A calf, a sheepfold and a waterfall

….. and the site of an iron age settlement.


Last Saturday I decided to make the most of a fine day and get out for a walk. As usual, the hard decision was where to go. This time I decided I’d drive up to Sedburgh and head out for a walk in the Howgill Fells. I had a route in mind – another longish walk with plenty of interest. Although part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and close to the Lake District, the Howgills (a group of high, grassy hills cut through with deep valleys ) are usually relatively quiet.

I parked up in the market square, got into my walking gear and set out. My route was going to start off fairly easily by following the river bank steady climb up towards Cautley and its waterfall. A steep (very steep, in fact) climb up beside the waterfall would take me up onto the fells and then I’d follow the ridge back to Sedbergh, taking in a few summits.

Leaving the car park I cut through the town centre (not that there’s much of it!), passing the Information centre and some interesting shops and old buildings as I made my way down to the river.


I joined the path along the river bank at the New Bridge – well it was new in the 18th Century!


The path followed close the river bank for a few miles


With views of the Howgill Fells over the fields to the left.


After a while, the path left the river bank and climbed up to a paved track by Buckback Farm. I had some trouble here. The right of way goes through the farm yard but I couldn’t get through the complicated set of gates so had to find an alternative way through the yard. I’m not sure whether the farmer was deliberately blocking the right of way or it was just my ineptitude and inability to work out how to get the series of gates open. Anyway, I finally got onto the narrow metalled road and followed it as it started to climb. The route ran more or less parrallel to the river but higher up and closer to the fells.


The metalled road terminated at Thursgill farm and turned into a rougher track. The old stone farmhouse had an interesting neo-Gothic style entrance, added in 1885


The path carried on along the valley, steadily gaining height. Some stretches were quite muddy and boggy but the views over the valley to the Yorkshire Dales were fantastic on a sunny morning.


One of the local residents was wondering what I was up to.


After a couple of hours, a little longer than I’d expected (the route was a little harder going than I’d thought), the path dipped back down to the river as I reached Cautley where I would turn off to climb up on to the fells.

This was the site of an iron age settlement. There was an information board with some details about the site, but to an untrained eye it would have been impossible to know anything had been here. Some scattered rocks on the raised ground were the only remains. The settlement had been built at the foot of Cautley Spout, a waterfall with the highest drop in England, at least for a cascading waterfall above ground. It doesn’t look much in the picture below but the water plunges over the top of the fells falling a total of 650 feet (198 m)  down a series of steps to the valley floor below.


So now I started to climb up the VERY steep path up beside the falls. It had been raining of late so there was plenty of water tumbling down making it a dramatic sight as the path gets quite close to the water at some points.


Looking back down to the valley floor – taking a photo was a good excuse for a short break during the steep climb!


I finally reached the top – it had taken me about half an hour, and then followed the path along the beck (the same one which would tumble down to form the falls) heading towards my next destination, the highest point in the fells, the hill known as the Calf.


After a short while I spotted this sheepfold – one of a series in Cumbria created by the renowned artist, Andy Goldsworthy.  Red Gill Washfold is a large restored washfold with a built-in cairn to celebrate sheep farming renewal.


After spending a short while looking at the washfold I continued on along the path which followed the beck as far as the spring that fed the stream.


Eventually emerging on the ridge that runs across the top of the fells. Visibility on the day was excellent and I was greeted by a fantastic view over to the high fells of the Lake District. There were the Coniston fells, the Scafells, Great Gable, Bow Fell and many of the other high mountains.


A short climb and I was on the top of the Calf, the highest of the Howgill Fells. It’s a flat plateau which doesn’t have definite peak, but htere were great views in every direction.


On a fine day like today the main fells in th eLake District would have been bustling with walkers, but there were only a few people up here on the Howgills. There were a couple of guys taking a break and after I’d asked one to take the obligatory photo of me at the trig point (I’m useless at taking selfies) we had a brief chat. They were wild camping over the weekend and were taking it slow, enjoying the walk, the scenery and the weather.

After a short while I continuing my walk, following the path that crosses the fells on the way back to Sedbergh. It’s relatively easy going but with some ups and downs. Other than a fence that crosses the range on Calders there are virtually no man made boundaries on the top of the fells which gives a real sense of freedom. It’s an open access area too, so you’re free to roam and although there are plenty of clear paths many of them aren’t marked on the OS maps.


Looking over to the Yorkshire Dales. At one point I could see all three of the Three Peaks.


Looking over towards Morecambe Bay.


I’d been up here before when we walked up to the Calf from Sedbergh and then returned by the same route. Like then, I took in the summits of Bram Rigg top, Calders and Arant How. This time I decided to continue further along the ridge to take in the summit of Winder.


Then I started the descent down the steep path back down to the valley. It was hard on my old knees. I find it much tougher going down than climbing up steep slopes these days.

On the way down I passed a small group of the wild ponies that live up on the fells. They didn’t seem to be bothered as I passed close by.


I was fascinated by their long manes that cover their eyes and faces


There’s Sedbergh down in the valley.


I left the fell on the west side of the village, through Lockbank Farm and then made my way back to the centre wandering past a variety of old buildings through the narrow streets. As I expected none of the shops were open. For some bizarre reason they shut at 4 o’clock. Obviously they’re not interested in making money from walkers come back down from the hill. I was surprised to find a cafe that was still open, only shutting at 6, so I took advantage of this to stop for a well earned brew!


I wandered back along the main street to the car park, passing some independent shops


and the book shelter


changed out of my boots and then set off on the journey home. It’s not too far and as the motorway was relatively quiet, it only took me an hour and a quarter.

Another long walk on a warm sunny day. I wonder how many more opportunities I’ll have before the end of the year?

A walk from Littleborough to Todmorden

For my second walk during the hot and sunny Bank Holiday weekend, not wanting to endure the inevitably busy traffic, I decided to take the train over to Littleborough. I’d worked out a route that would take me over to Todmorden, taking in a stretch of the Pennine Way. It was a long walk but doable. As it happens I ended up extending it a little.

Arriving at the station, a short walk along the road I was on a minor road that crossed the canal and then became a track that was soon out into the fields. A path then took me through some woods, past a farm and then past the golf course with views of the hills opening up.


The low cloud that was hanging over Wigan and Manchester had cleared by the time I reached Littleborough. It was sunny and becoming hot and there was barely a breeze. The wind turbines on the hills were completely still.


The line of pylons carrying power cables that stretch out over the moors brought to mind a poem by Stephen Spender that I’d studied for my O Level in English Literature. Here’s an extract

The Pylons

The secret of these hills was stone, and cottages
Of that stone made,
And crumbling roads
That turned on sudden hidden villages

Now over these small hills, they have built the concrete
That trails black wire
Pylons, those pillars
Bare like nude giant girls that have no secret.

by Stephen Spender (extract)

Can’t say I’ve seen many nude girls that look quite like that, mind!

I guess that the modern day equivalent are the Wind Turbines of which I could see plenty on the nearby hills during my walk.

I’d originally planned to climb up the “Roman road”, that would let me join the Pennine Way to the north of Blackstone Edge. As it happens as I reached the path that would lead me to the start of the ascent, looking up to Blackstone Edge I decided to divert and climb the edge, taking the path up to the south of the summit, adding 2 or 3 miles to my planned route.

Looking down to Hollingworth Lake as I climbed


A couple of curious locals ahead


The top of Blackstone Edge ahead


It didn’t take too long to reach the top of the hill with it’s jumble of millstone grit bolders


I stopped by the trig point for a short break and a bite to eat. Just like on Friday, long range visibility wasn’t so great but the views over the moors were still OK.


I was now on the Pennine way so followed the path heading northwards. Looking back to the Edge.


I reached the Aiggin stone


The Pennine Way then descended down the “Roman road”


before turning north by the drain – a waterway taking water from one of the reservoirs that feed the Rochdale canal


It wasn’t too long before I reached the White Horse pub on the A58 which runs over the Pennines from Littleborough to Halifax.


Crossing over there’s a short walk stretch of road before the Pennine way continues along a gravel path that’s used a a service road for a string of reservoirs.


This path extends for a few miles and is pretty flat. It’s reputedly the easiest stretch of the Pennine Way. The lack of inclines means it’s also one of the least interesting stretches, but on a fine day there were good views over the moors and the water in the reservoirs was a lovely bright blue.


About a mile along the track I reached this little bridge, which I crossed and then walked along to an outcrop of millstone grit in a former quarry


Inscribed on the rock is a poem


This one of the Stanza Stones – poems by Simon Armitage (the new Poet Laureate) inscribed on rocks on the moors between Marsden (his home town) and Ilkley, all about an aspect of the water which frequently falls on these moors. This is the Rain Stone


Unusually (!) it wasn’t raining today, but it had been a few days before and the moors off the path were wet and boggy.

Rejoining the path I carried on heading north passing a string of small reservoirs.


After passing the last of the reservoirs, the path continued over the boggy moor. Fortunately flagstones have been laid down over the boggiest section other it would have meant walking through a quagmire. There’s a reason why Simon Armitage located his Stanza Stones up here!


Soon, Stoodley Pike came into view


It didn’t look so far off, but sometimes your eyes can deceive you!


Carrying on, Todmorden and the nearby villages came into view down in the valley


and looking in the opposite direction towards Cragg Vale, home of the Coiners


My plan was to descend down the Calderdale Way and follow it to Todmorden where I’d catch the train back to Wigan. Looking north along the Pennine Way, Stoodley Pike didn’t look so far off and I was tempted to continue onwards.


But I’d extended my walk by a few miles already by tackling Blackstone Edge so I decided to stick to my original intention.

The path was an old packhorse trail and had been paved, making the walking relatively easy.

I was greeted by a couple of sheep as I entered the small village of Mankinholes


It’s small village of old traditional Pennine houses, an ancient settlement, going back to the 13th century, and some of the houses were built in the 17 th century. They would probably have been originally occupied by textile workers, weavers and spinners, who worked from home, so the houses have the typical rows of mullioned windows that allowed maximum light into the first floor work rooms.

I reckon that later on, after the Industrial Revolution had killed off the domestic textile industry, the occupants probably went to work in the mill in nearby Lumbutts – there’s an old path across the fields between the two villages and that was what I followed.

Lumbutts isn’t as old, coming into existence along with the mill in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Reaching Lumbutts I passed the local pub which, on a Bank Holiday afternoon, was busy with customers enjoying a meal and a pint.


Time was getting on so I didn’t stop but carried on to have a look at the village chapel


It’s rather a large chapel for a small village but probably served the surrounding area. It was only constructed in 1911, replacing an earlier building. The ground floor was used for the Sunday School with the main chapel above it.

I rejoined the Calderdale way which carried on along the road and down the hill towards the old mill. The only thing left is the unusual old tower.


The mill was water powered and the tower contained three water wheels, one on top of the other, powered from lodges on the hills above.

I carried on along the road for a while passing the rows of terraced workers’ houses


A short while further on the Calderdale Way turned off the road to start crossing some fields. Looking across to Stoodley Pike


I passed a number of old, traditional houses which are now expensive, desirable residences


Soon I could see Todmordem, but it was still a way off


I carried on along the Calderdale way through fields and along a country lane, eventually arriving at the small former textile town down in the bottom of the narrow valley.


Todmorden used to split by the border between Lancashire and Yorkshire and the neo-Classical Town Hall actually straddles the border.


Since Local Government reorganisation it’s been entirely in West Yorkshire, but remnants of the old loyalties remain. My walk had taken me from Littleborough in Lancashire (well, Greater Manchester these days) and across the border into West Yorkshire. But it would be difficult to tell the difference as the landscape and architecture across the South Pennines is essentially the same.

I’d run out of water a couple of miles before reaching the town (should have stopped at that pub!) so needed to get some cold liquid. It was nearly 5 o’clock and everything seemed shut but I managed to find an off licence were I was able to buy a couple of bottles of diet coke from the fridge for a couple of quid. The cold liquid and caffeine were more than welcome and I quickly downed the contents of one of the bottles saving the second for the journey home.

I didn’t have too much time to look round before the next train was due so I made my way to the station. It was running 10 minutes late and I might have otherwise missed it (although they run every half hour). Just over an hour later I was back in Wigan.

Another grand walk on what was probably going to be the last sunny day for a while. I also feel that September is the beginning of Autumn, so this was my last walk during this year’s summer. But Autumn can be a good time for walks too – so fingers crossed!

A walk around Rivington

The August Bank Holiday weekend was forecast to be a scorcher so I was determined to get out to make the most of what was likely to be the best weather for some time. But it was a Bank Holiday and I certainly didn’t fancy sitting in a lengthy traffic jam on the motorway. I also didn’t want to miss seeing the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final which was taking place at Wembley on the Saturday (I wasn’t going down to London but wanted to watch the match on TV, even though our biggest rivals were playing). Any road, with a little thought and planning I managed to devise a couple of routes that would allow me to get out on the hills which avoiding these problems.

On the Saturday morning I was up reasonably early and was soon heading out to drive the short distance to Rivington where I parked up on the car park up near the school. I’d decided to head up to the top of the Pike and then work my way back down and follow a route along the Yarrow and Rivington reservoirs back to the car.

Despite having been up the Pike many, many times I managed to find a path up through the terraced gardens I hadn’t followed before.


I reached the top of the Pike. There were a few other people up there, but it would get busy later on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend.


Long range visibility wasn’t so great, but I had a view down to the reservoirs


and, in the opposite direction, over to Winter Hill (the path over the peaty moor looked rather glutinous after all the recent rain – glad I hadn’t decided to walk over there today)


and looking over Anglezarke Moor to Great Hill. On a good day I’d have been able to see as far as Pendle Hill and the Yorkshire Dales, but not today.


After a short rest I set off back down the hill, walking past the Pigeon Tower, recently restored – and a good job the volunteers have done too.


Looking down towards Yarrow Reservoir.


I followed the old road down the hill. It was very rough to say the least.


I walked past the Hall Barn and then cut across the fields to Rivington Village where I stopped for a brew and a bacon butty at the village cafe. Refuelled, I took the path from the village over towards Yarrow Reservoir which I circumnavigated.


Looking across the reservoir towards Winter Hill and Rivington Pike


Looking down to Anglezarke Reservoir


I took the path down beside the “waterfall” (the over flow from Yarrow Reservoir)


and then crossed the dam between the Anglezarke and Upper Rivington Reservoirs.


I followed the path southwards along the west shore. Looking across I could see Rivington Pike


Reaching the dam, I crossed over and then took the path along the east shore of Lower Rivington Reservoir, diverting half way along to take a couple of photos of the “Saxon Barn” (officially Great Hall Barn). As I’d expected, although I hadn’t seen too many people up to now on my walk, the car park and cafe at the barn were heaving. A lot of people drive over here, park up stop for a brew and then maybe take a short stroll. But most don’t stray too far from their cars.


Back on the path, I eventually reached “Liverpool Castle” – a folly based on the original Liverpool Castle (which no longer exists) by Lord Leverhulme, the local lad “made good” (he founded Lever Brothers, now part of Unilever) who used to own the land round here and created the Terraced Gardens.


It was a short walk back to the car park where I changed out of my boots and, after stopping to fill up the car on the way home, arrived back in good time to watch Saints get stuffed in the Challenge Cup Final – so a great day all round!

A Coniston Round

Last Friday I managed to get out again for a walk. This time I decided to go up to Coniston with the intention of climbing Dow Crag and then on to the Old Man of Coniston. I ended up walking a little further than that!


I parked up in the village and then cut across the fields to join the Walna Crag road just after the old quarry car park.


I crossed the old pack horse bridge after which the path started to steepen


My first objective over to the right!


Dow Crag is at the end of a ridge with two other peaks – Brown Pike and Buck Pike. As I started up towards the first of these there were great views over to nearby fells and valleys – last time I was up here just over 12 months ago I couldn’t see a thing as the fells were covered in low cloud.

I carried on, reaching the top of the pass turning right to start climbing up towards the ridge. Looking west to the Duddon estuary


The Duddon Valley


The Scafells over to the northeast. They would soon be shrouded in cloud.


I carried on along the path towards Buck Pike. Although the east side of the ridge consists of steep, rocky crags that plummet down to the bottom of the valley, the west side is a much gentler slope, so the walking wasn’t difficult .


Looking across to the Old Man


and down to Coniston Water


As I climbed up to Buck Pike, looking down I had a view of Blind Tarn. It got its name as it has no apparent inflow or outflow


Dow Crag ahead.


Unlike during my last walk up here, I could see the rocky crags, a favourite haunt of rock climbers. But none were evident.


Looking down one of the gullies


The summit of Dow Crag is crowned with a pyramid of rocks. Despite my dislike of heights I clambered up carefully, gritting my teeth and being careful not to get too close to the edge – I’m no crag rat!


Looking down I could see Goat’s Water, the large tarn in the valley below


I’d seen a few people as I’d made my way up from Coniston following the same route as me. Some had passed me and raced ahead while with others, walking at a similar pace and occasionally stopping to take in the view (an excuse for a rest?) we kept overtaking each other. As I reached Dow Crag a large party were coming up from the other direction.


After a brief break for a bite to eat I carried on. The path initially descends to Goats Hawse before climbing up to The Old Man. Last time I’d descended down into the valley and then back to Coniston but this time I carried on climbing. There were plenty of people coming down the other way, most taking the path down to Goat’s Water.


Looking back to Dow Crag from the hawse


and down to Goat’s Water


Climbing the path up the Old Man from the Hawse – I could see a lot of people ahead.


It was very busy on the summit. The route up to the Old Man from Coniston is very popular. It wasn’t as crowded as when I’d climbed Snowdon a few weeks ago – there isn’t a train! – but there were plenty of people who’d made it to the top.


I stopped for a while to take in the view and snap a few photos. The weather was improving as the cloud that had been threatening was clearing.

Looking down to Coniston and Coniston Water


Copper Mine Valley


Down to Low Water


The cloud hadn’t cleared from the Scafells


Dow Crag


Looking along Brim Fell and the path to Swirl How


My original plan had been to descend down the “tourist path” to Coniston and have a brew in a cafe, but with the weather being so good and the fells looking so inviting, I decided to carry on along the ridge over Brim Fell to Swirl How and then descend down via Lever’s Water.

I didn’t have to walk too far from the summit to get away from the crowds. Very few people were straying this way or coming from the opposite direction.


Looking down to Lever’s water


and, on the other side of the ridge, down to Seathwaite Tarn.


It had taken less than an hour to reach the summit.


Time to take in the views!

The cloud had cleared from the Scafells by now.


Looking over Lingmoor and Little Langdale (where I’d walked the previous week) towards the Helvelyn range and the Fairfield Horseshoe.


Looking back along the ridge to Brim Fell and the Old Man


and then there was Weatherlam, the last fell on the ridge.


I didn’t quite have the summit to myself, but almost. I chatted to another, younger, walker who had been following the same route as myself and there were a couple of other walkers taking various routes. But it was very peaceful compared to the Old Man.

With the weather so good – it’s rare to get such a good day in the Lakes – it looked very inviting, so another change of plan. I had to descend down the “Prison Band” which is a slightly tricky route, to Swirl Hawse and had then intended to follow the path down to Lever’s Water and then down Coppermine Valley back to Coniston. Instead, I decided to carry on and tackle Wetherlam to complete the round.

Loooking towards Little Langdale , Pike o’ Blisco and the Langdale Pikes from the hawse


Onwards and upwards to Wetherlam


I passed a mother with her two young sons coming up the Prison Band as I was descending and an older couple with their dog coming from Wetherlam and when I reached the summit I met the young man who I’d been talking to on Swirl How. But that was it.

Here a a few photos of the views from the summit of Wetherlam. They just got better as the day went on!


Looking across to the Old Man


I took the path heading southwards along the ridge of the fell which descends fairly gradually towards the Yewdale fells, turning down Hole Rake to Coppermine Valley and then back to Coniston. It’s a fair walk, about two and a half miles to the village

There were outstanding views to Coniston Water


The path down Coppermine Valley


Looking back up the valley towards the fells.


By the time I made it back to the village, all the cafes had closed for the day. The pubs were open, of course, but were very busy with lots of people sitting outside enjoying the sunshine.

It had been probably the longest walk I’d done for a long. I gone a lot further than I’d originally intended, but when the going is good, the good keep going! And I’d thoroughly enjoyed it.

And I hadn’t quite finished. When I’m in Coniston I have to go and have a look at the lake. Especially on such a sunny evening.


Lingmoor, Blea Tarn and Little Langdale

Since we returned from our holiday in Anglesey, I’ve been keeping an eye on the weather looking out for opportunities to get out for a walk. Work is usually quiet during July and August and that allows me to take some days off in addition to my holiday weeks. I hope in the future to ease of the workload so I can do more of that!

The first Friday in August promised to be a decent day up in the Lakes so I set off early to drive up the M6 (again!). I’d planned a walk in the Langdales, setting out from Elterwater village, tackling the more modest fell, Lingmoor and then returning via Little Langdale.

It was a bright and sunny morning when I parked up in the National Trust car park in the centre of the village. I took a moment to have a look at the bridge


I had a quick look at the small village – a former quarrying settlement


and then set off along the minor road that would take me towards my first objective, Lingmoor.


It’s a modest fell, only 1538 feet high and so dwarfed by the larger fells that surround it. But it’s known as a great viewpoint and I hadn’t climbed it before.

Wetherlam and the Coniston Fells dominated the view as I set out down Little Langdale.


The slopes of Lingmoor over to the right of the path


Starting to climb the fell


Another grand view of Wetherlam


The hillside was heavily covered with bracken. These days I’m wary that it could be a source of ticks so I rarely walk in shorts.


Looking across to Great Langdale


Helvelyn and the Fairfiled horseshoe peeking over the lower fells to the east of Great Langdale


Windermere visible in the distance


Carrying up the hill through slate quarry waste. There was a handy bench to stop, have a butty and take in the view


Continuing onwards and upwards the path started to shadow the “Great Wall of Lingmoor”


It’s amazing to think that people actually built these dry stone walls on top of the fells, often in places that are very difficult to access just walking never mind manhandling great lumps of stone. The walls aren’t as old as people think. They were mainly built following the Enclosure Acts of the 18th Century when common land was taken into private ownership and the peasantry lost the right to use the land. So what many would consider an attractive feature of the landscape often, depending on your point of view, represents the greed of the wealthy and oppression of the poor.

Carrying on along the path


Through the gate at the summit


Great views in every direction

The Coniston Fells


Pike ‘o Blisco with Crinkle Crags behind


Crinkle Crags and Bowfell


The Langdale Pikes


Great Langdale with the Helvelyn range and the Fairfield Horseshoe above the lower fells


Lower down Great Langdale with Loughrigg Fell in view. I could make out the distinctive shape of Ill Bell and some of the other Far Eastern fells in the distance




I stopped for a while before continuing north along the ridge


Looking down towards Blea Tarn


The path followed close to the dry stone wall


until close to Side Pike


when I took a path down to the valley


During the walk, cloud have come in but it was still warm and I completed the walk wearing only a t-shirt. No need for a fleece or jacket.

I walked down the quiet road for a short while then joined the path towards Blea Tarn.

Looking up to Lingmoor


I reached Blea Tarn, a popular beauty spot, where I stopped for a bite to eat.


I carried on round the tarn and then joined the road which would take me down to Little Langdale. It’s not usually very busy and I only saw a couple of cars as I descended down to the Wrynose Pass.


A short walk up the pass and then I took the track across to the other side of the valley

A couple of locals keeping an eye on me!


Looking back across the valley to Lingmoor


Passing an old farm building


The view from the other side


The view up Little Langdale


Looking down to Little Langdale Tarn with Lingmoor in the background


Another old house – I saw several along the valley and most of them were owned by the National Trust


And another one!


I diverted off the track over to Slaters Bridge – there’s a reason I particularly wanted to have a look at it (any guesses?)


The bridge connects Little Langdale with the many slate quarries in the Tilberthwaite area and so is named for the quarry workers who would have used it to travel too and from work.

I had intended to carry on over towards the Three Shires pub and then head back to Elterwater, but it was a grand day and I was feeling good so I decided to extend my walk. So, I turned back to carry on along the path beside the river


Looking across the valley


I came across another attractive old house, which had a tea garden! Only one thing to do.



Refreshed, I continued on the path which went past Colwith Force


Photographs never do justice to waterfalls, unfortunately. But, although not exactly the Niagara Falls, it was quite impressive.


I continued following the river


I crossed this attractive modern bridge


and then walked downstream to have a look at another waterfall, Skelwith Force


Heading back upstream the path went along Elterwater (the tarn) towards Elterwater (the village!)


It wasn’t too far now back to the village – an easy walk along a good flat path.

Reaching the car park I dumped my rucksack in the car and went for some refreshment at the popular Britannia Inn


Sadly, these days, I’m restricted to non-alcoholic beverages – but it was cold and wet and just what I needed after a long walk.


I’d gone further than intended but had enjoyed the walk. You need to take advantage of days like this one had been – we’re not getting too many of them this summer.

Glencoyne, Stybarrow Dod, Raise and White Side

The Wimbledon men’s final took place next Sunday. Time to get out for a walk on the fells!


I drove up to Ullswater and parked at the National Trust car park at Glencoynce, about half way along the lake. I had a route in mind that would take me up to 4 summits and which I expected to be fairly peaceful and quiet, despite (or rather, because) of their proximity to the 3rd highest mountain in England, Helvellyn. It was a bit of an overcast, grey day with very flat light, so not so great for photographs. But it was warm (t-shirt weather even on top of the fells) and the rain kept off so not a bad day for stretching the legs.

The first section of my route took me up along Glencoyne, along the flanks of Sheffield Pike. This involved a walk along a track to Glencoyne farm and then right through their small garden. I wasn’t trespassing – that was the right of way and there was a sign telling walkers to do just that – but it felt wrong, somehow, walking right under their window.

Looking back to the farm and Ullswater

It was a steeper climb than expected and I soon started to gain height. I passed below the row of former miners’ cottages, known as Seldom Seen which are appropriately named being hidden in the woods on the hillside.


Here’s one of the locals


Looking back, there was a good view of the valley and Ullswater


I continued to climb, skirting Sheffield Pike, up the fell


I hadn’t seen another soul since I left the car park, but as I climbed up the valley I spotted a group of youths on a D of E expedition, the first of several I saw during the day. It’s coming to the end of term and exams are finished. A prime time for school outings and expeditions.


Reaching the top of the pass I got my first view of Helvellyn.


But that wasn’t my destination. I turned right at the junction of paths and started the climb up towards Stybarrow Dodd.


To reach Stybarrow Dodd I had a steep climb up to another summit, unnamed on the OS map except for mention of “white stones” which were scattered over the summit. From there I could see my destination.

Looking west – the high Borrowdale fells are covered with cloud.

I don’t know why this top doesn’t have a name and it’s not a “Wainwright”. I suppose the summit doesn’t have a big enough prominence above  the col and is considered an outlier of the higher summit. So I carried on, dipping down before climbing up to my first Wainwright of the day, 2768 feet high.

Reaching the summit there were outstanding views in every direction, despite the poor light. I could see all of the highest mountains in England – although the summits of two of them – Scafell Pike and Scafell – were covered with cloud.

Scafell and Scafell Pike are in there , somewhere!
Looking over towards Helvellyn – the mountain on the very left of the photo is Raise, my next destination
Looking towards Keswick with Bassenthwaite Lake and the Solway Firth and Irish Sea behind. I could just make out the hills in Galloway, Scotland.

Stybarrow Dodd is one of a chain of high, grassy mountains that run north from Helvellyn. They rather reminded me of the Howgill fells, further to the east in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. I could have chosen to head north now towards Great Dodd


but my route was going to take me on to Raise, to the south. This required another steep descent down to Sticks Pass before a climb up to the rocky summit of Raise at 2,897 feet.


Again, there were good views all round

Looking back to Stybarrow Dodd
Helvellyn to the south

Looking towards Helvellyn, I was tempted to carry on, but it was further than it looked. I’d come a good distance already and there was a good trek back to my starting point, so I decided against it. It was going to be a long enough walk. But as I descended down the north side of the mountain, I was tempted by the next summit before Helvellyn. Now this summit is another one that doesn’t have a name on the OS map but it’s included in Waignwright’s guide to the Eastern Fells and he Christened it White side, as that appears on the map, even though that relates to the western slopes of the fell. However, Waignwright decided to use the name for the summit and subsequent guide book writers have followed his lead.

So after descending into the col to the north of Raise, I climbed up to the summit. It didn’t take me too long.

Looking down to Thirlmere from White Side
Looking north to Raise and the Dodds

I retraced my steps back down into the col and then started the long descent back down to Ullswater. I’d decided to go down to Glenridding and then follow the lakeside path back to the car (and, hopefully, get myself a brew!)

The path descended steeply via a series of zig zags down towards Keppel Cove at the foot of Helvellyn. There was plenty of evidence of the mining that used to take place here in the past.


There’s an old, damaged, dam at the bottom of the valley. A dam was constructed here to provide water and, later, power for the Greenside mine down towards Glenridding.

I think this is the second dam that replaced the original one which, on the night of the 28th and 29th October 1927 burst, sending a sending a torrent of water and debris down Glenridding Beck and into Glenridding village and causing considerable damage. It’s replacement also was breached only 4 years later in 1931.

Despite the zig zags, it was a steep descent, and, despite using my walking poles, my knees were starting to suffer. But the magnificant view of Helvellyn and Catstycam took my mind off my aches and pains!


I eventually reached the bottom of the valley and continued to descend down the long track towards Glenridding, passing the former mine workings.


I arrived in Glennridding with enough time to stop for a brew


Refreshed, I needed to get back to my car, parked a mile or so away. So I followed the Ullswater trail path that took me along the lake side

Place Fell that I’d climbed only a few weeks ago

It was easy going compared to the walk up the fells, and I was soon back at the car. I changed out of my boots and crossed over to take a final look over the lake, before getting back in the car for the drive home.

Another good day’s walking!

Moel Hebog


The last day of my break in Snowdonia promised to be fine and sunny. I weighed up my options and decided I’d tackle Moel Hebog, the 2,569 foot high mountain to the south west of Beddgelert and which had dominated the view for a good part of my walk the previous day. It wasn’t an easy option as it was tough going both up and down – but in different ways.

Climbing Moel Hebog can be combined with the adjacent mountains of Moel yr Ogof and Moel Lefn for for a longer walk. But as this was my last day and I had a fairly long drive home, I thought it would be enough to tackle one of them

After I checked out of the hostel, I drove the few miles to Beddgelert and parked up. The small village is on the West Highland tourist railway line and my route took me past the station


and then under and then over the line, which meanders around. I carried on along a track until I reached a gate and, going through, was at the beginning of the path up the mountain.


After a short flat section it began to climb up towards the summit. It started steep and got steeper and height was gained rapidly. It was a good sunny morning with little cloud about and although it was a little hazy in the distance, good views of the Snowdon range and nearby mountains soon opened up.

Looking west towards the Nantile ridge
Moel Siabod in the distance

It was a clear path up a grassy slope with a few rocky outcrops at first, but as I got nearer to the summit the route became more difficult. There was rocky ground and scree ahead and it wasn’t so easy to work out the line of the path. Unlike when I climbed Snowdon a couple of days before, there were very few people around. I’d passed a lone walker, a similar age to me, although he wasn’t very chatty. But as I reached the more difficult part of the climb, there was a ground of youngish women ahead of me. They were locals, mainly young mothers taking a day out together before the schools broke up for the summer holidays. They were friendly and as they’d been up the mountain before (this was an annual trip for them) they had a good idea of the line of the route, so I followed them! Avoiding a head on assault of the crags on the north face of the mountain, the route went round to the left and then turned right. But it was far from clear on the ground and it would have been difficult to work out where it was going without tapping in to the local knowledge!


After a good bit of scrambling and struggling up sections of scree, I hit a grassy ridge which made it a much easier walk up to the summit.


I stopped for a while to take in the views and grab a bite to eat, as did the group of young women and the other lone walker. What a difference to the top of Snowdon!

On a sunny day the views were outstanding in every direction – better than even from the top of Snowdon. We could see across to Snowdon itself and other mountains, the Llyn peninsula, Anglesey, and right down to the sea.

Looking towards Snowdon

I could have stayed longer, but it was time to start heading back down. I’d decided on a circular route, and it certainly wouldn’t have been much fun working my way down through the scree if I returned by the same route I came up. so from the summit I followed the wall leading down to the North West and Moel yr Ogof .

It was a steep slope (it would have been particularly difficult if it had been wet) but I used my walking poles to keep me from stumbling down head over heels. Reaching the bwylch between Moel Hebog and Moel yr Ogof.

Looking back up to Moel Hebog

I crossed another wall and turned right, taking the path that ran beside the wall and descended down towards Beddgelert forest. I could see the other lone walker making his way up the path to Moel yr Ogof as he intended to tackle all three mountains.

There were superb views of  the Snowdon massif as I descended


Getting close to the forest, I missed a turn off the path which would lead me into the forest, but I realised I’d gone wrong and after a little while I managed to locate a ladder stile. The path continued on down through the forest. It was boggy and hard going in places, but I persevered. The route eventually turned off onto a forest track

The track continued on out of the forest and onward towards Beddgelert, eventually retracing my steps from the beginning of the walk. There was a train standing at the platform as I passed the station


It pulled out as I passed


I dumped my rucksack back in the car boot and wandered into Beddgelert to find myself a brew and a couple of Welsh cakes.


Refreshed, I had a little wander around the pretty little village and bought a few presents


and had a last look at the mountain I’d climbed from the path beside the river


and then it was back to the car for the drive home.