Monday Mini-Adventure

The sun has been shining! Time for a mini-adventure to try out our ‘new-to-us’ tents before deciding which one I will take to Arran. With Teen 2 along for the adventure we headed up to Hodge Close, near Coniston. An intersting and slightly spooky old quarry which we’ve been to a few times before but we’d never been up to the two little reservoirs just above the quarry itself. What a great place! The pictures can tell you the rest…

P.s. think the blue ‘Lightwave’ tent wins the honour of being my home for a week on Arran! Not quite a stealth wild camp tent but feels so much roomier than the Banshee and is lighter in weight.

The Dovedale Round – Wainwrights, Birketts, Hewitts and Nuttalls (and lots of swearing!)

More recently I’ve shied away from doing any higher level walks due to health and worry about keeping up with other people (I’m a plodder!) So when a group of Home Ed friends said they were doing The Dovedale Round I wasn’t convinced. However, Teen 2 decided he wanted to give it a go, and being assured it wasn’t too steep, off we went.

Of course, if I’d been a bit more sensible, I would have checked the contour lines on the map beforehand but maybe that would have put me off completely!

We followed this route description (Walklakes – Dovedale Round) but did it backwards, so in theory we had the steepest part first and then a nice gentle wander along the ridge on the way back (yes, this was advised by the same person who said it wasn’t too steep!) The route takes in High Hartsop Dodd, Little Hart Crag, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Hartsop Above How, Gale Crag and a few other lumps and bumps – 5 Wainwrights, 6 Birketts, 3 Hewitts and 3 Nuttalls…phew, no wonder it was tough!

The younger and fitter ones in the group seemed to have boundless energy and made it look easy while I had resorted to counting 40 steps, stopping, 40 steps, stopping (my strategy for coping with tough hills!) There were a few choice words along the way muttered descreetly to myself. The really steep descent on a loose stone path at the end was almost my breaking point – but WE DID IT!

The sun had shone all day, not a drop of rain, just a cold wind on the tops so almost perfect walking weather. The views were absolutely amazing and getting up high was fantastic, even through all the pain! After all the moaning and groaning, I’m really glad we did it, just goes to show how much more our bodies are capable of than we think they are. Teen 2 was a star, always checking back with me to make sure I was ok, making sure I knew about loose rocks and wet slippery bits.. proud mum moments!

Down but not out…

I haven’t been out much this last week or so, the weather has been pants here and work seems to have taken over my life! When the sun has decided to put in an appearance it’s usually been on days when I’ve had to be taxi-driver for the teenagers. All in all, frustrating and I’m tired and grouchy (had you guessed!?)

Anyway…a quick update on how I’m getting on with getting bits and pieces for doing the Arran Coastal Walk in May. Firstly I’ve picked up a nearly new Down 2-3 season sleeping bag which is fantastic and a nearly new pair of Craghoppers Kiwi Pro-Stretch trousers which are as comfy as all the ladies who rave about them said they were! I have a new pair of walking shoes (don’t really like boots) from Karrimor on their way and I’ve decided I really need another tent…3kg is just too much weight to carry. The rucksack we have is not ideal but this will have to be last on my list of things I can afford, so that would be a bonus.

So, things are ticking over, my birthday is in three days so fingers crossed a tent appears!!

Staveley – Potter Tarn and Gurnal Dubs Circular

It’s been amazing weather in the Lake District this week so after being inspired by the brilliant film ‘My Big White Thighs’ I decided this was my chance to get in early with a wild swim, walking up to a tarn that had been recomended by a friend.

The first part of the walk is a bit of a climb and I’d woken up feeling decidedly rough and wobbly. I know I said in my last post that I would take enjoyment over endurance anyday, but I guess sometimes endurance wins, or maybe just my pure bloody minded stubbornness!! It was a struggle but I was determined to get that swim at the top.

Up and Over…

With a bit of quiet swearing and a lot of self motivating(!), I made it up to Potter Tarn and had the place to myself while I had a drink and listened to the birds. This tarn has an interesting concrete dam which you can clamber up on. Apparently this supplies Croppers Paper Mill in Burneside and the present water level is around half of it’s 1990 level, which is when the dam was lowered. The outflow runs down to Ghyll Pool further down the hill and then goes on to Croppers.

I reached Gurnal Dubs just as another swimmer was donning their wetsuit (ha ha wetsuit??). She insisted it was lovely so the game was on. I found a secluded spot and was just about to whip my leggings off when she appeared around the bend with her partner following her along the bank… nearly got more than they bargained for!! After a little chat they went back to their beach and I swiftly changed and went in for a dip. .. oh my lordy, lordy it was COLD!! I did manage to swim for about five- ten minutes but then I stupidly decided to dunk my head under … I’m sure my brain froze for a second, I’m so glad I had my woolly hat when I made a quick exit. Amazingly though I did feel better than I had all morning!

Beautiful Gurnal Dubs
Woolly Hat – Forced grin!
Mini Trangia behaved itself today – hot drink needed!

A hot noodle pot and hot coffee later and I headed back down to take the Dales way back to Staveley (another little bit done!) This is a lovely part of the Dales Way running right alongside the river.

A shaky start but ended up being a great day, so glad I carried on.

The whole walk route can be found here: Staveley Tarns Circular

Dales Way – Bowness to Staveley.

Well, I wasn’t actually planning to do the Dales Way … It just so happens that this is one of the closest Long Distance Walks to us and happened to be a good place to be dropped off on Mr Gnomead’s route to work. Ok, I only did the first bit but I’m thinking that maybe I’ll carry on and do the rest in stages and see how I get on. I’ve started from where most people finish so I’ll be doing it back to front (not literally!)

Todays walk was from Bowness to Staveley (about 7’ish miles) with a stop to try out a new-to-me stove, which I’ll write another post about later. The whole route on this section was pretty well sign-posted and the only time I really needed my map was to figure out where I was along the route rather than finding the way. Most paths were obvious and easy to follow with some road walking (quiet lanes) so a pleasant walk with some great views. I’ll let the pictures do the talking …

Blowing out the cobwebs.

We’ve had a few days of being away with other Home Ed families in snowy Wales and all managed to come back with coughs and colds… it’s a very sharing community! So after days of feeling grotty and being stuck in the house sniffing and coughing we ventured out to one of our favourite beaches. I’ve always loved beachcombing and this particular beach is great for finding sea-glass but not when the tide is in!! Oops… didn’t check the tide times. There was still a little bit of beach left untouched by waves and the tide was on it’s way out so we wandered along and clambered up the rocks to watch the waves crash in.

Almost tropical…

A few bits of seaglass and a broken bucket and bag of rubbish later, we headed for a hot chocolate in the little cafe nearby. Well worth the effort of getting out of the house.