With David. These two hills have the rare distinction of being the only hills big and important enough to make it into the ranks of Lake District Nuttalls while at the same time seeming small and marginal enough for Wainwright to have overlooked them until he got around to his Outlying Fells volume. They do certaily seem like tiny insignificant little pimples set beside the bulk of Dow Grag but they make a nice easy walk on the edge of the Coniston Fells. The obvious way is just to follow the Walna Scar Road from Coniston. But I was staying at the WIlson Arms in Torver and the temptation was too great to just lkeave the car where it was an follow the footpath sign pointing north out of the car park. This took us tob the entrance to High Torver Park then right and on along a very pleasant track past an old quarry and the Tranearth climbing hut (property of the Lancashire Climbing and Caving Club) to a bridge over the beck. we crosed this and carried on past another old quarry this one graced with a rather impressive waterfall to meet up with the Walna Scar Road which we followed to the top of the pass. From here it seems a ridiculously short and easy stroll up to the top of Walna Scar and from there again a very easy walk took us to White Maiden. Down the same way.
Confusingly there is more than one Lake District walking circuit known as the "Greenburn Horseshoe" but this is the only one to involve Weatherlam. I started at Fell Foot in Little Langdale just where the road to Langdale branches off from the Wrynose PAss road and a sign warned motorists of the impending terrors of the latter. There was enough space by the verge that I guessed I could tuck in my car into a bit of it without compromising the ability of other vehicles to get past one another. I followed a path which goes off right over Fell Foot Bridge and up to a house by another bridge. Here to go my way the path compelled me to do a slightly annoying zigzag detour along the track eastward and then doubling back on the patgh towards the old Greenburn Mine. The OS map shows a right of way just after a gate in a wall a bit before the mine heading off uphill towards Birk Fell Hawse. Right of way perhaps but I could see no path here just an inviting ocean of ferns. Wainwrights diagram suggests a path heading left a bit further on, near the old mine, then zigzagging up to the hause. THis wasn't very evident either and I ended up following not so myuch a path as a bit of a gap in the ferns. It got steeper and stonier and generally very unpleasant as I nearer the first of the piles of rubble marking where the old levels were. Soon after this the route bacame cairned and levelled off and before too long I was heading up Weatherlam Edge. This is a long scrambly ascent. For much of it a cairned path is followed round to the right of the crest of the ridge. Finally I reached the top. Weatherlam from Little Langdale is definitely a tough customer and I had come nup what Wainwright asserts to be the easier of the two routes he offered.
From here to my second Nuttall of the day was, by contrast, a very easy matter, a short stroll bringing me to BLack Sails. Then there is a rather longer descent down to Swirl Hawse and the foot of the Prison Band. This has a reultation for being the scrambiest bit of the standard Conistonh Fells circuit from Coniston but coming after Weatherlam Edge it seemed pretty tame if very pleasant. On top of Swirl How the weather was getting a bit grey and frelty like it might be turning. It was though I would be spared till I was safely back in my hotel. My way home lay over Great Carrs but Grey Friar looked so close it seemed a crime not to go off and bag in. BAg it I did and was rewarded with wonderful views over Harter Fell towards Morecambe Bay. AFter that it was an east enough stroll home, over Great Carrs and down the long gently descending ridge towards Fell Foot.
With Stefan. A work trip to a workshop in Konstanz gave a welcome opportunity for a little walk in the Swiss Alps. Stefan who knows the area planned the walk and led the way so I had the very rare for me experience of cheerfully following him with only a minimal sense of the local geography. We drove - well Stafan drove while I mostly slept - to Wasserauen - where there were lots of parked cars. Langdale on a summer bank holiday is quiet by comparison. From the car park a path led off to the left and climbed up through woods for about (I'm guesstimating not having inspected a map) 600m. THis brought us to a beautiful region of high pasture. The views from here were wonderful, looking over to the high peaks of the Alpstein, dominated by the impresive Sentis. (Climbing any of them would have called for a rather longer day than was consistent with our 9am start from Konstanz.) There was a little famhouse and a small shop here that sold only what the livestock - cows and goats - produced, cheese, butter, milk. We bought a couple of mugs of cold, very fresh milk. It was utterly delicious.
We walked for a bit through this nice pasture land before another bit of a climb. Then our path followed a sort of grassy sloping ledge that runs along halfway up a very large cliff. It was broad and easy going but a trifle airy in places. But soon enough we were at the tiny hamlet, complete with Berggasthaus, of Meglisalp, our destination. Not a summit but at 1517m. above sea level, higher than anywhere in the UK. I had some rather warm coke in my rucksack but we couldn't resist the ice-cold bottles of pop they had on sale here. Possibly a mistake. I had a big bottle of pop. Stefan had a small bottle of pop. After we had drunk them they gave us the bill. The equivalent of about £18. "Seriously?", I asked. The waitress just shrugged: "Transportation".
From here a path leads down a big cliff to the Seealpsee. When I say "down a cliff" I realy mean just that and much of the way is alarmingly exposed. But it was very straightforward on an extremely well made path with even a bit of metal wire for the faiont-hearted to grab hold of down the airiest sections. Once we got to the Lake the adventurous part of the walk was over and the way home lay down a tarred road very crowded both with humans and the fabulously docile cattle that are everywhere in these parts. The constant sounding of their bells furnished the main soundtrack for this lovely Alpine walk.
At Mardale there is a sad sign to say the golden eagle viewpoint has closed owing to there being no more golden eagles. At least in this or any part of England. I followed the path going clockwise round the side of the reservoir (the one going anti-clockwise seemed to be closed) for a short way till a path appeared off to my left heading up the side of Rough Crag. This soon turned left and climbed the hillside in a rising contour until eventually landing me on the ridge which I followed to the summit of Rough Crag, one the more interesting and substantial of the Nutalls that are not Wainwrights. From here the ridge continues, down,, past a tiny lake, then quite steeply up again, over some very pleasant, very easy scrambling, to the great flat expanse that is the top of High Street, so named as it the old Roman road from Brougham to Ambleside crossed its summit. On a beautiful clear day like this it was a very easy stroll across the plateau to the top of Thornthwaite Crag with its huge stone beacon.
From here a detour of a mile and a bit each way took me out to the top of Gray Crag and back again. Beware. The prominent cairn identified by Wainwright as the top isn’t quite. The highest point is a short way south of this, some unmarked high ground on the other side of a delapidated wall. After returning to Thornthwaite Crag the next stop was Mardale ill Bell. This would be a little intricate in mist perhaps but easy enough today. I followed the main path back towards High Street until just before it meets a wall near a bit right-angled corner. Here a faint path head off to the right. Following this I was soon on Mardale Ill Bell, a Nuttall according to my old book but now demoted. From here easily down to the Nan Bield Pass and down the excellent path back to the lakeside.
In Kentmere a field had been made into a carpark with an honesty box in which to insert £3. So I did. From here it is a steady climb up to and along High Lane. There is space for a few cars to park just before the track off right to Stile End which might have shortened my walk but it was all taken. At Hallow Bank the higher right of way towards Overend leaves the track, takes a gate to the right of the house and crosses a short grassy slope before reaching another track. To continue to Overend you go left here. But for Kentmere Pike you go right, up past a sign making clear that cyclists are very much not welcome, and up to a path leading up the fellside. Which it very pleasantly continues to in a gentle diagonal sort of way until it crosses an old dilapidated wall at a gap. From here the path continues in the same diagonal up to a stile and on to the top of Kentmere Pike. But I didn’t follow that way wanting as I did to visit Shipman Knotts. So I followed the ruined wall straight up till it ceased to exist and then followed it’s line towards the ridge. Very soon I could see the summit not very far away on my right and heading that way was very soon there. From here it’s pretty easy going on over Kentmere Pike to Harter Fell. The weather wasn’t the nicest. Strong wind, intermittent rain. Coming down towards the Nan Bield Pass it started to improve and the long walk down the dale turned out very pleasant. On a couple of times I found my way blocked by a heard of cattle but on my walking boldly but lightly past them they proved placid enough.
The walk up Dale Head from Honister Slate Mine is quite short with only 400m of ascent. Wainwright has this to say. "No other summit of like altitude is reached so quickly and easily from a motor road. Indeed, if a car is used to the top of the pass, a man of conscience must feel he is cheating the mountain." I But one this day of extreme heat it felt like quite hard work. From here a very pleasant walk leads to Robinson along Littledale Edge. There are wonderful views south to the hills round Great Gable and northwest to the hills around Grasmoor. I detoured out on the way back to collect Hindscarth with which I completed the Nuttalls in the NW Fells. I got back to the Slate Mine just in time before the café stopped serving ice cream.
I parked at The Green Station and jumped on the next train to Ravenglass. From the station at Ravenglass I followed the track signposted to the Roman Bath House. This is well worth a visit but I had done so on an earlier occasion so I skipped it and turned off left to cross sheepy fields gently uphill and land on the A595. I followed this past the castle entrance to where it bends sharply right. Here I keep on straight up Fell Lane. This leads easily to the trig point. Somewhere around here a text from O2 Roaming welcomed me to the Isle of Man. There are a lot more paths here than are shown on the map. But I ended up on the main one that skirts round the right hand flank of Silver Knott. When I came to the end of access land a gate confronted me complete with signs: “Caution: Farm Animals with their Young”, “Beware of Bull”. And there they all were, bull, cows, calves, all around the line of the right of way. If you want to avoid them maybe better start at Irton in which case you would go left here and not through this gate. But through it I went and was soon back at my starting point again. This is a lovely walk. And one I will have to repeat if I want to claim the Marilyn, having discovered as I did from a peek at the Hill Bagging website that the trig point is not the summit.
Parked in Newlands Hause, a place beloved of bikers. Then what can I say, follow obvious path up onto and along obvious pleasant ridge and back again. In this case on a perfect summer's day. Lovely views all round of the NW Fells.
With Stefan. We parked at Fairholmes and set off up the track along the east bank of the reservoir. Just before the Howden dam a track heads off to the right climbing Hey Bank onto the reservoir, All the way over the high polateau to the tiny cairn on top of High Stones, the highest spot in South Yorfkshire. From here theplan was to head south to Back Tor. This is quite a treck. A lot of walks go the the nothern part of these moors round Howden Edge and Margery Hill. A lot go to the south around Back Tor and the abstract sculpture gallery that is Derwent Edge beyond it. Few join both. It's a bit of a detour out east to avoid the deep ravine made by the Abbey Brook biting into the plateau. For a long time there was little beneath our feet ressembling a path. Happily it was and had been dry otherwise it might have been much nastier underfoot. Finally we picked up the Duke's Road and followed it along Cartldge Stones Ridge to Back Tor. THen easily down and home.
Another walk on easy tracks that olmce were railways. I left the car in Church Houses where there were men out mending the roads and headed off west, past Monket House and up the hill behind it. An easy track took me to Bloworth Crossing. Then another long track down the other side of the dale to readch the car park just south of the Lion Inn. Then down the steep road back to the village. Easy. Not very exciting.