Wainwright Walks 20: III amigos on III Bell

Hills: Yoke, Ill Bell: Wainwrights 51 and 52
When: 19 March 2016
Who: self, Hilary & Willie
Weather: Lovely!
Distance & ascent: 9 ½ miles & 700m approx.
Time: Just over 5 hours, including breaks
Sadly absent: Stuart
Thankfully absent: Bog
Sadly present: Bad knees, bad back, a gear mishap

Finally! After various posts about hill walking politics, gear, and so on I have finally managed to get out on the hills. The occasion was a meet up for the scottishhills.com website, most of the meets for which unsurprisingly take place in Scotland but for the last couple of years one has been organised in the Lake District. It would be a pretty select group, limited to myself & Stuart, Hilary and Willie, a shame that there wasn’t more interest (and the Lake District needs people to go and visit it after all the floods) but that wouldn’t stop us having a good time and getting a good walk in.

We met up in the Ambleside Tavern on the Friday night after our respective journeys and discussed options for the following day, ultimately deciding on the Ill Bell ridge starting from Troutbeck and seeing where we ended up. An odd name for a hill this one, not least because as written it looks as though it should actually say ‘3 Bell’ with the 3 being in roman numerals. Given it later transpired there are 3 sizeable beacon cairns on the top of the thing I can’t help wondering if – given the roman road on High Street nearby – Ill is actually a typo for ‘3’. According to Wainwright it means ‘Bell shaped hill’ and according to the Cicerone guide book it means ‘Malevolent bell-shaped hill’ so who knows. Continue reading

The joy of socks – and other packing conundrums

Packing. Something that everyone who walks has to do, whether they are packing a day sack for a short walk near where they are based or packing for a week away somewhere. It’s also something which seems – at least for me – to be difficult to get the right balance, and also where I’m prone to mishaps. Packing for a camping trip – particularly a wild camp – seems to involve a whole new level of balance finding (or not) because you are carrying everything and therefore that extra weight matters quite a lot more. Winter is the same because ice axes and crampons weigh a lot but the last thing you want to do is find yourself somewhere you need them – but haven’t got them.

Continue reading

Where to walk and why?

Why do we decide to walk where we do?

It’s an interesting question. The UK has many areas of outstanding natural beauty but why choose one above another? What makes some walkers prefer Scotland whereas others like the Lake District, or the gentler pleasures to be found from coastal walks in the South of England?

For a lot of people I think it is down – at least in part – to geography. If you live in Manchester then going to the Peak District or the Yorkshire Dales – or even the Lakes – is likely to appeal more than going to the Brecon Beacons simply because of ease of access. Similarly someone who lives in Glasgow is an hour’s drive from the Arrochar Alps and therefore probably unlikely to head south of the border too often. Sometimes it’s down to what you grew up doing – my parents went to Pembrokeshire twice a year and the Yorkshire Dales twice a year, so my walking as a kid was coastal stuff on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path mixed with waterfall walks. But there wasn’t much in the way of hill walking, though we did do the odd small hill from time to time – I probably managed to go to Yorkshire upwards of 20 times before actually climbing any of the Three Peaks.
Continue reading