Sunday, 17 July 2016

Dalehead from Honister

I haven't been up a high fell for a long time what with knees and hips playing up. Plus the fact that I'm getting older and could do with losing some weight does't help. I picked what is possibly one of the easier fells as the ascent of Dalehead can only be a mile or so from the top of Honister Pass. Alfred Wainwright said you could climb it with your hands in your pockets and I suppose you could if you weren't lugging around a heavy camera with an even heavier lens!

It's a straightforward ascent, you just follow the fence leading from the top of the pass. You are never very far from it all the way up and when it does disappear, there is a wide well-cairned path right up the the impressive summit cairn. If I remember rightly, an even bigger cairn was destroyed many years ago and was then rebuild.

I don't think the top of Dalehead can be surpassed in it's situation, being slap bang at the head of the Newlands Valley. The earth just falls away beneath your feet and you have an amazing view of Skiddaw ahead and the crags of High Spy to the right. Also looking back, you have all the Lakeland giants. Scafell Pike, Great Gable, Esk Pike, Kirk Fell and to the left Pillar and the Buttermere Fells. You can even see the top of the Langdale Pikes peering over the Central Fells Ridge.

It is certainly a place to just to find a nice boulder and rest your bones for a while. I had a bite to eat and a drink before dragging myself away and strolling back down. Maybe the next time I will take a walk along Hindscarth Edge where the ground drops steeply down to the pass and also gives a spectacular view of Honister Crags across the valley.

All in all, I felt quite chuffed with my small achievement and it's given me the motivation to try something a bit harder and farther in future.

Fleetwith Pike

Looking over to Kirk Fell and Pillar

Looking over to Kirk Fell and Pillar

Nearing the summit

High Spy Crags

Summit Cairn

Summit Cairn

High Spy and  Eastern Fells

Summit Path to Hindscarth

Newlands Valley

Great Gable Crag

Newlands and Skiddaw

Summit Cairn and the North Western fells

Newlands Valley

Honister Crag

Fleet with Pike and Honister Crag

Friday, 8 July 2016

Tilberthwaite and Hodge Close Quarries.


Tilberthwaite was once a thriving centre for slate quarrying. The quarries have been idle for decades and nature has pretty much reclaimed them; blanketing them in deciduous woodland. These days the actual quarries are of most interest to rock climbers and divers as Hodge Close Quarry will testify.

I just dropped by whilst on my way to Coniston to meet up with Sal and her parents who had their motor home by the lake. The morning had started off beautifully but dark clouds were rapidly approaching by the time I got there. I was only there about half an hour but was lucky enough to catch a few breaks in the clouds. You have to be there to really appreciate the degree in which the quarries and spoil heaps have changed this landscape. Some people might say it had been ruined but with the right light on the trees, it can look quite interesting to the eye. I was going to write beautiful but I think that would be exaggerating things somewhat. I always like to begin walks in to Little Langdale from here as it gives them an interesting start. Both Cathedral Cave (which is also a disused quarry) and the famous Three Shires Inn are also in the vicinity.

The main quarry next to Hodge Close was being worked the last time I was here but I couldn't see any evidence of it today. In fact the whole area seemed to have become the home to Kankku off-roading company who must have been holding some sort of rally as they had even set up their own catering tents with chefs!

Another thing I noticed was that the whole of the Hodge Quarry area had been fenced off although it was quite easy to get through it to take a few photos. I suppose there are pluses and minuses about keeping people away from the quarry edge as there is about a three hundred foot sheer drop from the top (a half of this fall is under water as well). The only casualties I have read about over the years though have been diving casualties which I can't see a rope fence stopping.

And so, having taken my photos, I returned to the main road and carried on to Coniston.


















Thursday, 7 July 2016

Stockley Bridge

I wonder how many times in their life an active fell walker walks over Stockley Bridge. I've done it more times than I can remember, the first time being over twenty years ago when I made my first ascent of Great End. Whether it be the path up Grains Gill or the path over Sty Head Pass, the end result is the same. You will end up in the middle of the high fells of the Lake District.

This is the start of the walker's route up to The Scafells, Great End, Great Gable and Esk Pike. It is also the start of the route to major crossroads of paths and bridleways. Styhead Pass leading from Borrowdale over to Wasdale, Esk Hause where paths from Great Langdale, Borrowdale, Eskdale and Wasdale meet, all can be attained from this starting point. Throw in Sprinkling Tarn and Sty Head Tarn and its easy to see why it is so popular. Oh and I forgot to mention Taylor Gill Force which is one of the largest waterfalls in the district.

On the day I walked up there it was rather dismal and I fully expected to get a soaking. I had hoped to get a bit of good light to take some photos though but as you would expect, if there is going to be any poor weather in the Lakes, this will be the place you get it as it is surrounded by high fells. I did manage to stay dry though.

I met all sorts of people, both old and young. I also bumped in to a group of middle aged cyclists who arrived at the bridge carrying their bikes and were last seen on the path to Ruddy Gill still carrying them! When they arrived at the bridge they didn't really seem to know which path was which; whether to head over Styhead Pass or go up Ruddy Gill so I didn't have much confidence in them reaching there destination. I had the feeling that they took the Ruddy Gill path solely because it was the flattest. If so, they would regret it further up. Personally I would stick to walking in this area as it is so rocky but then again I'm no cyclist. Also I should imagine that if you are a cyclist, you are so busy looking down at the path, you miss the spectacular scenery that this area has to offer.

I hope they completed their ride safely no matter where they were heading. My photos were nothing spectacular but there will be other days.


Seathwaite

Grains Gill

Thorneythwaite Fell

Grains Gill

Grains Gill and Taylor Gill

Grains Gill


Stockley Bridge

Grains Gill

Grains Gill

Grains Gill

Stockley Bridge

Grains Gill

Grains Gill

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Watendlath and its tarn


I think this was the most enjoyable day I've had all summer so far. Again Sal was with me and we called in at Surprise View on the way up as she hadn't been there before. There I got talking to an old local, sorry I'll rephrase that, an old local pounced on me and then began to rant about the wind turbines which had been installed at the top end of Bassenthwaite Lake. He then moved on to local government corruption before finishing off on the Tory Government and their corruption. He kept referring to David Cameron as Camairon so at first I was at a loss as to what he was going on about. Eventually the penny dropped though so I joined in with my four penneth. Sal couldn't understand a word he was saying so she discreetly strolled off to take some photos looking down on to Derwentwater.

We carried on along the narrrow road up to the hamlet of Watendlath and it's tarn. We both needed a bit of a leg stretch so we put our walking shoes on and, after watching the local sheep being sheared, we headed off along the path which eventually takes you up to Dock Tarn. Instead of going up to the tarn, we cut off this path and followed a rather flat and boggy path across the wetlands to eventually joined the bridleway coming up from Rosthwaite in Borrowdale. I took her on a slight detour so that she could see the view down to Borrowdale which is one of the loveliest in the district. Unfortunately the weather wasn't really much good for photography but there will be plenty of other days for us to make a return trip. I suppose the next time, we could come up from Borrowdale, drop down to Watendlath and then follow the valley path before coming down via High Lodore Falls and the woods. This is another splendid walk.

We finished our stroll off with a nice pot of tea for two sat outside the Caffle House Tea Rooms and watched the small birds raiding the scraps left by the cafe clientele. One small, scruffy baby blue-tit had its beak firmly wedged in someone's left over strawberry jam and was having the time of its short life! We both agreed that we'd had a lovely afternoon, made better by heading off and avoiding the crowds which this popular place attracts.


Shearing the sheep

Watendlath Tarn

Watendlath Tarn

Watendlath Tarn

Foxglove, Watendlath

Watendlath Tarn

Path to Dock Tarn

Foxgloves by wall

Distant Watendlath Tarn

Path to Dock Tarn

Path to Borrowdale

Wiggley Wall

Watendlath Tarn

Watendlath Beck

Caffle House Tea Rooms

Wider views at Harlow Carr RHS Garden, Harrogate

Some more photos of my afternoon at Harlow Carr RHS Gardens in Harrogate. The last set were mainly close ups of the flowers whilst this set ...