Joined May 2017 Message
  • Day15


    June 12, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Our first encounter for the day was the Chocolate Shop. Thanks Allison for the yummy peppermint chocolate she shared with us at our stops.

    Next was a mob of sheep coming down the lane towards us, the lane had high stone walls on either side, we were able to get off the road into a gate way as they came past.

    We crossed Ravenstonedale Moor, and had a lunch break on Smardale Bridge, then up onto Smardale Fell, and then down to Kirkby Stephen. After one of our “green room” stops I left my poles behind and had to do a quick sprint back to retrieve them. The team entertained themselves with wild flower photography while they waited.

    At about the last stile before Kirkby Stephen, there was a cow poking her head through the wall. OK we thought, and John gently urged her away and climbed to the top of the wall to find a large bull in the field, just the other side of the stile. Luckily the bull was much more interested in the cows than in us so we quietly edged around him and headed across the paddock.

    Our B&B host at the Jolly Farmer greeted us with scones, jam and cream and a cup of tea. It’s a great little town with a 13th century church, built on the site of an old Saxon church. It is now the parish church for all denominations. Just inside the church is the Loki Stone, carved by Vikings.

    We’re ready for a big day tomorrow, Julie even has a new pair of boots.
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  • Day14

    Over the stiles to Orton

    June 11, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    So we backtracked by taxi shuttle to where we left off yesterday. The taxis route was through very narrow roads with high dry stone walls on either side, luckily we didn’t meet anything big coming the other way.

    The walk then took us through paddocks, along beside a creek, over a very old bridge and over many stiles to Shap Abbey, not looking too shabby seeing as it dates back to 1200. Cattle and sheep in the paddocks now, so we have cow shit on our boots as well. I lost count of the number of stiles we climbed over. They’re not too keen on dogs wandering through the paddocks here.
    We stopped for lunch in Shap before heading off to cross the M6 motorway, luckily there is a pedestrian bridge.

    The geology changes here to limestone country, and while there were still plenty of sheep around it generally was a bit wilder than our morning walk through the paddocks. I’m not sure what the breed of sheep is now. There were some interesting rock formations.

    Finally we dropped down into the village of Orton, the day seemed longer than the expected 19 kilometres, my phone registered 22, so with the late start we were too late to visit the Chocolate Shop, maybe in the morning before we leave.

    For a lot of the day we could look back and see Kidsty Pike off in the distance, we’ve come a long way.
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  • Day13

    Ship Shape in Shap

    June 10, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Our high point today was Kidsty Pike at 784 metres. It was quite a climb, up past Angle Tarn and The Knot. Just after leaving Patterdale we could hear a cuckoo. Again we had a bit of rain on the way up but it cleared for a bit at the top so we didn’t miss out on the views. The midges were biting at the top, they obviously know that’s were they can get a good feed.
    We saw quite a few “fell runners” out today, racing straight down the hills. I was expecting one to do a face plant and roll the rest of the way down, but somehow they managed to stay upright.

    My wet weather gear is quite a site, my coat is unfashionably long, down to my knees, I think it’s about 25 years old or more, and at least one size too big. My pants are made for some about 175cm tall, perhaps that’s the average height of a bush walker, but I’m only 164cm.

    The midges knew about the lunch stop as well, at the bottom of the steep descent. After lunch we walked along beside Haweswater Reservoir and ended up at Brampton Grange. A taxi was arranged to take us into Shap for tonight and to ferry us back to join the route tomorrow. 25 kilometres and a big climb, not a bad effort.

    We’re now leaving the Lake District behind us. I’ll miss the sound of the herdies bleating, we’ve climbed some fabulous hills, and the views were spectacular.
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  • Day12

    St Sunday Crag

    June 9, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    So what if it is Saturday, this Crag was our goal for the day. We set off on a beautiful morning, up to Grisedale Pass then down a bit to Grisedale Tarn, the great little lake in the photo. From there we had a choice of 3 routes, straight down the valley to Patterdale, the very high route which is described as a precarious descent with sheer drops on either side or via St Sunday Crag. It is said that St Sunday Crag has perhaps the best views on the entire route but it started to rain not long after we headed up. It wasn’t cold and there was no wind but the views vanished in the mist. The rain cleared as we headed down, in time for a lunch break looking down towards Ullswater and Patterdale. We could see a cricket match happening in the valley below.
    Although we climb again tomorrow almost as high, St Sunday will be our highest point for the trip at about 800 metres and our distance for the day was about 17kilometres.

    Well done to Fran and Anne from group1, who conquered the high route over Helvellyn and Siding Edge.

    Our accomodation is a bit spread out tonight, 4 of us in Patterdale, the rest a couple of kilometres down the road, we’ll have a quiet dinner for 4 at the White Lion Inn. There is a red telephone box in this village, with an actual phone in it, handy because I have no phone reception here.

    I’ll miss the bleating of Herdwick sheep when we leave the Lakes District, I can hear them outside our window now.
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  • Day11

    I wandered lonely as a cloud.....

    June 8, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

    Wordsworth and all that. Wordsworth’s house, Dove Cottage, and his grave are here in Grasmere. It’s a gorgeous little tourist town, a bit “Cockington Green” like. Lots of galleries, craft shops, cafes and outdoor shops. Very relaxing day, late breakfast, washing, shopping and generally taking it easy.

    I’m not sure about the defibrillator in the old phone box; is it for elderly tourists or exhausted walkers?

    The sheep we have been seeing and hearing are Herdwicks, local indigenous sheep (they’ve been here since the 12th century), that apparently play a big role in maintaining the Lakes District environment. Beatrix Potter was a big fan of “Herdies”, she was President of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Society when she wasn’t writing about Peter Rabbit.

    The town is also famous for its ginger bread, great stuff. I bought some but I don’t think it will last until I get home and I’m not sure I’d be allowed to bring it in anyway.

    Group photo courtesy of Angela, taken on our way up, (and up) yesterday.
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  • Day10

    Up hill after breakfast

    June 7, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    And after lunch, but finally a long steep down hill to Grasmere, about 16 K.

    It was a stunning day’s walk, we took the long route of course. We came up out of the valley we were in last night following Stonethwaite Beck, then up to Lining Crag, then Greenup Edge, we stayed on a ridge top and walked up and down along to Helm Crag before going down to Grasmere. The views were just amazing, it was a long hard day because of the climbing and tricky descents but the views were unbelievable. Our book describes today’s walk as a Lakeland classic. Photos can’t really show the amazing views.

    Of course there was unlimited toast this morning so we were in fine form.

    Our colleagues from Group 1 were there to meet us in Grasmere, looking very fresh and relaxed. We’ll have dinner with them tonight, they go on tomorrow while we enjoy a rest day.
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  • Day9

    Coast to Toast

    June 6, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 10 °C

    We had a Fawlty Towers moment at breakfast this morning, Angela had the temerity to ask for more toast, she really was going to share it with the rest of us but it created some suspicion. We thought the guy was going to get Sybil to come in from the kitchen and tell us there was an allocation of one slice per person. Luckily, where we are staying tonight there is a toaster in the breakfast room, we can have as much as we like. Our guide does a good Basil Fawlty impersonation.

    Well fueled with toast we set off for Stonethwaite. 25 kilometres long but fabulous. The first 7K was along a lake, then gradually up until we got to the head of a valley where there was a cute little YHA hostel. Great spot for lunch. Then we went up and up, over a saddle and down to this valley. Spectacular views from the top.

    Along the way we adopted Betty, from Moruya. She works in the Hospice in Canberra. She was walking on her own.

    I can’t post this tonight we have no phone or internet access, so the dates might get a bit confusing.
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  • Day8

    Farewell Irish Sea, on to Ennerdale

    June 5, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    The ritual at the start of the walk is to take a pebble from the beach at St Bees to carry with you to drop the sea at the end.
    Our route took us along the cliff tops around St Bees Head and past the light house, fantastic views across the Irish Sea, we could see the Isle of Man and the coast of Scotland. Then it was time to turn inland, through farms and small villages, then up our big climb for the day, Dent Fell. Apparently you don’t often get such fine days up there so we were lucky and made that our lunch stop. Then a steep route down to a valley and a creek with the great name “Nannycatch”. We followed Nannycatch along for a bit then on down to Ennerdale, our stop for the night. About 25klm, a great start.Read more

  • Day7

    Ready to go

    June 4, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

    All of group 2 are now gathered in St Bees ready to head off in the morning. I’m now with my roommate Francis.

    I had thought that St Bees was just a little town for walkers to stay, but there is an amazing old Priory here. There is a legend about an Irish saint, St Bega, that is supposedly the origin of the name of the town and lots of old history set up beautifully in this church, it’s like a museum but is still the active centre of the Parish. We interrupted a local meeting when we arrived this morning. There is also the story of St Bees Man, a well preserved body in a lead coffin that was found here.
    I walked into Whitehaven, the nearby big town, with Angela and Julie this morning. Last minute supplies from Tesco! Whitehaven has a big harbour
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