Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dodd with the Family

Hannah and I atop Dodd, her seventh Wainwright

I tend towards having my holidays at different times to the kids but now and again, they have to intersect.  Hannah is six years old and was keen to get up a mountain.  She's gradually ticking off her Wainwrights with the obvious little ones under her belt.  With the whole family coming, I had to pick somewhere pushchair accessible and the only one I could think of was Dodd.

Hannah has tried going up here before but gave up before the top.  Today we had another family with us which obviously motivated Hannah to complete the job.  They all had their tired moments but I think they were all very happy to get to the top.

initial steep climb

a nice viewpoint around the corner

the gang

lots of good climbing practice

almost there now

we did it!

found a lizard on the way down

Monday, April 14, 2014

Glencoyne, Watermillock Common and Gowbarrow

looking south down Ullswater from Brown Hills area on Watermillock Common

looking towards Glencoyne Head from the climb
I was out on my own today so it was an opportunity to explore new ground.  I've been looking at the nice ledge track around Glencoyne for a while.  We ran a bit of it on the GL3d last year where we crossed Glencoyne to get to Birkhouse Moor.

path and wall junction - where I eventually wanted to go
My plan today was to park at the Glencoyne car park (this is the NT car park right by the side of Ullswater before you get to Glenridding) and then head up the side of the valley, around the top and then pick up the track that goes along the wall below Watermillock Common.  This is a track that I spied on Google Earth, looking like it is a nice long descent.  I wasn't wrong, but more of that later.

As I climbed the path, I noticed that the path continues to climb up to the point where I wanted to head off along the wall.  I knew that it was passable with a little bit of care at the top of the valley, Glencoyne Head, but thought it might be better to climb up to the top of Glencoyne Head and then drop down to the wall.

Once up Glencoyne Head, I decided to carry on over to Hart Crag.  There are tracks in the grass here and the gradient levels out.  It was only when running down to the aforementioned wall that I realised that I had missed Hart Crag and instead visited an area known as White Stones.

Once I had dropped down to the wall, I followed the track north east for about two miles.  Very nice running here, single track, a few easy climbs but mostly very comfortably downhill.  At the car park in the disused quarry, there were a couple of NT Rangers that I recognised from Fix the Fells.  They are doing a lot of work at Aira Force, around Gowbarrow Fell and along Ullswater shore.  There was an option to shorten the run here, heading back down the road and picking up a path back to Glencoyne but the run around Gowbarrow is so nice that I couldn't resist.

looking back down the track at Glencoyne

the track I am on carries on all the way around the valley and can be seen intersecting with the wall at the top centre of this picture.  The wall halfway down this wall is the one I want to pick up and run along.

up to a snowcapped Helvellyn from Nick Head (the top of Glencoyne Valley)

Helvellyn and Raise from - duh, White Stones.  The ski lift can be seen on Raise
the (general) direction of travel - really nice running from here to the road at Parkgate Farm

looking back to where I had come from, lots of good running here.  Just beyond this point I took a right instead of a left which would have taken me to the top of Hart Crag.

Watermillock Common is the long fell below.  I'm running down to it and then along from right to left, dropping down to a really nice path along the wall.

looking back across Glencoyne.  The track I took looks steeper from here.

looking south down Ullswater.  The path I want is along the wall below and runs very nicely all the way to Parkhouse Farm, our usual parking spot for Gowbarrow Fell.

on top of Gowbarrow and I think that might be the wall I ran along in the middle of the picture

great singletrack around Gowbarrow
I was getting a bit tired by now and walked all the way up to the summit of Gowbarrow rather than the usual run I do from where it levels off a bit.

I had an option of crossing to bag Little Mell Fell via Great Meldrum (great name) and coming back through Swinburn's Park but my knee was twinging a bit so I had an easy run around the usual route.

It was quite busy around here, lots of people enjoying the sun, sat on the various promontories that sit just off the path.

view south west from Yew Crag on Gowbarrow Fell
I stopped at Yew Crag to refuel and check my onwards route on the map.  Across Aira Beck just above the visitors centre and then onto the new lakeside path for about another mile back to the car.

11.7 miles all together.  A good day out and some new areas explored.  I think I can adapt this route to go up from Glenridding up Greenside Road, up the windy track to Whiteside and Raise.  Then from Stybarrow Dodd, down over Hart Crag (ahem!) and on to pick up the route I took.

busy day at Aira Force

great new lakeside path

where I sat to chill after the run, over the road from my car

11.7 miles

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Whinlatter Mountain Biking

Grisedale Pike from the trail

We tried something a bit different today, mountain biking at Whinlatter Forest.  Whinlatter is only about 20 minutes from home, we've done lots of running there but never explored the biking trails.  Bike hire is £25 for the day, or you can pay more for a full suspension bike.  There is a blue trail (quite easy) and two red trails (quite hard) with bits of black trail on them (harder).  We did a loop and a half of the blue and then both reds.  I was surprised at how good it was.  There is a lot of technical uphill winding routes on the red courses and then some nice flowy downhill bits.  All in all we did just over 16 miles.  Whinlatter is a popular place, the ospreys have just returned so I imagine that a lot of people were there to see them on the big screen in the visitor centre but there were also a lot of bikers.

I think I want a mountain bike.

Jonathan on the blue trail - very easy technically but some climbing involved

me on the blue trail

over Keswick to Skiddaw group behind

route map

non-vegan refuelling 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Red Tarn from Glenridding and back over Birkhouse Moor

the nice run from The Hole in the Wall down and up again to Birkhouse Moor

The nights are drawing out!  Mountain Run, a local company offering guided fell running, navigation and other outdoorsy things have put up some running routes on their blog.  I quite liked the look of the Birkhouse Moor route, Mountain Run say that the whole route is runnable and I could see that being the case but at the moment, I'm not quite up to running all of the climbs.

7 miles all around, we took a slight wrong turn, taking a track along the south of the beck rather than the one just below it

I was running tonight with Jonathan and Stephen.  An early wrong turn meant trudging across newly felled trees but we soon got back onto the track.  Once on the main track, by the bridge, the navigation was very easy.  Jonathan did a marathon on Sunday so I was thinking it would be an easy paced run.  It mostly was but Stephen was pushing up the hills where the path winds up to Red Tarn.

From the tarn, the running gets much easier, there is a nice flat/slightly downhill section to the Hole in the Wall, the famous point where the paths cross, and then a nice run over to Birkhouse Moor, just leaving the main path for a little bit to bag the summit.  We ran back to the path and then took a more direct route down to the start of the steep pitched winding path which heads back to Glenridding.

Catstycam - overshadowed by Helvellyn, it's a good height and a great fell in its own right

up at Red Tarn, we had considered continuing over Helvellyn by the edges but fading daylight, heavy cloud and low energy made it an easy call not to bother

At the Hole in the Wall - nice running here

Stephen and I on Birkhouse Moor

back to Glenridding

pretty happy with this on a work night

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lonscale Pike, Skiddaw Little Man, Skiddaw and Bakestall

Paul in contemplation of his route down the scree at Bakestall

An early start today as both Paul and I needed to be back home for about 1pm.  We met up at 7am and, after some consideration of the cloud level, changed from the proposed route of The Dodds to Helvellyn and back to a route up and around Skiddaw where navigation in low cloud would be much easier.  We parked at the Latrigg carpark and headed towards the steep path.  We turned off to bag Lonscale Fell then retraced our steps along the fence, carrying on to the summit of Skiddaw Little Man.  We then carried on to Skiddaw, straight over to follow the fence down to Bakestall summit at the fence corner.  We followed the fence down and then veered off to pick up the scree run down joining up with the Cumbria Way track.  On past Skiddaw House and around Lonscale Fell then looping around to the start.  A really nice run in not so great conditions.

just over 11 miles - just under 3 hours

I think this is actually Skiddaw Lesser Man which we came across just before dropping down and back up to Little Man

Skiddaw Little Man

up on Skiddaw
from a very different walk, here is part of where we went today

Bakestall summit cairn

Windy and cloudy today which made for tough going.  We went at an easy pace, chatting along the way.  I think the climb to Lonscale Fell and then the alternative route over Jenkin Hill took some of the steepness out of the climb.  From the top of Skiddaw there was a decent run down to Bakestall and then to the scree run which was great fun.

Once on the Cumbria Way track, we climbed up to Dash Falls and then the running got much easier after that.

On our way around Lonscale Fell, we met a couple who thought they were on the track to Skiddaw.  It's difficult to know what to do, because they were struggling with the Cumbria Way track so I really think Skiddaw was beyond them (apart from their major navigational error).  We asked them if they passed a stone cross (The Hawell Memorial), yes they had.  We told them they should have carried on up the steep track at that point, rather than turning right.  They looked as if they planned to go back and try to go up the right path.  If they did, I hope they made it.

Skiddaw House