Tuesday 18 December 2012

Eco pod at Rydal Hall

I thought it would be a bit cold for camping when I went up to see Mark last weekend, so I compromised and spent the night in an eco pod.

With no heating or electricity, I did wonder if it'd be a chilly experience, but it turned out to be the warmest night for ages at a mild 6 degrees C, so I was toasty in my thick sleeping bag.

This was the early morning view with the sun lighting up the now snow-less fellside.

 and the sheep grazing peacefully.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Windermere 8.12.12

Windermere last weekend, before the Sunday thaw.

The snow on the tops was beautiful...

and I wasn't the only one to think so :)

Sunday 2 December 2012

Around and about at Rydal Hall

Back at Rydal Hall, the lads came by to help me take down my tent and we stopped off in the Old School Room Tea Shop by the beck.

All around the Tea Shop, and spreading into the Quiet Garden, was a display of felted wool sculptures; probably the only outdoor textile sculpture rail in the UK.

They are the creation of Dianne Standen, a Cumbrian artist based in Maryport, Cockermouth and here at Rydal Hall.

Here, she has framed CDs in a location which will catch the sunlight.

The formal gardens at Rydal Hall were designed by Thomas Hayton Mawson in 1911 and are unique as an example of Edwardian garden design in the Lake District.

How about this as the view from your back door?

And finally, this is the edge of the Quiet Garden and the tree I passed each time I drove to or from my tent.


Thursday 29 November 2012

Pike O' Stickle and down

From Harrison Stickle, we dropped down and then began the climb up to Pike O' Stickle.

Looking back to Harrison Stickle.

The unmistakable shape of Skiddaw in the distance.

Our third, and final, summit of the day at 709m, with the inevitable cairn.

After a short pause on the summit, we began the descent, topping Loft Crag which is, surprisingly, the second sleeping giant, its position blocking the view of Pike O' Stickle from the valley floor.

We paused to admire the beautiful markings on the fleece of this Herdwick, before skirting the top of Raven Crag...

and crossing Dungeon Ghyll to return to the car park.

The weather was perfect (sunny, but cool) and the views stunning. I would recommend this walk to anyone who feels able.

It was a day to treasure in the memory banks.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Pavey Ark to Harrison Stickle

From the summit of Pavey Ark, it was a bit of a scramble across some very rough, slow formed rhyolite towards the highest of the sleeping giants, Harrison Stickle, 736m.

Pavey Ark can be seen in the background, with the edge of Stickle Tarn below.

From here there are views in all directions:

South-east towards Windermere

towards the north-eastern fells

and west over Pike O' Stickle (our next destination).

Although it doesn't show on the photos, we could even see over the Solway Firth to Scotland.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Over Pavey Ark

Climbing around the western end of Pavey Ark towards the summit, I was amused by the casual way that this Herdwick was sunning herself on a rock above a sheer drop of some significance!

But now, I'm going to be quiet and allow you to enjoy the views on the way up to the top.

Almost there.

Summit number one - Pavey Ark - 700m

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Stickle Ghyll to Stickle Tarn Oct 2012

Seen from the Langdale Boulders, the Langdale Pikes bear a strong resemblance to a pair of sleeping giants. It is a set of fells I have never climbed, so I was delighted when the lads agreed to spend a day walking them.

We set off from the Stickle Ghyll car park, walking the well defined path which passes Dungeon Ghyll Force,

before crossing and then following Stickle Ghyll Beck, climbing steadily upwards.

This is looking back towards the car park after about half an hour.

From a little higher, the view opens up eastward, towards Windermere in the distance.

Higher still and Coniston Old Man comes into view above the smaller fells which border the south side of Great Langdale.

The water was icy cold!

Eventually, we topped the rise and arrived at Stickle Tarn, a natural water filled corrie lying at an altitude of 1,552 feet (473m). In 1838 the tarn was enlarged by the building of a dam and its water supplies the inhabitants of the Langdale Valley.

On the other side of the tarn was our next objective, Pavey Ark. There is a grade 3 scramble called Jack's Rake, which runs diagonally across the face of this crag, from bottom to top. Considering my chunky boots and rucksack, I decided I would be happier taking the longer route - round the side!

The summit of Pavey Ark would be our first Langdale Pike - the smallest of the three and not one of the sleeping giants.

Lunch first :)

Saturday 17 November 2012

Raven Crag Langdale Oct 2012

Being a cool, sunny day, the conditions were ideal for climbing, so we headed to Raven Crag Langdale, where Mark talked me up a three pitch 'Diff', after which I spent my time admiring the view while they polished off a multi-pitch HVS.

Among the trees across the valley is the National Trust campsite and the road which crosses into Little Langdale valley, from where it begins the climb over Wrynose Pass into Eskdale.

The bare fells looked harsh against the bright sky,

but were softened by the richness of colour where sunlight picked out patches of fellside.

The U shaped valley was formed by glaciation during the last ice age. The river flowing along the valley bottom is Great Langdale Beck, which is formed by the confluence of a series of small gills running down from the valley head fells - Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and Rossett Pike.

The beck continues down the valley, through Chapel Stile towards Elter Water, where it feeds into the River Brathay, heading towards Windermere.

It's easy to see why this valley is so popular with those who love the outdoors.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Rydal Hall campsite Oct 2012

Rydal Hall, just above the beautiful village of Rydal in the Lake District, is a Carlisle Diocesan Christian Centre and Community, open to all for conferences, retreats and as a guest house. In the grounds, there is also a campsite and, when Ben and I journeyed up to visit Mark for a long weekend in October, I decided to try it out.

After checking in at reception, I was directed down the drive and over the beck (the same one in which we went gorge walking back in early summer). This lower section includes a small building known as The Grot, a grade 2 listed building which was restored between 2005-7, returning it to how it would have been 350 years ago, when this spot was visited by the romantic poet William Wordsworth.

The waterfall itself was painted by Derby artist Joseph Wright in 1795.

At the far end of the bridge over the beck, is this gate which opens onto the camp site. The point of the gate is to keep the sheep from wandering - wandering out of the camp site that is. They graze the fields around the hall and amble through the camping areas at will. 

This was the view from the door of my tent when I emerged on Sunday; a beautiful bright day...

with the trees gently steaming in the early morning sun.