Another October, another boys week in the Lake District with the “Navigator”, Andy and me.
The “Navigator” and I set off from West Wales to meet up with Andy in Chester and then on to Cumbria. We left the M6 at Shap taking minor roads to the east of Bampton Grange and parked up by spot height 257 and started to walk up a farm track at Scarside.
This was a short walk to stretch the legs after a long car ride and we weren’t far from our cottage at Helton. This apparently is the oldest building in the village.
This could be described as a two centre walk or a figure of eight walk with lunch in between.
Our morning walk was along Swindale soon leaving the metalled road and onto rough ground first between stone walls and then on to open ground. The beck was straightened in the past to gain more land but the bends have now been reinstated.
We crossed to the beck and gradually climbed to view a number of waterfalls which were in a good flow. At the top we returned to the car via the bridle path shown on the OS map.
Om our way back we passed a group with five border collies which is frankly greedy especially as I just want one!
Back at the car we had lunch and decided to continue walking over to view the Naddle Valley where we walked through Naddle farm now a base for the RSPB. It was hoped we could make a circuit by crossing the Haweswater Dam but there is no path to cross this feature. Instead we walked back to Naddle bridge and returned to the car along the water board road and the then the public road along Swindale.
This was the week including the storms of Ophelia and Brian and the winds today indicated care should be taken if any height gained. We parked in Pooley Bridge in a side street as the official parking was far too expensive and walked down through the village and onto the lake side of Ullswater.
With all the rain of recent and current days it was very wet underfoot especially across fields. The route zig zagged up to Arthurs Pike which gave good views of Ullswater and down to Glenridding.
The wind was strong and we had to hold on to the cairn for safety and the return back to Pooley Bridge was away from any edges.
That night a tree came down in the garden and a partial collapse of a stone wall!
The forecast was not looking good and so a low level walk was decided on. The route was from Pooley Bridge to Aira Force with a bus trip back to the car.
It was very wet and muddy throughout and there was evidence of the strong winds as we walked through a wooded area.
Our route took us around Gobarrow Fell which on a better day would have given fine views of Ullswater and the surrounding hills.
The waterfalls at Aira Force were magnificent with lots of visitors taking in the views.
Since I last visited here the National Trust have a new visitor centre and a welcome cafe where we stopped for some refreshment whilst waiting for the bus. Unfortunately our Welsh bus passes are not valid here and we had to buy the very expensive tickets.
The forecast was looking much better with clear sky and little wind and so we were heading a little higher, with Andy going higher again.
The first part of the walk is alongside the lake to The Rigg and then its up, up and away with hands on rock in some places.
The weather had brought out more walkers than we had met since Saturday including a couple from Belgium with a husky or malamute attached to the man with a harness and a long lead. This did look somewhat dangerous when they reached a steep section of the climb but they made it. There was one hilarious interval when they reached the flat boggy area of Caspel Gate when Olaf the dog tried to jump across a gap but belly flopped into the sticky mud. It would have been funnier if the owner had been pulled in!
We had lunch here and the “Navigator” and myself decided not to continue up to High Street but young Andy still full of puff continued on up and we would meet up again at the car. Our way down was via Blea Water and Blea Water Beck where again the waterfalls were in full flow. Underfoot the paths were sodden.
We had thought that Andy would come down the Nan Bield Pass but he retraced his steps down the way we went up.
Our destination today was Howtown and Martindale and the surrounding hills.
Route (there is a small part missing towards the end)
We walked anti clockwise around Hallin Fell and then alongside the lakeside path to the foot of Scalehow Beck.
From here we headed uphill and eventually onto Birk Fell. Martindale is known for its deer herds and we could hear the bellowing of the stags and in the distance we could see the hinds and a couple of stags.
Our way back was between the gap between The Knight and High Dodd. The former, when viewed from one side is similar to our Welsh Cnicht.
The week has flown and today is our last walking day and not too far from base.
We parked in the hamlet of Burnbanks which was built for those involved with the Haweswater reservoir.
We walked on the north shore away from the dam until we reached Measand beck and its waterfalls.
From here we struck uphill and onto Bampton Common. We lunch near Ulgill Gutter and then towards Broom Bank crossing Howes beck near the dam. We had a coffee break in the Howes and then on into Bampton and followed the lane back to the car.