Lake Pickering Circuit 2: Where’s my Pole?

Post 275: 19 July 2018, Circular Walk from Coneysthorpe near Castle Howard.

We were still on our ‘summer recess’ from long walks and with the hot weather persisting decided to do a local walk so as to finish before or soon after the heat of the midday sun struck us down with exhaustion.

It was with some sadness that we were transported in Alf’s second car, his ‘runaround’. It had recently passed 100,000 miles and after a joyous celebration of two minutes we were informed that it had a terminal illness and would not pass its next MOT. It had been suffering for years from a red warning light which usely means, if you continue driving, the engine will explode. However, this is not a normal car – air conditioning involves opening the windows. The red light hadn’t been a problem under the old MOT rules but, under new rules recently introduced, on its next MOT it will be seized and transported to a scrap yard in somewhere like Siberia. Given that we are keen environmentalists,  unlike Trump, and like most of us is trying to save the planet Alf has no choice but to accept the outcome. The new MOT rules are something to do with car emissions. Now we are not saying that Alf’s car doesn’t give off emissions and we agree that given that is well over 10 years old it can’t compete with the emissions of newer cars, especially VW’s where the figures were ‘doctored’. Hopefully, following huge fines in America, this has been stopped.

We turned off the A64 at the much improved junction leading towards Castle Howard. It has a reputation for being a dangerous junction if coming from Castle Howard as cars hurtle along the A64 at 70-80 mph desperate to get to the coast asap after having being stuck in traffic jams for hours around York. Our quick assessment of the junction is that it is still dangerous and so we will be returning by a different route. Highways seems to love spending a few millions on improvements that are tinkering with the  problem rather than doing a proper long term solution; yes cheaper in the short term, but not in the long term.

Arriving at Coneysthorpe we donned our boots and I started looking for my trekking pole. I remember leaving the house with it in my boot bag but it had disappeared. It is strange that when you get to a certain age inanimate objects around you suddenly begin to have a life of their own and seem to move from where you left them. We have a set of car keys in the Lake District because when visiting friends there recently I put my wives car keys down on a book for her to collect and half way back to Yorkshire we realised we hadn’t got them. After much searching by our friends they found somehow the keys had moved from the book to down the back of a sofa. Incredible. It’s a good job our friends are visiting us soon and will return them.

So without my trekking pole we headed through the grounds of Castle Howard towards the Temple of Four Winds. Apparently, the interior walls are decorated with a type of artificial marble called scagliola and Castle Howard is believed to be the first place in England where this has been used.

P1120368P1120370We continued to the New  River Bridge.P1120371From where there are fine views towards Castle Howard,P1120372 P1120373And on the other side towards the Mausoleum.P1120376The Earls of Carlisle and their families are buried in the crypt. A little further on the Pyramid came into view. This contains a large bust of Lord William Howard (1563-1640) from whom the Castle Howard branch of the Howard family originates. P1120377We then entered Pretty Wood to reach the folly of Four Faces.P1120378We  were on the route of of the previous walk and again passed King Oak. This time Geordie Caz was with us so the tree got a hug.P1120379We then went through an overgrown area which for me in shorts was a bit tricky as nettles encroached on the path. At Hutton Hill Farm we reached arable land, which was much easier to walk through. P1120380In effect we were circling the mausoleum. P1120381A bit further on Alf  looked as though he had gone to the toilet. We were in fact looking for a lunch spot. He had found a bench on which only he could sit. For some reason he looked so pleased. Only trouble was that it was in the sun and so we moved on……P1120382After lunch on a log in the woods on the Ridge of Entrenchments, where flies were a bit annoying, we headed back to the car and a temporary water pipe indicated that we were indeed in a drought. It was after midday and certainly very hot – over 25 degrees. P1120383We finally arrived home and look what I found in my garden alongside the drive! My trekking pole had  gone for an early walk and jumped out of my boot bag. As I said earlier when you get to a certain age inanimate objects find a way of moving about on their own.P1120384

Miles Walked 10.1

Steps 19,427

Calories 2558



The Inn Way – 56th Long-distance Walk Completed, Use of Bus Passes, ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the Midday Sun’, When is ‘Elevenses’, Sun Angels, Chardonnay?

Post 273: 5th June 2018, The Inn Way, Dales, Kettlewell to Grassington 

We had decided to walk the last section of the Inn Way, my 56th long-distance walk, as a linear actually using our bus passes (with the exception of Geordie Caz who is far too young to have one – there are some advantages of getting old, albeit not many) to get from Grassington to Kettlewell. We decoded the bus timetables with its various permutations:

In blue only between 7th May and 30 September, only on/in SSHs, certain buses do not stop at this bus stop, please catch the bus at the shelter (is this a World War II shelter?) etc etc.

The first bus was not until 10.15am, a bit late for us as we usually start walking by about 9-9.30am.Given that the forecast was for temperatures to be in the mid 20 degrees this had implications for later.

We arrived at the main Grassington car park and Information Centre at about 9.50am in good time, despite having to skirt around an accident a few hundred yards from home. The gents toilet were out of action, which Sid the Yorkshireman was delighted about as it saved him 20p in toilet charges. They had provided free portaloos. He even suggested Geordie Caz could use the portaloos to save 20p.  I think it is worth paying at least a 40p to avoid having to use portaloos, possibly more if I was a female.

Naively I was expecting a proper bus, but when it arrived it was a ‘volunteer’ driven bus, more like a large people carrier. There wasn’t much room for the rucksacks but we did have safety belts, unlike normal buses. We then had to wait until past 10.15am for the Skipton bus to arrive so that one person could transfer from it to our bus. A true integrated transport system. 

When we did eventually get going we drove to the square in Grassington where a car and van blocked our route. There were then endless discussions between the bus driver and the drivers of the other vehicles before we could get on our way again. It was clearly going to be a novel journey. This was confirmed when a local passenger got on and discussed all the local goings on in the area. If you want to know anything about the Grassington area just catch this bus!

Eventually, we arrived at Kettlewell and started walking at 10.40am.

We were soon ascending in warm weather. ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the Midday Sun’ came to mind. However, the views were good as we headed towards Langcliffe and Conistone Moors.

P1120287P1120288P1120289The previous day Alf had been on a walking navigation course and so we put him through the ‘Spanish Inquisition’ to see if there was anything we could learn. One thing that cropped up was how should you descend these large stiles. Facing frontwards or backwards. His course leader said facing frontwards as on turning round at the top he had seen walkers catch their rucksacks and fall off. We disagreed and thought backwards as shown by Sid the Yorkshireman below. We then discussed whether if we followed the course leaders advice and had an accident, could we sue him. However, it was decided this might not work so we decided not to sacrifice Sid the Yorkshireman. P1120290The question then arose as to when you should have ‘elevenses’, that is the coffee and banana break, given that we had started late. By 11am I was ready as having had breakfast at about 7.00am, over 4 hours earlier I was in need of a break and food, especially given the hot weather. The others wanted to carry on and complete more mileage before having a break. With missed one good viewpoint with nice soft grass but come 11.30am I went on ‘strike’ and just halted and got my banana and coffee out and said I would catch them up. I think the clue is in the title ‘elevenses’. The others reluctantly parked up and ‘Sid the Yorkshireman’ was duly punished by having thistles stuck in his foam mat. It is a brave walker who do not comply with the Chair of the Ethics Committee wishes.

We reached Capplestone Gate at just after midday where there were fine extensive views. But it was hot, well over 20 degrees.  P1120291We descended to a fine limestone pavement.P1120292 We briefly joined the Dales Way and recognised we had come this way on the first day of the Inn Way back on 19 March 2018, when we had started the walk. P1120294It was a bit different then when we had become Snow Angels! 

This time we became Sun Angels!

It was at this point that Alf decided he should postpone retirement and continue working. We then came across one of a number of well preserved examples of the industrial past of this area. This was a hint of the industrial past which we would soon come upon on a grand scale. It must have been hard manual work in both the heat of summer and the cold of winter in such an exposed location.  P1120302

P1120303We then started ascending to Bale House.P1120304P1120305Where at about 2pm, at the nearby High Barn, we stopped for lunch.

We then descended to Yarnbury and an extensive area of mine workings. It is difficult to imagine the hard industrial largely manual work that our forefathers must have endured to make Britain a rich and industrial nation. But hopefully these posters and photographs will give you a flavour.



P1120309P1120310P1120311P1120312P1120313We then descended to Hebden Beck and followed it to Hebden. P1120314At Hebden Sid the Yorksman  got his Chardonnay bottle out, swearing it was water. But when he mentioned he had gone a bit faint I did wonder. P1120315We descended further to the fine suspension bridge over the River Wharfe, where people were cooling off by swimming in the river.

The temperature increased further as we ascended the other side of the valley towards Thorpe. It was now Geordie Caz’s to have an enforced stop as her energy simply disappeared. My water was almost out too. We still had 2-3 miles to go.

Getting going again we had a long ascent and then descent to Linton and the walk had become a struggle as the heat intensified. However, Linton has an oasis in the last and 26th pub on the Inn Way, The Fountain Inn. Somewhat unusually we stopped for liquid repleshment. In my case a pint of orange squash, A sign of the hot weather!

Linton is quite picturesque.

It was now about 5pm and so we pressed on towards Grassington. We had to cross back over the River Wharfe ,which here had largely disappeared. P1120329P1120328What water was left was being made good use of by the locals to cool off.P1120324P1120325P1120331

We arrived back at the car park at about 5.15 pm and were too late for a celebratory ice-cream. My 56th long distance-walks completed. 

Miles Walked 13 

Steps 31,808

Calories 4,497

Lakeland Walks (Day 2), A Penance for Our Sins, A Good Boy, A Mountain Climbed or Not? Counting the Cost.

Post 272: 23 June 2018  Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell and High Street. 

After my fairly energetic previous day climbing Ullock Pike and Skiddaw, I would probably have benefited from a rest day, but Cumbria Man has something else in mind.

We parked in the Keswick Rugby Club car park and wandered through Keswick with the ladies heading off to the shops before agreeing to meet up with us at Mary Mount near the Lodore Falls Hotel for lunch at 2.30pm. Our lift back.

We followed the road which goes between the A5271 and the Borrowdale Road B5259 past St John’s Church and then turned right along Springs Road to cross over Brockle Beck. It looked like there had been a few gales, but not today. Not easy for someone over six foot to get under. P1120251We then ascended with Brockle Beck on our left to take a right turn to Rakefoot. We continued to ascend on open ground with fine views over Derwentwater to Cat Bells

P1120252We passed some Duke of Edinburgh participants who were administering blister pads to their feet. A fairly common sight at this time of year. A few blisters and suffering on the fells is character building so I am told! I just think it is painful and should be avoided at all costs – the blisters that is.

We kept to the wall on the right and took a path through a gate to above Walla Crag.  We could look back to Keswick and Skiddaw, which I had summited the previous day. I felt very pleased that the day I summited Skiddaw the weather had been so much clearer and sunnier. However, we were still in for a dry and warm day even if not quite so clear.

P1120256Walla Crag’s height is easy to remember at 1234 feet and  comprises a rocky, heather clad and forested area.


We returned back to the main path to Bleaberry Fell, which at 1932 feet was our next objective.  The path was dry and easy to follow, unlike many of the swampy boggy areas normally hereabouts.

P1120263We soon reached the summit cairn where, at just after midday, it was time for a late coffee and banana break, with excellent views all round. The only problem was that I had forgot to bring my coffee.


P1120269There are extensive 360 degree views from here, including of Great Cable (top middle in the photograph).P1120264 We were soon on our way to our main objective of the day High Seat. According to Wainwright the route is all swampy and is recommended only as a penance for sins. Fortunately, I had been a good boy and so the swamps weren’t that bad. Alternatively, the recent dry weather had made it acceptable. However, I could imagine with a little rain it would be a nightmare. We reached it at just before 1pm and by this time I had been ‘converted’. Not to a new religion for my sins, but to shorts as it was getting warmer.

P1120271The summit is at 1995 feet but with my extra 6 feet I think that means at least my head had climbed a mountain, which is generally regarded as being over 2,000 feet.

For those bright sparks (there are some) who say I should have climbed onto the trig pillar, I did that once when I was much younger on Pillar, but the problem is getting off again without causing injury. Even more so now I am older.  

We were now running late for our ‘meet’ with the wives and so hurried on, downhill all the way now. P1120273One final look back to the summitP1120274We descended to Ashness GillP1120276It was steep and long and the two days of walking were catching up with me. P1120277At neatly 2pm we reached Ashness Bridge, one of the most photographed scenes in LakelandP1120281P1120282It was a quick dash down to the Borrowdale Road (at this point I could have used my bus pass for the last mile or so but there was no bus) and then left past the Borrowdale Youth Hostel to Mary Mount and late lunch.P1120283 We were slightly late for our ‘meet’, but not by much. We looked for the shopping bags of the wives and counted the cost. It was much cheaper on the fells.

Miles Walked 10.7

Calories Burnt 2,993 (quickly replaced by steak pie and chips – the wives had salad!)

Steps 22,609.  















Lakeland Walks, A Woolfest, The World Cup, Villa Park, On the Edge, Great Cockup, Ullock Pike and Skiddaw, Scotland, £300 Million for a Glass of Water! Beer on the Summit of Skiddaw.

Post 272: 22 June 2018, Ullock Pike and Skiddaw (Again!)

First of all apologies for the delay in posting this and the next walk; both to regular readers (believe it or to there are one or two – actually over 9,000 reads since August  2015) and also walkers I met on these walks and promised to post photographs of the walk and fabulous views. After the walks I headed to the Midlands to take my 95 year old Mom to hospital for treatment over 5 days. The good news is that the treatment seems to have worked and there will be a review in about 6 weeks.  She is one ‘tough cookie’. The World Cup is also taking up many hours of the afternoons and nights, football and the World Cup being one of my other passions (I even attended three matches at Villa Park in the 1966 World Cup when we won!)

Two weeks after the Keswick Mountain Festival, my wife Celia and myself had been invited to stay with friends in the far west of the Lake District. The wives would be attending the Woolfest. Cumbria Man (trail name)  and myself along with hundreds of other male fell walkers decided the excitement of a Woolfest would be too much for us and we would go walking instead. What I did not know when all this was planned months ago was that the weather would be superb and probably the best I had ever walked in.

On the Friday Cumbria Man was still at work and, after pouring over maps, I decided I would go and climb Ullock Pike at 2230 feet. It is south-east of Bassenthwaite village. I had noticed its fine ridge when climbing Skiddaw up the tourist route from Latrigg two weeks earlier. This ridge is is known as the Edge and the dark peak is Ullock Pike. Wainwright describes “this slender pyramid as one of the simplest yet finest mountain forms in Lakeland”.

P1120188Parking at Bassenthwaite I was soon going through pastures with cows and calves, a little tense, particularly when walking solo. However, the already hot weather seemed to have tired them. What would it do to me?! I couldn’t use my bus pass here. P1120250I passed through Barthwaite, Hole House, Barkbeth Farm and around Barkbeth Hill through pleasant pastures. The views looked good towards Great Cockup in the west and Skiddaw to the south-east.IMG_E2781IMG_E2785P1120187P1120191Then the ascent began and Scotland, across the Solway Firth, in the far distance and Bassenthwaite Lake came into view. P1120189P1120190An unusual but natural out crop of rocks called the Watches was reached and the first good sightings of Ullock Pike (right) and Skiddaw (left) seen. P1120193P1120194I had a gradual climb towards the summit of Ullock Pike with changing views, including of the new £300 million water supply line being laid by United Utilities from Thirlmere to West Cumbria.  This is to stop water being taken from Ennerdale Water, which is now a protected wildlife habitat. It is due to be completed in 2022. if this heatwave continues I wonder if they will need water from Ennerdale and Thirlmere?! £300 million for a glass of water seems a bit steep to me. Time for a coffee break – much cheaper.

My ‘altitude training’  a few weeks ago in Bavaria (see blogs 254 to 265) was paying dividends as I was full of energy and passed two young ladies from the Leeds area.P1120200P1120201A few more puffs and fabulous views and I was at the summit of Ullock Pike. P1120203P1120206P1120207P1120210Another Woolfest husband had escaped to here. What now? With this weather there was only one thing to do –  carry on up to the summit of Skiddaw (3053 feet), which was 823 feet above me. The fourth highest peak in Lakeland, but only a little lower than the highest peak Scafell Pike (3208 feet) . There was a somewhat steep path to get there!P1120238 Even the sheep were feeling the heat at Carlside Tarn, especially with that wool coat! Just remember what the sheep (and husbands) have to put up with all you ladies at the Woolfest!

The Helvellyn range looked fabulous in the background. P1120214Views ahead, and back where I had climbed, distracted from the heavy breathing as I climbed steeply. I passed two young men descending, one of whom was hobbling on his trekking poles with a knee bandage on. Not the most encouraging sight.

Finally the summit along the ridge came into view and views towards Blencathra and the Caldbeck Fells:P1120221P1120222P1120223A quick photoshoot on the summit and it was time for lunch. It was now 1.42pm and I had started walking at about 10.30am. P1120225Of course I had booked the best table in the restaurant on my previous visit here two weeks ago, but a young couple had taken it over! P1120227However, they let me join them at the table, out of the cooling breeze. Of course they only had T shirts on, but by the time I sat down I had 4 top layers of clothing on. There is no way I will get cold over lunch.

According to

The temperature drop is 1 to 3  degrees centigrade per 1,000 feet under normal conditions?! For dry air temperature the drop is higher, saturated air the drop is more likely to be 1 degree in practice. This means that the temperature at the top of a 3,000 foot (900 metre) mountain (i.e. Skiddaw) will be at least 3 degrees centrigrade cooler than in the valley, but could be up to 9 degrees colder. A good rule of thumb is to assume 2 degrees drop per 1,000 feet (300m).

The couple were Patrick and April Brosnan, travelling from Boston, Massachusetts, but originally from Bradford in West Yorkshire and Knoxville, Tenessee.

It was their first hike in the Lake District. Well if they bring fantastic weather like this they are most welcome to come again! One of the nice things about walking, even more so solo, is that you meet people from all around the world with a similar interest in the ‘Great Outdoors’.

I read on Facebook later that April (what a lovely name) found this walk “a tough one”! How does she think I found it, especially as I couldn’t use my bus pass?!

However, they still managed a beer on the summit. All I had was Yorkshire Tea! They must have drunk the beer before I got there! She owes me a pint.

Now all I had to do was get back down this little descent! I took it very slowly as it as very steep and ‘crumbly’. P1120229P1120230I passed the two ladies I had passed earlier still ascending and encouraged them to carry on. I hope they made the summit? One was having asthma issues, which was affecting her breathing.

At the bottom of the steep descent I found a great viewpoint looking towards Keswick and Derwentwater.P1120231P1120233It was a long descent back over Ullock Pike, but in continuing good weather the views were stunning.  P1120243P1120241P1120242I dropped off the ridge to find an alternative path back to the car using a section of the Allerdale Ramble. At the junction I stopped for a rest and a nice couple asked if I wanted my photograph taken as I was solo, a nice thought.

P1120247 So I took a photograph of them too. P1120245By now the sun was dropping and creating lovely reflections on Bassenthaite Lake P1120248It was about 5.30pm by the time I got back to the car. Celia phoned me to ask where I was!

I was at the end of a fine walk in some of the best weather I had ever encountered in the Lake District.

Miles Walked 12.63

Steps 26,668

Calories Burnt 3963

The next day I was due to go to an area which Wainright described as universal swampiness…………….sounds interesting!