Lake District, November 2019

Catbells

After Brindley and I had conquered Whinlatter Forest parkrun, we headed to Catbells for a enjoyable little fell walk before the rain was expected.

On the way to Whinlatter Forest first thing, a look across the mists of Little Langdale
Beginning our ascent of Catbells, and already I am clear that Brindley is going to return with a coat full of bracken
Looking north to Skiddaw
Skiddaw and Blencathra across the northern end of Derwent Water
Brindley leads the way towards the summit
“This way…”
Newlands valley
From the summit looking south. From here we continued to the col then descended back to the car. The rain arrived on schedule and our busy morning was very satisfying to reflect on from the dry and warmth.

Coniston fells

Alfred Wainwright judges the ridge of the Coniston fells one of the best in the Lake District. Although I’d visited all of the summits, I’d not walked between Brim Fell and Swirl How, and to this I added a new ascent for me of Coniston Old Man and a new descent from Swirl Hause.

Coniston Water as we climb away from the Walna Scar Road at Boo Tarn
The southern part of Coniston Water, looking to the sea. The north coast of Wales and Snowdonia were visible in the distance.
On the summit of Coniston Old Man, with our ridge in view, and the Scafells in the distance.
Brim Fell and the Scafells and other Eskdale fells
Brindley heading for Swirl How
Approaching the cairn at the summit of Swirl How
A busy summit of Great Carrs, with the Scafells beyond
Swirl How with Wetherlam in the distance behind the cairn
Heading down Prison Band to Swirl Hause
Levers Water and away from the wind it is time to remove the hat, scarf, coat and fleece.

Esk Pike and Bowfell from Great Langdale

Today was part of another of Wainwright’s great ridge walks – most of this I’d visited at some point, though Esk Pike to Ore Gap was new to me.

We are ready to set off: Great Langdale from the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel
The Band (centre) will be our route of descent later; to its right is Bow Fell
A look back: we’ve walked along the Mickleden spur of Great Langdale, and are now starting the ascent to Stake Pass
Brindley looking less than fully shevelled as we ascend alongside Stake Gill
Langdale Combe, and we are almost at the top of the pass.
Turning left at the top of the pass, heading for a short while towards the Glaramara ridge
Looking back, the cloud is starting to fill in around Bow Fell. The forecast gave an 80% chance of cloud-free summits today, but it looks like we’re getting the 20% day.
Brindley as we ascend beyond Angle Tarn
A determined Brindley. Today was his highest walk, his longest walk, and his snowiest walk, but he took it all in his stride.
The wall shelter below Esk Hause
Brindley looks around to check the route
On the summit of Esk Pike
Having made a pathless descent to Ore Gap, here the line of cairns is clear in pointing the way towards Bow Fell, but they had a habit of disappearing leaving some tricky route-finding. The snow was also awkward – mostly icy on top and enough to support Brindley, occasionally it would give way to let me fall up to my knees.
When the snow started falling, I put on my own coat and put on Brindley’s too.
On the summit of Bow Fell
Brindley looks around on the Bow Fell summit
Looking down Lingcove Beck towards Eskdale from the summit of Bow Fell. The cloud swirled around and gave glimpses down into the valleys, a tease that it might clear, but it was only a few seconds before it filled in again.
A tantalising glimpse back to Esk Pike with the Scafells just visible beyond on the left, before the cloud closes in again.
The Great Slab of Bow Fell
And an hour later, the world has changed back to green and brown, as we finish our descent of The Band back into Great Langdale.

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