The first ten days
Published 9 April 2016
Our Cumbrian home is lovely but as with any move there was some settling in to be done. The weather for the first week was dry and ideal for walking but we needed to build up our fitness so our initial walks have been low and steady. Hopefully by the end of the summer we will have reached the top of most of the twenty highest Wainwrights although we reserve the right to avoid the most challenging routes.
19 March; Blakeley Raise, Grike and Crag Fell from the Cold Fell Road.
The route was one I adapted from a walk by Elizabeth Oldham at: https://www.walklakes.co.uk/walk_182.html.
The adaptations were that we started from the wrong parking space hence the climb over Blakeley Raise and that we then left Lank Rigg for another day.
We climbed two Wainwrights from an elevated position so the walk was not too strenuous. The going was easy on dry grassy paths on a fine, sunny day and it culminated in tremendous views from the top of Crag Fell. We saw Ennerdale and Ennerdale Water in all their glory leading up to Black Sail. In the distance we could see traces of snow on Steeple and Pillar giving us promise of great climbs to come.
21 March; Blake Fell from Felldyke. Route by David Hall as detailed on his page: http://www.davidhalllakedistrictwalks.co.uk/pages/FELLS/BLAKE_FELL.html
This was a 5.5 mile circular walk which took us four hours at a leisurely pace. We walked past Cogra Moss reservoir then round the ridge of Lamplugh Fell to the peak of Blake Fell where our views were limited because it was shrouded in mist. After reaching the summit we dropped down to Sharp Knott where we sat in a rough shelter to eat our lunch and the circuit was completed by a steep descent to the pine plantation which led us back down to Cogra Moss. By then the mist had cleared and we were able to get good views of the peak even though we could see nothing when we were up there.
David’s page gives two routes up Blake Fell and we simply followed one up and the other in reverse to get down. Very easy to follow, even the classic line “…the path seems to disappear (but you are going the right way)”. After taking the walk I now know what he means.
Despite the climb and the scenery that we saw on the way my overriding memory of the day will be the dozen or so anglers who were stood up to their waists in near freezing water on a chilly Monday morning. Each to their own!
22 March. Ennerdale Water. We walked the shore path from the dam to Bowness car park and back. My back was painful after the previous day’s climb so we took this level but delightful walk around part of this lake.
23 March. Wasdale Head to Black Sail Pass. This was planned to be a circuit of Kirk Fell going up to the Black Sail Pass, taking a level path across the northern side of Kirk Fell and then back down the Moses Trod between Kirk Fell and Great Gable.
After a week without rain, this was forecast to be the last dry day for a while with some hill mist over 700 metres. In the event the forecast was wrong and we were in mist from about 300m and this then turned to heavy rain. We made it to the top of the pass but we could not see anything and decided to abort, returning the way we had ascended.
If we had only been here for a week this would have been a bad day but we know that we will have other, better opportunities before we return to Sussex. The day served as a good reconnaissance for Steeple, Pillar and Kirk Fell and we look forward to going back.
25 March. Fellbarrow and Low Fell from Thackthwaite. Another easy to follow walk by Elizabeth Oldham at: https://www.walklakes.co.uk/walk_181.html.
The weather forecasts for the Easter Weekend were poor and Maundy Thursday was wet all day. We were therefore delighted to wake to bright sunshine on Good Friday. There was a cold westerly wind which seemed to keep whatever cloud there was from gathering.
This was our best walk to date. 4.8 miles of mainly grass paths which I could see may be boggy in wet weather but not on that day. Fellbarrow is a featureless grassy dome which provides almost 360˚ views taking in the Grasmoor range, Lorton Vale and the West Cumbria plain. The walk then took us along the ridge to Low Fell which was more craggy. As we came south our view of Crummock Water and her surrounding fells grew. Following the published walk we went beyond the high point of Low Fell to a rocky outcrop from where we could also see Loweswater and the fells on the southern side.
I confess that we were visiting the Lake District for over ten years before we had ever heard of either Loweswater or Lorton Vale. Shame on us! Whilst this area may not have the largest lakes or the highest peaks on such sunny day it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the UK.
See you in a few days, when I’ve conquered a few more fells …