Wainwright Walks 37: windy Whinlatter and the wrong type of mint cake

Hills:Whinlatter
Wainwright: No.79
When: Tuesday 10th October
Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
Weather: Windy and overcast – a bit of light rain at times
Conditions underfoot: Forest track, then boggy paths
Hangover factor: Didn’t have one – again!
Post walk drink: Malbec followed by Kendal Mint Cake liqueur
Post walk watering hole: The Golden Rule, Ambleside
Mishaps: None to speak of. I know. Had to happen sometime!

After my initial walk of our week in Ambleside – a somewhat boggy traverse of Troutbeck Tongue accompanied by a trouser malfunction due to losing weight and my walking trousers therefore being a bit on the big side –the forecast for Monday wasn’t too good and we ended up having various post walk drinks on Sunday night. On surfacing from bed on Monday morning the weather was actually rather nice however I didn’t get up until pretty late and whilst the weather looked walkable I was really tired and a long lie in seemed a good idea. I think after a pretty busy time recently I was running on empty a bit and just needed a bit of a rest so Monday turned into a pottering about day near Hawkshead doing Beatrix Potter stuff. The decision not to walk was vindicated by it starting to rain in the afternoon and Tuesday’s forecast was okay so no harm having a day off followed by a chilled out evening cooking and relaxing in the cottage

Got up at a reasonable hour on the Tuesday with a clear head – the weather however whilst dry was overcast so not exactly playing ball. Having spent a couple of days in Ambleside we decided to head North – I would drop Stuart in Keswick and go and do a short walk somewhere then we would catch up with each other in the afternoon. I’d had a really nice short walk at Whinlatter in January on a glorious winter day when I had done Lord’s Seat and Broom Fell, so I decided to head off there and pick off Whinlatter itself which I reckoned would only take me a couple of hours; the other obvious possibility was Barf but I am keeping that vaguely in mind as my last Wainwright in the event I ever do decide to do the lot, on the grounds of the silly name factor if nothing else! Continue reading

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Mountains minus Malbec: thoughts on Dry January

To be strictly accurate this post contains no mountains either! No walking since Sandwood Bay, and unlikely to be any for another month or so. I am trying not to get too jealous of all the posts of snowy hills popping up in my Facebook feed – and failing miserably.

As to dry January – I decided to do it largely to try and kick start getting myself back into some sort of decent physical condition. There have been pluses and minuses so far. The pluses – I have lost 4lb; my skin is clearer; I’m generally sleeping better; and my brain seems sharper, I’m definitely getting more done.I have managed to start going swimming again, although not as often as I had hoped. I’ve also spent less than usual, although the price of soft drinks in pubs is pretty shocking. Plus there is the obvious one of no hangovers (which these days take less and less Malbec to induce) Continue reading

Corrour Station House Restaurant: the loss of an oasis in the wilderness

On my recommendations page, I did a name and praise for the restaurant at Corrour Station – surely the most remote in Britain (station and restaurant both). The restaurant had previously been run by various tenants, including the SYHA, as a cafe/ bar serving basic food and providing basic accommodation.

These tenants tried to do something different; run the place as a high end destination restaurant, with high class food and rooms. This resulted in a wonderful place to stay and we enjoyed two cracking trips there. Unfortunately, what they were trying to do meant they could not cater for drop ins. They simply didn’t have the time, or the staff, to do so.

Unfortunately this went down like a lead balloon with some walkers and ultimately – it seems – with the estate. There were a number of poor reviews on Tripadvisor by people who had been turned away. Having posted about this on Facebook, some walkers clearly do feel that they should have been offering an all day service. I can totally see why if you are cold at the end of a walk and have a 2 hour wait for a train it might be rather frustrating not to be able to go in and get fed and a cup of tea or a pint.

But do walkers really have the right to expect to be able to get refreshment somewhere as remote as Corrour? I don’t think so. Nobody expects a cafe in the middle of nowhere in Knoydart, or other areas you can’t get to by road such as parts of the Cairngorms. And there are alternatives to waiting for 2 hours in the cold and wet at Corrour. Wait for a better day, maybe? Or bring a tent and wild camp it, or cycle in on the landrover track, as people have to do to access the Ben Alder hills for instance?

Whatever you think, it’s a shame that the place is closing. I’ll always remember my post walk drink in Scotland’s remotest beer garden the last time we visited to pick off some Munros in the area. I’m very glad now I’ve done those hills and don’t need to worry about logistics for the area, but I’d have liked to go back, and now no longer can. Who knows when the estate will find someone else willing to take the place on; one can but hope it doesn’t close for good.

Wainwright Walks 14: Late start and liquid refreshment on Latrigg

Hills: Latrigg
Wainwrights: ditto
When: 14 May 2015
Who: just me (plus the mountaineering minion)
Why: glorious evening
Mid walk drink: Shiraz
Post walk drink: Malbec (yay!)

Well, it had to happen sooner or later! A walk where relatively little went wrong… and a lot went right. Mind you, how much could really go wrong with a walk as short and straightforward as Latrigg?

The premise for this one was a little different from the usual. I was travelling up to attend the Keswick Mountain Festival and was planning a reasonably long walk on the Friday taking in some of the Helvellyn range and/or the Dodds (report to follow). However, rather unexpectedly, the forecast for the Thursday was lovely. I was getting a train in the afternoon, and hatched a plan to pop up a small hill in the evening if the weather held. After a surprisingly smooth journey via Virgin Trains and a taxi from Penrith, I was in my hotel by 5.30, and in my walking gear and out of the door by 6pm – certainly the latest time I’ve ever started a walk! I had a relatively minimal amount of water with me, plus, given the absence of my husband (who wasn’t able to come up until Friday night due to work) my little minion toy clipped to my rucksack. I also had a small plastic bottle of Shiraz as I’d hatched a plan to actually have a glass of wine at the top of the hill rather than wait until I got back down. Note ‘a’ glass – this is certainly not a recommendation of alcohol as ideal hill walking refreshment! Continue reading

Mountains, Malbec and Mishaps!

I started this blog to ‘chronicle my somewhat erratic and mishap prone hill walking’ as well as the inevitable post walk drinks. Musing about the mishaps over a glass of wine last night, I came to the conclusion there have been rather a lot.. and the vast majority have nothing whatsoever to do with Malbec. I’m not really sure what I can blame the others on, other than bad luck.. but for your general amusement, here is a selection of the mishaps so far.. which will no doubt be added to at some point!!

Transport related

Exhaust fell off car in Dundee on way to Mount Keen. Hill abandoned.
Missed flight due to meltdown on the Underground.
Severe delays on Virgin Trains meant being too knackered to go up a hill.
Cattle class conditions on Megabus overnight service meant dragged self up one hill but too knackered to do any more.
Sleeper train broke down on way home – 2 hours late in to work wandering in to office foyer in crumpled walking gear.
Drove into a ditch in Snowdonia and barely managed to get out.

Continue reading