An uphill push up Ullock Pike and Skiddaw

It was a well-deserved week away and as usual we were heading to the Lake District, fingers crossed the weather would hold out as we had a good few walks planned. It looked decent for Monday so we thought we’d get straight into it by taking a different route up Skiddaw from last time, this time was via Ullock Pike.IMG_4250

We arrived at the caravan Sunday night after finishing work at 4pm and throwing everything into the car. Our well-tuned routine means we are sorted and route planning with a cheeky snifter in no time.  We were attempting to finish the Northern Fells this visit so Ullock Pike and Bakestall were to be done; standing between the two is the fourth highest mountain in England so we had to negotiate that too.  I was secretly buzzing with that, the higher I am means the happier I am.IMG_4252

As we drove along the A66 we inspected the peaks and the amount of covering they had, Blencathra had her head in the clouds but it seemed to be blowing off and on with sunny spells in between so we kept to the plan and found a parking spot at OL 4, 236310 just off the A591 at High Side and parked on the road just after the turning. The spot was quite popular with three blokes also pulling up to don their daysacks and boots, one commented on how it would be slightly mad to attempt Skiddaw with the low cloud which seemed to have hidden the summit, hey ho, we’re slightly mad then.IMG_4254

We walked up the road to a farm gate and entered the fell, after two wall crossings a sharp right turn took us onto the ‘Allerdale Ramble’, which was the route up Ullock Pike and the start of a canny uphill push which hardly let up until we hit Longside Edge. All the way, we could see Skiddaw clearing and covering every time we looked, it was going to be a matter of timing, not ours but natures.  Ullock Pike gave great views of Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwentwater, which made a nice change from the face on the miserable bloke who appeared to take exception to my playful Springer trying to play with his two dogs.  To me, hillwalking is a community were most people say “Hi” and sometimes pass the time of day, and a part of that community is dogs, they play and get excited and communicate too.  Enough said!

IMG_4256Longside Edge gave our legs a rest before the attack at the scree path up to the top of the Skiddaw plateau, not before Alfie could have a play in Carlside Tarn. At this point I saw the 3 blokes who we spoke to in the car park, we’d lost them then and didn’t see them up Ullock Pike so I couldn’t get my head around their route.  They were walking up the scree path, they couldn’t have come up Carlside and didn’t see them on Ullock, confusing.

The scree path up from Carlside Tarn north east towards the southern end of the Skiddaw table top is a great thigh burner, we met a couple having bait half way up. Alfie quickly smelt the food, he sniffs the air, then makes a quick run towards his target but appears to run past not paying attention, it’s his second fly past where he stops and puts on the puppy eyes.  Luckily id caught up to hush him on before the unsuspecting hikers had their bait TWOC’d. IMG_4262

We reached the top of the slippery loose shingly path with legs burning and lungs gasping to be met by high winds and thrice the amount of hill walkers than were scraping up the scree path. It was very windy and the cold was nipping slightly but no need for the amount of kit some people were wearing as we neared the summit.  A few of the hikers coming back down from the top were dressed like they’d just topped K2, must have been southerners (just kidding).

IMG_4261The summit came and went with Alfie making friends with a 6 month old Rottweiler in the cloud and a selfie of Kel and me, that’s a first. We made our way north to Gibraltar Crag and a quick drop down into the sunshine and a reconnection with our 3 parking buddies who were having their bait.  Eh!!??

We hugged the fence down to Bakestall and a pretty eventless summit of Wainwright’s 100 highest, then a right turn took us down a joint bashing Birkett Edge down to the Cumbria Way.  We left the ‘Way’ at Peters House Farm and followed the road back to the car and he starting point, I was glad to see the car.

Alfie is still a puppy and gets excited about everything, I’m afraid to say a couple of sheep on Ullock Pike may have been the target of his curiosity but nothing malicious and came back on recall…..ish!

It was another great walk in good weather with low cloud at the summit , wish I could say the same about the pub near the end……IMG_4265photo 6

Cleveland Way, Clay Bank – Kilburn – Saltburn

Sometimes blogs get boring and if nothing notable happens on a walk a blog just becomes a route card which isn’t what I like to do on Northern Hiker. This is what has happened on the last couple of legs of the Cleveland Way, not boring by any stretch of the imagination but the laughs on route are not as funny when written down.P1030686IMG_3866IMG_3867 We have in recent months completed two sections of the Cleveland Way with our walking buddies Sue and Dicko, absolutely cracking routes which to be fair don’t need much of a map as the path is very obvious and clearly sign posted. We have completed the Clay Bank to Kildale and Kildale to Saltburn recently, both were quite long walks basically taking in the north end of P1030681the Cleveland Hills/North Yorkshire Moors.  Being from Yorkshire I sometimes feel a bit reluctant to call any part of Cleveland ‘Yorkshire’, no offence to any readers from Cleveland (Is there a place called Cleveland anymore?) but I’m quite passionate about my county.  Dicko would question my passion probably saying something like “If it’s that good why do you live in Durham?!” To which I would have to say my wife and son live in the North East so I do.  He’s always taking the piss calling me a Lancastrian but I know he’s secretly jealous cos he knows Yorkshire’s the best. P1030683Anyway I digress from the Cleveland Way, the views are outstanding and the days we had were very clear making the days very enjoyable indeed. Some of the best views were from Clay Bank, the car park itself is a great start to the route.  People were just parking up and having picnics enjoying the views there, which is always a good sign.  The trig point at Round Hill is another ‘high point’, quite literally you’re the highest person in the region if you sit on the point itself.  Ingleby Bank is another good place to stop off and have bait, if it’s a clear day you can see the car park at Clay Bank. The route is lined with heather on one side and fern and a canny drop in some places on the other. The heather keeps our new walking buddy, Alfie, busy as he teaches himself how to track and flush grouse and Wheatears in traditional Springer style.  He’s come on great but he still has a long way to go when it comes to sheep, if they stood still when they saw him he’d be great, but they start to run and that means playtime for him, so I blame the sheep! IMG_6356On these legs you drop off the hills and wave bye bye to the heather and sheep to have a break in Kildale, the village with no bins. This is where we parked the car and ended the leg, pub was shut so he had to go to Carlton In Cleveland for a post walk pint, the Blackwell Ox is a nice pub to sit and chat about the day’s events.  The return to Kildale to start the next leg was still binless, what the hell, another few miles ahead with a poo bag attached to my daysack which again I’ll probably forget and sit on or stick my finger in searching for my sig bottle. After Kildale we rejoined the Cleveland Hills for a few miles and take in the approach to Roseberry Topping.  We decided to take a right instead of climbing the Topping, the summit looked like Catbells on a bank holiday and we’ve topped the graffiti laden  peak loads of times so there was no hardship. IMG_6387Back off the hills and into woodland and field land, Guisborough Woods are nice mind. Dropping into Slapewath and the digger manufacturer was a realisation that this ‘Way’ takes in all the ‘genre’ of our countries sights.  Walking passed the pub we saw a car that’s from the village where we live, small world and only cops could notice that.  Walking passed the pub and up the quarry fuelled Sue’s ‘I thought there wasn’t any more hills’  complaint, which fell on deaf ears as we promised her there were actually, no more hills. P1030673Airy Hill lane, as well as giving me an immature giggle, took us into Skelton and our first interaction with a town and the smell of a small of a Deli making my mouth water with the smell of garlic. The walk took us through a housing estate under the A174 into the dene that approaches Saltburn.  This was a great part of the walk which took in the viaduct and a very impressive structure carrying the line along the east coast.  Breaking out of the dene into Saltburn is a treat, especially if you’re into your architecture as the buildings are very grand.  The pub on the front, I forget the name was very nice and the cider bit my throat in a very pleasurable way. This walk has everything to ask for, hills, heather, woodland and high trig points, plus a brief glimpse of tight oven chip educed leggings. We’ve hit the coast and will start sneaking down the Yorkshire coastline in the next few months. IMG_6396