Saturday, 22 January 2011

Best of 2010 Part One - Loughrigg & Silver How

Roseberry Topping was a bit of a one-off - the walking season hasn't officially started for us yet.
To bridge the gap between posts I am going through my old photos to bring you a couple of highlights from 2010.
I will start off with the most important walk of the year - one that I did with an engagement ring for Claire burning a hole in my pocket nearly all the way! I finally gave her the ring just outside one of Wordsworth's former residences - Dove Cottage, Grasmere. It may have rained all the way after that but somehow we didn't notice it.

Our route took us from Ambleside up to Loughrigg and then over to Silver How with views of Grasmere and Rydal Water accompanying us all the way. The start of the walk from Ambleside via Rothay Park needs little or no navigational skills:

Its a pleasant enough walk through the park with Loughrigg firmly in sight ahead of you and some good views of the Fairfield horseshoe with leads off to the north.

Following a stretch of road that gets steep very quickly, the road soon gives way to track, although there are still a few very attatracive properties dotted along the way until you reach National Trust land. Again navigation is as easy as you like, with the occasional signpost telling you to follow the wall. By this point you have already gained a fair height and the walking is very pleasant underfoot

Closer to the summit it becomes a mess of paths crossing each other and heading in all direction. There are also a number of summits, including the prominent Ivy Crag which I had mistaken for the summit whilst on a previous walk with my crag rat buddy Rainer. From Ivy Crag you get great views over towards Windermere lake. Ten more minutes of walking are needed to take you to the true summit. It was very windy so we didn't stay there as long as we may have wanted to. We did enjoy this view down to Loughrigg Tarn and the Coniston range in the distance.

Looking westwards we were rewarded with a good view of the Langdale Pikes. I am looking forward to exploring those fells hopefully later this year.

After crossing the summit plateau we headed northwards. At this point I had originally planned for us to simply come back down the north side of Loughrigg and return to Ambleside walking alongside the water, but we had made good time and the weather was still on our side, so we decided to carry on towards another fell, Silver How. We stopped to enjoy the views of Grasmere and surrounding fells.

This was when the weather decided to turn against us, and the occasional drops of rain  quickly became a steady downpour. Not to be outdone, we tested our waterproof jackets, and they did a great job in keeping us, maps and guidebook all dry. No so our cheap and not so cheerful boots, which soaked up as much water, mud and bog as they physically could!  It was a muddy struggle with huge patches of bog at times stretching out ahead of us and no way of carrying on without getting soaked. Having come through the trees and over a few hills we now had Silver How in view ahead of us and what appeared to be a very steep route up there.

The path wasn't too steep once we got there although it involved a lot of very slippery rocks to negociate. The climb was simple enough and all of a sudden we were on the summit. We had a decent view southwards back towards Windermere and around us the fells looked very moody with clouds hugging the summits

wet and happy
We came back down the same route before heading towards Grasmere and more boggy ground to cross - feet soaked through yet again. Just before we got to Grasmere we came across what my nephew would describe as "strange nature" - this magpie harassing a sheep. The sheep would occasionally shake the stubborn bird off but it would hop a short distance away before flying onto the sheep's back again.

We had planned on getting the bus back from Grasmere but the winter timetable had come into effect, which meant we would have had a wait of over an hour. A quick look at the map and we were off again, heading towards Rydal Mount via a path called the Coffin Route. This was a lovely path to walk, and with Claire's new ring fitted perfectly on her finger, the lingering rain didn't manage to dampen any spirits.

We got to Rydal Mount just as the light was fading and in perfect time for the bus back to Ambleside.

No comments:

Post a Comment