Thursday, 7 November 2013

A Lake District Fellwalking week with Ryedale Ramblers

The first week in November saw me and XYL Judy taking a walking holiday with our local Ryedale Ramblers Group. It seemed only right as we had been on the waiting list for this holiday for three years and I was after all, the Ryedale Group 2013 Chairman!  

Every year the whole Ryedale Ramblers Group take over the HF Holidays Hotel at Derwentbank near Keswick in early November for five days. The holiday is always over subscribed and finally, we had reached the top of the waiting list! The holiday is ably organised by Ann Laing and the walks are led by volunteer members of which I am one. I offered the organising team the choice of two led walks - a linear walk up the Halls Fell Ridge on to Blencathra and back to Keswick, or  a walk from Ashness Bridge taking in the four Wainwrights of Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell, High Seat and High Tove. They chose the boggy walk of the two from Ashness Bridge which was not too popular - only four of us chose to undertake the walk! 

The walking week starts on Monday when members gather near Keswick in late morning for a half day walk. This wasn't for us as we had other business that day and so we reached the hotel in time to check in at around dusk. 

Tuesday: 8.75 miles with 2250 ft ascent

On Tuesday we both chose to join a walk led by Ann Laing in the little visited Uldale Fells east of Bassenthwaite lake. Here is our route:

We bagged five Wainwrights in the day - all new ones for Judy
We set out from near the lake called Over Water. The first Wainwright was Great Cockup followed by Meal Fell, Great Sca Fell, Brae Fell (lunch spot) and finally Longlands Fell. 

The ladies on the walk on their way to climb Great Cockup
As usual on the Wainwrights I took my VHF radio and completed 14 contacts on the five fells including one with John 2E0JBG who was also portable on nearby Binsey. 

Wednesday: 7.8 miles with 2030 ft ascent

Phil (Blogger) - Andrew - Ken and Linda at Ashness Bridge
Our route 
On Wednesday it was my turn to lead. After informing the members that the walk was expected to be boggy in parts my numbers were down. After some cajoling I persuaded Andrew and Ken (71) along with the willing Linda, to join me on a walk I previously did in March 2010 with Judy. That previous walk did include the dreaded and wet Armboth Fell, but I was not to include that Wainwright in my walk today or I would have been even more unpopular! 

We shared my car and parked up at the NT Ashness Bridge Car Park. At 9.40am we set off on the excellent path up over the top of Falcon Crag which led us on to Lady's Rake and Walla Crag. Retreating we made for Bleaberry Fell which was reached at 11.40am. The ground was pretty well waterlogged from then on but it became worse beyond our next Wainwright of High Seat. Whilst negotiating the bogs Ken fell twice. The first time it wasn't so bad, but the second time he fell full bodily into the murk. This made it necessary (understandably) for Ken to use "industrial language"! Andrew (Ken's nephew) and I managed to pull Ken out of the bog. When we reached High Tove the well equipped Linda had a spare pair of hiking socks for Ken to wear. This was after Ken had removed his trousers and substituted his over-trousers in place of them!

The state poor Ken was in after falling in the bog near High Tove
All in all we had a laugh about the incident. Ken took it in good heart as we headed downhill to Watendlath and then back to Ashness Bridge, which was reached just before 4.00pm. 12 contacts were completed using just a handheld transceiver and quarter wavelength whip, with contacts as far south as Lancaster (Sue G1OHH) on the three activated summits for Wainwrights On The Air . 

My Ramblers fellwalking pals for the day before we took to bog trotting Linda, Ken and Andrew

Thursday: 7.6 miles with 2915 ft ascent

We had a changeable day on the Thursday with squally showers. A group of around ten of us we set off from Little Town to climb Hindscarth at 0925 am led by Ian Reavill from the York Ramblers. We were to climb directly to Hindscarth on a route I had wanted to try for several years, before continuing on to our highest point of Dale Head (SOTA LD-020) prior to lunch which we had at Dale Head Tarn. The last two Wainwright's to be visited were High Spy and Maiden Moor. At the Hause Gate col we dropped down left past the spoil heaps back to Little Town. Here is a picture of Swinside against the backdrop of the Skiddaw Massif. 

I met several Ramblers on this walk who I hadn't come across before as well as a couple of old friends. We arrived back at Little Town by 3.20 pm and returned for hot drinks to Derwentbank. The weather hadn't been good but it could have been a lot worse. 

Using again just a 2m band FM handheld and quarter wave whip I completed 16 contacts on the 4 Wainwright's visited. The furthest contacts were into Scotland and down as far south as Lancaster on the low power basic equipment I used. 

This was our last day on our Ramblers holiday, however with a better forecast for Southern Scotland on Friday I decided that it was time we revisited the summit of Criffel near New Abbey just south of Dumfries. See my later blog... 

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