I love it when someone goes hill walking for the first time and gets the bug. After walking the Langdale Pikes and the Old Man of Coniston, I was out with Beth again, this time to tackle Bowfell on another hot day. Nigel also joined us as we set off early from Manchester to arrive at the National Trust car park by the Old Dungeon Ghyll pub (LA22 9JY) by about 10 am. After toilet stop and a check to ensure plentiful supplies of suntan lotion, we set off towards Stool End (snigger) farm. Our route would take us along both the valleys we could see, but whilst the tops of Mickleden were clear, clouds shrouded Crinkle Crags at the head of Oxendale.
After having such a fab day out in the Langdales, me, Angela and Beth decided another day out in the Lakes was long overdue. The October weather forecast was pretty changeable, with some strong winds and rain forecast. We decided that we would go ahead – we’ve got waterproofs! Given the forecast, we were careful with our choice of walk, opting for Coniston Old Man for a clear route and relatively short day.
Most of my previous walking has been done in the Lake District. When I open the OS map to plan a walk, it is criss-crossed with green and black dashed lines indicating footpaths and right of ways. This was not the case when I opened a map of Arran. Contours and streams were there, and lots of other symbols, lines and colours that make maps so brilliant to look at – but not too many footpaths. I guess the Scottish Outdoor Access Code means that much of the landscape is one big right of way (within reason). But it came as a bit of a shock when I was trying to plan a day in the hills for us. After consulting my guide book, I decided that Coire Fhionn Lochan would be the walk for us.
You may have noticed from some of my blog posts that, occasionally, I get a little confused with my navigation. From taking a bearing with the direction of travel arrow pointing in the opposite direction and squinting to try and find paths I can see in the real world but not on the map, to just generally doubting my map reading and decisions – I decided it was time to do something about it and booked myself on not one, but two navigation courses.
Lying just off the A591 between Ambleside and Grasmere, Loughrigg Fell is one of the Wainwrights I had been looking forward to climbing with Rowan for a long time. It’s a busy little fell though, so we waited till mid-week in a school holiday to make a day trip for a mountain adventure.
Around nine months after first walking the Kentmere Round, I found myself back in the South Lakes ready to walk those hills again. This time, I was with Sarah and her gorgeous rescue staffie, Chester, a.k.a. Chester the Adventure Dog. On my first wander over the Kentmere Round, Kathryn and I added in High Street (the route of which you can read in more detail here). Today, we would follow more or less the same paths, except instead of High Street, we would add on Gray Crag instead.
After our day out on Cat Bells, we were keen to get back to the Lakes for another walking adventure. This time, Daddy and the dawgs were coming with us which left us with a dilemma – where to take our reactive Rocky on a bank holiday weekend. Ideally we needed a fell that was not too high for little legs, and not too far to travel for a day trip. At 357 metres and just off the A591, High Rigg fit the bill perfectly.
“A family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved.” This is how Alfred Wainwright described Cat Bells, near Keswick and we couldn’t wait to get exploring this little fell.