The Lake District – World Heritage Site Status

20090913-03_Ullswater Reflections

The Lake District – World Heritage Site Status

I’ve often been asked where my fave place is in the UK to walk/visit … and there are many places I love, such as The Yorkshire Dales, Peak District (White Peak and Dark Peak), Cotswold Hills and Villages, South West Coast Paths and Moors, Malverns, Welsh Border Country, Snowdonia, Black Mountains/Brecon Beacons, Pembroke, etc., etc., etc., …. but ultimately it’s The Lake District that’s really got my heart. As I turn off the M6 heading to Kendal (South Lakes) or Keswick (North Lakes) there’s a little bit of me comes alive, as if that part of me is left dormant when-ever I’m not there.

Well now UNESCO have recognised The Lake District as a World Heritage Site, confirming what I’ve always known from my first visit as a teenager all those years ago. Here’s a passage from their web-pages :-

The English Lake District

“Located in northwest England, the English Lake District is a mountainous area, whose valleys have been modelled by glaciers in the Ice Age and subsequently shaped by an agro-pastoral land-use system characterized by fields enclosed by walls. The combined work of nature and human activity has produced a harmonious landscape in which the mountains are mirrored in the lakes. Grand houses, gardens and parks have been purposely created to enhance the beauty of this landscape. This landscape was greatly appreciated from the 18th century onwards by the Picturesque and later Romantic movements, which celebrated it in paintings, drawings and words. It also inspired an awareness of the importance of beautiful landscapes and triggered early efforts to preserve them.”

The words hardly do justice to the beauty of the place, especially when you get away from the “honeypot” touristy places, into the high places, the quiet places and remote places. It’s always beautiful there, but as the wettest place in England you have to take the “rough with the smooth” – however, when the sun shines and with blue skies, the place is just magnificent.

If you’ve never visited The lake District and especially never walked there, I’d say go, do it, high level or low level, it’s great place to walk, view, take photo’s, and well just get away from it all.

TTFN for now,
Gary

20110923_Pre-amble to Robinson-Hindscarth Horseshoe Walk

20110923_Pre-amble to Robinson-Hindscarth Horseshoe Walk

When : 23rd September 2011

Who : Me and my sister Janet

Where : Newlands Valley, Lake District, Cumbria, England

Distance : Approx  10.7 km (6.6 miles)

Heights climbed : Approx 770m (2527ft)

20110923_Robinson + Hindscarth Circular Walk from Little Town - Newlands ValleyCar Parking : Just outside Little Town, small car park near bridge over Newlands Beck.

Summary : The first of three circular walks in the superb English Lake District, Starting in Little Town in the Newlands Valley, walking to the top of Robinson, then a bit of a drop and rise to the top of Hindscarth before dropping back into the Newlands Valley, having a mug of Tea at Low Snab Farm (at the foot of the mountain) before returning to the car and the drive round to Borrowdale via Newlands Hause (pass) and Honister Pass.

Just a few pic’s are included from the walk …. just to whet your appetite really – more on the main walks diary … also, click on a pic’ and it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream.

I’ll not scribble too much of a preamble to the walk as I’ve done a degree of that on my other diary “20110923-25_Lake District Long Weekend – An Overview”. So suffice to say, I’d left home in Rugby, picked up my sister Janet just down the road in Coventry early enough to join the M6 before rush-hour had really got going through Birmingham. As it happened, the traffic, although 20110923-08 (B+W)_Me on Robinson by gary.haddenflowing OK, was quite busy, so we decided to use the M6 Toll road to bypass “Brum”. The cost does seem to be extortionate for the length of road but because of that, there are hardly any trucks and car use is quite light, so speeds are good and you feel that you’re making progress north rather than crawling through the second city. And let’s be honest the bits of Brum’ the M6 passes through are quite ugly, the toll road is much more pleasant on the eye.

The journey was pretty uneventful, just the weather was a bit on the damp and claggy side of good. As we passed Lancaster and caught that first glimpse of the Lake district in the far distance, there was a small sense of disappointment – All the fells were shrouded in cloud, and as we headed past The Howgill Fells and up towards Shap we got rain and low cloud – It wasn’t boding well for today’s walk. However as we crested the rise over the top of Shap and started the drop towards our exit at 20110923-10_On Robinson_Crummock Water + Loweswater Behind by gary.haddenJunction-40 at Penrith there were signs of brightness trying to break through – giving us hope things were going to improve.

As always, the drive down the A66 lifted the spirits even further; I just adore this road; the approach towards and then beneath the flanks of Blencathra is just superb and the vistas opening up over Keswick to the northern fells and mountains give me a real sense of excitement. In common with the A591 passing Kendal into south Lakeland, driving down the A66 flicks a little switch in my heart reigniting a little bit of me that stays dormant for the rest of the time. It’s as if part of me has “come alive” again.

20110923-13_Sunburst over Scarth Gap Pass by gary.haddenAnyway, we drove past Keswick, to branch off the A66 at Portinscale to follow minor roads south through the lovely Newlands Valley eventually passing through the little settlement of Little Town nestling under the craggy flanks of Cat Bells and Maiden Moor. Just to the south of Little Town is a small rough surfaced car park immediately before Chapel Bridge, but by the time we’d arrived this was chock-a-block with vehicles and a line of cars had already filled in much of the 20110923-18_View North from Hindscarth by gary.haddenroad side opposite as well – I just about managed to squeeze in at the end of this line tucking in as close to the fence as physically possible and we donned boots, coats and hoisted ruck-sacks onto backs. We’d arrived – Our Brother and Sister, Annual, Lake District, Long-Weekend, Walking Trip had begun !!!!

Now, I can start writing about the walk … but it’ll probably be best to start a new diary entry for that. I hope I’ve whetted your appetite to read more … so please go see “ 20110923_Robinson-Hindscarth Horseshoe Walk_Newlands Valley“.

…. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome.

T.T.F.N. Gary

20110923_Robinson-Hindscarth Horseshoe Walk_Newlands Valley

20110923_Robinson-Hindscarth Horseshoe Walk_Newlands Valley

20110923_Robinson + Hindscarth Circular Walk from Little Town - Newlands Valley  When : 23rd September 2011

  Who : Me and my sister Janet

  Where : Newlands Valley, Lake District, Cumbria, England

  Distance : Approx  10.7 km (6.6 miles)

  Heights climbed : Approx 770m (2527ft)

 Car Parking : Just outside Little Town, small car park near bridge over Newlands Beck.

Summary : The first of three circular walks in the superb English Lake District, Starting in Little Town in the Newlands Valley, walking to the top of Robinson, then a bit of a drop and rise to the top of Hindscarth before dropping back into the Newlands Valley, having a mug of Tea at Low Snab Farm (at the foot of the mountain) before returning to the car and a drive round to Borrowdale via Newlands Hause (pass), Buttermere and Honister Hause (Pass).

If you click on a pic’ and it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream.

You can go straight into the text below that describes the walk, but if you want you could go see my earlier diaries of “20110923-25_Lake District Long Weekend – An Overview“ and “20110923_Pre-amble to Robinson-Hindscarth Horseshoe Walk“ which both give a bit of back-ground to the weekends walking.

So, we’d arrived at the car-park at Chapel Bridge just south of Little Town and got ourselves ready for the walk, hoisted ruck-sacks onto our backs and set off crossing the small road bridge and then almost immediately turning left into a tarmac’d driveway. After a few hundred yards the track divides; one route turns left, south, towards Low Snab, but our route was to carry straight on (westwards) bu20110923-01_Newlands School (nr Little Town) by gary.haddent not before stopping briefly to read the plaque on the wall of the chapel/old school house attractively positions within dry-stone walls and a group of trees just starting to turn to their autumn colours.

Although overcast, conditions were dry and our pace was reasonably good taking advantage of the level terrain and tarmac surface. As pleasant as the surrounding are here in the valley bottom, my gaze was constantly being drawn 20110923-02_Hindscarth + Robinson from Newlands Valley by gary.haddento the view on our left. The nearest fell (Scope End) sticks out into the valley here abruptly rising towards the skies. This would be our descent route off Hindscarth later in the day but our current route was to rise up Robinson via High Snab Bank and this ridge line could be seen slightly set-back and to the right of the scene. The step of Blea Crag rose up into the cloud base and we hoped this would lift as the day progressed; I like the sense of achievement of reaching the tops but it really is so much better if you can get some views along the way.

20110923-04_Path up onto High Snab Bank - Newlands by gary.haddenThe driveway, curving round to the left, led us up to the oddly named Low High Snab where we’d gained enough height to afford some views back over The Newlands Valley. We’d sufficiently warmed up enough by now (it hadn’t rained either), to stow our waterproofs in our sacks and then continue onwards the walled track, now pretty much contouring on the hill side heading into The Scope Beck Valley. After a short distance, where the right hand wall turns directly up the fell side, we chose to turn right (leaving the track), to climb steeply on a grassy path cutting a very visible line through an extensive area of bracken, passing a stand of conifer trees along the way. 20110923-05_View South over Little Dale from High Snab Bank by gary.haddenThe views behind us rapidly opened up, giving an excuse for several “breathers” as the exertion levels rose. It didn’t take long though to reach the top of the ridge (“High Snab Bank”) and the grassy, pretty much level path, made for some easy walking with views in all directions although the temperature had dropped enough for us to put coats back on.

20110923-06_Climbing ridge to Robinson above Scope Beck Valley by gary.hadden

20110923-07_Climbing through Crag Line on ridge to Robinson by gary.haddenAhead of us, the ground now climbed steeply although not difficult underfoot, that was until we reached a particularly awkward crag line necessitating the use of hands to clamber up, I guess what you’d call a mini-scramble. One problem was what to do with our walking poles which sort of just got in the way – Perhaps we should of stowed the on our sacks to help! There might have been a different, less-difficult route, but I didn’t see an alternative path circumventing the way we took, but anyway we 20110923-11 (B+W)_On Robinson_Crummock Water + Loweswater Behind by gary.haddenmade it and the route continued it’s climb fairly uneventfully from this point on.

As with most walks of this nature, the climb can be a bit of a slog at times, especially in cloud restricting the view, but luckily the cloud base rose as we did, a cool stiffish breeze helping keep some views open, all we had to do was negotiate the several “false tops” until we reached the broad summit. Although the high tops around us were still shrouded in the uniform grey and 20110923-12_Sunburst over Scarth Gap Pass by gary.haddenuninteresting clouds, we were rewarded with some decent enough views to have made it all worthwhile. I think we’d been very fortunate, as it could quite easily have gone the other way and fogged in on us.

The wind was quite chilly though, so we didn’t hang around very long before moving off again, at first to the south but then swinging left to descend quite quickly picking up a path down the side of a wire fence. This was leading us down to the broad saddle of Littledale Edge. The wind was quite stiff and decidedly cold but not so much that it prevented us admiring the views over to Scarth Gap and up Gatesgarthdale to Honister Pass. I tried to capture some sun-bursts breaking through the cloud cover like huge spot lights lighting up the fell sides, not easy in the cold blustery conditions! …. Still, I like some of the resulting images.

20110923-14_Highlighted Honister Pass from  Robinson Crag by gary.haddenOnce we started to climb from the low point of the saddle, the path diverged, the most distinct path heading up towards Hindscarth Edge and Dale Head, but our route (on the less distinct path) swung around to the left cutting diagonally up and across contours on the way to the broad summit of Hindscarth. Thankfully we were slightly sheltered from the wind on the rise across the fell making the going relatively easy despite the added exertion of the climb. The respite was 20110923-17_Shelter Cairn on Hindscarth by gary.haddenquite short lived though, because as we crested the top, the ‘breeze’ picked again. One good result of this was that the cloud that had been hanging around the top all day, had been blown off the top and allowed us to get some half-decent views. This was most notable to the north as we started to drop off northwards along a lovely ridge. A horseshoe shaped shelter cairn allowed us to take a refreshment stop and enjoy the vistas in relative comfort.

20110923-20_View North from Hindscarth by gary.haddenIt had to be done; We had to move off again and start losing height, which is always a struggle for me as I like being up on the high ground!

The descent off Hindscarth though is down a ridge heading north with a distinct but not overly eroded path with great views all the way to the very end.

  • To the east there’s the upper reaches of The Newlands Valley and across to the High Spy, Maiden Moor and Cat Bells Ridge.
  • To the west, there’s Robinson, seen across the bowl of Littledale and the ridge we’d climbed earlier in the day including Blea Crag and High Snab Bank.
  • Also to the west, beyond the Hindscarth ridge is the mass of the North Western Fells which today were looking very dark and foreboding with an entirely separate feel to the rest of the surrounding hills and mountains.
  • And, to the north, a huge view right down the Newlands Valley to The Skiddaw and Blencathra massifs, a glimpse of Derwent water and Keswick all framed by closer fells such as Cat Bells and Causey Pike – Superb !

20110923-21_Descending off Hindscarth by gary.hadden

20110923-22_Scope Beck Valley from Crags on Scope End by gary.haddenAs we followed the lovely winding path down the ridge the afternoon sun decided to show itself, casting shadows and warming up the colours, from the browns of bracken, to the multicolored hues of the rocks, purples of heather and lush greens of the valley bottoms.

20110923-23_Scope End to Newlands Valley + Cat Bells etc by gary.haddenThis is what we’d come for: –

  • YES the sense of achievement on reaching the tops.
  • YES to the high rugged scenery.
  • YES to the time spent with my sister (hopefully she feels the same way too).
  • YES to the camaraderie of meeting fellow walkers (although very few met today).
  • And YES to just the sheer beauty of the place! I just love it here!!!

20110923-24_Newlands School + Valley from Scope End by gary.haddenUp until now my knees had stood up to the rigours of the day quite well, but as we dropped through some of the steeper crag-lines, I could feel the strain a little (see my earlier diary for an explanation) and was now very glad I’d walked with two walking poles, as they helped enormously, and then all too soon we were down, reaching the intake wall as Scope End meets the farmland of the Newlands Valley and Low Snab Farm in particular.

20110923-25_Pots of Tea_Low Snab Farm-Newlands Valley by gary.haddenI’d already reminisced with Janet about a walk I’d done many years before, where the farm served mugs of tea from their back door, and I’d wondered if they were still doing this all these years later. So upon reaching the intake wall, we turned right, followed the path round in a curve and reached a track where it emerges from the farmyard. Lo and behold, there perched on the dry stone wall was (painted on a piece of lakeland slate) a sign saying “POTS OF TEA” …. and that did sound rather inviting.

As we walked past the farm buildings, a lady (of mature years) appeared from the back door and she was delighted when we asked if tea was being served. She directed us back up the drive to a set of plastic table and chairs in an open barn 20110923-26_Newlands School (nr Little Town) by gary.haddencum storage shed cum work-shop (probably the messiest “cafe” I’d ever sat in. The tea promptly arrived on a tray and the lady stood chatting for a while, before pulling up another chair for her to continue with the almost completely one-sided conversation. I think we got her life story, the changing state of farming, what her offspring were doing with their lives and that most English of subjects – The weather. I guess we must have been there about half-an-hour before raising ourselves for the final mile down the farm drive to meet our outward route at the old school house/chapel and then back to the car park.

The final part of the day was to drive round to Borrowdale and the youth hostel at Longthwaite near Rosthwaite. Just because I love the route, I chose to take the road over Newlands Hause (a Pass) passing Moss Force (waterfall) on the way, before dropping down to the little chapel on the outskirts of Buttermere Village. From here I took the road left past Buttermere Youth Hostel along the northern side of Buttermere Lake to Gatesgarth Farm and then the spectacular rise up through Gatesgarthdale (we’d looked down on here from above during the walk). However, before the climb, at Gatesgarth Farm we made an unscheduled stop to pick up a hitch hiker (obviously a hill walker) … it turned out he had been unable to keep up with his group on their walk and had dropped down off the hills to pick up the little bus that runs through here – only he’d missed the last one, stranding him on the wrong side of Honister Hause Pass! Honister Hause (in my opinion, one of the best passes in the Lake District you can drive over) is not a route to walk, especially at dusk, so we played The Good Samaritan (poor analogy really, but you know what I mean) and he jumped in the back seat of the car with his ruck-sack.

At the top of the pass is the famous, still working, Honister Slate Mine and another Youth Hostel (descriptively called Honister Hause Youth Hostel). The descent is superb as well and soon brought us to the head of Borrowdale at Seatoller, and it was then only a matter of minutes before we dropped off our impromptu passenger and then turned off down a narrow drive to reach Borrowdale Youth Hostel by the banks of the River Derwent.

Unfortunately, we were too late to book for their evening meal, so this necessitated a walk up the lanes to Stonethwaite, where the hotel/pub (The Langstrath Country Inn I think) managed to squeeze us in to their restaurant for a satisfying meal and a well earned pint of excellent beer; A really good end to a day on the fells.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and photo’s …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel very welcome.

T.T.F.N. Gary