Every October The Navigator and I spend a week in the Lake District. We were joined this time by my recently retired brother-in-law, Andy. Our base was in Lorton Vale which gave us access to the north western hills.
A map of the area with indications of our routes is below.
The weather leading up to our trip (10th to 17th) had been dry for some time, would it last? In fact it went on and on and our waterproofs were of use only to keep the chill wind at bay.
After picking Andy up in Chester we headed north up the M6 with no traffic hold ups. Our usual practice of having a short walk on the route north continued and we turned off at junction 36 with an objective to climb the limestone outcrop of Holmepark Fell. The limited parking near Holme Park Farm where we had planned to take the marked path was full and so we nearly gave it up as a bad job. However as we returned a parking spot was found by Dykes Bridge and another path by Townend Farm. A close look at the map shows a crowded area of contours and our route went straight up a scree/mud path, an unwelcome climb after a long drive. However with suitable stops to admire the views we made it to the top and the limestone pavement. Our route down was a lot more forgiving and we continued of our journey to Lorton Vale and our cottage at The Hope Farm, an apt name for guys of our age!
Sunday soon arrived and from our cottage we could see Scotland in the distance with good weather forecast. Our objective today was Mellbreak. A fell which seems to stand on its own, with a steep up, a walk across the top and a steep down.
On our way down we visited Scale Force, which was lacking force due to very little rainfall.
We walked back to the car, alongside the edge of Crummock Water.
On Monday Scotland was once again in view and this was going to be our benchmark for good weather and to avoid boring my reader it was like this until Friday! Today we were tasked with climbing Barf and Lords Seat and my quick look at the map indicated a short day, it was not to be!
We parked opposite the Swan Hotel and soon a footpath sign showed the way to Barf. We should have paid more attention to the route shown in Mr Wainwrights guide. The lower slopes of the hill are well known for two rocks painted white, known as the Clerk and The Bishop.
We were somewhat misled as we began to follow an obvious path which led to these outcrops. It went up steeply on scree and we turned away but it was still a knee touching chin climb.
A small ledge was found to have a coffee. Obviously by now we recognised we had taken a more “interesting” route up the fell and continued upwards until we were met with a rock face.
There was much chin stroking and false attempts at a way through but in the end we had to take off our rucksacks to enable a climb through a gap in the rock and then by judicious use of a spare bootlace lift the sacks up to safety.
From here the route became much easier and we were soon on the top of Barf and headed over to Lords Seat before descending through the forest back to the car.
Tuesday was to be an away day and we headed over to Ennerdale Water, a fairly quiet part of the Lake District. We were heading to Anglers Crag and Crag Fell again trusting in Mr Wainwrights guidance to a gently climbing path which we ignored (missed).
Good progress was made on the lakeside path until we realised the diagonal rising path we were looking for had not been seen (we did see it on the way back!). With yesterdays climbing experience fresh in our minds we struck upwards battling through bracken and whatnot until we made the top of Anglers Crag for a welcome coffee.
From here we were now on more obvious ground and continued to climb on good paths to the top of Crag Fell where we settled down for lunch.
We could have returned downhill by a good and obvious path, but no, we took another “interesting route” which went over boggy ground and more bracken bashing, down to the lakeside and returned us to our car.
We woke to another good day on Wednesday although there was a chill in the air. Our target today was Grisedale Pike and Hobcarton Crag a sort of horseshoe. No doubt today we would have to pay for parking in one of Whinlatter Forest’s car parks, but no, the meter was covered up, result.
It was a steady pull up to the summit of Grisedale but the views were well worth it.
The Navigator and I realised that there would be an early finish today and so we gave the youngster the chance to extend his walk to take in Hopegill Head and Whiteside which he of course did whilst us old ones had a leisurely lunch and a stroll down Hobcarton Crag back into the forest and the car. I even had time for a visit to the fleshpots of Keswick before Andy came home.
The week is flying by and here we are at Thursday already, with our venue Carling Knotts and Blake Fell near the shores of Loweswater.
The climb up to Carling Knotts went well, perhaps hill fitness is happening.
We had lunch overlooking Cogra Moss before returning towards Holme Wood.
It was here we gave Andy another chance to extend his walk straight down through the woods, across the valley floor and up towards Low Fell where The Navigator explained there would be a good view down to Buttermere. The B Team strolled down a wide green path to High Nook farm and back to the car near Watergate Farm to await Andy.
There had been some confusion here as time was getting on and no sign of Andy. After a couple of walks up the lane to obtain a signal my mobile rang with Andy telling me he was in Thackwaite Village! We eventually met up without the need to call out the mountain rescue team.
Friday morning was the only day we could not see Scotland and the day was overcast all day. We were off to climb to Greystones and Broom Head.
A diversion was planned to look at Spout Force which like the previous waterfall we had seen earlier in the week there was little water.
From here we cut through the woods of Darling How Plantation to meet the path halfway up to Greystones. From here we headed on to Broom Fell from where we could see most of the tops we had climbed throughout the week.
Following lunch we headed down through the valley to the car. Although we knew this would be an early finish we did not extend Andy,s day and he stayed with us whilst we paid a visit to the Whinlatter Centre and were astounded at the cost of some of the mountain bikes on sale.
This was without doubt the best week of weather we have experienced in the Lakes in October and if this is global warming, bring it on!