Friday, 22 January 2010

The Road Leads Somewhere

Well roads usually do at any rate. I thought you might like to know that the Keswick Rambles Team are working on the routes for next year and the Programme too, Yippee.

So we are not forgetting you and we hope to publish the walks in plenty of time for Easter. They are due to start on 28th March and we will finish on 31st October. As soon as I have the first few, I will put them on this blog and then I will update the website when I have the complete list.

For those of you venturing up here between now and Easter, Pete and I will be leading a walk on Monday 1st March as a one off special. We can't confirm where it will be yet as we are still discussing this with our clients, but if you are up here and want to come too, we can take a few more. So contact us if you want more information. The email is at the side of this blog.

Incidentally, The Tourist Information Centre at the Moot Hall is currently out of action for refurbishment so they are only taking phone calls at the moment. They hope to re-open their doors again in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Walking over Watendlath Fell

Last Thursday, 7th January we took a wintery walk which was on one of the coldest days so far this winter. The ground was at times so frozen that we skimmed the top with our crampons and barely went very deep and at others it was over the knees! The problem was that you never knew when you placed your foot if it was going to grip into thinnish snow or sink right down......Sometimes it was both feet sunk right down to the knees and then it was a struggle with a few expletives thrown in. The start was pleasant enough; here I am striding along the road at the side of Thirlmere. We caught the bus to the end of the lake and then walked up the path to Steel End Farm and past it on towards the Dob Gill car park. On the way I rescued a sheep which had gotton onto the road and which was panicking at our approach. Bella did not help because she was all ready to chase it and kept up struggling and barking in her attempt to be naughty. Anyway, after the sheep was safely back behind its gate, we continued to the car park.

From there we followed the path upwards through the trees and it was like a winter wonderland. Here you can see Pete and Bella on the path.

We continued until we came out up by Harrop Tarn, but you could not see it only a large white flat surface. This photo shows it just under the far trees with the sun glinting on it's surface. It really was a lovely day for sunshine and it kept us a bit warmer than in the forest.

We kept going along the path until we came out onto the bare fellside and that is when we started going up to the knees in very deep snow. So the going became much slower and much more tedious. Incidentally, it was virgin snow, not a soul had gone up there and after a while we realised why because it was very tough going and even trying to follow sheep tracks was not helping. Eventually we found the fence we knew was there from our map and started to follow it as it gave us something to hang onto when the snow was fighting back.....We found a convenient place where the fence posts were proud of the snow with a couple of rocks and settled down for a bite to eat and a welcome cuppa. All around us as you can see from the photo below was deep glistening snow which glinted like billions of small diamonds. It was very pretty to look at as some of the ice had formed slightly larger lumps which really did shine magnificently.

After lunch we pressed on keeping to the fence on its right hand side and followed it along to the higher ground you can see at the end of the fence in the middle of the photo. We had originally intended to march along the tops until we passed Shivery Knott and onto High Tove and High Seat and then Bleaberry Fell, but it was becoming quite obvious that we were not going to be able to do the ridge in the time we had left. Even though we had caught the 9.30 bus from the War Memorial in Keswick we were running out of time fast because of the conditions under foot. So we decided to go for plan B which was to drop down towards Watendlath instead.

Bella thought this was a good idea because by now she was starting to get covered in ice balls on her face, chin, legs and belly. I had stopped every half an hour or so and de iced her but this was not stopping it from forming again very quickly. She had not seemed to notice it but I was not going to let it get too dense on her. So we went along the fence until we passed Shivery Knott and Shivery Man and then turned away down towards the left after we reached Middle Crag. This next photo shows you how deep the snow was because as we approached the gully to go down to Watendlath we passed the sign for Wythburn, which was where we had come from, only the sign was broken so you could only see 'burn' and rather buried in snow......

I am actually able to walk along the top of it here because it was nice and hard but you can see my right foot has still sunk in quite a way. This was better than most of the going.

Suddenly we saw Watendlath in all its splendid wintery glory, it was a joy to behold. You can see the frozen tarn on the top left of the buildings. Our way down passed some wonderful snow formations which were about two feet thick and they formed smooth overhangs above the path in the gully. When we reached Watendlath we sat on the bench by the stream and I discovered that Bella's coat had filled with ice beneath her belly, so I had to haul it all out. Also her coat had ice actually inside the two layers of fleece and outer fabric too. We thought it must have been condensation which had frozen in there. So after giving her a slurp of my left over tea we decided to go back via the road. On the way we passed Surprise View and it lived up to its reputation today alright. This photo shows Derwentwater almost frozen right over.

Three people were skating just off picture to the left at the top of the lake and they were even skating over the areas which looked cracked. Rather them than me. I have been in that lake many a time when I was sailing dinghies and I would not like to think how much colder it could be with no wet suit on if you happened to go through that ice. Also I know how deep it is too and I quickly took my eyes off them; best not to watch. It was also time to move on because we had the bus to catch at the end of the lane by the Youth Hostel. We arrived at the stop and five minutes later round the bend it came. A well timed end to a wonderful day. On the bus I couldn't resist giving Bella a big hug and a kiss on her head I was watched by a bemused teenage girl opposite; well I thought, Bella is my heroine today.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Snow and sunshine

Well we have been on a few really good walks lately, some of the photos are just stunning, but I can't show all of them to you as there are too many!

On Christmas day we decided to just go up Latrigg but the day was superb with bright sunshine and the crampons we bought last year came in very handy. So here are a few of the shots. This first one shows Bella decked out in her tinsel, much to her annoyance. She really did not like it much, but she met another terrier on the top who was just the same and they had a sniff at each other as if to say 'So they are making fools of both of us'.

This is looking back towards Clough Head as we make our way up the narrow lane at the back of Latrigg through the gorse bushes to the top.

Getting nearer the top of Latrigg. There were stunning views on the top and we sat and had a quick cup of tea before descending homewards again. Our route was straight over and down the steep bit on the other side towards Spooney Green Lane.

Pete was glad of his crampons because Spooney Green Lane was very icy indeed.  Once or twice Bella slipped onto her back....Lucky she had the coat on to keep her warm too.

We ventured out on New Year's Day, but again because it was so snowy we decided to keep it local and just went up Walla Crag and down Cat Gyll.  After the view from the top we went through the stile and found a trio of snowmen, Pete picked Bella up for the photo and balanced her on one of them but she was not too happy at first. It took quite a lot of coaxing from me before she posed for the shot.

You can see that she is hanging onto that snowman's head.

Bella and I making our way down by the wall towards Cat Gyll which was very slippery too.
I  have some more photos to show you tomorrow of our walk on Thursday in very deep snow sometimes over the knees on Dob Gill towards Watendlath via Shivery Knott.

Monday, 4 January 2010

The Walk on the Wild Side

This photo might intrigue you but not Pete and Paul Ross who climbed that vertical strip of bare rock behind my right shoulder in the photo and as far as I know; no one has ever seconded that achievement, not even some of your top climbers. So take a good look at it because the climb was named 'The Walk on the Wild Side' and its on Upper Falcon Crag. I remember being at work at Kendal College when he was climbing it and I could not concentrate on my job for worrying about him as I knew it was a tough one. Anyway, in the afternoon I rang home and he had just got in, whew that was a relief.

So next time you are strolling along the footpath gazing at Derwentwater beside Falcon Crag take a look up and see for yourself or you might like to go to this link which Paul Ross submits climbs to and see the route described for yourself.

The link will take you to all the Falcon Crag climbs and you just need to click on the one you want from the list. So if you like me are interested in the local heroes who put up some of the best climbs around here you can follow what Paul posts onto the site in the future. You will also see if you delve around on that link that Paul now lives in the US and he is still climbing new routes, wow that should impress you. Have fun.