Another Bimble Up Binsey!!

The first thing people probably think about when someone mentions ‘Binsey’ is the little hill in the north of the lakes, and to be fair, compared to the rest of the fells in the Lakes district, it is a small fella.  However, after climbing it a couple of times before the views from the top are quite impressive. 

We were on our annual trip to a well-known lodge site north of Bassenthwaite and we wanted to introduce our new Springer puppy to the fells without absolutely beasting her.  We had taken Alfie, our older ESS, up Hallin Fell when we had bought him years ago so we thought it fitting to take Charlie up there as her first wainwright too, we managed that on the first day and it took approx. 1 hour.  So on the third day we walked from the lodge door and headed towards Binsey.

Now, all the books say a puppy should only complete 5 minutes walk for every month of its life until adulthood.  I’m no expert as such, but if anyone has owned an ESS, or any working spaniel for that matter, you will know that half an hour walk for a 6 month old ESS will be as effective as a fart in a hurricane.  I think these experts who write these books are generalising and mostly referring to either little handbag dogs or very big dogs who have to watch weight stress on their bones. 

So, back to Binsey, the lodge site we were staying is literally across the A591 so we on the morning we had picked to have a look up we throw some cold weather kit on at the lodge and set off out of the site.  We crossed the road and through a gate up a farm track.  The weather gods had graced us with a decent frost the night before and the sun was shining that morning.  In fact the sky was crystal clear which is a treat lakeside, plus this was a week day and the fell appeared to be ‘people free’.  The farm track was a straight approach to the base of the fell stretching east to west, passing through a couple of gates until the ground starts to accent. 

The las time we tried this route, the ground was so frozen and icy it was virtually impossible to walk up the well-trodden path so we abandoned the walk and set up camp in the lodge site bar.  But this time the frost had covered the grass and heather but the ground was softish and was ‘grippable’. 

The accent wasn’t tasking and we were at the top in no time at all.  Both the dogs taking the route in their stride and it’s a joy watching both ESS’s working the heather, running up and down the ghyll and generally running constantly until we reached the top.  I have pondered the idea of fitting a pedometer to Alfie in the past but I can guarantee I’d be replacing it every outing as the amount of scurrying about the dogs do I would lose any attachment down the nearest rabbit hole or off the top of some crag somewhere.  I can imagine my dogs will probably complete 5 times more millage than me and the missus, virtually unbreakable. 

The route up was rewarded with one of the best views in the area.  Like I said, the day was clear and the rest of the Lakeland hills, and thus provides a good spot to look out at the Northern and North Western Fells of the Lake District, as well as the coastal plain and, across the Solway FirthScotlandSnaefell on the Isle of Man.  

Some kind souls over the years have built and maintained circular wind breakers out of the tons of stones laying at the summit.  But today it was redundant with only a breath of chilly air greeting us at the top.  We noticed on the way up that a cloud inversion had formed over Bassenthwaite, stretching down towards Keswick and had created quite a spectacle.  So the phones were out at the top and photo opportunities were plenty.  Both dogs were enjoying the sheep free summit which is quite a flat plateau covered in heather.  We were also surprised to see 3 or 4 Christmas trees complete with baubles stood proudly in the heather.  Fell walkers have a canny sense of humour sometimes!

Someone who lost her sense of humour whilst taking pics of the afore mentioned tree was the missus, the temperature was dropping and making handling mobile phones hard, Mrs. Hiker dropped her phone which did land safely on its back on the frosty grass, however the frosty grass was on a slight incline and as Charlie the ESS puppy saw Mrs. H bend down to retrieve the phone, she kicked it down the slope and with its smooth back it set off on its 10 metre journey before coming to rest in some heather, luckily just before a steeper way down which may not have ended well.

Phones retrieved safely and gloves back on hands we set off back down as the clouds were starting to collect in the north and snow was forecast.  We descended the same way we came up for haste and it turned out to be a good call as  when we stepped off the fell through the first gate into the approach field the first flakes of snow hit us and the once cloud free summit was now shrouded in a thick grey hat. 

I do hate to preach as we’re all grown-ups but being able to read the weather before it happens is essential in the hills, we read the weather well that day and both safe and well.  I know Binsey is tiny compared to the likes of Skiddaw and Blencathra, but calling out MR isn’t on my ‘to do’ list on any fell we visit.

We had a few hours out with some very good pics taken.  Charlie’s second Lakeland fell and she took it in her stride.   Small fell with great views!!

Wether Hill via Steel Knotts.

A second day of great weather and we’d said if the cloud stayed high we would crack off a decent hill, so we looked at Wether Hill with a stop off at Steel Knotts on route.

Old church of St Martin.
Old church of St Martin.

We parked up on the grass outside St Martin’s Church and got our boots on.  Due to Alfie’s love of chasing sheep we took it in turns in holding his lead preventing our boisterous Springer Spaniel from being shot by the nearest farmer.  Kel put her boots and rucksack on and grabbed the lead.  I was bending over tying my bootsIMG_6801 and heard Kel let out a very vocal ‘NOOOO!’, just in time to see Alfie emptying his bladder on my rucksack.  Great Start!

If you’re going to do this route check the map, because it says there’s a path connecting the one that hugs the wall behind the church and the one slightly higher.  It int’ theea!  Save time and a shed load of energy and take the higher route straight away, don’t take the bottom path and have to climb about 200 metres in the same distance.

IMG_6802Anyway after our slight detour we were on the path we should be and at the junction above Nettlehowe Crag were we slung in a left and it wasn’t long before we were at the top of Steel Knotts and the great view it had.

We went back down the same accent route and hit the path which went over Brownthwaite Crag and through the battalions of sheep watching us cross the wall, which has seen better days, at the base of Gowk Hill and theIMG_6803 start of the accent up the long route up to the Roman Road onto Wether Hill.

By this time the sun was beating down and we decided we’d follow the same route (ish) down to safe getting burnt by the by now baking sun.

The route down was very nice, relatively sheep free (they must have been in the shade somewhere) and a nice smooth steady decent.

We got back to the car and a large family had just finished their day out in the hills and were looking in the church and chatting.  I pulled out of the car park over a boulder hitting the front of the car, all heads turned as Kel went bright red with embarrassment.

So I sped out of the tranquil spot with knackered body work and the stench of stale dog pee buzzing through my nostrils, cheers Alfie!



Little Mell Fell

First walk of the week and with the weather looking very wet, Little Mell Fell looked like a good idea, and not too taxing to warm our legs up for the week planned ahead.IMG_6788

Looking at the map, parking wasn’t in abundance and after consulting Alfred WAINWRIGHT we decided to park at Thackthwaite to the north and have a nice leisurely  stroll (sheep pending) to the summit and hope we didn’t get too wet.  So, we drove west on the back road past Sparket and looked for a parking space.  We looked, and looked and looked again.  There was nowhere to park, well we couldn’t find it if there was, near Thackthwaite.  IMG_6789

We drove anti clockwise around Little Mell Fell and found a nice space on the southern side and parked up.  From this car park we could see the path to the top so donned the boots and got stuck straight into a climb which didn’t level, until we hit the Trig Point at the summit.

IMG_6790Not the highest hill but the views were amazing and we were scratching our heads when the blue sky burst out of the clouds after being promised rain.  Alfie had fun jumping on and off the Trig Point and we took some pics.  IMG_6791

The walk down was a bit slippy at times but we arrived back at the car about an hour after we’d left.

Great little dog walk and a good start to the week.



A Great Day Up Grasmoor!

The previous day we’d had a slow leisurely walk up Great Mell Fell in nice sunny weather, the day we’d planned to venture up Grasmoor the forecast was over cast but the rain was supposed to stay off, it did and we had a cracking day!IMG_5358

We were staying in the Eden Valley, although it’s an amazing place and only 20 minutes outside the National Park, some places in the Lake District take some getting to and can hack a large chunk off your planning to take in a fell or two. After packing the car we headed for Buttermere via Honister, I always like driving the Honister Pass, without sounding too big headed, it reminds me how much better I am at driving than most of the halfwits that find their way onto the road. The weather was improving with every mile and as we negotiated the sheep and cyclists Buttermere glistened in the sun as we skirted passed and joined the banks of Crummcock Water and slipped into a cheeky little parking spot at the foot of Rannerdale Knotts.

IMG_5359 (1)Due to my Aygo’s boot locking itself and not allowing any access, we’ve had to pack and unpack the walking kit via the back seats making things very awkward and testing my patience. Boots on, daysacks checked and on our backs, we headed north the main road to the footpath just past Rannerdale Bridge at the foot of Cinderdale Common. The map is correct, the terrain shows a few different paths littering the base of the Common but the path is on the east side of Cinderdale Beck. It’s disguised by a forest of Fern but it’s there and it takes you straight up Lad Hows as the climb goes up fast revealing more and more Crummock Water. At this point, if you have a dog, beware, as the Ferns are so thick that sheep are hard to see as they hide in the deep undergrowth.IMG_5360

The temperature started to rise as the sun showed more and more through previously thick cloud and we were down to base layers in no time. To the north Grasmoor was like an attentive teacher always watching you but didn’t appear to get closer. On Lad Hows the approach up the 20th highest Wainwright becomes a reality and time to take on some liquid for the big push up its shale spur. A family were taking the same route as us and they looked like ‘THE Borrowers’ as they trudged up our chosen path not more than 200 metres ahead of us. Alfie had his eye on the sheep on the steep ascent to our left and kept edging his way closer to the woolly teasers as we closed in on the summit. It wasn’t long before temptation got the better of him IMG_5361and he went for it! Again, I blame the sheep, he’d come across a lonely sheep on Lad Hows which stood its ground and he just turned his back and didn’t bother it. But when they run he loves the chase, he wouldn’t even bother if they’d stand still. Anyway, he vanished over the edge and all we heard was a shale avalanche and my Spaniel was left in the hands of the mountain gods. I ran over to the last place is saw him take the leap and prayed I wasn’t going to see a lifeless Springer metres below. I couldn’t see him but saw a couple of breathless sheep about 150 metres below. Near the start of our ascent I saw a black and white blob wandering about aimlessly. I whistled and shouted and the blob started the climb all over again as he’d realised where we were and caught up panting his little heart out.IMG_5365 (1)

The summit was a great sight and we walked over to one of two shelters to eat our butties and give Alfie some water. The top reminded me of the summit of Skiddaw, flat and spacious! The family we were following were in the bigger shelter and we could hear them chat and laugh in the breeze as we tucked into our corned beef sarnies. An inspection of Alfie revealed a couple of scrapes on his legs, he’s like a Bairn who goes out to play and comes back in with bloody shins and grazed knees. I had a half laugh and half serious thought, ‘If he’s (Alfie) gonna go, it’s gonna be off a mountain!’

IMG_5369 (1)We packed our daysacks and headed east towards the dip between Grasmoor and Crag Hill and the junction bang on the ‘722m’ on the map. Here we came across a very well-spoken gent who had climbed from Coledale Hause. He enquired in a softly spoken voice about the ‘Honister Rambler’ bus service from Buttermere, unfortunately we had nothing to offer as an answer. I could’ve offered an anecdote about our recent encounter with the Lakes bus service and Dick Turpin driving the number 55 into Grasmere but I don’t think this lad would’ve appreciated it. In fact, I hope he didn’t catch any of our usual repertoire on the fells, a mixture of Yorkshire/Pit yacker that can get colourful when things aren’t going well. Anyway we left him at the junction and headed south towards Wandhope, he did appear to spend a lot of time sorting kit out as I glanced back on a couple of occasions, maybe he had heard us coming off the top of Grasmoor!IMG_5375

The decent down Wandhope Moss and Whiteless Edge was very pleasant and one of those Lakeland moments which you want to treasure. To our right we had Crummock Water reflecting Mellbreak and further on Loweswater shimmering in the sun.

We’d decided that Rannerdale Knotts was optional extra Wainwright for the day and as we walked over Whiteless Pike and dropped off towards the sheepfold above Whiteless Breast we decided we’d save it for another day so we could take in the ‘garden’ along Squat Beck and the area where the Bluebells compliment the view in the Spring. This decent was one of the most pleasant in all the Wainwrights and this was testified by the amount of ‘tourists’ crossing us near the end.

IMG_5381We walked the last few hundred metres back to the car and I felt really relaxed and calm, until I remembered the bloody car boot was broken!! Nice post walk pint in the Bridge Inn and the sunny beer garden.IMG_5383

This was one of my favourite Wainwrights, the view, the weather and not too tedious decent made the day great. Could’ve done without the puppy playing ‘chase the sheep’ off sheer edges but that’s my dog, as mental as me!


A tough day out up Seat Sandel and Helvellyn!

As usual, the words “I’ve planned a route!” coming from Kel’s mouth usually meant a good thrashing with plenty of thick orange chunks of contour lines to start with. I looked at the map and the Smörgåsbord of summits my beloved wife had set out for me and Alfie the Spaniel. “The weather is meant to be OK and we don’t even have to get up early cos it doesn’t go dark till late!” she stood with a smile on her face. Looking at OL5 I grinned and thought “Not too orange then!?”IMG_5209

“All we need to do is catch a bus from the end where we’ll park the car and get off at the start then finish at the Kings Head, simples!” she carried on excitedly.

“Bus!!?? Bus!!??” I said in amazement. I hadn’t been on a bus for about 20 years and the thought of having to depend on ‘others’ for a route plan made me cringe a bit (I’m weird like that). We had a look at the timings and decided to give it a shot and the route was sorted. Mill Bridge, Grasmere to the King’s Head via Seat Sandal, Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn and White Side. A full day!

Sunshine greeted us as we packed the car and headed for Grasmere and grabbed a parking space at the King’s Head. They have an agreement that walkers can park in their car park if you pay £5 for an initial ticket which gets you that amount of drinks if you have a post walk pint at the end of your route. Canny!

IMG_5210So there we were, stood at a bus stop with our daysacks waiting for a bus to Grasmere, which was approx 5-6 miles down a straight road. The sun was blazing down on us and we had a giggle about the fact we’d not researched if dogs were allowed on the bus and thinking of a plan B if the driver wouldn’t let Alfie on. 3 minutes after the due time the bus came rolling from St. John’s in the Vale and things were looking good. I put my hand out, just like 1979 when I used to catch the bus to school, and just like 1979 it stopped and I stepped onto the bus while Kel and Alfie sat down on the closest seat to the front.IMG_5212

“Two adults and a dog please mate” I said searching in my pocket for some change expecting a couple of quid each and half a nicker for the hound.

“£10.60 please!” Dick Turpin replied without even looking at me! You know that feeling where the ‘bus’ spins and you’re grinning to yourself but actually paying. There was some thought that Alfie had cost me even more money the little tinker. I paid up and the driver stopped pointing his musket in my face. Kel budged up so we could all fit on the two seater and I awaited the hostess with the Champers and Caviar which were obviously on route for the fee.

IMG_5219Grasmere came and we grabbed our kit and shuffled off the bus with our daysacks, puppy and a massive hole in my pocket. We’d travelled less than the distance we were about to walk (without the accent)! I sorted my cam and we made our way up through the little cottages at Mill Bridge feeling violated, but at least I felt a bit lighter. We’d decided to take the route up Little Tongue, west of Great Tongue through herds of sheep and the sun burning down on us. Hause Riggs was a short but welcome break as we sat for 5 minutes to absorb the stunning view of Grasmere and the surrounding fells. The going was quite steep but significant height was gained quite quickly before we levelled out at Hause Moss and a small pile of stones with ‘Julian’s’ black baseball cap secured on the top.IMG_5221

The hiking/hill walking community are a canny bunch, if any lost kit is found in the fells it’s put on social media to find the owner. Hence my tweet with the a picture of the afore mentioned cap!

With Grisedale Tarn in view we turned left up a shaily accent up Seat Sandal and the mother of all thigh burners. Slate Shale doesn’t have the ‘gripability’ of any other shale, its one step forward and 4 steps back. The descent was decent and bait welcome looking over Grisedale Tarn and a chance for Kel to do her usual ‘Peak assessment’ of our surrounding view.

IMG_5225We saw people coming down the wall south side of Dollywaggon Pike but we opted to take the Zig Zag route up the South East side of the peak which brought much amusement as we were about to see. We skirted the Tarn and slung a left in and up the windy route up to the summit. About two thirds of the way up we made space for a group of mountain bikers who were making their way down. The first section stopped because they were finding the going too dangerous to stay on their machines. One had gone face first into the stone of ‘Dolly’ and was playing it safe. Further up we bumped into the rear echelon of the daring mountain bikers, one who had a thick ‘Pit Yacker’ accent who stated he’d never seen such a “Mental” descent and had decided to ‘push’ his bike down, putting the blame on videos on YouTube for not fully showing the scale of the best part of a 300m decent in the space of 500m, which to me works out at…… well a canny drop in anyone’s money! Probably the reason why the path is Zig Zagged up the side. Anyway in the 5 minutes we had with the mountain bikers two fell off, I’ll stick to walking!IMG_5226

At the top the sun was beating down and the wind had dropped making the going pleasant, plus a lack of sheep making way for a clear run for Alfie.

Looking west the Wythburn Fells were clear and we worked out exactly where we’d ‘lunched’ with the Dicko’s days before on in slightly less windier weather. From here the path was set and Nethermost Pike looking slightly higher but with Helvellyn peaking over its right shoulder we knew the highest peak in our quest, was in sight.

The top of Dollywaggon was a welcome sight as we’d passed the ‘post’ taking the right to the cairns. The view east was breath taking with a clear view of St. Sunday Crag making a good view stop. We headed north down slightly and then back up onto top of High Crag and sheep. Alfie did well heading up Nethermost Pike to keep his eye off the ‘Herdies’, while I spotted Striding Edge and thoughts went back to that blistering hot April day in 2011 when we’d foolishly climbed Helvellyn after a crate of Fosters and a meat only BBQ the night before, took me ages to get the smell of lager out of my ‘Buff’.

IMG_5228I digress, I liked the sight of the top of Helvellyn as I, as always, like being one of the highest in England at a particularly time, even for a few minutes. As we make our way up to the summit and the robustly built ‘X’ shelter and the ‘dump’ left that was used to build it, we spotted the memorial Stone placed to point out the spot where the first plane ever to land on a mountain was. There was a steady but not too chaotic stream off people coming up the different routes to take in one of the greatest views in the area. I love the sights, the feel and the sense of achievement when we hit a high peak, the feeling of another well planned trek. What I don’t like is idiots that are stood taking selfies dressed in high tops, ¾ length trousers and no safety equipment. Ok it was a sunny day, but it’s cretins like them that call MRT when they get cold, get lost, feel tired or just can’t be bothered to walk down. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I pride myself that I carry enough kit to survive at least one night on a fell if ever we need to. Plus I plan even the simplest of routes over a certain height and ALWAYS carry safety kit, if not for me, for others.

Rant over and back to one of the best views in the district and my quest to find the snow we saw from Ullswater a couple of IMG_5230days before. Bingo, just passed Water Crag I find a patch of crusty musky snow about ten metre’s north east off the path. A couple of pics later of a 48 year old kid playing in snow for his 9 year old son then we’re back on track down onto Lower Man and a long decent down. If you look east into the valley you can see the dam at Brown Cove, it’s an unusual sight and it looks like it was built to store water for the mining in the area. My feet were aching and the balls of my feet were sore, feeling like I’d trekked 50 mile not the measly few we had. As we dropped down to the ‘pile of stones’ to take the left North West onto White Side, I could see down the valley to Thirlmere, but even though the it was downhill, the going was painful skirting the side of Whiteside Bank leaving me wishing we’d gone up to the cairn and straight down, instead of side footing down the side negotiating rabbit warrens and land slips kicking the s**t out of my knee and Kel’s ankle, God we’re getting old. Eventually we joined the path that ran down Brund Gill and down the North East side of Brown crag and a cracking view of the ultra-green grass around Dalehead Hall on the banks of Thirlmere. I hate descents like this, I’d rather climb miles up and a gradual way down, the new plantation was quite steep, or seemed like it and the crossing at the un-named gill near the back of Thirlspot Farm was such a relief to hit level ground. Alfie drank about half the water content of Brown Crag and we entered the grounds of the farm, passed the sheep and a Lama, or Alpaca, I was too goosed to care.

The cider at The Kings Head bit into the throat like a welcome friend and the £10.60 bus fare into Grasmere 7 hours earlier was a distant memory, but next time I’ll order a taxi!



Hop around High Hartsop Dodd

The last time we placed boot on fell in the Lake District was New Year’s Day when we got a good old drenching on Place Fell.  We teamed up with Dicko and Sue, and also the new ‘Team Hyde’ member, Alfie the Springer to get back into the swing of Wainwright bagging and set our sights on a quadruple quest starting with High Hartsop Dodd. IMG_6112

We all met the night before at the caravan site in Morland due to the Dicko’s becoming new residents at the site, route planned and we were set, although it did take us  4 bottles of red to sort it, we did it.  The next day we packed the Aygo with four days sacks, four lots of boots and Dicko was sat in front trying to keep Alfie in the foot well but failing miserably as we headed for Ullswater and Brothers Water to find the car park at Cow Bridge and the start of a day of bagging.  The route we had planned would take in High Hartsop Dodd, Little Hart Crag, Red Screes and Middle Dodd, which looking at the map looked a nice leg stretch and not too far.

IMG_6113The car park at Cow Bridge was quite full but I managed to squeeze the car into a nice little spot and we got ready.  Getting ready took slightly longer than normal, due to puppy pinching socks.  The moths from Sues daysack didn’t help either.  Anyway, the happy bunch strolled off down the side of Brothers Water and even though the cloud was low, a few bits of blue sky were making an appearance as I felt for my Sig Bottle only to discover it wasn’t in my side pouch on my daysack and a quick run back to the car find it in the boot of the Aygo, followed by a quick run back to the others, who by the way didn’t wait so the return leg of my run was slightly longer than the first leg.IMG_6121

Heading south we took in the sights of Brothers Water and Low Wood then came out into open land and the farm track to Hartsop Hall and a sea of sheep waiting to be sheered, and an angry farmer doing a ‘Fenton’ impression as his trusty sheep dog wasn’t being so trusty and not paying a blind bit of notice of his instructions.  We took a quick left at the farm over a meadow with the most randomly placed boulders and Dovedale Beck to lay eyes on the start of our accent.  The map does show quite a steep start to our route but as soon as you see it up close and personal you don’t quite get the full affect.  It reminded me of Fleetwith, a steep slope that needed to be climbed, and when you see sheep in harnesses you know you’re in forIMG_6122 a decent thigh burner.  There’s no getting around these sort of starts, it’s gotta be done to enjoy the experience.  Alfie was bouncing around like a ‘gud un’ and I was keeping an eye out for sheep.  Dicko set the pace and we were soon working our way up and Brothers Water was getting lower and lower, further and further away.  Chins were still up when we hit the little bit of a scramble near the top, Alfie had no fear jumping from rock to rock as he kept us all in check.  The cloud appeared to be getting lower and the tops of Hart and Dove Crag were disappearing to our right. Apparently at the start Kel had asked me if she could tie one of Alfie’s poo bags to my daysack, I can’t remember agreeing to this and only found out as I reached around my daysack looking for my water bottle, only to find something soft and squidgy in hanging for off the front, luckily my nails had been cut and I realised what the foreign object was, I wasn’t happy but the rest of the group said I’d agreed, I beg to differ.

IMG_6138The summit came quick and Alfie had acquired a bone from somewhere, we had come across a sheep that had gone to sheep heaven about 20 metres back so that’s got to have been the source.  The summit brought a heavy mist enough to wet you so water proofs came out as we entered the misty cloud as we plodded on to Little Hart Crag.  We found the summit ok, the cloud had cleared again and this was as good as place as any for bait.  The temperature dropped slightly with the wind so we all sat huddled, a bit unusual for July but that’s the mountains for you.  Alfie was doing the rounds looking for scraps of ham buttie but his luck wasn’t in so he went off to explore, probably looking for his new love, sheep droppings and wool.

Bait was a quick affair and we were back on track in no time, we dropped off the top and IMG_6141the path to Scandale Pass and looked at the ascent up to Red Screes, there were a few other walkers coming off Red Screes looking a bit damp, the top was covered in cloud but I was hopeful the small piece of blue sky which had appeared over Dove Crag would shuffle over to the top.  We set off up and I did a bit of a Bambi on ice impression landing with a thud on the wet peat.  Kel was happy with that as it’s usually her back side that spends its time on the floor.  The weather gods were definitely on our side as we climbed the steady ascent to the top of Red Screes and we were met by blue sky and sunshine at the top.  The view down to Brothers Water was very good and we had a bird’s eye view of our route down, well, we could see the direction we were going but not the actual path.  Looking down the valley the Kirkstone Pass looked like a Scalextric set and cars minute .  Red Screes isn’t the biggest fell but it’s a canny drop down when you peek over the edge.  The summit is a good spot for a wild camp as well, apart from the water; the mini tarn is smelly and peaty.  Sue perked up a bit as we were now going down, if she’d only knew what the ‘down’ would be like I think she’d have called mountain rescue.IMG_6143

We set of down and the first bit of the decent was good going, we still had to ‘top’ Middle Dodd which we did quickly and set off down.  The going became steep and footings were precarious and I felt my ankle cracked a couple of times.  Everyone’s joints were being tested, the only one of us who looked comfortable was Alfie who had been hopping around as Springer’s do.  A bit of advice if doing this route is to turn right at the wall (399102) and walk to the permissible path and take that.  We didn’t, if you look at the map (OL5) there is a small black line about (400103), it’s not a small black line in reality, it’s a sheer drop which creeps right up on you, if it’s foggy there’s a good chance you wouldn’t see it and take a 50 feet nose dive into the ferns.  We took a left at the cliff and walked to the straight wall to follow IMG_6168down to join the permissible path lower down.  As we approached the wall, I spotted a herd of cows near Caiston Beck, they were a good 200 meters away and we weren’t going anywhere near them but Kel told me to put Alfie on his lead.  We are quite good with him and always put him on when anywhere near sheep etc, but these cows were some distance away and we were walking away from them so I just kept an eye on him.  She said, “Ok it’s your call, but if they stampede and eat him it’s your fault!”  The first few seconds were like an old Western film when the town is deserted and the brush wood blows though.  I looked at Dicko whose face was just as confused as mine.  “Eat!?” I said to my worried wife.  “You don’t know what they’ll do!” she replied.  “Well I do know they won’t eat him!” I said laughingly as she stared at the happy herd chomping on the Lakeland grass.  That was it for a good quarter of an hour, all sorts of jokes fired at my embarrassed missus ranging from me singing the theme tune to ‘Rawhide’ to Dicko telling everyone to watch out for the dog eating wildebeest stampeding across the Glen.

We approached the small footbridge across the beck and I saw some killer sheep in the next field, prompting me to put the lead on Alfie in case the woolly canine cannibals attacked my defenceless pooch.  The jokes did eventually die off as we joined the footpath that we walked along to start hours before.  We got to the car and took off wet kit and heated boots, plus I IMG_6156finished of Dicko’s jelly babies.

Sat in the beer garden of the Brotherswater Inn the banter was good, even though I was slightly fuming at the £1 for an hours Wi-Fi that I wouldn’t pay.  We’d had a good day and even though we were not hitting the highest peaks we had worked fairly hard, and for the first time back on the fells it was a canny leg stretch.  Just watch out for the flesh eating Friesians!



Beda Fell

Whenever you put boot on fell, you have to take all sorts of factors into consideration; weather, terrain, route, gear and your party’s ability.  There are plenty of benefits of walking in the mountains and hills, but there are also things that could go wrong.  Our walk up Beda Head luckily didn’t need outside help but it goes to show, even seasoned hikers have problems.1

It’s Friday and Kel and me were on dayshift, I was set to finish at 5pm and Kel at 4pm, so it was up to her to get home first, pack my car and get all sorted for a quick blast down the A66 for when I pull up on the drive in her shed, I mean car.  We had a passenger just for the journey; one of my mates had set his family off to Center Parcs in the morning, arranging for us to drop him off on the night so we had a slight detour before settling in the caravan.  We were on the road for roughly half five so things looked good as it only usually took us just short of 1 ½ hours to get to Morland, and the detour wouldn’t add much, so we should be settled for 8pm planning our route for the next day.  The rain was pounding down but, hey ho that’s to be expected.  Process was good until Bowes and the road cone fest, can anyone tell me why the road works are there!?  Bang to a halt and an hour later we managed to come out of the other end and back on our journey.  We drove up the long road to Center Parcs and dropping 2our mate off to tackle the resorts fierce security while we made our way to our own peaceful, quiet resort, Aaahhhhhh!

As the rain bounced down on the tin roof of our, errgh hum, Kel’s sisters caravan we cast our eye over OL5 map and tried to marry it up with the route which we’re using to get all the peaks in to accomplish our Wainwright goal before I’m 50!  Route sorted and after a couple of night caps, it was bed time.

Next day driving down the side of Ullswater the weather looked good and as we drove through Howtown there were a few cars parked at the bottom of Hallin Fell so a lot of people were already on the fells.   We parked at Garth Heads (427186) near where the footpath crosses the small road up Boredale.3

We planned to take the footpath east up Beda Fell to the ‘head’ then  drop down to Boredale Hause then up onto Place Fell and heading north to High Dodd then back to the car.  This was taking in two Wainwrights and a good few views, plus a post walk pint in the Pooley Bridge Inn and Kel’s favourite cider.  Boots on and straight into a steep climb up to Howsteadbrow and Winter Crag, the temperature was that awkward type of temperature where it’s slightly too warm for a fleece but just too chilly for just a base layer.  We trooped up to the crag and turned right heading to the top and the ground levelled and as we got closer to the top Ullswater revealed itself and with the clear skies every fell in the west could be scene.  Unless it’s driving rain or blowing a hooly I normally like a good little chin wag and it never seems to amaze me that Kel can name most of the fells from every angle.  Our ‘view stops’ are usually a feast of Kel turning a full 360 degrees pointing and saying, “Helvellyn, Sheffield Pike, Gowbarrow 4etc etc!”  But today seemed very quiet on the stops with Kel just appearing to look down and breath heavily, more than usual.  My concerned questions were met with “Aye I’m alright!” and “just tired, maybe too much Pinot last night!”  Too much Pinot!!??  I was concerned; it’d take a lot of Pinot for her to say it’s affected her the next day.  I remember when we went up Helvellyn the day after a good sesh.  We’d stopped at Parkfoot, which isn’t really our place but we were with camping friends.  Our mates weren’t hill walkers but like a good BBQ and the alcohol that went with a good pile of meat and buns.  Anyway needless to say our attack at Helvellyn was a bit ropey and we were sweating 14% but Kel was still chipper and we still made good pace.

But today was different, her chin was down for her not to be talking, this was a 5concern.  I knew that if she didn’t perk up on the flat on the summit I’d have to monitor her without making a fuss.  The summit came and went, she’d smashed a ‘Snickers’ in and we’d started looking for the path down to Boredale Hause.  We’d been blessed with cracking weather today and I was taking in the surrounding peaks, but the guided tour of their names was still missing and I was getting a bit worried about my weary wife.

As we dropped off the top over Freeze Beck and to a possible bait stop, I noticed a slight spring in Kel’s step, she’d said on the top that if she felt this rough at the ‘hause’ we’d be cutting short which I’d whole heartedly agreed.  Now, this ‘spring in her step’ didn’t mean all was good.  During my time in the forces I’d had many times where I’d had to monitor individuals who’d just been poorly.  Nothing to do with fitness as I’ve 6known the ‘Racing snakes’ who ran the fells be taken down by stomach bugs during exercises in the mountains of Wales.  The art is to watch faces and mannerisms; fatigue comes in three stages as far as I’m concerned.  Initially quiet and getting quite tired with more than frequent stops and not saying much.  Then, a second wind where there’s about half hour of “yeah I’m ok now” and picking up the pace.  This second stage is where you have to wait and rest, sit down and have bait.  If you’re walking bud is knackered and has fatigue caused by whatever, they’ll fail whilst resting.  If you don’t clock this this second stage and crack on, it may get serious about an hour later.  I’ve seen the third stage and many people have collapsed and CASEVAC’D (casualty evacuation) off a hill because someone failed to recognised the second stage.  The casualty won’t know and will think life’s good and try to crack on, that’s why it’s important to have a monitor buddy to call the shots.  You might get “What ya goin on about I’m fine!” but take the grief cos if they’d gone up and collapsed you’d be feeling worse.

We sat and started to have bait, it was a busy crossing with walkers coming up from all directions, Patterdale, Boredale and a few 7coming from Angle Tarn direction.  We perched on a rock and tucked into our butties; Kel just nibbled and nibbled then stopped eating.  I refer back to my previous paragraph where I mentioned mannerisms.  Kel had settled by the side of a small boulder, about shoulder height, and had lent against it.  Next thing I knew her eyes closed for a brief moment and there you go, stage two.  She’s never done that before ever, so with a slightly concerned grin, I told her we were getting off the hills.  She said OK!

The journey down Boredale confirmed my prognosis as Kel admitted she did not feel herself.  She perked up slightly again but I had no concerns as we were dropping down to farm land and a flooded path and watch a big black cloud covering Beda and Place fells ready to bolster Boredale Beck on its way into Ullswater.

8I wasn’t concerned that Place Fell hadn’t been bagged, to be fair, it’s not going anyway.  I was just glad I got my wife off the hills before anything bad.  It’s mainly a man thing too, no way am I gonna phone mountain rescue unless necessary, I would carry Kel, her daysack and mine off a fell before I used a much unfunded and overworked resource like mountain rescue.

We reached the car dry and in good spirits for a change and for once, I drove to the pub with my boots on instead of ditching them for sandals for a ‘breather’.9

I hope people that read this blog don’t think I’m a ‘know it all’ and a total knob.  I have had past encounters with all sorts of stuff and while passing on my experience, I’m not the font of all, just know some stuff!

PS, my new boots are the dog’s swingers!!



Got my new boots, RIP my Merrells!

It’s a rare day I actually get chance to update my kit, the limited funds I have normally get spent on Kel updating her walking gear, after all you can’t have enough pink and purple base layers cos you never know when you might need them!photo 1

However, if you read my previous blog, boots were on my list and after researching and researching I’d narrowed it down to Scarpa or Brasher, and it would be down to the actual ‘trying on’!

So a visit to Go Outdoors in Stockton was planned to see if I could choose.  First we had to get passed the bin of all the reduced tents near the door, grrr damn those tent bins.  We have had a bit of trouble with our base camp (sounds a bit Everesty that dunt it!?) tent after a soaking earlier this year.  But that’s all water under the bridge, and through the seams, and through the zips!  Anyway after inspecting a few of the tents in the bin, we decided again we’re having a new one, but that’s a different story, back to my boots.

The problem with Go Outdoors is they put all the base layers and fleeces on routé to the boots and trying to get Kel past all that kit is frustrating, Jesus Christ woman you own all the base layers under the sun, I want my boots!!  At last we’re at the footwear dept and we got immediate attention and before I knew it, I had Brasher Fell Masters, Scarpa Terra GTX and a pair of Berghaus the assistant suggested I try.  I’m no kit expert, I don’t pick the most expensive bit of clothing because it’s one of the top names, and I get what I like (as long as it’s green that is).  I had a look at the Berghaus and to be fair they were quite comfy, well the right foot one was, the assistant couldn’t find the left.  So Berghaus was out for that reason.  I tried the Brasher’s on and they looked the part, walked well and the leather was very soft.  I have big feet, well size 11 with a good instep and ‘piano toes’, they’re not fat feet by any stretch of the imagination.  The ends of the Brasher’s were very roomy and I could wiggle my toes a lot, which I could foresee a few problems on steep descents.  So I tried the Scarpa’s on, very nice, fitted well and the leather was very soft.  Kel swears by hers and I had to take that into consideration as she’s a fussy one.  The Scarpa’s had it!photo 2

My first ever Scarpa product was in the bag and I was happy.  In the early 90’s I’d spent many a winter with the marines in Norway for winter warfare training and those boys knew their stuff on the kit front.  The ML’s were very experienced with mountain life and to sit and listen to those guys go on about kit was very interesting.  They used to go mad for Scarpa kit and even a certain element of the group, which I cannot talk about, raved for the make, that’ll do for me!

On route to the tent section I managed to convince Kel we needed a new shelter for my daysack.  I’d been carrying my old army poncho as a shelter, which would easily do the job if called upon but it weighed more than I had wanted.  The new one is a 3 man bright orange dome with windows and draw cords to keep in the warmth, and weighed next to nothing.

The drive home was good knowing I’d get a chance to try out my new boots next weekend as we’re planning a walk in the lakes, plus the weather looked testing so straight in at the deep end for the Scarpa’s, let’s hope the shelters not 3

I have mentioned a couple of brands of kit in this blog and I have to say, sometimes it’s not the make that determines my decisions on buying kit, it’s just my taste.  I have Berghaus base layers that are excellent and have used for years, plus throughout my army career all I’ve ever used is Berghaus bergans.  I use Brasher socks that are great and continue to buy when I can.


There aren’t many bits of kit that you carry or wear that doesn’t serve a practical purpose, in fact apart from little mascots and good luck charms I can’t think of anything on my body or in my daysack that isn’t important and is possibly lifesaving.  When I can, I like to spend a bit more money when replacing gear as I am a great believer in the saying, ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ and after all the difference of £30 on a pair of waterproof trousers may save you years of soaking wet legs.

Recently I have decided that one of the most important items of walking kit I own needs replacing. They have served me well and we’ve been on many adventures together I feel almost sad to have to replace my boots! old ksb

I remember the day like yesterday when I ordered my trusty Merrell’s, 15 years ago I was sat at in my flat in Osnabruck, Germany looking at my Karrimor KSB’s thinking they looked knackered and sick of endlessly having to treat them.  To be fair they too had served me well, many a time they’ve been battered and bruised up and down Pen y Fan and Snowdon.  They had survived hiking around places like Oman, Norway, Italy and a 3 week expedition to the Rockies.  But the time had come to replace them and as I had the extra 20% off when ordering from abroad and being in the forces I thought now was the best time.  I decided to come away from my normal fabric boot and try the leather, so browsing through my latest Cotswold catalogue I studied hard.  Many friends had leather boots and swore by them, and when we’d been out together wading through the streams of south Wales and falling through frozen becks they seemed to come out with feet nice and dry, I used to say my feet were ok too but in all honesty there were sometimes my socks were less then dry and toasty.  Scarpa had, and still does, a great reputation I was swaying towards them as they had a few leather boots that looked the part.  But tucked away at the bottom of a page was a nice looking pair of Merrell’s.  I’d heard of Merrell but all the talk was ‘Scarpa’ and did I dare go off the beaten track and order these lovely looking boots.  Now you have to remember the internet wasn’t as popular as it is now so I’d have to send off the order form and wait ages for the delivery, about 3 weeks!!  So I decided to phone in the order cutting down the wait to 2 weeks, it’s a week less that’s all I was bothered about.

Less than a fortnight passed before I went to BFPO 36 to collect a boot box shaped parcel and the start of a great relationship.  I couldn’t wait so I sat in my silver Ford Puma (also tax free) and unwrapped the paper and gazed on my new boots.  “Jesus Christ how f**kin big are they?!” I seem to remember thinking as I held the massive leather structures up and stared.  The tread looked like a land rover tyre and they weighed a ton.  But, after a bit and after feeling inside I grew to love them and they were to take me through thousands of miles of walking.

They’re first outing I can remember was a steady 12 mile blast around the forests near Osnabruck, a regular low level haunt for squaddies training for P company and SAS selection, not too many hills but lots of fallen trees and mud…. lots of mud! Even though they felt heavy in the hand, they didn’t feel much different weight wise to my KSB’s, and the good thing was, my feet were dry.

Year 2000 saw me back in the UK and pounding the Yorkshire moors and miles and miles of hills and heather.  And all these boots needed were a good clean and a polish with boot polish to keep them in good working order, no need for ‘spray from 12 inches away and leave to dry for 2 hours blah blah blah’.  The uppers kept that lovely brown battered look and the tread, which initially shocked me, was still deep and going

So back to present day and the last few fells in the lakes, as well as completing the Teesdale Way and the Weardale Way, have been testing, the tread has started to disappear and the slips have become far too often and when you’re trying to scurry across edges and coming down spiky rocky crags, you can’t take chances.  So from the first walk in the lakes up Skiddaw, and completing 73 Wainwrights, the Fairfield horse shoe saw the last outing for my trusty Merrell’s who can now rest.

I’ve had a good time over the last 15 years with my old boots; they’ve seen ice, rain and sun.  They’ve had to wade through all manner of faeces and have seen peat from a couple of feet below the surface on a number of times.  They’ve out lived countless lace changes but I’ve never had to repair the body.  Let’s hope the ones I replace them with are just as trustworthy.

Now, time to do some shopping!

Windy up Fairfield

With our holiday coming to a close we had decided, weather permitting, to hit a ‘high one’.  We’d had a little wander up Wansfell a couple of days before which to be fair is only a tiny hill, but a decent thigh burner if you walk up from Ambleside.  However, we’d decided to hit a mountain that’s been on our minds for some time, Fairfield! 1

Waking up at the cottage we had already packed our car and waved good bye to Bruce the German Shepherd who was giving it the big puppy dog eyes to join us.  But as we drove off up the drive the sun was out and we were looking forward to getting above 800 metres.  So as the daft hound became a small dot in my rear view mirror we headed for Rydal to try and find a parking space.  We joked “Should be ok, as long as there’s not a fell race on ha!” as we drove up the A591 we passed our usual parking spot in this area, the cricket club near Crow How but we had our sights on the small road between Rydal Hall and the lovely little church near Rydal Mount.  Turning right up the road we saw our dreaded nightmare, tall skinny men and women stretching on the rear 2bumpers of their cars wearing tight running shorts and trainers, fell runners… da da daaaaa!!  Damn them and their effortless ascents up mountains that make me suck in air from Sheffield.  To be fair I do admire them, I was like that once many years ago but it gets to a point where you’re joints really can’t take much more.

The good thing about my little Aygo is you can park it in a grit bin.  So we decided to tuck it in just the other side of the cattle grid at Pelter Bridge, not blocking the gate of course.  Boots on and we headed up back to the road packed full of fell runners to fight through the smell of Deepheat and our start of the Fairfield Horseshoe. 3

Like all Kel’s routes we have to start with a steep ascent and luckily we did not have to stop too early to remove layers.  We were heading North West for Nab Scar and as we drew nearer the top the views were changing by the step and revealing more and more of the glorious lakes and fells that make this all worthwhile.  There were a few walkers on the route, probably a mixture of good weather and it being a Friday.  The small rocky outcrop of Nab Scar was insight before long and the view included the shimmering joys of Grasmere, Rydal, Coniston and Windermere.  Plus a Smörgåsbord of mountains and hills making leaving the spot very hard to do.  I love the high summits but sometimes some of the best views come from smaller peaks, look at Latrigg!4

Oh well time to crack on over a small wall towards Lord Crag and a display by the RAF flying low up the Grasmere valley also making the most of the high cloud.  I had a few trips abroad with these guys when I was in the forces, they had the likes of the Grand Canyon to train in but always said the Lakes gave the best views, then I didn’t know what they were going on about as I’d never been to the lakes, now I see their point.  We were lapping up the sun and were down to base layers as we clambered up Heron Pike and more and more blue sky.  We could now see a great view of our decent down High Pike as all low cloud had ‘done one’ and now Fairfield itself was 5looking good.  We could see the Helvellyn range now and we knew by the time we were on Fairfield a good portion of the Wainwrights would be in our sights.  Dropping slightly off Heron Pike we came across a couple taking photos near the small water on route to Great Rigg.  Kel offered to take one of them together and they agreed and the pair stood near the water and their magical moment was captured by my wife.  We started to chat about where they’d been staying and where they’d been etc. After about a minute of the usual chat you generally have with happy hikers on the fells, I started to hear a rumbling sound, well more of a bubbling sound.  I had a quick look to see if the RAF were doing another fly past, but there were no jets in sight.  A few seconds past and again, the same sound but louder.  It started to sound more like bodily gasses being expelled but there were no sheep in close proximity.  It became apparent to me, the bloke we were stood talking to had a serious wind problem and while Kel made polite conversation, I was suppressing the laughter to a point where I near to bursting.  I tried to grab Kel’s attention to 6make her laugh, don’t ask why.   The conversation with the lovely couple started to close but not before another chorus of the poor lad ‘piping us aboard’ and me turning to face Grasmere with watering eyes, confirming the fact even though I might be approaching 50, I’ve still got the mental capacity of a 15 year old when it comes to flatulence.

Thank god, we set of for Great Rigg and left the, to be fair, lovely couple taking more piccys whilst we headed higher towards our goal.  Great Rigg brought great views but also an increase in wind, not from our mate, but nature just letting us know we were getting higher.  Before we set off on our adventure Kel’s sister Alison asked me if I had a compass.  I have near enough everything in my daysack and a compass is one.  I explained that the route was basic and I shouldn’t need it.  Alison is a Duke Of Edinburgh instructor and has topped most of, if not all, the peaks in the lakes.  She said I may need it at the top of Fairfield and left it at that. 8

Kel and me landed on Fairfield not long after we’d left Johnny Farty Pants and discovered a vast expanse of flat(ish) land with cairns all over.  There were other hikers milling around but we needed food and as the wind had got up (he he, see I can’t stop even now) and we searched for a sheltered cairn to have bait, and feed the massive crows that circle making pig sounds in their quest for ham and cheese butties.  Taking in the view and finishing up, plus emptying the remainder of my crisps for the crows we stood up and looked for the Rydal valley which I knew would be my navigational aid, without looking at the map, back down.  I looked, and looked again, Windermere and Coniston had vanished and I was confused.  I’d paid close attention to the definition of Hart and Dove Crags on the way up but I couldn’t see them from the summit of Fairfield.  Hartsop, St. Sunday, my head was battered; I had to get the compass out. 9

On our way down Scrubby Crag and back on track I couldn’t stop thinking that if hikers had been on the summit of Fairfield with a decent covering of cloud, trying to get off without heading towards Helvellyn when you should be dropping down the other side of the Rydal valley would be a problem and if the cloud was very low, costly.  Hmmm it goes back to my thought that no matter what, you have to respect the fells.10

Hart Crag and Dove Crag went by following the dry stone wall which would accompany us near enough to the bottom. Time was getting on and we could clearly see walkers heading up towards Fairfield on our way down, they’re cutting it fine!  The long dry stone wall appeared to go on forever, I wasn’t complaining as the descent was steady and wasn’t pounding the joints to a pulp like some return journeys.  The wall has a path either side, but we decided to stay on the right hand side as the views looked better and the wall was quite big so I wouldn’t be able to see the route we went up.  High Pike and Low Pike passed quickly leading us to 12High Brock Crags, now if anyone every follows the map and they are elderly or with any serious ailments I advise you to take the left path around Low Brock Crags.  If you go straight on following the wall you come to a cheeky little slab that needs climbing down.  Looking at the map it’s called Sweden Crag, it’s a bit of a test if you’re not into using your hands to scramble anywhere, and could be quite dangerous if the clouds low and you fall off it so take care.  As we negotiated the drop and after we regained our thoughts we cracked on down the hill as the end was not far.  We were about 50 metres away from the Crag when I looked back at I and saw a small fluffy white dog at the top of it.  I showed Kel and we gave it the usual awwww.  The little dog’s owner appeared and looked down the slab and I saw his face, he didn’t look happy.  He turned and walked behind the rocky outcrop on the top followed by the pooch.  Moments later they both re-appeared and 13prepared to negotiate the climb down.  I shouted up if he wanted to pass the dog to me while he climbed down and he agreed.  I ran back up the hill to carry out my good deed of the day, but as I approached the bloke had shimmied down and as I got within a few metres, the dog took a brave leap off the top to land in its owners hands.  Brave pooch!

Our pace picked up as we began to hear the trickle of Scandale Beck as we headed to Low Sweden Bridge and into the ground of Nook End farm and tarmac.  Kel’s mobile rang and I heard her discussing food, it could only be Alison (sister) on the other end.  The small road took us down the back of what looked like ‘halls’ for the university building which is opposite the nick, eerrrm sorry, police station.  These digs looked nice, Ambleside must be a great place to study, and the views must very inspirational.

15The route was nearly at an end and all we had to do is walk up the main road back to Rydal but not before we had a very important visit to make, the Golden Rule!  I love this little pub, the staff are canny and it’s quite welcoming.  As I watched Kel snort her pint of cider I refolded my maps and placed them nice and neat in my daysack.  I wrung out my buff and finished my pint, being watched closely by my wife who’d finished her pint about five minutes ago.  We decided to just make it one drink and walk back to the car which was still a good mile away.  Ambleside looked packed, well it was Friday and the crowds were building and it was coming alive for another weekend being packed with tourists.  Ha, I make myself laugh sometimes, I live in Durham but don’t consider myself a tourist when I visit the lakes but obviously I am.  There have been times when we’ve been driving through Keswick and it’s been absolutely ramming with people wandering across the roads in front of cars.  I’ve forgotten how many times little Miss Short Fuse has blasted some poor unexpected holiday maker for crossing in front of our little Aygo near the Booths 16crossing (we all know it) shouting “FFS tourists do my head in!”  It seems just because we’re here for the fells, we’re not tourists!

We arrived back at the car thinking of our tea, the drive back to Outgate and a warm welcome from 8 stone of German Shepherd who will no doubt have his well gnarled piece of stick covered in dog snot.  On arrival we weren’t disappointed as the big daft hound came bounding over with wagging tail and ‘the stick’.

17Ok, I’ve bored you enough but I have to finish on one note.  If you’re thinking of doing this route and when planning you think, “nah, we don’t need two maps” and just go up with OL7 tucked into your daysack.  Please think again, the top of Fairfield is quite a big expanse and it’s easy to lose your bearings at the top.  For the space it takes, pop OL5 into your daysack unless your familiar with the mountain as it will, especially if the cloud drops, get you down the right route, if you can use a compass that is!