I more to less had the whole beach to myself, th the mighty An Teallach (widely regarded as the best hill in Scotland) towered above me as I drove down through Dundonnell.  Then it was through the Dundonnell River gorge and across the Dundonnell Forest to Loch Broom and Ullapool. Even Ullapool looked good with the morning sun and blue skies. I hardly met any traffic at all from the moment I left my hotel on the shores on Loch Maree which meant driving was a sheer pleasure.

The last section of the route through Coigach to Lochinver is the reason I keep visiting these parts. It may only be about twenty miles in length but it goes through what is, in m…

The Old Coal Road.

The Old Coal Road runs between Cowgill in Dentdale and Garsdale high up in the Yorkshire Dales.

There were twenty-five coal pits which formed part of the extensive coal workings and lay on the moorland either side of it. These coal pits were worked by local people, initially to produce domestic fuel, but by the 18th century, the poor quality coal was also being used in lime kilns. Commercial coal mining went on in Garsdale until the 1870s when the Settle-Carlisle railway started bringing in cheaper, higher quality coal from the Lancashire and West Yorkshire coalfields.

If you aren't adversed to a bit of  road walking then I should imaging a trip up on the Settle-Carlisle train, getting off at Dent Station and then walking up to Garsdale Head (or Hawess Junction as it was once known), would be a grand day out. For good measure it should include a couple of pints in The Moorcock Inn before getting the train back down.

On Garsdale station stands a statue of Ruswarp, a collie. Ruswarp…

A Farewell to The Trossachs

I had a rather disappointing day in The Trossachs last weekend. Talk about not feeling welcome.

I used to park up at two places on the shores of Loch Chon and then go for a wander in the forest with my camera. The first place had been ruined by tree felling and was a right mess and the other place had been turned in to a campsite! At the first spot, I just about managed to park my car and clamber around fallen trees and debris to take a few photos but couldn't even get in to the second spot!

The new campsite is all to do with The Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park's attempt at trying to stop wild camping which they say is becoming a problem on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond from where people used to wild camp and climb Ben Lomond. Their solution is to have purpose built campsites miles away from where they are actually needed. It makes you wonder if they really want visitors at all. The consensus of opinion is that they are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut and var…