Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Keswick Launch and Catbell's Terrace

The Sunday was a more relaxing day compared to the previous day. The group decided to eat packed lunch walk overlooking the jetty area where the Keswick Launch departs from .....

..while we considered which boat not to take across the Lake !!

Plenty of choice 

The long walk...

.. to load up...

.. and set sail !!
.... across the water ... (Castle crag lower centre ...derwentwater,borrowdale and castle crag post )

... towards our destination ...

... of Catbells.

Once we reached the other side at "Hawes End" jetty, there was a discussion on how the party were going to split into three groups. One group was going to walk the Lakeshore, another group opted for the  Catbells Terrace and the rest for the summit of Catbells.

Keswick ... far left hand side of the Lake

Now you may think that this looks like wonderful weather and in one sense you would be right, but what these images do not show is the intense strong wind. We began the ascent and it was obvious that this was not going to be as easy as first thought. One of the group made a quick decision to retreat and catch up with the "Terrace" group. I had a talk with another responsible leader just before a crag about continuing as I felt it was outside the capabilities of another who I felt didn't want to continue. My co-leader on this section of the walk decided to try and catch the others up but they couldn't hear for the wind and pressed on. I escorted the unsure member back down to the Terrace and continued the scenic from there.

View from Catbell's Terrace

Amazingly, the high level group met us at the south end of the walk as they came off the hill and we headed back to Brandlehow Jetty. The further surprise was that the original Terrace group were already on the jetty and the Lakeshore group arrived on the boat.

I was left to reflect on this hillwalking experience as we set sail back to the other side of the Derwentwater

At the end of the day, it was time to put these all thoughts to bed .....

... and leave the experts that see these things everyday to get on with it !!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Allen Crags & Glaramara

The following morning after settling in, the group ( of mixed walking ability ) were all asked which walk we would like to do from a choice of 3 grades. As it was a good day, I chose the harder one of the three which was the mountain that we could see from the front door... Glaramara.
The above view of Glaramara shows the curving descent that we took on a rounded ridge at the end of the day.

I had done this route twice before, once in each direction and it is unfortunate to say that my favourite direction was the clockwise route! The route starts at the top of the map and follows the anti-clockwise direction taking a path to avoid the busy road to Seathwaite. The D-tour at the south end was a lunch break at Sprinkling Tarn. The final climb to Allen Crags, across the tops to Glaramara and down the curving descending rounded ridge back to the accommodation.

We set off along the Borrowdale road to the start of the path with the walk leader striding ahead on the right hand side of the road.

This part of the route is known as the Allerdale ramble which is a long distance north / south Lake District walking route.

Soon we approached Seathwaite ( officially the wettest place in England ), the starting point for many high level walks in this area.

Seathwaite Farm

Door to the mountains !
After a last toilet stop here, it was time to step out into the open country ...

( Allen Crags on the left with our route up Grains Gill valley to the right of it. Seathwaite fell on the right)

Taylorgill Force to the right of Seathwaite Fell

Breaktime at Stockley bridge where the path splits around Seathwaite Fell

The stream just beyond the bridge looking up towards Allen Crags

Grains Gill is a bit of a pull and it lasts for the best part of 90 minutes.

After lunch at Sprinkling Tarn, this is the view at the bottom of the map making the final ascent to Allen Crags.....

.... with the view from the top looking towards Derwentwater, Keswick and The Skiddaw mountain range.

From the summit of Allen Crags, we could see the tarn where we stopped for lunch with a similar view to this of Great Gable ( A mountain I described in an earlier blog last summer ).

As Allen Crags was the high point of the day & indeed the weekend  (2575 ft / 785m ) it was time for some of the group to take some photos of the memorable occasion.

mountain tarn and Langdale Pikes in background

The next section of the walk between the two summits is reasonably demanding as Glaramara has several lower summits with the main one being the last one before dropping down the mountain. A few of the group found this section quite unexpectedly tough. On the north side of Glaramara is a 20 foot easy rock scramble but the walk leader opted to avoid this on descent ... hence the dog leg on the above map near the summit.

Taking a break below the summit watching those on the normal ascent route

The main reason for opting to do the walk in this direction is the view on the descent towards Derwentwater again but a lot of the group were so tired from climbing all of Glaramara's false summits that they were just glad to see our accommodation in the centre base of the above photo. So I'll finish with one of someone who did appreciate it ....

"Wow, look at that great view" !!

( I promise a bit more variety in the next walk which involves a boat trip )

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Kirby Stephen, Kendal & onto Borrowdale

I'm heading off to the Lake District for some walking for the following few posts but I can offer a bit of photographic variety. This was the journey that my friend and I took to get there. It wasn't the most direct route to take but it was mainly for his benefit. Bear with me, it's a long day.

(I have had to miss a few posts out as I am going to be seriously behind after this and the latest adventure that I have just had, but I promise that I will share them at a quiet moment. I am in between another two trips and have just today left at home, will try and catch up with some of your blogs today... 230 on RSS feed is rather a lot though... need to pack as well.)

Kirkby Stephen is a market town on the edge of Cumbria with the main building of St Stephen's parish church dominating the landscape.

There were several early churches on this site before the current one was built in 1240 with modifications and restoration in 1847 and the 1870's.

These were taken on The Royal Wedding day with the above image being at the time of the wedding. How different and peaceful is "The Cathedral of the Dales" compared to Westminster Abbey at this time. (I did catch up with the TV coverage later in the day.)

The Newsagent was open for business and all was peaceful as we sat and had lunch in the market square next to the flower beds (seat in first image).

We couldn't sit here forever enjoying the peace and tranquility as we had a task to perform today to help my friend out. As we left Kirkby Stephen travelling westwards, I discussed my future interest with the preserved railway there and as the rest of the day was all about him, he insisted that we stop the car and take a look at this great sight. The two class 37 locomotives of my interest are a long way off completion but the railway station building looks in reasonable order.

After a short period we arrived in Kendal. It is not a great place to find somewhere to park the car and the above image describes perfectly the theme that we had to follow a one way system over many bridges to get back to check a previous car park out. He is helping to organise a holiday in South Cumbria this week and we had to find a suitable car park in this town to accept 5 cars on a busy weekday.

 The object of this exercise was to lead a walk for a large group and while he was off asking the locals about other facilities, I found a small fraction of time to see what was available for capture.

Kendal is another South Cumbrian market town on the River Kent that most people associate with the sugary substance of Kendal mint cake which was marketed as an energy food for the mountains.... something you won't find in my back pack !! Historically Kendal was a fortified town from the Border Reivers with the main industry of that time being the manufacture of woollen goods.

Bank Holiday main street

On a side note, this is the town where Blackburn born Alfred Wainwright moved to during the 1940's to continue his career as a treasurer with the council albeit with a pay cut to be near the Lake District Hills. Ten years later he commenced his 7 pencil drawn "Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells". It took him 13 years to complete this project, drawing or writing one page every evening. He described 214 Lakeland fells in these books mainly for his personal pleasure but at the time a local Newspaper (The Westmorland Gazette) wanted to publish these pages and due to their sensitivity of the area, he agreed. The "Wainwrights" have been walked and completed by many people, including myself, and a list is maintained by the Long Distance Walkers Association on their website. Alfred Wainwright went on to write and draw many more large style coffee table / armchair books and long distance walks such as the Pennine Way Companion and Coast to Coast after he retired in 1967. He died in 1991 and his ashes were scattered on his favourite hill, Haystacks, overlooking Buttermere Lake.

Town Hall, Wainwright's workplace?!

It is at this point that my friend's walk starts from going in the direction behind the camera....

Up the hill ...

... and out of town

As the time was starting to disappear, there wasn't time to do all of the walk and as he had done some of it before, it was mainly an exercise in finding the footpath that left town. It was a pleasant path amongst the peripheral rolling hills of Cumbria although nothing really to get excited about photographically as we crossed a golf course further on and stopped above the main road exiting the Lake District to the south.

We found an alternative lower level route back with a similar aspect of views and stopped for a snack outside this barn.

A few locals for a look

Path back into town ... 90 minutes in total

Tea shop closed
 We then travelled on to our destination for the weekend in Borrowdale ......

Arrival at last ... Glaramara

Glaramara outdoor centre was built in the earlier part of the 20th century when walking and climbing in the mountains were a new thing to most people wanting to explore that activity. Since then, it has played host to group bookings for a selection of outdoor activities and courses but due to under investment over the years it has become less of a Hotel but more than a Hostel. The new owners have taken on a big challenge and there are encouraging signs of tasteful development in this period building. Now who wouldn't want to stay here with a view like this from the front door ....

The mountain Glaramara .... (next post)
 Now what about that cup of tea that I have been waiting all day for......   !!

Having to wait a little longer at the Miss Marple trolley  !!

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