For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

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Friday, 28 July 2017

Circuit of Widdale Fell

Tuesday 25th July 2017

Mixed up border country for this walk. I drove on the A684 to Garsdale and turned expectantly right up the minor road past the station for the first time ever (as far as I can remember). Garsdale is geographically in Cumbria but in the parliamentary constituency of Westmorland and Lonsdale. Sadly Westmorland no longer exists as a county. I parked at Galloway Gate, still in Cumbria, but my route soon took me over the border into Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

After swigging hot coffee in the car I was off into murky cloud and much reduced visibility at 8:25 am.

The track shown on the map leading to the fenceline following the county boundary did not exist. I was into heather, and tussock-yomping for the next four kilometres before I dropped down into Widdale.

In the dim distance I spotted an unusual sized and shaped bird perched on a fence post and managed to get a quick zoom shot. The bird took off and came straight towards me, gliding superbly completing a detailed examination of this rare human - I must have been as strange to this Short Eared owl as the bird was to me. That kind of sighting is the sort of thing that makes a particular walk memorable  - not a bad start to the day eh?

My route circumnavigated Widdale Fell which includes the trig point summit of Great Knoutberry. I went to that summit in much colder conditions on 19th November 2005.




My rationale for this walk hinged partly on visiting the two Widdale tarns (Little and Great) marked on the map that I had not previously seen. A bit of careful compass work was needed until Little appeared, eerily through the mist. How atmospheric:  a stone causeway led out into the lake with a circular stone building at the end. Romantic thoughts of crannogs, then perhaps bloody sacrifices were running through my mind as I tiptoed along the stone steps to the middle of the tarn to arrive at... a grouse butt.

I wondered what were the qualifications needed for the particular shooter who was allotted this location.  His spaniels would have to swim for the downed birds, but from my personal knowledge of that breed, for them that would be a bonus. 

The descent into Widdale was steep, still pathless and I found myself in ultra cautious mode arising I suppose from my experience a few weeks ago and the aftermath.

The rest of the walk was on tracks and roads, and enjoyable, but at nearly fifteen miles I was a little weary at the end, but home to a hot bath, a magnificent Melton Mowbray pork pie dinner, a drop of red and another couple of episodes of House of Cards on Netflix completed a day of well used time, but that is personal, others may disagree.

PHOTOS WORTH CLICKING TO ENLARGE

The quality may not be good, but I was well pleased with this

Marked as "pot-hole" on  the map. I didn't clamber down to investigate

The crannog,  grouse butt - Little Widdale tarn


Great Widdale tarn

Looking back at the steep, treacherous descent into Widdale
(click to enlarge)

Across to Dodd Fell on the descent into Widdale




The distant hills to the north of Wensleydale

Looking back down Widdale. I think the hump is Wold Fell

Apperset

Mossdale Head


Start - Galloway Gate - left middle - anti-clockwise
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Monday, 24 July 2017

Whitbarrow with BC, The Rockman and Poppy

Saturday 22nd. July 2017

On Friday evening I had a call from Bowland Climber. I had various "must-do " tasks for the morrow, but BC suggested a walk and there was not the slightest hesitation in ditching.

BC suggested I should find a local route and I settled on Whitbarrow, a lost world limestone plateau twenty minutes drive from home. I used its six mile circuit as a running route many times in the past and have been up there on countless other occasions - it is one of those places I never tire of.

BC had coopted his friend the Rockman and Poppy his Airedale terrier.

I do like dogs and was very attached to my old Springer, Barney, and later my daughter's Springer, Jake who I adopted when her marriage broke up, so I was pleased to have Poppy as an additional companion. Poppy turned out to be a pleasant natured dog, and at only four years old was surprisingly content to amble along with us without straying and taking everything at a a relaxed and laid-back pace. Perhaps she had been on much longer walks with the Rockman and had learnt to pace herself?

BC has written a splendid account with a good selection of photos. Because of my familiarity with  Whitbarrow, and knowing I have a stack of photos already I took none myself, and a detailed account would only be repeating BC''s post.

https://bowlandclimber.com/2017/07/23/whitbarrow-scar-a-day-out-with-poppy/

I looked to see if Wainwright had much to say, and of course he eulogises in Outlying Fells: "The walk described is  the most beautiful in this book..."

We climbed to the high point  - Lord's Seat, where we sat on a tailor made, natural limestone bench and munched and quaffed coffee. Wainwright - "Rest a while here and keep your chest well covered if there is a breeze..."

The descent from Lord's Seat is down a treacherous steep, slippery rocky path, and we all took great care, much more so than I can recall from previous visits. We found the obscure climber's path leading to the base of the crags. A few years ago I continued to the right as one faces the crag following a path that climbs steeply through trees and often overgrown with shrubbery, and I wondered where I was going as exposure increased, but before it starts to drop down again there is an even more obscure double back to the left through now much more overgrown jungle, but still with a distinct path underfoot ; this brings one out to a stile that leads to a glorious plateau with extensive views and pleasantly spaced mature erect birch trees. BC suggested it as a perfect bivvy spot, facing west to view the sunset. No doubt the birch trees would be useful for his recent acquisition of a hammock?

The rest of the walk completed a figure of eight. This had been a fairly strenuous 7.2 mile circuit in excellent company - both the Rockman and BC are of optimistic nature, and on this route which was a bit more than a benign country stroll their humour and good cheer increased as the going got tougher - great companions.

The road is the A 590 going west to Barrow

Friday, 14 July 2017

Berwick to Somerset again

When I fell on my intended walk from Berwick upon Tweed to Castle Cary in Somerset I had a b & b farmhouse booking that night at Westgate in Weardale and three other advance bookings which would take the walk through what I anticipated would be particularly evocative parts for me: upper Swaledale, Wensleydale, and Langstrothdale (i.e. upper Wharfedale) where in the late fifties and early sixties, with friends, Gimmer in particular, and on my own, we walked, rock climbed, caved, pot-holed, fished for trout, and downed plenty of ale and hobnobbed with locals in those characterful pubs with that kind of teenage naivety that can never be repeated in later years, but those memories hardly fade, therefore re-vsits are always special. So, I had always thought of this part of the walk as a definite highlight.

I have now re-booked those four nights starting on 15th August so I am hoping that no spoilers turn up. The intention is to carry on with the whole of the rest of the walk. I have been doing the set of exercises given me by the physio four times a day without exception, and I have another appointment next Tuesday. Although the arm will not fully straighten so far everything is much improved and getting stronger every day. I can now use that arm to eat and raise a cup (or glass) to drink, and I am back to keyboard typing as before.

Starting after the summer break, daughter High Horse who teaches at a school in Barrow has secured a place in the related primary school for granddaughter Katie, so I will be less involved with child minding and more free to roam further - I have plans!

If anybody wants a gpx file of my plotted route for my forthcoming trip email me at conrob@me.com and I will send a copy.

If you are interested in the rationale for this walk read the blue writing at the end of my Nicky Nook post, 6th April 2017 -  CLICK HERE

Langstrothdale, near Beckermonds from a previous visit.(CLICK TO ENLARGE)



Monday, 3 July 2017

Idle moments


No walking for the last.few days, other matters have interfered. I'm off to the physio for the second visit tomorrow at Kendal hospital. Last Tuesday she ran out of time after a thorough assessment of all my movements, and just managed to give me a couple of exercises to work on.  I  was impressed with her attention to detail and her pleasant manner. That has resulted in me just being able to touch my face with my hand, but not sufficiently mobile to allow me to use it with my fork for feeding. I tend to pre-cut food American style and then wade in with the fork alone with my right hand.

I have been chilling out watching Le Tour, and kidding myself that I'm not up to tackling my now hugely overgrown garden, and in the evening watching multiple episodes of House of Cards - I have just kicked out Sky TV and gone for Freeview and Freesat (including Netflix). From my armchair I viewed this seagull through my window and watched it for a couple of minutes debating about a photo, but pessimistically assumed it would disappear before I could go to the other room and get my camera. All in all my seagull stayed there for about twenty minutes. My armchair is about ten feet from my window, and the chimney-pot is perhaps another fifty yards away. I was quite pleased with this triumph of armchair photography. The view, excluding the chimney-pot, was the major influence on me for buying the house seventeen years ago. I have a fantasy of winning the Lottery and making them an offer they can't refuse for that house then having it demolished, chimney-pot and all.