Wedding, walking and weather…

As may be obvious from the photos below, we are not in London at moment – instead having a week’s holiday, much deserved of course, and the delights of our travels are too good not to be blogged. You never know Londoners, maybe you will get this far North one day too.

ChampagneThis Saturday we attended the wedding of Claire’s cousin Tom to Nicola at the lovely little Church of St Michael and All Angels situated in the grounds of Brodsworth Hall near Doncaster. This was followed by the reception at Wentbridge House Hotel. It was good to see Claire’s family and to see Tom and Nicola looking so happy on their big day. The food at the reception was fantastic and we especially loved the fish and chip canapés! No photos to show from here other than the glass of champagne as Claire was using her (shock, horror) non-digital camera at the wedding so we won’t see the photos for a while.

Although we could have slept in our very comfy bed for much longer on Sunday morning we got up relativity early for breakfast and set off up the A1 and across the A66 to the Lake District so we could get in a walk before it got too dark. With not much sunlight to play with we went for a sheltered route from Latrigg along the Cumbria Way to the currently closed YHA Skiddaw House. From here we stomped up the east side of Skiddaw (the highest peak in the North Fells at 931 metres), nicely protected from the prevailing southwesterly gusts. We could not even see Skiddaw when we got to the ridge due to the clouds, so instead we had a quick walk up Little Man (865 metres) before heading home. It was not until we had descended a good way that the cloud cleared, revealing the fantastic view of Derwent Water and Keswick below. Derwent Water and Keswick
We got to the delightful B&B Honister House, situated right in the centre of Keswick, just before dark (with home-made cookies to welcome us – yum). After getting all cleaned up (thankyou Susie for drying our clothes over and over again), we went and had some good beer and food at the George just round the corner, before retiring to bed early.

The next day, after a hearty and delicious vegetarian breakfast, we headed for Braitwaite and a hike up and around the Coledale valley. We started by scaling the exposed Grisedale Pike (791 metres), which while a challenge was somewhat protected from the wind by the other fells. We then followed the path round to Hopegill Head (770 metres), keeping on the path furthest away from the sheer crag end (do look at the picture on Wikipedia – it really was that steep. With such harsh wind and constant rain, photos were out of the question this day). Just metres from the top of Hopegill a strong gust pushed Claire and I to the floor (Claire still has the bruises on her bum to prove it) and ripped the map case from its strappings and threw it over the edge! With no map, constant horizontal rain and a scary wind, we decided that heading straight back down into the valley was the only option. So as quick as we could, we went over Sand Hill (756 metres – better than the route back along the crag edge) and down into the valley. Even once in the relative shelter of the valley, there were times where the wind was still trying to pick up and throw us about. After an attractive walk back down to Braithswaite, we returned soaked to the skin back to the B&B. This night we headed for the Dog and Gun for excellent beer and reasonably priced tasty food.

Red Tarn and Ullswater

Finally we got a day that had reasonable weather, and on the recommendation of John from our B&B, that east of Helvellyn (950 metres) should be relatively sheltered from the wind, we headed over to IMG_2630Ullswater (the second largest lake in England). Starting from Glenridding, we headed first up to the cute little Lanty’s Tarn before starting the slow but steady ascent to Red Tarn. The weather was good, and other hikers were climbing up to Helvellyn, so we thought we would walk along to Striding Edge and see if we could attempt it. Note: the scramble along Striding Edge, up to Helvellyn and down Swirral Edge would, if at all windy, slippery or icy, be quite precarious and should be taken with great care. Fortunately we found that both ridges were well protected by the fells (as you can tell by the photo of me standing on Striding Edge), and what we thought might be a tricky and difficult climb, actually turned out to be a very enjoyable if occasionally challenging scramble. It was not until we got to the very top that we realised it was still very windy (though a lot less so than the day before), and we did not stay on the top long – the picture above of Red Tarn looking down the valley to Ullswater was the best we could do on the way up, before the cloud set in. We descended via Catstye Cam (just to remind ourselves how windy it really was), down through the valley surrounded by numerous ridiculously beautiful waterfalls and then in the car from Glenridding we took the long route back to Keswick along the lapping shores of Ullswater. This was by far our best day in the Lake District – not only were we still mostly dry, we had scrambled up our highest peak, enjoyed glorious views and had a thorough workout. No wonder this route up Helvellyn is so popular.

And so onto our final day in the Lake District. After another good breakfast at our B&B (we really do recommend Honister House – very friendly and helpful,Claire at the top of Grizedale Forest with the sea in the background great for walkers, comfy rooms and lovely food), we headed out early for a bit of forest walking. There had been a lot of rain during the night, and some roads were almost flooded. With much more rain forecasted we were a bit concerned about getting out of the Lakes. Still, we headed to the Grizedale Forest Park, a large forest just to the west of Windermere. Here we had a relaxing (when compared to the last three days exertions) four hour walk around the whole forest, trying to take in as many of the sculptures scattered throughout that we could. This picture of Claire is at the top of Carron Crag where, believe it or not, it was so clear we could even see the sea. Taking the most direct back we got the charming (well it would have been if it was not lashing it down) ferry journey across Windermere, before the joys of the motorway back to Claire’s parents in Halifax to return her Mum’s car (thank you!) and to relax for a couple of days before heading back to London on Saturday night. Claire and I have had a fantastic time in the Lake District, even considering some poor weather, and with 3 out of 4 Ordnance Survey maps of the area already purchased, there are plenty more walks/hikes/scrambles to plan. 


P.S. For anyone that is interested, I will be marking all our routes on my Anquet mapping software when we get back to London. I will then upload them so anyone can see step by step where we went. Contact me if you want more specific details or Anquet files.


~ by lethaniol on 19/11/2009.

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