Sunday, 30 October 2011

Lakes, part three.

Sunday dawned, and the heatwave 'enjoyed' for the last week broke. Rain was in the air. Our intended day consisted of a 'rest day' with a trip on an Ullswater lake steamer, then a walk back along the lakeside. As the rain persisted, and the cloud was very low, we went to Ambleside for a mooch around to see if things would improve as the day went on., but they didn't really. We left, and drove to Thirlmere, where we got out of the car, and I spotted some good fungi in the damp conditions.

 This is the deadly one - Fly Agaric.
 There were other flowers around too, some real surprises for us. I snapped this orchid........
 ....and, amazingly, a newly-flowering foxglove - in OCTOBER!!! This weather really was playing havoc with nature.
 We also called by Aira Force. Sue had seen this before, but I hadn't. With the night rains, it was quite spectacular.
 The beck made for some good shots too.

 The more we waited, the worse things got and, by now, the light but persistent drizzle had set in - not good. We drove round the 'quiet' side of Thirlmere and ate our lunch on the shoreside. We then settled down - and went to sleep! The Helvellyn trip had taken it out of us, but then we had enjoyed it SO much, so maybe this siesta was needed for the coming week.
 So, we got back to 'Watendlath' cabin early, and decided to hit the town.
This is the inside of the Dog & Gun pub in Keswick. It was always busy when we went in, with friendly bar staff, great food and a buzzing atmosphere. The pub was famous for it's goulash. Should we try it? 
Well - it would be RUDE, not to! We loved it so much, we had it again later in the week. Its reputation was WELL deserved.

 This morning (Monday) looked a bit dire, but at least the night-time torrential rain had abated. Our aim today was to bag the peak we could see from the cabin - Latrigg. At only just over 1,200 feet, it's one of the minor fells in the area, but the views from it are so good, it makes it a popular one. We 'needed' to do it just to see for ourselves. Also, it was a gentle walk to re-start our bodies after a day off. 
 The sun wasn't shining, but this little robin was happy to sing us on our way.

 The top of Latrigg - not an exciting mountain really, but enough for us today just in case the weather turned really bad. For now though, things improved slightly.
We kept our eyes on the 'big guy' (Skiddaw) to our left, but it stayed sheathed in cloud. 
Likewise the fells around catbells. This view is really stunning, one of the 'quintessential' in the lakes (like Ashness bridge the other end of the valley) and, even today with this weather, it felt great to be looking at it. 
Again, this seat must be a really special place - on another day! The rain had just started to fall, so it was hoods up time for us. 
 Every cloud has a silver lining, and here were the first of many natural laser-type shows of light through the clouds.
After topping Latrigg, we turned left up the exciting-sounding Lonscale Crags - but of course, today they were hidden in the cloud. Still, I can think of a lot worse places to be walking. 
Looking back along the crag path towards Keswick (all the crags are to the left......somewhere). 
 The drizzle had stopped now, but things still looked decidedly wet ahead. It was almost time for lunch, so we made for the head of the valley to sit and eat.
After lunch (sitting in a steady rain) we set of back. The rain stopped, and stayed away for the rest of the journey back. What was supposed to be an 'short, easy' walk had turned into an all-dayer but we both loved it. 
Some of the autumn leaves were fallen already, but there was still a long way to go, and there would be some super photo's to be had in the coming weeks. Conditions dictated that this would probably be one of the most colourful autumns for many years. 
We eventually joined an old, disused railway line that ran back to Keswick. There were several of these sturdy old sturdy bridges. 
We arrived back at Keswick station early evening. It's a beautiful building, and well preserved too.

That night we 'went Italian' to a little bistro called 'Casa Bella', and it lived up to its name - we had a really lovely meal, in nice surroundings, served by cheerful people. Tomorrow, we had another 'big one' planned. Neither of us had done Grasmoor, above Buttermere - it was time to put that right!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Lakes, part two

Sue gets an early start to the day. We had a big day ahead, so a hearty breakfast was called for (and eaten).
The weather WAS a little cooler, so we were really excited about doing Striding Edge.

On the way, we drove along Ullswater. It looked very peaceful and serene.

Also, the fells looked good in their blue mantle.

Today it was time to 'tick off' Striding edge (at least, for me. Sue had done it three times before). We did attempt it last time we came, but here's what it was like - you can probably agree with me when I tell you I decided to go back and save the edge for another day!

So, smiles out, and let the climbing begin!

As on any good day, we had PLENTY of company.

It was warm, with a lovely cooling breeze accompanying us. Not the clearest of days for long pictures, but absolutely PERFECT for hard walking.

Approaching 'hole in the wall'. You can see Helvellyn, our goal, and on the right, that sharp peak is Catstycam.

Here we go then, the going now gets a bit tougher.

I thought it was GROUSE that said that?????

Now we were getting higher, and could see Red tarn in the glacial bowl below us.

OK, OK - here we go then, the 'me posing on a rock' picture :-)

Looking across Patterdale to St Sunday crag. Been there, done that.

Yes, Sue - that IS the way.........

Righto! - lets get it done...........

Come on, I'll hold your hand, if you like.

Watch me - CLIMBING!!!!!!!

Done that - NEXT!

Steady, lass.

After a GREAT crossing of Striding Edge, looking back is awesome.

You can see the 'get out of jail' path that slinks below the top edge - but none of that for US. Most of the enjoyment is the adrenalin rush you get from doing it the hard way.

The view across the wide, blue yonder from Helvellyn.
This sort of view stops me dead. I LOVE it, and so does Sue.

The summit of Helvellyn. It was about 1:30, warm, with that lovely breeze. We sat and surveyed the wonderful scene while we ate our lunch.

Looking back, from Nethermost Pike. The edge looks REALLY sharp from here.

Then it was on to Dollywagon pike (a name I've always thought lovely). This is the view back from there.

Again, fabulous 'blue views' from here.

After that summit, the path starts to drop to Grisedale tarn. Last time Sue & I were here (on separate occasions) we were both doing the coast to coast walk, Sue 5 years ago, me in 1993.

After all that climbing, it was good to refresh in the cool mountain water.

Just LOOK at this wall! I remember being astonished at it when I first saw it back in 1993. Someone has gone to all the trouble of building it, stone by stone, over that inhospitable terrain. God only know how long it took them! It's not alone, there are MANY like it all over the Lakes.

A study of the tumbling beck in Grisedale.

We passed Lantys Tarn, still as a mirror in the evening calm, before dropping back into Glenridding for a pint and a really lovely lamb shank (me) & chilli (Sue). We sat outside on the patio with lots of other walkers, all recanting what a super day they'd had. We let the sun go down on the view over the valley as we sipped our beer and sighed. Well deserved, we thought.

Click on 'older post' to see the previous days pictures.