Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 March 2010 – RentaHostel at Fellside, near Caldbeck

Fellside Centre

This was home to the 26 attendees of this weekend – the YHA’s Fellside Centre, near Caldbeck.  A ‘virtual tour’ of this Georgian shooting lodge is here.

As is customary on weekends organised by Sue W, we woke on Saturday morning to rain, so whilst one group chose to head into the cloud that cloaked the fells to the north of Skiddaw, eleven of us set off on a 21 km circuit contrived by Notchy to pass by a number of hostelries.

It was ‘dreich’ as we observed various becklets heading down the slopes to give Caldbeck a good wash.

Gill Beck, for Caldbeck

Farm tracks, bridleways, and this flooded road led us on the anticlockwise circuit towards the fleshpot of Hesket Newmarket.

The road to Hesket Newmarket The Old Crown, a micro-brewery

The Old Crown pronounced itself ‘open’, but not for us, as we trailed past in the wake of our over-enthusiastic leader.  This was all too much for Sue and Martin S, who elected to amble back along the riverside via Caldbeck.

Hesket Newmarket, with hikers

Notchy led the remaining nine of us past boxing hares into this quagmire at Hall Field, before taking us alongside a quarry, beside which dire warnings encouraged us to keep to the path.

A bedraggled group in the mud by Hall Field (a farm)

As we approached another haven from the rain, coal tits twittered in the hedge, and a small tsunami just missed us as a vehicle tore past on the flooded road.

Sour Nook Inn - another pub we walked on past

The Sour Nook Inn didn’t suit Notchy, who dragged us on to a church yard in Sebergham, where he could hold court without fear of repercussions, though Ken and Anne rebelled.

Lunching in the church yard at Sebergham

The gentle route of the Cumbria Way drew us through a pleasant wooded valley beside Cald Beck, in improving weather, leading to yet another hostelry.

Another pub, another 'walk past'

“We went there last night”, asserted the Boss, who led us instead into The Old Smithy, for pots of tea and coffee for 92p each.  It turned out that various members of our party occupied this place continuously for over four hours in a sort of relay!

Dick adjusts his corset outside the cafe in Caldbeck

With tea sloshing around his interior, and his predilection to cramping up on the top of ladder stiles, Notchy took to the easy roads for his return to Fellside.  He retained just two disciples, letting the remaining six off the leash.  We strode purposely towards the heights of High Pike, steaming in the afternoon sun. 

Racing towards High Pike

Leaving that particular summit for the morrow, we soon turned west towards our destination, pausing frequently to look back across the pleasantly sunlit landscape.

Near Moor House

This was a gentle 21km, 6.5 hour stroll, including numerous halts and less than 500 metres ascent, along the thin blue line shown below.

Saturday's route - 21km, 475 metres ascent, 6.5 hours

Sunday dawned clear and sunny.  Whilst others embarked on a longer traverse of the peaks at the back of Skiddaw, six of us chose a short morning stroll up High Pike, which at 658 metres towers high above Fellside.

Various groups of children were embarking on their D of E Award training.  Jenny was keen to follow them as (she said) our leader, pictured in the distance below, seemed unable to haul his vast bulk up the gentle slope extreme incline at anything like a reasonable pace.  Anyway, as it turned out, the children couldn’t keep up with either Notchy’s blistering speed, or our supersonic pace.

It was quite cool and breezy, so elevenses were taken in the lee of the summit.  We probably needed to stop anyway, to draw breath and for Notchy to attend to his blisters.

Waiting for our leader on the ascent of High Pike

A sign at the summit tried to tell us that London was visible, over 200 miles away, but all we could see was Carrock Fell, with the Peak District beyond that blocking any chance of seeing London in today’s atmospheric conditions.

Carrock Fell, from the summit of High Pike

Richard and Jenny tried their x-ray specs, but they couldn’t even see Carrock Fell.  We look happy enough, though…

A mottley crew huddle on the spiky 1658 metre summit

We descended by a similar route under hungry buzzards, observing groups of milling children, lolloping lurchers and sunny vistas.

The view to Dale Beck and beyond

And finally to Fellside, where, locked out after our sojourn had ended on Sunday morning, we enjoyed a picnic lunch on the….picnic bench.

Returning to Fellside

Here’s our 7km route, taking just over 2 hours and involving an energy sapping 385 metres of ascent according to Mr Anquet.

Our route up High Pike - 7 km, 385 metres ascent, 2.2 hours

There’s a short captioned slide show (37 images) here for anyone interested.

As in some previous years (latterly in 2007) Sue and I catered for this weekend, the Saturday evening menu for which, for record purposes, is shown below.  I’ll upload any recipes that anyone may like to have – in fact I may upload them anyway when I have the time.  The links will be indicated by the usual underlining.

Caldbeck Menu - 20 March 2010

Crisps and dips

To Start (7.30pm)
Winter vegetable soup (V), or
Crab cakes with chilli sauce, or
Baked artichoke and Parma ham gallettes

Main Courses
Salmon and fennel fish pie, or
Lentil and tomato moussaka (V), or
Venison and beef with port and apricots*, or
Coq au vin*
accompanied by Great British Mash* and Petit Pois

Fruit salad, or
Strawberry cheesecake, or
Lime and lemon meringue, or
Chocolate bread and butter pudding

Coffee and After Eight Mints

All washed down with Cape Chardonnay and Cape Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon

Thank you to all who helped with kitchen duties, and especially to Ken, who cooked the breakfasts.  As usual, one of the hardest jobs was that of returning various implements and containers to their places in our own kitchen, and so far all that seems to have gone missing is our large Teflon cooking mat.  A mystery, as we searched Fellside for it.  Ah well! 
Also for the record, the luxury ingredients for two breakfasts and Saturday dinner worked out at £18 a head for the 26 strong group.


Alan Sloman said...

I lost count of the missed opportunities for happiness, refreshment and relaxation.


Word = "misms"

Sophie Easterbrook said...

Sounds great - although a bit soggy! (Are you sure you weren't in Wales?!)

I've just printed the Lentil and tomato moussaka recipe..thanks for that!


AlanR said...

Looks as though you all had a good time. Missing pubs along the way? Is that normal?
At £18 a head, that is just so good a deal.

CF Rich said...

Looks like you had a great weekend and it appears as though you avoided the lashing rain. We managed to get to the top of Skiddaw on Sat but the view (what view?) really didn't justify the effort. Gorgeous neck of the woods (hills) though full of great pubs (that you seemingly missed out on - ouch).

Phreerunner said...

Haha, the missing out of pubs is a theme that seems to have developed in these annals. It makes the Flatlanders feel good about their compensatory indulgencies that make up for our 'scandalous' behaviour!
I'm sure that Skiddaw was better when we were there on Tuesday, though the members of our group who went up the Cockups and Knott on Saturday claimed to have had 'intermittent views at times'. Hmmm.
We could have done the food much more cheaply, but there were a couple of drop-outs, and we used the best quality beef, venison, chicken, cumberland sausage, bacon, salmon and king prawns, etc etc available in South Manchester. We also provided some wine. Long live our local butchers and fishmongers.
The meal we had in the Oddfellows on Friday was of a different standard (I think!), but their beer was fine.
Sophie - good to hear from you (and thanks for your email - I will reply soon) - I don't usually enjoy veggie meals, but that moussaka is excellent. Enjoy!

Sophie Easterbrook said...

Hi Martin, don't worry about that email - I'd rather you were out there having fun than sitting in front of a computer worrying about emails!
I'm not veggie either but I love the sound of the moussaka!


Frank and Sue said...

Looks like great fun but cold!

Barren up in those hills!

Enjoyed your writing style, funny stuff there (for an Aussie to read anyway...)