Friday, 26 March 2010

Lake District - Friday 25th later

A walk up to the top of Black Combe and back marked the end of my walking week this morning. I parked at a small layby (space for three cars) on the A595 next to Whicham Church.

I'm keen to head south now to join family for a while before returning home by Monday.

Lake District - Friday 25th

Black Combe at 11:11 hours. In the clouds.

Lake District - Thursday 25th

The underlying reason for being here this week is to work my legs as part of preparations for a tough walk in the summer, and indeed, that is what I am doing. And yet, if truth be told, I realised today that I wasn't entirely at peace with the way I have been going about it. Everything became chrystal clear on my second pint of Jennings Cumberland Ale this evening.

I'd kitted myself out over the winter with a lightweight backpack to sustain me on a trek but it wasn't going to be fully deployed on this outing. I'm a day walker this week who returns to his home on wheels with all mod cons nearby; not the sturdy, independent nomad. No, he's a few more walks away yet. But his mind is a bit lighter now. A lighter rest of me will only result from more physical means and that is what your not-so-independent-occasional-commuting-coastal-day-walker was about today.

The walk was 7 miles/11km with 650ft/200 metres ascent. I know that because it says so in a pamphlet that I purchased "Walks - The Western Lakes".

The route starts at Boot and passes two small tarns; Blea Tarn and Siney Tarn. Boot is near Dalegarth Station at the head of the narrow-gauge Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway line so I could have made the journey to and from the start area by train. I drove though - no complaints but I've had enough of trains this week. Although I always stop, stare, listen and admire those choo choos whenever they pass by. Someone (not the same one) always waves a greeting from those trains. At least I think it's a greeting 'cos I always wave back.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Lake District - Wednesday 24th night.

Today's earlier blogs were a bit of an experiment - using the camera. Outdoor conditions weren't what you might call condusive to such activities, however, apart from the evening picture disappearing into the ether it seemed to work.

I had half planned to camp wild tonight but with the odd thing going wrong I decided not to.

Next month I'll be trying out Memory Map so hope to be able to show (and measure) routes. In the meantime here's a brief description of today's:

From Ravenglass (Map OL6) generally NE by footpath (FP) to and then along a short section of A595. Then generally NE on FP over Muncaster Fell (playing silly beggars off route practising navigation) to pub east of Eskdale Green.

Disheartened to find pub shown on map (King George IV) closed and up for sale, so no hot soup and pint.

Continued SE (hungrily) along the road (up Birker Fell) heading for Devoke Water but wasn't enjoying that because of other water falling out of the sky and turned back down to Forge House. From there, generally SW on bridleway (BW) to Muncaster Tarn and the BW (Fell Road) and back to Ravenglass.

PS. Thanks for your comments Alan, Martin. My comments box giving me a hard time so hope you can make do with route description above!

Lake District - Wednesday 24th evening

A good day's walking over, around and near Muncaster Fell.

Lake District - Wednesday 24th afternoon

Eskdale Trail. My take on Zulu: "The sentry reports logs Sir. Tharsands of them, to the south!"

Lake District - Wednesday 24th morning

Muncaster Fell from Hooker Crag where it is quite drafty.

Lake District - Tuesday 23rd

Cumbria Coastal Way - St Bees to Whitehaven (6.5+ miles)

I returned to St Bees by train this morning to pick up where I left off yesterday. The aim was to check out the start of The Coast to Coast Walk and then to have a wander around Whitehaven.

The Cumbria Coastal Way continues and the Coast to Coast starts with a short, steep climb out of St Bees, then, after a while, the path drops close to sea level again - the way coastal paths do. On a fine day, with the wind behind me and a calm sea lapping gently against the cliffs on the seaward side far below, yet squalls visible out to sea, it was plain sailing (see how easily your scribe lapses into the vernacular; using coastal path walker words - words wot matelots nicked from us). And so, in no particular rush, there was plenty of time to stop and admire the view - water.

The Coast to Coast turns inland from the north side of a working quarry. My mind settled that getting away from St Bees in August should be straight forward, and finding that junction will be simple, I continued north on this trip along an occasionally precarious cliff top path to Whitehaven.

After a good look around the town, which looks fairly healthy and prosperous compared with some nowadays, and after a bit of shopping, it was mission complete so I was back on tne train - a coastal walking commuter - briefly; I go fell walking tomorrow.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Lake District - Monday 22nd

Cumbria Coastal Way - Ravenglass to St Bees (14+ miles)

If all today's good bits were entered into a competition then the outright winner would be my Brasher Superlite GTX boots. They kept my feet dry, cushioned and comfortable over, in and under most surface conditions that could be encountered. No hotspots, sores or worse. And I never felt the need to rest awhile to air my feet with boots off - almost a routine on other walks with other boots.

The Cumbria Coastal Way heads inland north of Ravenglass and at other points along its course. The route, when it is on the beach, is over large pebbles when the tide is coming in so it's hard work. It was almost high tide as I approached Nethertown where I was forced to scamble over large boulders coming a cropper several times, falling on the slippery rock. The final couple of miles were along country roads during a brief sunny spell which raised my spirts and dried me out.

St Bees wouldn't win any prizes judged on my first impressions of it. It looked grim when compared with its counterpart Robin Hood's Bay at the other end of The Coast to Coast Walk which I aim to complete in the Summer. The unkempt railway stations didn't impress me either but the train ride back to Ravenglass did - after a 7+ hour walk (stopping for a pot of tea at Seascale), I was returned in 30 minutes.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Lake District - Sunday 21st

Ravenglass - my base for the next couple of days, or longer perhaps, at the start of a week in the Lake District.

Arriving in time for an early lunch, I then worked up an appetite and thirst this afternoon with a preprandial low level walk and have now retired for an early night (in the Grampavan) with said appetite satisfied and thirst quenched.

This is a good place to be,especially for those with elderly legs; it's at sea level.

More of the same tomorrow as I head up the coast and back. Then onward and upward. Muncaster Fell beckons.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Cumbria Bound

It’s a grand feeling to have a holiday to look forward to - especially when it’s one where, with a pack on your back and some money in your pocket you’ll be self-contained so that, within reason, you will have the freedom to wander. And so it is for me; I have a week off at the end of the month when I’ll be Cumbria bound.

Two weeks before departure, I packed last night and my backpack weighed in at less than 20lbs. That weight includes food and water allowing 14oz/400g for snacks. So I’m feeling pretty chuffed about that too.

New items in my wintry/springy luggage include: the Terra Nova Laser Competition tent which I (easily) erected in the garden for the first time at the weekend; the Terra Nova Laser Groundsheet Protector which Terra Nova list as 170g but which my scales record as 130g (A sweet shop in Bedford confirmed that weight for me on their scales after I had bought a quarter of their Edinburgh Rock) so, for peace of mind, I have to check that out with Terra Nova; and a posh new Paramo Cascada jacket which I hope will keep me dry. The long range weather forecast for the Lake District the week that I will be there is “quite wet and windy”. Surprise, surprise!

Yes. It’s a grand feeling.