Posts tagged 'Patterdale'

Soloing from Patterdale

Posted by on December 15th 2011 in Great Escapes, Testing for review, YHA

After Friday's nightmare seven-hour drag up the M6 I was glad to be back on the familiar A591. The further I drove the deeper the surrounding snow was, and I was unsure as to whether the Kirkstone Pass would be navigable. In the end, after discussing the conditions with a few local folk, I decided to go for it and found that although the road-snow at the top hadn't iced over it was beginning to do so on the leeward side and that made the descent into Patterdale quite interesting.

After getting installed at the hostel the evening was spent planning routes, chatting with a Mary and Paul (a nice couple staying at the hostel) and going out into the frosty night to take some pics of the amazingly clear sky.

Saturday was cold and windy but dry with the odd bit of sunshine - perfect weather for taking in a few easy fells. I decided to nab Red Screes and Middle Dodd via Caiston Glen and the Scandale Pass. Not too far a journey, but walking into the wind and spindrift on the way up towards the Pass and then with a strong ice-laden side-wind on the pull up to Red Screes made it seem twice as far. I'll let the pics do the talking for a while...

 

The Red Screes and Middle Dodd route - about 4 miles and 2000ft of up and down.

Middle Dodd and High Hartsop Dodd from the Kirkstone Road.

A better view of Middle Dodd.

Looking back towards Hartsop.

Caiston Glen.

Little Hart Crag and High Hartsop Dodd from Broad Crag.

The wall above Broad Crag.

A wider view of Broad Crag and beyond.

Light over Morecambe Bay.

The Red Screes trig-point.

The Red Screes summit-cairn and shelter.

Looking down Smallthwaite Band towards Middle Dodd and Brotherswater.

 

Looking northwards from the upper cairn on Middle Dodd.

Red Screes from the upper cairn on Middle Dodd.

Westwards towards the Little Hart Crag and the Fairfield fells.

Eastwards - a glimpse of the Ill Bell ridge.

A better view of the lower cairn on Middle Dodd.

 

Steep ground on the descent.

 

As the descent got steeper, the views got better.

Moraines and fields.

A bit of blue sky above Little Hart Crag.

Sunlight on Angletarn Pikes.

The evening was spent much as before but without the photo-opportunities - rain had set in and cloud-cover was almost total. After a fine hostel meal and hours of chin-wagging with Mary and Paul I turned in for the night.

Sunday morning was different again - full of incessant driving rain and low clouds. Looking out from the hostel during breakfast I had half a mind to bail to the shops of Ambleside and Windermere, but managed to summon enough gumption for a quick slog up to Shipman Knotts. Another minor walk, but the clag, the wind and the abundant run-off made it quite an ordeal. There was still plenty of deep snow up there but sorry, there are hardly any pics from this walk - for most of the time the conditions were just too wet to risk soaking the camera. Here's what you get:

The Shipman Knotts route - about 4.5 miles and 1250ft of up and down.

 

Plenty of water in Stile End Beck.

A clagged-in Shipman Knotts from near Stile End Farm.

In spate - the Kent in Staveley.

And that's about it. I negotiated the A591/M6/A5 and was home in time for tea and a long session of sorting/washing/drying the gear. Job done.

Summary:

Wainwright tops reached: Red Screes (2541 ft), Middle Dodd (2106 ft), Shipman Knotts (1926 ft). All first-ascents for me.
Number of Wainwrights still to do: 9

On Saturday I was expecting that the overnight freeze would mean that the tops would be more icy than snowy, so I carried crampons. My expectations were wrong, though, and I didn't need them. I really should have taken the snooshows and the clackysticks instead - they would have saved a lot of post-holing in the seriously-deep drifts. The axe saved me several times on the steepest bits of the descent of Middle Dodd. On Sunday I took no such metalwork, I'd have been better-off taking a diving-suit and flippers!

Regarding gear taken for test-and-review... I took one item supplied by Adam Smith representing Go Outdoors. Yes, I actually got around to properly using that Montane Lite-Speed H2O jacket that I've had for months! Conditions on Sunday's walk were so wet and windy that I decided to use it as a shell over my Rab VR Climb jacket as an extra layer of defence. It kept out most of the driven rain and the hood worked well underneath my L.A. Mountain Cap. My only gripe with it is that because there are no pockets in the Lite-Speed I had to resort to gloves, and the cuffs of the jacket aren't glove-friendly. On the plus side, it kept me warm and dry and I didn't have to walk around with pockets full of water!

I was also trying out some base-layer stuff, but more about that later.

Back from Patterdale

Posted by on December 12th 2011 in Astrostuff, Great Escapes, YHA
Tags:

The weekend stay at Patterdale was great fun. To tide you over until I've finished the report, here are a few pics from Friday night:

 

 The Plough above Place Fell

 Jupiter over Kirkstone

Orion rising over Angletarn Pikes

Sorry about the poor quality pics. Doing hand-held long-exposures in sub-zero conditions wasn't easy....

and neither was the photography.

😯

The Keeltappers and Grunters Social Club 2010 Patterdale Meet – Sunday

Posted by on February 11th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

After a good sleep we woke to overcast skies and low cloud. Frank and Mike left soon after breakfast - Mike needed to be home for his Sunday dinner, and Frank was on a promise.

I considered my options... I didn't have time for the walk that I had intended to do on the Saturday, and I wasn't entirely sure that the steamer would be sailing anyway, so I headed to the north side of Ullswater. Approaching the NW corner of the lake I spotted a familiar campervan in the car-park - it was Phil, chilling with a newspaper and a smoke, and considering what he would do with the day. As I left him he seemed intent on getting on the water to do some pike-fishing.

I said my farewell and drove a short way up the Dockray road to get a feel for the weather. It was going to be a grey day...

Ullswater and St. Sunday Crag from the Park Brow on the Dockray road

 

Gowbarrow fell was the obvious target. I left the motor in the NT car-park and made my way up to the open fellside above Aira Beck, with the bands of cloud clearing occasionally to allow more views back to Ullswater and Glenridding:

Ullswater from the slopes of Gowbarrow Fell

 

Further up the clag was constant and the tangle of paths was confusing so I needed to pay more attention to navigation. After finding many a false summit I reached the top and managed a pic just before the sleet started:

 

The top of Gowbarrow Fell

I beat a hasty retreat down to High Force where I mingled with the sightseers to get a snap of the falls before getting back to the car:

 

High Force, Aira Beck

It was nearing time for lunch, and I just didn't fancy sitting in the car to munch the remains of the food-stash. I studied the map and took a chance on a little top that I'd noticed before but had never considered visiting - The Knotts, just outside Watermillock. I parked up on roadside to the west and scrambled (trespassed?) up a steep wooded slope for five minutes to reach a barrier of gorse and a barbed-wire fence. No matter, I just walked alongside the fence until I found a section that collapsed, and then it was a two-minute stroll to the top.

And what a fine top it is. Not so low as to feel surrounded by fells, and not so high as to feel detached, it has soft grass, a significant cairn and is a fine place from where to view the fells around Howtown:

 

Hallin Fell and Ullswater from The Knotts

 

After lunch I descended northwards on a fair track that led me to a caravan park, so I legged it down their driveway to the road to avoid trespass hassles. It was an hour well-spent.

I was feeling good and I still had time for one more short walk. The only other Wainwright nearby and still to be ascended was Little Mell Fell. It's not the most photogenic of places, so the only pic I took was of the top which is fairly devoid of features. I walked a small loop around the summit, searching for views, but there was little to see through the mist. The whole round-trip from The Hause took just under an hour:

The top of Little Mell Fell

 

And that was it. I changed my boots back at the car and went home.

It had been a great weekend, in good company, and I was pleased that everybody got to do a bit of what they liked. Bagging-wise, I'd been up four Wainwrights, of which two were new to me.

Unlike the others, my Sunday dinner wasn't waiting for me, and I wasn't on a promise 🙁

The Keeltappers and Grunters Social Club 2010 Patterdale Meet – Saturday

Posted by on February 10th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

The morning was bright and sunny with a low mist when we prepped for our days out. Mike was going out on the water, having brought his self-built sea-kayak "Tootega". Phil would be joining him on the water. Frank was happy to accompany me on a walk from Howtown back to the hostel via Hallin Fell and Beda Head (Wainwrights that I'd not been up), so we made off to the Glenridding boat-landings to catch the first steamer to Howtown. Somehow we managed to pass the pub without going in, despite the enticing aroma of another cooked breakfast...

White Lion, Patterdale

 

At the landings we hit a snag - the first sailing was cancelled due to fog on the water. If we had waited for the next sailing then we'd have been short on time for the walk, so Frank suggested going up either Sheffield Pike or Birkhouse Moor (or maybe even both) instead, as he'd not been up them before. Sorted. We started the long trudge up towards YHA Helvellyn and the old mine-works, with me listening intently to Frank telling more tales of climbing and of shagging.

Very occasionally Frank stopped (walking) to draw breath, so I took advantage of such opportunities to take some pics from the zig-zag path:

 

 

Views of Catstycam +/- Frank

After taking a deliberate detour up the spoil-heaps we found a nice spot for a breather and a brew, at some old mine-workings near the dam just above the Swart Beck ravine:

 

 

The view from the top of the ravine

 

After a dryshod crossing and a trudge through some virgin heather on Lucy's Tongue we gained the ridge-path where the views were superb:

 

Glencoyne Head

More views of Catstycam -/+ BG!

 

From there it was a gentle stroll to the summit, as demonstrated here by Frank:

 

Frank strolling on up towards Sheffield Pike summit

The views from the top were impressive, so the camera came out yet again. Here's a 300-degree panorama, you'll have to click it to see it in detail:

 

Ullswater - Hart Side Panorama

 

We counted many folk on Helvellyn and its satellites:

Folk on the tops and ridges

 

but despite getting a nice view of Ullswater, we couldn't see Mike:

Ullswater from Sheffield Pike

On the way down to Glenridding Dodd we passed a potentially-good wildcamping spot:

A quiet, sheltered place

 

before getting a good look at the Dodd itself:

The High Street range above Glenridding Dodd

 

After more talk of climbing and of shagging we reached the top of the Dodd which gave us views forwards to Patterdale and backwards to Sheffield Pike:

Patterdale and Sheffield Pike from Glenridding Dodd

 

The rocks of the summit-cairn are obviously volcanic in origin...

🙂

 

The final pic of the day was of the view over Glenridding:

Glenridding, Place Fell and the Head of Ullswater

We descended The Rake above Blaes Crag and steeled ourselves for the road-walk back to the hostel, but got side-tracked while trying to pass the Traveller's Rest pub. A cool drink, a real fire in the bar and the Six Nations on the telly were just too tempting. As we were leaving, Frank spotted Mike and Phil in the lounge, so we had to stay for another drink. Just to be sociable, of course. The delay of our departure had absolutely nothing to do with Frank detecting the presence of a fine young lady who surely must be the one-and-only Melanie Frontage.

Anyway, I digress. After the beers/leers Mike gave us a lift back to the hostel where we collaborated to produce a hearty meal for the four of us. Frank cooked a seafood pasta dish and provided some nice wine, I provided a toffee pud with custard, boil-in-the-can caramel stodge and Jaffa Cakes, and Mike brought snacks, dips and beer. Top stuff! Frank retired early in preparation for his planned Sunday activity (I bet you can't guess what that was), while the rest of us stayed up chatting until it was time to sleep.

To be continued...

The Keeltappers and Grunters Social Club 2010 Patterdale Meet – Friday

Posted by on February 9th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

First up - an apology for the choice of post-title. Mike nabbed the best one for his blog. My only other alternative was "The Good, The Bald and The Ugly" and I didn't want to go offending anybody...

Anyways, late afternoon saw me, Mike Bell and Frank Adams meeting up at YHA Patterdale for a weekend of doing "stuff" around Ullswater. I'd had an earlier start than usual which meant that I had time to grab some pics on the way up from Windermere to Patterdale via the Kirkstone Pass. There wasn't much snow on the tops but they were quite picturesque despite the failing light:

Looking towards Threshthwaite Mouth

The Ill Bell Ridge

Middle Dodd

After we'd got ourselves sorted at the hostel we headed off to the village in search of vittles. A glance through the window of the White Lion revealed a few folk inside enjoying fine food, but we pushed on to the Patterdale Hotel to see what they had to offer. The beer was OK but the place was eerily quiet and the food a tad pricey, so we supped up and went back to the Lion where we had good meals and fine beers. We had a good moan about all sorts of things, and Frank entertained us with his tales of climbing and of shagging. Mike's paddling-friend Phil joined us for some beers before we rolled back to the hostel for more chinwagging and to sample various breeds of alcohol before lights-out.

To be continued...

Winter-walking around Ullswater – Part 1

Posted by on January 28th 2009 in Great Escapes, YHA

Friday saw us battling the traffic on the A5 & M6 to reach Patterdale Youth Hostel at a reasonable time. After skirmishes with feckwit drivers who have somehow achieved "Highway Code Not Applicable" status, and hold-ups due to temporary road-closures (due to accidents, no doubt caused by more feckwits in the aforementioned category), we managed to miss the evening meal. Fan-bloody-tastic.

Friday night was a cold night in the hostel, I would have been warmer sleeping in the car. In the morning we found out that the warden had forgotten to turn on the heating. Fan-bloody-tastic again.

Saturday's breakfast was a downer - it seems that the standard YHA breakfast no longer features bacon. It does, however, feature a strange yellow mulch that is reputed to be scrambled egg. It wasn't. It was shite. Fan-bloody-tastic yet again.

The weekend was beginning to turn sour. We dressed for action and made our way to the quarry car-park just outside Dockray. A final check of the gear before heading off revealed that Ella had forgotten to fill her water-bottle... Fan-bloody-tastic in spades.

It wasn't going well, but we made peace and set off up the track towards Hart Side...

(click the pic for more bigness and a lightbox-type thingy. Be advised that the panoramas take a while to load.)

Ella on the stepless stile

Looking up towards Common Fell and beyond

Looking back towards Great Mell Fell

Just beyond Round How we found a source of unfrozen water. While Ella repacked her filled bottle, the clouds over Glenridding started to break, allowing the sun to reach the ripples on Ullswater:

The head of Ullswater

Ullswater panorama

We pushed on through the deepening snow at a good pace until we reached the section between Swineside Knott and the wall, where the the snow was waist-deep in places. Care was needed to avoid breaking through the slab into the soft stuff beneath:

Slow progress below Swineside Knott

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At the corner of the wall we made snow-seats and took a snack-break. The view over the wall merited a few more pics:

Place Fell

The head of Ullswater again

We trudged up to the small top of Brown Hills where we deployed the Bothy4 and sat in the snow to make a brew and cook lunch. While we were there, the clouds cleared and the sun lit up the landscape:

Sheffield Pike

The approach to Hart Side

Glenridding Fells panorama

After lunch we made our way over to the summit of Hart Side. Ella managed to find most of the snow-covered pits:

Ninja Lemming

A helping hand

Lengthening shadows from Hart Side summit


We stopped at the top to play in the snow and to chat to a family who had arrived a while before us, but before long it was time to leave:

Far Eastern Fells panorama


Leaving the top of Hart Side


Our return route took us over the tops of the hills that we had skirted on the way up. On the way, we found some impressive areas of wind-sculpted snow:

After that, the clouds returned and the view back towards Helvellyn was a tad gloomy :

Looking back towards Helvellyn

but there was still some clear sky about on the way to Common Fell:

Ella on the route to Common Fell

and the sunlight on Blencathra was a stunning sight:

Blencathra


That was the last time I used the camera that day, but the fun didn't stop there. After crossing Common Fell we decided to leave the ridge-path and take a more direct route back to the car. We found many steep iced-over drifts which were perfect for practicing self-arrest, glissading or just rolling down the slopes. Some of the cornices were fun - quite low and safe, so we just jumped through them and slid down to the bottom. When we reached the car we were frosted-up, but we were happy.

Back at base we found that the heating was on, so I didn't have to "sort out" the warden. We dried our kit, made ourselves presentable, and booked an evening meal at the hostel. A tad expensive, but it was good food. Ella was too knackered to go to the pub, so we dossed in the common-room, warmed by the open log-fire and by hot chocolate, before having an early night in preparation for Sunday's walk...

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