Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Kinder Scout Orbital

I received a wonderful picture for Christmas, a view of the Matterhorn taken from the Dent Blanche it is as good as many of the images that you may find if you perform a search using google images, for example. But the best thing is that it is one of my own photographs. I have been spurred on by this image, it is a great motivator.

The seasonal round of flu is upon us and one of my walking friends was unable to come out for a final walk for the year. I decided to go walking on Kinder scout as we had originally planned the route started at the car park near Upper Booth SK107847.

The planned route was to ascend Kinder scout via Crowden Brook, walk along the southern edge past Grindsbrook clough and walk across to Blackden Brook from Upper Tor. For the second part of the walk takes us along the Northern edge of kinder (Seal edge) to Fairbrook and then across to Kinder downfall. For the final part of the orbital route we headed south following the western edge of Kinder to Kinder low and then descended via Jacobs ladder to Upper booth. The route is indicated by the dots shown in the map below.

The initial scramble up Crowden brook was most enjoyable it was quite icy in places, a lot of water issued from Crowden brook. On a previous climb I had slipped and sprained my wrist quite badly (see not-bog-trotting-day-on-kinder), fortunately no such incident occurred today. A mist lingered in the valley and made some hills appear as islands

View of the Edale Valley from the top of Crowden Brook

Lose hill viewed from Upper Tor on the Southern edge of kinder scout.

The walk across to Blackden Clough from Upper Tor was not too bad there was a vague path. On the walk to Fairbrook it was good to overlook this northerly edge of Kinder and to peruse the Snake pass below. From Fairbrook there are some quite good paths which go across Kinder in a westerly direction to reach the downfall, this vague and unofficial route eventually joins with the Clough feeding the downfall. On kinder downfall only a small amount of ice remained from the deep freeze of two weeks ago a good quantity of water made it a good sight.

Kinder Downfall

The Cairn on the Jacobs Ladder Path

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Cheedale disappearing stepping stones

Sunday saw a lovely day dawn, cold and bright, a great autumnal day, we parked up at Blackwell and headed through a farm and across the fields towards Cheedale Tor, quickly needing to wrap ourselves in our hat and gloves. Keisha was armed with her whistle and compass and was whistling along the way telling us when to start and stop and practising her emergency whistling.Keisha cleverly opted to put her waterproof trousers when she put her boots on,obviously planning ahead for the water and mud. We were suitably impressed. We continued down the steep path which was negotiated skilfully by all and we arrived at the dale. We had in fact been dying to go to Cheedale again for a very long time and we looking forward to taking Keisha over the stepping stones.

grid ref SK123725

We crossed the bridge and started our walk along the dale, it is a beautiful dale, the photos speak for themselves, the walk continued along with a mixture of board walks, squelchy mud and challenging rocky paths all which were skilfully negotiated with ease by nimble footed Keisha. We met a couple of people along the way who felt the walk was impassable with a overflowing river leaving no path and the stepping stones had disappeared.

The water flowing down the dale was high, very turbulent and clear and looked beautiful. We decided despite the comments to continue on and see for ourselves as the dale is fantastic and wanted to go as far as we could before turning back. We found a suitable spot to have a rest and eat our picnic lunch.The children fuelled up again, we continued along the rocky steep path with a sheer drop down to the fast flowing water, we reached the point of the river overspill and easily negotiated the river using some rocks and logs to help make our way across and continued on with dry feet.We passed a lovely crag, which Keisha and Louis were fascinated by the overhanging rocks and the constant dripping water which seemed like it was raining. We soon reached the first lot of stepping stones and were relieved to see that they were above the water apart from a few when we passed around the rock. We were rewarded by the dale continuing to be more and more wild and awesome. We all enjoyed our trip over the stepping stones and continued on.

The second set of stones was reached and were pretty much all under water, we made her decision to go over them, Keisha was anxious about a few of the stones and decided that she wanted to be carried over these, a sensible decision. I came up the rear and was ever grateful for the crag jutting out where the stepping stones curved round and was using the tiny finger holds on the rock to keep my balance as I made my way across the stones, I too needed Mikes hand to overcome a couple of the stepping stones.

We continued until we reached the viaduct where we made our way up onto the monsal trail and headed along the Pennine trail, the trail brings a variety of viaducts and railway tunnels which add to the scenic walk, we head up the valley and over the fields and make our way back to the car.

Keisha is very proud of herself, having walked all the way and was worried that because Mike had carried her across the stepping stones that it would count. She said that it was necessary and she was right. It was a great walk and hasn't lost any of its charm since we last did it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Climbing Walls and Climbing Plans

We had an excellent afternoon at the Staveley healthy living centre Keisha enjoyed using the climbing wall there. Her climbing technique is developing really well and she's also learning a
few things. She is clearly a little nervous about progressing up the wall particularly on the steeper sections however it was encouraging that when we lowered Keisha off she was always keen to have another attempt. She tried a steep wall a slab and a rather steep corner. We finished with some bouldering.

The Staveley healthy living centre instructors were really helpful giving Keisha some tips and encouragement. There is a childrens climbing club which meets on a monday evening they also recommended the Sunday evening climbing session.

My climbing has taken somewhat of a hit this year and I'm lacking in some technique and a lot of strength. Over the last couple of weeks I've managed to climb at the Foundary climbing centre. This weeks evening session at the foundary resulted in a new level of enthusiasm this was partly due to Keishas interest in climbing and the fun we had.

We lead a couple of routes in the furnace and a route on the main wall I found this quite pumpy so finishing off on the livingstone wall was quite good. We were pleased with our evenings climbing effort and discussed possible climbing trips. A day raid to amphitheatre buttress was discussed and a family camping trip to Pembrokeshire could be perfect excellent climbing and wonderful beaches!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lathkill Cave Explorers

On a bright Sunday late in September we were treated to glorious summer weather probably one of the last for this summer. Keisha and Louis were tempted with a Lathkill dale walk by the exploration of a cave and the promise of the playground at the back of the Bull Inn at Monyash. They eagerly helped with preparing a small lunch and made sure they had torches.

We parked at the head of Lathkill dale (GR SK664167 ), I was surprised, I offered to let Louis out of the carrier he seemed quite happy and wanted to stay in the carrier. We played all sorts of games on our walk along Lathkill chase, shadow chasing and trains.

Lathkill dale is wonderful, as the dale opens up and deepens one has the feeling of entering into some hidden wilderness. The limestone rocks are quite slippy this is mainly due to the polish rock caused by the trampling of many feet.

We carried on to the source of the river Lathkill normally the river bubbles up from the springs a little further down. Keisha and Louis found this most exciting and peered into the cave making shadow patterns with their torches and playing echoes. The return walk was fun and Keisha seemed pleased to have completed this without assistance. They still had a big bundle of energy for the playground!

The Lathkill dale cave has aroused a curiosity in me about the caves of the area and peak district caves in general.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A climb up Stokers Wall and a bit of weaseling

Saturday saw the sun shining and so we decided to take Keisha to Birchens. Keisha was excited about the prospect of another chance to climb and was eager to get to the crag. Mike decided to try her out on a new route to the right of Trafalger Wall an open crack. They made their way to the top to place an anchor, Keisha was keen to fully take part and enjoyed placing friends to prepare the belay. Louis was keen to follow them to the top and moaned until I let him follow them up, he scrambled up the rocks with great eagerness to reach the pair of them. Keisha then hurried down to put on her new helmet and put her feet through her harness and with this I was able to persuade Louis to scramble his way back down. At last the climbing began. It was a very steep route and Keisha had to learn how to move her body in different ways and do a chimney like manoevure, she was able to stride the crack and use the rocks on the other side to make progress up and she practiced coming down. Keisha and us were delighted with her progress. She was keen to move on to another route but we felt that it was time to make our way home. Louis had occupied himself digging in the mud and doing a spot of scrambling. Mike managed to solo a couple of routes in between belaying Keisha. We spotted an open cave made by the fallen rocks and they both did a bit of weaseling before Keisha running most of the way back down the path to the car. Another great day in the peaks.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bank Holiday Camping Trip at Ullswater

Our first camping trip was a learning experience for us all but more than that it was simply good fun. For camping I normally use a relatively light weight Vango force 10 used in a variety of situations and seasons. We soon upgraded to more luxurious dome tent now with a young family the upgrade has been completed to full scale party tent, basically a Vango diablo dome tent with three sections, two for the bedrooms and one entrance area used for cooking.

We arrived at Side farm campsite, (GR NY398163) with ideal camping weather. It took a little while to pitch the tent, it's second time we've pitched it, although it is quite a large structure it is actually not too bad to pitch. The tent would be quite tricky to pitch without assistance. Louis enjoyed sitting in the car and Keisha just enjoyed the fun of pitching the tent and was eager to get in.

Rope Swing

The campsite is wonderful it is on the side of Ullswater opposite Glenridding and below Place Fell. To get there it is necessary to drive from Side farm a little way along a fairly rough farm track. There is no shortage of places to explore the campsite has lots of rope swings.

NY3916 : Side Farm by Ian Cunliffe

Side Farm

© Copyright Ian Cunliffe and
licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The first night in our tent was some what restless not through the cold night air but through the excitement of this new experience! We had a good nights sleep.


Breakfast consisted of bacon and edge sandwiches and a most welcome mug of hot tea.


Paddling at our beach

View Across to Glenridding

On our second night of camping, friday night we had a visitation from eager shoppers! I was woken at 3.30 by a rustling sound I went to the porch of the tent and had a tug of war with something outside the tent and the rubbish bag, it was quite determined. My next tatic was to open the tent door upon which point I espied our late night shopper scurrying back to the woods, a badger, I was so pleased to have seen this wonderful animal!

I was surprised that some time later there was yet more rustling, this time I was prpared and armed with a camera. I was face to face with the badger and this time I allowed it to continue its attempted foray into the porch of our tent. I lifted the tent door up and was about 2-3 feet away from the badger. Hoping that the flash would not scare it I attempted to take a few photographs, the camera didn't seem to disturb it at all! A couple of these photographs are shown below. The badger has some quite distinguishing scratch marks above its right foreleg. It has long claws ideal for scratching around. It managed to help itself to some sausage rolls, jam doughnuts and pesto bread (which I managed to rescue). I wanted to tell everyone so they could see the badger but this event happened relatively quickly I was so lucky to get the photographs.

Posted using

Close Up of badger shopper

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Badger Eating Our Food

Keisha awoke early in the morning I did not succeed in getting her back to sleep, after showing her the badger photos, she was thrilled and suggested that we go for a walk through the woods to find the badger and to feed it the remainder of the Pesto bread. Keisha put on a feece and waterproofs and we wandered through the woods trying to find badgers house. There is an unusual amount of rubbish in the woods it would not be surprising if this badger makes regular visits to peoples tents and drags its goodies back to the woods. We finished up playing on the rope swing and feeding the pesto bread to a swan and its cygnets. Keisha was so animated by her badger hunt through the woods.

Stepping Stones to the Island

Our final day was wet and rainy so we visited Reged this is an excellent lake district venue for various exhibitions, events, shopping and even 3D cinema. Keisha and Louis enjoyed one of the play areas and a 3D movie called monsters versus aliens an amusing film with Keisha giving her approval and Louis jumping at some of the 3D effects.

We returned to our campsite with better weather and enjoyed playing on stepping stones which lead to a little island (just opposite Cherry Holm). Louis was particularly Kamikaze and ran straight into the lake not bothering with the stepping stones! This evening walk was an excellent end to our camping trip.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Exploring the Mountains around Loch Ossian

Travelling from Derbyshire we drove to Tulloch railway station near Roy Bridge (north of Fort William), we arrived just in time to catch the train for Corrour. This was the start of a week in the Scottish highlands. One of our objectives was to walk up one of the remote mountains called Ben Alder. As we walked along the track from Corrour Halt to loch Ossian youth hostel we discussed the various options the weather outlook appeared somewhat uncertain but it was likely that the start of our week would provide the best conditions for walking the key summits we wished to complete.

It was good to arrive at Loch Ossian youth hostel the warden and staff were welcoming and friendly. The hostel is quite isolated but a great place to be. A photograph inside shows a deer being fed in the hostel. It allegedly used to reverse in and became quite confident after receiving food from a former warden.

The hostel is fairly self supporting in that water is pumped from the loch, electricity is generated from a 2.5kW wind generation plant.

Thursday 22nd July
Our first day started bright, we had expected some mountain bikes to be provided by the Loch Ossian estate and these had arrive in the morning. The bikes were a great way for travelling along the side of Loch Ossian. The previous day and night there had been a lot of rain and the ground was quite wet.

It was about 1330 by the time we had reached the summit of Ben Alder, it took a while traverse around to Ben Bheoil and time marched on we decided to retrace our steps and return via the huge expanse of the Ben Alder plateau. It was great being here in the early evening the deer had amassed in a great quantity, numbering approximately 100.
Ben Alder (GR497719) (geograph)
Ben Bheoil (GR NN518718) (geograph)

We arrived back at Loch Ossian youth hostel late in the evening, by the time we had finished our dinner other hostel guests were going to bed, we were preparing for the next days epic.

Ben Alder Plateau

Ben Alder Summit

Ben Bheoil

Friday 23rd July
The weather looked good for this day but the forecast indicated that there would be more cloud and some showers. We decided to to for another group of mountains near Ben Alder we cycled once again along the shore of Loch Ossian and then walked along the glen known as Uisge Labhair to Bealach Dubh, the black pass! Our journey here required taking our boots off and paddling across a burn. It was approximately 1530 before we reached the summit of Carn dearg, it had taken most of the day just getting here. But hopefully our plan would work which was to traverse the ridge back to the end of Loch Ossian.
Carn Dearg (GR NN504764) (geograph)

Geal Charn (GR NN470746) (geograph)

Aonach Beag (GR NN458742) (geograph)

Beinn Eibhinn
(GR NN449733) (geograph)

Looking from Aonach Beag to Beinn Ehibhinn

Saturday 24th July
After two long days this day started overcast and we walked to the railway station and enjoyed a cooked breakfast before a fairly easy walk over
Beinn na Lap (GR NN376695) (geograph)

Sunday 25th July
This day started very still although we were greeted by stll reflective waters the wind generator had stopped. We cycled back to the estate office and returned the bikes. The walk up Sgor Gaibhre and Carn Dearg allowed us to return easily to loch Ossian youth hostel.
Sgor Gaibhre (GR NN444674) (geograph)

Carn Dearg (GR NN418662) (geograph)

Tuesday 27th July
Stob Coire Sgriodain (GR NN356743) (geograph)

Chno Dearg (GR NN377741) (geograph)

View from Stob Coire Sgriodain

Summit of Stob Coire Sgriodain

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pickle on Stickle

I Enjoyed a solo rock climb and scramble in langdale the traverse from the top of raven crag to the start of a scramble on Pike of Stickle was interesting. I climbed middlefell buttress to the summit of raven crag. The route is very polished, I tried the steep alternative at the start, this was slightly tricky but keeping a calm head it was a very reasonable proposition

The final pitch leading to the summit was most interesting and fairly steep, I felt that this was the hardest part of the overall route the pitch is called Curtain Wall

Walking from the top of the butrress to the toe of Gimmer Crag was fairly straight forward
but my route became interesting at this point

Pike o Stickle from the Band

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