Sunday, 29 September 2013

Lake District - August 13

Langdale Panorama

A belated post up here given that this was the August bank holiday, but, better late than never!

The idea was to spend along weekend in the Lakes. Walk Saturday and Sunday and maybe squeeze some short walks into Friday afternoon / Monday morning as well. As it turned out I hardly hardly any of the planned walking! A tale of woe in many respects. However, it was still a good get away and change of scenery. Lets face it, you can't not spend time in the Lake District and not leave feeling happy!

So, what actually happened?

Slow start - busy in work earlier in the week and not quite fully organised by Thursday evening. Traffic leading to a long journey didn't help the idea of a short Friday walk and, having got there, it was looking like it was about to lash it down with rain. Priority number one was grabbing a couple of things I realised I'd forgotten from Ambleside and then getting the tent pitched! After that I settled for a quiet dinner in the pub and got my head down. Only plus sides of the day - A1, A66 is prettier than the M6 and I was able to grab a photo of the Duke of Portland Boathouse.

Cloud over the Kirkstone Pass

Coud over Red Screes

Duke of Portland Boathouse

Woken up to a leaden sky. Very dull and overcast. supposed to pick up but not looking like it while having breakfast. Felt totally "Meh", no energy for some reason also. Eventually went round to Grasmere and had a wander around town in the mizzle. I put my feelings down to the weather as I felt better when it started to brighten and I thought I'd do he simple walk up onto Helm Crag and back. I did Bowfell a few months ago, so this should be easy enough shouldn't it...

As it turns out...No. The walk out of Grasmere to the base of Helm Crag was easy enough. However, my legs felt like lead as soon as the ascent started. Struggled up and very quickly started hearing a little voice in the back of my head saying that this wasn't a good idea today. Push on slowly for a bit - a bit beyond the top of the pitched path next to the wall for anyone who knows the walk. By this point the voice in the back of my head was shouting loudly. Something just didn't feel right and I decided it was safer to turn around and head back. By the time I was back to the car I felt totally shattered but couldn't work out why...

Anyway, by this time the sun was shining properly and after a very pleasant cafe lunch I took the car over to Conniston and had some fun taking photos by the lake and looking towards Langdale on the way over the pass.

Helm Crag

 View from the highest point I got to

Helm Crag

Ecton Crag

A view of The Crinkles

A view to the Langdale Pikes

Looking up Conniston Water

Conniston Panorama

Woke feeling better in myself but the legs were still stiff and achey. Decided it was probably something viral by this point (I'd spent Saturday evening in the pub feeling really cold despite putting on layer after layer). Supposed to be meeting Rich and Dave for a Skiddaw walk. What to do?

Decided to drive and over to meet them and start the walk. If the legs weren't up to it then I'd let them go on and double back myself. Starting from Dodd Wood car park We set off along the forest paths towards the start of the Ullock Pike Ridge. Very pleasant walking in the cool of the woods with occasional views over Basenthwaite. After the woods the gentle ascent continues and rather than take the short cut we decided to heather bash our way over to The Watches.

I have to say that this is a wonderful view point and a very pleasant place to sit out and enjoy the view. Indeed, if time was short this would be a great destination it itself. This was also the decision point for me and I decided to let the others push on themselves. I probably could have made it up and over Ullock Pike, Longside to Carl Side, but, I don't think it would have been fun. Blazing hot by this point and the legs still felt far more tired than they should have. I bade Rich and Dave au revoir and and sat down to enjoy the view for a while. A pleasant walk back through the woods was followed by lunch in the old Sawmill Cafe while awaiting my friends return. This was quicker than expected as well - turns out they bailed from climbing Skiddaw as it was getting far too hot and the top was still covered by a cap of cloud. They even by passed Dodd itself on the way back it was so hot! Not just me struggling in the end...

View from the tent Sunday morning.
That bit of cloud is just covering the top of Pike O'Blisco

The Watches up ahead

Ullock Pike

Cloud over Skiddaw

Time to come home and I finally felt back to normal! C'est la vie. Still the mountains aren't going anywhere. I briefly toyed with the idea of going back to Helm Crag but decided to get everything packed and just head off home in the end. My suspicion of what the bank holiday traffic would be like turned out to be entirely correct! Still, I did grab some more photos in the sunshine before heading off the M6.

So, not what was planned. However, it was nice to get away and just take the chance to enjoy looking at the mountains without necessarily getting up onto them. Overall, still a lovely weekend getaway!

Langdale Pikes

The way to Mickleden

Crinkle Crags

And it's now sunny over Red Screes!


  1. I know how steep that path up Helm Crag is, and if you ain't feeling right it probably feels three times as bad. Shame about your weekend, but you really have managed to get some awesome photographs.

    1. Thanks Dittzzy. I have to say that I still had a really good relaxing weekend. OK, I may not have done the intended walking, but, I still enjoyed myself.

      Thanks for the photo appreciation also!