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.

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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.