9/10/2021: The Old Coach Road
Having taken advantage of the Patterdale bus, running only on Saturdays, Skiddaw U3A Roamers alighted at Dockray, a delightful hamlet nestling at the foot of Brown Hills. From there, they followed a minor tarmac road ascending to High Row: the starting point of the Old Coach Road, a wide track traversing the lower slopes of Matterdale Common and Clough Head en route to St John’s in the Vale. Although a leaden sky hung low, and it was clear that the rain was only going to intensify, they undulated along the track undaunted. Having reached the base of Threlkeld Knotts, they braced themselves for a muddy descent to Threlkeld across the marshy Threlkeld Common, arriving at their bus stop in the village at the same time as the bus – a stroke of luck!
No 104 (an extra, unscheduled, walk)
21/09/2021: High Cross to Skelwith Bridge via Tarn Hows
A combination of two buses took the Roamers to High Cross, which is the highest point in the road between Hawkshead and Coniston enjoying a spectacular outlook over the Coniston Fells. From there, they passed by a delightful Wharton Tarn nestling among a profusion of heather-adorned rocky knolls, crossed a minor road and walked along a wooded bridleway before reaching Rose Castle Cottage, sitting on high ground above the iconic Tarn Hows. Having regained their breath, momentarily lost at the magnificent sight of the Southern Fells, they escaped the touristy trail they had found themselves on by taking a much quieter path heading in the direction of Iron Keld, an attractive, partially wooded and quite craggy, area on the slopes of Black Crag. They then descended along an unfrequented but lovely permissive path towards Sunny Brow before turning north towards Pullscar Plantation, where a lot of tree-felling was taking place – thankfully well above the path. The final leg of this ramble saw them follow a quiet road passing by Bull Close, cross the busy A593 and reach the Cumbria Way, which delivered them to Skelwith Bridge. Delicious refreshments at the famous Chester’s café rounded off this pleasant, still summery, walk.
16/09/2021: King’s How and Brund Fell
On a glorious autumnal day, with barely a cloud in the sky, a large group of Roamers set off from the Bowder Stone car park, taking a pleasant undulating trail before steadily climbing the steeper, mainly stepped, path ascending up King's How, so named to commemorate the visit of Edward VII. The strenuous climb was well worth the effort, rewarding the walkers with a fabulous panorama, with Skiddaw towering over Keswick and Derwentwater in one direction and the mountains rearing up above Borrowdale in the other. Having navigated the brackeny depression between the summit of King's How and the dramatically rocky top of the slightly higher Brund Fell, the group was again able to enjoy a splendid vista. They returned along a circular route, which led down to a pleasant wood and took in a short stretch of Borrowdale Road, which, however, was soon escaped along the path heading up to the Bowder Stone. The stone’s name reflects its origins because, in the mists of time, the massive boulder had tumbled down from the Bowder Crag on the lower slopes of King's How.
2/09/2021: Flat Fell & Dent
On a brilliantly sunny day, Skiddaw U3A Roamers set out from Wath Bridge on the outskirts of Cleator Moor and followed Nannycatch Road before undertaking the short and easy climb up the expansive, and appropriately named, Flat Fell. From the ill-defined summit, they descended down the rather dramatic Flatfell Screes to the picturesque valley of the Nannycatch Beck. Having traced the beck to Nannycatch Gate, they continued criss-crossing it along the valley floor all the way to Autumn Bridge. From there, they took a wooded bridleway ascending up Dent, grateful for the shade providing welcome respite from the heat. The panorama from the summit was sweeping, from the majestic Black Combe to the south all the way to the Scottish hills rising beyond the Solway First. Another wooded descent via Weather Slacks deposited the group on the minor road between Egremont and Cleator Moor, which conveyed them back to Wath Bridge.
19/08/2021: Glenderaterra from Keswick
On a misty and showery morning, Skiddaw U3A Roamers started the day’s ramble at Keswick’s Spooney Green Lane before turning into Brundholme Road. This pleasant, traffic-free, road cutting through fresh-smelling Brundholme Woods conveyed the group to the bottom of Latrigg’s east ridge. From there, they descended to Glenderaterra Beck, now less lively than usual, crossed it and then ambled across the fields up to the Blencathra Centre, where they were regaled with glorious views to the south and west, the clouds having, by then, dispersed. They then followed the beck into the Glenderaterra valley, dominated by the dramatic rocky east face of Lonscale Fell, its lower lopes covered in vibrantly purple heather. Having crossed the verdant valley at its head, the group joined the Cumbria Way, lofty in places, following it past the Gale Road car park all the way back to Keswick. Nine miles but well worth the effort!
10/08/2021: Stile End, Outerside and Barrow
Skiddaw U3A’s Roamers started the day’s ramble at Braithwaite, gently ascending to Barrow Door along the path tracing Barrow Gill. From there, there was but a stroll to the top of Stile End, with its gorgeous views over Bassenthwaite, Derwentwater and the surrounding fells, the mighty Skiddaw dominating the skyline to the east. While the group was tackling the steep climb to the summit of Outerside, grey clouds from the west threatened precipitation but then floated harmlessly away. Another glorious vista, and the walkers headed down towards the old miners’ track, stopping to enjoy a sunny lunch and convivial chat. The route back to Barrow Door cut across the heather-adorned slope, its purple hue adding to the delight of the walk. Before returning to the village, the group decided to add the summit of Barrow to the day’s repertoire: you cannot have too much of a good thing!
22/07/2021: Latrigg to Threlkeld and back
On a very warm and brilliantly sunny morning, Skiddaw U3A Roamers set off from Keswick to climb Latrigg – first along the Cumbria Way and then the zig-zaggy path leading to the summit. After feasting their eyes on the magnificent panorama, they followed the east ridge down to the refreshingly cool valley of the Glenderaterra Beck before passing Derwent Folds and then ascending to the Blencathra Centre nestling at the foot of Blease Fell. A small woodland in the vicinity, providing welcome shade, was an ideal spot for a pit stop with a view, after which the group proceeded to Blease Road. Once in Threlkeld, they were more than ready for the refreshments at the Horse and Farrier. With half of the group then opting to catch a bus, the other half, braving the heat, walked through the village before taking the surprisingly deserted railway trail back to Keswick, the shade making it very pleasant.
8/07/2021: Raven Crag
Starting at Legburthwaite, U3A Roamers circled Great How along a permissive path before emerging on the road going over the Thirlmere dam. The smooth surface of the reservoir reflected the grey skies, clouds clinging to the tops of the surrounding fells. The steep climb to the wide forest bridleway at the foot of Raven Crag was negotiated with ease, and, despite its steepness, so was the final ascent to the summit. Although higher tops were shrouded in mist, there was sufficient visibility for the group to enjoy the truncated vista. After returning to the bridleway, they visited Castle Crag Fort, perched dramatically above the plunging ravine of Shoulthwaite Gill. A comfortable forest road then conveyed them down to Shoulthwaite. The final delight of the walk was the path around The Benn, abundant in wild flowers and bordering bucolic farmland dotted with leisurely grazing cows and their calves. And it was pleasing to see the route of the new pipeline greening over, its scars having largely disappeared.
24/06/2021: Bowscale Fell
On an overcast morning, Skiddaw U3A Roamers set off from Mungrisdale, taking a quiet road leading to the hamlet of Bowscale. From there, they followed the track contouring Bowscale Fell before reaching Bowscale Tarn. It was a lovely place for a pit stop, which was enlivened by one of the party, a geology professor, who fascinatingly outlined the origins of the tarn and the surrounding area. The morning progressively brightening up, the group then climbed steeply over the shoulder of the fell before undertaking a more gradual ascent to the summit. By now, the clouds had completely lifted, and the walkers were rewarded with terrific views of the surrounding fells and the rolling countryside to the east. After a leisurely lunch, they made a gentle descent to the col and then followed a good track, of an equally easy gradient, all the way down to the River Glenderamackin, beyond which an excellent pathway engineered out of large slabs laid across marshy ground conveyed them back to Mungrisdale.
10/06/2021: Ling Fell
From The Pheasant Inn (Bassenthwaite), Skiddaw U3A’s Roamers followed the minor road towards Wythop Mill before rounding Sale Fell to reach Brumston Bridge, straddling Wythop Beck. Before they crossed over, a fortuitous break in the clouds allowed them to observe a partial eclipse of the sun – an unplanned attraction. Having reached the foot of Ling Fell, the group took the bridleway steadily ascending to the summit, which rewarded them with an impressive panorama. It was, however, no place to linger, the keen wind prompting a hasty descent down the grassy slope back to the bridge. Once over the beck, they turned into Wythop Valley, heading for Chapel Wood on the lower slopes of Sale Fell. The fell was then rounded along a wide path affording extensive views due to tree felling and leading to a forest bridleway, which conveyed the group back to The Pheasant.
27/05/2021: Souther Fell
With the weather forecast promising – and then delivering – a fine day, a sizeable group of Skiddaw U3A’s Roamers set off from Mungrisdale, crossing the River Glenderamackin and girding their loins for the steep climb up Souther Fell. Although the gradient of the ascent, scrambly in places, slowed the group’s progress, they were distracted by a fly-past of four jets roaring through the valley and leaving beautiful double-curved vapour trails behind. Having attained the pleasant undulating ridge, now a little breezy, they were rewarded with magnificent 360-degree views, those of Blencathra’s Sharp Edge being particularly impressive. The easy descent to Mousthwaite Comb and then Glenderamackin deposited them at the bottom of the secluded valley carved by the river, and they followed its course all the way back to Mungrisdale. The path being wet and eroded in places, they were pleased to reach the large slabs laid over marshy ground and leading to Mungrisdale, where very welcome refreshments awaited at the Mill Inn.
13/05/2021 – Walla Crag & Surprise View
Skiddaw U3A’s Roamers walked in bright sunshine through Springs Wood to Rakefoot Farm before steadily ascending the old cart track leading to the summit of Walla Crag. Delighting in the lovely views over Derwentwater and the surrounding fells, they then followed the footpath down to the iconic Ashness Bridge. By the time they crossed fields to gain the Watendlath Road, clouds had built from the south making the high fells dramatically disappear, but this didn’t spoil their enjoyment of their next objective, Surprise View. And only a few drops of rain assaulted the group on their way back to Great Wood, Castlehead and Springs Road.
29/04/2021: Nab Scar and Alcock Tarn
On a bright but unseasonably cold morning, Skiddaw U3A Roamers met outside Dove Cottage in Grasmere. The group then followed the popular 'coffin route' to Rydal Mount before energetically tackling the steep, but well-stepped, ascent to Lord Crag via Nab Scar. They would have lingered there to take in the breathtaking views over lunch but for a random hail shower. The only thing for it was to make a quick descent to Alcock Tarn along a convenient, albeit unmapped, path. From the tarn, a steep path winding its way down the lower slope of Heron Pike towards the picturesque Greenhead Gill conveyed them to Swan Lane. There, the group divided, with most heading off for the bus or their car, while an energetic few decided to walk back to Dove Cottage alongside the terrace path cutting across the fellside behind Forest Side.
15/04/2021: Sale Fell
On a gloriously sunny morning, the Skiddaw U3A Roamers set off from Beck Wythop aiming for Sale Fell. Following the bridleway through Hogg Wood was a new experience for some, and everyone enjoyed spotting exotic creatures (aka targets for archery practice) lurking behind trees and hiding in the bushes. A winding trail then conveyed the group to the site of the old Wythop Church, from where they took the terrace path up Sale Fell. Having climbed steadily to the top, they were rewarded with fantastic views of Ullock Pike, Dodd, Skiddaw and, to the south, the Helvellyn range as well as Bassenthwaite Lake and the Scottish coast.
The group then descended to the Pheasant Inn, walked along a minor road past the Silver Meadows Nature Reserve to the A66 and returned along the shore of Bassenthwaite Lake back to Beck Wythop. A perfect start to the 2021 season of walks!
17/12/2020: Whinlatter Forest Trails
The village of Thornthwaite was the starting point for the Roamers’ exploration of Whinlatter Forest. First, they followed the enchanting Comb Beck Trail to the visitor centre, whose quietness was a stark reminder of the pandemic. The spacious porch nevertheless provided a welcome shelter from the rain, which decided to hold off no longer. Having crossed the Braithwaite-to-Lorton road, the group then entered the Revelin Moss area and meandered across Hospital Plantation along gently undulating bridleways. The rain eased off just as they reached a scenic picnic spot consisting of several polished stone seats and a large stone table – all bearing interesting inscriptions. Heavy Sides and Masmill Beck Trails offered further delights before the group descended to Hallgarth near Thornthwaite via Noble Knott.
10/12/2020: Keswick-Threlkeld railway train and Brundholme Woods
The fifth anniversary of Storm Desmond saw the re-opening of the Keswick-Threlkeld railway trail, so it was fitting for the Roamers to explore the route. The walkers couldn’t help being impressed by the fabulous engineering work done on the trail, including opening the tunnel, erecting two new bridges and re-routing sections of the original path to make it more flood resilient. After a most enjoyable amble, the group reached Threlkeld, where they took the minor road leading to the picturesque hamlet of Wescoe before descending to Derwentfolds. Tarmac then gave way to a path which crossed the lively Glenderaterra Beck and climbed towards Latrigg. Rather than returning over the summit, most of the walkers then chose a delightful permissive path undulating across Brundholme Wood, with a few having opted for the return along Brundholme Road.
22/10/2020: Rannerdale Knotts
The Roamers set off from Lanthwaite Green, taking the little-used path at the foot of Grasmoor, which afforded inspiring views of Crummock Water and the surrounding fells. Somewhat less inspiring was the clearly advancing rain, which soon set in and kept intensifying. At Rowantree Beck, the group split into two, and those who had chosen the longer route embarked on the gradual climb up the valley along Squat Beck to the end of the Rannerdale ridge before following it to the summit of Rannerdale Knotts. After enjoying a bevy of hooper swans looking like white specks on the lake below, they retraced their steps along the ridge and descended down the steep and now slippery slope towards Buttermere. Having crossed the road and looped around Long How, the group enjoyed walking under the canopy of vibrantly coloured trees before reaching the eastern tip of the now windswept Crummock Water. They then recrossed the road and made the gentle ascent to Hause Point before returning to the bridge over Rowantree Beck. The delightful lakeshore path then led the soggy but contented group to Lanthwaite Woods, which they cut across to get back to the cars. Meanwhile, the group following the shorter route made straight for Hause Point before descending to the eastern tip of Crummock Water, now enlivened by the noisy swans, and exploring the colourful Long How woods. The return route led back over Hause Point and along the same lovely lakeshore path taken by the other group.
8/10/2020: Allerdale Ramble (including Watch Hill)
Having met at Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, the Roamers followed the Allerdale Ramble, crossing the River Derwent, traversing farmland using old stone stiles and eventually reaching the A595. Extensive views of the fells provided some compensation for the traffic noise on the short road section. A footpath then led to Redmain and Isel Road – usually relatively quiet but currently disrupted by works carried out by United Utilities. The group walked past Isel Hall to the churchyard of Isel Church, which lent itself particularly well to a socially-distanced lunch stop. After crossing the River Derwent again, they tackled the easy ascent up Watch Hill. Having emerged from the trees, they enjoyed the delightful grassy promenade offering an extensive panorama. An equally gentle, if wet, descent led them back to Cockermouth, excellent weather heightening their enjoyment of this interesting walk.
26/09/2020: Alcock Tarn
The Roamers started their Alcock Tarn amble to the accompaniment of a howling wind, which, however failed to dampen their spirits. Taking the lane at the back of the Swan Hotel in Grasmere, they crossed over Greenhead Gill using the splendid replacement of the bridge washed away by Storm Desmond. A comfortably stepped zig-zaggy path then led them to the glistening Alcock Tarn, nesting snugly on the slopes of Heron Pike. Despite its modest elevation, they were able to enjoy an extensive vista dominated by the iconic Langdale Pikes. Another cleverly traced path leading down the craggy slope conveyed them to White Moss and to the rather busy shore of Grasmere beyond. Returning to the village on the lake’s western side, they were mesmerised by the vibrant colours on the trees undergoing their magical autumnal transformation.
10/09/2020: Wansfell Pike & Wansfell
Stockghyll Force roared in its dramatic ravine as the Roamers left Ambleside with the aim of climbing Wansfell Pike and Wansfell. They were soon following an excellently-stepped path ascending up the Pike’s pleasant, largely grassy, western slope. The views from the rocky summit might have been slightly blurred by the floating mist but were extensive nevertheless. An undulating ridge, tracing a substantial stone wall and conspiring to slow the group’s progress with patches of wetness, led to the much quieter, and more unassuming, top of Wansfell. The descent to Troutbeck along Nanny Lane was quick and easy, with the group then enjoying a stroll through the pretty village. Robin Lane, cutting across charmingly wooded slopes overlooking Lake Windermere, provided a most attractive passage back to Ambleside.
26/08/2020: Silver How
The laden sky might have been hanging threateningly low over Grasmere, but the Roamers embarked on their Silver How walk undaunted. From Dove Cottage, the partially wooded route led to the lake via White Moss and along the foaming beck, replenished by the recent rain. After a short climb up the bracken-clad slope, they reached Loughrigg Terrace, enjoying the fabulous views over the lake and surrounding fells. Between them and the summit stood the delightful craggy ridge adorned with juniper and bracken and offering further splendid vistas, with those of the Langdale Pikes being particularly stunning. Having reached Silver How, the group were forced to don their waterproofs, but the drizzle petered out as they were making their way around Brigstone Moss back down to Grasmere. This pleasant ramble was rounded off with delicious ice-cream in the village.
14/08/2020: Helm Crag, Gibson Knott, Calf Crag & Steel Fell
The sky was blue, the breeze was gentle, and the sun was beating down on six Roamers as they got off the bus in Grasmere. The route led into the lush Easedale and then up the attractively craggy Helm Crag, modest in height but offering a splendid panorama nevertheless. The undulating ridge then conveyed them to Gibson Knott, beyond which there was a further pull-up to the summit of Calf Crag. After much brow-mopping, it was decided that, in the searing heat, the originally planned return via Far Easedale would be too suffocating, so the group made for Steel Fell instead. The passage across Brownrigg Moss might have been wet in places, but at least the breeze was refreshing and vistas never-ending. They then descended down the steep north ridge to Wythburn with its welcoming bus stop.
On a rainy and murky morning, a small group of waterproofed Roamers followed the Cumbria Way, ascending from Spooney Green Lane towards the Gale Road car park. Before reaching it, they took the zig-zaggy path leading to the top of Latrigg. As they stood on the summit, the mist clung tightly to the surrounding fells, with barely any outlines visible. This was no weather for pit stops, so the group soon started the gentle descent down the fell’s grassy eastern slope, now able to catch a glimpse of Blease Fell rearing up ahead. Above Brundholme, they executed a 180-degre turn into the enchanting terrace path cutting across Brundholme Wood, which conveyed them back to the Cumbria Way. As they followed the familiar route to Keswick, the skies brightened – the timing which is, sadly, rather typical.
16/07/2020: Bleaberry Fell
Overjoyed to be reunited after an enforced four-month break, two separate groups of six high-spirited Roamers each met up at the Theatre by the Lake before strolling along the lakeshore towards Great Wood. The route then followed the terrace path passing underneath Falcon Crag and leading to Ashness Bridge. Although low-hanging cloud shrouded the surrounding fells, the panorama from this famous viewpoint was sufficiently extensive to make one’s pulse quicken. The group then steadily ascended towards Walla Crag before veering eastwards to join the well-engineered path leading to Bleaberry Fell. As luck would have it, thick mist descended as soon as they reached the summit, enveloping them in damp greyness. Their spirits undamped, however, they descended towards Rakefoot Farm before reaching Keswick – now, perversely, enjoying perfect visibility.
13/03/2020: Glenridding Dodd and the valley of Glenridding
On a clear morning, the Roamers squelched their way into Glencoyne before tackling the steep lower slope of Black Crag. The interesting passage between Glencoyne Wood and Sheffield Pike led them to the summit of Glenridding Dodd, soaring above the village. From there, they were able to savour the extensive panorama, the fells surrounding Ullswater still sporting a dusting of snow. After a steep descent south, the group followed Greenside Road to the old lead mine gouged out of the rough slope of Stang End. Having crossed Glenridding Beck at the weir, they walked to Glenridding across the lower slopes of the bulky Birkhouse Moor. From the village, they took the pleasant undulating lakeshore path back to Glencoyne Bridge, with the sun making a most welcome, if slightly delayed, appearance.
27/02/2020: Grasmere to Ambleside
Anticipating another instalment of horrible weather, the Roamers got off the bus in Grasmere under the blue sky. Taking the bridleway leading towards Chapel Stile, now resembling a stream, they left it at the foot of Spedding Crag to attain the delightful grassy ridge, full of rocky outcrops, linking Loughrigg with Silver How. All around, the higher fells were blanketed in dazzling snow, with the Langdale tops looking particularly impressive. After negotiating Dow Bank and Huntingstale Crag, the group dropped down to Red Bank before reaching the picturesque Loughrigg Tarn. From there, they followed the bridleway cutting across the southern slope of Loughrigg Fell and leading to Ambleside, its highest point revealing the Eastern Fells opposite glistening in sunshine. Just before they reached their destination, the sun gave way to sleet – perfect timing again!
13/02/2020: Wythop Woods & the Wythop Valley
Fresh snow capped the summits as the Roamers left the bus at Woodend Brow and strode gamely towards Beck Wythop and then across the brooding Wythop Woods to Routenbeck. From there, they swung towards Wythop Mil, soon abandoning the minor road in favour of a delightful path cutting across the rounded lower slopes of Sale Fell and leading into the unfrequented Wythop Valley. After admiring a Red-legged Partridge at Kelswick, they descended into the valley, delighting in the sparkling slopes of Skiddaw straight ahead. With sections of Wythop Woods now cleared, the bridleway leading down towards Bassenthwaite looked rather desolate, but King’s Wood, which they crossed along a wide forest road, appeared healthy. After a final sprint, the group made it to the bus stop – just in time!
6/02/2020: Meal Fell & Great Cockup
On a sparkling winter’s day, with barely a cloud in the sky, the Roamers left Over Water and followed the Cumbria Way to Longlands, a gateway to the unfrequented Uldale Fells. Tracing Longlands Beck, babbling in its picturesque ravine, they crossed the River Ellen and tackled Meal Fell head-on, climbing steeply up the tussocky slope straight to the summit. After posing by its circular wall-shelter, they descended to the legendary pass called Trusmadoor before undertaking another steep climb – that to the top of Great Cockup. A pleasant path leading down smooth grassy slopes took them over Little Cockup to Orthwaite Bank, whence they descended to the old bridleway linking with the Cumbria Way, the return to the cars being filled with much laughter and good cheer.
23/01/2020: Gowbarrow Fell
The iconic Aira Force greeted the Roamers with a mighty roar as they embarked on their latest walk, whose main objective was Gowbarrow Fell. Having feasted their eyes on the foaming waterfall, they followed Aira Beck upstream, enjoying its lively cascades as they went. Having emerged from the woodland, they ascended Gowbarrow Fell along the footpath tracing the wall. The sun’s rays were trying to pierce the grey clouds as they took in the extensive vista extending as far as the Pennines. They then descended towards the shooting lodge before returning along the delightful terrace path cutting across the rusty-coloured brackeny slope and affording spectacular views over the glistening Ullswater and its surrounding fells – a perfect winter’s walk.
3/01/2020: Thornthwaite to Keswick (over Braithwaite How)
Another year, another walk. Having got off the bus at Thornthwaite, a sizeable group of Roamers took the low-level, gently undulating bridleway to Braithwaite, where they climbed gorse-adorned Braithwaite How. While modest in height, the hillock offered excellent views of Derwentwater and the surrounding fells, while pleasant sunshine lifted everyone’s spirits. A descent down the rusty slope carpeted with withered ferns led the group to the village, from where the route followed the lively Newlands Beck to Stair before veering towards Skelgill. Looking up at the Catbells ridge, they were rather glad to stay low, as the wind was, by now, ferocious. Soon, they joined the well-trodden Cumbria Way, which conveyed them to Keswick, with the heavens opening just before they reached the town – good timing!
22/12/2019: Walla Crag
On the last, additional, walk of the year, the Roamers strolled out of Keswick along Springs Road before embarking on the popular climb up Walla Crag. The ascent of the slope rising above Rakefoot was enlivened by a magnificent rainbow shooting into the sky from Derwentwater and dipping down behind Latrigg. Having paused on the summit to admire the extensive panorama, the group took the well-trodden trail descending to the iconic Ashness Bridge. From there, they followed the terrace path passing underneath Falcon Crag and emerging by Derwentwater. The delightful lakeshore path then conveyed them to Ing Wood, where they admired the boardwalk recently erected above the flood-prone section before returning to Keswick, ready for the impending Christmas festivities.
18/12/2019: High Rigg
Snow-capped summits looked suitably seasonal as the Roamers got off the bus near the Thirlmere dam, aiming for High Rigg. A pleasant, in places rocky, climb led them to the long undulating ridge, which conveyed them to the top in a series of delightful ups and downs. By then, the wind meant business, allowing only a brief stop for a summit photo. After a largely grassy descent, the group took shelter in the welcoming Church of St John’s in the Vale before continuing to Dale Bottom, where they were able to observe massive water pipes being buried in the ground. After crossing the A591, they passed by Castlerigg Farm before returning to Keswick vis Springs Road, with a splinter group having chosen a longer option leading via Great Wood.
Storm Atiyah having submerged the Chinese Bridge path, the Roamers got off the bus at Grange on a bracing but sunny morning. There was hardly a cloud in the sky as they made their way towards Catbells Terrace, whence they climbed up the steep rust-coloured slope to Hause Gate. Reaching the summit of Catbells was a matter of a straightforward stroll, with sweeping views over Derwentwater being ample recompense for the initial effort. It was then back to Hause Gate and down into the Newlands Valley, the silhouettes of the surrounding peaks being cast in sharp relief against the blueness of the sky. Before returning to Keswick, the jolly band stopped off at The Chalet in Portinscale for some festive refreshments – a convivial end to an enjoyable ramble.
On a bracing November morning, the Roamers left their cars at Maggie’s Bridge and headed towards Loweswater, its surface rippled by the brisk wind. The lakeshore path led through Holme Wood, which displayed the last vestiges of autumnal colours. After a short climb past Hudson Place and Jenkinson Place, they reached the delightful terrace path cutting across the lower slopes of Burnbank Fell. The elevated promenade used to be a coffin route leading from Buttermere to St Bees Priory, which had burial rights. The magnificent Grassmoor and its lesser satellites loomed large as the group put up fierce resistance against icy blasts before descending to High Nook Farm and enjoying a warm welcome from its friendly canines. A pleasant stroll past Watergate Farm completed this invigorating ramble.
8/11/2019: Ravenstone to Keswick via Dodd
Having outwitted the weather by postponing their walk for a day, the Roamers got off the bus at the Ravenstone Manor Hotel on a gloriously sunny morning. The route, ultimately leading to Keswick, followed one of the attractive trails criss-crossing the lower slopes of Ullock Pike, with vibrant autumn colours mesmerising the walkers. The trail then became a forest road, which, after several twists and turns, conveyed them to the summit of Dodd, steeply rising above the Bassenthwaite Lake and its flood plain. Having feasted their eyes on the extensive panorama, the group descended through Dodd Wood and Lyzzick Wood, with stunning views accompanying them all the way. After reaching Millbeck, they ambled to Keswick via Applethwaite along a mixture of minor roads and footpaths.
Having left Keswick along Spooney Green Lane, the Roamers followed the Cumbria Way across the intensely hued slopes of Latrigg to the Gale Road car park. From there, the route rounded Lonscale Fell high above Glenderaterra Beck, leading deep into the valley. Having crossed the beck, the group took the bridleway cutting across the lower slopes of Blease Fell, which offered tantalising views over Derwentwater and the surrounding fells illuminated with shafts of sunlight. From Blencathra Centre, the pleasant descent led to Derwentfolds before a climb up the southern slope of Latrigg, intersected by a high wooded path, now resplendent in vibrant autumn colours, with its final section, regrettably, having been comprehensively cleared of trees. Not that this spoilt the jolly expedition, which ended in Brundholme Road.
10/10/2019; Grange to Keswick via Newlands
Having been alerted to further precipitation, the Roamers decided to play it safe with a Grange-to-Keswick ramble. Enjoying a brief dry interlude, they made for Catbells Terrace, which afforded magnificent views of Derwentwater and the surrounding fells. Under the laden sky, they then descended to the Cumbria Way, where the group divided, with a handful of walkers choosing to return to Keswick via Nichol End and Portinscale. The rest, undeterred by the rain, made a detour via Skelgill and Stair in the Newlands Valley. The lively Newlands Beck then accompanied them to Little Braithwaite, with the return route to Keswick leading via Ullock (with its resident donkey in evidence) and Portinscale. And, all around, the slopes, covered in withering bracken, pleased the eye with their rusty hue.
26/09/2019; Aira Force and Lucy’s Wood
On another soggy morning, a surprisingly large number of clearly amphibian Roamers started their walk at Aira Force, which, boosted by persistent precipitation, tumbled down with a thunderous roar. The party then followed the foaming Aira Beck upstream, enjoying its lively cascades. Having walked through Dockray, they ascended to Lucy’s Wood, and enchanting plantation commemorating the short life of a local girl. Secluded within it was Lucy’s Barn, generously opened to visitors by the girl’s family, which provided a welcome respite from the rain. The return route led via High Row to Thornythwaite and on to the charming hamlet of Ulcat Row, nestling at the foot of Gowbarrow Fell. The final leg traced Aira Beck on its other side, with the lively flow captivating the travellers anew.
12/09/2019; Ambleside to Grasmere via Loughrigg Terrace
On a wet morning, several intrepid Roamers hopped off the bus just before Ambleside and followed the coffin route to Rydal. After crossing the foaming River Rothay, they greatly welcomed the shelter of Rydal Cave. They then headed for Loughrigg Terrace, perched above Grasmere – now barely discernible in the mist. Having crossed the Red Bank road, the group took the attractive, if soggy, ridge steadily rising to Silver How in a series of rocky ups and downs. Having ascended Huntingstile Crag and Dow Bank, the thoroughly soaked party, now additionally blasted by a keen wind, abandoned the ridge in favour of a path, or was it a stream, heading towards Grasmere across the lower slopes of Silver How. The bus in Grasmere was a most welcome sight!
29/08/2019; Lingmoor Fell
From Elterwater, the Roamers took the bridleway leading to Little Langdale, leaving it at the highest point to ascend the slope revealing the remnants of the area’s industrial past: stacks of slates, old ruins and disused quarries. The path wound its way through shoulder-high ferns towards the craggy and heathery, and now extremely windswept, ridge of Lingmoor Fell. The summit was so blustery that only the briefest of stops proved endurable – despite the magnificent views. Having negotiated a few rocky scrambles on descent, the group reached the foot of Side Pike, where a splinter party tackled ‘the squeeze’, with the rest taking a more conventional route down. Reunited in the valley, they strode along the Great Langdale Beck past the Old and New Dungeon Ghyll and Chapel Stile before reaching Elterwater – and welcome refreshments.
15/08/2019; Gummer’s How & Staveley Fell
On a blustery morning, the Roamers parked half-way up Fell Foot Brow before embarking on their exploration of Staveley Fell, an afforested expanse of high ground overlooking the hamlet of Staveley-in-Furness. The loop around its extensive perimeter took in a mixture of wide forest roads and winding footpaths, with the surprise element having been provided by the glistening Simpson Ground Reservoir, a tarn-like sheet of water well-concealed inside the plantation. The group then ascended the neighbouring, windswept, Gummers How, a busy viewpoint soaring above the southern tip of Windermere. There, they feasted their eyes on the extensive panorama of the Lakeland fells, Howgills, Pennines and Morecombe Bay. Quite a contrast between the tranquility of one fell and the popularity of the other.
1/08/2019; Hallin Fell and the lakeshore path to Patterdale
Ullswater being as calm as a mill pond, the steamer, packed with jolly holidaymakers, smoothly conveyed the Roamers from Glenridding to Howtown. Having disembarked, the group climbed the bracken-clad Hallin Fell, standing guard over the delightful Martindale and commanding a magnificent panorama of the lake and surrounding fells. If ever there was a place to linger, that was it, particularly as the sun was warm and the breeze gentle. Then, after a photo-shoot by the impressive summit cairn, they spiritedly tackled the steep descent to Sandwick before joining the ever-popular lakeshore path. Innumerable undulations on, they reached Patterdale and the well-deserved pint – always a good note to finish on.
18/07/2019; Sallows, Sour Howes and Orrest Head
Ignoring the laden sky, the Roamers left the bus at Ings and headed towards Kentmere. The bridleway from Grassgarth wound its way through burgeoning ferns practically engulfing the walkers. Girding their loins, they then ventured off-piste across the grassy expanse of Kentmere Park to attain the summit of Sallows, recompensing them for the roughness of the ascent with a splendid vista. A stroll away was the top of Sour Howes, whence they descended, steeply but in sunshine, to the comfortable Dubbs Road. The pace quickened as they marched past the reservoir towards the delightful, if a tad crowded, Orrest Head, where AW Wainwright famously lost his heart to the Lakes. And they did manage to catch their bus in Windermere – phew!
Leaving bustling Ambleside behind, the Roamers, accompanied by three well-behaved canines, soon reached Stockghyll Force, doing its best to hide its cascades behind dense foliage. The ascent up Wansfell Pike had the advantage of being direct, with the wall at the top providing excellent shelter from the blustery wind. Dryness underfoot and the extensive panorama made the undulating ridge walk to the grassy summit of Wansfell very enjoyable. More grass made for a springy descent to Nanny Lane, which conveyed the walkers to Troutbeck and welcome refreshments, which fueled the final ascent up Robin Lane. The return route delighted them with magnificent views of Windermere – and of equally magnificent horns on one of the beasties grazing on the verdant pastures above the lake.
20/06/2019; Easedale Tarn
Tarn Crag was looming in the distance as the group, having left Grasmere behind, reached the verdant fields of the bucolic Easedale.
The foaming cascades of Sourmilk Gill accompanied them on the easy climb to Easedale Tarn, itself nestling at the foot of the plunging slopes of Tarn Crag. To circle the tarn, they left the touristy path and followed a narrow track winding its way through bracken among picturesque rocky outcrops on the tarn’s north side. They then descended to the deep-carved Far Easedale before detouring via the beautiful woodland of Lancrigg – and an enchanting encounter with a tame little deer. Delicious refreshments on the hotel’s patio rounded off a very pleasant day.
6/06/2019; Carron Crag in Grizedale Forest
The air was bracing, the greenery lush and the spirits high as the group entered Grizedale Forest from High Cross, perched between Hawkshead and Coniston. The cars having already done a fair amount of climbing, the bridleway they followed was sufficiently elevated to afford breathtaking views over the Southern Fells and beyond. By the time they reached the rocky summit of Carron Crag, the highest point in the forest, commanding an extensive panorama, they had passed several interesting sculptures and amusing signs, of which there were more in store. They then zig-zagged their way along a mixture of comfortable forest roads and intricate footpaths towards the re-wilded Farra Grain area, whence further meanders conveyed them back to the starting point – ten miles of sheer joy!
23/05/2019; Birks and Arnison Crag
Having left Patterdale on a bright morning, the group strode towards Grisedale before embarking on an energetic climb up Thornhow End. The bluebells covering the slope added to the delight of this ascent, punctuated by backward glances over Ullswater and the surrounding fells – a breathtaking vista. There was little let up right to the grassy crest of Birks, but the effort was worth it. The descent towards Gavel Moss had an easier gradient, with hardly any wetness underfoot. An interesting groove path cutting through unfrequented terrain then conveyed the group to the picturesque rocky summit of Arnison Crag. From there, they veered off piste towards Coldcove Gill, descending to Deepdale amid burgeoning ferns. Having crossed Deepdale Bridge, they returned to Patterdale along the lovely Hartsop bridleway, buoyed by the prospect of refreshments at the local hostelry.
9/05/2019; Rannerdale bluebells and the circuit of Crummock Water
On a grey and damp morning, the Roamers set off from Lanthwaite Green, commanded by the mighty Grasmoor, aiming at the boathouse on the shore of Crummock Water. Having cut through Lanthwaite Wood, its delicate green foliage glistening in the rain, they followed a delightful lakeshore path to Rannerdale. There, spread expansively across the lower slopes of Whiteless Pike and Rannerdale Knotts were the famous bluebells – a truly breathtaking sight. Having lingered to admire the blooms, the group headed to Buttermere, crossed Buttermere Dubs and reached the opposite side of the lake. Further riotous displays of bluebells right across Scales provided ample compensation for the wetness of the ground before they completed their circuit of Crummock Water along the well-trodden path at the foot of Mellbreak.
25/04/2019; St John’s in the Vale
Not put off by the leaden clouds, the group entered the quiet St John’s in the Vale, waterproofs at the ready. Flanked by the steep craggy slope of High Rigg, they gently ascended up the valley, admiring the fine view of Blencathra ahead and the gorse-adorned Bram Crag to the east. By the time they reached the church, the drizzle had all but stopped, but the wind on Low Rigg made the descent to Tewet Tarn very swift. Their next objective, Castlerigg Stone Circle, was also windswept, but the hedgerows lining Castle Lane sheltered them from the fierce gusts. Having descended to Springs Wood, half of the group chose the direct route back to Keswick, while the other extended the walk by cutting across Great Wood and returning along the lakeshore.
11/04/2019; Great Crag
The fields were alive with gambolling lambs as the group, enjoying the brilliant sunshine, left Rosthwaite and followed Stonethwaite Beck before embarking on the energetic ascent to Dock Tarn. Emerging from the wood covering the steep slope, they paused to take in the stunning views of the surrounding fells and then strode towards the delightful tarn, nestling among heathery tors. The day’s objective, the rocky summit of Great Crag, remained stubbornly hidden from view as they meandered along a maze of tracks intersecting the sprawling fell. Once attained, however, it rewarded them with an impressive panorama. After an initially rough descent, they reached the comfortable Watendlath bridleway before leaving it at the foot of Yew Crag to return via Stonethwaite.
28/03/2019; Little Langdale round
With the iconic Langdale Pikes soaring in the background, the high-spirited group followed a picturesque section of the Cumbria Way between Elterwater and High Park, the latter perched above Little Langdale. The foaming cascades of Skelwith Force and Colwith Force were among the delights of this undulating route, which then made a whimsical detour to High Tilberthwaite before swinging back towards Little Langdale, the disused quarries dotted across the rugged slopes of Low Fell failing to diminish the charm of both bridleways. Having visited the magnificent Cathedral Cave and crossed the intricate Slater’s Bridge, the group descended to Elterwater, whose Britannia Inn proved an irresistible magnet on that sun-drenched afternoon.
21/03/2019; Heughscar Hill
A riot of vivid yellow greeted the group as they ambled out of the daffodil-carpeted Askham, enchanting in all seasons. A gentle climb led them to the summit of Heughscar Hill – modest in height but affording spectacular views of Ullswater and the surrounding fells. Navigating through a maze of paths criss-crossing Moor Divock, renowned for its antiquities, they traversed the extensive plateau before descending to the picturesque Helton, now basking in the sunshine. From there, the route led to, over, and then along, the lively River Lowther via the interestingly named hamlet of Whale. A short detour to, and a pit stop at, Lowther Castle proved irresistible before the group crossed the river again to return to the village.
28/02/2019; Souther Fell and Glenderamackin
By the time the group reached the village of Mungrisdale, the fog lifted to reveal the day’s key objective, Souther Fell. The reward for the steep climb was a pleasant one-mile amble along the slightly undulating summit ridge, with Blencathra’s Foule Crag providing a dramatic backdrop. After descending from the col at the top of Mousthwaite Comb, they crossed the River Glenderamackin and followed it all the way down the valley, marvelling at the ravages wrought by Storm Desmond at the foot of The Tongue. They then crossed the river again using a newly replaced bridge and returned to Mungrisdale along a magnificent new path made from large stone slabs laid across the marshy ground – an impressive piece of engineering!
14/02/2019; Setmurthy Common, Watch Hill and Elva Hill
Getting off the bus by The Close Farm (near Embleton), the group climbed up the slope of Seathwaite How along a lovely gorse-adorned path. Having crossed an elevated field forming a part of Elva Plain, they followed wooded bridleways meandering across Setmurthy Common. Emerging onto what Wainwright calls “a most delightful promenade” of Watch Hill, now bathing in the sunshine, they lingered to admire the sweeping mountain panorama to the east and south. Back in the woods, they made their way towards the shapely, if little known, Elva Hill, which demanded another stop. Before returning past the imposing Higham Hall, they visited the Elva Plain Stone Circle, dating from circa 2,400BC – 1,000BC, and saw their first lambs of the season!
31/01/2019: Bassenthwaite Plain
The white blanket enveloping the fells was studded with a million sparkling diamonds as the Roamers rounded Braithwaite How en route to Thornthwaite. Before the village, they left the sun-dappled bridleway and followed Chapel Beck to the charming St Mary’s Church. Beyond stretched out the plain between Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwentwater – the main objective of the day’s exploration. Having crossed the A66, the group strolled across the fields to, and then along, an enchanting path tracing Newlands Beck and went over the impressive new bridge at Bog House. There were more fields to be negotiated before they reached the River Derwent. The pleasant riverside path then conveyed them to Portinscale, whence there was but a short hop to Keswick.
17/01/2019: Whinlatter Forest Trails
With snow-capped mountain summits glistening in the morning sun, a steadily-expanding group of Roamers started their exploration of Whinlatter Forest trails in Thornthwaite. First, they followed the enchanting Comb Beck Trail to the visitor centre, relatively quiet at this time of year. Having crossed the Braithwaite-to-Lorton road, they then entered the Revelin Moss area and meandered across Hospital Plantation along gently undulating bridleways, with vistas of the sun-drenched Skiddaw and Blencathra taking their breath away. Heavy Sides and Masmill Beck Trails offered further delights before the group descended to Hallgarth via Noble Knott. They then headed to Braithwaite to catch a bus, with a few hardy souls making it back to Keswick on foot.
3/01/2019: Ravenstone to Keswick
On a crisp winter’s morning, an unexpectedly large group, accompanied by two lovely, and lively, canines, embarked on the first ramble of the year by The Ravenstone Hotel. Following enchanting woodland trails criss-crossing the lower slopes of Ullock Pike, they soon reached Dodd Wood and started climbing along the bridleway tracing Skill Beck. Rather than aiming for the summit, however, they traversed the fell along an airy forest track which revealed stunning views over Bassenthwaite Lake and boasted what must surely be the most scenic picnic spot in Lakeland. Refreshed, they made their way steeply down to Millbeck along a footpath meandering through Lyzzick Wood. From Millbeck, pleasant paths conveyed the group to Keswick via Applethwaite and across the fields at the foot of Latrigg.
20/12/2018: Rosthwaite to Keswick
It was chucking it down again when a surprisingly large group of intrepid Roamers embarked on a ramble from Rosthwaite to Keswick. Following the foaming River Derwent, they cut across High and Low Hows Wood, veering off the path to ascend to Millican Dalton’s interesting cave. Pondering what to make of his inscription: “Don’t waste words; jump to conclusions”, the group then proceeded past the secluded Hollows Farm towards the pink-ish Manesty, where they took Catbells Terrace. Spectacular views over Derwentwater having provided a momentary distraction from the rain, they quickened their pace in anticipation of a delicious Christmas lunch, which awaited them in The Chalet in Portinscale. Reinvigorated, they tackled the final mile to Keswick in good spirits – the mulled wine definitely helped!
6/12/2018: The Caldbeck round
Splish splash splosh was the soundtrack to the Roamers’ recent ramble, which tested the quality of their waterproofs to the limit. The route out of Caldbeck followed the foaming Whelpo Beck to Whelpo Bridge, a handsome slate structure, past an imposing ruin of the Howk bobbin mill. The ascent to Fell Side, while gentle, exposed the group to the biting wind, so turning into the Cumbria Way, with the vicious gusts now largely behind, came as a relief. Past Nether Row, they could catch tantalising glimpses of Caldbeck, but, alas, between them and the village stood a usually pleasant lane which, on this occasion, had turned into a fast-flowing stream requiring some serious wading. Thoroughly soaked, they finally reached The Old Smithy Tea Room – yippee!
22/11/2018: Glenridding Dodd and the valley of Glenridding
Grey sky was hanging low as the Roamers strode into Glencoyne before tackling the steep lower slope of Black Crag, rusty with wilted ferns. An intricate passage between Glencoyne Wood and Sheffield Pike then led them to Glenridding Dodd. The normally excellent viewpoint did not live up to its reputation as the encroaching mist clung tightly to the fells surrounding Ullswater. After the steep descent into Glenridding, the group followed Greenside Road to the old lead mine gouged out of the rough slope of Stang End. Having crossed Glenridding Beck at the weir, they returned to Glenridding across the lower slopes of the bulky Birkhouse Moor. It was dusk when they took the undulating lakeshore path back to Glencoyne Bridge, with the fells casting long shadows on the lake – calm as a millpond.
8/11/2018: Around Ling Fell and Sale Fell
The pleasant environs of Wythop Mill saw the Roamers embark on a suitably wind-proofed walk around Ling Fell and Sale Fell. With tarmac soon giving way to a gently ascending bridleway called Green Lonning, now more rusty than verdant, they reached a path leading towards the expansive Embleton High Common. The relatively little-trodden path then rounded Ling Fell and deposited them in the bucolic Wythop Valley. Having crossed Wyhtop Beck, they strolled up to Kelswick, a farm nestling on the lower slopes of Sale Fell, and took a bridleway zig-zagging all the way around the fell through gorse and across Wythop Woods. En route, their breath was taken away by exquisite views over Bassenthwaite Lake, Dodd, Ullock Pike and Skiddaw. To sum up, never far from civilisation yet tranquil and picturesque.
25/10/2018: Shoulthwaite Farm – Raven Crag – High Tove – Watendlath – Rosthwaite
Inspired by the use-it-or-lose-it credo, the Roamers got off the bus at Shoulthwaite Farm. From the gently ascending forest road, framed by trees vibrant with colour, they were able to catch glimpses of the deep-cut ravine of Shoulthwaite overtopped with the rugged rocks of Goat Crag and Iron Crag. The mist having wrapped itself around them like a wet blanket, they could barely discern Thirlmere from the airy summit of Raven Crag. There was better visibility atop the Castle Crag fort but much wetness on the grassy lower slope of High Seat, which followed. A better path then conveyed them to Watendlath via the windswept High Tove, with refreshments at the café providing fuel for the passage to Rosthwaite.
11/10/2018: Circuit of Ennerdale
Having parked at the entrance to Ennerdale at Bowness Knott, the Roamers followed the wide bridleway leading into the long valley, which took them past Low and High Gillerthwaite towards the middle bridge. They crossed the river Liza and turned into an intricate riverside path undulating westwards. The path conveyed them to the interesting River Liza Enclosed Settlement, the earliest confirmed settlement in the valley dating from the Iron Age. Having crossed Woundell Beck and then the river again, they reached the initial bridleway for the last leg of their ramble. And, all the while, the trees were a riot of colour, a spectacle eliciting much delight, which remained undimmed even when the rain set in.
27/09/2018: Walla Crag from High Lodore
Taking advantage of the still-frequent bus service into Borrowdale, the Roamers alighted at High Lodore and followed the path climbing between Shepherd’s Crag and Ladder Brow, stopping to admire the ravine of the cascading Watendlath Beck. Higher up, they crossed the beck and took the bridleway – later a minor road – leading past Surprise View with its breathtaking vista. Rather than descending to Ashness Bridge, they then cut through Ashness Farm along a permissive path and embarked on the steady ascent of Walla Crag – another viewpoint of note. Descending past Rakefoot Farm, one half took the direct, shorter, route to Keswick, while the other turned into Great Wood before emerging by the lake and returning along the lakeshore via Friar’s Crag.
13/09/2018: Cunswick Scar and Scout Scar
Starting on the outskirts of Kendal on a blustery morning, the Roamers cut through a delightful park called Serpentine Woods, skirted by a picturesque golf course perched above the town and ascended the gentle escarpment of Cunswick Scar. A stroll along its mile-long limestone crest was followed by a short ascent of a more sizeable escarpment of Scout Scar, renowned for its sweeping panorama, including close-up views of Morecambe Bay. The circular shelter on the top, known as the ‘umbrella’, proved unequal to the now ferocious wind, with the group battling its way along the Scar’s lofty promenade before descending down the more sheltered eastern slope covered in gorse, juniper, heather, brambles and bracken.
30/08/2018: Great Cockup and Meal Fell
Having parked by Overwater Tarn, the Roamers headed towards the Cumbria Way, which they followed beyond Orthwaite. At the foot of Orthwaite Bank, they turned into a lovely bridleway, which climbed steadily up the slope above Brockle Crag while affording them spectacular views of the Dash Valley and surrounding fells. Attaining the summit of Great Cockup was then a matter of following the comfortable ridge path. The steepish descent led the group to Trusmadoor, the picturesque pass, where half took an extended lunch break while the other half climbed Meal Fell. It didn’t take them long to return to the pass, whence the reunited party descended towards Longlands before tackling the final leg of this ramble.
16/08/2018; Staveley to Burneside and back (taking in a section of the Dales Way)
Using the 555 bus, the Roamers hopped off in Staveley to tackle another picturesque section of the Dales Way – that from Staveley to Burneside. Defying showers, they followed the meanders of the River Kent, foaming after the recent rains, passing by the luxury complex at Cowan Head – a somehow unexpected sight in such a bucolic setting. They were then bowled over by the wonderful hospitality of the Handsome Brewery at Bowston Bridge, which welcomed them even though it was officially closed. Having enjoyed its reinvigorating beverages, they continued to Burneside, where they waved the Dales Way goodbye, returning to Staveley along minor roads on the other side of the river. Delicious treats in Wilf’s Cafe rounded off a very convivial ramble.
2/08/2018; Dales Way from Staveley to Bowness
On a rainy morning, the Roamers boarded the 555 bus, which conveyed them to Staveley – the starting point of the day’s walk along the final section of the Dales Way. The meandering and undulating route, excellently waymarked, used a combination of minor roads, lanes and bridleways imaginatively navigating their way through a maze of largely grassy hillocks adorned with the occasional rocky outcrop. In slowly improving weather, the group passed by New Hall, Crag House, Outrun Nook, Hag End, Cleabarrow, Matson Ground and Brantfell Farm, encountering some cute alpacas and handsome highland cattle en route, the ramble ending with a pleasant descent into Bowness.
19/07/2018; Grey Crag, Harrop Pike and Tarn Crag
After a long drive to the hamlet of Sadgill, the Roamers embarked on the steep climb up the slope of Great Howe – an attractively craggy satellite of Grey Crag. Having enjoyed a bird’s eye view of Longsleddale below, the group reached the summit of Grey Crag, a mountain on the eastern edge of Lakeland set against the background of Shap Fells. A short detour over the usually marshy, but now dry, ridge led to Harrop Pike, adorned with an imposing stone pillar. The top of Tarn Crag, with its peculiar survey post, was then reached after an easy crossing of a depression before an equally easy descent to Mosedale. The group returned to Sadgill along the major bridleway running along Longsleddale between the hamlet and Gatescarth Pass.
5/07/2018; Lank Rigg, Crag Fell and Grike
The sun beat down on the Roamers as they set off from Coldfell Road and proceeded towards the depleted River Calder, which was crossed with ease. The route then traced Whoap Beck, now barely a trickle, to the col between Whoap and Lank Rigg, from which the summit of the latter was reached after a straightforward climb on grass. Having cast a glance at the prominent chimneys of the Sellafield plant nearby, the group turned its attention to the surrounding fells before heading back down to the col and then towards the dip of Red Beck. Another easy climb took them to the summit of Crag Fell, affording spectacular views of Ennerdale. From there, there was but a stroll to the top of Grike before a return down a comfortable bridleway.
21/06/2018: Longlands Fell, Lowthwaite Fell and Brae Fell
From Mae’s gallery in Uldale, the Roamers took a minor road leading towards the fells. Passing by Chapel House Farm and Chapelhouse Reservoir, they reached Longlands and tackled the steep climb up the grassy Longlands Fell. Attaining the next two summits, those of Lowthwaite Fell and Brae Fell, required less effort, although the strong wind prevented the group from lingering on the tops. Descending from Brae Fell, they soon reached a comfortable bridleway which, further down, ran alongside the attractive ravine of Charleton Gill. This bridleway was followed back to Longlands, where a small but athletic deer broke into a spectacular sprint. Returning to Uldale was then a matter of dodging herds of cattle scattered across the fields separating the hamlet from the village.
7/06/2018: Steel Knotts, Wether Hill, Loadpot Hill & Bonscale Pike
Starting from the new church in Martindale on a hot morning, the Roamers tackled the steep but short climb to the pleasant ridge of Steel Knotts, culminating in a picturesque rocky summit. The group then proceeded south before climbing up the extensive grassy slope of Wether Hill. With the highest point of the fell hard to discern, it was a member’s gizmo that settled the matter. By contrast, the summit of Loadpot Hill, the next objective, was obvious. An easy path then descended to Bonscale Pike, distinguished by two rocky pillars perched at the top of a rocky façade above Ullswater. The steep descent to Mellguards proved the most testing part of the walk, whose final stretch, a bridleway climbing gently towards the car park, provided welcome relief for tired legs.
Starting from Honister Pass, the Roamers had the opportunity to admire a range of imaginative slate creations adorning the pass before taking the bridleway leading past Fleetwith Pike towards Haystacks. Soon after crossing Warnscale Beck, they arrived at Little Round How, their first viewpoint, which offered a fabulous vista of Buttermere and Crummock Water surrounded by impressive fells. They then climbed past Blackbeck Tan and Innominate Tarn, the latter with a brood of ducklings, to attain the highest two of the charming rocky summits which make up Haystacks. The return route took in the fell’s many picturesque undulations on the Ennerdale side, with the group then climbing across the lower slopes of Brandreth to reach the main thoroughfare between Great Gable and Honister Pass.
10/05/2018: Silver How
Starting at White Moss, the Roamers crossed the River Rothay and followed the beautiful riverside walk towards Grasmere (the lake). A simple ascent led them to Loughrigg Terrace, with the entire slope beginning to turn cobalt owing to the emerging bluebells. Basking in glorious sunshine, they walked the length of the terrace and then took a delightful path winding its way across Red Bank and climbing steadily to the sum