Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

8 April - A mixed day

The morning started with a loss of power on site. Funny how the first thought in this gadget-obsessed world was "camera batteries need charging, so do iPads, the phone,...". Pathetic really. It was quickly fixed once reported.

Later we discovered that the door on the motorvan could not be opened from the inside. Luckily it could still be locked from the outside and also opened from there. Holidays can be stressful!

In a strong headwind we walked up the track to Force Crag Mine, Eel Crag shrouded in mist. From Scar Crags a few days earlier we'd noticed what looked like two small lakes near the mine workings and wondered was going on.

As many of you will know, the mine was worked for lead, barytes and zinc from 1835 until 1991 and is, unsurprisingly, a significant source of metal pollution in Coldedale Beck which feeds Newlands Beck and the River Derwent and Bassenthwaite Lake Special Area of Conservation. High levels of metals, particularly zinc, cadmium, lead and copper result in a failure to meet water quality standards, so a pilot passive-mine-water remediation sheme is underway to reduce the quantity of metals entering Coledale Beck. The work is a partnership between the Coal Authority, the Environment Agency, the National Trust and Newcastle University.

Now wiser than we were a few days ago we returned to the 'van and drove round to park at Uzzicar. During Christmas and New Year holidays in Braithwaite during the mid-1970s to early 1980s we got our milk from Uzzicar Farm and delicious it was too.

The weather had improved somewhat since morning so, without any objective in mind, we followed the old mine road by Stonycroft Gill before taking the path which skirts the slopes of Stile End and leads to Barrow Door.(I couldn't get thoughts of the Barrow-Wights from Lord of the Rings out of my head).The wind was quite fierce atop Barrow and my Mountain Cap was promptly blown off, luckily landing on the heathery lee slope where it remained just long enough for me to retrieve it.

As an afterthought, Stile End was quickly added. I'd completely forgotten just how lovely these little fells are and I'm looking forward to visiting Outerside again, perhaps on its own, perhaps as part of a circuit to include Scar Crags and Causey.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Monday, 7 April 2014

7 April - Another wet one

We parked up at our usual spot and set off in heavy rain for Little Town and a low level walk along the base of Catbells. The fells were obliterated by thick mist but nonetheless we decided that an ascent would be worthwhile; maybe the mist would lift. It didn't and the rain became heavier as we climbed. An orange clad girl arrived on the summit with her Border Collie, the ideal companion on the hills. Always a little ahead of her; frequently looking back.

For the second time this holiday the camera stayed in the pack until down. The rain relented - and the clag cleared. There's no justice.

The gear is now mostly dry and I'm hoping it will stay that way for the remainder of the holiday.

By the way, there must be big hamsters hereabouts as the second picture shows.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Sunday, 6 April 2014

5 April - Blaeberry Fell

Not even the slopes of Walla Crag were visible or much else for that matter, so we reckoned it wasn't worth driving anywhere for the same conditions. Blaeberry would at least give us a summit, however modest and: "There's a certain sensuous pleasure to be obtained from getting wet through - really wet through to the skin - which is something akin to the joy of robbing orchards...." A H Griffin. I expect most who read this blog will have been at some time wet through to the skin and can decide for themselves whether or not the experience was sensuous. I know what Griffin is getting at, but can't possibly comment about the robbing orchards bit!

Despite the steady rain people were abroad in fair numbers but we were alone in turning off for higher things, all others continuing along the path high above Derwentwater.

I am always pleasantly surprised at the absence of litter on the fells but a brief stop at the sheep fold revealed various debris lying around - tissues, bits of drinks cartons and so on; near the summit, orange peel was scattered; an old banana skin lay further on. The mentality of those responsible is beyond understanding.

The top was an exposed, wet and misty place but as usual we were enjoying being out in 'weather' though no photographs were taken, the new Sony and older Lumix staying safe in the packs.

All was quiet back at the path to Ashness Bridge so we followed it for a while enjoying the misty view down Borrowdale before calling it day.

Tea was finished by the yew* trees on Walla Crag; a Scots Pine reminded of home. The weather even more so.

Edit: being back among the Herdwicks I originally spelt this 'ewe'! Either no-one noticed or they were too polite to point this error out-:)

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Saturday, 5 April 2014

3 April - an easy day

Murky, murky morning but signs of a clearance. It was humid or 'close' as I said to a small party later in the day. Don't think they knew what I was talking about. Would anyone out there have understood?

It was mid-afternoon before vague sunshine was detected - a slight feeling of warmth rather than actually seeing sun, just as we arrived at Scar Crags having returned from Causey Pike. Another walker stopped briefly - he was 'doing the Wainwrights' - and why not? He was obviously enjoying his day out and heading for Outerside and Barrow, we for the path down to Rigg Beck and 'home'.

Note: the photo was taken today descending Blaeberry Fell (today) though the BlackBerry does not do justice to the rainbow and has no relevance to the day described! Don't ask! BlogPress and the BB are not behaving at present so posts are brief to minimise my frustration.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Friday, 4 April 2014

4 April - An issue resolved

There is a serious problem in Scotland at the moment and no, it's not Alex Salmond, the September referendum on independence, or wind farms (though they are problems). No, it is the distressing fact that the item below is no longer to be found in any of the major supermarkets north of the border:

But never fear, supplies are to be had in Booths and will be smuggled over the border in due course. This particular bottle is, by the way, now deceased.

2 April - a decent day out

"April brings the annual miracle of spring to Lakeland, the daffodils and the blossom and the tourists".

Except for the daffodils all else was more or less absent; what wasn't absent was a wind with an edge to it. Just beyond the fine summit cairn of Dale Head we were glad to don our Rab Hoodies and Paramo Cascada trousers as we enjoyed a quick lunch at a not-so-sheltered spot overlooking the lovely Newlands Valley.

We had arrived here via the mine track where Herdwicks, true hill-sheep, grazed quietly unperturbed by our presence, lambs by their sides; birds song emanated from the bare, solitary larch.

A descent via Dale Head Mine was contemplated and rejected - that is a route up for the future. As the photo tells, our return was via High Spy and Maiden Moor.

With so much snow on the Scottish hills, high up at any rate, I was expecting the odd snow field here and there but no, hardly a patch to be seen except on the Scafell range.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Lakes

We arrived in temperatures double those at home. It's not warm exactly but it is a big improvement; it's also dry.

Tradition demanded a late afternoon walk up Walla Crag from where the photograph was taken.

Sent from my BlackBerry®