Friday 30 August 2019

Lucky The Dog Does Brackenthwaite Howe and Melbreak

The picture above isn't, of course, of Melbreak. It's Grasmoor but as Grasmoor appears in most of the views on this walk, and the fact that it actually looks a bit like a proper mountain, I thought I'd put it in as the introductory picture. Other than this one, none of the pics in this post appear in any kind of logical order. This is because I have been defeated by Blogger's software which doesn't seem to like me to mess around with the order of the pictures and, if I do, refuses to let me write any text. So I gave up.

 Me and Lucky The Dog eventually appeared at the National Trust car park at Scalehill Bridge, which had lots of empty spaces and a pay-and-display charge of Seven English Pounds and Fifty equally English pence. However, as the machine would not allow any coins to be inserted, I didn't pay anything. This cheered me up enough to climb Brackenthwaite Howe, a diminutive but ever-so-slightly Tump right next to the car park. This has a fine view of Grasmoor, Crummock Water and Melbreak. There's a picture of it somewhere in this blog post, I shouldn't wonder.
 Following our successful conquest of the mighty Brackenthwaite Howe, we wandered over by the choppy Crummock Water to the foot of Melbreak, where it was suddenly lunchtime. An egg and tomato butty and one of those Lidl "Portuguese" eggy custard thingies with some coffee plus a bonio (for the dog) and we launched ourselves up the scree, eventually catching up with some stragglers of a family expedition up the same hill. (Had it been a different hill, there'd have been consequences in that somebody would have been on the wrong hill, innit?) The family included a man and his very young son, an old chap, a "senior" lady who seemed to be the one who knew what she was doing and, somewhere up ahead, a Mum and another son. We heaved our way up the scree, two steps up, one step down and at a flat bit on the climb, they let me pass. I found the Mum and the other son at the summit cairn, trying, as best they could to shelter from the lively and chilly rain-spotted South-Westerly. As it was nithering, this was no place for a banana or, indeed, for socialising, so we left and climbed up to the South top and down to lower levels where I destroyed the integrity of my banana and LTD did some canine archaeology. There's a picture of this somewhere here as well, I expect.

 The return was made via a shoreline path which revealed one or two rather nice camping spots, if such a thing as camping might be allowed around here (probably drawing frowns from the "authorities" and the local farmer, I should think.) There could be a picture of the best of these spots.
My return along the shore path happened to coincide with an escalation or increase in the blusterinous of the breeze, such that it began to lift sheets of water from the surface of the lake and spray them all over me and the dog. Obviously, had the dog not spent so much time investigating the likelihood of an iron age settlement next to a gorse bush at banana-time, we would have been ahead of this event before it started and, thus, remained dry.  I'll probably restrict his chewstick allowance for a while as a punishment.

The walk was about 8 miles or something and with 2500 feet of up, some of which was arduous but quite good fun.  If you select the pictures and re-arrange them in a random fashion, there's a slim chance that they may fall into the order in which they are supposed to appear. Before you try this, you might wish to contact William Hill bookies to see if they'll give you some attractive odds of this happening.

Saturday 24 August 2019

Long Walks - Littondale to Malhamdale

August's long walk (we're doing one long walk each month) - started at Arncliffe in Littondale and went by some very soggy valley-bottom and riverside paths to Litton, where it all went a bit wrong. Due to a shift in the time/space continuum which just happened to coincide with me not looking at the map, we went up the wrong track. Eventually, this started going in the wrong direction and left us on a moor a bit away from where we should have been. However, rather than go back down the steep hill to start again, we contoured over sheep tracks and a few walls and found the road where we should have been in the first place. It was about here that it began to rain. In this case "we" were me, LTD, Li Yang, Diane and David.

This lead damply and fairly breezily to the Pennine Way at the foot of Fountains Fell, where, it being eleven o'clock or so, we had our first lunch. On a 20+ mile walk, we find it's a good idea to have two lunches.

After lunch#1. we followed the Pennine Way over Fountains Fell, past Malham Tarn where it was choppy and there were clever wood carvings of animals and birds and lots and lots of people, two of who asked the way to Catterick.  It turned out they were searching for Catrigg Force a waterfall near Stainforth and not the army camp. They were supposed to be doing a walk and following a guide through some kind of app or, at least on a mobile phone....

After directing the lost couple, we continued down through the limestone parts to the top of Malham Cove where, it being three o'clockish, we had lunch#2.  We saved marvelling at the huge drop just below us to after the butties and pies and nuts and bananas and oranges and so-on. After lunch, Li Yang scared us by walking quite close to the edge for the taking of pictures.

It had stopped raining and the sun had come out, so we pressed on to Gordale Scar where LTD's harness was attached to a rope and I climbed up to the top to belay him up the waterfall. He's been up the waterfall once before when Dawn and I were walking the Highest Pubs in England walk a couple of years ago. This was done with big backpacking packs and was tricky for the dog - so I brought the rope.  It was probably just as well - the beck was running high and the left had waterfall was spraying back uphill due to the strong wind blustering from somewhere in the approximate direction of Cornwall.  This went well after initial reluctance from the pooch and him getting stuck under an overhang and all - and then there was the wind blowing up through the gorge. I had to stand in the exact spot where most of the blown-back water was being blown back to. It was quite refreshing to say the least and within a few minutes, and well before a panicking dog slipped into a rock-basin full of water and arrived, (Lucky hates water) - I was soaked through to the undies. And then it started raining again. The excitement was not really over, though.

We carried on damply, or, in my case, wetly. The wind and rain blew and sprayed us along at a pace and we joined the Monks Road to Arncliffe. This is a path, it's not a road and one large pasture is occupied by a well-distributed and large herd of suckler cows, one of which took a dislike to LTD and followed us closely and a bit aggressively. We lost any pretence of dignity and hurried to a collapsed bit of wall to get out of the way when other cattle started getting a bit frisky.
Then it stopped raining and we arrived on the hill just above Arncliffe - damp but dignified. My boots have taken nearly a week to dry out.
According to Diane's GPS it was 23.5 miles and just a bit short of 4000 feet of climbing, 30 or so of which were fairly exciting.
September's long walk is likely to be Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang Edge. I expect.
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Tuesday 6 August 2019

Hot, Cold and Dogless

Some readers may have noticed a brief but fierce episode of summer. As the week progressed, LTD's tongue got longer and longer on doggywalks. He was, after just a mile or so, frankly, knackered. So we only went out before the heat or at night. And when it came to the walks I'd got lined up, it seemed that it would be daft to expose him to what appeared to be doggydangerous. So I left him at home.
The first walk was an evening trundle with Crook and Weardale Ramblers around Willington. This was hot. This was baking. We stewed our way around the course and were forced to take shelter in Wetherspoons. Willington, though does have some really nice, short walking routes which, I suspect are not well-known outside Willington, which is a shame.  Several of us also got interviewed for Bishop FM, a very local radio station. Apparently the lass with the recording thingy (apols for the technical language here) is doing a million steps for Diabetes and it was all part of that.

Next was the Wednesday Walkers Walking on Saturdays Wednesday walk from Nenthead - a 13 mile trundle and bogfest up the North Pennines lead by Diane. The forecast was for hot, so LTD remained at home again. Except it wasn't hot. It was sunny for a bit, then it was murky and a bit dark. We were forced to shelter at the Miners Arms in Nenthead. Whilst sitting outside sipping a dandelion and burdock, goosepimples were seen.  Good walk, though.

And then I went to Kendal - or, at least, I went to Barbon, which is relatively near Kendal. The forecast was for hot hot hot, developing into flash-bang-wallop, rumble with elements of monsoon. So I left LTD at home.

 And it was absolutely steaming. We climbed Calf Top and continued along the ridge overlooking Sedbergh to bag the diminutive but lovely Tump, Holme Knott. Here, it was even hotter, there being a strong and welcome breeze high up. We joined a bridleway leading  back towards Barbon to a closed bridge where we were told to fuck off by an employee of Thomas Armstrong (un) civil engineering of Cockermouth who were repairing/rebuilding a road bridge on contract from Cumbria County Council.  He wouldn't tell us who he worked for, but the roadworks had Thomas Armstrong Civil Engineers "Building the Future" all over it. If building the future involves telling members of the public to fuck off..... etc etc.....  I tweeted them. They ignored me. The thunderstorm appeared on time.

 Finally, it was time for High Cup Nick. This was me leading the Crook and Weardale Ramblers and the forecast was not for hot, so LTD came along.
We walked up the left and side, had lunch out of a nithering breeze at the nick, and walked down the right hand side. It was neither hot nor cold, so we took shelter in the Stag Inn afterwards. LTD seemed to enjoy it and so did I.  I think we're back to normal now; the summer has reverted to wet and windy with occasional midgies.