Skiing in La Thuile Italy

La Thuile Italy

La Thuile Italy

Feb 2013 Skiing Trip to La Thuile in Italy

Some photos from our half term trip to La Thuile in Italy. Won’t waste time with too many words but suffice to say that it’s a great place – superb skiing, not too busy, very friendly and we were blessed with superb snow and great weather. So if you want info then feel free to peruse the text, otherwise just scroll down and enjoy the photos!

Snowdrift in La Thuile

Real Snow – A Proper Snowdrift

The Resort

The Planibel La Thuile

The Planibel

La Thuile is a small ski resort on the Italian/French border. The transfer from Turin should have been a pleasant 2 hour trip (see below!). We were staying in the Planibel Hotel Apartments – ideally located at the bottom of the slopes and perfectly servicable accommodation for what you want on a ski trip – warm, enough room to store your gear (altho’ we could have done with a few more coathangers!). Obviously the accommodation was not up to our own Lake District Cottages standards (!), but the resort has great facilities on site including a supermarket, ski-hire shops, charcuterie, swimming pool, pub, shops and restaurants. It was also just a 10 minute walk down into the village itself which has some great restaurants and contrary to some reviews I’ve seen is actually quite scenic and immensely friendly. No it hasn’t got 101 nightclubs and bars, but for a family friendly resort it certainly ticked all our boxes. For what it’s worth our favourite places to eat our were La Fordze, the Brassiere, and La Grotte. Just remember to book a table on a Friday and Saturday night as it’s very popular with Italian weekenders – a good sign in itself…

The Skiing

La Thuile Skiing

Blue Skies and Empty Pistes

With 3 under 8s in the party we were looking for somewhere with a good range of beginner slopes, plus enough variety and challenges to keep our resident Franz Klammer super skier amused. La Thuile delivers on both counts. The nursery slopes are right outside the Planibel with a bubble and chair lifts to take you up to the main ski area which has a great range of blues and reds. We also skied over to La Rosiere in France on one of the days. Great for the “I’ve skied in 2 countries today” bragging rights but frankly very busy compared to La Thuile!

French Italian Border

On the Border!

Empty Pistes - Bliss

Empty Pistes – Bliss

Skiing in La Thuile

Not a bad place for a lesson

View from a Chair Lift

View from a Chair Lift


All three of the youngsters had lessons in the morning. Other than the somewhat chaotic Italian organisation at the start of the day the lessons themselves were great and certainly by the end of the week 3 novice skiers were skiing like demons. Again the friendliness of the instructors helped a great deal. 3 of us slightly older folk also had lessons, in my case for the first time in 20 years. Suffice to say my skiing probably didn’t improve quite as much, but we had a great group and it’s always good to be guided around the resort. My instructor Franco was also superb. Some of my fellow learners had been to the same resort 11 years on the trot and had had Fraqnco teaching them for many of those times. He’s an old school instructor – permatan, supercool, very friendly and of course he skies like he was born with 2 planks attached to his feet, which he probably was -like many of the instructors he’s born and bred in the area. He was also an effective weather barometer. When Franco turned up in the morning with his goggles and balaclava, you knew it was going to be a tad cold on the chair lifts. When he turned up in his shades and (almost) in his shorts – you knew it was going to be a scorcher..

Ski Lesson in La Thuile

Franco puts the group through their paces

The Views

Living in the Lake District, I’m pretty used to great views and spectacular mountain panoramas. However with the weather we had I have to say the scenery was truly breathtaking. Anyway judge for yourself…

Mont Blanc View

Mont Blanc

Italian Alps

Nice View

Towards the Matterhorn

Towards the Matterhorn

Mountain Walking in Italy

Spot the man walking up the ridge

View from the Gondola

View from the Gondola

Our Ski Package

A few words on our tour company, Neilsens. I’m always a little cynical about ski reps and I know the job isn’t as easy as it should be but just cos it needs to be said here are a few pointers for them if they happen to chance across this blog:

  • Don’t make the punters site for 2 hours in the coach at Turin airport waiting to depart for the resort when there’s only 1 seat left on the coach and yet you tell them “we’re waiting for a family of 4”
  • Don’t arrange for people to arrive in resort at lunchtime when you know their apartments aren’t going to be ready until 17:00, or if you do then prewarn them and make sure they have somewhere to store their luggage in the interim
  • Don’t hand out green vouchers for ski lessons and tell people to hand them over to the instructors when the instructors respond saying “they should know by now these are the wrong vouchers” and so you end up having to spend 2 days tracking your rep down to get the right voucher.
  • Don’t at the end of a great holiday make people wait outside in -10 degrees at 5 in the morning in the wrong place for a bus that’s actually in a completely different place.

Simples. Anyway soap box safely stored for another year…

All in all though I can’t recommend La Thuile highly enough – great location, great facilities, superb skiing and above all a warm, welcoming and friendly place. We shall return!

Us looking the part...

Us looking the part…

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Place Fell in the Sunshine

Place Fell Walk in the Sunshine Feb 2013

Morgan on Place Fell Summit

Morgan on Place Fell Summit

After last week’s skiing in Italy we returned to the Lakes and found we’d missed yet another snow fall. Keen to find some white stuff and based on the MWIS forecast of “possible risk of sunburn” Emma, Morgan and I couldn’t possibly miss the chance to head up the hills yesterday. Turns out it was a good choice!!


The views back down to Ullswater on the way up were pretty good!

Having left the valley floor where we live in the shadow and freezing cold it soon became clear that we were slightly overdressed. It was boiling hot by the time we got to Boredale Hause so it was time to delayer. Morgan of course was fine as long as he could find a handy beck to slurp from.

Morgan on Place Fell

Spot the Morgan

Most of the snow had gone from the fell other than in sheltered gullies although there was still some on the north facing slopes of High Street…

High Street behind Place Fell

High Street behind Place Fell

Even the final scramble gulley up to the summit ridge was snow free…


Morgan Awaits

On the summit ridge there was still a fair amount of snow and we were treated to some great vapour trail displays over Brotherswater and High Street..

Dogfights over Brotherswater

Dogfights over Brotherswater

Liftoff over High Street

Liftoff over High Street

In fact the views from the summit ridge looking south were just plain awesome…


Even Morgan enjoyed them….

Morgan takes in the views

Morgan takes in the views

We were a little late setting off for once so there were a fair few people up top by the time we arrived, but not as many as I suspect there were on Helvellyn….

Helvellyn Summit from Place Fell

Helvellyn Summit from Place Fell

The big issue on top was finding water for Morgan. The pools were all frozen so it was time to get one of my boots wet and crack some ice..

Morgan on Place Fell

Morgan savours the flavours

He seemed a lot happier after rehydration….

Morgan the Lake District Labrador

Morgan the Lake District Labrador

It was also the first outing for my funky Crookabeck Angora Mohair Helvellyn Walking Socks. Highly recommended – warm, comfortable and best of all they dried out very quickly having been dunked in cold icy water whilst making Morgan’s water hole…

Crookabeck Farm Socks!

Crookabeck Farm Socks!

After the obligatory fag break it was time to head off piste a little to try and get some good shots on the edge..

Glenridding from Place Fell Summit

Glenridding from Place Fell Summit

Ullswater and Glenridding

Panorama of Ullswater and Brotherswater

Panorama of Ullswater and Brotherswater

We also had some great views across the dale to our Glenridding Cottages.

Helvellyn Cottages in Glenridding

Helvellyn Cottages in Glenridding

The views on the way back down to Patterdale were none too shabby….

Morgan towards Brotherswater

Morgan towards Brotherswater

View of Patterdale

View of Patterdale

Having made it back down it was time for a final splash in the beck for Morgan and then a trip to his favourite Patterdale Village Store for a few extra biscuits…

Morgan rehydrates in the beck

Morgan rehydrates in the beck

Patterdale View

Patterdale Village Store and the White Lion Pub – need I say more..

For more pictures of our adventures in the Lake District around Ullswater, Patterdale and Helvellyn, please follow Helvellyn on Twitter. You can also follow Ullswater on Facebook and Helvellyn on Facebook. If you want to come and stay in the Lake District why not choose one of our pet friendly Ullswater Cottages. Enjoy!

Place Fell Summit

Morgan and his mate on the summit – just to show I didn’t send him up by himself…..

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More Snow in the Lake District

Ullswater and Helvellyn in the Snow

Ullswater and Helvellyn in the Snow

24 Hours in the Lake District – From Snow to Sheeting Rain

Well having had snow on and off all last week we were treated to some real “amber” snow around Patterdale and Ullswater on Friday. Having fallen softly for the first part of the day in mid afternoon it really starting coming down big style and by early evening the roads were covered and the rest was very deep and crisp if a little uneven. On Saturday morning we were treated to a hint of blue sky which made for some scenic views. Needless to say this being the Lake District come Saturday evening it started raining and it hasn’t really stopped since.

Anyway here are some pictures taken during and after our the brief winter wonderland window of opportunity….

Snow in Patterdale

Snowing big style

Snow in Patterdale

Snow on the Gate to the Patterdale Playing Field

Acer Tree in the Snow

Our Acer Tree about 16:00

Acer in the Snow

And the same tree 2 hours later

Patterdale Church in the Snow

Spooky scenes in Patterdale Church Yard

Patterdale Road in the Snow

Morgan on the A592 “main road” in Patterdale

Footpath Sign in the Snow

Looks impressive – to be fair the sign is only 2 feet tall anyway….

St Sunday Crag in the Snow from Patterdale

St Sunday Crag in the Snow from Patterdale

Towards Helvellyn in the Snow

Towards Helvellyn

Footsteps in the snow above Ullswater

Footsteps in the snow above Ullswater

The Best Bench in the Lake District

The Best Bench in the Lake District

Side Farm in the Snow

Morgan on the Path above Side Farm

Ullswater in the Snow

Ullswater in the Snow

Ullswater in the Snow

Morgan enjoys the view of Ullswater

Helvellyn in the Snow

Helvellyn in the Snow

Place Fell in the Snow

View up Place Fell

A Snowy Goldrill Beck

A Snowy Goldrill Beck

Snow Lady

The Snow Lady from last week got a new coat

Snow Dog

And we managed to give her a pet snow dog

Side Farm and Place Fell Flood

By Sunday Morning the thaw had started. This is Side Farm

Morgan Flood Side Farm

Morgan in the Floodwater on Side Farm

For more pictures of our adventures in the Lake District around Ullswater, Patterdale and Helvellyn, please follow Helvellyn on Twitter. You can also follow Ullswater on Facebook and Helvellyn on Facbook. Enjoy!

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Place Fell in the Snow

Scruffy and Morgan

Scruffy and Morgan

Morgan and Scruffy take their humans for a snowy walk on Place Fell

Having made it half way up Place Fell the day before when Morgan and I were invited to go the whole way up it was an offer we couldn’t refuse. Better still (for Morgan at least) our walking companions were Chris and Scruffy, Morgan’s best mate. We were also joined (for part of the trip) by Mountain Man Mike, who was with us until he got a call half way up from the Fire Brigade and randomly decided he had to head back down to polish his hose…

Conditions were much the same as the day before under foot – crunchy snow on the paths and soft fluffy stuff on the sides. As we headed up higher the snow had drifted into some of the gullies on the main path up to the summit so we were walking in the fluffy stuff for much of the way. Needless to say the dogs were in the fluffy stuff pretty much all the time..

Anyway enough of the words once again, here are some photos from the walk….

Ullswater in the Snow

Chris half way up to Boredale with a snowy Ullswater Valley behind

Place Fell in the Snow

A little snow on some of the main path

Mountain Man Mike

Mike gets the call and promptly disappears

Sruffy and Morgan on Place Fell

Scruffy and Morgan await the humans

Place Fell Summit in Snow

Scruffy and Chris on the summit plateau of Place Fell with Helvellyn Behind

Helvellyn, Brotherswater and Ullswater Snow Panorama

Helvellyn, Brotherswater and Ullswater Panorama

Summit of Place Fell in the Snow

Just to prove we made it to the top

Place Fell Summit in the Snow

Place Fell Summit in the Snow

Place Fell Summit Ridge in the Snow

Place Fell Summit Ridge

View of Helvellyn in the Snow

View of Helvellyn from Place Fell Summit

Cracking Ice on Place Fell

Chris bravely fell into this to give the boys a much needed drink

Place Fell Summit in Snow

The Walk Back Home

Morgan above Ullswater in the Snow

A frolicking Morgan above Ullswater

Morgan over Brotherswater

Morgan over Brotherswater

Morgan above Brotherswater

By the time we caught up with him he’d sat down!

Chris proves very popular - or is it that Cornish Pasty??

Chris proves very popular – or is it that Cornish Pasty??

Place Fell in the Snow

Caught on camera – a couple of slackers faking a summit shot!!

Scruffy in the snow

Morgan’s mate Scruffy

Morgan uin the Snow

And my mate Morgan….

For more pictures of Morgan’s adventures in the Lake District around Ullswater, Patterdale and Helvellyn, please follow Helvellyn on Twitter. Enjoy!

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Snow in the Lake District

Ullswater View

View towards Ullswater on the Way Down

From Blizzards to Blue Skies – a Snowy Walk onto Place Fell above Ullswater

Well you have to make the most of it while it’s here so we decided to head up to Boredale Hause on Place Fell at lunchtime today. The forecast was for clear skies but it was snowing when we set off, snowing very heavily when we got half way up, and still snowing when we got to the top. Needless to say as we clambered back down the sun came out and blue skies abounded. C’est la vie. Anyway enough words, here are the pictures……

Snow over Ullswater

Snow Storm over Ullswater – picture doesn’t do it justice!

Morgan over Deepdale

Morgan Surveys Deepdale

Morgan and Rob

One man and his dog on the way up

Morgan at Boredale

Morgan at Boredale

View from Boredale

View from Boredale

Rob and Morgan

One man and his dog on a mission

Martindale in the Snow

This is what we wanted – the View over Martindale

High Street Panorama

High Street Panorama


Time to head back down

Blue Sky and Snow

Blue sky began to appear on the way down


Sun breaking through over Brotherswater

Morgan under a tree

Morgan takes a break under a convenient tree

Ullswater View

View towards Ullswater on the Way Down

Place Fell in the snow

View back up Place Fell

Blue Sky and Snow

Yet more Blue Sky and Snow

Morgan on Place Fell

Morgan Admires the views

Red Deer on Place Fell

Red Deer on Place Fell

Goldrill Beck Patterdale

Goldrill Beck Patterdale

My Mate Morgan

My mate Morgan

For more pictures please follow Helvellyn on Twitter. Enjoy!

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Cumbria Joinery Services

Cumbria Joinery ServicesCumbria Joinery Services

Shameless plug I’m afraid for a friend’s website. Will have some Lake District Snow pictures later this week as well! Stephen Dixon is a trained joiner and carpenter based in his workshop in Grasmere in the Lake District. He offers the full range of joinery services using traditional and contemporary methods, high quality timber, both hardwood and softwood all from sustainable FSC Approved sources. He operates throughout Cumbria and the Lake District and provides a high quality, honest, and competitive service. Here is a list of the joinery services he provides.

Roof Joinery in Cumbria

Cumbria Roof Joinery & Balconies

Stephen has experience in the manufacture and installation of a huge range of roofs, roof trusses and joists right across Cumbria. This picture is of a project he did near Penrith. He can also design, construct and install a range of wooden balconies.

Wooden Windows in Cumbria

Timber Window in Cumbria

Stephen supplies and installs all types of wooden windows including traditional sliding sash windows and casement windows. His windows are manufactured in a traditional style but incorporating modern features including energy saving glass and insulation as well as modern security features for your peace of mind.

Wooden Stairs and Flooring in Cumbria

Wooden Stairs, Staircases and Floors in Cumbria

Stephen makes stylish wooden staircases in both contemporary and traditional styles, with a range of newels, spindles and handrails. He has experience of building all types of stairs including straight and winding flights, cut string, and open and closed tread.

He has makes solid wooden flooring using high quality timber with a range of finishes to give you a durable and stylish finish that’s built to last is also offered. He can also supply engineered flooring suitable for under floor heating. 

Wooden Doors in Cumbria

Wooden Doors and Porches

Stephen can design any conceivable type of internal and external door, whether you want to replace an existing door with an identical one, or create a new one. He also builds wooden porches to whatever design you require.

Bespoke Kitchens in Cumbria

Bespoke Kitchens in Cumbria

Whether you are looking for a fully bespoke kitchen or simply adding some individual kitchen cabinets or drawers or replacement kitchen worktops, Stephen can supply and fit a kitchen from an agreed kitchen plan, or design, in both traditional and contemporary styles. Bespoke units can also be manufactured in the workshop if this is what you require. 

Bespoke Furniture in Cumbria

Bespoke Wooden Furniture

Whether you’re looking for some bespoke wardrobes, shelving or cupboards, or a specific piece of high quality wooden furniture or cabinetry, Stephen will guarantee a high quality product that is built using traditional methods. He will meet with you to agree the design and specification of your furniture, working to both traditional and contemporary designs, and then manufacture it in his workshop before delivering and installing it in your home. His experience ensures that what he delivers is exactly what you want, a stylish and enduring piece of furniture.

 Batrhoom Wall Panelling in Cumbria

Bathroom Wall Panelling in Cumbria

Stephen can supply and fit bathroom wall panelling as an alternative to the traditional ceramic wall tile. It has the advantage of no grout deterioration, and it can easily be cleaned. There is a large collection of colours and patterns for wall and ceilings. 

Ullswater in the Lake District

Stephen Dixon Joinery Limited operates across the Lake District

Stephen is based in Grasmere but operates across the Lake District, including in  Ambleside, Keswick, Windermere, Bowness, Langdale, Hawkshead, Coniston and Troutbeck. So if you have any joinery needs in Cumbria please visit his website:

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Helvellyn in the Snow

Helvellyn in the snow

Morgan hits Helvellyn in the Snow November 2012

We’ve had the first snow of the year in the last week here in the Lake District. This is a blog about the ascent Morgan and I made yesterday. I wouldn’t bother too much with the rambling words, just take as look at the photos which I hope you’ll enjoy!

Ullswater with Helvellyn Behind

Ullswater and Helvellyn Sunday 4th November

Morgan and I have been looking at the snowy peaks for the last few days and had taken various pictures at all times of the day and night, diligently posting them on the helvellyn twitter page and generating some nice feedback. However on Sunday someone asked the not unreasonable question of “what’s it like on top then?”. Well there was only one way to find out…

The Preparation – Sunday 4th November

Having been up Helvellyn many times I was happy with the route to take. However I’d never been further than Red Tarn in snow conditions. Not being a born Ranulph Fiennes type I’ve never been drawn to the idea of clinging onto the fell with an ice axe, crampons and a big bushy beard. I’ve also lived here long enough to know how dangerous it can be. The one story from last year that kept going through my mind was of the poor guy who went to the loo on the edge of the summit of Helvellyn, stepped on a cornice and fell to his death. One to avoid for sure. Obviously I should obey the basic rules – go properly equipped with ice axe and crampons, go with an experienced winter walker and all that stuff. As I mulled it over on Sunday night I decided to hell with all that. I’d take a couple of walking sticks, a wooly hat, my trusty George Fisher Micro Spikes, 20 Marlboro Lights and of course Morgan. What could possibly go wrong. For the avoidance of all doubt I decided to get up there before anyone else so I could take my time and not cause too much embarrassment. If it looked a bit dodgy I’d stop at Red Tarn, take some photos and head for home. Plan set, rucksack packed, alarm set for 05:30. Time for bed

Monday 5th November 05:30

Patterdale Church

Walking through Patterdale Church 06:00 – it was dark!

Alarm goes off. After the usual moment of “can I really be bothered?” I was up and at em. Morgan looked at me oddly as I clambered down the stairs and then saw the rucksack and realised that it was fun time. After a quick wake up Marlboro and having loaded up my pockets with dog treats, we set off. By heck it was dark. The moon was just visible but shrouded in cloud. I hoped that the forecast was right and it would clear – I was buggered if I was going to walk all the way up there in the clouds. We headed through the Churchyard up to the Grisedale Valley and set off for hole in the wall. Knowing my utter lack of fitness I reckoned on getting there around 07:3o for a photo and fag break – hopefully in time to see the sun rise.

Hole in the Wall

Morgan in the Mist

Morgan looms out of the darkness with snowy peaks behind

The way up to hole in the wall was fairly uneventful. Always nice to do it first thing when there’s no ultra fit bugger sprinting up behind you and overtaking you with a cheery “nice day for it”. The only issue was the camera. Couldn’t seem to get it to actually take pictures that were visible. Should have checked it out before I left. Time to dig out the head torch and have a proper look. After a few minutes faffing and as we broke through the mist and the light started to improve suddenly I seemed to be taking pictures that weren’t out of some sort of Halloween fest – hallelujah..

On the Way Up

Breaking through the cloud and finding growing daylight

We finally reached the snowline just below hole in the wall. As expected with no fresh snow for a few days the path was well trodden and nowhere near as icy as I remember for a few years back. So it was a case of lumbering up the final steps and getting to hole in the wall pretty much on schedule. Time for a quick fag break…

View back towards High Street from Hole in the Wall

Sun Rising in the East from Hole in the Wall

Now at this point I should mention that the one thing I’d been dreading about arriving at Hole in the Wall was getting Morgan over to the other side. You’d have thought that given he’s an active dog who spends a few hours a day scrambling around on the fells he’d be more than capable of climbing over the ladder. Not a bit of it. This is a dog who insists on being lifted into the boot of the car, who looks at me dolefully whenever we encounter a style on a walk. Sometimes I wish I’d got a spaniel and not a 6 stone labrador as a pet…

Morgan and Hole in the Wall

Morgan sniffs out hole in the wall and wonders how I’ll lift him over it

Anyhow We went through the routine. I ask him to climb up. He looks at me as if I’m mad. I lift him onto the top and ask him to jump down the other side. He looks at me as if I’m mad. I climb up, have to climb over him to get down the other side and then lift him down. He gets a dog biscuit and then bounds off into the snow. Hmmm – maybe there’s a theme here…

The view back from Hole in the Wall as I was recovering from hefting the hound over

Off to Red Tarn

On the path to Red Tarn – sun hits the summit of Helvellyn

By now the sun was hitting the summit of Helvellyn, which was still shrouded in mist. There was about 6 inches or so on snow underfoot, it was wonderfully quiet – all in all it was bloomin marvellous to be up there. So we headed off to Red Tarn still unsure whether we’d go all the way up or just stop and go home once we got there. I resolved to follow my own mantra – if you can see the top then go for it, if it’s clouded over then don’t bother. Once we got to Red Tarn the cloud was obviously lifting, the path up Swirral looked pretty well defined and my mind was made up – let’s do it..

Morgan by Red Tarn

Morgan by Red Tarn

I decided to avoid the Tarn itself as Morgan would only dive straight it and frankly it was a little cold so we skirted around and headed for the path up Swirral Edge. I was fairly confident of making it most of the way and decided to don the microspikes if it started getting a little dicey. It was only when we had started heading up the Swirral path that I looked back and realised there was a tent set up by Red Tarn. Now bear in mind it was darn cold and these hardy souls had been camping. Rather them than me. Having decided that they were not frozen to death as we saw them moving around I carried on up the path. Always good to know you’ve got an audience if you do get into trouble and tumble off the path – just shout loudly on your way down…

Morgan on the way up Swirral

The path up was fairly well trodden and it wasn’t until half way up that I decided to don the micro spikes. I’d made the mistake of following Morgan rather than the footsteps and suddenly found myself walking on fresh snow with the path 10 feet above me. Not really my bag. Microspikes donned I clambered back up to the path and cursed the hound for leading me astray (again…).

Morgan walked the edge – I followed the path below…

All went well until the top of Swirral when the path stopped and there was 15 feet or so of no path just a couple of channels in the snow. Time to rely on the microspikes and clamber up. After all the top and Morgan awaited..

Morgan awaits

Morgan awaits my arrival at the top of Swirral Edge

The Top of Helvellyn

By now the sun had cleared Striding Edge and cloud on top had gone. Truly stunning. Enough of the words for a bit – here are some of the pics from the top

Note the 15 foot of virgin snow need the edge!

Summit looking West

Looking West from the summit of Helvellyn

Morgan on Helvellyn

Morgan enjoys the views

Looking towards Ullswater

Inversion over Ullswater to the East

Cornice on the Summit of Helvellyn

Cornice on the summit of Helvellyn

We are not alone!

We are not alone

We’ve got company!

So we’d made it up first and had been ratching around for 20 minutes or so when Morgan spotted an intruder on our solitude. A very nice guy who come up from Thirlmere (probably in about a third of time it had taken me to heave myself up). We had a quick chat and then he disappeared off to take some photos and I decided it was time for us to head down.

Hope he got some good photos!

Hope he got some good photos!

The Descent

I was a little worried about the descent – always trickier than the climb up. I decided to go back down Swirral as at least I knew most of it was OK. Rather that than risk Striding Edge. The worse bit was the first 2o feet. I decided to boldy slide down the first part which would have been fine except Morgan thought it was a big game and jumped on me and suddenly our considerable combined weight took us hurtling off piste toward the edge. I frantically tried to shove the dog off me onto the fell side whilst trying to slow myself down ast the same time. Obviously I succeeded but with about 2 feet to spare before oblivion beckoned. More hound cursing and then onwards and downwards…

Helvellyn in the Snow

The view back up on the way down as it were..

View of Swirral Edge in the Snow

Another one on the way back down looking up

Catstycam in the Snow

Catstycam and Red Tarn and Morgan

We saw the jolly campers heading up to Catstycam as we were heading down, bumped into another happy walker just by Red Tarn, and saw some nutter jogging along the top of Striding Edge. At this point I must apologise to the guy we bumped into as by this point I’d run out of dog treats so when we whipped his breakfast out Morgan was on him in a flash….

Morgan moves in on someone’s breakfast

Jogger on Striding Edge

Jogger on Striding Edge

The Descent Home

Looking west from hole in the wall

Looking west from hole in the wall

We plodded back to hole in the wall, I hefted Morgan over and we headed down the path – energised by the breathtaking views, the excitement, and the fact I’d run out of dog treats so Morgan was in a rush to get back to civilisation. We had the usual encounters on the way down where I was able to smugly pronounce on the conditions up top as we passed all the usual ultra fit types who’d have left me in their wake had they set off 4 hours earlier…

Inversion in the Grisedale Valley

Inversion over the Grisedale Valley

Looking back up the Grisedale Valley

Looking back up the Grisedale Valley – one of my favourite views….

Home Time

We made it back to the valley floor where it was still darn cold and frosty out of the sun, and headed straight for Morgan’s second home, the wonderful Patterdale Village Store, where Tom and Gillian revived Morgan with various Dog Biscuits and the usual love and attention. I made do with some more Marlboros.

We then headed home, Morgan to spend the rest of the day crashed on the sofa (or at least until the evening walk), me to spring into action cleaning our Patterdale Holiday Cottage – available to rent at very reasonable prices throughout the year!

So job done. We’d survived and thrived but I wouldn’t recommend a hike on the tops in the snow without the proper equipment and training. Maybe I should add crampons and an ice axe onto my Xmas list, as well as some winter training. Or maybe not. Until next time….

Please feel free to follow our exploits on Twitter and Facebook. If you fancy a jaunt to the Lakes why not check out our Ullswater Cottages.

Helvellyn Panorama

Catstycam, Red Tarn and Striding Edge. Wonderful!

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Off Piste on Place Fell

Ullswater from Place Fell

A walk on the wilder side – Place Fell October 2012

We’ve having a glorious spell of weather at the moment in the Lake District. Last Sunday Morgan and I decided to celebrate with a late afternoon walk off the beaten track on Place Fell above Ullswater. Having done the Place Fell walk many times I thought we’d try a slightly different route and head off across the western face and see what we could see. I freely admit this has led to some not very exciting narrative but some nice photos!

On the Way up to Boredale

The Route to Boredale

We took the usual path from Patterdale up towards Boredale Hause. Thankfully despite the fabulous weather we didn’t encounter too many other hounds so Morgan was for once quite well behaved on the way up….

Wot no Path

Going off piste

We took the shortcut path before reaching Boredale and then veered off heading south just below the top. Having got onto the western face I decided to do the sensible thing and follow whatever sheep tracks I could find to try and work my way across with a view to dropping down somewhere past Side Farm.

Morgan View

Morgan enjoys the views

Great Views

Obviously the weather and the views gave me a great excuse to stop and have a breather. These are some of the better ones….


Striding Edge, Helvellyn and Catstycam

Looking back to Deepdale

Looking over to Deepdale

Time to find a way down

Having been traversing for about half an hour and with a full complement on photos, it was time to try and find a route down. Not wanting to retrace my steps (how boring) and noticing that sheep tracks always seem to go up hill it was time to bite the bullet and try and get down to the main path. Top tips if you’re doing this 1) on a dry sunny day heather makes a good foothold 2) scree doesn’t at any time!

Morgan surveys the scree

Morgan Surveys the scree

All went well until we cam across a wide scree section. Morgan wanted me to go first (how gallant) – quite sensible as well given that I was more likely to cause a landslide than him. By now the ankles were beginning to feel the strain but we managed to get down to a point just beyond Side Farm. As soon as we spotted the dead tree above the cave then we went for it…

Return to the path

Morgan returns to normality

One last sight to behold

Once we were safely back down on the path we headed for home. One the way past Rookings we had one last treat – a couple of deer hanging out in the woods…

Deer in Patterdale

Deer in Patterdale

All in all a grand afternoon out! Rough route as below

Our Route

Our Route

A word of Caution

Obviously as a responsible fell walker I wouldn’t encourage everyone to go off piste all the time – you should stick to the footpaths wherever possible. However every now and then trying something a little different is good value!

Ullswater View

Another Morgan View

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Morgan’s Favourite Lake District Walks


Morgan’s favourite walks in the Lake District

Whilst I’ve been beavering away on various new websites, I’ve been trawling through the PC to find various pictures of the Lake District to help promote our Ullswater Cottages and other local businesses like the Patterdale Village Store.  I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the best photos and combine it with a quick guide to some of Morgan and my favourite local walks. As I’m sat tapping away on the keyboard Morgan, the Lake District Labrador,  is happily snoring away on the sofa behind me, waiting patiently for me to finish so we can head out the door. So here goes..



Morgan on the summit looking down on Striding Edge and Red Tarn

Helvellyn is the obvious first choice – the third highest fell in the Lakes but probably the most accessible – certainly from our house. Pros for Morgan – always guaranteed to meet lots of other dogs unless I decide to take him up before the sun rises, plus the chance for a swim in Red Tarn. More on Morgan’s favourite Helvellyn Walk.

Angle Tarn

Angle Tarn


Angle Tarn is also very accessible for us in Patterdale. Head up Boredale Hause, hang a right and keep on going. Well worth the effort – a magical place at all times fo the year. The views on the way across to Deepdale and Brotherswater aren’t bad either…


This is also where the famous Lake District Star Jelly was first discovered last autumn. Anyway enough of that. Pros of the walk for Morgan – the obvious swimming opportunity plus the added bonus of optimistically swimming after a goose that has no intention of being caught.. More on the Angle Tarn walk.

Place Fell

Place Fell

Place Fell is opposite the house, so a daily temptation (for Morgan if not his owner…) To be honest the usual path up via Boredale Hause from Patterdale is a bit of a trudge, and the alternate route from near Silver Point via Kilbert How is slightly bonkers. No matter, when you get to the top it’s more than worth it. The views are stunning on a good day, and bracing on a not so good one.

Morgan on Place Fell

Swimming in a clean pool (for once) on Place Fell Summit

Pros for Morgan – after the long slog up where there isn’t much water after Boredale Hause when you reach the ridge summit there are loads of pits full of boggy water to wallow in, and sometimes as above the chance for a swim in some cool crisp water with reasonable views across to High Street. More on the Place Fell Walk.

The Pipe Track

Pipe Track

Sticking on the Eastern side of the Dale this is a regular part of the daily walking routine for Morgan – heading from Patterdale towards the Pipe Track which leads up to Bordeale Hause, and then back down towards Hartsop and through Beckstones, Crookabeck Farm, home of Beyond Imagination Photography and the Angora Goats and then back to Patterdale. Pros for Morgan – at this time of the year the bracken is still high and he like nothing better than to tear into it following the scent of some long since departed animal. In a month or so the deer will come down from over in Martindale and provide him with more amusement.. More on the Pipe Track Walk.

Stepping Stones Walk

Ullswater View

Ullswater from the Stepping Stones path

This is the alternative to the Pipe Track and is the usual morning Morgan walk. Some great views across to Ullswater to be had, although for 3 months of the year this is not Morgan’s ideal walk as Glenamara Park becomes home to a herd of cows who are not his best friends (see Watch out for Cows post!). Pros for Morgan – plenty of water in the streams – especially by the stepping stones themselves, the occasional encounter with a deer, fox or badger, and the opportunity to stop off at the Patterdale Village Store on the way home (see below)! See more on the Stepping Stones walk.

Silver Point

The best placed bench in the Lake District?

The best placed bench in the Lake District?

Another firm favourite with not too much ascent, plenty of en route water and the benefit of a swim in Ullswater at half time. Views on the way across Ullswater to Glenridding and over to Helvellyn are not bad either. Pros for Morgan – the half time swim and the raucous greeting he gets from the dogs at Side Farm. More on the Silver Point Walk.

Patterdale Village Store


View of Patterdale from Goldril Beck looking towards The Village Store and White Lion

Virtually every morning walk has to end with a trip to Morgan’s all time favourite shop in the world – the Patterdale Village Store. Not only do they sell everything you could possibly need from papers to postcards, maps to mozzarella as well as walking gear and Lake District souvenirs, they are also without doubt the most dog friendly shop in the Lakes. Not only does Morgan get a dog biscuit everytime he goes in there, he also gets to more love and attention than he gets at home for the rest of the day (so says he…). Anyway that’s the pro for him – give it a try for yourself!


Snow in Patterdale

Morgan by Goldrill Beck in the snow

Finally Morgan likes any walk in the snow. He’s nuts about the stuff. Anyway enough of the words – enjoy the pictures…

Snow above Deepdale

Snow above Deepdale

Spot the Morgan…

Snow in PatterdaleSo I hope you enjoyed some of the pictures. Must dash now as it’s that time again and Morgan has now woken up and is sat patiently looking at me waiting for the evening walk…..

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Beyond Imagination Photography

Beyond Imagination Photography

Beyond Imagination Photography in Cumbria and the Lake District

I was recently lucky enough to be asked to put together a website for local photographer Charlene Bell from Beyond Imagination Photography. Charlene is based in Patterdale and specialises in creative, fresh, tasteful and relaxed Photography across Cumbria and the Lake District. So if you’re looking for some very affordable highly professional photography for yourself or your business then look no further! Some examples of her portfolio as shown below.

Wedding Photography in Cumbria

Wedding Photography in Cumbria

Charlene offers a comprehensive and affordable wedding photography package, with prices starting from just £400. This will include a pre wedding consultation, a full days photography with a mix of formal and informal photos and all the photos taken are given to you on a disc to keep forever as part of the agreed price. She can also provide high quality wedding albums, photo books, canvasses, and mounted and framed reprints as required. Please click here for more info on Charlene’s Wedding Photography in Cumbria service.

Portrait Photography in Cumbria

Portrait Photography in Cumbria

Charlene takes photos of people of all shapes, sizes and ages. So whether it’s photos of your precious new born, your bouncy toddler, or photos of you, then Beyond Imagination can give you photos to treasure forever. Portrait photos can be taken at her studio in Patterdale, at your home, outside – where ever suits your needs.  Prices for the basic portrait photography packages start from just £50 for a 1 to 2 hour photo shoot. Please click here to find out more about Charlene’s Portrait Photography Service or her specialist kids and toddlers photography in Cumbria.

Pet Photography in Cumbria

Pet Photography in Cumbria

As the owner of Morgan The Lake District Labrador, I am a huge fan of Charlene’s pet portraits. Fly and ZsaZsa, her two dogs, are good friends of Morgan and are great models for her photographic talents as well!

Pet Photography in Cumbria

As well as pet portraits Charlene also takes photos of livestock and farm animals. She is also a trained animal psychologist so will be able to get your pet to relax and enjoy the photo shoot! Prices for the basic pet and livestock photography packages start from just £35 for a 1-2 hour photo shoot. Please click the link if you’d like more details on Charlene’s Pet Photography in Cumbria.

Website and Marketing Photography in Cumbria

Website and Marketing Photography in Cumbria

As the owner of some Ullswater Cottages I know how important it is to market your business with high quality photos, both on the web and in marketing material. Charlene takes fully professional photos for websites and marketing materials and has worked with many local businesses as well as local institutions like the University of Cumbria, producing stylish images to showcase their businesses and services. Prices for the basic business photography packages start from just £400. Please click here to find out more about Charlene’s Website Photography in Cumbria.

Boudoir Photography in Cumbria

Boudoir Photography in Cumbria

For those of you looking for a confidence boost or treat to celebrate the real you and your natural beauty, Charlene specialises in beautiful and tasteful Boudoir Photography. You can show as little or as much as you’d like! Prices for her boudoir photography packages start from just £100. Please click the link if you’d like more details on her Boudoir Photography in Cumbria.

Lake District Views


Obviously living in the Lake District Charlene also takes some superb photos of the local landscape!

If you’d like to see more of Charlene’s photos at Beyond Imagination Photography please visit her website at or why not take a look at the Beyond Imagination Photography page on Facebook.

Please click here for more examples of my website design in Cumbria.

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