Monday, November 30, 2009

The First Snows In The Lake District

This weekend saw the first snows fall on the higher fells of the Lake District. We came back from Whitehaven to see that it hadn't melted today so took the dogs up Dent. The visibility was excellent & the Isle Of Man was very clear (the camera doesn't really do it justice) Then a panorama looking East At the summit with Scotland clear in the distance Scafell Pike & Sca Fell
Pillar with snow to the left
And looking down on Cleator Moor
Finally last week when we were walking along the cycle track with the dogs we spotted a red squirrel, the first we have seen this close to home.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Foxtwood & The Six Dales

Last weekend we were back at Foxtwood holiday cottages , somewhere we have stayed twice before to compete in the LDWA 6 Dales Challenge. Andy didn't feel he was well enough to compete as he has been struggling with a headache for the past few weeks so it was decided he would look after Bess & Karen would take Crag with her. Karen was therefore walking with 5 male friends who are incredibly competitive & were certainly not going to wait for her if she fell behind so Karen decided the battle was on! The pictures aren't great as they were all taken on the move (as you can't waste time stopping to take photos) This is shortly after the 8am start at Biggin, heading towards Newhaven This in the first of 6 Dales we pass through - Long Dale
The first checkpoint was reached at 9:40, & then we are following the River Bradford in Bradford Dale. Terry had gone ahead by now so Karen was walking with Barry, Garth, Gerry & Peter.
Approaching Youlgreave, notice Peter & Barry are ahead of Karen
And to the most beautiful dale Lathkill Dale, Peter making a break for it ahead of Gerry.
Waterfalls on the River Lathkill
The second checkpoint was as Monyash where Karen & Crag made a break for it. The weather also turned which meant we had rain & wind directly in our faces & took no more pictures.
Karen completed her 4th Six Dales challenge & finished in her best ever time of 7hr 22min (previous best 7hr 45min), to discover she was only 8mins behind Terry, Gerry was next to arrive in 7hr 41min with Barry, Garth & Peter rolling in after 7hr 53min. The GPS recorded a distance 0f 26.2miles which means she walked at an average of 3.59mph for over 7hrs & boy did her legs know it the next day. Crag however was fresh as a daisy & wanted sticks thrown whenever he had the opportunity on the walk including upto the last mile. The certificate (they don't do doggy ones on this event) The next day after all the lads left we took the dogs out for a walk along the Caldon Canal (built in 1776) as it was flat & a good surface for Karen's aching legs. Just as we started though there was some shooting & Bess decided she wanted to go back, we put her in the car & the two of us & Crag continued. This is Foxtwood house where were we staying, a very impressive building & surroundings.
The towpath & canal
Froghall tunnel, we have to walk around not through this.
A derelict house near Froghall
Posing for the camera again!
This (as we discovered later) is Sid who used to be the resident swan on the lake at Foxtwood, but has decided to move to the canal
We had taken some left over bread & he was happy for a snack
Sitting waiting for the stick to be thrown, yesterday obviously didn't tire him out
We then met another border collie "Jake" & his owner. Crag & Jake had a good chase around together.
We then came across some ducks
Running parallel to the canal is the Churnet Valley Railway which runs a mix of steam & diesel trains. This is engine no 5197 which is an S160 class, built in 1944 in Lima (Ohio), USA. Bridge no .53. on the canal
Bridge no .52. known as changeover bridge as the towpath swaps sides of the canal
The same train approaching Consall station
The rail & canal bridge at Consall
That's cheating, a diesel engine pushes the Great Western Large Prairie 2-6-2-T engine no 5199 (built in Swindon in 1934)
And we turn and return back along the towpath
Some reflections in the canal
A much nicer day weather wise than Saturday
Despite us having done 6miles (& Crag a lot more) he still wants to play
And pose!
Please note all engine data from the Churnet Valley Railway website, we haven't become secret train spotters - honest
A really good weekend, great to see the lads again as it has been over a year & to meet Gerry. Crag proved that 7+ hours walking is not enough & Karen proved she is no pushover eh BARRY?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Two More Days Surveying Footpaths in Whicham

On Monday amidst glorious blue skies & even warm enough for shorts (we weren't quite brave enough) we set of to survey three more paths including the highest point in the parish - Black Combe (600m) It was relatively flat as we walked along the western side of the fell. The three paths were a circular route starting in Whitbeck & walking to the northern end of the fell before climbing & heading south over the summit & back down to the road & then walking low level back to the start. It was quite hazy, we couldn't see the Isle of Man, but could see St Bees Head beyond Sellafield. The running water here makes the mud & grass look like stalactites How old is this piece of machinery & how long has it been laid to rest here
Looking across to Corney Fell. A road passes over this fell & is a bit of a rat run to cut the corner on the A595.
Looking down on Bootle
Looking across to the Old Man of Coniston
And in the opposite direction out to sea
We were sure we had seen a little snow on the northern faces of the higher lakeland peaks as we drove over. The un-named tarn between the two summit cairns was quite icy.
We didn't stop at the main summit and shelter as there were three sets of people already there so continued to the lower summit cairn for lunch.
A panorama from the lower cairn of the view inland
Quite an impressive cairn even at the lower point (587m). We had climbed up from only 50m above sea-level so were glad for a rest.
Rather hazy but looking south to Millom with Barrow beyond that
Zooming in on Duddon Sands
Someone has spent a lot of time creating this
After lunch we start the descent back into Whicham
Although it is 600m high Black Combe isn't one of the 214 Wainwright main fells but is documented in the book "The Outlying Fells of Lakeland" (as is Dent the fell closest to our house). Today we decided to go back to Whicham & finish the lower level footpaths that we hadn't already surveyed. Our first path took us form the A595 to the Black Combe path we had walked on Monday
Then across the A595 to walk another three paths to Kiskin. We don't believe this gate is opened very often as these three ladybirds appear to have found a winter home here (we were very careful not to disturb them)
A benefit of all the rain to the dogs when tarns spring up in the fields
An impressive three span bridge carries the railway over the River Annas
Looking across to Black Combe
The bridge as we return
We were then rewarded with a flypast from two Hercules transporter planes Followed by a much quicker & noisier jet
We drove into Whicham to complete the last two surveys & spotted this bird of prey in the next field (it flew away when we got closer)
It had been a lovely day & the sun was still shining far out at sea, although the cloud was gathering now inland
We just have three more footpaths to complete which are three different routes up White Combe (472m) so we will probably have to complete these over two more trips.