Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year 2010

This is a view from Latrigg on the way down towards Spooney Green Lane on Christmas Day. It was very icy and we passed a man with an ankle injury whose friends were giving a 6 digit map reference to the girl at the ambulance hq with little success. We said just tell her its Spooney Green Lane and they will understand and do you know 2 minutes later the ambulance was turning into the lane and coming up it. What a superb response, so I just want to end this year by saying thank you to all those people in the armed services, the police, ambulance, mountain rescue, fire brigade, doctors, nurses all of you and all of you I have forgotton to add. You know who you are - thank you for making our lives safer.

Lastly, I want to say a special thanks to all our many fans for coming on the walks in 2009 and I hope to see you again in 2010. If you are already here then please be safe on the hills at the moment you should not venture out without crampons and certainly take an ice axe if you are doing anything like Halls Fell on Blencathra which Pete, Bella and I did on Monday. Sorry no photos coz we forgot the camera but not the essentials mentioned.

Have a very Happy New Year and good health, peace and prosperity to all of you.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Have a good one.

It is getting late on Christmas Eve and we are going out for a quick drink, then a Carol sing in the Market Square. So it only remains to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Its snowing

Well it was a few minutes ago when I let Bella into the garden for a wee.  She shot down the bottom of the garden and fairly belted back in and her little nose was covered in fresh snow. We took her for a walk in it today and at one point she skidded on some ice and landed on her back! She was up again as quick as a flash though.

Today Pete took some photos of me doing my extreme sewing. We had racked our brains for somewhere to go to do this but a) had no spare time to go far and b) my sewing machine is new and heavy and I did not want to carry it far in a rucksack. In the end I sat up in bed and had sudden inspiration; this is the result.

Yes its our mountain tent and its pitched in the snow at NY 271 232 for any of you map reading buffs who want to find out where I was. The ground was so hard that the tent pegs were bashed in with a mallet.
So this is the photo I sent into the competition, I tried to encourage Pete and Bella to have their photo taken with the machine but it was hopeless. I thought of extreme sewing on the Keswick Launch but was afraid the machine might fall off into the lake....not good for them. So terra firma won my choice of locations. I did contemplate going off  and doing a hike with the machine in the rucksack but only for a few minutes before I came to my senses. Anyway, I have now to put up the christmas cards in the lounge, something I don't do until a fair few are in a pile, as only one or two look forlorn.

Those of you following the Radio Cumbria broadcasts can still hear Pete on the link to the right of the blog, but you will need to hurry as they will only be available for a few more days.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

What did Bella do last week?

Heck, Bella and I were still decorating and I have not done the extreme thingy because I had no spare time. Now that the weather is better and I actually have my sewing machine sitting here next to me to remind me, we hope to go soon.  We had a busy week working on the house and other things like arranging to send our daughter's pressie off to California and that means I usually make her a surprise because I have always done it since she was a bairn. Phew, it was touch and go to finish it and get it to the post office in time for the last airmail date to the US.

Now to Rambles matters, we have at last decided on the between Christmas and New Year walks and they are as follows:-

Sunday 27th Dec  Blencathra Traverse with Pete, Bella and me at £12.50 per person.

Monday 28th Dec Grisedale Pike with Cathy Colam at £12.50 per person.

Wednesday 30th Dec  Dolly Wagon, Nethermost Pike and Hellvelyn with Pete, Bella and Lyn at £12.50 per person.

We will not be doing the usual waiting at the Moot Hall because we will need to arrange these walks more around sharing car transport, so the idea is that you contact us if you are interested.

You can book by commenting on this blog, you can email us at the address on this blog or you can telephone us on 017687 71302.  Make sure you give your name, contact telephone number and how many would be coming on the walk. All bookings will be confirmed by us.

If you need more information don't hesitate to ask and lets hope the weather stays just like now, cool and crisp and even....................brightly shone the moon that night though the frost was cru   el...

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Extreme ironing & Radio Cumbria Broadcast

I don't know who this guy is or where he is but he is doing extreme ironing. I found him on another blog I follow which has set up a challenge for what it calls 'extreme sewing'.  Now not only do I love walking but I also sew a lot..  So I have it in mind to accept this challenge. I just need to take my sewing machine somewhere extreme......and then take a shot and send it into the competition.

I will of course keep you all informed on this blog how I get on. But if you have any ideas, please let me know. However, I reserve the right to ignore all requests from you to put my sewing machine in too much danger.....

Those of you who do follow my other sewing blog will know that I was 'discovered' by a presenter on Radio Cumbria who asked me to do a 5 day blog to be broadcast on what is aptly named 'Little Cumbria'. It's like a snapshot of 3 people's lives for a week. Anyway, I took up that challenge too, the upshot is that next week starting on Monday until Friday, I am on the Ian Timms show at approx 5.45pm for a few minutes. I will put links to this blog for those of you who must listen to me.....

Of course Pete was also asked to do a blog spot.  His is very amusing and his will be broadcast the week after mine. So what do you make of that then? Your two friendly neighbourhood ML's blogging on the Radio. If you like what you hear you can text them and comment, I don't know the number but I am sure you can find out. So a brief moment of fame awaits us both......But don't expect us to wax lyrical about mountains because our brief was to describe our week and both of us have not been out on the fells for a while now. We are beginning to plan the extreme outing though.... I wonder if we can take a photo of Pete with a sewing machine? Or even better if we can persuade Bella.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Switching on the lights

Well this has been shown on the television but I thought I would share my snaps with you.  I had immense difficulty even getter near the front of the Moot Hall last Friday.  When I did try and take a photo it was obscured by a lad on a man's shoulders in a camouflage jacket.  I persevered and when I came home I found a really pretty unusual shot.  If you look closely you can see HRH on the right, Julia Bradbury in the middle and the Mayor of Keswick, Andrew Lysser on the left. But you can see that the camera has taken this shot twice on the same exposure and slurred it. This was not my doing the camera produced this effect! However, it does show Prince Charles twice for the money......

The only other shot where you could just make them out was this next one. It really was nearly impossible with the jostling crowd to take anything.

It is unusual because it makes Prince Charles look as if he is wearing specs but he was not I assure you.
So we had a fun time and then we went to the stall run by the Thai Restaurant 'Star of Siam' and bought some Spring Rolls and Hot Chicken soup to take home. Our thanks must go to the Keswick team who arranged this at such short notice, I think it was the BIDS lot....

The message HRH wanted to get across was that the floods have gone and the Lakes are available to tourists again. Of course this does not apply to all areas of Cumbria as it is still difficult to get to certain parts of the county without long road detours, but the central Lakes and especially Keswick are now hoping that the tourists will come back and stay.

Pete is out guiding again tomorrow by special request and he is going to post up the Christmas Walks soon now that things are back to normal. So come back in a few days if you are interested in the walks we are offering over Christmas.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Keswick Mountain Rescue Team Flood Account

A spokesman for Keswick MRT gives an account of the flood efforts in this week's Keswick Reminder Newspaper. I will summarise it so you can appreciate how important it was that they helped with the flood victims.

They were contacted at 9.30 am Thurs 19th to give assistance where and when required.
Team and Deputy leaders went to the Silver Command Centre in the Council Chambers.
As the morning progressed tasks were relayed back to base at Lakeside car park. These included evacuations from Ravensfield Old People's Home, and houses at Crosthwaite Gardens, Glebe Close, High Hill, Limepots, Ashtree Avenue, St Kentigern's Close and Crosthwaite Road.
Many of these were made with the teams inflatable boat and they worked closely with the Fire Rescue Service and their boat. Once safely out of the water residents were taken to evacuation centres.
During the morning National Parks staff arrived with 3 more 4x4 vehicles and these were utilised too.
It soon dawned that more help was needed and usually they would ask Cockermouth MRT for help but that was out of the question so a call was made to Gold Command at Carlton Hall, Penrith and teams were mobilised from Kirkby Stephen, Teesdale and Swaledale + and RAF Sea King Helicopter was asked to search fields near Crosthwaite Church.
These teams initially worked in Keswick but were re-tasked to Cockermouth once Keswick became quieter.
News arrived of the bridge collapse in Workington and the missing police officer. Team personnel were sent to Workington in response to assist with the search.
Keswick team finally closed its base late on Saturday afternoon after receiving various non-urgent requests from Silver Command.
Further assistance was sent to Cockermouth on Monday between 11am and 5pm to be on call at Cockermouth Mountain Rescue base.
All in all, 40 hours of continuous cover, and at the height of the storm 60 personnel, were operating from Keswick base.

To summarise they feel the agencies worked well together and want to thank and applaud the Fire and Rescue Service, The National Park Authority, Teesdale, Swaledale and Kirkby Stephen Rescue Teams, the RAF, the 'Silver Command' and last, but by no means least, Bryson's Ltd for all the pies and cakes!

So there you have it, a clear demonstration of sheer courage and determination which should set all of your minds at rest if you venture onto the hills.  These heroes deserve our heart felt thanks and I want to say thank you from me too if you kept away from the hills whilst the team was needed elsewhere. The Cockermouth Team also deserve our thanks.

Not only did our MRT's perform miracles but no one was injured or killed on the fells around here.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Well done Keswick

Just when we are down but not out, the Keswick Tourism Association emails me this afternoon to say that the Food Fayre will be going ahead on Friday, yes this Friday from 1pm till 7pm and wait for it. Julia Bradbury no less is going to switch on the lights at 5.30pm.  So you must all come down to the Market Square apart from poor kira who is in Germany of course, but we will think of you...

Bella will have to come too because she has been a teeny bit sulky lately, something to do with being stuck in the house and when a Border Terrier is sulky, she lets you know it. Mind you she has not had a decent walk since her birthday on the 11th and if she could talk she would be saying "let's go fellwalkies".

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Penrith Road last Thursday

This next report in bold text was on a local website promoting Cumbria Tourism today and I include this verbatim as it appeared.


Despite heavy flooding in Cumbria, Keswick is open for business.

Keswick’s town Mayor, Andrew Lysser, commented that Keswick would welcome all visitors; that the fells are still here to be walked and that shops and attractions are ready with a welcome.

Flooding in Keswick has subsided and currently our main restriction is the vicinity of our two closed bridges, Greta Bridge and Station Road bridge. Vehicular access to Keswick is from Penrith Road off the A66, and from the A591. The road to Borrowdale is now open, and the A591 to Bassenthwaite is open, but Ouse Bridge is closed.

Well yes the fells are and always have been ready to be walked because they are open and no signs say don't go up them, but the sensible thing to do is to let them dry out before venturing on them again. Heck, whats a few days? I'll tell you, the difference between a ruined footpath and a good one and some of those rocks up there will have become unstable from the force of the water so they need watching too. Best let it dry out or at least wait until the streams return to more normal levels and then get back on those hills with care. I see the Borrowdale Road is open now so don't forget my words of wisdom take it easy at first and that means sticking to the lower fells and watch how you go, if it looks unsafe come back and report it at the Moot Hall. Check your map carefully for stream crossings, they could be raging torrents and you might have to turn back, there is no shame in that. Be aware of the dangers and take extra clothing, a whistle, food, hot drinks and torches with spare batteries and these precautions are nothing if you don't take your map and compass and know how to use them. Don't go alone, two is safer and a small group is safer still. If you have a shelter take that too, Keswick Rambles leaders always carry one even on sunny days. If you take your mobile phone be aware that reception is not available throughout the fells, some places like valleys, especially parts of Borrowdale give NO signal. Check the weather forecast very carefully and be prepared to come down if the weather deteriorates significantly; don't blunder on regardless. If in doubt, don't venture out!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Can you all please cross your fingers for tomorrow

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings again and they say the floods might return. Let us all hope that they do not. It cannot be as bad as last time because they are predicting less rainfall but any prolonged heavy rain is going to hamper the clearing up operations in Cockermouth and elsewhere. 

The information you receive on the news is not all accurate either because they leave out some of the detail of the destruction and problems on the roads.  For instance on one official government site it does not say that the bridges in Keswick are all still closed, but they are. I went to check today and they are covered in white tape with blue lettering saying Police; so clearly they are not to be crossed. Would you believe it if I said an elderly lady pushed her way through the temporary fencing across the footpath of the bridge and crossed.

I don't suppose she will be the only one but it does go to show that people will always take risks and also risk the lives of others if it all goes pear shaped. Selfish behaviour luckily does not seem to have been on locals' minds in Cockermouth where the whole community has been pulled together by this disaster. I saw a Keswick couple on the internet news in a reception centre in Cockermouth who used to have a local guest house but sold up to retire to a larger bungalow in Cockermouth. Well it was down by the river.......They were keeping cheerful too except he was worried about his MG cars.

A friend who has a guest house said to me today that one foreign guest asked to have an early morning call, when she asked why he said he was going up Scafell Pike with someone from Cockermouth. She said the road is closed up Borrowdale and he did not believe her at first. Well he was finally pursued when she rang his Cockermouth acquaintance and he confirmed his house was flooded and he was going nowhere.

These are just some of the crazy things which are happening. Another couple from the guest house, who were experienced walkers were going to go up Skiddaw. This is despite knowing that no rescue services are available as far as I am aware, but maybe I am wrong. Does anyone know if the Mountain Rescue are back at base and ready to go up the mountains in all these gales and torrential rain to rescue people again? I just checked their website and it only says that their last rescue was 7th November. I would have thought it was more like 19th, 20th and 21st.

The good news is that the main supermarket in Keswick is open again, albeit with no frozen food or anything much in the chiller cabinets as it was all thrown out. Also I hear that the buses are starting to run again on a restricted service but I don't know which ones yet. All the dogs which were left upstairs on their own in Cockermouth whilst their owners were rescued were rounded up and saved by the RSPCA too, so well done all those who helped our canine friends. Bella is suitably impressed.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Latest news on floods

This is a photograph of a holiday let in Keswick, I think the message it gives is quite clear, please don't come at the moment. The Mountain Rescue teams are all involved in the rescue of people from the flooding and cannot look after the mountains at this time so it is imperetive that people keep off the fells.  The local emergency services are doing a wonderful job but it is simply not fair to put extra pressure on them when they are stretched to the limit.

Add to that the fact that all bridges have been closed as far as I am aware because they need checking to see if they are safe and you begin to see the scale of this disaster.  Yes the waters have receded but no it is not back to normal nothing like.  Helicopters are still coming over the house so a good deal is going on behind the scenes and even Gordon Brown the Prime Minister is here! The main supermarket is closed and it was difficult to find potatoes today.  The shops cannot get all of their staff in to town due to so many roads and bridges being affected and damaged. Local people have spent two nights in emergency centres and presumably they will need to be found accommodation soon because they cannot keep staying in them much longer.

The damage is so great to some of our road infrastructure that I think it will take several weeks for the bridges to all be usable again, and what will happen in the meantime is anyone's guess. I was appalled to hear that cars had been turning up at Cockermouth just to see the damage....This is stupid, we do not need this kind of behaviour, the best thing is to help in a positive manner and if that means staying away then that is the best option. Clearly at this dreadful time it is our duty to act responsibly. Sight seeing is unacceptable.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Keswick Floods Update

Firstly, we would like to express our condolences to the family of the local police officer Pc Bill Barker who died tragically and heroically trying to save others during the flooding.

Secondly, we have been informed that there are no bus services running into or out of Keswick at the moment.

Thirdly, this bridge photographed by me yesterday has been declared unsafe for motor vehicles and pedestrians and has been closed.  This is the Greta Bridge and is the main road out of Keswick towards Cockermouth just before the garage on High Hill.

The waters are receding now but the town is not back to normal as the switching on of the lights which should have been tonight has been cancelled along with the Food Fayre.  Also not all Keswick shops are open as many of the shop assistants do not live in Keswick but West Cumbria and cannot get to work.  (The local butcher told me today he had to take a wide northern detour to avoid the closed roads.)

It looks like some guest houses will be taking in some of the many people whose homes have been flooded and they may not have enough accommodation for all so the advise if you intend to come to Keswick is to check first with your intended provider. My advise would be to not come at all, but to leave the locals to recover from what has been a traumatic experience. The fells are sodden so no joy is to be had there and the town is not back to normal yet. Also major traffic disruptions are still unavoidable, so think before you commit to a holiday because you might not enjoy it.

Basically, please take care if you do come, the locals have been hit hard and this is a tragedy of major proportions for Cumbria.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Keswick is Flooded

The police have asked people who have booked B & B's not to come to Keswick because there is only one road open and it is essential it is kept free for emergency vehicles. So please think carefully if you intend to come and check out the latest reports which are being shown on many websites and Radio Cumbria etc. This photo shows you what it is like at Booths where we normally catch the buses for our guided walks.  There was about a foot of water at 1pm today but miraculously Booths was still open for business providing you did not mind sploshing through the water to get to the main doors.

This shot shows you the river pouring over the top of the flood defences as the retaining wall clearly has been broached.  My friends have a house just opposite and I could not go down any further to see if they were flooded but it was a certainty I am sure.

So I do not know what will happen tonight as more rain is due to fall into the early hours of the morning then it is supposed to stop on Friday but pick up again and rain on Saturday and Sunday I think.  Clearly, Keswick is in a bad way and it is not a good idea to come here for any reason least of all for walking the fells.

I know that tomorrow night is supposed to be the big switch on of the Keswick Lights with Paul Mooney the Radio Cumbria weatherman but I should imagine that might be in doubt, I could be wrong though. I suggest you check it out on Radio Cumbria first as today was market day and no stalls had been set out and even the staff at the Tourist Information Centre at the Moot Hall had locked it up and gone home by early afternoon. So too had many shops because the staff needed to get home. So most of Keswick shops were not available and I only noticed a few who stayed open including George Fishers. Meanwhile, the rain was not affecting the pubs because they all looked to be open but trade did not look exactly brisk.

I wish you luck if you try and get here!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Bella's 2nd Birthday

We had wonderful weather last Wednesday for Bella's 2nd birthday. This photograph shows you the Langdale Pikes in the distance and was taken on Loughrigg Fell near Ambleside.  We caught the 555 bus near the Keswick War Memorial and decided to go upstairs. No one was on the back seat so we managed to get it to ourselves and it gave us magnificent views all the way. (Bella loves being on a bus and hates car travel so as it was her birthday treat we went by bus.)

Once in Ambleside we headed through the park and onto the fellside and we were not the only people that day to think it was a good idea as the place was teeming with walkers and their dogs. So plenty of sniffing and doggie introductions took place. We stopped half way along the walk and had our lunch which we had bought at Ambleside market off a lady selling cakes. Yes we had a wonderful carrot cake fresh from her stall. It was really good and Bella liked it so much she would have eaten Pete's bit too!

We  continued along the fell until we came down above White Moss just outside Grasmere and made our way along the back road to Grasmere village itself.  Once there we called in at this place and bought some gingerbread, and sat on the wall near the village green and finished our flasks of tea with the gingerbread, mmm yummy... Then we caught the next bus back to Keswick, a good day out with not too much walking to tire Bella out but full of interest and she enjoyed it. You could tell by the way she snuggled down onto the sofa in my study  and then proceeded to stretch out full length right along it so no one else could sit down that she was smug. And that is not a bad position to be in on your birthday.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Frosty nights are drawing in

It looks like winter has finally come to Keswick as we had our first frost at the weekend and quite chilly it was too. Never mind it will soon be time to dust off the crampons.....

In the meantime, here is a view of a top of Grange Fell, and I think it's Jopplety at least it looks suspiciously like it from here. It's one of those tops which I don't bother climbing up because it lacks interest for me but Pete usually nips up to the top.

Speaking of tops, the fell top I asked you to name from the photograph last time was of course Great Calva, so well done Lesley who guessed correctly.

We will be going out tomorrow on a bus and our destination is a small fell near Ambleside, the reason for this trip will be plain to see from the photographs I intend to take, so until then ...............

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Which hill is this?

Some photos just came in from kira and one of them looked so good I thought you might like to guess the fell. What an atmospheric shot, so where is it? If you don't know all will be revealed next time.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Walking on Wednesday 28/10

Pete plans to lead a Classic "A" walk on Wednesday 28/10 starting from the Moot Hall in Keswick at 0900hr, price will be £12.50 each.
Transport will be arranged from there to Mosedale (back o'Skiddaw) and the route will be a traverse of the Northern Fells, starting with Carrock Fell, then Great Lingy; over to Knott and on to Great Calva, then down to Skiddaw House and back to Keswick by the Glenderaterra valley.
The walk is not part of the published programme which finished on Friday with a very successful but wet walk over Dale Head; Hindscarth and Robinson.
If you'd like to come on Pete's Wednesday walk please let me know by email, telephone or even knock on the door.

Bella is keen, and will be sporting her new coat unlike the piccie below which shows her before she was stripped out!  She is much smarter now and she knows it.....

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Sunny day in September

September 10 dawned warm and sunny and stayed that way for Cath's Scafell Pike walk. Here the lads are ascending The Band, just below the top of Great End and high above Styhead Tarn below in the distance.

Summit of Scafell Pike, top of England, 3210ft. The group seem pleased to have the place to themselves though I doubt it; perhaps Cath just chose her moment to take the picture well.

On the return along the Corridor Route there's an awkward rocky step to negotiate. It's quite alarming to see it looming ahead on a wild and windy day with the mist down. Today however the mood is benign, merely an upward turn of the rocky footpath leading to Styhead Tarn.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Tough and remote

It seems when you head into the Cairngorms as if you will never reach that remote summit, they are such a long way away and after the Lakes it is always a bit of an ordeal to even contemplate the distances you need to walk before you are even at the foot of the 3000 foot hill.... This is me trying hard not to think about it and concentrating on the beautiful scenery on Monday 5th October as we made our way towards our goal which you can just see covered in snow to the left of my head. This is after a mountain bike ride up from the Linn of Dee to Derry Lodge which saved at least a 70 minute tedious walk along the estate road.  So the idea is always to cut down on the dreary walk ins if you can.

This is later in the day when we had climbed most of the way to the summit but the snow line was now in evidence and it is a bit of a shock after leaving Cumbria to find Scotland has entered winter early, or at least the Cairngorms have.....Freezing fog, snow and ice on the tors was our environment that day.

But Scotland is unpredictable in the Autumn and it is always a challenge to complete the summit of another Munro. This was our 2nd summit on the 8th October and it is a better day and a magnificent view looking North from Beinn Dearg above Glen Bruar.

We did eventually do 3 Munros which were all very remote and each one was only attainable by using a mountain bike to avoid really long days which you do not attempt at this time of year if you have any sense.

All said and done, it was a change and that, they claim, is as good as a rest.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Its been a while but.....our Broadband limit ran out

The trouble with Broadband is that you have an upload limit set by how much you can be made to pay each month by your provider and ours is a small limit.  So post about 10 piccies and update the blog say 3 times in a month and that uses it up very fast, because of course you also need to collect emails and use the internet.....Well the upshot is that sometimes we can't post even if we want to because we don't have the broad band capacity. So now its into October we can post again and I want to thank you for your patience because I know some of you faithfully follow this blog and look most days for new stuff and of course there wasn't any. I hope you will forgive us when these glitches occur, and speaking of trials and tribulations....

What an October it looks like being too if today was anything to go by. Gales, heavy showers, sun peeped through a couple of times and then back to lashing rain again...Luckily for our leaders, no one had a walk today because it would have been difficult seeing, walking and enjoying anything above 1000 feet.

But the sun does shine and I have some piccies from Cathy Colam to prove it. First up though you must meet her new doggie... This is a lovely photo of our new canine team member called Skye...He is pictured on Causey Pike and Cathy says this is his first walk up a proper mountain.

Next up she sent a photo of a group of you on top of Dollywagon Pike on 13th September when you walked over Helvellyn as well. I do not have a list of names but you know who you are... I see kira though..and I think I have walked with the man on the extreme right, he has a terrier too I think. Send me a comment if you can and let me know if my memory serves me right.

Now we have one last piccie today and this was the same walk showing a superb vista including Blencathra and Skiddaw taken from the Whiteside descent.

Pete and I are off to Braemar tomorrow for a sortie on a Munro or 2 or maybe more!  So until we are back, enjoy the hills and if you want to send comments or photos they will all be welcome. Cathy and David will be taking the next few walks out from the Moot Hall.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Maol Chean-dearg (bald red head) 933m 14/09/09

Sometimes when we climb a Munro in Scotland we do so in very bad conditions so that we keep no photographic record other than a misty gloomy looking pair on top by a cairn. Often when we view the snapshot back home we wonder why we bothered, not so this trip!

We were lucky this time no doubt about it. I am only going to show you the best day today but I will see if I can post some more shots of the other 4 Munros we did later. We managed to climb 5 in five days with a day off on the 3rd day for Bella to rest her feet as she was licking them quite a bit and we like to look after her. So this was day 5 and our 5th Munro. The first piccie is us standing proudly on the top in superb visibility and that sky was really blue, so was Upper Loch Torridon far below us with Torridon village just visible. On the left is a Corbett called Beinn Damph. We climbed the hill on our own but on the way down we past first 2 people then a group of about 7 and then another 3 with one chap keen to take photos in the good clear air and who could blame him?

This is a shot of me walking along the track from Coulags at the start of the day it meandered through some very pretty birch woods by a lovely river called Fionn-abhainn

Here we have a view of the river and its bridge with just a wisp of cloud still clinging to the valley.

This next shot is of the Clach nan con-fionn a famous stone which legend says Fionn tethered his hunting dogs to. It reminds me of a smaller version of Napes Needle on Great Gable.

This is me climbing steadily towards the summit, we had to go over quite a lot of quartz and some fairly large boulders to reach the top, but not as bad as on the way up Scafell Pike thinks she.

Here is a shot of Pete and Bella on the summit plateau with Beinn Liath Mhor and Sgorr Ruadh in the background.

This last shot is of the bothy on the way up which at the time we thought was private and had to be booked but on the way down we met a 'Surveyor' who informed us that he had just been to measure the bothy for a new door and that it was open to anyone. He said pop in on the way down and take a look which we did. I can honestly say that it was one of the best I have seen. Wooden floors and walls and an upstairs with two larger rooms and one wee room which might have been reserved for the ladies......Two good sized downstairs rooms with a fireplace in each and a little bit of coal and kindling plus some night lights. So it could have been made cosy I expect, but I have never wanted to spend the night in one as I prefer a bed in a B & B but they serve a useful purpose and if caught out I would not hesitate to doss down in one.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

August 24th Wall to wall sunshine

We left Buttermere village and set off around the lake with the sun glinting on the surface of the water like diamonds. I have seldom seen it look more beautiful or peaceful and I took this shot of Fleetwith Pike as we made our way along the footpath.
This next piccie shows us hiking up by a Rowan tree covered in red berries.
This is a shot of the view ahead of us as we ascended the path. You can see the slopes of Haystacks on the right and on the left is Fleetwith Pike again, in the middle distance the Warnscale Beck makes its way to the valley bottom.

This is the view behind us
The path keeps ascending until it eventually goes through an old stone wall and then the way becomes strewn with more and more boulders.
Until at last the top of the pass is approached, this is Scarth Gap and it is a cross roads for the path can be followed down into Ennerdale or the same junction can give access to the ridge back over High Crag towards Red Pike or the other way over Haystacks via an airy scramble! Our route obliged us to cross straight over and start the descent into Ennerdale.
Here we are making our way down the path with Scarth Gap behind. Our path goes on down over some manmade stone steps until we reach the bottom and then we turn left towards our destination; Black Sail Hut.
No matter when you seem to be there, it is always a focal point for walkers. Most of them have come on the coast to coast path and are booked into the Youth Hostel for the night, because it is indeed a working hostel. But it never ceases to amaze me that so many people are always there milling around; it seems to draw them like a magnet. (Pete tells a sorry tale though of being turned away at the inn.) Seriously, it was once pouring down and he turned up at the 'hut' and sought shelter for himself and his group against the elements but little Jock our Parson Jack Russell terrier was refused admission...Shame on them, he was going to be left outside until Pete decided that was unacceptable and all of them left bedraggled and disconsolate, but at least Jock was not made to feel like an outcast. However, I have digressed again. Must be habitual by now.
The weather on this occasion was the opposite of my tale and after having taken a couple of photos I urged on my group to leave thoughts of luncheon outside the confines of the hut until such time as we had gained a decent height again..... So I cracked the whip and on we went along the path towards the cleft in the hill which holds Loft Beck.

Once we had gained a lofty height and the wind was pleasantly ruffling our hair and cooling us down, we settled amongst the rocks and had lunch. All that remained was for us to ascend upwards until we topped out near the fence posts below Brandreth. Anyone wandering around in this area will be pleased to find excellent fences which are all marked on the OS maps. The views are stunning too. This is what it was like to look back down on Buttermere with Crummock Water and Mellbreak in the distance.

This shot shows the group all admiring the views whilst standing near the Brandreth fence posts.
The views infront of us now were dominated by Dale Head.
But I must include a couple more shots because they are so good. This first one is Alan who has an outdoor shop and has been on a few walks and will be returning for our navigation day. He is becoming quite a regular and has absolutely promised to bring me a pair of 'Smartwool' socks next time he comes over, haven't you Alan, size 5 feet.......
Before you think that I am scrounging, please note that I cannot get these in Keswick, I don't know why but Fisher's are not stocking them anymore, so Alan (who does stock them) will be supplying me and I will be paying.
Lastly I want to thank Pete who came along as photographer because we are trying to build up an archive of walks photos for your benefit so that when you want to know about a walk you come to the blog and see the actual photos and description as it happened, rather than the old system on the website which just gave a text based analysis. So here he is:- the star photographer.....

And of course, Bella is just there too, we must not forget her, she is very keen on Keswick Rambles.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Website is up

Well I managed to finally get through to the right people at the right place and hey, they gave me back our website, yippee. That was on Friday evening, so on Saturday I launched into design mode and quickly put together a couple of pages for the Home and the Programme and linked through the email address and the blog of course. Then tonight after doing Catbells today, I came home and set about putting the files onto the servers of our hosting company in California. So its all up there in the ether now and it works ok with Internet Explorer 8 and with Mozilla it is ok but the Programme page Home Button is floating where it should not be, but never mind, its just a small niggle in a big world.

Bella has taken all of this in her stride of course....

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Sheffield Pike and Raise

The sun came out in the Lake District today, even in Keswick, and we took the 0925 Patterdale bus over to Glenridding, navigated our way through the village, and took the steep path up through the bracken from Greenside Road onto the col between Glenridding Dodd and Sheffield Pike; it was certainly shorts and T-shirt weather when Pete took the photo.

Lunch at the top of Sticks Pass,between Raise and Stybarrow Dodd. Pete took John and Sally back to Glenridding as they just couldn't make Sheffield Pike, then he walked up Sticks Pass and met the rest of the group at the top. They had walked over Sheffield Pike and on to Hart Side with Lyn; she's in the middle of the group in the high vis. jacket; both her and Jane in front are enjoying a bite of their lunch; so is Liz in red. behind her are our two friends from New York; Daniella and Jeff; then there's the two Alans and Michael smiling on the right. The weather's deteriorating now, the wind's getting up, and we've all got our jackets on.

Here's some of the group heading from Raise towards White Side 863m, our final peak, in the background the mist shrouds the graceful pyramid of Catstye Cam. Lyn and Bella lead the way.

It was wild and windy when Pete took this group photo on White Side, and all managing a smile too despite the worsening conditions; we were all glad to head down the NE ridge where we were soon out of the worst of the wind and an hour or so's descent saw us at the bus stop at the King's Head. The bus was there sharp and the usual ludicrous exchange with the driver took place..."Four pounds twenty; is that for all of us; what! Each?" A droll finale to an interesting day.