Thursday, 10 March 2011

Barf, Lord's Seat, Broom Fell, Graystones 5th March 2011

We managed to get back to the Lake District for some walking on the weekend of the 5th and 6th March. Seeing as it was the first Lake District walk of the season I thought we would start off with something not too strenuous.

Barf from the road

The Whinlatter Fells looked perfect, not too high, with woodland paths giving way to grassy slopes. How wrong we were. There was some kind of motorcross event happening and as a result some of the forest paths were closed to walkers, including our chosen route.

looking back across the Vale of Keswick
Not to worry I said to Claire, we can try that route up Barf via The Bishop, it's in my Wainwright guide. If i had read the note at the bottom of the page "Not a walk. A very stiff scramble, suitable only for people overflowing with animal strength and vigour." - we would have taken a different path - it was a killer! This was no walk it was full on fell scrambling and with more than a few hair raising moments.

looking back down our "path" up

Each time we reached the end of a section of the "walk" I thought it must get easier, but no - the ascent was full-on right up to the summit!

not looking any easier...

We made it up to the summit of Barf in about 45 minutes, and we certainly looked back on it as an achievement, as most of the going was near vertical. The views on the day were great though. Barf provided some great views of Skiddaw across Bassenthwaite Lake, as well as views down the Vale of Keswick.

Skiddaw over Bassenthwaite Lake from Barf summit
And the hard work was rewarded with an easy walk along the tops to Lord's Seat. As it had been cold and dry the boggy sections were fairly frozen and dry so caused no trouble to us.

Lord's Seat summit
 From Lord's Seat we were rewarded with views of Whinlatter and the fells around Grasmoor. Hazy conditions meant we couldn't really see north to the Solway Firth.

Broom Fell summit cairn
It was another easy walk over to Broom Fell - no need for maps or directions, just head for the substantial cairn in the distance. again it was easy going, no bad ground, just a pleasant walk across grassland. Broom fell gave us some good views of the Back o' Skiddaw and provided the perfect location for our lunch, spicy veg pasties from Kewsick, perfect.

The final fell of the day, Graystones was further than it looked and was a bit tougher than the previous two - still a walk in the park compared to our ascent of Barf.

looking south-westwards on the way to the summit of Graystones

There were some great views over towards Cockermouth and the last two Wainwrights of the North Western fells Ling Fell and Sale Fell as well as a view back to the North Western Fells from the edge of the plantation.

If the last few walks across the ridges made us almost forget that we were high up, the walk back down to Scawgill Bridge reminded us very quickly of that fact - it was nothing compared to the scramble up Barf but it wasn't easy by any means.

looking down from Graystones
The day ended with a walk along the Whinlatter Pass and forest road taking us back to the car, and the pubs of Keswick.

a look back to Graystones

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