The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Making An Insulated Vest, Badly

I’ve many a time, whilst walking along on a backpacking trip contemplating the weight of my pack, pondered the possibility of making a lightweight insulated vest, to use on warmer weather trips where my insulated jacket may be considered overkill. Whilst many an hour has been frittered away thinking about how such a garment might look and how I might go about making it, I’ve never acted on those thoughts … until yesterday.

Skipping back in time, in June last year I decided to make a new top half of our backpacking quilt. After testing the concept of the quilt quite thoroughly, we had firmly come down on the side of ‘like’, which I thought warranted splashing a bit of time and money on making the top half lighter and (most importantly) more compact. Why just the top half? Because that’s the half that I carry! Oh, and because it’s the bigger half* and, being made with synthetic insulation, it took up quite a lot of space in my pack.  Plus, by the time I came to order materials in mid-June, I wasn’t sure I had time to make a whole quilt before we went off to the Pyrenees.

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I couldn’t get the lightweight material in blue to match the original fabric, but quite liked the colour combination of the end result. The main objective was to reduce bulk, but I also reduced the weight of my half from 721g to 493g.

Whilst Mick’s half isn’t any bulkier than his old sleeping bag, when I suggested that I could replace his half too, he saw sense in the offer. Which is how I came to be furtling through my box of quilt-making offcuts** yesterday, to see if I had anything useful left over, which is how my mind turned back to the subject of making an insulated vest.

It’s a project that would have gone better if I had a pattern. I did find a set of instructions online, albeit for a gillet rather than a vest. So, I went freestyle, employed a roll of Monsters Inc Christmas wrapping paper and came up with a pattern.

20160613_183852 Cuttinng out the insulation (Climashield 100g/sqm) using my Monsters Inc pattern

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The liberal use of clothes pegs to keep lining fabric and insultation together for sewing

After an inordinate amount of time spent staring at the material and pondering at great length, I decided the thing wasn’t going to get made unless I got on with it, so onwards I ploughed, hoping that at some point in the process I’d get to grips with where I needed to leave gaps to turn the whole thing the right way in later on, and how I could go about putting in the zip.

As you can see from the shots below (in my very best model poses!) I did manage to come up with something wearable, although I’m hoping that you can’t quite see how wonky the zip is, nor how uneven the collar. It’s a very trim fit, which wasn’t intentional; I now know where I went wrong in my calculations. I also now know a lot more than I knew yesterday about how to go about making one of these things. In fact, in ordering the materials for the new half of the quilt, I nearly ordered extra for another vest, knowing that I’ll do it better next time. In the end, however, I decided that this one is functional, even if not pretty.

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Front, zip undone.

The inner fabric is the same as the outer. The use of this material puts me in the unusual position of having a garment that perfectly matches a couple of my stuff sacks.

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Front, zip done up

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The back of the neck wasn’t meant to be that shape. I managed to sew the outer layer on the wrong way, such that I had the front outer attached to the back inner and insulation and vice versa. Having sewn the whole way around all the edges by the time I noticed, there was no way I was unpicking, so a bit of free-hand snipping was done and I have a vest with a bit of a scoop neck at the back.

My existing Rab Xenon Hoodie weighs in at 300g. The homemade vest is 130g and has much more loft. I’m comparing apples with oranges, but as the Xenon was my previous lightest option for a warm insulating layer, the vest will represent quite a saving for warmer weather trips. The total cost of the finished article (bar the opportunity cost of what else I could have done with the material) was £1.49 for the zip. 

* Yes, I know that technically it’s not possible to have a big half, but you know what I mean…

**after making one single and one and a half double backpacking quilts, I have quite a collection of offcuts, most of which I’ve now decided are no good for anything and are now in the bin. I did, however, have enough insulation for the vest. The shell material I also happened to have lying around as an offfcut..

Friday, 10 June 2016

Any Hill, As Long As It Has ‘Fell’ In Its Name

Thursday 9 June

Blake Fell (Marilyn, NY110196; 553m) and Burnabank Fell

Blake Fell

At 4.50am I was suddenly jolted awake, flying out of bed and to the window in alarm, dropping the blind just as I realised that the noise and rocking was being caused by a sheep using Colin as a scratching post, not by an intruder. I didn’t see the sheep out of my chosen window, but I did see lots of cloud, completely surrounding me.

Even so, there was no chance of going back to sleep after my rude awakening, so at 6am off I set to crawl through the fog a few miles to the parking area at the south end of Loweswater and by half past I was walking towards my first hill of the day.

Beyond High Nook Farm the path gave the appearance of being little trodden, which struck me as odd, as this is a route described in Wainwright’s guide for this area, and I had been of the impression that if a route is described by Wainwright, then it will be well trodden.

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Gaining a little height, I was soon between two layers of cloud

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Not fantastically clear views, but it could have been worse – at least I could see where I was going

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By the time I was on top the cloud was drifting in and out

As there’s a Wainwright (Burnabank Fell) just to the north of Blake Fell, which can be visited for very little extra effort, that’s what I did. Maybe it’s a hill that has merit in terms of its views in better weather, but all I found was an uninspiring grassy lump. My intended route (based on where Wainwright had told me there would be a path) from there was abandoned, as I could see no reason why I couldn’t just drop more directly off the side of the hill. Whilst a touch tussocky underfoot, it was an easy descent and I impressed myself by coming out exactly in front of the gate to access the path through the forest.

By the time I was heading back to Colin, the weather had improved remarkably:

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It was only in chatting to a couple just booting up in the car park that I realised the likely reason why my ascent route was so little trodden: I’d completely overlooked the fact that there’s another Wainwright easily accessible to the south of Blake Fell, such that most people must do a circuit taking in all three. That’s exactly what I would have done if I’d noticed it. In fact, even on the route I took, I was within an easy ten minute detour to that extra top. That’ll teach me to focus too much on the main objective and not look what else is around!

Fellbarrow and Low Fell (Marilyn, NY137226; 423m) (with Smithy Fell, Sourfoot Fell and Darling Fell) 

Moving a mile and a half down the road, I daubed myself in suncream before setting out for this final circuit of my trip. Alas, it was nugatory effort; the blue skies had lasted but a short while and the rest of the day was staunchly overcast.

My intention, right up to the point where I passed Askill, was to do this circuit anti-clockwise, but when I reached the byway it suddenly felt more natural to go clockwise, and much later I was to find myself very pleased with that decision.

Low Fell

First through, I had to get prickled on my way through a band of gorse and walk pathlessly (but very easily) up the side of Fellbarrow, where significant areas of the top were covered in cottongrass:

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From Fellbarrow to my main objective (the Marilyn, Low Fell), I could have bypassed Smithy Fell and Sourfoot Fell, but they are such small pimples on the ridge that I thought I may as well go over them as not, and then I was onto Low Fell, where the lower summit of the two gave the best viewpoint, looking along Crummock Water and Buttermere, although it was patently not going to be a day for good views or photos:

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The public footpath from Low Fell back towards my start point takes an unusually straight line, considering the terrain, dropping directly down off Low Fell and directly up the side of Darling Fell, as you can see in this snap:

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From the top of Darling Fell (seventh of seven tops for the day, all with ‘Fell’ in their names) the route of the public footpath descends straight, and very steeply, back to the byway, but I opted to follow the line on the ground, going over a stile and taking a more natural way off the hill. It was down there that I became very happy to have had the whim to reverse my intended route, as I saw a chap toiling steeply upwards through the bracken (stopping to look at his map every few paces) on what must have been the line of the official path. Due to the bracken, the perfectly good path I was on was not at all obvious when viewed from the direction he had come, so if I’d done the route in reverse order I undoubtedly would have found myself in the exact position as this chap.

Rejoining my outward route for the last few minutes of the outing, I wondered how I’d missed this earlier…

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… and also considered that if Conrad had been this way then he would have surely also photographed it for his ‘relics’ collection.

And that was my trip over, from a walking point of view, with these two outings of 5.3 miles with 1600’ and 5.5 miles with 1700’. Using Colin’s facilities to put myself into a presentable state for company, a drive down through Lakeland had me standing on Conrad’s doorstep by just gone 2.30pm and an excellent couple or three hours ensued over tea, cake (lots of cake Smile) and much chat, before I headed off homewards via a night at Ma-in-Law’s house.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Grasmoor and Grisedale Pike (plus five bonus Wainwrights)

Eeee! That was such a good fun morning I had today! It left me drenched in very unladylike rivers of ‘glow’, and desperate for: a) a shower; and b) a few cups of rehydration drink; but I had an absolute ball.

In the interests of being relatively cool for as long as possible, it was only just gone 6.30am as I stepped out of Colin and headed out to do this circuit (I’m not sure ‘circuit’ is really the right word here; it’s more of a scribble!):

Grasmoor Grisedale Pike

The hills visited, in the order I visited them, were:

1) Whiteless Pike (660m)

2) Wandope (772m)

3) Grasmoor (Marilyn – 852m)

4) Grisedale Pike (Marilyn – 791m)

5) Hopegill Head (770m)

6) Crag Hill (839m)

7) Sail (773m)

The day was fine and sunny as I made my way over the first three tops and down to Coledale Hause. Thanks to the early hour, I even got to enjoy the sight of an inversion a few valleys over, which hadn’t had time to burn off:

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Grisedale Pike wasn’t meant to come fourth in my list, but once at Coledale Hause the whim took me to reverse the order of my next two hills, so that’s what I did. I met a chap up there who was worried about the weather and felt that rain was on its way, with the risk of thunder. I looked around at the few fluffy clouds and didn’t share his assessment of the immediate risk. 20160608_093950

Atop Grisedale Pike. A few minutes earlier there had just been a few fluffy clouds around

A very short while later*, as I made my way up Hopegill Head, I noticed that suddenly there were bubbly clouds. A few minutes after that, as I reached that next summit, there was a big black ominously bubbly cloud sitting over me, which was also shrouding the summit of Grisedale Pike, making me glad of that whim which had made me reverse the order of these two.

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Where’d all that cloud suddenly come from?

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Looking back at Grisedale Pike from Hopegill Head, just before the cloud fully covered the summit

I’d hardly been going slowly until this point, but I certainly didn’t want to miss out on my last two tops due to the threat of lightning, so I put a bit of a spurt on even though it seemed pretty likely that, like yesterday, the cloud would drift away and thunder not be heard until much later in the day.

By my standards, I positively flew from Coledale Hause over my last two hills, opting to go the longer-but-gentler way to the top of Crag Hill, rather than making my way up the screes of the NW side.

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Such a nice valley – if it wasn’t for the sodding flies!

From Sail Pass my route took me down to walk down the valley, up above Sail Beck. I might have paused for lunch somewhere along there, especially as the clouds were now looking far less ominous (with much blue developing again) except that I was being so bothered by big and nasty looking flies that I put even more of a spurt on to try (semi-successfully) to keep them at bay.

Based on yesterday’s stats, I’d expected this round (which came in at 13.5 miles with 5100’ of ascent) to take me all day – at least 7 hours. As it went (thanks to the flies, more than anything) I arrived back at Colin at 12.21, which was three minutes after it started sprinkling with rain. That rain proved short-lived and it was three hours later when great big blobs of rain started falling and distant thunder heard, by which time I was sitting with my feet up, watching out of the window.

So, another hugely enjoyable outing, in superb surroundings, with superb views, and on another super-hot day. 

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Bonus photo of the glorious lumpy-bumpiness

(*the downside of the current lack of wind is being attacked by flies every time you stop moving; my pause on the top was thus only a couple of minutes, during which time I had to knock lots of spiders off my legs, whilst I was doing the ‘midge slapping dance’ on the rest of my exposed skin. I suppose if I’d left the spiders to crawl over me they might eventually have dealt with some of the other flies…)

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Red Pike, High Stile and Mellbreak

Red Pike (NY161155; 755m), High Stile (NY170148; 805m) and Mellbreak (NY148186; 512m)

What a fantastic day I have again had! Being greeted by clear skies as I looked outside this morning (quite an easy thing to do, as I’d slept with the skylight window and blind open), I made haste as much as was possible with chores to perform such as removal of ramps and hook-up cable, and the emptying of the toilet. Over Honister Pass I went, glad to be without any other traffic as I crawled my way down the other side, to park in the popular parking area at Buttermere*.

The most notable feature of today’s ‘circuit with arms’ (both of my Marilyn tops were out-and-back detours from the circuit) was the three steep climbs, which made it a harder walk than any I’ve done in Cumbria on this trip so far. The first climb, as far as Bleaberry Tarn was also notable for bearing a stone staircase almost its entire distance from the end of the lake of Buttermere – quite a feat of engineering, and one that made me glad to be ascending not descending.

Bleaberry Tarn with High Stile behind. I was to walk that ridge from right to left as shown in the snap.

The pull up to Red Pike (a bonus Wainwright in my day) doesn’t bear a stone staircase, but could do with one; it’s steep and awfully eroded. I’d intended to make it to the top before pausing for second breakfast, but the hunger and the sweatiness got too much a short distance below.

View along Crummock Water from High Stile

High Stile has two summits, not too far apart and with only a metre of height difference between them, but (a little ridiculously) they appear as separate entries on the hill lists, as the slightly lower top is the Wainwright summit and the higher is the Marilyn summit, so two ticks for no additional effort.

I’d passed one (denim-clad) chap bearing a camera at Bleaberry Tarn, and seen another chap up on the ridge to High Stile as I’d feasted on my hot cross bun below Red Pike. The next people I passed were a couple and a group of three as I made my way down Scale Beck (over 550m of height lost – sob!). Aside from another couple I saw from a distance descending Mellbreak, they were the only people I saw on the hills all day. Buttermere village was a different matter: heaving!

Scale Force - a high fall, but without much 'force', perhaps because of the recent dry spell

The clouds hadn’t started to fill the sky until I was up on Red Pike, but by the time I paused for a bite to eat alongside Scale Beck the cover was complete and one particular cloud was looking ominous. Cutting short first-lunch I made haste onwards, completing my descent before re-ascending via Scale Knott to Mellbreak. The pull up to Mellbreak was another steep one, but being on cropped, firm grass, the going was pleasant.


Looking along both Crummock Water and Buttermere from Scale Knott (I think). Mucho haze making the lumpy bumps around look far less prominent.

Happily, the clouds had started to clear by the top, so a pause was had to dispatch my second sandwich and a bit of chocolate and, for the first time in a week, I had to don my fleece, albeit only for the time I was stopped. Moving again, and back out of the breeze, I was soon glowing once more.

Some of tomorrow's hills, as seen from my second-lunch spot

My outing was completed by a stroll along Crummock Water which brought me back to my start point with 10.3 miles walked involving in the region of 4000’ of ascent.  The only negative in the whole outing was the haze, which has made my photos even less illustrative than they usually are, but even through the haze I’d enjoyed those views immensely.

(*three other vehicles were already present when I got there. By the time I looked back from the top of Red Pike I could see parked cars snaking up the road. Visiting the National Park car park later, on my way back to Colin, I saw that the charge there was £8 for stays of more than 4 hours (and to add insult to injury, there’s a 20p charge to use the toilets there), making it unsurprising that people park for free just up the road. In my view an £8 payment to the National Park Authority to enjoy a day on the hill isn’t too bad – if your visits are infrequent (i.e. not daily) and there are at least two people in the car. For a singleton visiting hills every day, £8 per day to go walking feels, to me, to be excessive. Still, in eight days I’m yet to pay for parking (beyond a couple of charitable donations in honesty boxes, but I consider those to be donations rather than parking fees) so I can’t really complain.)

Monday, 6 June 2016

High Rigg and Dale Head

High Rigg (NY308220; 357m)

With Mick off away to work at 6.30 this morning, I thought I may as well make tracks at the same time. He went south and had a tiresome journey, in Monday rush-hour traffic, of two and a half hours (to do under 100 miles), whereas I headed north and was parked up at my first destination in under half an hour.

Having parked to the SW of my objective, my final approach to the top was from its NW side, so it felt like a bit of a round-about route to take. However, it was exceptionally easy and before I knew it I found that the craggy outcrop in front of me (on a hill of many craggy outcrops) was, in fact, the top. I recalled that, in his Pictorial Guide, Wainwright had said of the final climb from the Church of St John in the Vale that ‘anyone full of the joy of spring will do it in 15 minutes (authors time: 35 minutes)’. Whilst I’d like to think that my time of 9 minutes is attributable in part to being fit after all of my recent hills, I think it was more to do with the fact there are now lots of well-trodden grassy paths, making an easy ascent even easier.

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Yet another summit selfie

Had the Church of St John in the Vale (which sits high between two valleys, at the end of a little lane to the east, and on a byway from the west) been an old and interesting looking one, I might have gone and looked at it on my return leg. However, it looked a surprisingly modern, so I took a slightly more direct route down, with the added bonus that I kept off tarmac for longer.

The same pleasant paths on which I’d started my walk also ended it, and a few minutes later I followed a tractor out of the layby. Or, I followed it almost the entire length of the layby, before it decided to reverse, completely oblivious to a hulking white van behind it. The way the farmer started when I sounded Colin’s horn was quite comical, and onwards I went, to my next hill, via Booths in Keswick for a few more calories to keep me going these next few days.

(3.8 miles, 700’)

Dale Head (NY223153; 753m)

The weather forecast for the first three days of this week is almost identical, with very low winds and fine starts to the days, but with cloud building and the risk of thunderstorms and torrential showers in the afternoons*. With the way the cloud was building as I approached Honister Pass, once I parked Colin in a layby a third of a mile to the east of the pass** I didn’t tarry too long over my coffee and hot cross buns before I set out up the pass thence up the hill.

A few other people had also thought Dale Head to be a good bet for this morning, but not so many as to make it feel busy, and it was a straightforward, if exceptionally hot and sweaty walk. I had to remind myself that the heat is good training for next month in the Pyrenees, although I was pleased when, about three-quarters of the way up, the cloud blocked the sun and, with a hint of a breeze blowing, it became a much more pleasant temperature.

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Looking worried, but slapping a grin on my face all the same

The views from the top would have been outstanding if it hadn’t been for the haze. Indeed, my phone told me, on my first attempt, that it couldn’t take a panoramic shot because not enough detail was visible.

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A lovely shape of valley, but the detail is lost in the haze

There are other hills I could have visited from Dale Head, but I think that I’ve been up all of the surrounding hills before (I do hope I’m right in that thought, otherwise it was an opportunity wasted!), and as my accommodation for tonight was going to provide me with mains electric for the first time since I left home last Tuesday morning, I was happy to have a pre-noon finish and to spend the rest of the day charging a ridiculous number of electronic gadgets and frittering my time away with my book and a couple of radio-programme downloads.

(3.4 miles, 1500’)

(*The forecast has held true today. One downpour, as I’ve been typing this, has been particularly akin to stair-rods.

**I thought I would have to pay for parking at Honister Slate Mine today, so was happy to find a layby within a ten minute walk; I subsequently found that there’s also a National Trust car park at the top of the pass.)

Sunday, 5 June 2016

In The Last Month

We set out for Scotland on 5 May and walked our first hill late that afternoon. Exactly 31 days later, at noon today, my tally for the month (which also included 7 days at TGO Challenge Control and a quick visit home) stands at 50 hills.

The incredible statistic is that of those, I've only had rain on three and only had cloudy summits on two.

Apparently the weather will continue to hold for the rest of this week so I will try to make the most of it.

(Ha! As I type it's just started raining (not entirely unexpected - clouds have been building all afternoon - but as I'm not on a hill, it doesn't affect the stats.)

Holme Fell and Claife Heights

Holme Fell (NY315006; 317m)
Setting out from a nice car park along the dead-end road to High Tibberthwaite, lying to the west of Holme Fell, our ascent included a chat with a couple of MRT chaps manning a drinks station for the Lakeland Marathon (we were, apparently, just ahead of the first runners) and an encounter with a border collie which removed the sun cream from the back of my right leg with its tongue. So, reasonably uneventful really...

Our descent included the accidental herding of a Belted Galloway all the way down to the gate on the track at the foot of the fell.

The hill itself is a small and easy one, with plenty of animal trods to ease passage through the heather and bracken for those, like us, who shun the less-direct main trodden line. It's not a bad viewpoint either, and at the time we were up there barely a cloud was to be seen in the sky.



It was a short walk (again) but not a bad little hill. Our stroll (which could have been made a little shorter - not that any further shortness was necessary - by starting from one of a number of pull-ins we found along the road on the east side of Pierce How Beck) came in at just 2.7 miles with 600' of ascent.

Claife Heights (SD 382973; 270m)
Being in the car today, the drive to Far Sawrey was quick and easy, even in the face of oncoming little cars whose drivers seem to think they're three or four feet wider than they are.

The village hall there provides parking in return for a couple of pounds in their honesty box and it was ideally positioned for our purposes. Even better, they also have benches, which gave us a nice place to perch to eat our sandwiches (it was only 11am but once again I was hungry enough to eat a scabby dog).

The walk up to Claife Heights, approaching via the track to its west side, was relatively uninteresting and the summit likewise with only a tiny snippet of a view visible through the trees...

...so we opted to return via the path to the east of the summit in the hope of getting to look at Windermere below us. The path itself was slightly more pleasing, but the views largely still absent. It went down as the least interesting hill of my trip so far.

With 3.75 miles walked (750' of ascent is my rough guess) we were back at the village hall and off to Ambleside to fondle a bit of gear and to eat ice-cream.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Lingmoor and Loughrigg

Saturday 4 June

Lingmoor (NY302046; 469m)
There was a bit of a change in the weather this morning: it was overcast and noticeably humid. The latter feature made me regret (vocally and repeatedly, until Mick told me to shut up) that I hadn't selected shorts as my legwear for this first of two tops today. It also made the going much harder than it has been on all of the recent hot (but low humidity) days.

We weren't out outrageously early, but still early enough to have the hill to ourselves. On the downside, at that time the cloud hadn't had the opportunity to lift and whilst we were well below it, it did mar the views of the surrounding tops.


I was glad to get to this top and not recognise it as I hadn't been 100% sure that we hadn't been up there before

The first people met were when we were paces away from being back down at valley level. Then they came thick and fast.

With 5.2 miles walked, with 1300' of ascent, we arrived back at Colin (parked at Elterwater) in time for elevenses (I was so hungry today that elevenses comprised over 800 calories and I was still ready for lunch an hour later) and in view of how busy our immediate surroundings had become the decision was made to sit out the next few hours, watch the world go by and not set out again until at least mid afternoon.

Loughrigg (NY347051; 335m)
Half past three came, people started returning to the car park from their walks, and we adjudged it a suitable time to set out into what was now a hot and sunny afternoon.

A rather pleasant little walk was had up to this excellent viewpoint, from where we picked out routes we'd taken over surrounding hills. A different path was taken to get us back down (which avoided an excess of descent-to-reascend), forming a lollipop-shaped walk coming in at 3 miles.

Having seen how incredibly busy it is around Elterwater, I'm glad that I stuck around the edges of the Lakes for Bank Holiday week. I'm hoping that next week will be a bit calmer, as most of the rest of the hills on my target list are in more popular areas.

Whin Rigg, Illgill Head and Dent

Friday 3 June

Awaking early again this morning (for no good reason - there were no little lanes to be tackled whilst they were still quiet) I peeped outside to find another cloud-free day - the fourth in a row.

Illgill Head (NY169049; 609m)
As I only had one Marilyn on the agenda today (Illgill Head), with an incidental Wainwright thrown in (Whin Rigg) I thought I'd make a decent walk of it by forming a circuit by continuing to the north off Illgill Head towards Wasdale Head before looping back via Burnmoor Tarn and Miterdale.

Somehow I managed to restrain myself from eating my sandwiches at 9am at the top of Whin Rigg, making do with a handful of fig rolls, which staved off the rumbling for, oooh, at least ten minutes (it was a hungry day today!).

The way up to Whin Rigg had been fine, with increasingly lovely surroundings, but the continuation to my main objective was really superb, as I shunned the main trodden line and took to the less obvious path running along the edge of the steep slope which falls down to Wastwater screes.

View from the top

One woman and one backpacker were seen on my way up to the fantastic viewpoint of a summit. A couple and their dog were passed as I started down towards Wasdale. They were the only people I saw until almost at the road end in Miterdale.

Burnmoor Tarn

At Burnmoor Tarn (so picturesque!) I was sorely tempted to throw in a detour over to Scafell Pike (I talked myself out of the impulsive scheme in the end due to a lack of food and the knowledge that Mick would like to do that one with me) and in Miterdale I finally stopped for lunch. Incredibly I managed to last until 11.30 before the sandwiches met their end. A few clouds had formed by then, and for a couple of minutes the sun was obscured - for the first time on this trip.

It was a most enjoyable circuit (10.5 miles, haven't calculated the ascent), but I was back by just after noon, with a whole afternoon stretching out in front of me.

Dent (or Long Barrow) (NY041129; 352m)
As Mick isn't able to join me until late this evening and as he needs to be at work before 8 on Monday morning, the chosen location for this weekend's rendezvous is in the Ambleside area. That left me without any more Marilyns that would sensibly fit into my afternoon ... except that on a perusal of the map I realised that I could go and visit the one on which I'd not even made any notes for this trip, on the basis that it's too much of an outlier.

Then the thing happened which I always knew, when I started pursuing Marilyns, would happen at some point. After a 15 mile detour to visit this hill, it came into sight and my first thought was "I've been up there before".

Yep, Dent lies on Wainwright Coast to Coast route, but for some reason I'd not ticked it off.

What to do? Well, as I'd taken the trouble to drive out of my way and as it was such a nice day, I thought I may as well go up it again.

I didn't join the C2C route until I was out of the forest, right by this bench...

... where, in 2008, I recall pausing for painkillers for a headache (funny the things that can stick in the mind!). Suddenly I was in a snake of people heading up to the top. Many of them paused every 5 paces to admire the view - and who can blame them? It was a gorgeous day and the views were outstanding. Plus, if my memory serves, this is the first hill, on the first day, of the C2C route so could come as a bit of a shock to the system.

Reaching a big cairn where a dozen people had stopped, I paused also for summit photos ...

...before realising that this wasn't the top. Onwards I went, pausing again at the proper summit, where the local dogwalker behind me assumed I was uncertain as to the onwards route and started shouting to me to continue straight on. He was a bit taken aback that I wasn't on my way to Ennerdale.

Once I'd visited the tuft of grass half an inch taller than the rest, which lies five paces off the path (so at least I can justify the return visit on the basis that I have walked those extra five paces with half an inch of ascent) I did continue straight on, as the dog walker was so eager for me to do, as I thought I may as well make a circuit of the outing.

Back at Colin, parked by the river where lots of children were swimming and splashing, I'd walked exactly 4 miles with around 800' of ascent.

Then it was a drive around to t’other side of the Lake District. The long way around. Without the use of any narrow, steep passes.