Thursday, October 30, 2014

Helvellyn, White Side & Raise

Yesterday was the best day weather-wise we have seen in the past few weeks so we decided to make the most of it.  We only have one job for The Park at the moment a patrol, now patrols normally take us about 2 hours to complete & are generally reasonably low level, the one we had was neither. 
Helvellyn is a reasonably difficult mountain from the Ullswater side as you encounter either Striding or Swirral Edge shortly before the summit, both of which require some scrambling, however from the Thirlmere side it is a doddle, a path resembling a staircase takes you from the car park to the summit & this was the route on the patrol.
We start to gain some height, looking down on Thirlmere (the sun is so low that there are a lot of the photographer’s shadow in the pictures)
And again from a bit higher, as you would expect on a day like today & a half term there were a lot of people out
A panorama
Skiddaw & Blencathra in the hazy distance
This section was the only tricky bit, but that has been sorted since the last time we walked this route
There is no breeze up here at the moment
Leaving the “staircase” it’s a relatively flat walk to the summit
Two walkers on the horizon on the route we will exit by
Catstye Cam & Swirral Edge
Someone is camping on the summit plateau, wonderful view to wake up to
Looking down Swirral Edge
Red Tarn with Ullswater in the distance.  Helvellyn (950m) the 3rd highest summit in England
We then set off down to continue the patrol
Looking back at Helvellyns summit, it’s a busy place
Catstye Cam
The paths are like motorways up here, you can’t miss them
The route next takes us to White Side (863m), there isn’t any furniture to check up here
And then onto Raise (883m)
The cairn at the summit, looking back towards Helvellyn
We then drop down to a crossing known as Sticks Pass
And then turn to head back towards Thirlmere
A very well maintained sheepfold
Once at the bottom we head along a route back to the car park.  The waterfalls on Fisherplace Gill.
It took 5.5 hours to complete & was good exercise even if there wasn’t a lot to report back to The Park

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

A Day on The Oxford Canal

Last week we were back in Oxfordshire visiting family & friends, coinciding with a return visit to The UK by Adrian & David.  Last Friday we had a day on Oxford Canal hiring one of the day boats.


Once we departed we set about breakfast - bacon rolls for all


We hired the boat from Lower Heyford ( & travelled north up the canal


For the first section Andy walked Crag along the tow path


Karen now takes over walking Crag, whilst Ian steers the boat



Adrian & David take control at the first lock (Allen’s Lock)


Crag is very happy as he makes acquaintance with Jess a 3 year old collie


After much flirting from both parties it’s time to move on


A short video clip

Andy takes control


David & Adrian enjoy a cuppa


Ian is the main helmsman


David has a go


Followed by Adrian


We stop for a short break & Karen returns to the boat




Crag finds a stick!


Somerton Lock cottage


Ian expertly steers the boat into Somerton Deep Lock, this is the deepest lock of the day at 12ft (it is the deepest lock on the canal & the 15th deepest in the country)




The lock takes quite a while to fill



And we are out the other side


We turn the boat around & moor up for lunch before retracing our route back


This time we have a 12ft drop down at Somerton






Cuppas have been replaced with alcohol now


Dad & Lad steer us back



Some of the trees are starting to turn autumnal


Ooops we decide to investigate the river bank!



Karen wasn’t driving then honestly





The lengthening shadows reflect in the canal



Ian taking photos whilst David steered


Thanks Anne & Ian for thinking up such a thoroughly good way for us all to spend the day.