Monday, 21 January 2013

Five little fishes - Jan 12/13th

I can see how the title of this post might imply a religious theme, but this would be a red herring.  Sorry, I didn't see that one coming until it was typed, but I think I'll leave it in now!  No, the religion angle is nothing to do with it, partly because I am not a person of faith, and partly because the fish I refer to are hills, not..erm..well not fish.

No.  When I say little fishes I mean tiddlers.  Small fry.  The tiny little hills among Wainwright's list of 214 that are either isolated or of such modest stature that unless offering another attraction are wont to be ignored or put off until later when they ought to be taken on and climbed - hence the ones I call "The Oughts".
There are too many of these little ones in Wainwright's guides; which isn't to decry small hills, but if you are Bill Birkett and offer a comprehensive account of the region, making mention of a small hill or a crag makes better sense than the huge song and dance made about dull fare such as Mungrisdale Common, or Armboth Fell by AW; although in both of those cases there is at least a grander walk to be wrapped around the duller hill if we wish.  The ones that jar for me are the isolated hills which Wainwright complains are without merit or hardly worth the effort, despite dedicating a chapter to them.  However, this is to caricature hills that might deserve a better reputation, and this is indeed what I found this weekend past - that some Oughts ought, so to speak, while other Oughts ought not.

I decided to do some of The Oughts the weekend of the 12th as I have suffered a heavy cold all week and despite walking five or six miles most days on the flat, I knew any climbing would punish me.  My theory was that I could take it easy concentrating on these on Saturday and if I felt OK, push onto something more substantial on Sunday.  In fact I got all my wild camping gear ready and planned an attack on the Dodds and related summits west of Helvellyn with the intention to get above Clough Head or perhaps even further, probably walking in the dark until a suitable spot to camp was found.

It sounds comically ambitious now.

I had decided to leave Kettering about 4am but despite setting my alarm woke about 7am to find the alarm was mis-set and I was late.  Facing another hour of delay before leaving and thus losing fully four hours of daylight for walking I re-planned.  Booking myself a single room at The Kings Head in Thirlspot I set off after 9am knowing that I would likely do little on Saturday and could decide what to do Sunday on the fly.

My intended Oughts had been as many from a list of seven as I could manage.  The list included Great Mell Fell, Little Mell Fell, Gowbarrow Fell, Binsey, Graystones (which would complete the book of Western Fells), High Rigg and Raven Crag.  All of these are quite distinct and require climbing individually; generally with a bit of a drive between them, although a walk connecting Little Mell Fell and Gowbarrow Fell can be contrived with the vicinity of Priest's Crag as a bridge between.  It's probably necessary to make a bit of a detour to achieve this if one doesn't want to ignore a short section of cart track marked as private with no access, which is almost directly opposite the path up to Little Mell Fell.
The first hill I targetted was Great Mell Fell, and with traffic delays and a couple of short stops on the journey up it was around 1.30pm when I got to the foot of the hill and put my boots on.  I gather from Wikipedia that this hill is owned by the National Trust and is considered free open land.  That's all very well but there's a fence all around it that implies private land, so it took me a while to find the right start point.  Actually, I always end up at the bit of road nearest based on the map, and its usually where everyone else is starting from too! So, I parked as close to the hill as I could.  A couple had just started off as I got ready and I decided that I would take the anti-clockwise path around the base of the hill as they took the clockwise.  I immediately found the path to be boggy and sloppy and difficult to walk on so after a couple of hundred paces turned steeply uphill and North to find firmer ground.  This tactic worked, but the hillside was steep and I realised that this tiddler was not going to give itself up without demanding effort on my part.  I was soon sweating and wheezing and wishing I was still in the car, compounded by my congestion and a bit of breathlessness as a result, but I always feel like that at the outset of any walk.  I ascended the forested part of the hill until the slope gave way to more open heathland and paths became obvious.  At about half height or so I could see a second couple on the brow of the hill almost out of sight, and shortly afterwards the first couple I'd seen too, who were a little way ahead of me. Just before spying them I'd stopped to take a couple of photos and was rewarded with a brief burst of golden sun which gave me a nice shot of burnished heathland and the gloomier distant hills. That's Little Mell Fell to the right.

This beautiful burst of sun only lasted a couple of minutes and then all was gloomy and it quickly turned absolutely freezing cold. As I approached the couple ahead I had a real momentum and rushed past them as the lady asked another couple returning from the summit if it was far.  I had a little smile as the answer came back in an almost theatrically exagerated posh voice.  At the summit I immediately fished in my bag for fleece and coat as I'd ascended in T-Shirt sleeves and suddenly stopping brought home how skin-strippingly bitter the wind was. 

The summit of Great Mell Fell is not much to rejoice over, though the OS apparently calls this dog's grave a tumulus, so it must be more significant than it looks, which is probably down to having possibly been a stone age burial mound.  I didn't know this at the time or i would have taken a couple of extra pictures to try to illustrate the point.  Nonetheless, I had now climbed the thing and could concentrate on more rewarding hills, although I must say, the view of the Dodds from this summit is impressive.  I was beginning to rue not having stuck to my original plan, but I could already see the white peaks betraying arctic conditions up there. Descent was rapid, as I took the more direct route traced by the path that starts clockwise at the bottom.  Perhaps a little boggy if the summit hadn't been so cold and frozen, but I noticed one or two very appealing wild camping spots on the way down, especially a lovely flat spot right next to a huge tree trunk bent horizontal by the wind such that it touched the ground for a good eight feet.  A tarp against that would be a snug den indeed.  I can't imagine why one would camp here though.  Its not on the way to anywhere and you'd need two broken legs to get be-nighted on this hill - I shouldn't tempt fate really.

Back in the car and considering what to do with the last hour or so of light I quickly checked my map for the easiest place to attack Little Mell Fell nearby.  A road passes very close to the hill and quite high up too crossing a shallow pass between Little Mell Fell and the small peaks near Priest's Crag, so shedding a good third of its height compared with anywhere else around the foot of the hill.  Several other cars and a group of walkers congregated in a lay by next to a five bar gate leading on to a cart track to the hill.  Through another open gate after a hundred yards a permissive path is sign-posted up the steepest part of the southern face with rights of way left and right to nearby hamlets.  I began to climb placing my feet in the well trodden sockets kicked into the path.  I know its erosion and all that but a "staircase" of this kind always seems easier to climb than a simple slope and I was high up and following a horizontal contour path for a short distance before zigging back up steeply again to the summit which flattens gradually as the trig point comes into view. 
The summit is a bit more formal and defined than Great Mell Fell, but doesn't really deserve any false respect.  Again though, the hill provides terrific views, and not least this time a great view down on to Priests Crag and Gowbarrow Fell which occupy two of the highest points on a long almond shaped body of hills and crags bordering the edge of Ulswater for several miles.   I eyed this temptation wondering if I could afford the time to hike along the undulating ridge from the vicinity of Priest's Crag to Gowbarrow and bag another tiddler.  Within ten minutes of this thought I was back down at the road and heading past my car to the gate opposite Little Mell where I sadly discovered a notice warning walkers away from the route across the meadow and onto the crag.  A real shame as I would have loved to ramble across the interesting ups and downs, especially by head torch as would be the case coming back.  I know I could have just ignored the sign, but if everyone does that I think we risk farmers denying access through permissive paths, and anyway, on another day I will make the slightly longer trip from further down the valley below Priest's Crag on a proper right of way.  Then if I stray a little from the path I am only bending the farmer's rules a bit.

So, I accepted the situation and headed off to my B & B in Thirlspot.

Although I was alone, the King's Head was fairly busy for an early January weekend and I found the lounge too full to get a seat near the fire so I went to bed early after a meal and watched Match of the Day while seeing off a nice bottle of white wine.

On Sunday morning after breakfast (the "full lard", naturally), I headed for Binsey in the northern-most part of the Skiddaw group - in fact in my opinion it has little connection with any other group of hills, but they are the nearest ones.  I had worried that Binsey would be horribly steep looking at the map but on arriving at the start-point I found it to be a nice gentle climb which started the day wonderfully. The wind was gentle and the ground frosted, so that as I walked the grass crackled and crunched underfoot. About half way up I met a lady descending who told me she was glad to be rid of the rain for a while and shortly after meeting her I could see the summit ahead.  I turned to watch her pass by and noticed the weak pale sun trying to penetrate the mist and cloud - it looked lovely!

When I arrived at the top I couldn't help but be impressed with Binsey's cairns and trig point and a decent wind shelter all distributed along a modest ridge running East North East.  I seem to remember wainwright saying that the summit deserved to be on a grander mountain, and I know what he means.  This isn't even a mountain by any measure I know yet has a better summit that Skiddaw in my opinion. 

As with all these Oughts, descent was swift, although a flake of snow or two told me the day wasn't to be as clear as the Mountain Area Forecast had predicted. Luckily, I like walking in the snow.

So, Binsey conquered, I was off to Latrigg which had the potential to offer me other things than merely another summit today.  Firstly, its got to be climbed, so I would get a tick.  But I also had an idea it may be easy enough to be climbed by my daughter, Ellie, who has learning difficulties and some walking problems; and maybe by my father in law Ted who is getting on in years and might struggle on a big hill.  However, I liked the idea of Ellie having a Wainwright to claim, and I suspected the view over Keswick would be worth dragging Ted up there in future.  All of my guesses were on the money, and on a nice fine summer day I will take then both to the top of this little hill. 

Actually, from the car park its a doddle with almost no height to be gained, but quite a way up if one were to start from Keswick, so the view back down in that direction is lovely - Worth the stroll anyway.

As I had been driving up toward Latrigg the snow was beginning to settle in earnest, and I wondered if I needed to get heading south before long or risk congestion and worse on the roads.  As I got down to the level of Keswick, I realised I was being a bit too cautious as the snow seemed to be less persistent.  So, while the going was good i headed off past Castlerigg stone circle and to St Johs Vale where I could begin my assualt on High Rigg.  the old Chruch of St John is a youth centre now and a gated road leads to this place terminating in a handy carpark which was empty on this day.  Quickly, out of the car, coat on, rucksack on and walking poles in hand I marched off up High Rigg.  This little crag is the highlight of the weekend for me. The ground was snowy and iced, and the wind had real teeth, but the interesting shapes of the crags and hillside made for fine walking.  The easily won summit area really seems like the peak of a much bigger hill with various cliffs, gullies and saddles between a complex of little peaks that present little surprises as they are explored. 

The actual summit has a distinct cairn and almost circular ring of rocks  which in dry weather would make a fine place to scoff a packed lunch.  But not today - the wind and snow were spiteful by now and I expected worse if I ventured anywhere else, so I descended quickly but carefully and headed into Keswick to see what I could find in the way of a bargain!!

Keswick was deserted, or at least as deserted as it ever gets, but I had a mooch in most of the shops and ended up buying nothing - good.  I've been caught by impulse buys too often when I've weekended in the Lakes, and little-isolated-hill bagging is the perfect way to get caught again.  I did notice, by the way, that keswicj is in a right old mess near the town centre - they seem to be digging up a lot of raods and big holes in the ground.  Something to do with a new sewerage and flood defence combination as far as I could see.  Anyway, it meant parking a decent way out of the centre and walking in, which isn't a bad thing. 

Following this little jaunt I headed off to have a crack at Gowbarrow Fell.  I'd decided I would find a way around that Farmer's restriction a bit lower down the fell and walk along the spine of the mini-massif to Gowbarrow.  Sadly it was now so snowy, my car couldn't get up to the pass I'd visited the previous day.  Maybe a front wheel drive car would have been OK, but I drive a rear wheel drive BMW which is fantastic on fast dry winding roads and absolute pants on snow.  I got literally within fifty feet of the top and it wouldn't grip enough for the last bit.  I had to admit defeat and turn round with about a seventeen point turn.  For a few moments I thought I was going to get stuck sideways across the road when it felt like my wheels were just spinning, but somehow it managed too turn and I headed off back down in disappointment.  This was enough for me to give up for the weekend and I headed to the motorway and began the long drive back down south only five ticks better off.  I expect the hills will still be there next time.

 As for distance and ascent, I can't be bothered to work it out with so many little hops.

Caw Fell and Haycock from Wasdale - Sunday 6th Jan

[Sorry this post is late.  Who am I talking to?  Oh, its me.  No-one else reads my blog.]

Despite only having one day at my disposal I thought I would make the effort to get up to the lakes this weekend, not least because it would do my waistline good.

I often head up to the Lakes with all my maps in the boot of the car and decide what to do on the way, but this time I was keen to plan ahead and enter the route into my GPS, so I planned to do a walk that took in five Wainwrights I have been thinking about for a while including, among others, Caw Fell and Haycock in a "circular" walk stating from Wasdale - its actually nothing like a circle but you know what I mean. The plan was to start with a relaxed climb up to Buckbarrow, and move on to Seatallen, Caw Fell, Haycock and finally descend via Middle Fell on the way back to the car. This was the route I programmed.
I left Kettering at 4am, which I think must have been a bit of a shock to my two dogs, especially as they had to sit in the car for 4½ hrs, but I calculated I would arrive in Wasdale just about at sunrise. When I arrived I couldn’t see any obvious parking spots near to my start point at the foot of the path up to Buckbarrow, especially as the roadside verges were very soft owing to recent rain, so I drove a little further on and found a good spot next to a farm at the foot of the descending path from Greendale Tarn near Middle Fell. Before parking up I drove onto Wastwater just to have a quick look – I always find it a magnificent sight in any weather or season. It was worthwhile as the sky was moody, but the weather calm and mild.

Then there was a snag.
I stepped out of the car for a moment to take a snap of the view on my phone, and left the car keys in the ignition. While I was admiring the snap I took, I heard the car locks click and realised my dog, Jock, had stepped on a button and locked me out! Not having a spare key I was panicking about how I was going to get back in. I couldn’t call the RAC as there is no mobile-signal in Wasdale, and I visualized having to break a window and head straight back home frustrated by my back luck. After a couple of minutes pacing up and down, it suddenly came to me that if Jocky had locked me out he could also unlock the car if he simply stood on the button again. It must have looked crackers with me running around each side of the car imploring him to follow and hoping he would stand on the button, but after only a few tries he did indeed unlock the car and my pulse rate returned to normal. I must say, I saw the funny side of this even when it first happened – locked out of my car by my own dog! I doubt if I’d have been so sanguine if it was tipping with rain, but then I probably wouldn’t have bothered getting out for a photo anyway.

So, with that drama out of the way, I went back to my intended parking spot and met a couple of guys, just parked and preparing to set off walking too. It turned out they planned a similar trip to mine and I shared my route plan with them and discussed the best paths and so on. While we did this their dog played with my two and presently they set off, while I continued to get my stuff ready for the walk. I was probably about fifteen minutes behind them when I set off. With a short road-walk to begin of about a kilometer I felt I had a nice warm-up, during which of course, I immediately felt a spot or two of rain, but nothing much. The forecast said rain was possible up to about 9am, and then mostly clear through to mid afternoon which was promising. On the path proper it was only a minute or two before I began to feel too warm and stopped to remove my fleece; continuing on in a t-shirt. The path is steep at first up to Buckbarrow, but flattens out after about 500 metres to a gentle gradient – in sunny weather I think the view from the first shoulder of the hill across to Wastwater screes must be lovely, but this day it was a rather grey. Once on the gentle slope I could see the other party ahead already at the summit of Buckbarrow. They hung around for a good few minutes but had moved on by the time I arrived and I never saw them again throughout the day.
At Buckbarrow I photographed the summit, and found it necessary to put my water proof jacket on against a little drizzle, not changing my trousers as I hoped it would only be a short spell. It wasn’t, and as I gradually ascended over Cat Bields and on towards Seatallen my legs were getting wetter and wetter, and the water was running into my socks so that I soon had soaking feet too! In the end I was forced to change into water proof trousers – the kind that you wear next to the skin, Paramo Cascadas, and a fresh pair of socks. This operation took me ages it seemed; farting about hopping on one foot and generally clowning, but it was well worth it as my legs remained dry for the rest of the day - I usually put them on fromm the outset to avoid this very situation, but perhaps thought the forecast could be trusted.

The trail up to Seatallen is probably very obvious on a clear day, but took a bit of concentration in what was now thick mist, but the GPS was a godsend keeping me confident I was on course, and I summited Seatallen, finding the trig point with no fuss.
One thing I realised is that GPS devices are not as convenient as a compass for simply setting you off in the right direction – most have a compass feature but you need to be moving to get the needle pointing accurately and this is a pain when you want to be looking where your feet are going and not at the handset. I will be sure to have my compass on my pocket next time and not in the bottom of my pack. Because of this I marched off in a slightly too southerly direction and had to traverse sideways through some nasty crags to get back on course – only five minutes of walking in even slightly the wrong direction can cost you half an hour correcting the error. It’s something I need to make more effort on as nearly all my navigational errors seem to route back to resumption of the walk after summiting.

Caw Fell and Haycock sit north and east respectively of a head of a wide U-shaped valley that descends roughly south east, so I had decided to traverse along the curve of this valley head below Haycock and go first to Caw Fell, then more or less along a flat ridge back towards Haycock. However this proved heavy going and was strewn thickly with huge boulders in wide fields. This slowed the dogs and I down considerably and I suspect we would have saved time by going further up towards Haycock first and accepting that the walk out to Caw Fell will always be a “there and back” proposition. Nonetheless, with a struggle we reached the impressive wall, (rather undersold by its familiar name “Ennerdale Fence”), that connects the two peaks, and more, and followed it along west to Caw Fell, quite quickly finding a stile that allowed us to follow the lee side out of the worst of the wind. The ground is pretty good along the wall as it follows the line of the ridge watershed, so tends to have good drainage for much of this section, but it’s a mighty long bit of stonework, and I marvel at the effort to build it.

This picture of the wall, looking towards Haycock from Scoat Fell, was taken some time ago when I did a walk involving Pillar, Scoat Fell, Steeple and others (here).

Actually we went further than we needed to as Caw Fell is technically denoted by a cairn on the north side of the wall, but we went on to the promontory closer to the name “Caw Fell” on the current OS Explorer map. This adds about 2km round trip merely to see a ramshackle shelter, so I wish I’d satisfied myself with the cairn. On the ridge the wind was strong and biting, the rain fine and soaking. My male dog, Jock, was managing OK, but my smaller dog, Tilly, was having a tough time whimpering and shivering continuously. I regretted not getting her a coat as she doesn’t have the body mass to withstand serious damp and cold, nor a double coat like Jocky who seems impervious to it all.  Finding a large rocky outcrop, I decided to rest in the lee and picked her up – she nestled inside my jacket for a few minutes, and despite making me a bit soggy, seemed to benefit from the rest and the warmth – she even stopped shivering a bit. I felt pretty weary and miserable myself so I decided to press on a little to the next place we could find to stop and have some food. This took us to a nasty crag between Caw Fell and Haycock that bars one's progress and forces the path round and down – Little Gowder Crag. The big wall seems to ascend over this outcrop merging with the rocks in places. In good weather a nice easy scramble over the top would be fun, but I was in no mood and grumbled as I picked my way through boulders again around this obstacle. A short distance past this I got back on the lee side of the big wall and found a spot to eat a sandwich. I shared some flapjack and fruit bread with the dogs, but they evidently don’t like peanut butter sandwiches. I hadn’t realised how much I needed that food and water and within half an hour I was more energetic, but I wish I’d taken something more substantial for the dogs – they looked hungry.

Not a great distance further we came to Haycock which is unremarkable really with a large pile of stones, hardly worthy of the term cairn, and serving no particular shelter needs either. When I think of some of the so-called shelters on the fells, I wonder who makes them. The one on the summit of Helvellyn is superb and affords enough protection to boil a kettle and read a paper, as does the one at Esk Hause on the way up to Scafell Pike, but more often than not these “shelters” are in such disrepair or so poorly thought out, one would be equally protected by merely lying down on the ground!
I wonder if anyone has thought up a top 10 shelters list.

Dropping down off Haycock is a nasty proposition if one leaves the summit south, with horribly steep scree and boulder fields that I would not enjoy even in good bright weather, so the logical thing is to continue east to the right-of-way that heads south along Nether Beck, but rather than talking this path, stay high in the valley roughly parallel with it and aiming for Middle fell which sits high between Nether Beck and Greendale Tarn. This route almost rejoins the outward path up to Seatallen, but quickly whips back towards Middle Fell presenting about a 130 metre climb up to the summit. Unfortunately, the weather had delayed us so much by the time we got half way to Middle Fell we were in darkness and walking by head-torch, slowing us down even more as I kept turning to assist the dogs with some light on rocky patches. I decided it would be unsafe to attempt Middle Fell in the dark and I assume it will still be there if I go back. To be honest I had encountered enough rough boulder ground during the day, and worse, slipped and fallen flat on my back four times, I felt it was pushing my luck to take on a hill I have never seen in these conditions. What is it they say? “Getting up is optional, getting down is mandatory” and I felt optional was safer this time, and anyway, what would I see up there? Some rocks.


The long trudge down past Greendale tarn to my car was un-amusing in the dark as the path is indistinct and the slope rocky or slippery turn by turn, but the dogs were keen to get down and went ahead finding the path most of the time on the softer ground. I never really thought about it before but dogs must be able to smell the path, or I suppose, scent previous walkers as they sometimes connected sections apparently separated by featureless slopes of bracken and heather. I know dogs have hugely sensitive noses, but it’s a mystifying super-power to me, and persuades me they hardly need the light on more forgiving ground, even though they picked their way through rocks gingerly by sight.


We finally reached the car after nearly nine hours of walking which means we averaged only 1.25 miles per hour, including stops. I would normally expect to do about 2 miles an hour in good weather, mostly down to better visibility, but I am never one to rush when the hills become hostile. I’d sooner be cold and miserable, plodding slowly, than risk injury through a more pacey descent.

Overall, it was a pretty drech and miserable walk, but then some of them are and it
makes you appreciate the good times more – as a brummie poet once wrote, “If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work”.

Nominal distance 11.2m, Total Ascent 3513ft, true distance 11.4m.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Not a happy camper!

Wots going on?  I decided to ramp up a bit of post Christmas exercise and cut down on grub and booze, in the hope of losing some weight.

So, admittedly only three days into this, and so far obeying my own rules and having three six mile walks in three days.....I gain four pounds. Bollocks.

Plans for Midlands to Peaks walk

Over the idle Christmas period I mused on the idea of walking from Where I live, in Kettering Northants, to Hathersage, above which is Stanage Edge - among my favourite Peak District locations.

I had in mind as near a straight line route as I could contrive, although having looked at this option it takes me too near too many towns.  Nonetheless, I soon found that a good part of the journey is covered by the Midshires way, which goes some 200+ miles from South Buckinghamshire to Stockport.  A favourite dog-walk of mine, the Brampton Valley Way is part of the route.  The BVW is about 14 miles long going from North Northampton (say it slowly...) to Market Harborough.  Its about 18 miles by car to the start of the BVW from my house but I got my wife to drop me off there just before Christmas and I walked back over some very muddy fields and found the cross country route to be about 16 miles - it was a nice bright day and in dry summer weather will be a lovely walk.  In the boggy state the route is currently in it was heavy going at times - thankfully it didn't rain.

So, my first leg of the big journey will be the 16 miles to the start of the BVW from my house, plus a few miles of the BVW to a nice dry spot under one of the bridges it crosses (it was once a railway track), where I can bivvy for my first stop.  That will make the full first leg about 24 miles, which should be OK bearing in mind there are no appreciable hills here.  After that its a case of following the Midshires way up as far as Matlock, or a bit further and cutting NNE towards Hathersage which will take me over towards Stoney Middleton and Millers Dale in between.  In all the trip will be about 110 miles which I hope to do in a week.  I reckon if I have no mishaps I can do it in 5 days, but I will give myself both weekends at each end of a week and not have to press on too hard if I don't want to.  I'm not sure yet whether to take one or even both of my dogs - they would love the trip, but looking after them, especially in the bivvying sense might be a bit tough.  I have ordered a Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar tarp for camping with the dogs, (as the thought of having them all wet and muddy in my little one man tent is a bit off-putting), but the tarp takes quite a bit of room to pitch, and would be a bit conspicuous to wild camp in the semi-rural midlands.  I reckon I can bivvy much easier in underpasses, under bushes and so on without attracting too much attention.

The only remaining decison to make is when to do this - I have the Wainrights to complete before my fiftieth birthday in late July, and that means another 106 tops, albeit I have done nearly all the big ones except Scafell.  Actually, its the scattered little ones that amount to being a nuisance.  I call them the "Oughts" as I always think I ought to have knocked some of them off en route to bigger fish.  An example being Kirk Fell next to Great Gable.  I have done everything around it - Gable, Green Gable, all the Buttermere stuff, Seathwaite, Glaramara, Allen Crags, Scafell Pike, Esk Pike, Great End, Lingmell, the Pillar group, Yewbarrow etc etc.  Kirk Fell sits in irritating isolation unclimbed and mocking me as I will have to make a special trip just to do that!!  Actually, I still have Base brown to do, so I might do that and Kirk fell and camp out somewhere West of Pillar, as I have the five that sit west of Steeple to finish (Haycock, CawFell, etc) which will drop me down into Wasdale eventually.  perhaps I could start in Seathwaite Lane, heading for Base Brown first, do the bunch I just mentioned and climb back over StyHead Pass to get back.  That would be a rattling good weekend walk.

As I think about this, it places the long Midlands walk somewhere in August time I reckon - better think about booking some hols!!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Hello 2013!

This year will be transformational!  That is to say, I will resume my weight-loss programme.  I started around May or June 2012 I think and lost about 4 st 7lb in not very long - I was impressed.  then I sort of sat on my success until I went on hols to America for nearly three weeks and came back a stone heavier which depressed me so I ate a bit and now I am only 2st 7lb down on my start point.  Still not bad, but what a waste of all that good work, so I need to start all over again.  I used a calorie counting app called "Myfitnesspal" which is completely brilliant, and so easy to use.

I also have the Wainrights to complete before July 26th when I am fifty!  I am currently on 108/214, so plenty to do, but I have permission from the "management" to do as much walking as I like once I have decorated the spare room, so its a rush to complete that and I'll be off, up up up!

This year I plan to take my doggies camping as I love walking with them, and they adore the mountains, but will need to camp out if I am to cover all the Wainrights in time - needing to get back down the mountain to reach a guest house will rob me of valuable peakbagging with so little time left.  But the look, smell and mess of wet, muddy doggies is not pleasant in a small tent.  I have a Terra Nova 1-man tent which will be awful in this scenario, so I plan to get a tarp.  I am eyeing the MLD Trailstar which is huge and can accommodate me and two doggies easily, without them needing to be all over me.  Its not great in midgey weather though, so its the tent again if the midges attack in July - still, by them it should be a lot drier, and the doggies might not be such a prob in the little tent when its dry.  We'll see.

Lastly, for this post, I now have a smartphone that does my GPS, so will be recording all my local doggy walking.  I won't write reports on such banality, but it will be worth jotting down the miles to remind me of my year's modest mileage when we get to the end of 2013.  I'm hoping my occasional reports for proper walks, which seem to attract compliments will become more frequent.  I think I have one or maybe two followers, so I would like to get up to ten if I can!!  Woo hoo!