Monday 29 September 2014

Autumn Colours at Dunham Massey

Sunday 28th September 2014 

Here's a couple of photos from this morning's trip to the wonderful gardens at Dunham Massey, showing that Autumn is now well and truly here!

Sunday 28 September 2014

An Afternoon Walk up Thack Moor

Friday 26th September 2014 

An afternoon walk in the North Pennines up England's shortest 2000ft peak 

Distance: 8km; Ascent: 390m; Dry, sunny and windy; Solo

After my lunchtime walk up Cold Fell earlier, I drove around the western side of the Pennines to reach the village of Renwick, where I parked on the road near the church.  I set off walking again at around twenty past three this afternoon, and headed up the steep little minor road towards Outhwaite.

Trees on way up from Renwick
A few hundred metres up the road, where the road takes a sharp right, I continued straight on along a reasonable stony vehicle track heading straight for Thack Moor, with good views SE towards Melmerby Fell.  The track allowed me to reach an altitude of around 500m pretty quickly, where the track ended.  From here a faint path led onwards up the steep grassy slopes to reach the moorland ridge above.

Track heading for Thack Moor
Melmerby Fell from southern slopes of Thack Moor
At twenty past four, around an hour after I set off walking, I reached the the trigpoint on summit of Thack Moor (Nuttall), where it was quite cold and exposed to the still bitter wind.  I nipped over the wall to visit the true summit of the hill, which is an unmarked area of grass on the north side of the wall.

Thack Moor trigpoint
Grassy summit of Thack Moor
On this side of the wall I was able to shelter from the wind and hence stopped for a short break to admire the excellent expansive views out over the North Pennines and the Lake District, although the sky was pretty hazy in the direction of the latter so it was hard to pick much out.  I also spotted what looked like a wooden nesting box in the base of the wall, which seemed like a strange spot for it - I wondered what it was for?

Nesting box? on Thack Moor
Returning to the southern side of the wall, I headed SE along the wall with excellent views towards Watch Hill and Black Fell.  The ridge onwards over these moorland hills looked quite enticing this afternoon, but it would have to wait for another day as it was now late in the afternoon and I doubted there would be enough daylight to complete the circuit!  Plus I'd already arranged to give Andrew a lift from Penrith down to Stockport.

Black Fell from Thack Moor
Watch Hill & Black Hill
I followed a fence SSE down the slopes of Renwick Fell to pick up a wet and muddy footpath, which gradually improved as it headed SW back towards Renwick.  Around two kilometres after joining this path, I rejoined my outward route and retraced my steps back towards Renwick.  I arrived back at the car at around half past five, a little over two hours after I left it and headed for Penrith station to pick Andrew up.  It had been a pleasant day's walking in the North Pennines, and I now had only 12 English 2000ft peaks left to climb!

Black Fell

Saturday 27 September 2014

A Lunchtime Ascent of Cold Fell

Friday 26th September 2014 

A short circular walk up the most northerly 2000ft peak in the Pennines 

Distance: 9km; Ascent: 430m; Dry, sunny and windy; Solo

I had booked the day off work today, with the intention of going out hill-walking so I was quite pleased to discover that the weather wasn't forecast to be too bad :-)  I therefore decided to return to the North Pennines for the day to climb another couple of my outstanding 2000ft peaks in that area.  This entailed a drive north up the M6, stopping at Tebay for coffee and a Cumberland sausage roll, to reach the RSPB's Geltsdale car park at Clesketts, from where I set off walking at around quarter to midday.

The track up through the bracken above Howgill Beck
It was warm and sunny as I headed along the vehicle track towards the hills, and I soon reached Howgill from where the ascent proper began.  A grassy track aided my progress up the bracken covered slopes of the NE side of the Howgill Beck valley, past the RSPB's Bruthwaite viewpoint and on towards the moorland above.

Ruined building above the Howgill Beck valley
The track became fainter and wetter as I ascended further, and soon I reached a broad col to the north of Cold Fell itself.  From here I headed up the slopes to the south, whilst trying to avoid the worst of the peat hags!  At 1pm I reached the the trigpoint on summit of Cold Fell (Nuttall, Marilyn), where it was lovely and sunny but quite cold in the biting wind.

Summit of Cold Fell
I stopped for lunch in the windshelter, whilst admiring the expansive views out over the northern Pennines, Northumberland and southern Scotland.  I could also make out the Lakeland Fells to the SW, but they were quite hazy in the September sunshine.

Currick on Tindale Fell
After ten or fifteen minutes on the summit, I decided that I'd better get a move on as I still had a second walk planned for today, up Thack Moor to the south of here.  To vary my route I decided to head to the prominent tall currick on Tindale Fell that's pretty much due north from Cold Fell.  From here I began to descend steeply northwards, with excellent views down to Tindale Tarn and on over Hadrian's Wall country.

Looking down to Tindale Tarn
Tindale Tarn from the northern slopes of Tindale Fell
After a steep descent, in places through tall grass and bracken, I reached the valley floor at a vehicle track junction near the SW corner of Tindale Tarn.  A short ascent NW along the track lead to Thorn and then back to the car at Clesketts, where I arrived shortly after half past two after a pleasant few hours walking.

Thursday 4 September 2014

A Week on Holiday in Northumberland

Saturday 23rd to Saturday 30th August 2014

Last week we had an excellent family holiday in northern Northumberland visiting beaches, coast, castles and hills.  Here are a few photos:

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle
Inside Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle and some of the Farne Islands
Flodden Field
Some of the ramparts and walls in Berwick
More of the ramparts and walls in Berwick
Peacock butterfly in Cragside gardens
The Cheviot from Ros Castle
Seahouses harbour
Lindisfarne Priory
Lindisfarne Castle
Lindisfarne Causeway
Bamburgh beach
Bamburgh beach