Lakes June 2016, 2015 and 2014

LDWA London Group and friends in the Lake District - June 2016 - Report and photos by Godfrey O'Callaghan and Paul Lawrence

Five London group members spent the week (one person for four days) based in Hawkshead, a pretty village away from the crowds, clean, quiet and full of displays of begonias. The week was given over to Paul Lawrence to complete the Fellrangers - a round of 227 summits - and to Chris Dent to add to his collection of Wainwrights - 214 summits which he is now moving closer to completing. The weather was a mixed bag, with some torrential rain and hail on one walk along the ridge leading down from High Street. But there was also a good deal of fair weather and one glorious day that included Crinkle Crags and Bowfell. Most days we ate in the hired house, more healthily than at the pub, with Godfrey's culinary skills well displayed as head chef which all appreciated. There is a photo gallery below.

Contrary to some reports in the media about the impacts of earlier flood damage in the Lakes, we saw little evidence and no re-routings of any consequence were needed. The main A591 road re-opened in May and while some damage to buildings in Patterdale is being repaired and work on the riversides in Keswick against future events is in hand, the tourism businesses are open and will be pleased to see you.

On Black Combe top - final Fellranger

To claim the Fellrangers Paul had five summits of lesser known fells on the Southern Fells to complete, finishing up on Black Combe. This day was mostly wet, but dried during the opening of the celebratory bottle of bubbly on Black Combe top. The route joined the last part of the John Peel Trail and Peter Grayson, who designed the trail, walked with us. As Peter's is the first name on the LDWA Register for the Fellrangers, at that moment both the first and last completers were present together on Black Combe. Peter is also part of the local Furness Mountain Rescue Team and later showed us round the headquarters at Foxfield. He is also active in Black Combe Runners, and right on cue on of them trotted nimbly up to the summit just as the cork popped! Congratulations to Paul for reaching yet another milestone and thanks to him for transporting us around the various destinations. Tony Willey of Lakeland Group also joined us for two walks.

The week included some other non-walking activities. On the Monday Tony kindly gave us a guided tour of the Holehird Garden near Troutbeck. This is a volunteer-run garden and both Tony and his wife are among the volunteers. It is operated by the Lakeland Horticultural Society and lies on a hillside with distant views towards Langdale. It has several national plant collections and is free to enter and open 24/7 via an 'open-sesame' gate as you come up the drive from the road from which it is signed. It is the garden of a mansion that adjoins and that is now a Cheshire Home. To recover from the efforts of five days of Fellrangering, we had a sort of 'arts and crafts' day on Thursday, some sketching around the village, some watching the only football game England managed to win at the Euros (and perhaps the last time they they will ever have won!), and some visiting Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin above the shores of Coniston lake. Ruskin was a Victorian political and social reformer, and visionary, and was visited there by many famous figures of his era, including Charles Darwin. He drew and painted and wrote on art and architecture, and was an advocate of the work of Turner. His classic work on Venice contrasted medieval craftsmanship with modern manufacturing – influencing William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. His visions included the National Trust and the NHS.

Here are the details of the walks and the peaks we climbed where these are on the three lists for: Wainwrights, Fellrangers (FR) and Wainwrights Outlying Fells (WOF) - all are Wainwrights unless marked otherwise:

11 June, Saturday: Muncaster Fell Hooker Crag (FR and WOF) - 9.6ml; 1680ft

12 June, Sunday: Troutbeck Tongue, Thornthwaite Crag, Froswick, Ill Bell, Yoke - 11.6ml; 3400ft

13 June, Monday: Shipman Knott, Kentmere Pike - 5.9ml; 1750ft

14 June, Tuesday: Little Stand (FR); Crinkle Crags, Bowfell - 9.1ml; 3050ft

15 June, Wednesday: Stainton Pike; Whitfell; Buck Barrow; Black Combe (all FRs and WOFs); Stoupdale Crags (WOF) - 12.1ml; 3200ft

17 June, Friday: Coniston Old Man; Brim Fell; Grey Friar; Swirl How; Wetherlam - 9.6ml; 3500ft

Totals:

Wainwrights 14, FRs 6, WOFs 6

Listed summits: 26 (some are in more than one list); Unique summits: 21

Distance and ascent totals: 57.9 miles and 16580 ft.

If you are not familiar with these peak lists, the 214 Wainwrights are the peaks covered in the seven celebrated 'Pictorial Guides' written by Alfred Wainwright over 50 years ago and published between 1955 and 1966 (The Seven Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells). The peaks were his personal choice rather than having a definition based on height. After completing these books, he added a further volume for the 'Outlying Fells' that include many of the smaller mountain around the central Lakeland fells (The Outlying Fells of Lakeland). This was partly aimed at 'old age pensioners and others who can no longer climb high fells but can potter on the short and easy summits of the foothills'. Wainwright's seven books describe the ascents of individual peaks, and do not aim to link them together as longer day-walks; for that Stuart Marshall's book is a useful guide and does all of these fells in 36 walks (Walking the Wainrights: With Stuart Marshall). The Outlying Fells are described in the form of linked walks. The 'Fellranger' series by Mark Richards is a modern-day equivalent of the Wainwrights and was published by Cicerone in recent years (Fellranger Collection). Richards has eight volumes, and while the peak lists overlap between Wainwright and Richards, there are more Fellrangers (227 versus 214). The difference is mainly that Richards covers in his extra volume the fells in the south west of the Lakes that Wainwright did not include, and the highest of these is Black Combe. Richards also omits a few 'Wainwrights' and adds some more smaller peaks elsewhere in the Lakes, so if you aim to complete both series some planning is useful to avoid repeating the same ground. To complete the Fellrangers if you have already done the Wainwrights involves adding 18 more summits. While Richards extra peaks are not a high as many of the summits common to both lists, they are not to be underestimated, as many are remote and are untracked as few people visit them, and some of the summits need a GPS (or exceptional navigation skills) to know when you even are on the right summit! They make interesting days away from the crowds on the major lakeland peaks, and although the distances were not large, this is rough and rocky country so the going is slow. There is a fourth series of Lakeland peaks, the Birketts, that are all the summits over 1000 ft in height in the Lake District, described by Bill Birkett in his Complete Lakeland Fells. There are 541 of these covered in 129 walks. The LDWA on its Hillwalkers Register pages provides various certificates for anyone completing the Wainwrights, the Outlying Fells (in addition, adding 116 more summits), the Birketts, and the Fellrangers. All are covered in Register 2 - The Lake District Fells, that has more details of the peaks listings. If you aspire to complete any of these Registers, also not to be underestimated is the need to keep a completions list and update it, and if you use a GPS, to visit the right summits on any ridge!

Lakes trips gallery - from the 2016 visit, by Godfrey O'Callaghan and Paul Lawrence:


Lakes Trip - London LDWA June 2015 - Report

This year's Lakeland adventure again covered eight days fellwalking, and for those doing the full Monty, involved bagging 24 'Wainwright' summits, ascending about 16,500ft and walking 65 miles, all in splendid scenery! Fourteen people took part, mostly London members, along with other friends, and the trip was organised by Paul Lawrence following in the traditions of the late Steve Singleton who had lead many previous trips and who got quite a few people into collecting Wainwrights. Paul was one of these and at noon on the Saturday, 20 June, Paul completed his final Wainwright summit, Rossett Pike, for his first round of the Wainwrights, so he now qualifies to apply for an LDWA certificate to mark the Round. The LDWA offers this further incentive for doing all these 214 peaks in the form of a certificate (on the Hillwalkers pages online - someone has done 44 rounds!). He also added another 20 new Wainwrights to his tally for a second round, with quite a few others already completed. In all on the seven led walks, 37 walking days yielded almost 120 Wainwright completions in all.

There is a pdf showing the routes we walked overlayed on OS 250k Road mapping here (OS OpenData copyright 2010). A few people walked all or part of the way between Ambleside and Windermere station - also shown as a green line on the pdf - and with rainy weather and low cloud one morning we did a lake cruise and a 5-mile walk along the western shore of Windemere (red line on the pdf) and visited Wray Castle and the national park visitor centre at Brockhole that are all linked by the excellent boat services, with round-trip 'walkers' ticket at about £10 for the day.

We based ourselves in Ambleside staying in the lakeside YHA hostel and in several b&bs both in Ambleside and Windermere from which Nigel cycled into Ambleside each evening on his folding bike! From here we car-shared to walk mainly in the areas around Ullswater, Langdale and Coniston. On one Langdale day, Tony Willey of Lakeland group joined us from Kendal.

Highlights of the week for me were of course completing the final summit for the round at Rossett Pike along with the various London members and other friends whom I have walked with over the years in the Lakes and elsewhere, notably Norman, also from Kendal, Phil, and Peter, who lives in the Lakes and has completed numerous other hill lists including the 3000ft summits of the British Isles that includes the Munros, to put my modest achievement in perspective. We were able to toast some absent friends, most notably the late Steve Singleton with whom I had climbed around 100 of the Wainwrights. Tony has completed six Wainwright rounds, but it is a bit easier and cheaper living locally; I reckon mine average about £25 per Wainwright when travel and accommodation is included.

This time the weather was fairly mixed with some windy ridge walks, a fair bit of sun and not a lot of rain, with the evenings often the best times. A brief spell of mist radidly descending on Middle Dodd provided an opportunity for some traditional navigation with compasses and maps to find the way to Little Hart Crag. Otherwise a GPS was useful to find the actual tops and make sure the right one had been ascended. As many will know, Wainwright sets a logistical challenge to complete the round of 214 summits without too much duplication, and I had used Stuart Marshall's excellent book, 'Walking the Wainwrights' as a basis for day-walks joining them up. Stuart's book has 36 walks to do the lot and some of the LDWA Irregulars managed this feat not too long ago. Wainwright's choice of the 214 was a personal one and includes many lesser peaks that one might not visit otherwise, but that often reward with fine views, or involve unexpected demands. Thanks to the patience of my fellow peak-baggers and their support on some long days over a number of years!

The Wainwright books are now almost all over 60 years old, and recently Mark Richards has completed a parallel set of 'Fellranger' guides with Cicerone, covering 227 peaks. The difference is 18 additions, mainly in the south west where Richards extends down to Black Combe, while Richards leaves out a few of 'AW's tops too. The LDWA also offers a certificate for doing these, so why not go for both! This trip we didn't do any of the 'extra' 'Fellrangers', so I still have 15 more to go to get those as well!

The 24 Wainwrights were: Place Fell, Beda Fell, Angletarn Pikes, Lingmoor Fell, Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle, Loft Crag, Pike of Stickle, Thunacar Knott, Sergeant Man, Blea Rigg, Loughrigg Fell, Rossett Pike, Bowfell, Wetherlam, Swirl How, Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man, Hartsop Dodd, Cauldale Moor (Stony Cove Pike), Red Screes, Middle Dodd, Little Hart Crag, High Hartsop Dodd.

Track files and pdfs on Landranger mapping can be provided as pdfs to LDWA members for these routes on request.

There is a photo gallery here. This includes a slideshow and a map view showing where pictures were taken. Below are flowers in Langdale and the Langdale Pikes from the Band below Bowfell. (Still photos copyright Paul Lawrence, 2015).


 

Lakes Trip - London LDWA June 2014 - Report

This year's Lakeland adventure covered eight days fellwalking, and for those doing the full Monty, involved bagging 25 'Wainwright' summits, ascending almost 26,000ft and walking 87 miles. all in splendid scenery! Five London members took part and the trip was organised by Paul Lawrence following in the traditions of the late Steve Singleton who had lead many previous trips and who got quite a few people into collecting Wainwrights.

We based ourselves initially in Eskdale staying in Stanley House next to one of the stations on the 'Ratty' narrow-guage railway up from Ravenglass, by which Chris arrived in some style. From here we walked mainly in Wasdale and Ennerdale. We later moved across to Keswick staying in b&bs and self-catering, and from here made an excursion across to Patterdale. On the way in for good measure we had climbed a couple of summits that, while not Wainwright peaks, are in Mark Richard's lists of Fellrangers, and en route home did a couple of summits across Shap Fells, for which Tony Willey of Lakeland group joined us from Kendal.

Highlights of the week for me perhaps were the Mosedale Round, near Wasdale Head, including a scramble up Yewbarrow followed by rather a hilarious meal in the atmospheric Wasdale Inn in the company of a gentleman who we met there by chance and who may remain for ever unknown, but who had recently completed all manner of extreme UK walking challenges including the Cape Wrath Trail, where his tales of midges, ticks and other hazards amused us greatly. Here in the pub there was also a possible sighting of legendary fell-runner Joss Naylor whose farm is nearby. Other sightings were of the Bassenthwaite ospreys, who have sensibly moved their nest a mile or so further from the public viewpoints near Dodd, so are much harder to spot, but a couple of the group were fortunate.

The far western side of the Lake District has less visitors and some of my remaining Wainwright summits are now the more remote ones, so on some walks we saw almost no-one else - morning mists probably helped obscure them too! The evenings were often clear and sunny - daylight seems endless in June that far north.

For those into peakbagging, Wainwright sets a logistical challenge to complete the round of 214 summits without too much duplication, and I use Stuart Marshall's excellent book, 'Walking the Wainwrights' as a basis for day-walks joining them up. This trip added another 18 leaving me 26 to go, while we did 25 in all, repeating such as Scafell Pike and Hellvellyn. Stuart's book has 36 walks to do the lot and some of the LDWA Irregulars managed this feat not too long ago. Wainwright's choice of the 214 was a personal one and includes many lesser peaks that one might not visit otherwise, but that often reward with fine views, or involve unexpected demands, such as our ascent of Bakestall up steep un-tracked heather slopes! Thanks to the patience of my fellow peak-baggers and their support on some long days!

The LDWA offers a further incentive for doing all these 214 peaks in the form of a certificate (on the Hillwalkers pages online - someone has done 44 rounds!). The Wainwright books are now almost all over 60 years old, and recently Mark Richards has completed a parallel set of 'Fellranger' guides with Cicerone, covering 227 peaks. The difference is 18 additions, mainly in the south west where Richards extends down to Black Combe, while Richards leaves out a few of 'AW's tops too. The LDWA also offers a certificate for doing these, so why not go for both! We knocked off three of the 'extra' 'Fellrangers', so 15 more to go to get those as well!

The 25 Wainwrights were: Caw Fell, Haycock; Lingmell, Scafell Pike, Seathwaite Fell; Grike, Lank Rigg, Crag Fell; Kirk Fell, Pillar, Steeple, Red Pike, Yewbarrow; Grey Crag, Tarn Crag; Glenridding Dodd, Sheffield Pike, Hart Side, Raise, White Side, Hellvellyn, Catstycam, Birkhouse Moor; Bakestall, Dodd (near Skiddaw).

The 3 Fellrangers not also Wainwrights were: Hesk Fell, Yoadcastle, Iron Crag


Lakes trips gallery - from the 2014 visit