Welcome to my website 🙂  I’ve started this blog to chronicle my somewhat erratic and mishap prone hill walking.. Not to mention the inevitable post walk drinks! Some nice views and hopefully amusing anecdotes will be thrown in for good measure..

Wainwright Walks 76: A sunny Wasdale wander

  • Hills: Whin Rigg, Illgill Head
  • Classification: Wainwrights (145 and 146)
  • When: Saturday 19 September
  • Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
  • Distance: About 9 miles
  • Time: About 4 ½ hours including some lengthy breaks
  • Weather: Glorious – again!
  • Bog factor: Mostly ok
  • Post walk drink:  Prosecco, then Malbec (again)
  • Post walk watering hole: The Boot Inn, Eskdale
  • Uses of the arse crampon: Unless sitting down to have my lunch counts, still AWOL.
  • Mishaps: I think the parking situation in Wasdale later on counts as a mishap.

It’s taken me a while to get around to writing this blog. For some reason, some blogs seem to just write themselves whereas others swim around in the subconscious for ages before finally making it to the page. In the case of this one, I think the delay on getting it written is largely due to the fact that it looks highly likely to be my last Wainwright walk of the year. With another lockdown looming and a miserable winter in prospect I think I just hadn’t wanted to admit to myself that it would be 2020’s last hurrah on the hills; I’d toyed with the idea of revisiting the Lakes in October, but the weekend I had earmarked ended up falling just after London went into ‘Tier 2’ so I reluctantly decided not to travel (the decision being helped somewhat by the fact the weather forecast was rubbish). With the situation escalating, getting anything else booked in just threatened it being cancelled – for whatever reason, having to cancel something that was already booked in is more depressing than just not booking it in the first place.

I can’t say that the imminent reality of another lockdown is helping my mood – or anyone’s I suspect. I am not looking forward to the prospect of two of my major ways of de-stressing being taken away (by which I mean hill walking and swimming) and even wild swims are looking doubtful. Plus with the change in seasons getting out for a local walk is going to be more difficult – blundering around my local woods with a head torch in the dark not really being top of my list. I am of the view that all lockdowns do is kick the can down the road and having had a serious health issue as a direct result of the first – my DVT – I can’t help but worry how many other people are going to suffer serious issues as a result of the next one. Yes, clearly COVID-19 is a very nasty bug indeed but there will come a point, in the absence of a vaccine, where we have to find a way to live alongside it in order for our society as we know it to survive. Human beings are designed to be social animals and enforced separation from family and friends has a cost.

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Wainwright walks 75: send in the Calva-ry!

  • Hills: Great Calva
  • Classification: Wainwright (144)
  • When: Friday 18 September
  • Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
  • Distance: About 7 miles
  • Time: 3 ½ hours including breaks
  • Weather: Glorious
  • Bog factor: Moderately high
  • Post walk drink:  Prosecco, then Malbec
  • Post walk watering hole: The Boot Inn, Eskdale
  • Uses of the arse crampon: Still missing in action!
  • Mishaps: None to speak of – ???!

After my insomnia fuelled amble up Grike and Crag Fell on the 16th September, I awoke on the 17th to a glorious morning. Well technically I awoke to a glorious middle of the night as once again I didn’t sleep too well and although I actually managed to get back to sleep for a while it still wasn’t brilliant. Once the sun was up it was clear it was going to be a fantastic day – but this time I wasn’t hill walking as I was booked in for an open water swim in Windermere as a birthday present from Stuart. Although I’ve recently done a couple of open water swims near where I live I was a bit nervous about this one not least because of the prospect of having to stuff myself into a wetsuit given that I am not a small girl! As it turned out I did just about manage to get in to the wetsuit and the swim, which ended up being about a mile in total, was absolutely great. I was done by lunchtime and in theory could have done a walk in the afternoon but given possible issues with parking, plus having already done a decent chunk of exercise, I decided against doing any sort of significant walk in favour of a potter up Orrest Head (again) followed by chilling out and pottering around in the afternoon.

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Wainwright walks 74: Lank-ing in energy on Grike and Crag Fell

  • Hills: Grike, Crag Fell
  • Classification: Wainwrights (142 and 143)
  • When: Wednesday 16 September
  • Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
  • Distance: About 6 miles
  • Time: 3 ½ hours
  • Weather: Overcast to start but brightened up. Quite windy
  • One that got away: Lank Rigg
  • Post walk drink:  Cumbria Way golden ale
  • Post walk watering hole: The Golden Rule, Ambleside
  • Uses of the arse crampon: I’ve no idea where it’s got to.
  • Mishaps: Insomnia, a slight navigational foul up, or a disappearing forest track – not sure which

Tuesday 15th September: it’s the afternoon and I’m sitting on a train from Euston to Oxenholme, after a visit to my office for the first time in six months, it having reopened the previous day. I’d been a bit apprehensive about using the train – my two previous Lakes trips since the end of lockdown have both been trips of a week or more and the sensible thing to do has been to drive. However, this time I was firstly going by myself and secondly pretty knackered – I don’t generally drive up from London if I am going for less than a week, and whilst this time I was going for five nights in total I thought it would be a lot less tiring to get the train and then get a hire car when I got there. The current travel situation had also increased the potential for mishaps with late changes to timetables and so forth in prospect.

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Wainwright walks 73: Armboth Fell and the bog of doom!

Hills: Armpit Bog, sorry Armboth Fell

Classification: Wainwright (141)

When: Wednesday 19 August

Who: Me and the mountaineering minion

Distance: About 4 1/2 miles but felt like twice that

Time: Just under 3 hours

Weather: Dry and sunny, a bit windy

Post walk drink: Malbec

Post walk watering hole: The Crafty Baa, Keswick

Uses of the arse crampon: Still none. Need to send out a search party.

Mishaps: Megabog; a minor navigational mishap

After my short afternoon blast up Gavel Fell, the following day was our wedding anniversary. Normally our wedding anniversary consists of being rained on (unless we are in Egypt) and this time was no different! The enthusiasm to do a walk was somewhat lacking and we settled for a pottering about day including mini-golf and visiting a few hostelries (inevitably). Having completely failed to find anywhere to get booked in for dinner we gave up and our anniversary meal consisted of scallops with chorizo to start off with followed by rib eye steak with various trimmings. Nice but not quite what I’d had in mind and as per my previous post the sheer volume of organisation required to do anything much these days is really starting to grate – and given recent announcements likely to get worse rather than better over the next few months.

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Wainwright Walks 72: Banging the Gavel

Hills: Gavel Fell

Classification: Wainwright (no.140)

When: Monday 17 August

Who: Me and the mountaineering minion

Distance: About 5 1/2 miles

Time: Just under 3 hours

Weather: Quite windy at times

Post walk drink: Malbec

Post walk watering hole: The Crafty Baa, Keswick

Uses of the arse crampon: Still missing in action!! Must be a record

Mishaps: None to speak of (??!)

After the baking hot walk up Bakestall on the 15th August, I think it is fair to say that the forecast turned away from glorious sunshine to something a little more mixed. I suppose this could be regarded as a plus in some ways, i.e. less need to worry about parking – to be honest the parking situation was already starting to hack me off having had to get up stupidly early for my previous walk. I don’t know what Keswick is normally like in August, never having been to the Lakes at that time of year before, but the place was heaving meaning that on occasion not just the parking but also getting into pubs was a bit of a problem. I realise we are in the middle of a pandemic but having to book a table to go to the pub just seems too much of a faff – one of the things that feels the worst about all of this is the loss of spontaneity, the ability to decide on a whim to eat out somewhere or go for a drink or even go for a coffee has gone and simply navigating trying to do normal things has become a military operation. I know it’s necessary for obvious reasons but that doesn’t mean it isn’t starting to grate. Restaurants seem to be particularly frustrating and I completely failed to book in anywhere to eat out for the entire week in Keswick despite having tried to book things over a week in advance. Continue reading

Wainwright walks 71: Baking on Bakestall!

Hills: Bakestall
Classification: Wainwright (139)
When: Saturday 15 August
Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
Distance: About 5 miles
Time: About 3 hours including faffing and brief breaks.
Weather: Scorchio!
One that got away: Great Calva
Post walk drink: Pale ale
Post walk watering hole: The Fox Tap bar, Keswick Brewery
Uses of the arse crampon: Still missing in action
Mishaps: Midges (if that counts). The parking could have been a mishap if I had got up any later.

15th August 2020: the sun is splitting the sky and I’m squeezing into the last sensible option for a parking space at Peter House Farm on the minor road from the A591 towards the ‘Back of Skiddaw’ therefore narrowly avoiding a parking mishap. Normally, this sort of situation would be due to a late start which would probably be itself a result of slightly too many alcoholic beverages the night before. However, the time of parking up was 8.20am. 8.20?! This was an unheard of time for me to start out on a walk, in fact it is a time when if I am not working I am usually still in bed as I am really not a morning person. So why so early? Continue reading

Wainwright walks 70: Misty in Mungrisdale (again)

Hills: Bannerdale Crags
Classification: Wainwright (138)
When: Thursday 16 July
Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
Distance: About 6 miles
Time: About 3 hours including faffing and brief breaks.
Weather: Great on the way up. Decent on the way down. Pea soup at the top of the hill (inevitably)
Post walk drink:  Malbec
Post walk watering hole: The Mortal Man inn, Troutbeck
Uses of the arse crampon: Still missing in action
Mishaps: Unless you count the weather, not a lot. Though there was a serious parking mishap near the start (not by me).

After the glorious sunshine that greeted our somewhat hungover return to hill walking on Arthur’s Pike, it is fair to say that the weather for the next few days was a bit mixed – and equally fair to say that I was knackered. The next few days were therefore spent in pottering about mode, with some fairly interesting stuff seen including Furness Abbey (which we have been to before but is good) Shap Abbey, the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Ulverston (interesting, and Ulverston was nice) and various hostelries as we were spending the next few days of our road trip in Grasmere. Continue reading

Wainwright Walks 69: a short walk Arthur a long lay off!

Hills: Arthur’s Pike
Classification: Wainwright (137)
When: Sunday 12 July
Who: Me, Stuart and the mountaineering minion
Distance: About 6 miles
Time: About 3 hours including breaks and faffing
Weather: Fantastic (for once!)
Post walk drink: Collie Wobbles pale ale
Post walk watering hole: The Watermill Inn, Ings
Uses of the arse crampon: None – difficult to see how it would be needed for this one
One that got away: Bonscale Pike
Mishaps: A bit hung over. Didn’t take enough water. Otherwise nothing much.

After my last walk in the Lakes – a rather windy wander over some of the Western Fells with the ‘can’t be arsed crampon’ being deployed leaving Gavel Fell as another annoying outlier, it is fair to say that world events rather took over. Three planned trips to the Lakes – in late March, over Easter and at the beginning of June – had to be cancelled as a result of COVID-19 in favour of some very local wandering about, which may form a separate blog post at some point. I did manage to find some bluebell woods and some rather nice ponds within about 3 miles of my house, and at one point considered changing the title of my blog to Ponds and Pinot Grigio as a result.. I also managed to walk up a rather nice little hill on the South Downs which again might form a separate post. I also cooked a lot of nice food. Continue reading

Wainwright walks 68: Wild out West!

Hills: Burnbank Fell, Blake Fell
Classification: Wainwright (135 & 136)
When: Sunday 8 March
Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
Distance: About 5 miles at a rough guess.
Time: About 3 ½ hours including breaks and faffing
Weather: Does ‘mediocre’ work? Some views for some of it; blooming windy
Post walk drink: Cabernet Sauvignon
Post walk watering hole: The Ambleside Tavern
Uses of the arse crampon: None
Uses of the can’t be arsed crampon: One
One that got away: Gavel Fell
Mishaps: Trousers (again); almost a gear mishap

For some reason this blog post has taken a while to crawl out of my consciousness and actually make it to the page. It is probably because world events having taken the course they have has rather overtaken any desire to sit down and put pen to paper (or at any rate finger to keyboard). It is also probably because had I realised this was likely to be the last walk for some time I would have most likely gritted my teeth and carried on to Gavel Fell rather than bailing as I actually did, and/ or made myself actually do something the following day which for various reasons I didn’t. Anyway we are where we are and we can only hope the current situation is over before too long.

Following my stint of ‘character building’ on Bowscale Fell, the forecast for the day after looked at least a bit better with some promise of a view, if somewhat windy. I did seriously consider heading back to the Northern Fells and either do Bannerdale Crags or head for Bakestall, however I now only have 3 of them left to do and given I had a car handy for once, it seemed to make sense to go a bit further afield. My Wainwright map is now seriously skewed with the area which has been touched the least being the Western Fells. I was also in a bit of discomfort as my back was playing up and the walk the previous day, in less than ideal conditions, had taken quite a bit more out of me than it should have done. Given these factors and the forecast strong winds, I decided that something fairly low with not too much ascent fitted the bill. Time to head to Loweswater again where the fells on the other side from Fellbarrow and Low Fell, which I had done back in November, would give me the chance to string a couple together assuming both the weather and my back held out. Continue reading

Wainwright walks 67: Boggy, foggy and thoroughly soggy!

Hills: Bowscale Fell
Classification: Wainwright (134)
When: Saturday 7 March
Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
Distance: About 5 miles. Though given the conditions it felt like at least twice that.
Time: About 3 hours. Far too miserable a day for any breaks.
Weather: See the title of the blog post. Miserable!
Post walk drink: Malbec (what else?!)
Post walk watering hole: The Golden Rule, Ambleside
Uses of the arse crampon: One
Uses of the can’t be arsed crampon: One
Mishaps: Weather; transport; trousers

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog front recently for various reasons. It’s pretty usual for me to have a few months off walking over the winter months, but this time my time away from the hills was compounded by a number of factors which included (in no particular order) a problem with one of my knees which has been giving me quite a bit of trouble, various work going on regarding the house and an extremely busy period at work. However, I did have a booked trip to look forward to at the beginning of March and after a couple of weeks of work being particularly manic – as well as a lot of things in London seemingly going to hell in a handcart due to coronavirus – I really needed to get out of London for a bit and clear out my brain. I had arranged to pick up a hire car in Kendal as I am getting to the point of starting to run out of hills that can easily be done by public transport and it would enable me to chase the weather a bit – as well as look at some of the smaller hills I have yet to do; as a result of the knee problems and also work being manic my exercise regime has been pretty much non-existent for months, so I was conscious that any sort of epic was not going to be an option. Continue reading