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, 6 September 2016

Binsey, Watch Hill, Lord’s Seat (and Barf)

It was less than a week ago that I said that the rest of this trip was going to take place in Dumfries and Galloway. I was wrong!

The day after I said that I came to the conclusion that this is not the best time of year to tackle the hills in that area, due to the long grass and dense bracken, particularly where it hides rough ground of tussocks, dips and holes. So, I decided to ditch the hills to the north of A712 (of which I’d only planned a handful for this trip anyway; it would make more sense to lump them all together on a future foray into the area), preferring instead to spend those days in the Lake District mopping up a few of my final Marilyns down here.

Having travelled down yesterday afternoon, we got going bright and early this morning for me to have a quick jaunt up:

Binsey (NY225355; 447m)


A very quick and easy hill. The lovely grassy track running up its SE side gave me a speedy and direct ascent, and an even speedier descent, as it was very runnable. With a pause on the top to admire the views (low cloud was covering the higher tops), the whole outing took less than 25 minutes, covering 1.5 miles with 180m ascent.

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Watch Hill (NY158318; 254m)

Watch Hill gave me a shorter upward journey than I expected, as some mountain bike trails through the forest on Setmurthy Common gave me a pretty direct line up the hillside. My return became a little protracted as, even though I had good information as to the location of the highest point, it looked to me like the next lump along this low ridge was about the same height, so I nipped over to visit that spot too, then I decided to descend not to my start point, but further to the east, so as to walk to where Mick was sitting (he’d dropped me off by the 134m spot height, but the parking area there was full). However, part way down I learnt that he’d moved back to where he’d dropped me off, so back around I looped. Even with the circuitous descent, the whole outing was still only 1.6 miles, with around 130m of up.

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Lord’s Seat (Marilyn NY204265; 552m) and Barf (Wainwright; 468m)

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The ease of four hills visited entirely on trodden paths must have become too much for me, as having visited Barf (wherearound I got drizzled on for twenty minutes or so) and then hurried up to Lord’s Seat (where the sun shone on me), and admired the view (pretty clear in all directions but to the south where it was raining), I decided that the most obvious route down was the direct line to rejoin the path to Barf, as it entered the forest. I knew, having looked down on that terrain earlier that it would be a wet line, and so it was. But, it was quick and saved retracing of steps, not to mention having to re-ascend anything.

looking north from Barf

looking south from Barf

Incidentally, bits of the upward route, between Barf and Lord’s Seat, had been a bit squelchy too, and I witnessed six people faffing around like no-one’s business to get around those bits. Their faffing left me particularly bemused as they were all wearing boots, whereas in my mesh slippers I managed to stick to the path and get through fafflessly and dry-shod. What’s the point in wearing boots if you’re not prepared to risk getting more than the soles muddy?!

With 2.9 miles walked, around 430m of ascent and very wet feet, I arrived back at Colin at 12.30, which felt very much like lunch time (and shower time; it was hot and muggy and I looked such a state that I’m sharing none of my summit selfies today!).

Then it was off to Keswick for a little mooch around to while away the afternoon.  

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