A Lakeland Round (2011): Day 9 – Tuesday 12 July

The final phase

The main part of the trip completed, I’m now embarking on the subsidiary bit. Part of the problem in planning this trip was that the fells I wanted to bag were in the extreme west and extreme east of the Lakes, and didn’t naturally join up, without using up precious days walking through familiar terrain.After my exertions of yesterday, this morning I laid my maps, route card and bus timetables out in front of me on the bed and worked out what to do. There were 3 options: (1) walk over Sticks Pass to YHA Helvellyn doing the fells I’d planned, or missing out any I didn’t fancy doing; (2) take my planned alternative of buses to Glenridding and then do a circular walk over the same fells as option 1; and (3) take the bus to Glenridding and kill time before the hostel opens painting or maybe doing a minor fell.

Option 2 was out early on as for that to work I’d have had to be on a bus soon after 7am. Option 1 remained in the running all the while I was packing and eventually I was just too late for that to work. Plus even with no tops, it was a big climb, which I just didn’t want to do today. So option 3 then.

After only 100 yards or so of walking through Keswick, I was glad I’d opted for a rest as my foot was twingeing. Not badly, but enough to benefit from some relief.

I ambled my way down through Keswick town centre picking up a coffee on the way and then drinking it while I waited for the bus to Penrith. The bus nearly broke down on the way, when the driver smelt burning, but visual inspection yielded no flames, so after a request to the passengers to let him know if it suddenly got hot in the middle of the bus, we got on our way again. It deposited me at Penrith rail station and I waited for the next bus nearly an hour away, finding a (relatively) quiet spot in the moat of Penrith Castle.

On the Patterdale bus next and I took the opportunity to recce the fells around me, starting with thursday’s planned walk out from Glenridding to the A66 over Gowbarrow Fell, Little Mell Fell and Great Mell Fell. Although individually not huge, on paper they add up to quite a big walk. Next on the left I eyed up Hallin Fell and Place Fell.

Alighting in Patterdale rather than Glenridding, so as to give me a short walk to remind the legs who is actually boss, I headed for the Grisedale track, but taking a good look at Glenridding Dodd and Sheffield Pike on the way. As I walked up the track, I got a good view of Birkhouse Moor and parts of Striding Edge, one of tomorrow’s possibilities. A short pull up from the end of the road followed and before I knew it was at Lanty’s Tarn, the main objective of this short afternoon walk.

Lanty's Tarn - apart from the Red Squirrel, a bit disappointing
Lanty's Tarn - apart from the Red Squirrel, a bit disappointing

I heard about the tarn in an article in Trail (or it might have been Country Walking) and I have to say it’s a bit of a disappointment. A good place for wildlife, plenty of birds, but especially for annoying insects, but the tarn itself is more akin to a village pond, especially with the concrete retaining wall at one end. But I have got a good view of St. Sunday Crag. And what’s that….a red squirrel. Scared off by noises before I can get the camera out.

I stayed at the tarn over an hour, leaving about 4:20 so as to time my arrival at the hostel for soon after 5 (in the event I was 3 minutes early). Just round the corner from the tarn I could see right down into the Glenridding valley. It was a simple matter to descend to cross Glenridding Beck and then yomp up the track to the hostel.

I have to say I was amazed at the amount of menu choice available. Complete contrast to Wastwater where I didn’t actually want any of the options. Now I just have to wait and see if the quality matches the range.

And it appears I might be on TV. While I was sitting in the common room a couple of guys came round with a camera making a documentary about the Lake District. So maybe it’s not just @terrybnd who’s been spotted by the BBC.

Now, having not done the planned walk over Hart Side, Sheffield Pike and Glenridding Dodd, I’m behind on hills (not much of a worry), but now have choices for what to do tomorrow (which is good). On the way to the hostel, I reasoned that with it due to close, I should do whichever walk benefits most from a start at the hostel. But also, as I expect to fly along tomorrow, I’m going to go for it peak-wise. The only problem is that I can’t join up both of my walk options without compromising the Striding Edge and Swirral Edge route – unless of course I make Swirral Edge and Catstye Cam an out-and-back.

Now I know what you’re thinking having read previous day’s posts: if he goes for it, he’ll wear himself out for thursday when he’s fully loaded. True, but I’m prepared to live with that for my last day.

So the plan for tomorrow is, weather permitting: walk up the track to Red Tarn, ascent of Birkhouse Moor and Striding Edge to Helvellyn, nip down to Nethermost Pike for High Crag, maybe even as far as Dollywaggon, then back up to Helvellyn, out and back to Catstye Cam via Swirral Edge, then descent over Hart Side, Sheffield Pike and Glenridding Dodd. I can cut bits out of this depending on how things are going as there are escape routes after almost every peak. If the weather isn’t suitable for Striding Edge, then I’ll start the walk backwards and simply head back down after Hart Side, or continue down the ridge to Aira Force, so in effect my alternative longer option for today.

The important thing is to follow the new rule of not leaving anything that I wouldn’t want to do in its own right. Either or both arms of the Striding / Swirral Edge route would be worth doing by themselves if I don’t get to do them. But Glenridding Dodd by itself less so.

Today’s stats

Distance: a meagre 3.02 miles / 4.862km
Ascent: 359m – not loads but more than I’d have thought.
Descent: 226m
Time: 1 hour 9 mins
Summits: none at all
Tarns: Lanty’s
Points: 0, total still 148

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