Thursday, 10 November 2011

Binsey - the Lake District's Outer Limits

A recent trip to Carlisle for punk rock purposes meant mainly one thing for me - a small diversion over to the Lake District and a chance to tackle another Wainwright fell. As I only had a limited amount of time this wasn't the occasion for a major excursion, and there was miserable weather forecast. With this in mind I decided to tackle Binsey.

This marks the northern end of the Lake District, as beyond Binsey lie the plains of Cumbria that stretch to the Solway Firth. As far as fells are concerned, this is no giant, but it's remote position means it offers an excellent panorama of Back O' Skiddaw, and over to the west Bassenthwaite Lake and the North Western Fells beyond.

Finding a parking space proved to be the first challenge, and eventually I had to change the route I had planned. This meant a shorter walk than planned, as I finally parked up at Binsey Lodge. The path here was impossible to miss and even a map wasn't needed.

looking back across Overwater to the Uldale Fells

I simply had to follow the wide grassy track that led all the way to the summit in a more or less straight line. It was a good thing that I didn't need the map as it meant that stayed nice and dry, unlike my now battered copy of Wainwright's Northern Fells.

Bassenthwaite Lake and the North Western Fells

As always each step upwards was rewarded with a widening panorama, this time stopping and turning around gave a great view of the moody Northern Fells, the tops covered by the low cloud.

I was keen to get to the top sooner rather than later as the clouds were threatening rain. It started spitting when I was about halfway up, and it was pouring down when I made it to the summit.

The rocky plateau of the summit made quite a surprise after the grassy slopes of the ascent. There are a number of sizeable cairns as well as an Ordnance Survey trig column. Despite the bad weather I sat in the summit shelter, and read from my guide book.

Seeing a mountain rescue helicopter fly past was a reminder that even smaller fells offer a challenge and shouldn't be underestimated.

I then walked over to the northern cairn and in doing so was really at the northen tip of the Lake District! I then decided to head westwards to get a panoramic view of Bassenthwaite Lake. I got absolutely drenched heading over the fell, and when I got to where I thought I would have the view, the whole scenery was covered in cloud and drizzle and there was nothing to see. With the rain pouring down and wind howling it was time to make a hasty retreat to the car and my well earned lunch before heading northwards. Sitting in the car, soaked and cold, eating damp sandwiches, I still had a smile on my face. The Lake District tends to have that effect on you.

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