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Saturday, 27 May 2017

 The Lake Country is a glorious region...May26
So said Charlotte Bronte so it must be true.
The local weather man has promised a hot day in the north of  England and we have opted to head for the Lake District to walk up Helvellyn, third of the four highest bumps in Cumbria(Helvellyn =Norse for pale yellow mountain, possibly) There are six of us, Brian, Ray, Harry, Dave, Ben and me.
As it is a two car job we met in the first  Keswick car park you come to (£1.50 for an hour) and had tea/coffee/ bacon sandwich in The Coffee Lounge.
                          Keswick car park. In the background is the old police station and magistrates court, complete with cells. It is now a Wetherspoons
Breakfast over we headed down the road to Windermere and pulled in to a lay by near Stanah. Usual we start this walk from here but today we decided to catch the Arriva 555 bus to The Travellers Rest, just outside Grasmere, thus having a true gadgie walk using bus passes.
                Two car parks today, this one is free.
Almost all the walk is covered by OS OL 5, English Lakes, North Eastern Area and the lay by is at NY336087
Having made a slight error to start with by taking the wrong path we corrected ourselves and followed the steep path up Tongue Gill. At one point we met a Welsh Canadian couple which pleased me immensely. One of the quiz questions in the pub last week was "How many points on the Canadian Maple Leaf on the flag. " We got it wrong, saying 5 but now I know it is 11, I counted them on the ladies T shirt.
This route is fairly steep but steady and eventually we arrived at Grisedale Hause giving us the first view of Grisedale Tarn below. Although we had not come far we called a Herbie Spot overlooking the tarn and giving us a good view of the zig zag path that would take us up Dollywagon Pike. We shared Ben's ginger biscuits, Yorkshire flapjacks, Brownies from jesmondcakecompany.com and chocolate cake from Mrs A.
             View from Herbie Spot. You can just make out the zig zag path on Dollywagon Pike.
Lunch over we walked round the end of the tarn and started the long but steady plod up the next bump on our day out. The zig zag makes it easier but it was tough in the heat.
Once on the top we had another short break. I looked south at Morecambe Bay and observed I could no longer wave to my mum. Brian said "Of course you can," lay back and waved at the blue skies. Touching!
From Dollywagon we continued north  to Nethermost Pike and then on to the cross shaped shelter on the top of Helvellyn itself. Always a popular walk, there were quite a few people around, some taking selfies, some on mountain bikes.
 Memorial to a man who landed a plane on Helvellyn
                             Admiring the view from Nethermost Pike
Harry tells us he has read a biography of Neville Shute. Brian said Nevilles' dad was in the Paras.
Rested, and it was hot even with the southerly breeze on our backs, we continued on what Ray claimed were the last three bumps on the route, Lower Man, Whiteside and Raise. On the way we admired Striding Edge, Swirral Edge and Red Tarn below the main mountain.
                 Striding Edge, looking benign. It is quite tough if you follow the pinnacles
                                                       Red Tarn

                        Swirral Edge and Catstyecam beyond, lovely children's conical hill
Beyond Raise, at Sticks Pass we turned west across the grass before hitting the path down to the cars. The path becomes very steep towards the end and I must admit to being very tired, and dehydrated in spite of the extra water I had carried. I think the rest of the gang were suffering a little too. At one point the breeze vanished and Harry and I decided the temperature had reached at least 30C, no wonder we needed extra water.
Welcome waterfall near Stybeck Farm at the end of our walk.
To rehydrate we went to The King's Head hotel a few miles south. It had several beers on offer, Jennings, Banks and Marstons but I opted for a dehydrating pint of soda and lime with ice, even if I wasn't driving.
                     Kings Head Hotel. The sign has a picture of Charles I
On the way home we called in at the now familiar Carts Bog pub which dispensed some fine tasting Wylam Ale, very hoppy.
This is a cracking walk but it was a hard day's trek, mainly because of the heat or  am I getting old?

The Matrix MMXVII QQ                 
                                                                                    steps                    miles
NAK                                                                           28827                    10.0
iPhone                                                                         25786                    10
OUTDOO GPS                                                                                        9.8 and a total climb of 3136 ft
Dave's 3D                                                                   24635                    9.33
""" USB                                                                      22847                    9.38
""""NAK                                                                     22891                    9.39
Brian                                                                                                          10?

Contain OS data,copyright Crown copyright and database right 2017

Gallery   It was a sunny day


















Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Pennine Way and Isaac's Tea Trail (North Pennines, Cumbria) May 19th
 A new walk, although we have probably wandered sections of it on previous outings. There are nine of us  today, a good turn out; John x 3, Ben, Brian, Harry, Ray, Dave and me almost a full turn out, only the sergeant missing. We are starting the walk in the small market town of Alston in Cumbria. The town shares with Buxton in Derbyshire the distinction of being the highest market town in England, at 1000 feet. Once a thriving place, the centre for the local mines which produced silver, lead, zinc, fluorspar and coal for centuries, dating back possibly to the Romans who built a fort nearby, now called Whitley Castle but then named Epiacum. We walked there once in winter, fine perimeter mounds of earth and little else. Up to the 19th century the London Lead Company which had connections with the Society of Friends was the main employer. The Society of Friends helped provide schools and medical services in the area.
Today the town depends on agriculture and tourism. Some years ago it was used in an ITV production of Oliver Twist and it was the place used for The League of Gentlemen.
 To get to Alston take the A69 west and just after the dual carriageway ends beyond Hexham take the A686 south, turn up into the town to the very top, turn left  and park in the Yorkshire car park which also has a fine looking childrens' playground.. A map would be useful: OS OL 31 The North Pennines.
We started the day as usual with tea/coffee/ bacon at the Cumbrian Pantry, a small café at the bottom of the cobbled high street.
                              And it's free!
Leaving the town we walked south along the road to Hartside. Just before the bridge over the South Tyne we followed the sign post on the left hand side of the road that took us along the river bank on the Pennine Way which is the longest walk in the UK, starting in Derbyshire and finishing just over the border in Scotland.
Walking on the east bank through woodland and across fields we eventually arrived at a footbridge taking us over the water. The path climbed away from the river giving spectacular views of the opposite bank, it seemed a good place to stop and have a Herbie although we had only covered 3.5 miles.
                     Crossing the South Tyne
                                Especially for the ladies who read this! We shared ginger biscuits from Ben, flapjack biscuits from John Ha., Cadbury Cake bars,  Snickers, Czech Chocolate (the last bars) and ginger cake from Mrs A. And we had sandwiches.
                  Looking down from the picnic spot to the South Tyne
Slightly heavier we moved on, slowly, crossing fields until we were just in Garrigill. A sign post for Bredley Hall sent us across a footbridge, although John C. and Dave walked across the river, and almost into the village.

                                             In Garrigill, almost.
We took the road by the old Methodist Chapel and after a short climb followed the faint but marked footpath across the moorland on the south east side of Middle Fell.
                               Take the road on the left of the old chapel

Even Ben with a masters in gate openings from the Open University had a bit of a struggle with this one.
Keeping to the west of Nenthead we walked through an area of old mine workings, down the delightfully named Greengill Hush before emerging from fields to the road at Grassfield.
After a short stretch on the road we took the footpath on the right and joined Isaac's Tea Trail.

Isaac Holden was a miner who took up selling tea to the villages and farms in the area. He was philanthropic, helping local chapels and schools and sold a photograph of himself for 6d, or 2.5 p in modern currency and probably worth at least £5 in today's money.
Having passed several cottages on the trail we walked down 120 steps (I counted them) reaching the road at Nenthall where there is a hotel and pub. Crossing the river we turned right and walked over fields alongside the River Nent before taking to the road again towards Blagill. Here we left Isaac and crossed fields to Gossipgate, crossed the river and walked over more fields back to Alston and the car park.
On the way home we stopped at Carts Bog pub and restaurant. The had two real ales on offer and some refreshing soda and lime for the driver.
I got this walk from the Walking Britain Site, walk number 1084. The difference is that author Andy Chaplin starts in Garrigil and goes clockwise plus we cut a corner off. It is a terrific walk, riverside paths, Lauder grass on the moors and superb views of the north Pennines.

The Matrix MMVII RRRR
                                                steps                            miles
NAK                                       33542                           12
Dave's 3D                               27034                           11.9
  ""  USB                                25140                            11.9
  "" NAK                                25063                            11.86
iPhone                                    28537                            12
OUTDOOR                                                                  11.9
 I forgot to ask John C. and Brian
Contains OS data. Copyright
Contains OS data, Copyright Crown copyright and database right 2017