The view across Ullswater from Place Fell – Nature’s Playground
My Top 10 Adventures Around Ullswater, Glenridding and Patterdale
One of the themes emerging from the current discussions around the potential installation of Zip Wires above Glenridding (see www.noziphere.org) is the notion that the valley needs to offer more options for “adventure” seekers. Utter nonsense in my humble opinion. The Dale already offers a huge range of activities to keep even the most ardent adrenalin junkie happy. So for what it’s worth here are my Top 10 Adventurous Activities around the southern end of Ullswater.
Morgan on Swirral Edge
The obvious one, and one I’m lucky to be able to indulge in every day of the year. Being the owner of Morgan, the mad labrador, every walk is an adventure. This area of the Lake District offers all manner of walks to suit all levels of ability, energy and enthusiasm. If you want an adrenalin rush I can recommend heading up the top of Helvellyn after a fresh overnight snow fall – aim to be there as the sun rises over Striding Edge for the best experience. Or you could try an endurance walk like our annual 30 mile, 10,000 feet of ascent Patterdale Parish Boundary Walk – always an adventure especially if you’re navigating along the fell tops in thick mist. I walk around here every day and see a different perspective every time I go out – whether it’s the colours on the fells, the wildlife or the views. Helvellyn, St Sunday Crag, Fairfield, Place Fell, The Dodds – they’re all on the doorstep waiting for you to have an adventure – so get out there and enjoy….
Running along the top of Striding Edge (not me!)
Being shaped like an over inflated rugby ball myself I’m not exactly built for trail and fell running. However I can see the appeal and Morgan certainly makes the most of it every day. As above, the fells are there aplenty and the area plays host to a wide range of annual fell running events, including the Ian Hodgson Relay, the Ullswater Trail Running Events, and of course the Helvellyn Triathlon. I find it exciting enough coming down a scree slope at walking/sliding pace, so to run down must be one heck of a thrill….
My son trying a new form of water biking in Brotherswater
3. Mountain Biking
Another obvious choice – whether it’s on the low level paths around the Dale, road biking up and down the Kirkstone pass, or hauling yourself and your bike on to the top of High Street. I even saw some brave soul struggling up the path towards Helvellyn on a unicycle yesterday – now that’s what I call adventurous….
Climbing up the face of Helvellyn
Another one not suited to Labradors and their owners in tandem, but one with huge potential in the Dale. Just head up the Grisedale Valley most days in the week and you’ll see intrepid youngsters from Patterdale Hall or the Outward Bound Centre rock climbing and abseiling….
Ghyll Scrambling – Photo courtesy of Reach Beyond Adventure
5 – Ghyll Scrambling
Another great activity for youngsters, alongside canyoning, cliff jumping, and many other adventurous activities – all of which are available in the area. There are many great local companies that offer organised experiences guaranteed to offers thrills and spills, all under the experienced and watchful guidance of full trained instructors (including Reach Beyond Adventure and Distant Horizons). Or you can just take Morgan for a walk and watch him have a go all on his own….
Morgan the Sledge Dog
6 – Skiing
Skiing, snow boarding or (if you’re Morgan) sledging. All great fun and ideal activities when the snow arrives (as it soon will). We are home to the Lake District Ski Club who have a centre up at Greenside Mine and a ski tow on Raise. When the snow’s really good you can ski all the way down to the village – now that’s an adventure….
Morgan forgets to strap on his skies
Sailing on Ullswater
7 – Sailing
Ullswater is often called England’s most beautiful lake and the position of the fells around it also makes for some of the best inland sailing in the country. The lake plays host to many exciting regattas including the annual Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy. There are also some great sailing schools in the area, including the Glenridding Sailing Centre where you can get expert tuition or just hire a dinghy if you’re already a nautical type….
Exploring Ullswater by Kayak and Canoe
8 – Kayaking & Canoeing
Another great way to have an adventure on Ullswater – stunning views and plenty of excitement. Canoes and Kayaks can be hired from the Glenridding Sailing Centre and St Patricks Boatyard, and many of the outdoor companies like Reach Beyond and Distant Horizons will provide expert tuition and guided tours. You can also hire boats at St Patricks Boatyard in Patterdale – one of the best days we’ve had was island hopping around the lake in one of their boats….
9 – Swimming
Another great adventure in itself. Ullswater is an ideal place and hosts various swimming events through the year, including the Triathlon. Don’t just limit yourself to the obvious. For a bit of added excitement head up to Angle Tarn or Red Tarn – probably not ideal for swimming in the winter (unless your name’s Morgan) but a great way to cool off mid walk in the summer…
Morgan enjoying the infinity pool atop Place Fell
Red Squirrels, Red Deer, Roe Deer and Plenty of Sheep
10. Wildlife Watching
Final one of the top ten – the adventure of heading out on a walk and bumping in to any number of beautiful creatures. Red deer, roe deer, badgers, foxes, all manner of bird life, and if you’re luck enough to see them, red squirrels. Now that’s exciting…
So is that it?
Well no. That’s just my top 10. Everyone will have their own thoughts and favourites and there’s plenty of other things to try, from fishing to archery. So come along and try it out for yourself. Click the link for more Things to do around Ullswater.
What’s all this in aid of?
As I said at the start, one of the arguments being used by some to justify the idea of installing zip wires above Glenridding seems to be that there’s not enough to do there at the moment. Utter rubbish as far as I’m concerned and I hope you agree. If you do then please join the #noziphere campaign by visiting the website at www.noziphere.org, where you can sign our petition and find other ways to fight the good fight and allow people to continue to enjoy the many adventures available around Ullswater without the need for fairground rides.
Results of the community vote on 12th December to the following question
“Are you in favour of the proposed zip wire installations in the Glenridding Valley?”
In Favour 13
Total Votes 384
As a result of this vote Tree Top Trek Issued the Following Statement:
‘Whilst I obviously regret not having been able to develop the concept into a proposal, the local community has made their views very clear and I will stand by our commitment not to pursue this any further in Glen Ridding. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to debate what was always going to be a contentious topic and in doing so have at least demonstrated that the zip wire concept is valid and broadly acceptable in the right location. I would like to thank the community again for their time. It is to their complete credit that they have been so unified in their response.’
Thank you all.
Just Say No to the Proposed Zip Wires in Glenridding
My posts here are normally celebrating the natural beauty and tranquillity of the Lake District, and of the Ullswater and Helvellyn area in particular – so I apologise in advance for using this platform for a bit of soap boxing. However it is precisely because I love the Lake District as it is, and want to protect it for the benefit of all, that I am about to rant on against the ludicrous proposals being mooted to install four, 100 mph, 1 mile long zip lines in Glenridding by Helvellyn and Ullswater.
YOU CAN SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR OUR FIGHT AGAINST THE ZIP WIRES RIGHT NOW AT
The Lake District National Park (LDNP) has issued a planning advice statement to a company who are considering developing a new ‘attraction’ in Glenridding – at least 4 parallel, mile long, zip lines, with operating speeds of up to 100 mph, running from somewhere on Greenside mine, down the valley to the fields above Glenridding. On Monday 29th September I attended, along with 100 or so other residents from the Dale, a meeting at Glenridding Village Hall at which the company involved shared a platform alongside representatives of the National Park to answer questions from people about the proposals. In a nutshell they both said that no formal application for planning had been made but that Glenridding was being considered by the company “along with other options in the Lake District”. The company involved already runs a much smaller scale zip wire attraction in Windermere, coincidentally at the Lake District National Park visitor centre at Brockhole, and its business partner runs similar attractions in Wales. At the end of the meeting we were left no clearer as to when and if an application would be made, and on what basis a decision would be made as to whether to proceed by the company.
Four Reasons Why the Lake District National Park can NEVER say yes to a Zip Wire in Glenridding
So for what it’s worth here’s my message to the National Park and to the company as to why the answer they are looking for is simple and quick to make:
Agreeing to it would be contrary to everything that the Lake District National Park Authority should stand for in terms of its founding objectives
Zip Lines in the Ullswater and Helvellyn Area would be utterly out of keeping with the natural beauty, peace and tranquillity of the dale
They would have a negative impact on the local economy by driving away people who already come here and stay here and spend here precisely because of its current “unspoilt” nature
The National Park Authority has a clear conflict of interest given the considerable financial gain it would receive from installation of the “attraction”
Beautiful & Peaceful – please keep it that way
Let me try and give a little more detail to each of these reasons
This type of installation is contrary to the LDNP’s own objectives
The objective of the Park Authority according to its own website is “to conserve and enhance its natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage and to help people understand and enjoy its special qualities. National Parks are protected under legislation and the planning system to ensure conservation and enhancement of their special qualities not just for the present, but also for future generations of residents and visitors”. Not sure how 4 parallel mile long zip wires on metal pylons installed on a scheduled ancient monument in an area of outstanding natural beauty quite fits in with that then. There is even the “Sandford Principle” – Section 62 of the Environment Act 1995, which makes clear that if National Park purposes are in conflict then conservation must have priority.
Ullswater and Helvellyn is an inappropriate place for such an “attraction”
People come to the Ullswater and Helvellyn area to enjoy the many varied activities already on offer, and to enjoy the unspoilt natural beauty, peace and tranquillity of the place. Whether it’s walking, mountain biking, fell running, climbing, canyoning, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming or just relaxing and enjoying the views there are already an abundance of visitors, young and old who come here to have fun and enjoy themselves, without the need for additional gimmicks. There are already places where people can go for this sort of activity in the National Park, such as Whinlatter, Grizedale, and of course Brockhole. As for the mine itself, it is a scheduled ancient monument, and an SSSI and as such highly inappropriate for any sort of development. The mine also houses several hostels which are used by hundreds of children a year, many from areas of social deprivation, and for whom the whole benefit of coming to the area is to get an appreciation of nature – not likely if all they can see is the opportunity to zip down a mile long funfair ride. Sadly of course these sort of children wouldn’t be able to afford the zip line anyway – not the “grey pound” target market don’t you know…
The new attraction is likely to have a negative economic impact on the local economy
One of the key perceived benefits of the new “attraction” is the likely economic benefits in terms of new jobs and increased visitors. However, as with all claims of obvious prosperity for all, it is worth looking at the real economic impact. As stated above many of the people who currently come to the area, and stay in the Hotels, B&Bs and cottages come because of its peace, tranquillity and natural beauty – the “unspoilt” nature of what you might call the “real” Lake District. It is highly likely that many of these people will not want to return if their peace and tranquillity is marred by the high noise levels generated by the zip lines, and their views are ruined by large metal pylons. In addition most of the revenue generated will actually go straight to the company running the attraction and the National Park themselves, but more on that shortly…
In all likelihood all that will happen is that current day trippers will be put off coming as they won’t be able to park and so the people that eat and drink in the cafes and spend money in the local shops will disappear. Meanwhile the people who stay for 2-3 days in B&Bs and Hotels and for week long stays in the local holiday cottages will simply go elsewhere, meaning there will be no one eating out in the local pubs and restaurants in the evening, or spending money during the day in the local shops – threatening existing local jobs.
As for the new jobs, by the company’s own admission, most of the jobs it has generated in Brockhole are seasonal low paid jobs. No one disagrees that we need more jobs for young local people in the Dale, but we need more skilled fulltime jobs which will allow them to thrive and support their own families. So basically unless you’re the “attraction” operator, the LDNP, or after a part time, seasonal, low paid job, then this will have no benefit to local people, and indeed is more likely to reduce their revenues and job prospects.
4. The LDNP has a clear conflict of interest in the whole thing
As the landowner of the site where the “attraction” is proposed, and many of the facilities to be used by visitors to it, there is a clear conflict of interest between LDNP’s primary role as the “protector” of the National Park through its planning committee and the commercial benefit it would directly receive as a landowner as a result of a positive planning decision. So how would the LDNP Authority benefit financially? Here’s 5 ways for a start.
The proposal is for the visitors to the “attraction” park to in the LDNP car park in Glenridding – up to £8 a go currently
“Riders” as they’re apparently called would then use the LDNP Tourist Information Centre in Glenridding to purchase their tickets, for which service again the LDNP would presumably be paid
“Riders” would then be bussed up to Greenside Mine, potentially on a “land train” along a bridlepath, most of which is owned by, you’ve guessed it, the LDNP
When arriving at the start of the “attraction”, “Riders” would be kitted out in a new visitor centre, which may well be the existing LDNP hostel at the site
After no doubt having a coffee and cake in the new cafe which is likely to be built in the LDNP owned building, the “Riders” will then get into 4x4s to drive up the fell to then mount the steel pylon to start their ride, which of course is built on LDNP land and for which the company operating the “attraction” will be paying a premium rent.
So the positive for the Lake District National Park Authority is that they get money from the entire life-cycle – parking, ticket purchase, transport to the start, and of course the zip lines themselves. No conflict of interest there then….
Just so there is no doubt exactly where the LDNP stands on this issue – since I first published this blog I have been told that the Chief Executive of the LDNP himself made a phone call earlier in the year to the owner of one of the properties which would be most affected by the proposal to try and “sell” the idea to him. He failed in that endeavour but at least he’s now let the rest of us know how impartial the LDNP are likely to be if it ever comes to a planning vote. For those interested in the Planning Advice Statement this can be accessed here.
There are a host of other issues associated with the proposal – not least of which is that access to the mine is via a single track bridleway used regularly by walkers and bikers, who would struggle to keep using it when the “landtrain” is zipping up and down every 10 minutes or so. Not to mention other practical issues like parking, sewage issues, etc etc etc. The point is that given the four points above these other important considerations should not even need to be discussed. The very idea of scheme should be dropped – now and forever.
Red Deer often seen above Greenside – but for how much longer?
So Who Is Behind this Mad Plan?
I have deliberately not named the company responsible for the proposed scheme. There are enough clues out there if anyone wants to find out. As it goes I have nothing against them personally – I know what it’s like to build a business in the Lake District and I’m all in favour of local businesses looking to bring in jobs to the area – just make sure they’re the right jobs in the right area. To be honest I feel sorry for them as they’ll be wasting an awful lot of time, money and effort coming up with a proposal in the first place when the Lake District National Park authority should have told them from the off that it as a non-starter. So come on LDNP – as both the landowner and custodian of the National park – do the decent, sensible and obvious thing and tell the company that they’re wasting their time and they should direct their talents and efforts elsewhere. Now.
So what next?
Well as above we, the residents of the Dale, are simply waiting for the company to decide whether to submit a formal planning application or not, and for the National Park to then “do its thing”. There are other sites far more appropriate, not least of which is the fabulous Honister Site.
A change from the usual walks and photos of the Lakes for this one. Something I’ve been working on in the evenings and wee hours as part of our local communities plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War…
The Patterdale & Glenridding War Memorial Project – Please Help!
Towards the end of the First World War the inhabitants of Patterdale and Glenridding collected money in order to establish a permanent Monument as a Memorial to the Officers and Men who fell in the Great War. The memorial slab was hewn from a twenty ton piece of local slate and the eventual undressed slate stone still weighs in at around 5 tons. It was unveiled in October 1921 and still stands to this day between Glenridding and Patterdale at the side of Ullswater.
As part of the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of the outbreak of World War One, along with many other communities up and down the country, we have tried to find out more about the men whose names are inscribed on the memorial, and also about life in and around Patterdale and Glenridding at the time.
Their generation have all gone now, but their stories still resonate. From research including interviews with people around the Dale, trawling local Newspapers archives, studying the Parish Registers, online investigation and frankly a lot of guesswork, we have tried to piece together the stories of each of these men as far as we can.
The project started off as part of a project on behalf of Patterdale School and has now been enlarged into a wider community project involving St Patrick’s Church and the Parish Council.
There are still some areas for which we are looking for information and we would be grateful for any additional knowledge anyone can add. We would also like to thank all those who have assisted in our efforts to date and to apologise wholeheartedly for any unintentional inaccuracies in any of our presented research. Of particular interest to us is to find out more about GR Bennett of whom we can find no trace.
We have created the Ullswater War Memorial website which has more information on the people listed on the memorial as well as people listed on the Roll of Honour in the Glenridding Village Hall. We have also included a section on then and now photos from around Glenridding and Patterdale including this one from 1906 of the Ullswater Football team which we believe includes at least 2 of the local me who fought in the First World War.
Ullswater Football Club 1906
The website also lists some of the other “mysteries” unearthed during the research – and this is what we need some help on…
Missing Pieces of the Jigsaw
Who was GR Bennett?
Despite much searching of census and other records we can find no real trace of GR Bennett, the first name on our Memorial. He is commemorated on the Patterdale War Memorial but not on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour, and sadly we have so far been able to find no trace of him. If you can help please let us know.
Why was Oliver Readshaw not included on the Patterdale War Memorial ?
Private Oliver Readshaw, 24554, 14th Bn., Durham Light Infantry was born in Patterdale and baptised on the 18th October 1885. He was the younger brother of George Readshaw, and probably joined the Durham Light Infantry with him at the start of the war. Sadly he died just a month after George on the 23rd October 1915, and is buried at the Ploegsteert Wood Military Cemetery in Belgium. Both are listed on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour but only George’s name was added to the Patterdale Memorial. We do not know why this is. It is possible that no-one was in contact with him, and judging from his brothers name being added at the end of the memorial it is possible no-one knew that Oliver was dead.
Private Thomas Little, 44611, “B” Coy. 1st Bn., South Wales Borderers who died on 10 November 1917 Age 21. He died at the Battle of Passchendale. His Commonwealth War Graves Commission record states that he was the son of Son of Thomas Royal Little, and Elizabeth Ann Little, of Goldrill House, Patterdale. We know they were not living there in 1911, and may have moved here during the War. They settled in (and possibly built) Daweswood. There is an inscription to Tom on his parents gravestone in Patterdale Churchyard, stating “Tom, Their Elder Son, who was killed in action on Passchendale Ridge, Belgium, on Nov 10th 1917”. Would Tom have been excluded simply because he was not born in the Dale? If so then neither were many others on the Roll of Honour and some on the Memorial.
Whatever happened to Miles Cooper?
Perhaps one of the strangest things to emerge from our research is the mystery surrounding Miles Cooper, George Cooper’s elder brother. Miles is commemorated on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour. Miles had enlisted in the Territorials in 1909 and went to France with the British Expeditionary Force in 1914. His service record states that in November 1915 he deserted, and nothing was heard from him after that. All we know from the records is that his wife (Jane nee Moor) whom he married in 1911, and daughter Mabel (born Feb 1914) were still asking for information on him on Dec 10th 1928, writing to the army
“Dear Sirs I am anxious to know if you have been able to get any trace of my husband L.Cpl M Cooper, 3rd Border Regt…Could you advise me in any way at all. I am anxious to know of his whereabouts or what became of him. I am Yours Truly Mrs M Cooper”.
Were they ever reunited?
If you can help with any of these mysteries please get in touch via the Ullswater Memorial Website.
The Names of the Fallen
These are the names of the men who are inscribed on the Patterdale War Memorial, with links to the pages on our website where we have listed what information we have on them.
Every year we help to organise the Patterdale Parish Boundary Walk. This is an annual fund raiser in aid of Patterdale Primary School and St Patrick’s Church Patterdale. There are 3 walks, a 7 miler, a 14 miler and the “full monty” 30 miler. You can sponsor our team if you’re so inclined on the Morgan Army fundraising Page. This is the story of this year’s walk – somewhat shortened for me due to a team member injury. As always feel free to skip the boring words and enjoy the pictures..
The Night Before
This year I was joined by a gang of people I’ve known since school days. Predictably this meant the evening before was spent “catching up” in the local pub. Needless to say as the host for the evening I had to make sure everyone was having a good time, so it was around 02:00 when I finally got to bed. 2 hours later the alarm went and I had the dubious honour of wandering around the house rousing people who up until that moment had been my friends.
View down to Ullswater from above Glencoyne
Eventually by 05:30 we were mustered on the start line. The day before it has rained incessantly and it was still raining as we set off. As we cleared Glencoyne the rain eased and I was hopeful that the predicted fine weather for the day would soon materialise. I was also hoping that my hangover would soon be sweated out….
As we headed up Greenside I caught sight of gathering cloud on the tops. At this point I was still hopeful it would clear…
Mist from Greenside
3 hours in the Mist
Some chance of that. By the time we got onto Stybarrow Dodd visibility was down to 20 feet at best. We were pretty strung out as a group and at this point getting our bearings was a little on the tricky side. As a result we ended up adding an extra Dodd (and several miles) onto the route before sanity prevailed and we found the path up to Raise. We had by this time picked up a couple of other walkers who’d been heading in the opposite direction – and even I could tell them that was wrong!
Walking in the Mist
As we headed off Raise onto Whiteside and Helvellyn Lower Man it finally looked as if the weather was beginning to lift as we caught tantalising glimpses of clearer skies…
Thirlmere appears out of the gloom
By the time we eventually made it to the top of Helvellyn the skies had properly started to clear and it was looking good.
My gang on the summit of Helvellyn
Catstycam, Red Tarn and Striding Edge from Helvellyn Summit with Ullswater behind
We headed off Helvellyn across Nethermost and Dollywaggon towards Grisedale Tarn in good spirits as we enjoyed the fine views..
The view west from Nethermost
Grisedale Tarn from Dollywaggon
Unfortunately at this point it was clear one of our group had picked up a knee injury. Uphill was no problem but downhill was looking painful. From here even getting to the half way point at Kirkstone top would involve another 4 hours or so of hard walking with the end point being the “killer” of Red Screes – a long drag up and a long sharp drop down to Kirkstone. Although my hangover was now a distant memory too was still feeling a little jaded so I offered to lead an escape route down the Grisedale Valley and back to Patterdale. 3 of the party decided to join me and the rest pushed on…
Air Sea Rescue Over St Sunday – not looking for us
It’s still a fair old walk down the Grisedale Valley but at least the sun was shining and by the time we got back to Patterdale we’d been out for a good 8 hours…
View back up the Grisedale Valley
I had time to zip up to Kirkstone and meet the rest of the Morgan Army gang there as they enjoyed their WI jam sandwiches and tea. A couple of the more sane ones also dropped out at this point but 3 hardy souls and Beau the dog carried on – eventually finishing at 20:30 – so well done to Luke, Andrew, Ross and Beau!
Needless to say the evening BBQ was even messier than the night before warm up but by Sunday everyone had pretty much recovered. Thanks again to all who took part in this year’s walk – and to everyone who wants to sponsor Morgan and his team. Everyone was also well enough the next day for a jaunt along the side of Ullswater where we were treated to a Hercules fly past while we stopped for lunch…
Hercules over Glencoyne
If only they’d been there on Saturday morning they could have given us a lift onto the tops…..
Helvellyn, Striding Edge and Catstycam from Place Fell
Winter at last
Well it’s the new year and this time last year we were wading through thick snow. So far this year all we’ve had is rain, rain and a little more rain. Until last weekend – when we finally got a ‘proper winter’ day in the Lake District. So we decided to head up onto Place Fell in search of some snow. As always feel free to skip the boring words and just enjoy the photos…
The early morning Morgan walk had shown signs of promise, with overnight snow on the fell tops and a glow in the sky as the sun did its best to remind us it was still up there.
Glow in the sky of the Grisedale Valley behind some Gillside Rams
The views from the house were also looking inviting, with the Red Deer massing on Place Fell opposite…
Red Deer on Place Fell in the Snow
Morgan and I returned home after our early morning foray to be told that we were expecting visitors – friends on my son and their mum. What better way to keep 2 eight year olds, a six year old and their respective parentals happy and amused than a stroll up Place Fell on a glorious day??
The walk up to Boredale Hause
The boys set off up to Boredale Hause
So we set off mid morning heading for Boredale Hause. Obviously were not alone in this ambition and it soon became clear that we’d have to head off piste if we were going to avoid the procession of happy walkers heading up the main route – and more importantly the inevitable excitement for Morgan of meeting other dogs, and the equally inevitable disappointment for the other dogs (and me) when they realised Morgan was a little too “friendly”…
Morgan keeps an eye out for any potential new friends
The boys did well to make it up to Boredale without too much complaint – although my son decided to pick up a “very interesting rock” which inevitably he ended up putting in my rucksack to carry for the rest of the walk (and which equally inevitably has been sitting outside the back door since we got back – obviously not as fascinating as first imagined..)
Panorama from Boredale Hause towards Helvellyn
Having made it up to Boredale without too many “dog on dog” incidents we realised that taking the main route up Place Fell was going to be a) too much for all the boys and b) more importantly too much for me to cope with in terms of Morgan close protection. He’d already spent too much time on the lead – not what he’s designed for and not ideal for me either as he has a tendency to randomly leap off the path to investigate a smell taking me with him. So we headed off towards Angle Tarn with a view to finding the snow and at least getting as far as the cairn on Rake Crag.
Plenty of people on the Place Fell Path – but at least no dogs
The boys were beginning to flag a little but we managed to get everyone energized by playing the “who’s going to be first to get to the snow” game (that and a timely distribution of Haribos..)
Heading towards the snow line
Morgan out in front as always
Morgan wins the “four feet in the snow” contest
We headed off the Angle Tarn path and up Rake Crag where we were walking in a little snow and most importantly the boys were able to make snow balls. First of the year and inevitably thrown with mixed success at me..
Mountain Morgan soaks up the views towards Helvellyn
Rake Crag Cairn
Morgan obviously remained aloof from all the nonsense and enjoyed the views (probably sulking because there were no other people or dogs about…) Anyway we arrived at Rake Crag – or at least I think that’s what it’s called – either way it’s a nice cairn with some cracking views….
Rake Crag looking towards Fairfield and Helvellyn
Morgan celebrates the arrival at Rake Crag with a comedy tongue moment
We didn’t hang around too long as it was a little breezy up there as demonstrated by this photo of Morgans ears behaving badly..
Morgan having a bad ear moment…
Those of you who look closely will see my son holding a rather large snow ball.Rather than hurl it at me I managed to negotiate its formal burial in the shady side of the cairn. So if you’re up there over the next week have a look for it.
Panorama from Rake Crag
he Return to Boredale Hause
We headed back down to Boredale Hause aiming to again avoid the crowds by descending via the “Pipe Track” to Beckstones rather than mow down the hordes climbing up the main drag. By this time the sun was shining in all its glory and the views across the Valley towards Ullswater and Helvellyn were magnificent – although for those of you atop Helvellyn it still looked a little claggy…
View to Ullswater from above Boredale Hause
Helvellyn, Striding Edge and Catstycam from Place Fell
The views south west over Deepdale were none too shabby either…
View across to Deepdale from above Boredale Hause
As always the mere fact were heading home and downhill seemed to give a new lease of life to tired legs and the boys starting leaping down the fell like demented things – much to the delight of Morgan who of course expected us to head back towards the masses.
My son re-energized
Just to show we’d found the snow
The Pipe Track Descent
The trip down the Pipe Track towards Beckstones Farm was fairly uneventful other than a comedy moment of Morgan marking his territory on the edge of the path – in the highly unlikely event another dog would try and claim that particular spot as their own…
And so back home to enjoy the rest of the day. All in all a great walk in glorious weather with fantastic views and some snow thrown in for good measure. Sadly as I write this the rain has returned and all I can see out of the window is claggy mist enveloping Place Fell. Hopefully the decent “proper” winter weather will return soon!
Having both been injured for the last few months Morgan and I were very keen to test our legs with a walk. In addition the stags have been doing their stuff on Place Fell for the last few weeks so it seemed like a good chance to head up for some photos. The forecast wasn’t great but the day started clear enough so when Chris suggested a walk we were all set.
I should have guessed things would take a turn for the worse when Chris arrived in his full deep sea diving wet weather gear. I of course was suitably ill equipped with a small rucksack stuffed with an apple, a hat, and enough dog treats to keep Morgan and Scruffy happy for the morning. Plus ca change.
Scruffy after a treat
We set off in the dry although it was looking a little grey and headed along the side of Place Fell from Patterdale towards Silver Point. Ullswater was looking mighty fine as always and the views as we climbed were still very good…
Morgan enjoys the views of Ullswater
Ullswater from the side of Place Fell
I was still quite happy with my choice of outfit at this point as the weather looked to be in the “dank” rather than “dire” category. Chris of course was still predicting gloom..
Chris and Scruffy
As we neared the top of the ascent Chris spotted a couple of deer on the ridge above. Luckily Morgan and Scruffy were otherwise engaged and the deer managed to stay put long enough for me to take a photo..
Red Deer on Place Fell
Morgan and Scruffy Otherwise Engaged
Suffice to say it would be our last sighting of the day. As we reached the plateau we got the first spots of rain, and the wind started to pick up. Chris assumed the smug “I’m prepared” aura of an experienced mountain man and I made a vain attempt to shrug it off as nothing to worry about. Rather than heading straight for the top we decided to wander around on the plateau below looking for some more deer.
Ullswater from below of the summit of Place Fell
We didn’t spot any more deer and Morgan decided it was all a little boring…
It was about this time that the weather really closed in. The rain went from drizzle to stair rods and the wind picked up to the point where lighting my celebratory cigarette proved a little tricky. I decided it was time to don my hat, and had to borrow some gloves from Chris as obviously there wasn’t enough room in my rucksack due to the excess of dog treats. Whilst having a quick fag break I realised we were not alone…
Fell nutty walker
At least they looked well prepared…
We decided to head for the summit and then head for home. By now as well as the wind and rain we had some nice mist as well. Luckily Place Fell is pretty close to home and so there was no real danger of getting lost (especially with Chris around), although by now it was getting more than a little unpleasant.
Chris and the boys just below the summit
It has to be said that the hounds didn’t seem too fazed by the weather and as usual Place Fell provided an array of old sheep bones to keep them happy..
Morgan and Scruffy enjoy the weather
As we approached the summit from the north side we were marginally sheltered from the wind but when we got to the top we got the full effect. At this point even the hounds looked a little unhappy.
The Summit of Place Fell (honest)
Now was not the time for lots of summit posing, indeed for the first time ever I didn’t even have a fag at the top. All we wanted to do was get back down. The wind was gusting on the summit ridge and the rain had turned to horizontal hail, making for pretty grim conditions.
Summit ridge of Place Fell
Morgan and Chris trying to escape the wind
To give you a sense of what it was like here’s a rather pathetic video I took on the summit ridge…
We made good our escape down to Boredale Hause and by then the weather had eased a little. Still even Scruffy was not looking that happy and we were all keen to get back home as quickly as possible..
A damp Scruffy
We did pause briefly on the way down to try and dry out the camera a little. This led to some unintentional selfies…
As you can see (just) I’m looking slightly rougher than usual – this is all in a good cause. I’m currently attempting to grow some unsightly facial hair to raise money for Myeloma UK. A very good friend of mine has this (currently) incurable form of cancer and we are trying to raise money for this great charity. Please feel free to sponsor us!
Anyway back to the walk. The descent from Boredale was made to the accompaniement of squelching from my boots – time for a new pair methinks. I also managed to slip over and nearly disappear down a gully but was saved by the weight of dog biscuits in my rucksack…
Morgan and Scruffy on the way down from Boredale
Obviously by the time we did get home the weather had cleared and noone understood what all the fuss was about. Well now you know…
Winter Scenes from Patterdale and Ullswater March 2013
After yesterday collection of photos of Red Deer on Place Fell, I thought I’d post some others taken over the last week or so around Patterdale and Ullswater as we’ve been enjoying our unseasonal snowy weather.
Once again apologies to my loyal band of Twitter followers as you’ll have seen most of these before…
No real order to them but I think for what it’s worth of the many hundreds that have clogged my hard drive in the last week these are probably the pick of the bunch…
Lake District Views
Some stunning views out across the fells over the last week. Here are some of them – mostly taken from Place Fell….
Patterdale in the Snow
View Towards Kirkstone
View across Ullswater to Greenside
View of Place Fell – Layer Cake
Patterdale in the Snow
Morgan on Place Fell looking South
As one would expect England’s most beautiful Lake, Ullswater, has been looking pretty good too..
St Patricks Boatyard Ullswater
Jetty at the Southern End of Ullswater
Morgan over Ullswater
Trees and Sheep
It’s always amazing how a but of snow can make things you see everyday seem just that bit more beautiful – like trees and sheep!!
Snow Trees in Patterdale
Keldas Trees above Greenside
The wind has been howling at times and whipping up the snow. Fun to be out in if a little on the cold side. Not sure I really managed to capture it but here are my lame attempts…
Sweeping Snow on Place Fell
Place Fell Rock
Place Fell Snow Storm
Morgan in a blizzard
Obviously the snow has also provided great opportunities for the usual sledging and fun and games, and the drifts at the weekend on Place Fell also gave our son and his mate the chance to build their first snow hole…
Snow Hole Fun
Morgan has of course had great fun, although I’m not sure he appreciated being used as a snow depth gauge…
Morgan assesses the depth of the Snow
He did have more fun trying his hand at sledging. Shame he forgot his sledge…
Morgan Tries his Paws at Sledging
We have a rather incongruous stone figure outside our back door which is a relic from our days as city dwellers in London. Anyway he serves a useful purpose these days as a snow gauge – so here he is over the last week….
Cedric over the last week
Final thanks as always to my long suffering walking companion, Morgan…
One of the few benefits from all the recent snow around Patterdale and the Lake District has been that the Red Deer from Martindale have come ever lower on Place Fell in search of food. Morgan and I have taken full advantage of this over the last week or so to try and take some photos.
For those that are interested in such things I’m reliably informed (by Tom from the Patterdale Village Store!) that these Red Deer are the only purebred herd of wild deer in England. So now you know…..
Now I don’t pretend to have any great photographic or artistic abilities and the conditions were variable on the fells to say the least but here they are anyway. We enjoyed seeing them and I hope you do too…..
Apologies to anyone mad enough to follow me on Twitter as you’ll have seen most of these before…
Young Stag – The Poser
We were blessed one evening by blue skies and the sight of this young fella who seemed quite happy to pose for us. Whether he was used to the sight of some mad bloke and his hound trudging up the fells twice a day or just curious I have no idea, but I’m glad he hung around long enough for me to take these….
Young Stag on Place Fell
Does on the Skyline
On the same evening we spotted these 2 on a ridge. They started watching us but soon found a passing helicopter far more exciting….
2 Does on the Skyline
More and More and More
Whereas earlier in the year we’d seen the occasional one foraging over the last few weeks they have been loads of them as they have had to go lower and lower to get to some food…
Foraging in the Snow
Foraging in a Snow Storm
Foraging and Chillin
It’s Hard work in the Snow
As with the rest of us the Deer have struggled in the Snow – which thanks to the howling winds has drifted in places to make getting about a little tricky….
Struggling in the Snow
Mostlythough they seemed pretty relaxed and undoubtedly beautiful….
Snow on the nose!
Relaxing in the Snow
In search of the Stags
Obviously our dream photo op would have been the huge Stag on the skyline. Sadly we’ve not seen him yet but we’re ever hopeful. In the meantime these are some of the shots we’ve got of the boys …
Before the snow fully settled last week we saw this guy and his bashful mate
3 Stags eyeing us up and one making like a bush….
Watching Us Watching You
Nice day for a stroll…
Lad and Lasses
And we did get one of the “Big Daddy” as he was ambling back into cover….
Anyway that’s the lot, so far at least. A final word of thanks to my long suffering walking companion, Morgan, who has put up with me standing stock still in the snow and wind staring madly up the slopes for ages when all he wants to do is crack on and enjoy the walk….
A Walk up to Red Tarn and Catstycam by Helvellyn in the Snow March 2013
Well after some more fresh snow at the weekend and with a forecast of sunshine and clear skies first thing it seemed rude not to head up high yesterday, especially after 2 days stuck inside painting and decorating our Lake District Cottages. So here are some photos from the walk from Patterdale, up the Grisedale Valley to Hole in the Wall, to Red Tarn, up Catstycam, back to Red Tarn and then down to Glenridding. As always please feel free to ignore the words and just scroll down and enjoy the pictures!
View towards Helvellyn from Patterdale 08:00
Following my last solo Snow walk up Helvellyn in November I thought ought to get some company for this walk (other than Morgan of course), especially as the fell top assessors had said there was lots of compacted snow and ice up top. So Tuesday night was spent on the phone persuading Mountain Man Mike, Professor Chris & Morgan’s mate Scruffy to don their boots (well not Scruffy of course) and head on up. I agreed to meet Chris just below Lanty’s tarn at 09:00 and Mike at Red Tarn a little later. All set then…
Up the Grisedale Valley
Having been woken by my son at 06:00 I decided I couldn’t be bothered to wait around. The sun was shining and the clock was ticking. I also of course was fully aware that I am by far the slowest walker of all time so I figured I’d get a head start and Chris could catch me up. So at 08:00 Morgan and I set off. Great views on the way up Grisedale and plenty of opportunities for some Morgan path posing…..
Morgan Path Posing on the way to Hole in the wall
And yet more Path Posing
And on his first patch of snow – loving the blue skies!
Full on Snow Path towards the top
View back to Place Fell and Patterdale
The skies were truly wonderful – a deep blue and virtually cloud free. For once Morgan (well me) made good time and got to Hole in the Wall having donned my Micro Spikes for the last 100 metres or so. with the climb and the sunshine it was nice and hot on the way up and I dreaded arriving and having to heave Morgan over the style. I needn’t have worried – several months of accumulated snow meant the usual 5 foot of steps was now somewhat easier…
Hole in the Wall
I called Chris and agreed to wait for him and Scruffy. I figured I could spend a while catching some rays and enjoying the views, but hadn’t reckoned on the biting wind. Time to don hat, gloves and coat, and for Morgan to do some rehydrating…
Morgan rehydrates with Helvellyn as a backdrop
With some time to kill I took a few pictures as you do…
Helvellyn, Catstycam and Striding Edge from Hole in the Wall
Hole in the Wall looking north east
Morgan awaits his mate
Looking towards Ullswater
Hole in the Wall Panorama
Snow Covered Mountains Everywhere
Eventually we spotted Chris and Scruffy coming up the path. Morgan’s eyesight isn’t quite what it should be so he was a little unsure who it was we were waiting for and adopted the “who’s that” pose. Still not a bad backdrop view to be getting on with….
When Chris and Scruffy arrived naturally Morgan was very pleased to see them, and Chris was keen to show off his trendy Kathmandu shades. So here they are…
Chris and Scruffy. Chris is the one in the shades….
We then headed to Red Tarn to await the arrival of Mountain Man Mike, who’d driven up to Greenside Mine and was currently sprinting up the Greenside path at a rate of knots having started about 3 hours after everyone else as usual. So once we arrived at Red Tarn it was time for a few more photos…
Helvellyn and a Frozen Red Tarn
Morgan explores the Red Tarn Ice
Mountain Man Mike arrives
Mike arrived sooner than expected to be greeted by raptures of joy by both the hounds. Why this is remains a mystery to Chris and I, especially as Mike never shares his lunch with the dogs on the hill – unlike their faithful and loving masters….
Coffee Break by Red Tarn with Striding Edge behind
While enjoying a quick tab and coffee break (tabs for me only of course) I took a few more hound photos…
Scruffy the Labradoodle
Morgan’s Comedy Tongue
We hadn’t actually decided where we were headed next but a quick equipment check showed that between us, with the exception of Chris, we were hardly equipped for ice climbing up the face of Helvellyn. One ice axe, some micro-spikes, a couple of walking poles, 2 scotch eggs, a cheese and pickle sandwich, 2 mad dogs and 20 Marlboro Lights. Catstycam it is then….
Helvellyn, Red Tarn and Striding Edge
Morgan on the path up to Swirral Edge
As we headed up Swirral to join the path for Catstycam the sun disappeared and it got a little on the cold side. Time to get a shift on…
Wot no sun??
One positive was some pretty good views looking north, where we could see all the way to Scotland, including the lovely (sic!) wind turbines…
Skiddaw from Catstycam
The path up was not too bad – a bit of snow but nothing too serious. It was enough however for Mountain Man Mike to don some micro-spikes – unusual for a man who’d happily go walking in his slippers..
Anyway we made good time and Morgan and Scruffy raced ahead to check the summit and all seemed good..
Once up top the views, despite the cloud, were still pretty good…
Looking south across Striding Edge to Morecambe Bay
And zoomed in on Morecambe Bay
Looking East towards Ullswater
Scruffy shows off his Ice Beard…
I also took the chance of a bit of zoom lens people spotting….
Lone walker on Helvellyn Lower Man
Man with Ice Axe on Helvellyn
Man on Helvellyn Snow Gulley – rather him than me..
Photos done it was too cold to hang around – time to head home..
Descending from Catstycam towards Swirral Edge
And that’s about it – a pleasant walk down to Glenridding via Greenside and the day was done…
A Great Walk up St Sunday Crag – Snow and Sunshine
Following last week’s wonderful Place Fell Walk Emma, Morgan and I decided to make the most of the sunshine and head up St Sunday Crag. Here are the photos with the minimal words thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!
St Sunday Awaits
Morgan and I get a good view of St Sunday every morning on the early morning walk. Last Wednesday it was looking particularly appealing. So after doing “walking bus” for the school it was time to crack on..
Approaching St Sunday in Glenmara Park
We set off from Patterdale and decided to take the direct route up and down via the saddle rather than the standard route of heading up the Grisedale valley to Grisedale Tarn and then up. This was because a) we’re quite lazy and wanted the quickest route up and b) we figured we’d be in the sunshine for longer. The views back down to Ullswater on the way up just keep getting better and better the higher up you go…
View back to Ullswater
View from the saddle
You also get a pretty good view of our Lake District Cottages from the way up as well! The path up to the saddle is quite steep but the kind folk in the LDNP have made plenty of steps so it’s basically like walking up a very long and steep staircase. Once we reached the saddle and crossed onto the north facing side we saw our first snow although nothing to get too excited about at this stage…
Morgan heads up the snowy path
Looking down to Braesteads Farm in the Grisedale Valley
Morgan shows he’s good with sheep
As we headed towards the first ridge summit Morgan took the opportunity for some good ridge posing…
Morgan pose 1
Morgan Pose 2
We decided to go off piste to detour onto the first summit and basically cos we wanted to walk in some real snow and head back into the sunshine…
Morgan on the Snow
Morgan Summit 1
The slightly annoying thing about St Sunday is that it’s actually a series of undulating ridges which means you think you’re there but every time you top one ridge you see another one looming ahead. Having walked it a few times before, mainly from the Fairfield side, I was well aware of this but as this was a new and frustrating experience for Emma! Luckily the weather and the views more than made up for it!
Place Fell from St Sunday
Helvellyn and Striding Edge from St Sunday
The snow got a little thicker and icier on the last summit climb so we donned our ice spikes just to be ont he safe side. This also meant we could follow the path rather than pick our way across patches of snow free fell…
Nearly there…second to last ridge
Get off my summit
Having not seen a soul on our ascent as we neared the real summit we could see some folk up there. Morgan, who likes to experience summit cairns on his own, soon sent them packing so that when we reached the top we had it all to ourselves….
I point out the interlopers sent packing by Morgan
St Sunday Summit looking south
St Sunday Summit looking to Seat Sandal (north)
Morgan with his water bowl…
Morgan enjoys the summit views – Fairfield in the background
Having sunbathed for a while and rehydrated ourselves and the hound it was time to descend…
Emma descends on the snow
I choose the snowiest path..
Looking east – three ridges before the Pennines
All in all another grand day out in the Lake District, with some great views of Ullswater and Helvellyn, superb weather and of course wonderful company!