Tuesday 29 November 2011

Keswick Mountain Festival 2012 Rannerdale Bluebells

Rannerdale is famous for its bluebells in the Spring.  If you are lucky the gorse will be in flower too and even the hawthorn.
Rannerdale in April
Our walk during the Festival in May will include not only the walk up Rannerdale itself but also the stroll along the ridge of Rannerdale Knott and round the lake shore of Crummock Water.  The exact route will depend on the conditions on the day because the way off Rannerdale Knott, though short is quite steep and can be slippery in the wet.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Keswick Mountain Festival 2012 Great End the Wilderness Way

As part of Keswick Mountain Festival 2012 I shall be leading a walk over Seathwaite Fell and up Great End via the Band on Thursday 17th May next year.  This superb walk threads an almost untrod way over an area of fell which many people think they know well.  Loads of you will have walked up to Sty head Tarn and past Sprinkling Tarn to Esk Hause but how many have explored the fell beyond Sprinkling Tarn? You may gave plodded over the boulders above Esk Hause to the top of Great End but how many have realised that the forboding cliffs of the north face of Great End hide a delightful ridge with easy scrambling?

Here are a few photos from an ascent of Great End by this route in 2009.

Route up the grassy rake to the Band from above Sprinkling Tarn

Sprinkling Tarn with Skiddaw in the distance
View back down to Seathwaite Fell and Borrowdale from the ridge

View across to Great Gable with Styhead Tarn below
 I can't promise such glorious weather as there was on this day but why don't you come and join me. Go on the KMF site to book  http://www.keswickmountainfestival.co.uk/

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Grade C up Castle Crag with KR Guided Walks

Forecast was for showers but I was delighted to have 10 walkers for my walk yesterday.  We all enjoyed a short sharp climb from Rosthwaite into Johnny's Wood which is full of mossy oaks above a carpet of grass and bracken.  Branches overhead sheltered us from the worst of the showers which seemed to have gone by the time we emerged from the shelter of the trees to climb the grassy path through the bracken to the summit of High Doat above Seatoller.  A lowly 283m high this is a superb viewpoint.  Even today there were glimpses of Great Gable and Great End as well as a super view up Coombe Gill to Glaramara.

on top of Castle Crag
 As showers continued to scud across we crossed to the Allerdale Ramble and walked down Borrowdale towards Castle Crag where we lunched in the shelter of a dry stone wall.  Just 6 joined me in the ascent of Castle Crag on rather damp rock.  After enjoying the superb views from the summit we descended to meet the others and return to Rosthwaite in perfect time for the 3pm bus back to Keswick

returning down the waste rock that is Castle Crag!

Back together for the return to Rosthwaite

Friday 2 September 2011

From Whiteside Pike along the ridge to Grisedale Pike

Old friends and new joined me for my KR Guided Walk up Whiteside yesterday.  With a good forecast the 77 bus over Whinlatter and round to our starting point at Lanthwaite Green was standing roon only.

A steep climb up through glorious heather over Whin Rigg and up to the Whiteside West top was rewarded by a superb view all the way along the ridge.

I love the feeling up here of being on the edge of the mountains. The coastal plain stretches out in one direction to the Solway Firth whilst in the other Grassmoor and Crag Hill are just the closest of many Lakeland Peaks.  

view along the ridge to Hopegill Head and Grisedale Pike
A bit hazy today but you could still see line upon line of ridges with Helvellyn cloud free to the east.

Lunch in a sheltered hoolow on the ridge was followed by Hopegill Head, Sand Hill and Grisedale Pike before carefully descending the ridge over Sleet How to Braithwaite

all the group on Grisedale Pike

Haystacks with KR Guided Walks on August Bank Holiday Saturday

Skye enjoying the view down Buttermere
The forecast was poor for last Saturday but I expected more than one for my Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks Guided Walk.  But wasn't I glad that Merritt turned up!   The weather exceeded all expectations and we had a glorious day. 

Merritt & Skye as we climbed Fleetwith Pike
 A slight shower as we went up Fleetwith Pike ridge and then sunshine with dappled shadows for the rest of the walk and superbly clear distant views. 

So don't assume that a Bank Holiday will mean we have large groups!  Why not give us a ring or email beforehand to check and tell us to expect you
Skye enjoying Innominate Tarn

Sunday 28 August 2011

Grasmere to Borrowdale with KR Guided Walks

Wednesday 24th August - Half an hour late into Grasmere by bus we started up the path by Sourmilk Gill in drizzle.  In waterproofs by the time we reached Easedale Tarn and in cloud by the time we got to the top of Blea Crag.  A short stop for lunch and then as we resumed our walk along the ridge ......... as if by magic the steep cliff of Harrison Stickle appeared through the mist.  

This is what makes it all worth while as soon the view down to Stickle Tarn and across to Pavey Ark and Harrisons was sharp and clear before us.

On up to the top of Sergeant Man for 2nd lunch and the opportunity to enjoy the view.

Gentle stroll to our highest point of High Raise before downhill all the way over Lining Crag and down to Stonethwaite.  Even a shower as we descended was only a slight dampner though I am now sporting a colourful bruise having not followed my own advise on taking care on the wet stone steps beside Lining Crag!

Just got home in time to go over to Braithwaite and earn a chocolate bar by doning a pint of blood.

Saturday 20 August 2011

Bessyboot to Glaramara

One of my favourite LakeDistrict walks across a grassy wilderness between rocky outcrops.  A group of seven walkers aged from 9 to well on in their 70s joined me for this KR Guided Walk yesterday.

climbing beside Stanger Gill
A steep but well graded stone path leads up beside Stanger Gill with wonderful views back down to Stonethwaite and the Borrowdale Valley.  Then a tiny grassy path threads its way to the source of the stream and a final scramble to the top of Bessyboot.

looking down to Stonethwaite

time for a drink and lunch

Down to Tarn at Leaves and up to Rosthwaite Cam. Young Joe was leading the way so it wasn't quite my usual route!  After a scramble to the summit cairn it was time for first lunch before going around the Great Hollow to Coombe Door and thence up to Coombe Head.  By now the sun was shining and the views were superb - just Great Gable had its head in the cloud.

By the time we reached the top of the scramble up to Glaramara the wind was rising and the weather was on the turn so after second lunch in a sheltered corner it was on down Thorneythwaite Fell.  The rain started as we waited for the bus but everyone agreed that it had been an excellent day

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the Team

Skye resisting temptation!

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Scafell Pike with KR Guided Walks

Sunday's forecast was excellent so I was surprised that only four people were waiting for me in Keswick at 9am for the programmed walk up Scafell Pike.  Two I were expecting because they had been in contact by e-mail and the others turned up on the day having seen our programme at the Information Centre in Keswick.

To ensure we didn't end up with a rush to catch the last bus from Seatoller after our walk we took cars down to Seathwaite so we were on the fell by 10am.  Everywhere is very dry at the moment and there was very little water in the streams.  We followed the west bank of Sty Head Gill  with a bit of a scramble above Taylor Force and were able to climb the slabs in the stream for some of the way without getting wet - apart from Mick who slid in at one point but he soon dried off!

after a fun bit of scrambling above Taylor Force - don't look down!
a much more interesting path to Styhead than via Stockley Bridge

wonderful view back to Styhead from Corridor Route

From Sty Head Tarn we joined the throng up to Sty Head and then followed the Corridor Route along the flanks of Great End and Broad Crag, gently ascending all the way.  As we had made good time we diverted to the top of Lingmell for a quiet lunch before climbing to the summit of Scafell Pike. 

view to Great Gable - Skye really wants me to through a stick in the tarn; not much chance up here!
Lingmell is a much nicer and more interesting summit than that of Scafell Pike really with fabulous views in all directions.
to Styhead from Lingmell with superb pinacles above Piers Gill
From the bouldery wilderness that is Scafell Pike we boulder hopped our way towards Great End and down to Calf Cove - look out for the iron ring to tie up your pony next time you are there!  All down hill now over Esk Hause and down by Ruddy Gill and Grains Gill.  I could really have done with a cup of tea when we got down - such a pity that the tea room at Seathwaite Farm is no longer open.

Saturday 2 July 2011

Glorious Saturday on Jack's Rake

Not the fastest ascent of Jack's Rake on Pavey Ark but one of the most satisfying!  I first did this scramble a good many years ago with my three year old son bounding up just in front of me.  This time it was with five mum's who had left their families at home for the week and were keen to get a bit of adrenalin flowing!
pause for reflection half way up but don't look down! ( I didn't get much chance to take phoyos on the steep bits!)

A stroll across to Pike o'Stickle was easy and a time to enjoy the views

Thursday 9 June 2011

Keswick Rambles 30th Birthday

Keswick Rambles has been leading visitors up the fells around Keswick for 30 years and today 20 of us enjoyed a celebratory hike up Helvellyn.  The forecast wasn't brilliant but in fact we managed to avoid the showers and fantastically clear views made up for the chilly wind and temperatures that made it feel more like February!

up the path beside Raise Beck
We took the bus to Dunmail Raise and climbed the path east up beside Raise Beck.  As we climbed we turned round every now and again to see increasing numbers of fells appearing above Steel Fell. Peaks such as Bowfell catching the sun looked no distance away.  As you reach the top of the beck Fairfield comes in to view and in time we could see Grisedale Tarn below us.  Time for coffee and a short break before a level stretch of grass and peat before climbing the path to Dollywagon Pike.  This path used to be a loose scree horror but has now been beautifully constructed in stone and the scree has become grass again -  Well done Fix the Fells!
path to Dollywagon Pike
Two hours to the top of Dollywagon where we enjoyed the extensive views in all directions

on Dollywagon with view down to Ullswater
views in the opposite direction to Great Gable and Scafells
A steady walk across Nethermost Pike to Helvellyn in a strong SW wind. Quite a relief to take shelter for lunch in the cross shelter on Helvellyn before a celebratory glass (only elderflower I'm afraid) and photos by Tom on the summit.  Across to Lower Man, down the ridge and up again to the top of Whiteside Bank.  Here we could see Alison who had been at work this morning and Dusk toiling up Whiteside.  A welcome sight because she was bearing the birthday cake which we enjoyed on the summit.

Downhill for the rest of the way to catch the bus back from Thirlspot to Keswick where we all enjoyed a drink at Bank Tavern.  A great day was had by all - here is to another 30 years of Keswick Rambles or KR Guided Walks

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Keswick Mountain Festival 2011

Been too busy!! but at last an update on this years Keswick Mountain Festival.......

All of Keswick Rambles Walks went really well in spite of it being a really windy few days as you will see on the photos.  That led to minor route changes but all walks went ahead and everyone enjoyed themselves and is looking forward with anticipation to next year's Festival.

Here are a few photos to give you a taste of this years walks

On Wednesday and Sunday I took groups up Catbells.  Most people were new to walking in the Lake District and enjoyed the challenge of scrambling up the north ridge which was rather breezy although the wind didn't really hit us until we reached the summit.  On Wednesday Derwentwater was rather choppy giving us somewhat damp rides across the Lake but on Sunday the waves were too big for the boats to go out and we had to use a taxi at the start of the walk and return to Keswick by bus. (gave us time for tea & cakes at Shepherd's Caf!)

hold on to your hat

On Sunday we had every sort of weather - rain, wind, hail and sunshine - a wonderful introduction to Lake district walking

Sundays group on the summit of Catbells

view up the lake as we crossed the boardwalk

Thursday was my biggest walk of the Festival with a group of 12 up Great Gable and it was the day with the best weather. We started up beside Sour Milk Gill into Gillercombe and then took off up the grass towards the Hanging Rock and up onto the ridge of Base Brown. The glorious views back down Borrowdale from Base Brown gave us every reason to stop and turn around but soon we were looking forward to Green Gable and Great Gable as well as across to Great End.  There are so many superb views on this walk, the peaks we could see are too many to list. From the top of Gable we dropped down to Westmoreland Cairn to marvel at the view down Wasdale and onto the top Napes Ridge at our feet.

View north from Base Brown

some of the group

Friday was my day for Ullock Pike - windy again but a late start meant we missed the worst of the early rain. By the afternoon the cloud had lifted and the sun came out giving us lovely views across Newlands and Derwentwater as we descended from Carlside.  Up Dodd for more super views and a gentle stroll across the fields to Keswick - minor excitement when Skye disappeared for 10minutes in Dodd Wood!

up a windy ridge - rain has already stopped
Super view from Whitestones on the way down Carlside
On Saturday I went up Bessyboot, Rosthwaite Fell and Glaramara - one of my favourite walks, especialyy on a clear day.  Luckily we were sheltered from the wind for most of the way up and had it on our backs
as we came down Thornythwaite Fell.  A great day was had by all and we just beat the rain as we reached our cars!

Monday 9 May 2011

Keswick Mountain Festival - Ullock Pike

Next week is the 5th Keswick Mountain Festival with lots of walks for you to join.

On Friday 20th May I have a walk along the ridge to the south west of Skiddaw - Ullock Pike, Longside Edge and Carlside. A delightful steady ascent from the toe of the ridge gives superb views down to Bassenthwaite Lake in one direction and across to Skiddaw in the other.  From Carlside, rather than turning left and slogging up the scree to Skiddaw we'll turn right and go down towards Dodd whilst enjoying the views over Newlands and Keswick.  From Dodd it's a zig zag down through the woods followed by a stroll across the fields back to Keswick. Rather less climbing than going all the way up Skiddaw (800m rather than 1000m) this walk gives you all the best bits of climbing Skiddaw without the scree!

Here are some photos from earlier trips on this walk to give you a feel for it.  If you would like to go to the top of Skiddaw by this route Alison and Halle are taking a group up for Keswick Rambles onWednesday 18th May, also as part of KMF.

View across to Newlands on a rather wild day in October 2010

On the same day in October looking down to Derwentwater

On Longside Edge in March this year, view to Ullock Pike