A Walk up Red Screes

I managed to find a day to get out for a walk and decided to drive up to the Ambleside and walk up Red Screes. It’s a distinctive fell and its whale-back can be seen from across the south Lakes. I had intended to do this walk a few months ago but changed my mind when I parked up in Ambleside and did the Fairfield Horseshoe instead. This time I stuck with my plan on what was forecast to be a fine Autumn day.

Leaving Ambleside I took the path along Scandale and then climbed to the summit of Red Screes from the top of the pass, descending back down to Ambleside along the ridge. An easy ascent up the valley followed by a steep climb and then a gentle descent.

Leaving the car park I passed the bridge house

Untitled

It was bright and sunny as I started to climb out of the town, with great views over to Rydal Water and the fells

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Up through the woods

Untitled

I reached High Sweden Bridge

Untitled

It’s an old packhorse bridge dating from the 1700’s.

I carried on up the valley. This route over the top of Scandale Pass links Ambleside with Patterdale.

Untitled

I passed a herd of highland cattle who barely gave me a glance

Untitled

Carrying on along the valley;

Untitled

Reaching the top of the pass the sky had clouded over

Untitled

Now I had had a steep climb up to the summit of Red Screes

Looking down towards Patterdale and Brothers Water

Untitled

and over towards the Fairfield Horseshoe and Helvellyn

Untitled

I finally reached the summit

Untitled

Untitled

It was cold and windy and the wind shelter was occupied by someone wild camping. But I managed to find a sheltered spot to grab a bite to eat and take in the views.

Looking towards Yoke, Ill Bell and Frostwick and the Kentmere Horseshoe in the east

Untitled

over to Fairfield, Saint Sunday Crag and Helvellyn

Untitled

It was raining further west over the Coniston Fells, Langdale and the Scafells

Untitled

Time to start descending along the long ridge back to Ambleside. There’s Windermere in the distance

Untitled

Looking eastwards over the Kirkstone Pass and the Kirkstone Inn towards the Kentmere Fells

Untitled

It was raining heavily now over the fells to the west and north

Untitled

But it didn’t drift over as far east as Red Screes. Very typical of the Lakes where the weather can change from one valley to the next.

Untitled

There’s Ambleside ahead

Untitled

Looking north

Untitled

Getting closer to Ambleside

Untitled

Wansfell straight ahead

Untitled

Nearing the end of the walk

Untitled

the final half a mile or so was down the “Struggle”, the steep road from Ambleside up to the Kirkstone Pass

Untitled

Coming back into Ambleside I passed the old houses at How Head

Untitled

and crossed the river

Untitled

Time for a brew!

Red Screes walk

A Sunday Afternoon Walk through the Plantations

I’m in the middle of a pretty busy time at work and so haven’t had much opportunity for getting out and about the past few weeks. I’ve even had to do some work at weekends, which, these days, I definitely try to avoid! But on Sunday afternoon I managed to take advantage of a sunny afternoon to get out for a walk up through the Plantations.

Summer’s has come to an end  (it was the Autumn equinox on Saturday) and there was definitely an autumnal feel to the air and the leaves on the trees were starting to fall.

A short walk to the bottom of our street and I reached the Dougie and was soon walking through the woods

Untitled

I spotted some mushrooms growing on a fallen tree trunk – not brave enough to pick them to eat, though!

Untitled

Reaching the Leeds Liverpool canal

Untitled

I followed the towpath for a while before crossing over one of the bridges

Untitled

and took the path up past the Upper Plantations. Rather than turn off at the old gatehouse and walk through the Woodland Park towards Haigh Hall, I carried on heading through Crawford woods and the fields towards Haigh Village – a route I’d never actually followed before.

Untitled

Untitled

eventually emerging at Haigh opposite the Balcarres Arms

Untitled

Once upon a time I would have popped into the pub for a swift pint but instead I took the lane down towards Haigh Hall, passing the old windmill, a listed building that was  restored in 2011 (it was was built in 1845 to pump water to a brewery that used to be adjacent to the Balcarres Arms)

Untitled

and some Victorian cottages

Untitled

Reaching the Woodland Park entrance I cut across past the car park and took the lane that skirts the golf course and heads back down to the canal

Untitled

Untitled

where I spotted some swans

Untitled

I followed the tow path and then cut down through Lady Mabel’s Wood.

Untitled

which was planted relatively recently and named after the legendary Lady Mabel Bradshaigh of Mab’s Cross fame

I walked through the woods and across the meadow and past the old Alms Houses

and then was back in the Lower Plantations

Untitled

Another half an hour walking through the pleasant woodland and along the river and I was back home.

A good 6 or 7 miles walk on a pleasant day through familiar, but very pleasant, territory. Sometimes you don’t appreciate enough what’s on your own doorstep!

A grand walk on Howth Head

Untitled

I’m back in Ireland this week – working not on holiday, but I caught an early ferry over on Sunday morning, arriving in Dublin just after midday as I often do so that I can spend a little time exploring what has become my “second home”! The weather was looking reasonably promising so I’d decided to get out for a walk. I’d thought about driving into the Wicklow mountains but on second thoughts felt it would be nice to have a walk along the sea shore so decided to go for a walk on Howth Head, the headland to the north of the city centre that my ferry passes sailing into Dublin Port. It’s only a few miles from the port and it took me about half an hour to drive over there.

I’d done my research beforehand and knew that there were a number of way marked routes I could follow. I’d decided on the longer “Bog of Frogs” route, about 12 km long, that starts at the Howth DART station near the harbour and follows the coast round before cutting across country back to the start.

I’d planned to park up near the harbour as I knew there were plenty of car parks, but when I arrived they were jam full and it was clearly going to be a struggle to find a space. So I drove out of the town centre up inland and managed to find a spot on the Summit car park on top of the cliffs near the Baily lighthouse, part way round the route. There was no reason why I couldn’t start here as the route would bring me back, so that’s what I did.

I followed the path down the hill and after a short distance was on the route. All the routes are waymarked with different coloured arrows. I was following the purple route with a few minor diversions.

Straight away I was greeted with a view over the Baily lighthouse that stands at the end of a peninsula on the south side of the headland. I see it every time I sail into Dublin. It’s still a working lighthouse so it isn’t possible to walk right up to it.

The skies were dark and cloudy over Dublin to the west and as the lighthouse was in that direction it didn’t make for a good photo. But it was clear and bright over to the east, so this photo was taken after I’d walked along the path past the peninsula

DSC04860

Carrying on the narrow path was high up on the cliffs and there were good views down to the sea. It could be hairy on a windy day.

DSC04863

Looking over to Poolbeg and the south wall with the olfd power station chimneys dominating the view

DSC04862

Untitled
There’s some nice houses up on the top of the cliffs looking over the sea

DSC04866

DSC04872

DSC04879

DSC04881

DSC04883

DSC04882

DSC04890

Turning a corner I could see a Martello Tower along the coast.

Untitled

The marked route turned inland before the tower but I wanted a closer look so carried on along the coastal path for a while.

Untitled

It’s been converted into a luxury holiday home.

Untitled

I carried on the coastal path a little further before turning inland and, passing lots of expensive houses, looped back along the road to rejoin the purple route which now cut inland heading towards the north side of the headland.

DSC04898

The path crossed the golf course (watch out for golf balls!!) and as I climbed I could see the sea on to the north with views across as far as the Mountains of Mourne over the border in Northern Ireland.

DSC04899

DSC04900

At the other side of the golf curse I entered the wooded area known as the “Bog of Frogs”

DSC04902

Fortunately after a dry summer it wasn’t so boggy (although there were boardwalks to keep walkers’ feet dry) and I didn’t see any frogs!

The route now climbed up into heathland before descending down into Howth

DSC04904//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

but I took a slight diversion climbing a hill to take in the views over the sea and the harbour and toward the small island known as “Ireland’s Eye”

DSC04905

The route continued down the hill, across some fields and passing another golf course and a Gaelic sports field, through a housing estate and then down a path arriving at Howth DART station, the “official” start of the walk.

DSC04910

However, I’d started part way round and so had only completed about two thirds of the route so I had a few more miles to go back to my car. Howth is quite an attractive town and harbour. I’d visited it some years ago during the winter when it was cold and quiet, but this day was quite different – sunny and warm and heaving with people walking around and enjoying a pint and sea food in the many bars and cafes that line the harbour.

I decided to take a break from the walk and explore the harbour. There’s actually two – one a fishing harbour where, being a Sunday, there were plenty of boats moored along the quays

DSC04913

DSC04915//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

DSC04919

then there’s the “pleasure boat” harbour. Didn’t look like there were many people out sailing!

DSC04923

I walked out on the harbour wall to get a better look at Ireland’s Eye

Untitled

heading back

DSC04929

The beach to the east of the harbour wall

Untitled

I spent about an hour looking round the harbour before resuming my walk along the purple route. It took me up past another Martello tower which overlooks the harbour and which today houses a radio communication museum.

Untitled

Untitled

The route now followed the narrow road on the side of the cliff as far as the Kilrock carpark and then back on to the cliff top footpath.

Looking back to Howth

DSC04934

and along the cliff path

DSC04943

DSC04947

After almost an hour after setting out from Howth harbour, the Baily lighthouse came into view – and there was the Irish Ferries boat Ulysees sailing past towards Dublin Port.

Untitled

I’d also seen the Stena Line’s Adventurer sailing past in the distance about half an hour before.

It didn’t take long now to climb back up to the top of the cliff and the Summit car park.

This had been a grand walk. It had been busy in Howth and also along the cliff from the Harbour to the lighthouse – there were several large groups of young tourists who slowed me down a little as it was difficult to pass on the narrow path. But it was good to see them enjoying their walk too.

Back at the car I changed out of my boots and set off driving back through Dublin and on to Naas where I’m staying and working this week.

bog-of-frog-page-001

Pendle Hill from Downham”

Untitled

Last Wednesday I managed to take an afternoon off work to get out for a walk, making the most of a fine day. I decided to drive over to Shazza country and head up Pendle Hill. I’d been up there for a walk earlier this year during the heatwave, but this time decided to tackle a circular route from the village of Downham which is only 30 miles and less than an hour away from home.

Untitled

Downham is a very pretty village and somewhat lost in time. The properties are all owned by the Assheton family who rent or lease them out and they don’t allow residents to install overhead electricity lines, aerials or satellite dishes. This has made the village a popular location for filming period TV programmes and films, including the BBC One series Born and Bred. More notably it was the main location for the 1961 Bryan Forbes film, Whistle Down the Wind, which, although rather sentimental, is one of my favourites as it very much reminds me of my childhood – the local children who used as actors and extras are of my generation and also spoke rather like I do!

Untitled

I parked up in the free (!) car park and bought myself a few supplies from the small café cum ice cream and snack shop and set out following a path southwards which took me across some fields towards Worsaw Hill and Worsaw End. The farm lying at the foot of this hill was used as the home of the main characters in Whistle Down the Wind.

Untitled

I then took the path past the farm that headed east towards Pendle Hill. After a short section of tarmac I was back on soft ground passing along a narrow path between hedge boundaries

Untitled

and then starting my climb up the flank of the hill.

Untitled

Looking back there were good views of Worsaw Hill

Untitled

With Ingleborough and Penyghent in the Yorkshire Dales clearly visible in the distance.

Untitled

It’s a steep ascent, so it doesn’t take too long to reach the top of the ridge (although not quite the summit of the hill)by the large cairn erected to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Scout movement.

Untitled

I then set out along the ridge heading for the “Big End” which is the highest point of the hill. It was over a mile, mainly walking over soft peat which is inevitably normally muddy and gloopy underfoot, but the long dry spell from May to the beginning of August (although now seeming like a distant memory) meant that despite some recent rain the going wasn’t too bad.

Untitled

Visibility was reasonably good so there were views in all directions
Untitled

Untitled

about half way along the ridge I passed this round shelter, which rather looked like it had been created by Andy Goldsworthy

Untitled

After crossing a wall and passing this recently constructed seat come wind shelter

Untitled

The Big End was in view

Untitled

Quite a lot of work has been done recently on the paths which is necessary on such a popular peat covered hill to control erosion. Some people don’t like this but I’m afraid it’s necessary.

It didn’t take long now to reach the trig point at the summit

Untitled//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Time to stop for a little while, grab a bite to eat and soak up the views, looking down to Barley

Untitled

After my short break I retrace my steps along the engineered path back to the wall

Untitled

and then took the path which descended diagonally down the hill back towards Downham

Untitled

Untitled

Descending is harder on than knees than climbing, but it didn’t give me too much trouble this time.

Looking back from the foot of the hill

Untitled

and looking ahead

Untitled

An easy stroll of about a mile or so over the fields alongside the small river took me back towards Downham

Untitled

Looking back to Pendle Hill

Untitled

Passing through this gate took me back into the village

Untitled

The cloud had cleared during the course of my walk and it was now a bright sunny late afternoon.

Untitled

I spent half an hour or so mooching around the village and taking a few snaps (I’ll probably include them in another post) before heading back to my car, changing out of my boots and setting off back home.

Catbells, Maiden Moor and High Spy

Untitled

The Monday of our holiday I set off for a more ambitious solo walk along the ridge of fells on the west side of Derwent Water and a little further along Borrowdale. The promised heavy rain arrived a little later than forecast on Sunday and continued into Monday morning so I hung around for a while, took the dog for “walkies” and set off around midday.

Untitled

I took the path to Hawes End and then started the steep climb up to the first, lower, summit of Catbells. It’s a relatively small fell (shaped like a mountain but not high enough to be counted as one) which dominates the skyline on the west shore of Derwent Water. It’s a popular climb and one extolled by Alfred Wainwright for the variety of the climb and the views. In his guide to the North Western Fells he tells us

Catbells is one of the great favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved. It’s popularity is well deserved: it’s shapely topknot attracts the eye, offering a steep but obviously simple scramble to the small summit.

Untitled

Looking over the Newlands valley as I climbed

Untitled

and back down over Derwent Water

Untitled
 
Given it’s proximity to Keswick (it can be reached easily by taking the launch to Hawse End) there’s always plenty of people making the way to the top and today was no different. This was the third time I’d climbed it myself. It’s a mile to the main summit and although it’s quite steep and there are a couple of sections where there’s a short scramble up bare rock it’s not too difficult.

Looking over to Hyndscarth and Robinson at the head of the Newlands Valley

Untitled

It was crowded at the summit when I reached it. Most people would be making there way back down but my plan was to carry on along the ridge as far as High Spy. I stopped for a bite to eat, taking in the views and people watching before continuing on, dipping down to the Hause and then climbing up to the next fell, Maiden Moor. It’s an easier climb than Catbells, the path being a little more gradual and less scrambling. It’s a broad moor rather than a rocky peak and there’s no clearly defined summit.

Untitled

On the way up I was surprised to see a JCB working on path improvement. The operator told me that they’d driven it up the hill! Took 3 days, apparently!

Untitled

Looking down over Borrowdale

Untitled

I carried on along the ridge passing Blea Cragg making my way to the summit of High Spy. On the way I was caught by a fellow walker a couple of times. In both cases they slowed down to match my pace for a while for a chat before speeding back on along the ridge. They were both quite a bit younger than me! One of them was from Kashmir – he was studying for a PhD – and as he’s grown up in the foothills of the Himalayas it was interesting to hear his view of our modest mountains.

Untitled

I reached the summit of High Spy and stopped to take in the view and grab another bite to eat.

A couple of views from the summit

Untitled

Untitled

I had a decision to make now. The ridge forms part of a horseshow with Dale Head at (as the name implies) the head of the Newlands valley with two other ridges – Hyndscarth and Robinson – across to the west. I could have continued round and made my way back along either fell, descending into the Newlands Valley. But I’d set out late and supplies were low (being diabetic I have to keep topping up with carbohydrates during walks) so I decided to save that for another, longer day and turned round to retrace my steps.

I diverted to Blea Cragg. This isn’t counted as a “proper” fell in it’s own right, but part of High Spy. But it’s a great viewpoint with vistas back towards Derwent Water and along the Borrowdale valley and the high peaks.

Untitled

Untitled

Returning to the main path I followed the ridge along Maiden Moor and descended down to the hause.

Untitled

Untitled

Rather than carry on back over Catbells, I took the path that descended into the Newlands Valley and then traversed along the bottom of the ridge back to Hawse End.

Untitled

The views to the east

Untitled

and west

Untitled

There were great views across the valley to the high fells including Causey Pike, although Grisedale Pike was hidden under a blanket of cloud.

Untitled

Looking back to the head of the valley

Untitled

and down the valley with Bassenthwaite Lake in the distance

Untitled

Reaching the bottom of the climb up Catbells, I retraced my steps from the morning back to Portiscale, making a short diversion to watch the launch pulling in at Nichol End.

Untitled

Arriving back at the apartment it was time for a brew. I think I’d earned it!

A walk round Derwent Water

Untitled

Saturday, the first full day of our holiday in the Lake District, we set out on a sunny morning to walk around Derwent Water.  A full circuit of the Lake was about 9 miles in total, but being largely flat, it was a relatively easy walk.

After a short walk along the road from our accommodation and through woodland past the jetty at Nichol End and the Lingholm Estate, we emerged in a meadow with views ahead of Cat Bells

Untitled

and, over to the west, Causey Pike

Untitled

Passing the Hawes End we started to follow the path along the waterside.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

At Brandlehow we passed the “Bear in the Window”

Untitled

surrounded by postcards and letters  sent by walkers (children and adults) who, like us, stumbled on him as they passed

Untitled

Approaching the top of the lake, there were views across to the neck of Borrowdale. Cloud was gathering in the distance

Untitled

During the walk along the west shore we kept being passed by pairs of runners participating in a Breca swim-run

Untitled

Reaching the head of the lake, there were great views over to Skiddaw

Untitled

We crossed the bridge over the River Derwent

Untitled

and stopped for a while we had a bite to eat and admire the view

Untitled

We now continued along the east shore. Initially walking along a short stretch of road by the Lodore Hotel and then a path through the woods before joining the path along the shore of the lake.

Untitled

Untitled

Raven Crag looming over the lake

Untitled

One of the launches that carry passengers around the lake stopping off at a number of jetties.

Untitled

Untitled

Looking over the lake to the hills and mountains to the west

Untitled

Untitled

We reached Calfclose Bay where there’s a monument, the MIllenium Stones by Peter Randall-Page, marking the centenary of the National Trust which owns much of the land around the Lake

Untitled

Untitled

We carried on along the lake towards Keswick

Untitled

Reaching the jetty near the “Theatre by the Lake”

Untitled

We carried on into the town, stopping off for some refreshment in the Wainwright pub before setting back to our apartment in Portiscale.

Over Hampsfell

Untitled

Taking advantage of the good weather I took a day off work and caught the train over to Grange-over-sands. I’d decided to follow a route over Hampsfell, combining it with a visit to the village of Cartmel.

Hampsfell is one of several modest limestone hills lying between the high Lakeland Fells and Morecambe Bay. We’d walked along a couple of them, Scout Scar and Cunswick Fell, near Kendal, only the previous week. This time it was a solo trip.

Grange-over-sands sits on the north shore of Morecambe bay, across from Arnside. Travelling by train meant that I’d be going over the viaduct that crosses the Kent estuary. The town developed in the Victorian era from a small fishing village, becoming a popular seaside resort after the construction of the railway line along the bay to Barrow-in-Furness.
Leaving the train station, after a short walk along the road, I turned on to the path that cut through Eggerslack Wood.

Untitled

I climbed up the hill, the trees providing some welcome shade from the hot sun.

Untitled

Eventually emerging onto the limestone moorland

Untitled

Untitled

Climbing to the top of the hill the folly “Hampsfell Hospice” came into view.

Untitled

The building of the folly was commissioned by the pastor of Cartmel “for the shelter and entertainment of travellers” in 1846.

I stopped to admire the outstanding views over to the high Lakeland Fells in the north and Morecambe Bay to the south. As usual, the photos really can’t do them justice.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

I had a look inside the Hospice

DSC04810.JPG

DSC04811.JPG

and then climbed on top where there’s a rather unusual summit viewfinder. You turn the pointer towards a landmark and the turntable gives an angle. Looking this up on the board let’s you work out what you are looking at.

hampsfell-80701s

After eating my sandwiches, I set off south along the ridge before cutting down the path downhill and across the fields towards the village of Cartmel.

Untitled

Cartmel is a very attractive village with an ancient Priory church and racecourse and is home to a Michelin 2 star restaurant, three pubs and the home of sticky toffee pudding. I’d never been there before as it’s one of those off the track places you never pass through so only end up there when that’s where you’re going. I was particularly interested in having a look at the Priory but also spent some time having a mooch around the village.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

The small racecourse is in an attractive setting and there’d been a meting there just a couple of days before my visit.

Untitled

The large church, Cartmel Priory, used to be part of a monastery dating back to 1190.

Untitled

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 the church survived as it was used as the Cartmel Parish church. Little else of the monatery remains other than the gatehouse in the village square which is now owned by the National Trust.

After indulging myself with an ice cream (it was a hot day after all !) I retraced my footsteps back up towards Hampsfell
Untitled

Reaching the ridge I headed south to Fell End. It had clouded over a little, but there were still great views over the fells and Bay

Untitled

Untitled

before descending down towards Grange-over-sands.

Untitled

I cut across town and crossed the railway line to reach the promenade near the old Lido.

Untitled

The River Kent used to flow alongside the promenade, but its course changed, flowing away from Grange. As a result the sea rarely reaches the prom and grass has grown over the sands and mudflats, creating a salt marsh. It was a pleasant stroll back to the train station, stopping off for a brew at the café half way along the prom.

Untitled

Untitled//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The prom is well maintained and looked after with flower beds (looking good despite the heat wave), some sculpture and ornate memorial benches.

Untitled

Untitled

There’s a few paths across the salt marsh and I took the opportunity to walk over to nearer the bay. However, the tide was out so I didn’t see much sea!

Untitled

Looking back across the marsh to Grange

Untitled

Looking across the marsh and bay to Arnside and Silverdale

Untitled

It was a pleasant stroll to finish of my walk.

After a short wait, I boarded the train to Preston and snatched a photo of Arnside as we crossed the Kent viaduct

Untitled