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]

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A Fine Four

What a cracking day I've just had in sunny Cumbria! It started bright and early with:

Top o'Selside (SD309919; 335m)
Bit of a spurious waypoint at the start/end of this track. I didn’t take a swim in the lake at either end of the walk!
The early start was brought on by my desire to negotiate the 3.5 miles of little-road to my chosen car park before the masses were out and about. I only met one car on my way in, and that one came so fast around a bend, on a bit of road that didn't seem wide enough for a Colin and a car to pass, that I was braced for the sound of metal on metal. How we avoided each other, and how I also avoided the wall to my left, I know not, but it left me sufficiently shaken to want to get this hill done and myself away from this little road as quickly as possible.

A good path sped me up the first half of the hill, then, at a farm building, I had a choice: left or right would most likely take me (slightly longwindedly) to a path heading up to the summit. I chose neither, opting instead to go straight up the slope in front of me. It's probably not a decision I would have made had it been two or three weeks from now, but for the moment the bracken is still short enough not to be an impediment.

big cairn, but that's not the true summit

With the true summit of this hill not being marked by any feature, I took time visiting all the bits that looked like they might be an inch higher than the rest, then loped back down via the direct route of my ascent. It seemed steeper on the descent. I take that perception as being indicative of me being reasonably fit just now; I like it when I stop noticing steep ascents so much!

By 8.30am, which was within an hour of setting off, I was back at Colin, with 2.3 miles walked and 950' of ascent. Pausing not for a moment more than necessary before tackling the road again, I met not a single vehicle on my return journey, which took me back to the A road, thence to:

Kirkby Moor (or Lowick High Common) (SD260040; 333m)
A small windfarm and lots of quarrying (historic and current) scar this hill, so it was a surprise to find it to be a pleasant little walk up to the cairn marking its high point. Being knocking on for 9.30am by the time I reached the top, and with the sun gaining warmth, I did wonder why I hadn't dug out my shorts - something that didn't come to pass until after the next hill. Sometimes my perception that the effort of taking off my shoes, in order to get changed, is more trouble than the comfort of wearing something different really is way off!

evidence of old quarrying ahead and to the right and a wind turbine peeking over the ridge

sea views and sunshine

Twas just a little outing at 1.7 miles with 550' of up.

As my parking place here was a layby on the main road (lots of buffeting from passing cars) I didn't pause immediately on my return for a cup of tea but made tracks to the church car park at Whicham for:

Black Combe (SD135854; 600m)


The church at Whicham has provided a large car park on an honesty box system, which was a pleasant and peaceful place for elevenses before I headed off up Black Combe.

After all the fighting through heather in Scotland it's still a novelty to have paths on every hill and this one seemed particularly well-trodden, even though it wasn't heaving with people.

Good company was had for lunch in the summit shelter with a family; it was the daughter's (age 11 or 12, I would guess) first hill and after initial hesitation as to the enjoyment value of slogging up hills, by pudding she was talking about her next one. A convert :-)

The gradient of the path was perfect for striding down, so it wasn't too long before I was roasting in Colin's interior (29 degrees!) and pondering whether to sit around for the rest of the afternoon (it wasn't quite 1pm) or whether to do one more hill.

The stats for this one were 4.5 miles with around 2000' of ascent.

Muncaster Fell (SD112983; 231m)

This one didn't sensibly fit next into my itinerary, but it had the dual appeal of looking quick and easy and of not involving any little lanes (the obvious next hill involves driving a narrow pass - I'm trying to restrict all such roads to early mornings, or evenings).

The free car park at Muncaster Castle provided me with a good place to leave Colin (although it looked alarmingly full at first glance, there were spaces in the far back corner) and some gentle waymarked paths took me up this hill. In common with all of today's tops, the views spanned 360 degrees and were superb. So close to the sea...

...with blue skies above, and with lots of the Lake District hills clearly visible to the north east:

I walked back down with a smile on my face, fully appreciating how lucky I am to be able to be out enjoying some hills on a day like this (whilst Mick 'enjoyed' the inside of a conference room - but it was his choice to work this month!).

This last hill of the day came in at exactly 3 miles with an easily-gained 550' of up.


  1. All familiar to me as Ms and some as Wainwright's Outlying Fells. I have only two English ones left to do. After that I am going for quality. I have booked on to the Caravan Club site at Kinlochewe from 18th August, after my backpacking trip down south.