Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A road trip around the Northern Outlying Fells June 2012

In June I was desperate to bag more of Wainwright's Outlying Fells in the Northern and North Western sectors.  I used the car to hop from walk to walk. The distances walked on the "six walks in a day" were quite easy apart from the climb from Flat Fell and across to Dent, which was fairly arduous.

So I set out solo at 5.55am with our terrier Treacle on a mission to do as many of the outstanding fells as I could and make some contacts for WOTA and SOTA. 
Treacle enjoying the fresh air on the cairn on Fauld's Brow LDO-060
So there I was by 8.45am, sat on top of Fauld's Brow chatting to my ham radio friends in Cumbria. The summit was a very short walk from a car park on common land north west of the main Caldbeck Fells. 
Twisted tree deformed by wind on St John's Hill LDO-078
From there I motored a short distance north of Bassenthwaite Lake to bag St John's Hill and Caermote Hill. These two could be walked together, a round trip from the car of less than two miles.  Some cattle with young calves had to be passed. I was concerned, for my own safety so Treacle was secured to a fence while I went across the two fields and back to visit Caermote Hill. 

Back to the car now and a 7 mile drive to the village of Blindcrake.  From there I walked up a track near Allison House Farm to the summit of Clint Crags. The right of way took me up a large field of grass which had recently been dusted with some brown substance - probably fertilizer.  My boots and treacle's feet and legs were covered in the stuff. 

Another drive now - I was motoring in an anticlockwise manner across the north of Cumbria. My route took me to a lane north of Cockermouth and I parked on the edge of woodland on Setmurthy Common.  A steep climb in the woods took me up to two more of Wainwrights Outlying Fells - Watch Hill (Setmurthy Common) and Watch Hill, which is 1 Km west from the previous summit. 

I was soon back at my car after more radio contacts and on my way south through Cockermouth and Ennerdale Bridge to park near to Flat Fell. I climbed this easy fell after crossing the Coast to Coast route at Nannycatch Beck.  From there I took the shortest route I could to the top of Dent, and then followed the C2C route back to my car. That section of my trip took two hours. 
Treacle - Lakeland/Border Terrier on Flat Fell LDO-082
From there is was back to the car and a drive south via Calder Bridge where I joined the A595 to reach the track leading to Muncaster Fell. A summit I had visited before, but worth calling again for a SOTA point.  It took me an hour to reach the summit, make a few contacts and return to the car. 
Heading down on Wainwright's C2C route off the summit of Dent  to Nannycatch Gate 
My drive home to North Yorkshire was interrupted by a meal stop in Kendal from some food and drink courtesy of the KFC there - I much prefer the Penrith outlet but I was starving. 

It was 10.15pm before I arrived home.

Distance walked: 12.15 miles
Height climbed: 2840 feet
Distance driven: 305 miles

Monday, 11 June 2012

Catterblog Review April - June 2012

After such a busy March for me, April came in like a lamb and went out like a Lion on Wainwrights Pennine Journey....... I didn't do much serious walking until the latter part of the month. 


20th - 22nd Pickering Walking Festival

It was Pickering's Walkers are Welcome Festival and I had offered to lead one of my favourite walks from the Hole of Horcum in the North York Moors. My friend Colin from the walking club acted as the backmarker and Judy came with Treacle. The walk is 11.5 miles long and goes through Langdale Forest up to Lilla Cross on the Moors. On the way there we had an optional climb up to Blakey Topping, which most of us did. This is a most unusual hill on the Moors.

The 11 strong group below Blakey Topping
After passing through the forest we tramped over the longest section of heather moorland in England, Fylingdales Moor. 

There is no shooting here - it's a conservation moor owned by Sir Fred Strickland. Here is a link to my walk: Walking Britain. We used the permissive path that runs around the back of RAF Fylingdales arousing the interest of the security staff there, which is the norm.

Thw WAW group at Lilla Cross on the North York Moors
There were less people visiting Pickering for the Festival in 2012 compared to 2011, I'm not sure why - we managed 11 people on my walk (and 2 dogs), of which 4 were members of RWG. 

25th - 28th

Wainwrights Pennine Journey from Bainbridge to High Force

Drying off over lunch at Tan Hill Pub: Geoff - Phil - Yvonne - Judy - Jenny
That brings me to our very wet sojourn on Wainwrights Pennine Journey when we completed the section from Bainbridge to High Force in Teesdale. This walk has been well documented on my other blog here.

May 20th - 22nd

Wainwrights Outlying Fells (continued)

Another trip with my friend Geoff to stay in the South Lakes. This time we lodged at The Newfield Inn at Seathwaite in the Duddon Valley. We used the pub as a base to bag another horde of Wainwrights Outlying Fells. Over the three days we climbed a few big 'uns as well. On the last day we climbed Black Combe for the second time (600m/1969ft). This time we took a different route and approached from the north after visiting White Combe and Stoupdale Crags first.

Geoff climbs High House Bank in the Shap Fells
Golden Eagle soaring above Swindale
On day one we met up on the Shap Fells to finish off the Wainwrights in that area. We completed a 12.5 miles horseshoe circuit from the A6 summit lay-by back to the Shap Pink Quarry using both cars which we parked in different places.

I really enjoyed this walk for two memorable reasons. We had a fantastic display from the only surviving Golden Eagle in the Lake District. The pictures taken did not do the bird and its enthralling five minute flying  display above Swindale justice! 

Aircraft wreckage found at the crash site  grid reference NY 52960 08822 near Great Saddle Crag 
Later we came across the remains of an American F11 fighter jet which which crashed on the moors in 1975.  Research I found showed that the pilot and weapons officer  survived by ejecting via a capsule before the aircraft went down.
Phil (Writer) and Geoff at Caw Fell trig point 
Our last summit activation of the short break was on Finsthwaite Heights, which was difficult to find lying in quite dense woodland near to Newby Bridge. 

The writer on an old stone bridge on the Dunnerdale Horseshoe Wainwrights Outlying Fells Walk
Over the three day days we bagged 24 Outliers and made 136 contacts for Wainwrights On The Air. 

26th - 30th May

RWG at HF Monk Coniston

RWG at Bigland Barrow near Newby Bridge
After a brief few days at home we were off again - back to the Lake District. I'd organised a holiday with 11 members of the Ryedale Walking Group staying at the HF Holidays Monk Coniston Hotel.
Dinner time at HF Holidays Monk Coniston Geoff - Eva - Phil - Judy - Yvonne - Jenny
The ladies inspect an Anthony Gormley sculpture on the banks of Conistonwater at High Nibthwaite
We walked every day reaching such high places such as Coniston Old Man and Top o'Selside and many others. It was fun taking the members to places they may have not visited on their own. 

Our group on the summit of  Raven's Barrow Cartmel Fell

18th - Olympic Torch

Kelly Williams with the Olympic Torch at Grosmont Railway Station
18th - The Olympic Torch comes to the North York Moors
Ryedale Walking Group with Sir Nigel
We met up with the torch at the hand over point on Grosmont Station in the company of the A4 Pacific loco Sir Nigel Gresley.

It was a lovely day and members of Ryedale Walking supported the event. After the torch passed through we took ourselves to the Danby Centre Car Park for a walk around Fryupdale. 

Our walking group on the old pack horse bridge near Danby
24th - Ryedale Ramblers Coach Ramble to Swaledale

Goats in a Swaledale Barn

I've been a member of the Ramblers since 2004. Judy my wife joined in them 1999 but we've rarely walked with them, being happy to support their aims and the campaigning work they do to protect our rights of way network and safeguard the freedom we have in Britain to walk footpaths over our land which is unsurpassed in my opinion, anywhere else in the world.

Working as part of the committee to help run Ryedale Walking Group (RWG) was becoming increasingly difficult (I was founder Chairman from when the group was formally constituted in 2009) and I was warming to the idea of becoming more involved the  Ramblers. I started becoming more involved by joining the Ramblers Ryedale Group Coach Ramble to Swaledale and ended up finishing the year by becoming their Chairman. A vacancy was created by their long standing Chairman Sam, a friend of mine, standing down, and I got the job. I'm pleased to say that the problems that came my way in helping run RWG are now a thing of the past and I remain very much involved and committed after being re-elected as their Walks Coordinator for 2013. 

Stony Man (also known as St Andrew's Cross)  above Swaledale
The Ramblers annual Coach Ramble is very popular - around 50 walkers from the York and Ryedale areas basically head off in a coach for somewhere that lies within a 90 minute drive of York.
In Swaledale with the Ramblers on their Coach Ramble
Three groups are dropped off the coach in different places and all three groups then enjoy a linear walk of varying grades back to a meeting point, which in this case was Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales.

A most enjoyable day was topped off with a Sunday dinner and a few drinks at The Anchor Inn Whixley on the way home!   

26th - 27th

Completion of Wainwrights Outlying Fells

A chance to head off to the South Lakes came up so Geoff, Nick (G4OOE) and I went for it. We stayed at Wha House Farm B&B in Eskdale.  This was an excellent base to finish off my last 11 Outliers. The weather could only be described as grey and damp. 

Geoff at the cairn on Great Worm Crag
I completed the 116 fells in mist at 2.15pm on Ponsonby Fell on June 27th making contacts on ham radio with Geoff G4WHA/M and John G0TDM/M who had driven over especially from Penrith. 

They were operating ham radio in a car somewhere near Whitehaven I believe, when they heard me call on the 145.500 MHz calling frequency from the summit.  

Geoff paddles through the Scar Green Ford on our way to last outlier Ponsonby Fell
It had been fun completing the Outliers in less than six months.

Wainwright said he wrote Book 8 for pensioners - those who still longed to climb the higher fells, such as Gable, but who could no longer manage it.  I hope I have a few years left to do the big ones again as I approach my 60th year. 


Leading Ryedale Walking Group's 1st Challenge Walk of 2012

I led a group of walkers from Ryedale Walking Group on a 17 mile Challenge walk from The Hambleton Inn on top of Sutton Bank.

Hambleton Inn  9.15am  - the morning group
Some members joined us for either the morning or the afternoon section, and eight completed the whole walk.  We got back to the pub by around 6.30pm and enjoyed a meal before heading back home. 
The afternoon group - thanks to Nick who took the photos and completed the Challenge
That completes my review of the first six months of my year.