Ups and Downs: Referendum Night on Blencathra

The sky was dumping large amounts of water as Colin picked me up and we headed onto the motorway network for the long journey north. A combination of rush hour and large amounts of standing water made for unpleasant conditions, but the gradual change to better was discernable with every mile further north. A quick stop at Keele Services to pick up Cath and we were on our way, the day now getting nicer and nicer. As we entered the National Park, we discussed the original plan involving a camp near Ullscarf, and then a better plan emerged.

Continue reading “Ups and Downs: Referendum Night on Blencathra”

On My Tod


Looking to the North Western Fells #sh
Dawn looking over to the North Western fells

Dirty cloud obscured the rising sun, with just a small distant patch of orange beyond Great Mell Fell and some reflected colour to the west to betray the start of a new day.  A cacophony of barking, baying and yelping accompanied the start of my climb above the kennels at Gategill, and I could still hear them some time later from hundreds of feet above. Continue reading “On My Tod”

Finishing Off the Northern Fells – Part 3: Carrock Fell


The sense of aborting my foray into the Western Fells in favour of getting the Northern Fells to 100% soon became even more obvious. With today being travelling home day, there wasn’t much else I could do that hadn’t already been done, and Carrock Fell was, sort of, on the way home. The forecast for today was lovely, almost the inverse of the previous day as if the sky had run out of crap to throw down upon the earth and needed time out to reload. Continue reading “Finishing Off the Northern Fells – Part 3: Carrock Fell”

Finishing off the Northern Fells – Part 2: Blencathra & Friends


The forecast for the weekend was poor, maybe even bordering on lunacy, and was the main reason why we’d decided not to camp this time out, preferring instead the security of hostels and especially the chances they afforded to get dry and warm after a day out on the fells dicing with the conditions.

Today we could expect 40-65 mph winds and negligible visibility on the summits themselves. And today we’d be burdened with all of our stuff at a time when the plan said we’d have to get over the highest point on the whole trip. No pressure then. Continue reading “Finishing off the Northern Fells – Part 2: Blencathra & Friends”

Finishing off the Northern Fells – Part 1: Souther Fell

The bus shook as the first evidence of the weekend’s weather forecast collided with the moving vehicle. And today was supposed to be a “good” day. The bus dropped me off at Scales and I set off along a lane to the path that paralleled Comb Beck for the climb into Mousthwaite Comb. Continue reading “Finishing off the Northern Fells – Part 1: Souther Fell”

Autumn in the Lakes: Arty Stuff

It’s really rather nice sitting here by Derwentwater taking in the views and attempting to transfer them to paper, and I don’t regret the way today’s plans have worked out at all. Continue reading “Autumn in the Lakes: Arty Stuff”

Binsey's summit

Favourite Fells – Binsey

There are going to be some people reading this that will think I’ve completely flipped.  After all Binsey isn’t that high (447m), consists largely of easy grassy slopes and looks pretty harmless.  Set aside from the main bulk of the northern fells, AW called it “the odd man out” and “like a dunce set apart from the class”.  Not a great start then, so why did he also describe it as “much too good to be omitted” ? Continue reading “Favourite Fells – Binsey”

Climbing to Scarth Gap

A Day of Judgement

The title’s probably a touch dramatic, but in my post New Year’s zombie-like state of mind, it seemed to do the trick.  Of course, if you believe the Mayans we’ve just had our last New Year’s Eve parties (no loss there really) as the world is due to end sometime this year. Continue reading “A Day of Judgement”


Whilst everyone else is starting the New Year with positive thinking (that is apart from the effects of last night’s drinking), I thought I’d take an opposite tack and talk about failure.

In my walking career I’ve notched up a few failures and whilst I’ve not let them get to me too much, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a desire to expunge them from the record.  So I thought I’d start the year with a good positive post about all my failed ascents – whether down to the weather, the terrain or simply running out of time. Continue reading “Failure”

A Lakeland Round (2011): The Stats

Not everyone is interested in the stats, so let’s keep the analysis in a separate post. Continue reading “A Lakeland Round (2011): The Stats”

Dodd and Skiddaw

A Lakeland Round (2011): Day 1 – Monday 4 July

A Quick (?) Leg Stretch

Today I arrived in the Lake District for 11 days of walking, on a mission to mop-up some odds and ends of fells and also to knock off most of the western fells. Travelling up today, meant a short walk in the afternoon, with the only sensible choice being Dodd, an odd leftover fell and within easy range of Keswick. But it turned out to be much harder than planned….. Continue reading “A Lakeland Round (2011): Day 1 – Monday 4 July”

Cumbria Way – The End of the Walk

So that’s it. As I limp away from Carlisle Castle through the urban ugliness of the city centre, I’m not feeling any sense of achievement. That came about 4 miles out from Carlisle, when I knew I’d make it (somehow), but completely evaporated on the slog over the tarmac.

If the Cumbria Way finished in Dalston, that would have suited me fine, and I don’t think it gains anything from the extra spirit-crushing crawl Continue reading “Cumbria Way – The End of the Walk”