Sunday 28 October 2012

Autumn 2012 with KR Guided Walks

Strange old weather this Autumn.  We've had some beautiful days but unpredictable with wonderful sunshine interspersed with wind and rain.  Here are a few high lights some of which I will put on in more detail later.
from Catbells ridge across Derwentwater to Blencathra in the distance

A glorious morning on Catbells with superb lighting for photos both down to Dewentwater and into the Newlands Valley

Across Newlands Valley to Ard Crags and Causey Pike

One of the windiest days I've been out in - over 50mph on Ard Crags. Joan and Margaret were both bracing themselves against the wind and moments later Margaret's hat made off into the distance never to be seen again!

Another day of glorious skies! Walking from Portinscale a great 12 mile circuit took in Rowling End, Causey Pike, Scar Crags, Sail, Crag Hill and Wandope. A steep descent via Wandope's east ridge enabled us to return by Rigg Beck and back along by Newlands Beck.  By the way this footpath is now open again after long awaited repairs following the 2009 floods.

from Walla Crag looking across Derwentwater to Maiden Moor
 Last weekend a tinge of autumn colour was in the trees but within a few days the beech trees in particular were becoming a glorious sight
from Catbells terrace - lavely colours but no sun

Monday 27 August 2012

Striding Edge with KR Guided Walks

Though I've taken private clients along Striding Edge quite frequently this was a first for me with KR Guided Walks. The main difference is that with private clients there is some scope for choosing the day whereas with the KR programme you just hope for good conditions on the day fixed in the programme.

well made path up by Myers Beck

view back to Ullswater
Anyway, the forecast for last Monday was pretty reasonable and six of us plus Skye took the bus over to Glenridding. Fairly low cloud and a bit of a shower as we climbed by Myers Beck and no sign of the summit of Helvellyn as we reached Birkhouse Moor and approached the Hole in the Wall.

But as we left the footpath to follow the grassy first part of the ridge we could see views down into Grisedale and the cloud was swirling around Striding Edge giving tantalising glimpses of the rocky ridge to come.

still misty as we started along the ridge
Once we reached the ridge proper the cloud was lifting, the rock was drying and we were able to enjoy the scrambling. Some of the group were faster and more confident than others so I coaxed the tail enders while others went at their own speed waiting for the rest of us at convenient places. Congratulations are due to all - no one 'cheated' and walked along the path on the side of the ridge!!

it's like a pavement!

Skye is waiting

Bit chilly and breezy on the summit, a photo by the cairn and then a well earned lunch in the shelter- this is Skye's favourite time of the day especially on Helvellyn where he can disappear to other sides of the shelter and scrounge tit bits without me seeing and telling him off!

There we were views in all directions too though brightest and clearest down to Ullswater in the north east. After feasting our stomachs and our eyes we followed the clear path down to the west reaching the valley at Wythburn Church and catching the bus back to Keswick.

Thursday 26 July 2012

Grasmoor - a recce

Jen enjoying the ridge
My daughter was staying earlier in July and since I have a KR walk up Grasmoor on 13th August we decided to recce a route up it that I haven't done for at least 10 years - the west ridge from Lanthwaite Green by Crummock Water.  I remembered it as being a scramble and wasn't sure whether it would be suitable for a group.

looking down to Crummock Water - we came up the ridge on the right

In fact it was a lovely route with any scrambling easily avoidable and even our friend Tim who is not at all keen on scrambling thoroughly enjoyed it. The start looks rather intimidating with steep grass and then scree; in practice the steep grass is short and the scree is avoidable on little paths up through the heather and you soon reach a delightful heathery ridge with little rocky steps.  In no time it seems you step up onto sheep mown grass and stroll gently to the top.
Tim, Jen & Skye on the top with Red Pike behind

Although when we started the tops were in cloud by the time we reached the summit everything was clear and the views were superb. After lunch we continued over Crag Hill, Sail and Outerside down toBraithwaite to catch the bus back to Keswick.
view over Whiteless Pike to Buttermere with Scafells behind

from the other end of the plateau over Grisedale Pike to Skiddaw & Blencathra

By the way Podgy Paws, the pet shop in Keswick are running a competition of photos of your dogs on Wainrights so go on their website to send in your photos

Saturday 23 June 2012

Weather in the Lake District!!!

Gill in spate at Glenridding - fortunately there was a bridge!

compare this with a sunny Watendlath
a bedraggled Skye on Catstycam
this view of Skiddaw is hard to beat
What weather we've been having - it keeps switching from glorious sunny days with fabulous views of distant hills to soaking wet days with swollen rivers and sodden feet! Throughout it all KR Guided Walk's clients have enjoyed memorable walks smiling through the rain or exhilarating in the sunshine.  Here are a few photos from this last weeks walks as illustration.
Rex crossed easily but what about us?

sunshine on Causey Pike and fantastic views
wet but still smiling returning from Catstycam
can you see Scafell in the distance?

Monday 11 June 2012

Newlands Round with KR Guided Walks

Seems hard to imagine the heat we had on this day and it was only two weeks ago!

view down to High Snab Bank and Newlands Valley
We started by climbing the steep grass slope onto High Snab Bank. This leads to an almost horizontal ridge followed by short scrambles and a steady climb to the summit plateau of Robinson.

Skye in tarn at top of Robinson with Scafells clear in the distance
 At last a breeze and water for Skye!

Our planned route was to descend to Newlands Hause and return over the ridge of Ard Crags. Delightful though this route is we were making good time and wanted to stay high to get the best of the breeze so we headed east rather than west to enjoy the ridge to Hindscarth and Dale Head.

on the top of Dale Head

another dip for Skye
Steeply down the grass to Dale Head Tarn and it was decision time again - down to Borrowdale or up some more to take in High Spy. On such a good day the choice was clear and High Spy it was ..... and Maiden Moor.......and Catbells.

Catbells - the final summit!

Thursday 31 May 2012

Glorious Crinkles with KR Guided Walks

view across to Langdale Pikes
Many thanks to Pete and Lyn for choosing to go to Scotland to bag some more Munroes in this glorious weather.  It gave me the chance to go over to Langdale and climb the Crinkles and Bowfell on one of those days when the breeze on the tops made it far pleasanter to be up high rather than in the valley..

We took the steep but well made path up beside Browney Gill towards Red Tarn. A well earned rest gave us the opportunity to turn round and enjoy the view of Langdale Pikes with little figures climbing the crags above the Old DG.

Above the tarn the path curves west and a slight diversion to the top of Great Knott was the chance for a sit down and look at where we would be going across the Crinkles.

The route across the Crinkles ridge was super with a pleasant breeze and lovely dry rock.  Skye earned his scrambling colours by managing the Difficult Step which was more than some of the humans did! Dillbert and the rest of us took the short diversion to the right of the crag and soon joined Skye on the top. No photo of his amazing feat I'm afraid - I was too busy being poised to catch him if he fell off!

superb view of the Scafell Range
Skye enjoying the view down Langdale!

The views in all directions were fantastic particularly those across Eskdale to the Scafells and right across to the Penines and south to Morecombe Bay.

The dogs were relieved when at last we came across water and they both plunged into the tarn.

Bowfell from Crinkles
At the Three Tarns some of the group chose to sit in the sun (or shade) while Joan, Skye and I made a pack free dash up Bowfell where we could see how close we really were to Borrowdale and home turf!

Then it was a gentle descent down The Band for a well earned beer at the Old DG and a lie down under the table for the dogs.

If you haven't yet walked with KR Guided Walks have a look at our programme and come and join us

Monday 9 April 2012

My first KR Guided walk of 2012 - the three Pikes of Ladyside, Hobcarton and Grisedale

Well not ideal weather but a group of seven braved the elements with me for my first KR Guided GroupWalk of the 2012 season.

Three Pikes is really a high level circuit of Hobcarton Gill, starting and finishing in Whinlatter Forest.  Yesterday we were soon in low cloud with a bit of rain. By the time we had climbed up to Ladyside Pike or Lady's Seat if you prefer the rain had stopped and we just got damp from the cloud - a good thing since Chloe's waterproof seemed to have seen better days!
Hobcarton Pike to ourselves
Care was needed on the scramble up to Hobcarton Pike (or Hopegill Head) since the rock was slippery in the wet but lunch was the reward. Up till then we had seen no one but as we walked along to Grisedale Pike we met a few other brave souls facing up to the cloud and increasing wind.

Then it was down over Hobcarton End into the forest and through the woods down to Braithwaite with 5 minutes to spare before the bus arrived for the return to Keswick.
a windy descent off Grisedale Pike

As Roy commented "Why don't more people come out with you? They would be guaranteed of an excellent walk whatever the conditions with no worries about route finding and knowing that they would be sure to learn something new about the Lake District. We've been coming as a family since the children were quite young; they are now in their 20s but we still find we all get our best days walking in the Lake District with KR"

He is quite right; our local knowledge means that we choose the best routes up and down; we can change the route if the weather turns; add an interesting extra bit if there is time before the bus comes; try to keep the wind on our backs and find a sheltered corner for lunch - and our dogs provide constant entertainment!

Friday 6 April 2012

More winter! Gloroious Glaramara with KR Guided Walks and Pace the Peaks

Tuesday was a horrible day when I was supposed to be leading this walk but a change to Wednesday gave us a superb walk in glorious sunshine. Wind was cold particularly on descent when it was in our faces but that was a small price to pay.

emerging from Great Stanger Gill
Starting from Stonethwaite we climbed up through the woods by Great Stanger Ghyll; the stone steps standing clear of the snowy ground presumably due to the heat stored in them from the hot days which seem but a distant memory!

From Bessyboot the distant view of Helvellyn was of a white ridge all the way north to Clough Head and it was white across to the Langdales too. Skiddaw was already losing its white covering which at breakfast had reached almost to the valley. Throughout the day we watched as the white disappeared and the brown and green of the fells reappeared.
Skiddaw in the distance already losing its snow
what a view across Tarn at leaves to Langdales

First lunch on Rosthwaite Cam was followed by circling round the Great Hollow with views across Langstrath to Eagle Crag and High Raise. Here we met the only people we saw all day - two fellas planning to camp the night in Upper Eskdale. No other footsteps either so no one else had been our way. Luckily for Ron they had found his spare camera filters on Bessyboot which he was totally unaware of having lost!

too much ice for this today
alternative scramble
From the view point of Combe Head we crossed through the tarns to Glaramara. The usual scramble facing north was still coated with snow and ice and not having come prepared for winter climbing we found an alternative scramble round the corner taking us directly to the summit. Second lunch sat with our backs against warm rock and we started down Thorneythwaite Fell into a strong NE head wind and gradually dropped below the snow line.

A super day and great for photography!

Monday 20 February 2012

Last of winter? an icy but sunny Glaramara

Today it is wet and windy; so was yesterday the last of winter? I hope not.  Anyway, the sun shone on a beautiful Lake District. The air was crystal clear giving wonderful distant views and the ground underfoot was frozen so we could ignore the paths and walk wherever we liked.

Skye only lay and looked 'cos I told him too!
Anne took some persuading to drive over from Leeds on Saturday morning the conditions were so horrid but she was rewarded with an unmissable day on Sunday.  We drove up Borrowdale under a clear blue sky and parked below Thorneythwaite Fell.  As we approached the ridge the sheep busy feeding took no more notice of Skye than he did of them. As we climbed the ridge the view behind us gave us plenty of excuses to stop and gaze.  A green Borrowdale with snowcapped Skiddaw in the distance.
snow capped Skiddaw in the distance

As we gained height there was a bit of snow around and any water was frozen. At the top of Combe Head the temperature was about -2C but it felt colder in a brisk wind.

view down Borrowdale from Combe Head
Summit of Combe Head with Great Gable in the distance

After a quick coffee in a sheltered hollow we headed across to Glaramara. The frozen water allowed us to take a direct route across the wet area to our south and pick up a snowy ramp up to the eastern ridge of Glaramara. After taking in each of the summits we headed southwards to Allen Crags exploring several tarns on the way which would normally have been too wet to do. The ice, however, was much too thin for walking on the tarns, and even on the streams care and speed were needed at times!

Great End from Allen Crags
After Allen Crags we soon dropped below the snowline and cloud was beginning to build up. A steady descent of Grains Gill avoiding several icy bits brought us down to Seathwaite Farm and along the Allerdale Ramble back to the car. Looking down Borrowdale we could see that the snow on Skiddaw was almost gone.