Monday, 14 August 2017

Far Eastern Fells part 2


Bank holiday weekend 2017 and with five days planned for the Lake District, I was off Thursday evening leaving Derbyshire behind and up the M6 motorway just me and my dog Sam we arrived just after nine pm. And the area to be explored this time was the Kentmere valley. I drove up the valley to the village of Kentmere and parked up in front of the church, and as dusk settled in I took Sam for a short walk and then I made my bed up in the back of the van and fell asleep on this warm night.

Kentmere Horseshoe 12 miles.

Yoke, 706 m, Ill Bell, 757 m, Frostwick Fell, 720 m,, Thornthwaite Crag 784 m,, Mardale Ill Bell, 760 m,  Harter Fell, 778 m, Kentmere Pike 730 m, and Shipman Knotts, 587 m.

26th of May. 
With only about six hours sleep I was up early around 5 am because if it was going to be a hot day like the past few days have been, I and Sam did not want to be in the full heat of the sun for this long walk, taking in eight Wainwrights fells that surround the head of the valley.
so all packed up we set off as the sun was just rising over the surrounding hills, we climbed the track known as the Garburn Pass passing a large boulder known as Badger Rock. And as I climbed higher the view of the Kent valley opened up as a walker passed by and stopped for short chat, he was also doing the horseshoe walk but he was also eager to get on with his walk and not stand around and admire the views as I was doing, so he went on.
I left the valley and came to the area I had recognised from my previous mission to Sallows in my last visit in winter.
Now I was on the path to the summit of Yoke and the early morning mist across the landscape was looking wonderful especially to the east,


The view east

I had reached the summit of Yoke 706 m and had a short break to admire the view and take a few photos 

The best view was south to Lake Windermere, but the view I was admiring was my route to the cone shape Ill Bell, so on I went down and then up to the summit of Ill Bell 

Ill Bell.
from Ill Bell looking at Frostwick Fell and Thornthwaite Crag,
Ill Bell and another short rest and then onto Frostwick Fell what is identical to Ill Bell but smaller in size, up and over the summit and the climb to Thornthwaite Crag, The far distant views to the Scarfells and Coniston was hazy so no long distance photos but I did stop for a rest at the summit this was also my turning point.

Kentmere Valley
Thornthwaite Crag commands a position that looks over four valleys, Troutbeck, Kentmere Threshwaite Gill and Hayeswater and also the source of the River Kent
The turning point of the walk was the head of the Kentmere valley with good views down the valley, as I set off again for Mardale Ill Bell.

Thornthwaite Crag
This was also my half way point in my walk, and I soon reached Mardale Ill Bel and passed on with stopping and came to the Nan Bield Pass and the stone shelter with a beautiful view down to Hawswater and small Water from the ridge.

Nan Bield Pass
Now in front of me was the steep rocky climb to Harter Fell, I  arrived at the summit but the heat of the day was getting stronger it was now 11.20 am, I had another rest thinking it was all down hill from this point.

Harter Fell
With views now across the valley to Ill Bell, I made my way to the next summit of Kentmere Pike, this section from Harter Fell was easy walking on grass, from the summit Kentmere Pike I carried on without stopping and started on my way to the last summit Shipman Knotts
At the summit of Shipman Knotts, I was thinking about the walk I had nearly completed and the joy it had given me to do it and in the words of AW 
I found this life enjoyable, up here on the quiet summits, not down there in the crowded streets. Up here, I was able to stand back from a too-familiar environment like a painter before his canvas and view events in true perspective.
Shipman Knotts
the final walk back down into Kentmere valley was good with a great view back over the valley head. It was 15.30 pm and it has taken around six hours to do, back in the valley and the heat was even hotter, but now I was finished back at the church it was rest time.

Orrest Head Part 2, 2 ½ miles.

26th of May
After a lazy afternoon of relaxation I was eager to do something and the weather still hot and sunny this would be a good time to visit Orrest Head again after my last mission was a disappointment because of the weather. so I drove to Windermere and parked up and set off on this small circular walk.and when I got to the view point I had the view I wanted and had the place to myself but not for long as a group of Chinese tourist turned up but I waited them out as they posed for their cameras in groups or just a phone selfie and then they were gone I had no rush I stayed and relaxed once more soaking up the views on this beautiful sunny evening.

Orrest Head

Green Quarter Fell 5 miles.

27th of May.
Next day I was once again in Kentmere and up at the church parked up on another hot sunny morning but not planning to tackle any major fells, but a day of exploration and some easy walking planned. I started the climb out of the village with good views back to the village but what interested me as I climbed higher was the view down to Kentmere Tarn.
What you see today is not the original tarn but one what has been drained to provide better
agriculture land in 1840 and it was found that the lake bed held deposits of diatoms (fossilised aquatic plants).The diatoms were then mined. 

Kentmere Tarn
once out of the valley the landscape flattened out to an area of tussocks grassland; that is grazed by sheep, in the wetter parts Haire's-Tail cotton grass Eriophorum vaginatum L and Bugle Ajuga reptans giving colour to a bleak landscape, with its spike flower of deep blue.


 Haire's-Tail cotton grass 
In the distance, I got my first view of Skeggles Water and found a faint path to the shoreline and had a rest there enjoying this sunny morning with no sound but that of the birdsongs,
I retraced my way back to the bridleway and carried on missing out the summit for the great views.into  Longsleddale as I skirted the valley to meet another bridleway coming out of the valley what took me to point of yesterday's walk when I was coming off Shipman Knotts I came this way and again repeated the last part of the walk by following the same path back to Kentmere.

High Knott and the Kentmere Valley 7 miles

27th of May
After an hour of resting, I was out again on my second walk of the day and also there was a difference with the weather with more cloud now.  I passed Kentmere Hall with a 14th century Pele Tower and started the climb out of the valley following the bridleway with good views down the valley.
The Kentmere  Valley has had human occupation going back to 4000  BC  with evidence from the Bronze Age at several sites such as  Hugill site what I was soon to pass by.

Hugill is marked by a low embankment surrounding an irregular pattern of streets. ,

I could see rain clouds in the distance and they were heading my way, could I make it to High Knott in time, as I got closer to High Knott I could hear thunder as well but time had run out for me as I got to the bottom of High Knott the storm hit me and me and Sam had to find shelter fast we took shelter under a tree and with our backs up against the wall, the heavy rain came I pulled out the survival bag and covered us up and started listening to the heavy rain hitting us and the sound of thunder as well.
After the storm passed and the rain eased off we headed down the hill to Browfoot and the valley floor with the fresh smell of rain known as petrichor I started the walk back to Kentmere passing the tarn on the way and the end of the walk.

Reston Scar and Hugill Fell 2.5 miles.

28th of May.
After a night in a layby on the edge of Stavely I was ready for another day of walking , it was a damp and over cast this morning, as I climbed Reston Scar nice little fell but because of the low cloud this morning the views were  poor but still a wonderful place as I walked over Reston Scar now heading for Hugill Fell. Back in Alfred Wainwright day you could not do this but had to be done as two separate walks, but today you can, the cloud was slowly lifting as I reached Hugill Fell.
A good part of my outdoor lifestyle is spent studying the sky and reading the signs from it, wind direction to the type of clouds to show the different weather patterns and also there is the beauty of the ever changing sky to lay on one's back and enjoy watching the clouds move by. 
Clouds are the transient of nature's creations. They come out of clear sky, disintegrate before your eyes, vanish. You never see the same cloud twice. Every moment of its brief existence brings a change, of form or tint or texture for us to see every day if we are not too busy to look up....'Alfred Wainwright  
Kentmere Valley
From the summit of Hugill Fell there was a nice view up the Kentmere valley I descended of the fell and down into the valley with the last part of the walk, road walking back into Staveley.

Potter Fell

28th of May
This is the last walk of the Kentmere Valley walks and on a back road between Stavely and Bowston I found a small parking place to start this walk the weather had improved with cloud breaking up and the sun now shining
I had started the walk  and now climbing out of the valley through a bracken and rocky landscape and the views south started to open up as I came to a nameless summit, around me now the views got better as I could see the Fells of the Kentmere valley and has the landscape changed to one of grass and heather as I crossed  the .fell and onto Burnt Knott 
and rested to take in the surrounding views.

From Burnt Knott to an another nameless summit going was not straight forward with only a faint path or just a sheep track if it went in the right direction I followed it through heather and grassland passing through walls to get to Ulgraves summit. From the summit, there were views into Longsleddale.
Now the last part of the walk was down to  Gurnal Dubs reservoir.  not seen anyone on this walk till now and there were few people about relaxing around the reservoir enjoying the afternoon sunshine so I stopped and had a good rest myself.

The last part of the walk was passing Potter Tarn and Ghyll Pool, all three water bodies I have passed all feed into each other and are either man made or modified so they could feed the paper mill in the valley.
And that is it for this walk and the end of my planned walks and I still had a day to spare.


28th and 29th of May 2017.
The rest of my day and night was spent visiting the valley as far as the church where there is a car park and it was here I stayed and enjoyed a relaxing evening with good weather.

Next morning was a bank holiday and the weather was one of all day raining till mid afternoon and all the surrounding fells were covered in low cloud so when I stepped out form the van at Sadgill, after spending three-quarters of it cooped up I was eager to get some fresh air and exercise so I went and climbed Gray Crag going was fine and  I even found the summit of Grey Crag but from there things went wrong I made three different bearings from the summit,  for Tarn Crag but never made it, timed every thing through the thick fog and two them ended up at another summit called Harrop Pike how bizarre, I even had a brief panic moment of being lost and injured but I soon put a stop to that. I went through all my navigation training and still no luck so I gave up and retraced my way back to Sadgill and out of the cloud still puzzled and that ended my stay in Longsledgedale,


 from there I drove to Kendle and onto Scout Scar for another short stroll to the musroom to end my holiday Next mission Shap Fells in September.