These ‘Great British Ridge Walk’ ventures seem to be coming thick and fast. Today it was the Lake District’s turn, starting early, with my journey heading in a rather bizarre direction – to Graham’s house in Marple – before the battle through traffic jams to eventually gain the M6 at Preston.
Phew, at least I wasn’t driving today, and could grab a cup of coffee at Tebay that I could sip at my ease all the way to Keswick.
Mike and Bruno were ready and waiting at the more than ample-sized lay-by at NY 237 311 near Bassenthwaite, so by 10.30 we were ambling casually up a small hill called Watches.
A sheep was strolling unconcernedly along a wall. (No trickery here, I promise.)
We took our time, willing the cloud to lift off the summit of Skiddaw.
Today’s views were excellent. Here Mike and Bruno laze on warm rocks during a brew stop with a fine view to Bassenthwaite Lake and beyond.
Some competent cyclists sped down the rocky bridleway up which we had risen; we admired their skill on this technically demanding terrain.
The summit of Ullock Pike yielded more fine views – towards Keswick, Derwent Water and the central fells, but better vistas were available from Carl Side, which summit Bill Birkett strangely omits from his route.
A group ahead was struggling on the snow slope that slanted up to the summit ridge, so we took the direct approach, with less by way of snow and steep drops.
It was easy going, with no ironmongery required. There were quite a few folk on the ridge, but the summit was deserted by the time we reached the trig point. It was pretty cool, with a cold stiff breeze keeping us alert.
Bruno tugged a bit too hard in his quest for snow fights. Mike stood his ground. Bruno’s lead broke. He cried. (Mike, that is.)
An easy descent led to this glaciated valley down which Dash Beck, well, ‘dashes’.
After which we dashed through some fields, so unobservantly that we missed the path at Hole House and finished up going along a metalled lane rather than by-passing the farm at Barkbeth.
“Never mind” said Graham.
”Never mind” said Mike.
”Ruff” said Bruno.
”It’s so nice to have such forgiving companions” said Martin.
We were down soon after 4pm. Mike sucked deeply on a curious cigar (see above) before heading back with Bruno’s guidance to the Great Wilderness known as ‘County Durham’, whilst Graham and I adjourned for fish ‘n chips in Carnforth, where it went dark.
Mike’s excellent report is here.
A slide show (32 images) is here.
And here’s our route for the day: 14 km, 940 metres ascent, taking 5 hours plus stops.
The next ‘Great British Ridge Walk’ will see me venturing into, passport and visa permitting, the wilds of Scotland. Watch this space!