Friday, 30 November 2012

The Hundredth Post

I was just doing a little bit of tidying up in the admin section here when I noticed that I now have 99 live posts on the blog, so I thought I'd use post number 100 to say a big thank you to all of you that keep coming back to visit.

The Lakes

My readership is going up and up and it is a huge encouragement to keep going. Of course it's not just about numbers but the main thing is quality and I hope that your return visits means that you are enjoying the walks, thoughts and opinions I write on here not to mention the photos of our fantastic countryside.

The Dales

I live in a great part of the world, being in close proximity to the North York Moors, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District - not much chance of getting bored around here!

North York Moors

So once again, here's to you, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the next 100, cheers!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Changing Landscape

Isn't it funny whe you refer to something as being "as old as the hills" and well - what if the hills aren't as old as they seem? The landscape around us is constantly changing, and not just with the spread of urban development.

Cow Green reservoir

I thought of today's post when I had a look through a 1966 booked by Alan P. Binns entitles "Walking The Pennine Way" that my dad kindly sent to me.

When I turned to the map showing the section from Langdon Beck to Dufton I wondered where on earth Cow Green reservoir had gone?!  Of course the reservoir was only created from 1967 to 1971 hence it not appearing on the map. Similarly the reservoirs around Baldersdale, much maligned by Alfred Wainwright on his Pennine journey were being created as the author here writes,

 "You may be confused here as a new reservoir has been made to the west of Birk Hat and is not shown on the seventh edition of the O.S. map." (referring to the 1 in. O.S. Sheet 84, Teesdale)

Pretty much all of my favourite walking places have been created as a result of man's intervention on the landscape. Roseberry Topping in the North York Moors owes its unique silhouette to a collapse of its summit in 1912. This has been partly attributed to ironstone and alum mining activity that was taking place at the time.

Roseberry Topping

The mining industry of time gone by has also had an incredible impact - Swaledale has been scarred by its leadmining past and coppermines have been bored through the fells of the Coniston range in Southern Lakeland like holes in a Swiss cheese.

old mine entrance on Coniston

I think that man will never truly conquer nature - when mankind moves along having exhausted the mines or found another project to work on - slowly the landscape is reclaimed by the flora and fauna. Even features which are plonked onto the landscape become an integral part of the countryside and even enhance the experience - such as when the breathtaking Ribblehead viaduct comes into sight when walking in the Limestone Country in the Dales

Ribblehead Viaduct

I suppose man's impact on the landscape is always going to be a hotly debated issue, such as the arguments raging up and down the country concerning the impact wind farms have on the countryside. But it is interested to see how the industrial marks of one era become the listed buildings and sites of historic interest for the next.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Castlerigg Stone Circle

If there is one list that will probably never be exhausted, it is "Things to do in the Lake District". Quite often it's the cause of a bit of a dilemma - on a quick weekend in the Lakes you want to cram in as much as you can, but you also don't want to rush things! Fell walking shouldn't really be rushed as there is always so much to take in, but sometimes time is a luxury you don't have.

My recent broken ankle has put paid to strenuous walks for the future months, but this has given me a chance to look at some of the walks that might get overlooked. This time around I made a trip to Castlerigg Stone Circle - one which has long been on the list. I originally visited Castlerigg back on my first visit to the Lake District with Crag Rat Rainer. Back then we weren't particularly in tune with navigation and so we chose short walks, relying on 50p leaflets from the Moot Hall. Well times may have changed and a leaflet will now set you back 95p, but the fells, lakes and sights are all still there.

Setting off from Keswick along the road towards woods surrounding Brockle Beck we were immediately rewarded with views of Derwentwater and the Newlands fells across the lake, these views just got better and better with every step upwards.

As with lots of the walks around Keswick this one offers plenty of variety. After pausing to say hello to the friendly highland cattle at Springs Farm we took the path heading up through the woods, before heading out across the fields behind Castlerigg campsite. I was surprised to see a fair amount of tents and caravans out in mid October!

From here there were great views over towards the Dodds and the Helvellyn range, and back over to Latrigg and the Skiddaw fells.

After crossing the A591 we headed along a little lane, with the stone circle not yet visible but just beyond. The views here were beautifully framed by the great bulk of Blencathra in the distance.
Soon enough the stile in the stone wall pointed towards the stones, and finally we had arrived at Castlerigg Stone Circle.

I guess you have to arrive either very early or very late to have the place to yourself, but when we arrived there were only a couple of people there. You would have thought that the handful of souls there would have a bit of consideration for the views and pictures that the others wanted to take, but one person evidently thought he was the only one in the world, and stood in the centre of the stones for an eternity, seemingly oblivious of the others stood not far away waiting patiently for him to move. Grrr!

Castlerigg is a pretty enchanting place, perched away from civilisation just far enough from Keswick to make it feel like it inhabits a world of its own. It occupies a beautiful platform stuck between various groups of fells and as well as offering amazing views it is a great place to be.