Upper Kentmere Valley, photographed January, 2011, Peter Bettess
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Walking

Lake District


I like walking, especially in the Lake District. I have twice climbed all the 214 peaks in the seven Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells , by A. Wainwright . I finished the first round in 1994. I then tackled the summits in Wainwright's Book The Outlying Fells of Lakeland , an additional 102 of them. This makes 316 summits in all. I finally completed the task on Sunday, 4th. October, 1998. The last three summits were Dunnerdale Fells and Green Pikes, climbed on Friday, 25th. September, 1998 and Hooker Crag at 11.45 am, on Sunday, 4th. October, 1998.

This is me 'the fat man' in 'fat man's agony', halfway up the ascent of Grasmoor from Lanthwaite Green, near Buttermere. This is described in the Wainwright Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book 6 (out of 7) The North Western Fells, on the page Grasmoor 6

After coming to live in the Lake District it became easier to climb the Wainwrights and I completed a second round of the mountains in the Pictorial Guides, in Summer, 2011, ending with Great End.

More recently I have joined the Kendal Fell Walkers a very friendly and well organised walking club who go out walking on Sundays and Thursday evenings in the summer, whatever the weather. They have three levels of walk, A, B and C. The A walks are the toughest and I have never ventured on one of those. I am told that the 'walkers' are almost running. But I can cope with the B walks, at a pinch and the C walks are not too hard. There are some very interesting people in the club, with all sorts of backgrounds.

Munros

I also enjoy the Scottish Mountains, and so far have climbed over seventy of the 270 odd Munroes, see list. . However, since this has taken me thirty years so far, I do not have much hope of climbing them all. In 1996 I managed Ben Lawers and Braeriach. In July 1998, I managed several more. I climbed Mount Keen, the most easterly Munro, via Glen Tanar. For the first time I used a mountain bike to cycle up the glen, and then hid it in the heather and walked to the summit. This is certainly an effective way of tackling the more remote peaks. I also climbed the Devil's Point and Cairn Toul, in July 1998, and some unpronounceable Munroes near Lochnagar. The picture below shows the sheer face of Lochnagar.

The north face of Lochnagar from the bealach close to the pap of Lochnagar

 

In May, 2008, I did some walking in the Cuillin of Skye. I was guided round the 11 Skye Munros by Darren McAulay and Ron Davison. Darren runs Hebridean Pathways and I can recommend him strongly. The weather on Skye was unusually kind and it did not rain much. As we had completed the Munros a day early we did the Pinnacle Ridge on the Friday of the week, which was very exhilerating.

Long Distance Footpaths

I have walked a number of long distance footpaths: The Pennine Way, The Cleveland Way, The Offa's Dyke Path, Wainwright's Coast to Coast Path, The Dales Way, The Lyke Wake Walk (several times), The Peakland Way, The Reiver's Way, The Millenium Way, on the Isle of Man.

Climbing
I have done a very small amount of climbing, but only as a second, and nothing harder than V. DIFF. I have done Middlefell Buttress in Langdale several times, and Scout Crag in the same valley.

Easy Crag on the limestone escarpment in Cleadon, near South Shields

The picture above shows me on one of the Cleadon Hills climbs. It is called Easy Crack, and is the lowest grade climb on the escarpment, which is about 3m to 4m high. It is rated at 4A. It took me endless attempts to climb, and is the only climb out of 25 in the Guide Book which I can do.

Now that I am living in the Lake District it is much easier for me to get out and go walking on the hills.

 

Doing the Kentmere Horseshoe, in March, 2006

Brandy loch at the head of Glen Clova, summer, 2006

Brandy loch at the head of Glen Clova, summer, 2006

The great advantage of living in Kentmere is that it is so easy to go for a walk. On Friday, April 27th., I walked up Green Gable and Great Gable with my brother-in-law.

Looking down on Haystacks from the slopes of Green Gable

Looking down on Haystacks from the slopes of Green Gable

Me, resting at the bottom of Aaron Slack

Me, resting at the bottom of Aaron Slack

On the following day we walked from Kentmere to Patterdale, via Garburn Pass, Yoke, Ill Bell, Thornthwaite Crag, High Street, The Knott and Angletarn. It was a beautiful day. On April 29th. we did a short walk in the Kentmere valley, from Wainwright's Outlying Fells book. We parked at Ulthwaite Bridge, and walked up High Knott.

At High Knott on Sunday, 29th. April, 2007

At High Knott on Sunday, 29th. April, 2007

I am in the centre, my wife Jackie is in blue and my sister-in-law, Joan in red

We then walked round the rest of the Wainwright walk, pages 18 - 21, in A. Wainwright, The Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Scotland

In August, 2007, we went to Scotland and stayed at Onich on Loch Linnhe. I had hoped to climb quite a few Munros in the Fort William area. In the event there was a lot of low cloud, which I felt disinclined to walk in. I got just two good days of walks completed. I did a walk which started up Glen Nevis. The path up Glen Nevis is very beautiful. It is also quite tricky and uneven in places. We came through the dramatic gorge section and out into a flatter area with a wider valley, where the river flowed in a more tranquil way. We walked along the path in this area which is quite boggy in places. We reached the Steall where there is a ruin. We parted here. I peeled off and took the path up the hill which headed towards a ‘Top', namely Sgurr a' Bhuic. There was a path of sorts up the first section but the path gradually petered out. When it did so it became almost incredibly steep. I had occasional short rests. I came out onto a small plateau at around 800 metres. From there I ascended a rocky ridge containing a lot of quartz and I came out onto the summit of Sgurr a' Bhuic at about 963 metres. I re-arranged my gear and then descended to a col, or as the Scots call it, a bealach. Again I re-arranged my gear. The weather was closing in, with low cloud sweeping in. It started to rain. The two blokes whom I had passed where miles behind by now. As I climbed up towards the next ‘Top' the weather worsened with rain and cloud. I put on my anorak and carried on up through the cloud and cursed the weather forecasters who had said that it would just be cloudy. I reached the summit of the ‘Top', called Stob Coire Bhealaich and the I descended to another col. From there I climbed up to summit of Aonach Beag in cloud and rain. I went over another little unnamed peak on the way. At the summit of Aonach Beag the weather improved a bit. It cleared a bit. I then descended the rocky slope to the col between Aonach Beag and Aonach Mor. The cloud was lifting and I had a reasonable view. I climbed up to the summit of Aonach Mor. I looked at a descent and ascent to another top named Stob an Chul-Choire. I started on this, but it was far too steep for me and I returned and gave up on it. From the summit of Aonach Mor I walked to the ski area, which was quite a flat walk. From there I started on the long descent to the ski terminal. I stopped on the way down and telephoned Jackie. She was driving and called me back. We arranged to meet at the top of the ski lift. I walked down and arrived at the ski terminal. I looked around and Jackie arrived. They are having the world mountain bike championships there next week. There is a very steep course going down from the terminal. We saw bikers practising. They really throw their bikes up into the air.

View looking back to Glen Nevis

On another day I climbed Ben Nevis. I set off up the mountain at about 7.20 am. I walked up the main path towards the summit. The path slants up the side of the mountain and soon I came to the path which comes up from the Youth Hostel. There were a few other walkers about, but not many. I climbed up the path which eventually turns east and goes past the Halfway Lochan. There is a junction in the path there and I turned east and followed the path which leads up into the valley of the Allt a Mhuilinn. I carried on until the path turned South-east. I followed the instructions from the SMC book about the Munros and left the path. I had reached a height of about 625 metres and then I descended to the burn Allt a Mhuilinn. The descent was quite unpleasant. I slithered and slipped down to the burn which I found reasonably easy to cross. I then climbed up the other side. I had got down to 395 metres, which was quite a loss of height. I then had to climb up the other side. It was very hard work and a very long climb. The first part was up through heather and over rough ground. As I climbed I hit on a reasonably good path. I carried on up this path. The day was still bright and clear. It was a long toil up, as I had already done a lot of climbing that day already. I reached the summit of the ‘Top' which was Carn Beag Meadhonach. Unfortunately I missed the summit of another hill on the way up as the path took me round it, although it was not a Munro or a ‘Top'. This was Carn Beag Dearg. At the summit I met two other walkers, a man and a girl. They kindly took my photograph and I took theirs. Then I pushed on to the Munro Carn Mor Dearg. I was getting very tired by this time. The next part of the walk involved a difficult traverse of the Carn Mor Dearg arête. This is somewhat like Striding Edge but a bit higher, a bit longer and a bit rougher. I found the walking stick a bit of an inconvenience. Still, I made it to the end. By this time the cloudy weather had come in. Earlier I had had excellent views of Ben Nevis and all the surrounding mountains, but now everything was swathed in cloud and I could see nothing. There was also some light rain. There final stretch to the summit of Ben Nevis is a very rough steep hillside, covered in large boulders. I toiled up this hoping that the summit would come into view before I collapsed. I finally reached the summit and someone kindly took my photograph at the summit cairn. There were loads of people who had come up the tourist path. It was very cold and quite wet. It was about 1.30 pm. I ate my sandwich in a bit of shelter. I set off down again. I tried to find the ‘Top' Carn Dearg (North), but the rocks were very slippery and I was very tired and navigation was difficult in the cloud, so I gave it up as a bad job and just headed down the tourist path. It was wet and cloudy all the way down. I reached the car park where Jackie was waiting at 3.40 pm.

On the summit of Carn Mor Dearg, lookind towards summit of Ben Nevis

At the start of the Carn Mor Dearg arete, lookind towards summit of Ben Nevis

On the summit of Ben Nevis after the cloud and rain had come in

 

 

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Page last modified January 11, 2013