Friday, 12 July 2013

Ullscarf from Rosthwaite via Greenup Edge

This walk was undertaken as part of the Wainwright Society's 2013 Challenge. The idea was for society members to walk the Coast to Coast path, and to make note of any damage to the route - blocked gates, inaccessible footpaths and that kind of thing.

Whilst there was no structural damage to the route, the day we chose was so incredibly wet that much of the path up to Greenup Edge was under water and especially the final climb up beside Lining Crag was like walking up a waterfall!

We parked up in Rosthwaite and the walk along the valley floor is a delight, following Stonethwaite Beck upstream with Eagle Crag looming ahead. We crossed a few streams as we headed up and as we made the junction of the Coast to Coast and Cumbria Way, we saw a bunch of bedraggled looking folk carrying canoes, the water seemed far too turbulent to try and ride!

From here the path continued its climb up and the views back along Borrowdale were opening up. Fortune was on our side too as the rain finally started to ease off, perhaps a little late as we were well and truly drenched by this point with feet soaked from the various streams we had to cross.

The scenery completely changed when got past the waterfalls of Greenup Gill, and all of a sudden we were in a huge upland basin, surrounded by the flanks of High Raise, Sergeant Crag and Ullscarf.

The climb up alongside Lining Crag was where we encountered the next watery hurdle and in fact here we had to rescue a lady who was stuck! She was doing the Coast to Coast and said this was the toughest section so far. Once we had seen her to safety she thanked us and told us she was very much looking forward to a large cocktail in Grasmere!

Once past Lining Crag we completed the challenge walk with a trudge through the marshy land to the top of Greenup Edge. With the rain and wind lashing our every step our plans had been to simply go up and right back down, but as the path up had been pretty treacherous we decided to descend via Watendlath, meaning we had the chance to take in a Wainwright summit.

Not that you have to twist my arm to do that. Sights set on Ullscarf, we set off across the very marshy upland, making big detours around the large amount of water that had accumulated. We had some pretty incredible views from what is meant to be the most central point in the Lake District.

Ullscarf is one of those fells that looks quite impressive from below, but the summit is a large fairly featureless  windy plateau and on this day was not a place to linger.

We headed down past Blea Tarn, along a path that although indicated on the map was not present, as we passed from one bog to the next piece of waterlogged ground. The GPS told us we were on course, but it wasn't until we were directly above Watendlath that we joined anything resembling a real footpath!

The climb down to the picturesque farm and tarn was steep, and the promise of a cuppa at the bottom was thwarted as the tea shop had just closed!

By this point the sun was out and we were drying off nicely, so the last mile or so back to Rosthwaite was a real pleasure with fantastic views all the way.

Here we made it five minuted before the tea shop closed and so could reflect on a great walk, sat in front of a fantastic view of Borrowdale, with a cuppa and a smile.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Cat Beers

It's been a while since the last beer post so I have a couple lined up for you.

Real ale is a booming business and an inspiring example of cottage industry and independent firms striking out on their own, and Claire and I have visiting a couple of great examples - the Durham Brewery and Jennings Brewery. Apart from the obvious great tasting beer, I love some of the imagination and thought that goes into the branding and packaging of independent ales. I'm an easy target in many ways and any beer that has some Lake District or Yorkshire Dales association is going to win me over every time, so I'll always pick up a bottle of  "Leyburn Shawl" or "Muker Silver" whenever I see a selection of beers from the Yorkshire Dales brewery on offer.

One other beer that catches my eye is a label with a cat on it! Any of our friends will know we have a house full of cats and Claire does some good work for the Cats Protection Society too, fostering cats in need of a new home and so this is a topic close to our hearts.
I've picked up a few "cat beers" recently and here are a few that I really like:

This first one has it all, Lake District AND cats, how could I resist?

This beer brewed by Robinsons has a cat AND my name, but at 8.5% it's not to be taken lightly.

This one isn't quite as heavy but at 6% still a strong ale.

And finally here's one from Moorhouses who have built up a range of ales that feature the mystique of Pendle Hill - and what witches tale would be complete without a black cat?