Following the Coffins Part 2

I sat by the lake for a while enjoying the view and the sunshine and refueling. Then it was time to set off again. Not surprisingly it was busy as I walked along the lake shore with plenty of families enjoying messing about beside and in the water. Only after my trip did I discover via social media that Shazza of Sunshine and Celandines was also in Grasmere that day as well as a former collegue I knew through my work. It’s a small world as they say! Mind you, there were plenty of other people around.

At the foot of the lake I took the path alongside the river towards Rydal Water and carried on along the lower path along the lake shore. I’d made the decision to carry on to Rydal village and then return to Grasmere along the Coffin Route.

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On a hot sunny day during half term it wasn’t surprising that, like Grasmere, the lake shore was heaving with families.

Reaching Rydal I passed the church

Climbed the hill and turned off and cut through the grounds of Rydal Hall

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and then stopped at their cafe for a brew and get my water bottle refilled (they’re happy to do that for you). My blood sugar had now dropped so I munched on one of my energy bars.

I’d managed to bag a seat outdoors overlooking the river

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and this was the “view from the bridge”

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Rested, I walked up the hill and next to Wordsworth’s former home,

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and turned off down the Coffin Route.

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It was moderately busy as it’s a popular route that’s not difficult so attracts a range of people of varying abilities and there are good views across Rydal Water to Loughrigg and some of the higher fells beyond.

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Approaching Grasmere village towards the end of the walk I passed another of Wordsworth’s former homes – Dove Cottage.

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I arrived back in Grasmere which was now very busy with day trippers with queues outside the Gingerbread Shop and all the cafes and food shops. I sat for a while on a bench taking in the views of Stone Arthur and the other hills across the vally before returning to my car for the drive home (via Keswick Booths and the Tebay services farm shop where I did some shopping for a few tasty treats!).

Following the Coffins Part 1

After a night in the hostel I woke to another fine day with views over the fields to the high fells. After breakfast I loaded up the car and made an earlyish start, driving over to Grasmere. I’d had a think about a low level (or lowish if that’s a real word 😁) that would be too strenuous. I’d read in a book I’d purchased last year about the Cumbrian “coffin roads” about the route locals Chapel Stile in Langdale had to use to carry thei dead to be buried in the church in Grasmere. I’d decided to park in Grasmere and walk over the fells below Silver How over to Chapel Stile and then return by the coffin road. It seemd like it would be a decent circular route I’d not followed before, matching my requirements of something not too strenuous. As it happened I pushed myself a little harder than intended and also made some off the cuff changes to the planned route.

It was quiet in Grasmere and before I set out I grabbed myself a coffee in the Heaton Cooper Gallery (Lucia’s Cafe wasn’t open but this turned out to be a good substitute – a decent coffee with tables outside on a sunny day with a view over to Stone Arthur (and good cakes, sandwiches and breakfasts, too)

Energised by the caffine, I set off. This, right at the start, is where I made one of my decisions to vary the route, deciding to climb to the summit of Silver How rather than passing it lower down.

At first I felt pretty good climbing the lower slopes

and looking back, on a particularly fine morning, there were most excellent views over Helm Crag, Seat Sandal and Fairfield

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About half the way up (maybe a little further) my lack of fitness began to tell – not helped by a high blood sugar level (which explained why I felt so thirsty) caused by being tempted by the tea loaf at the cafe and not compensating with some insulin. Consequently I needed to stop a few times for a “blow” (in the Scouse parlance I picked up when in lived in Liverpool while at University this means a rest, not some illegal narcotic!). Being stubborn, I wasn’t going to let it beat me even if everyone else climbing up (not very many people I have to say) were overtaking me!

I eventually made it to the summit – time for another rest to soak up the views in every direction.

Down to Grasmere and Rydal Water

Farfield, Great Rigg and Seat Sandal

Pike o’ Blisco, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes

and the Coniston Fells

Rested and refreshed, I set off down from the summit on the path towards Langdale.

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Another change of mind now. I was enjoying being high up enjoying the great views. So rather than descend into the valley and climb back up again, I decided to saty up on the ridge and walk over to pick up the Coffin Route path as it crossed the top of the fell. I’m never one to stick to a plan if a better one becomes evident during the walk.

This is the path I’d have descended down into Langdale if I hadn’t changed my mind.

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Instead I carried on up and down on the hummicky fell (I probably made that word up too, but it seemed to describe the nature of the ridge), enjoying the walking and the views

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Looking back to Silver How

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Back to the Langdale fells

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and south to Elter water with Windermere visible in the distance

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I reached the coffin route towards the edge of the ridge and turned eastwards to folow it down to Grasmere. The descent here was extremely pcturesque – initially with views across to the fells and Grasmere

The route took an old “lonning” (a Cumbrian term for a lane or track) through the Hammerscar Plantation

The shade from the trees was most welcome. I expect that this would be a good walk during the autumn when the trees were wearing their coat of red, gold and brown leaves.

The lonning emerged on the road above the lake. Now to complete the Coffin Route I’d have followed it back to teh village. But the lake was tempting me so another change of plan and I walked down to the lake shore where I stopped for a rest and a bite to eat

It was about 1 o’clock now and I didn’t feel like calling it quits for the day, so another decision – I’d follow the shore of Grasmere and then on to Rydal Water where I decide whether to carry on to Rydal Village and return to Grasmere by another Coffin Route (one I’d walked a couple of times before). Alternatively I could miss out Rydal Water and cut across from White Moss and walk half of the route.

But this post has gone on long enough. part 2 to follow when you’ll find out which options I took!

Seat Sandal

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Just two days after my wander over Winter Hill and the moors, I was off out again, this time to the Lake District. The weather forecast looked good, at least for the morning, so I set out early and arrived in Grasmere for a 9 o’clock start. I arrived to be greeted with a bright blue sky in an almost deserted village – the next stage of the easing of lockdown when shops could open was only scheduled for the following Monday.

After booting up, I set off down the quiet country lanes heading towards my destination, the valley of Tongue Gill and the path up to Grisedale tarn and then up Seat Sandal, the distinctive medium sized fell that overlooks the village. I’d been up this way the January before last – before you know what landed on our shores (or, at least, before the Government woke up to it).

I passed Helm Crag (the “Lion and the Lamb”)

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with Steel Fell (the last fell I climbed before the first lockdown) ahead

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but the road veered right towards the A591. I crossed the road and set off down the lane that started to climb up the gill. On a glorious morning I couldn’t help but to keep stopping to take int the views

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looking back to Silver How
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Looking East – Helm Crag, Gibson Knot and Steel Fell

Part way up the valley it’s divided in two by a hill – the Tongue. I took the right hand fork, following the Coast to Coast walk route

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Looking back

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I carried on climbing gradually up the valley

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Some locals were keeping an eye on me

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It had been cold for a few days due to the weather coming in from the Arctic and the ground was partially frozen

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Keeping on

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I eventually reached Grisedale tarn.

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I’d found the relatively modest climb hard going – after been away from any serious walking I clearly wasn’t “fell fit” – or is it just age catching up with me? In reality, it was probably a combination of both factors. So i was glad of a rest while I refueled and took in a fix of hot coffee from my flask.

A few people passed by, most of them heading up to climb the steep path up Fairfield and I could see quite a few people up on the summit, probably tackling the horseshoe. But that wasn’t for me that day. Instead I was going to make my way up the shorter, but still steep, climb up Seat Sandal.

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Yes Anabel, I’ll be going up that scree!

So suitabably rested I started to make my way slowly up the hill. The scree made the start of the climb a little tricky and then there was a bit of a scramble up the rock – taking care as there was ice, some of it quite thick, in places.

There were great views behind me, so I was able to punctuate my climb with a few short breaks for photos

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Dollywagon Pike to the left, Saint Sunday Crag to the right an Ullswater just visible down Grisedale

It didn’t take too long to reach the summit. Unlike the more popular (and higher) Fairfield, it was very quiet and I saw only two other walkers (and another two on the way down later).. It was a good clear day so there were good views over the Lakeland Fells and I could even see over the Solway across to Scotland.

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Looking North West
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Looking down to Grasmere. I could see the Coniston Fells and Coniston Water in the distance

I used my camera to zoom in for some shots

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There’s Bowfell and the Scafells
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Great Gable in the middle of the shot
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Skiddaw with Scotland on the horizon

I chatted with one of my fellow walkers (she’d come over Fairfield first and hadn’t enjoyed the descent to Grisedale Tarn down the long, steep scree slope), fortified myself with a sandwich and coffee and soaked in the views, before starting my descent back down towards Grasmere.

Cloud had been coming over the course of my walk, but Seat Sandal was still in the bright sunshine. Suddenly, I noticed some white flakes falling to the ground. Yes it was snow and it seemed to be falling out of a bright blue sky.

the little white dots you might be able to make out in this picture if youare snowflakes not marks on your screen!

Looking over to the south I could see that the snow was coming from a dark cloud over towards Fairfield and was drifting over. I’ve heard of four seasons in a day but never experienced what seemed like four seasons simultaneously! But that’s the Lakes for you.

I continued my descent.

Looking backwards

Grasmere village had been sitting under a cloud for mst of my descent and was in shadow.

The path rejoined the track I’d tken up from Grasmere near to the A591. I walked down the lane, crossed over the main road and retraced my steps back to the village, passing new born Herdwick lambs with their mother in the fields.

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It was still quite quiet when I arrived in Grasmere as none of the shops were open. There was a queue though at Lucina’s cafe, which I joined to treat myself to a take out coffee and cake. I sat on a bench on the small green to consume my purchases just as the snow began to fall, fairly heavily at first. But the shower soon moved on and the snow didn’t stick.

I had a little wander round the village, doing a little window shopping in Sam Read’s bookshop,but with everything being shut and weather becoming less pleasant it was time to head back to the car and set off back for home. It had been good to get back up to the Lakes. It will be busier now as we start to move out of the current lockdown. I’ve plans for a short break up there in the summer and I hope to get back up for the occassional day walk over the next few months – before the next wave hits us.

A walk up Seat Sandal

So, after completing my 1000 miles challenge in 2019 (hurrah!!!) I made a start for 2020 with a local walk around the Plantations on New Years Day. But I was still itching to get out into the hills, so as Friday looked like it was going to be a decent day and I was still on holiday from work, I decided to head off up to the Lakes and tackle Seat Sandal, the mountain that dominates the view to the north from the western and southern shores of Grasmere.

Rather than scrabble for a parking space in one of the lay-byes on the A591, I parked up in Grasmere. Some walkers are reluctant to pay the parking fee but I don’t think £8 for the day is unreasonable – especially when you compare it with what you have to pay in central Manchester. Starting from Grasmere added 2 or 3 miles along a rough road to my walk, but that wasn’t a problem.

I set off on a bright sunny morning with bright blue winter sky. A little chilly but I was wrapped up and you soon warm up walking.

Leaving the car park there was a good view of my objective.

I walked into the village, stopping at Lucia’s takeaway to buy one of their Cumberland sausage rolls to make sure I had fuelled up ready for my walk. I then set off down Easedale Road before turning north up Helm Close, a rough road (a track in places) which took me up past fields and isolated houses, passing to the east of Helm Crag

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Steel Fell dead ahead

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and there’s Seat sandal with a glimpse of Fairfield to the right

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My route would take me up the gill (valley) between the two mountains up to Grisedale Hause.

I crossed the busy main road – it was a bit of a blind corner so I had to take care not to get run over by the cars that speed up the road between Grasmere and Keswick – and then set off along the path up the gill

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Looking back across to Helm Crag

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There are two paths up towards the hause, one to each side of a minor hill, the Great Tongue. I crossed over the beck to take the right hand path, which is part of the Coast to Coast route

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I was climbing up through rougher country now

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Climbing up towards the hause

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I eventually reached the hause and was greeted by a view of Grisedale Tarn and Dollywagon Pike

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While I was walking the wind had been picking up and the cloud stared to appear covering what had been a beautiful blue sky. Here’s the view back down the gill

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Time to stop for a break, shelter from the wind and grab a bite to eat, and a hot coffee from my flask.

Over to the left was my Seat sandal and a steep climb up the scree (not a route for Anabel, then!)

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It certainly was a steep climb and hands were needed in a few places. But it wasn’t too bad and it didn’t take me too long to reach the top of the slope. Pausing part way a took a few snaps back down towards the Tarn and Dollywagon Pike

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St Sunday Crag and the slopes of Fairfield with Ullswater just about visible in the distance down Grisedale

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It was windy when I reached the summit and there was thick cloud over the fells to the west and north

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Looking across to St Sunday Crag and the mighty Fairfield

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After a short break to take in the views I set off down the ridge towards Grasmere – a much more gradual descent renowned for great views down to Grasmere and over to the fells to the west. Unfortunately the thick cloud rather obscured them today.

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More and more cloud came in as I made my way down the ridge, but I managed to snap a few atmospheric shots (spruced up with a little manipulation with Snapseed!)

The path along the ridge eventually joined the track down the gill and I retraced my steps back towards Grasmere

The rain finally arrived as I walked along the lane back to the village. Looking back over to Seat Sandal and Fairfield looks like I got back down just in time to avoid a downpour.

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I called into the village, had a browse in Sam Read’s bookshop (and was tempted to purchase a slim volume) before heading back to the car. It was just after 3 o’clock so I decided to drive up to Keswick and a visit to the Keswick Boot Company – after all the walking I’ve been doing I needed a new pair of boots

I’ll need to get out on the fells again soon – these boots are made for walking!

A walk around Grasmere and Rydal Water

The day after my trip to London last week was forecast to be hot and sunny. Should I go into the office? Well, there wasn’t anything I needed to do that couldn’t wait a day so I decided that it would be far preferable to get out for a walk. J was coming with me so we loaded our walking gear into the boot of the car and drove up the M6 to the Lake District. We weren’t going to do anything too strenuous, but had decided to park up in Grasmere Village and do a circuit of Grasmere and Rydal Water, returning by the Coffin Route from Rydal.

The first stretch of the route is along a minor road, until, about half way along the length of the small lake, there’s a path that took us down to the lake shore. We then followed the shoreline to the end.

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The view back over to Helm Crag, Seat Sandal and Stone Arthur
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Looking back towards Silver Howe

We then followed the path through the woods beside the river on towards Rydal Water, a short distance away.

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Approaching Rydal Water we took the high path that runs parallel to the lake on the lower slopes of Loughrigg Fell.. About half way along we reached Rydal Cave, a large cave created by mining for slate.

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There are notices warning of the dangers of entry – there’s been rock falls from the roof in the past – but, like everyone else who was passing, we went inside to take a look. Much of floor of the cave is flooded, but the water wasn’t so deep and we kept our feet dry by walking on a series of stepping stones, taking care not to lose our balance!

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Leaving the cave the path descended down towards the lake .

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At the end of the lake we followed the track a little further in the direction of Ambleside before cutting down and crossing the river by the foot bridge

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A short walk along the main road was followed by a climb up the steep lane through Rydal village. We stopped off for a break at the cafe at Rydal Hall and then continued up the hill past Wordsworth’s former home at Rydal Mount

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Rydal Mount

Just after the house we took a left turn on to the Coffin Road. This is the route along which the dead would be transported from Rydal, which didn’t have it’s own church and graveyard, to be buried in the grounds of St Oswald’s in Grasmere village.

Following the road up on th ehillside, looking down there were good views over Rydal Water

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with the Coniston Fells poking above the lower hills to the west.

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It was a reasonably easy walk, with a few rougher stretches, and we were soon back in Grasmere.

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We had a wander through the village back to the car park so we could drop off our rucksacks and change out of our boots. On the way I couldn’t stop myself having a look at the small independent book shop . Although quite small it has a good selection of books and ended up buying a copy of Curlew Moon by Mary Colwell. I couldn’t resist as the curlew is one of my favourite birds. The book describes the author’s 500 mile journey from the west of Ireland to the east coast of England to raise awareness of the curlew’s endangered status. I’m looking forward to reading it.

We’d decided to have a bite to eat before setting off for home and headed over to The Good Sport, a pub owned by Grasmere Brewery and which sells their beers and serves food, including dishes made from locally raised meat. They also sell a decent non-alcoholic beer.

We both chose the Herdy burgers made from local Herdwick lamb. It was rather delicious.

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After eating, we sat outside for a while in the sunshine with a cold beer (non-alcoholic in my case) before heading back to the car and setting off home. Back to work tomorrow, but only for a day, as I’ll be off next week, walking in Snowdonia. Fingers crossed that the weather is OK!

A walk from Grasmere

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On Sunday I drove up to Grasmere for my first more challenging walk of 2019. I had a couple of options in mind for my route, leaving the final decision until I arrived and had a better idea of what conditions were like. After I’d parked up the going looked generally good with only a relatively light covering of snow on the high peaks so I decided on the route that would take me up Stone Arthur, a summit which looms over Grasmere village to the east, up on to Great Rigg, then south along the ridge over Heron Pike, down into Rydal village and then back to Grasmere via the “Coffin Route”.

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View of Stone Arthur from Grasmere village

The route up to Stone Arthur is well trod – it’s a popular climb up from the village, and most of the path was “engineered”. It was a steep climb, though up the side of the hill.

As the temperature was just above freezing, I was well wrapped up, but the energetic climb meant I was heating up, so the hat and gloves came off and I opened up my coat.

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The view back down to Grasmere
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Approaching the summit
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The view from the summit of Stone Arthur

On reaching its summit, it becomes clear that it’s really just a rocky outcrop at the western end of the ridge that continues to climb up to Great Rigg, a more significant peak that’s hidden when viewed from the village. After a coffee from my flask and a bite to eat I carried on. It was getting cold now on the exposed ridge with a fairly strong breeze blowing and the air temperature had dropped. Snow was clearly visible on the summit of Great Rigg

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as well as Fairfield and the other summits at the head of the Rydal valley. So I fastened up my coat and the hat and gloves went back on!

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I climbed up the ridge – and easier walk than the climb up to Stone Arthur and made the final ascent up the snow covered summit of Great Rigg using my walking poles to stop myself slipping.

Reaching the top there were great views, although cloud over to the east obscured the Coniston and Langdale fells to some extent.

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View towards Fairfield
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Looking over to Dove Crag
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Looking west
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Looking south towards Windermere

Great Rigg is one of the summits on the Fairfield Horseshoe I’d walked in quite different conditions last summer, but this time I wasn’t going to attempt the full circuit. Instead I set off south along the ridge heading towards the village of Rydal. The walk wasn’t too strenuous, at least until the steep descent off the ridge.

Looking over towards Dollywagon Pike and Helvelyn in the distance.

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The next peak was Heron Pike and looking backwards as I neared it’s summit there was an excellent view back to Fairfield and the other snow covered peaks at the head of the valley.

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Carrying along the ridge there was a good view over to Red Screes in the east

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Windermere was spread out before me to the south

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and Grasmere to the west, with the mountains above the Langdale Valley beyond

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Carrying on, there was Rydal Water

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I descended steeply down towards Rydal village (using my poles to try to save my knees from too much agony), following a group of walkers, one of them carrying a baby in a sling in front of his body; an early introduction to the fells!

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Reaching the small village of Rydal, I passed Wordsworth’s final residence, Rydal Mount

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I took a short diversion to Rydal Hall, strolling through the gardens.

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They have a very excellent cafe where I was able to top up my flask with a strong coffee – a shot of caffeine to re-enegerise for the last 2 or 3 miles along the Coffin Route back to Grasmere.

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Many years ago, before the road along Rydal Water and Grasmere had been constructed this is the route that the dead would be transported from Rydal, which didn’t have it’s own church and graveyard, to be buried in the grounds of St Oswald’s in Grasmere village.

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Coming into Grasmere village, I passed another of Wordsworth’s former homes, Dove Cottage

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and while I was passing St Oswald’s, I thought I’d pay homage by visiting his final resting place

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as almost next door there’s the Gingerbread shop. It’s compulsory to take home a sample – a good way to earn Brownie points!

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I had a mooch through the small community and then made my way back to the car for the drive home. 10 miles done according to the pedometer. And hard ones at that.

Silver How, Sergeant Man and Easedale

Our friend Pam from Tasmania is over in Europe for a few weeks, touring around. She was staying in Grasmere for a few days so we arranged to meet up with her on Saturday to go for a walk. We got up early and drove up to the Lakes, arriving just before 10. We’d planned a walk that gave us a few options, allowing us to decide how far to go depending on conditions and how we felt. Although we’d walked in the same area a few times over the past year, it was all new to Pam and with great views, we knew it wouldn’t disappoint.

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It was a grey day, chilly and a little windy on top, but visibility was good and conditions underfoot generally dry (but this was the Lakes so there were some boggy patches).

We started by heading up Silver How –  grey skies but still great views all round

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We cut across the moorland over to the top of Easedale

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We had the option of descending down towards Easedale Tarn and then back to Grasmere, but decided to continue along the ridge and tackle Sergeant Man. We hadn’t made it that far during previous walks in the vicinity so a new challenge. And talking about challenge, there was an orienteering race taking place which took in Silver How and Sergeant Man, so there was a constant stream of runners, as skinny as greyhounds, passing us we walked at a much slower pace along the ridge.

Reaching the summit, more good views greeted us. Looking over to Bowfell, the Scafels and Great Gable

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Pavey Arc and Harrison Stickle with the Coniston Fells in the background. The Langdale Pikes looked quite different from this angle.

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A couple of orienteerers checking in

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A panorama looking over to the west

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Looking east towards the Fairfield range

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We set off back along the ridge, retracing our footsteps

Looking over to Helvelyn and the Fairfield Horseshoe with Codale Tarn and Easedale in the foreground

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Pam taking a breather – waiting for us to catch up!

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Then the steep descent down towards Easedale Tarn – Blea Crag in the background.

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Getting a little closer to the tarn

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Looking back towards Blea Crag  and Eagle Crag from the end of the tarn

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Setting off down Sour Milk Ghyl towards Easedale

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The last of the waterfalls

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Easedale

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Looking down towards the old sheepwash

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Reaching the bottom of the valley it was a relatively easy walk back to Grasmere village where a brew awaited us!

We said our goodbyes promising to visit Tasmania sometime in the future (!) and set off for home. Another good day walking in the Lakes and really nice to combine that with catching up with a friend we don’t get the opportunity to see so often.

Bank Holiday Walk from Grasmere

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With Christmas day being a Sunday, Tuesday was a Bank Holiday. The weather forecast sounded reasonably promising so we decided to get out for a walk up in the Lakes. We drove over to Grasmere and parked up. It was a fine sunny morning, although it was expected to turn cloudy during the afternoon, but it was still good to get out on the fells.

With the hours of daylight short at the end of December we weren’t going to attempt anything too ambitious so decided we’d climb Silver How and then head over to Loughrigg fell at the south end of Grasmere.

Setting out from the village we could see our first objective – Silver How.

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It’s a relatively easy, gradual climb with a few short steeper sections. Generally easy going.

We passed Allan Bank, a former home of Wordsworth.

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Looking back to the Fairfield horseshow with Helm Crag on the left

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Looking over to Easedale

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The light wasn’t as good when we reached the summit of Silver How but there were still good 360 degree views

Looking down to Grasmere and Rydal Water

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Looking over to Loughrigg (our next objective) with Windermere in the distance

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The Coniston Fells

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Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes

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Over to Fairfield and adjacent fells

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After taking in the views and having a bite to eat we set out towards Loughrigg. There were clear paths over the undulating moorland, many of them not marked on the OS map.

Looking back to Silver How

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Looking down Great Langdale

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We eventually reached Loughrigg Terrace, a well used path overlooking the south shore of Grasmere and at the foot of the fell. It was then a short steep ascent up to the summit.

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The view from the summit over towards Windermere

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Looking over Great Langdale and Elter Water towards the Coniston Fells

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Over to Lingmoor Fell and the Langdale Pikes. Cloud covering the tops of Crinkle Crags and Bowfell

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Starting to descend and looking over Grasmere

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with Silver How and the Langdale Pikes visible tot he left

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We took the path through the woods

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and then followed the road back to Grasmere village, arriving with about an hour of daylight left.

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Time for a well earned brew before setting off for home.

Silver How and Easedale

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It’s been a good weekend! On Saturday Wigan, against the odds, won the Rugby League Grand Final at Old Trafford, and on Sunday we enjoyed great Autumn weather during a walk in the Lake District.

We set off early to beat the traffic and also to make the most of the day. Arriving at Grasmere before 11, we parked up and were welcomed by a bright and sunny morning.

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I’d planned a route taking us up to Silver How, a modest fell that overlooks Grasmere, and then along the ridge to Blea Rigg, down into Easedale and then back to Grasmere Village

Taking the path towards Allan Bank we caught sight of our first objective

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It was a steady climb, and with the light being bright and clear we got good views of the surrounding fells

Looking back towards Helm Crag, Seat Sandal and Fairfield

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A glimpse of Grasmere through the bracken

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The views from the summit were outstanding

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Looking east over Grasmere and Rydal Water

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Fairfield, part of it’s “horseshoe” and Helvelyn

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The view north west towards the Langdale Pikes and Bowfell, which we’d climbed earlier this year

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The Coniston Fells with Lingmoor Fell in the foreground

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Langdale and Elterwater with Windermere visible in the distance

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Leaving the summit of Silver How behind

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we set our north west across the moorland heading toward Lang How

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The view of the upper reaches of Langdale opened up

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Looking across to the fells of the Fairfield horseshoe

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Keeping on across the fell towards Blea Rigg

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Reaching the top of Easedale we descended down the slope towards Easedale Tarn

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The cloud had started to come in

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Finally reaching the tarn, where we stopped for a short while. There were quite a few peopl enjoying a pleasant autumn afternoon on its shores

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We headed down Sour Milk Ghyll

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with its waterfalls

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reaching the main Easedale valley

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Back towards Grasmere village past Allan Bank

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and a flock of Herdwick sheep

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Reaching the village, it’s mandatory to stop and buy some Grasmere gingerbread!

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and pay homage to Wordsworth

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before returning to the car for the journey home.

Helm Crag, Gibson Knot, Calf Crag and Far Easedale

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Last Saturday, after our visit to Abbot Hall and Blackwell we headed over to Grasmere where we stayed overnight in a very nice B and B in the centre of the village – the Mossgrove Organic Hotel. It had been a nice day but during the evening it started to rain. Sunday morning we woke to heavy mist but after it cleared we could see that the big fells to the East of the village were covered in snow.

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We had planned to go for a walk on that side of the valley, but seeing that the hills to the west were largely clear, with only a smattering of snow at the top, we decided we’d exercise caution and plan a route over the ridge of fells on the north side of Easedale. I’d followed the route a few years ago, walking clockwise, but this time we decided we’d go round the other way, starting by climbing Helm Crag, also known as The Lion and the Lamb. That gave us the option of deciding how far along the ridge we wanted to go – we could turn back if we felt we’d had enough. If you go clockwise, you’re committed.

This is the view of Helm Crag walking across the valley near Allan Bank.

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Along the river towards the hills

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It’s a gentle climb at first, through woodland where Dorothy Wordsworth used to wander.

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Looking over to the other side of the valley towards Silver How

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Then a steep, but relatively short, ascent to the summit.

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Looking back, there were great views over Grasmere

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Looking across Easedale we could see the Sour Milk Gill, Easedale Tarn and the hills where we’d walked just a few weeks before.

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And to the east we could see the big fells of the Fairfield Horseshoe covered with the previous night’s snowfall

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We finally reached the Howitzer at the summit

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There was a smattering of snow on the shady side of the summit

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Looking south we could see the tops of the Coniston Fells

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and the Langdale Pikes

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After a short rest we set off along the ridge towards the next hill – Gibson Knott- looking back to glance at the one we’d just climbed

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Onwards along the ridge

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Looking back along the ridge towards Helm Crag and Grasmere from close to the summit of Calf Crag

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and down into Far Easedale

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It was treacherous underfoot in places and difficult to negotiate the quagmire

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The view along Far Easedale from the summit of Calf Crag

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We passed the small tarn

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and then located the path that took us down towards the valley. We reached the cairn at the head of the valley where a number of paths met

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and took the one that descended down the valley following the Far Easdale Gill back to Grasmere

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Passing waterfalls

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in rugged countryside.

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Looking back towards the head of the valley

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Looking up at the ridge we’d traversed

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Coming towards the end of Far Easedale. Not too far to Grasmere now and the countryside became more pastoral

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We looked across to Lancrigg, now a Vegetarian Hotel, standing below Helm Crag. It was late afternoon by now and the snow had disappeared from the Fairfield Horseshoe

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We reached Grasmere and headed back to the car ready to set back for home. The walk had taken a little longer than expected, mainly due to the difficult conditions underfoot along the ridge which slowed down progress. But it’s a fine walk and it was a beautiful Spring day, ideal for walking.

Having walked the route in both directions, I think I prefer going clockwise as I’d done on my walk a few years ago due the views that open up as you walk along the ridge. This time we found ourselves looking back frequently. But going anticlockwise has it’s own attractions and all the hard work is done at the beginning of the walk when you’ve more energy. Either way it’s a good walk – but bear in mind the boggy conditions along the top after Helm Crag.