February 8th 2012 was undoubtedly a perfect Lakeland winter day. Beautiful sunshine, but plenty of snow and ice above about 400m, and the forecast for a temperature inversion at around 750m. I wanted to be high, and so I headed for Scafell Pike, setting off from Seathwaite Farm. I emerged onto the plateau above Sprinkling Tarn, in the shadow of Great End, into a winter wonderland, and the beginning of what I am confidently declaring to be my favourite walk so far!
A 16km winter circular route, starting at Seathwaite Farm. (Wainwright Book 4: The Southern Fells)
It was Thursday 29th September 2011, unseasonably warm, and happily I was able to swap a day off from the following week to get out in the fresh air, instead of boiling to death in a Middlesbrough office-block with broken air conditioning units! I had a route planned, but had to make some last minute modifications due to a late start. The original route, which was still fairly short, would have descended Great Gable to the north-west, climbing Kirk Fell, and returning to Seathwaite via Brandreth and Grey Knotts. Sadly, me and early starts are not natural bedfellows! So instead, I came off Great Gable to Styhead Tarn, and followed the path down Styhead Gill, back to Seathwaite Farm.
A 12km route to Great Gable via Base Brown. (Wainwright Book 7: The Western Fells)
The weather was perfect for a day's hiking on 13th July 2011, and my intention was to make a circuit starting at Seathwaite, with Great End at the southernmost point, and then returning via Glaramara and Bessyboot. A good plan I think, but I spent too long in Cust's Gully and eventually had to cut the route short. More about that in the detail of the trip report below!
A 15km route to Great End, via Seathwaite Fell. (Wainwright Book 4: The Southern Fells)
Looking at the dire weather reports on the Accuweather Mountain Forecast, the Mountain Weather Information Service, the BBC and the Met Office, I had almost come to the conclusion it wasn't worth setting off on the drive to the Lakes on this un-promising 15th June 2011. My mind was quickly changed by the Pooley Bridge Steamer Pier webcam. This showed the reality of the situation, damp but reasonably bright conditions, with summits just visible. I'm not overly concerned by rain - just so long as I'm still getting a decent view. In the words of Jerome K Jerome, "we told ourselves that nature was beautiful, even in her tears".
A 20km circular route, starting from the Winter Crag car park in Martindale. (Wainwright Book 2: The Far Eastern Fells)
On the eve of my 38th birthday, it would have been almost exactly 20 years since I'd spent a night under canvas - or in this case, lightweight sil nylon. After about nine months of day walks and Wainwright bagging, acquiring gear whenever I saw something that looked good value, it was finally time to take the plunge and extend a route over a couple of days.
A 30km circuit of the Northern Fells, starting at the Black Moss layby. (Wainwright Book 5: The Northern Fells)
Sun tan cream was at the ready for this day of glorious sunshine in The Far Eastern Fells. It was April 20th 2011 and yes, I have been very slow to update my blog!
Migration in progress...
A sunny 17km route to High Street via Stony Cove Pike. (Wainwright Book 2: The Far Eastern Fells)