Thursday, 15 November 2012

Greenburn Bottom & Wyth Burn.

We've walked The Lakes and completed all The Wainwrights, but this journey tends to lead to an attitude of 'While we're up top we'll complete as many summits as possible'. This means you invariably go up a ridge and come down another where possible, leading to certain routes never trod upon. Helm Crag from Grasmere, onto Gibson Knott, Calf Crag and round to Steel Fell is a classic example and a horseshoe Wainwright bagging walk. The old pack horse routes which follow the valley bottoms that make up these ridges are rarely walked and I've been pondering the Greenup Bottom between Helm Crag and Steel Fell, as one route with Wyth Burn between Steel Fell and Ullscarth as another. I've wanted to do these if for no other reason than to find out what they are like to satisfy the curiosity and to really know an area.
 Myself and Steve parked up on A591 just down from The Travellers Rest, Grasmere and commented on the weather not being as clear as it had been when passing Keswick. Still, it was not forecast to rain and it was mild in temperature, though vision limited.

 
The view from the road toward Stone Arthur.

 
A dozen Herdwick Rams in the above field.
 
We set off and took the footpath through the field opposite The Travellers Rest which brings us onto a minor road to head into Greenburn Bottom, but not before the precarious crossing of Green Burn.

 
Looking back after a thankfully dry crossing, well, Holly(The Beast) swam it as usual.
 
We continued up the tarmac road which passes a few houses, passing also another field of Herdwick Rams, and then onto the fell area proper. The track was well marked, holding to the right of the Burn, I'll give it this name as that is the OS map name. Normally in Cumbria these are Becks or Gills but it must be remembered that it was also a disputed area of Scotland and it should be no surprise that these place names cross over borders.
 This track, initially easy to follow petered out into a quagmire route of peat and reeds; it eventually took constant checking of our Satellite mapping system to ensure we were on the marked path. The weather was unduly mild and although we were prepared for anything I stripped to T shirt, Steve ended up bare chested and we had to laugh at how we were now dressed compared to our last three rain lashed outings.
We made the summit of Calf Crag in good time so I asked Steve to take an 'I was here' shot of me at the cairn


 
 

 
Someones paying attention, I wonder why?
 
We pressed on and came to the metal fence posts that mark the top of Far Easedale and headed then for Greenup Edge, the high point between Stonethwaite in Borrowdale and Grasmere, when travelling the coast to coast route.

 
At this point this was regarded as a brilliant view.

 
Greenup Edge opening up.

 
On Greenup Edge looking to Stonethwaite area. Fleetwith Pike with it's distinctive steep slope where they have the Via Ferrata.
 
 The only other person on the fells(this seems to be a recurring topic while we are out) was a solitary coast to coaster coming up from Stonethwaite and after some advice on his route in clag and where to sup his beer in Grasmere, we had a hot drink, turned and headed for Wyth Burn. I started this by saying I wanted to 'know' an area and now I 'know'. I had concentrated that much on the actual route we would take, underneath dramatic mountain sides, passing waterfalls and burns, that I had failed to notice an area simply named as The Bog. It's a bit of a giveaway I know, but I missed it and now there was nothing else for it but to traverse this quagmire.

 
Low cloud, masking that which is The Bog.

 
Wythburn Tarn at The Bog's end.

 
Looking back on an area that I'll only do again in a dry summer, preferably a drought.
 
If nothing else we could laugh at each other as we waded through this. I can only compare it to The Great Moss behind Scafell Pike. Here we were tackling this in the wettest summer we've had in an age and I won't be returning next week! Still the waterfalls at The Bog's end were a sight to behold and the view looking back was really bonny, reminding me of a high plateau like Watendlath, just a tad boggier.

 
The view down to Wythburn

 
Lookingt back on the waterfalls.


 We baited at the footbridge where the two footpaths from Stockhow Bridge meet and decided to alter our plan of going round to Dunmail Raise via footpaths and instead changed to one of them 'as the crow flies' routes straight up from the bridge. This meant a steep incline and I was panting a little by the time we got to the summit There we were with only a downhill section to come, this had meant that having left the clag behind we were back in it again. This route taxed the Achilles tendons but we're used to that now.

 
Nearing Steel Fell summit, the most sun seen all day.


 
Dylan on the summit. The boy done good, Holly is off around somewhere on one of her 'missile speed' sorties.

The path off Steel Fell back to Greenburn Bottom was tricky to find and we referred to the electronic mapping systems to locate a point where it is worn. Once on it you can't really go wrong, well not navigationally, but if I slipped once on this grassy descent I slipped a dozen times and was very concious of knee ligaments. Even Steve, normally sure footed found it hard to keep upright. We got down with no lasting damage done, just some muddy washing for our wives to tackle. We linked up with our original route and got to the car, a quick roadside change and it was into Grasmere for Tweedies Bar (part of The Dale Lodge Hotel) and some quality beers. I had a Coniston Brewery K7 and a Red something or other which I can't remember it's full name. Both were top quality drinks and I could drink either one all night.


 A good outing in mild though misty weather of 16kms with 1050m ascent. I didn't know the routes before, now I do and interesting that they were I'll return when it is a dry summer.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Kidsty Pike To Harter Fell And a Soaking.

The Remembrance Sunday walk to Great Gable was a walk with my brother and as stated, it's purpose was not the walk but the commemoration. Today was Monday and a pure walk day with my colleague Steve. Sunday was beautiful weather and what comes after beautiful? We woke to rain commencing at our start time of 08.30hrs and set off. Steve would usually leave the route for me to pick and we had recently been on Kidsty, but from a Glenridding walk. Neither of us had actually walked up it (though I've had a previous grass slide on the way down) so I suggested we put that right on this day 12.11.12. The weather deteriorated en route to Mardale car park where incidentally there were Road Closed signs at the head of the dam, I believe because of a water main being installed, going to the Hotel. We still got access to the car park, parked up and apart from one other car which promptly turned and left without getting out, we made the decision to bracket ourselves in the 'couple of idiots' category. Still, we've been in this category twice this week weather wise and if you didn't walk on rainy days my boots would be nearly new looking; as it is I am coming up for needing a new pair.

 
Hawswater, oh what a beautiful day.

 
They came, they looked (through the windscreen), they left after two minutes.
 
It seemed pointless taking the camera in such horrible weather and I hid it under clothing. I should know better but with the conditions and the blockage on the road I didn't think this long dead end would get a visit from naughty boys. We headed for the path going east on the north side of the reservoir, crossing Mardale Beck and taking the shortcut over The Rigg at the base of Rough Crags and headed for Kidsty Howes, leading to it's pike. For those that don't know this area, this is the scene of the sunken village of Mardale, sacrificed when the Water was extended by the Dam construction to feed Manchester, along with Thirlmere. When in drought, which definitely was not going to be today, you can walk the streets of the village, seeing the foundations including the church and cross over the pack horse bridge. It is a 'must do' for lakes visitors. The dam itself was an engineering marvel at the time, being the first hollow buttress dam in the world. Sad that such an engineering marvel displaced a whole community and regarded at the time as progress.
 We started up the grassy embankment of Kidsty Howes, looking across to Riggindale and Rough Crag, the former nesting area of England's only golden eagles, sadly there is just the one now; one day, perhaps he may find another mate. As we headed up the wind increased substantially. You went to place a foot and were pushed off the planned footfall by this invisible, though ever present force. This route is not an edge and is a wide grassy bank, so still safe in these conditions. With our heads down and face turned as far from the wind's onslaught as possible to shelter from these liquid needles that stung our faces, we reached the summit cairn and continued on for the High Street path. Our route turned us into the wind when we reached this but what can you do about it? Nothing but walk on and we lowered our heads even further and cracked on for the primary trig point of High Street, hoping for some shelter by the wall to eat our bait. No such luck as the wind was coming down the wall length and not at 90 degrees to it so this was not to be our haven of rest for a food stop. This is not my most walked area but I still know it and the only suitable place for a respite from this onslaught of wind and rain I knew to be the built shelter at the head of Nan Bield Pass. This is high on three sides and has a seat, albeit stone slabs, but would be a luxury on this day. We broke into a jog to warm the blood as we headed for the lower summit of Mardale Ill Bell and dropped even further to the shelter. Before a food intake and now in some protection, we donned further clothing and a change of gloves to keep warm and after 15 minutes there, we had a decision to make. Was it the easy short route of Nan Bield Pass or the longer 'up and over' Harter Fell and Gatesgarth pass we would take? I started this by saying we were a couple of idiots, confirmed by the fact in all this we saw no other human being on this popular route. Yes, we took the Harter Fell path, subjecting ourselves to a little bit more 'character building' pain. We got to the top, saw nothing and headed down Gatesgarth meeting only one other and he was protected, enclosed in a digger cab doing path repairs. We dropped out of the cloud and saw the reservoir below us, making it back to the car. We looked at each other and just laughed the laugh of 'well, that was interesting'. We quickly changed as you can't sit in a pub dripping all over the floor and knew the Mardale Inn to be shut down so we decided to give The Hawswater Hotel a try with our custom.

 
Heading for Hawswater Hotel, looking back up the valley showing The Rigg promontory

 
Looking across the resevoir to Kidsty Howes.

I was hoping they would have at least one cask beer on but apart from keg beer it was just bottles. We had one Deuchars Pale Ale, refrigerated, which they served in a Magners glass and charged £3.50, top whack, for this privilege.

 
What should have been a good beer, but served too cold, in the wrong glass, for top money.
 
One pint (well 500ml) and we were off in search of a better, cheaper drink. The beauty of this Hotel is it's isolated and stunning location so one more photo for those who don't know it. They would get more custom if they sold proper beer.

 
The view from the Hotel, across Hawswater, looking to Bampton Common.

We headed for Bampton but had to continue to Askham and The Queens Head. It was Jennings Cumberland Ale which Steve plumbed for and I had a Black Sheep. It seemed over with too quickly so a half of Black Sheep later (Steve had a pint) and we were satisfied. A good though taxing day of 14kms with 990m ascent and plans laid for Thursdays walk. Bring it on.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Great Gable 'Lest We Forget'

Today was not about a walk, it was about being at a certain location at a certain time on a specific day. That place, time and date was Great Gable at 11.00hrs on Remembrance Sunday 11th November 2012. Irrespective of weather a Remembrance service is held here every year and it is the largest one in the national park, though others on Great Carrs and Castle Crag are also places of gathering to remember those who have fallen in service of their country. My brother was up walking in The Lakes and had asked where to walk over the weekend. I suggested this which he immediately agreed to, I was going anyway. He arrived at my house for an early start and we set off from near Carlisle in what was to be a very good and tranquil day for such a commemoration. The last remnants of the morning mist were dissipating over Wythop Mill and Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw was blanketed in a cap of cloud. We continued on but gave in to the draw of the beautiful scenery and autumn colours as we passed Kettlewell car park on the shores of Derwentwater so pulled in here.

 
Catbells across Derwentwater.

 
Looking north to Skiddaw capped in cloud.
After a quick photo shoot we returned to the road and continued on with traffic mounting, travelling into the valley. I knew this would mean parking problems at Seathwaite, but was unprepared for the full extent of the issue. I turned into the dead end road for Seathwaite and was quickly met by cars parked well before Seathwaite Bridge. I managed to squeeze into a gap others had thought better of and was 150m before the bridge. After a short road walk we took the footpath at the bridge that meets the Seathwaite Slabs path by Sourmilk Gill. I wanted to take this as it passes The Borrowdale Yews marked on the Ordnance survey map and these form the better part of Wordsworth's famous 'Yew Trees' poem.

 
The Yew Trees path looking across the Gill to Seathwaite Farm and the parking issues(which also went much further back).
 
Once we met the path up to Seathwaite Slabs it became an issue of just joining the queue up the path with little oppurtunity to pass people due to sheer numbers. The weather kept fine, though cloud could be seen to be developing.

 
Heading from Gillercomb to Green Gable.
 
As we approached Green Gable the cloud was on the fell tops and Great Gable was not really in sight, nor any of the stunning views you get of Ennerdale or Esk Hause. People seemed to be in abundance as the paths from Honister, Gatesgarth and Aaron Slack converged to form a blockage beyond Windy Gap.

 
Heading down to Windy Gap.

 
Looking to Esk Hause, a momentary break in the cloud to reveal Styhead Tarn with Sprinkling Tarn above it, Esk Hause and the Langdale valley beyond.

 
The final ascent for Great Gable, persons aplenty trying to get there on time for the 11.00hrs commemoration.
 
I knew from many previous ascents that we had some time on our hands, though I wanted to meet other people who had stated on social websites that they would be there. I looked ahead and the crowd was big and should not have been unexpected due to the fine weather which once again cleared.
 
 
Ahead the gathering of people waited to pay their respects at the appointed time.
 
At the summit others were approaching from the Styhead Tarn route, perhaps the most popular and the Kirk Fell route from Ennerdale and Wasdale. I looked but saw no sign of the group I was looking for and all walkers know that on a fell top lots of jackets just blend into the crowd. I heard someone call my dog and there they were, just ahead of me. After a short food stop and a chat the service began and due to little wind noise I could just make it out. The most fitting tribute is the two minute silence and this was adhered to rigorously with only the sound of dog whines to break it. Not a single word was heard to be said or a mobile phone sounded. I took no photos of the service or of the plaque. To do so I thought would be disrespectful and due to the crowds I knew the plaque was inaccessible for a long time to come. My brother and I followed patiently in a queue for the Styhead Tarn route to later head for Taylorgill Force and eventually we reached the mountain rescue stretcher box at the tarn.
 

 
I took the above photo of people coming off the fell behind me and the following photo is of the Aaron Slack descent from Windy Gap.

 
 
Everyone was taking the normal tourist route off the fell, this is the easiest, fastest and busiest but is not the most scenic so we did not cross Styhead Gill by the wooden bridge but continued on the left of the Gill. This gets slippery on some sloping rocks and later becomes craggy with steep slopes below The Force, but I love this route.

 
Just passing Taylorgill Force

 
Walkers on the Stockley Bridge route, though this misses the waterfall (Force) views.

 
This gives a representation of the route in places.

 
Looking back to Taylorgill Force.

 
A Seaking no doubt going to someone in distress on the fells.
 
This Seaking was skirting Base Brown to head toward Styhead. My brother always looks up at these with some affection as he used to work on the electrics in a previous life in the navy, twenty odd years ago. Finally the farm was in sight and at least we had this route to ourselves. The weather was faultless for mid November and to think a week ago the fells were in full snow.
 
 
Seahtwaite Farm ahead, nearly journeys end.
 
This put us on the Borrowdale Yews path again so we avoided a long road walk and finally we were back at the car. A tribute duly paid to brave men who died in service of their country fighting on the side of Right in conditions that were hellish. All the WWI veterans are now passed into memory but WWII veterans and all wars since are the reminder of the need for resolution through discussion by Governments at The United Nations. Let us commemorate their sacrifice by ensuring war on the scale of these two world conflicts never happens again. There is a date in my 2013 diary already taken up and it's 11th of 11th and \i intend on being on Great Gable.


Saturday, 10 November 2012

A walk to Grasmoor from Buttermere

On Thursday 8th November we were a group of three, and were determined for a decent walk. Ruth having joined the two of us has recently, has decided to work her way through the Wainwright Peaks and with 140 for her still to go at we were spoilt for choice. We decided to head for Buttermere with the intention of going up Whiteless Pike, onto Wandope, Grasmoor then perhaps aim for Hopegill Head, the goal being Whiteside and then Rannerdale Knotts. We parked on the Newlands Valley Road, just above the church, a favourite 'free' park unleashed the dogs and headed for the Mill Beck track to Whiteless Breast.

 
Whiteless Breast leading onto it's Pike.

 
'The Beast' awaits uncaging. Dylan is already on his wanders.

 
Looking back as we make our way up Mill Beck.
 
Above are two photographs from car park area and this is a Godsend in Buttermere, a reason we walk there often. The third photograph is the oak coppice and the autumn colours were beautiful. The calmness here was to be in contrast for the weather yet to come, although it was clear the weekend snow had disappeared from the fells, which was at least far better than Mondays outing on Helvellyn. For those that don't know the area you are rewarded very early into this walk with a beautiful view toward Squat Beck and to Rannerdale itself as you just pass Low Bank.

 
Crummock Water with Lowswater beyond, looking down Squat Beck.

 It was here that the wind began to bite and the fine drizzle turned to cold biting rain that did not relent for three hours. I know this route well and you can't go wrong following the well worn path for Whiteless Pike.
 
A change in the weather.

 
Ruth sitting on the summit of Whiteless Pike, to stand she would have been blown off.

 We had the 'I was here' photo of Ruth on the summit and headed further on for Wandope. Here the paths begin to multiply but even in cloud and rain it is easy to find bearing to the right to keep the edge in sight. It really was bitter cold and we carried on for Grasmoor though if you just hold the edge you will eventually reach Crag Hill, which was not our destination. We branched off to the left and quickly hit the path realising we were part up the Crag Hill path leading from Grasmoor and needed to drop a little for the hause between the two fells. The push up Grasmoor is a warming climb, not too steep and good underfoot, but at a decent pace it gets the heart pumping. Don't be fooled to think you are at the summit when you reach the first cairn as the high point is still some 800m ahead and be careful, this fell is barren on top, a moonscape, but wander aimlessly and you will reach corries and steep screes. The Lad Hows path is difficult to find if you are returning to Crummock down it, but once on it you can't really go wrong. We had decided to eat our bait on Grasmoor as the summit cairn is like a spiral, swirls leading off and you can find some arm that affords protection from the wind. This fell is the highest one on the whole group and is open to The Irish Sea wind, fed from The Atlantic wind. There was nothing one could describe as pleasant about this outing and after our food and hot drink we decided that the next fell of Whiteside was too much pain for little gain and plumbed for the Lad Hows route. We still had Rannerdale Knotts to climb so there was walking still to do and didn't feel guilty about the shorter route.

 
Ruth and Steve, well wrapped at the cairn. A rare appearance by Holly as there is food out.
 
We headed down the Lad Hows, quickly losing height and it was noticeable that the temperature picked up and the wind abated as we began to be sheltered by the more western fells. It seemed no time at all before we were on the valley floor, walking nondescript low fell bracken which in spring changes to one of the Lake districts best displays these being The Rannerdale Bluebells, a perfectly blue carpet in open valley terrain. We moved through the bracken and over the wooden bridge that straddles Squat Beck. We had picked our route to the summit of Rannerdale Knotts as we had descended Lad Hows. Rather than return to the road and go up the tourist path, we decided to head for the OS marked Right of Way route that skirts the Dale How rock projection and denoted by a substantial dry stone wall. This was steep and we found no actual path, though by turning I made a mental note regarding where I was going to view 2013's blue display in the valley floor and it would be from here. We clambered on, walking as a description doesn't suit the terrain we covered as it was 'three points of contact' for a good part of it.


Three points of contact route, well it was different.
 
 
Crummock with the Mosser(pronounced Mozzer) Fells of Fellbarrow and Low Fell in the distance, The Solway Firth and Scotland beyond.
 
We finally reached the top of this small but tough fell and it was commented that it was the most difficult part of the walk. It was worth the effort though, to learn something new about an area that we know very well and in high season I will use this instead of the worn tourist routes to the top.
 
 
 
Once at the cairn the views deep into Butteremere open up to you and you have to stop and soak up the beauty of it. I believe this valley was the last place in what is England to be finally conquered after The Norman Conquest, through it's inaccessibility in both geography, terrain and the wild locals of course. Now it is a serene location to rest a troubled mind and soul, as tourists do.
 It was time for three local dwellers to rest their souls and that had been decided to be in The Fish Hotel, Buttermere, a parking place for the soul of old but we had recently defaulted to The Kirkstyle Inn, still a change is as good as a rest. I had a pint of Marstons Armistice( it's 11th of 11th tomorrow) and a pint of Snecklifter. Both well kept, though they knocked the lights out on us at their afternoon closing time, I hate that. A good outing in the cold wind and rain of 13kms with 1300m ascent.
 My next outing is tomorrow, 11th day of 11th month and will be on Great Gable. To be anywhere else as a fell walker on this day would be wrong, excluding other points of tribute, but this fell is the one for me to pay my respects.




Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Helvelyn From The Other Side.

For years we've tracked up to the summit of Helvellyn by various routes from Glenridding, usually taking in the spectacular edges of Striding and Swirral. In good weather these are safe and you are rewarded with magnificent views of Ullswater on this journey. We have various adhoc team members,  so any group is dependant on who is not working. This usually means that someone has not done the edges and as we the usual members are experienced on them, we introduce yet another novice to Striding & Swirral and feel all the better in our hearts for it. Oh, there are some cracking pubs on that side too. Though good beer always features high in our walk plan you can settle into a safe zone and eventually it becomes boringly the same.
 On Tuesday 6th November there were just the two core members, Steve & myself and the two cockers Dylan & Holly(The Beast). Now Dylan is just a dog and can't read but apparently when told I had been spelling his name wrong(Dillon) he was mortified and asks that it be corrected, which I just have; sorry boy.
We were unable to get out on our normal walking Monday, which was good because the weather was beautiful and where's the fun in that? Tuesday was looking far worse so we plumbed for that and picked a route from Wythburn Church car park to head onto Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn, Raise, down Sticks Pass and along the footpaths and permitted paths back to the Church, avoiding the A591 road in it's entirety. Neither of us had done this route up or the route down so some of it was virgin territory for us and that was the interesting section to us. The dogs couldn't have cared, they just wanted unleashed. Once at the car park we saw the £7 charge, looked at each other and thought in unison 'That's two pints'! so we returned to the more northern Swirls car parks and found these still priced the same. The dogs were going bananas by this time, wondering what was going on.


A couple of tourists
Helvellyn, from Swirls.
I remembered the lay-by between here and The Kings Head Hotel and we parked there for nothing and admired the views offered by a valley I often drive down, but rarely stop in. As we got out of the car we saw a sight that helped make the day, two Llamas grazing away in the field, when all you expect to see in Lakeland is Herdwicks, Herdwicks and more Herdwicks.
 We got kitted up (without my waterproof leggings, bad decision) and set off for the permitted path to Wythburn Church. This is a 3.5km larch plantation walk and if you follow the dark blue permitted path arrows, roughly half is along the woodland roads and half across a rough terrain track, though well worn. We are not natural 'valley bottom' walkers, we usually take a direct route to the summit of something, though to make a return route here you really have to walk the valley floor. This had the advantages of stretching in the old Achilles tendons and offering views of Thirlmere from different vantage points than I have seen before.

 
To walk a pasture and follow a meandering river is serene but there is just something magical being among mountains in flood and watching and taking the time to listen to water pouring off a fell.
 

 
Thirlmere Straining Well. This reservoir was built to supply Manchester and is gravity fed. It was the site of two former lakes Wythburn Water and Leathes Water. For further facts on this magnificent feat of engineering try http://www.engineering-timelines.com/scripts/engineeringItem.asp?id=854

 
Whelpside Gill.

After an hour we were at the crossroads of the valley path and our original intended path from the church, this was marked by a four handed marked fingerpost sign. We turned left and ascended steeply by a 'fix the fells' route to Nethermost Pike where we quickly left the plantation behind and got onto a fell path proper. I had hoped for a light rain and had chanced walking without waterproof trousers, this decision was a bad one for me. The higher we climbed, the more unrelenting was the wind and rain and we quickly achieved the snowline.

 
Dylan with not a care in the world.
 
This path is open to the westerly winds and you feel it all the way up. Come from the Glenridding direction and in general you are sheltered from the wind until you are on the summit; here you feel it once you leave the tree line and the higher you get the harder and colder it blows. By the time I was on the summit I wished I had put the trousers on. There wasn't many photo opportunities on the way up and why would you? I was protective of my camera and one may as well look at a grey wall than any photo I would have taken. Once on the summit though I thought I would take a couple of photographs to show the conditions.

 
Here you see the plaque for the plane that landed on Helvellyn and the cross shelter ahead.

 
This is from the shelter and looking toward the Striding Edge route down to Glenridding.

You can see from the above that conditions were terrible to navigate in. This is a very popular fell but on this day we saw only one other person at the summit when you normally have to fight for a seat in the shelter. We donned some extra clothing while we ate some food and had a few hot drinks and decided to shorten the route via Browncove Crags and off we set. Through recognition of the cairn for Swirral Edge we orientated ourselves along the correct path for the crags and made some rapid progress until we were out of the cloud line, the wind and the temperature slowly improving. This was good because my boots were wet and I couldn't feel my toes or fingers. Thirlmere became visible and it's always nice to see the car as the final aim point of the walk.

 
Thirlmere with Raven Crag on the far shore, to the right.

This was a tricky 'fix the fells' descent on this path, in wet and hard snow it is easy to tumble, but we eventually got to the point where the gradient eased. We crossed the bridge over Helvellyn Gill and were on the valley floor.

 
Helvellyn Gill and nearly journey's end.

The dogs were put on the leads for the very short road walk to the cars and when placed in the cage, looked a little forlorn to have only covered 12km with 950m ascent.

 
'We aren't happy'.

 A quick change at the roadside into normal attire and we were off to the pub, deciding to try The Kings Head Hotel, a few hundred yards away. This pub was a classic at one time with it's roadside look of a place of safety and comfort for those travellers of old in a bygone age. One expects some reflection of that with modern facilities in a modern age but the fabric of this seems to have been ripped out and is reminiscent of a city centre 'new age eater'. Though we knew what we would see having been once before, I hoped we could steal ourselves to remain; we couldn't. We made a quick about turn and headed up St. John's In The Vale for The White Horse on A66 and a brilliant decision this was.

 
Heaven.

 This was shut a while ago so I've always driven past it but on entering, there was a good log fire, local people and three pumps of Corby 'Blonde', Heskett 'Skiddaw' and Derwent Brewery's 'Carlisle State Bitter'. We both had a Corby and I then polished off a Skiddaw while Steve plumbed for The Carlisle State Bitter (It gets it's name from the government managing the brewery as the munitions for WWI were made near Carlisle and the government couldn't have drunken workers, so controlled the liquor trade http://news.bbc.co.uk/dna/place-lancashire/plain/A644645 ) Time for home and a good soak in the shower to warm up.
 A short walk for us, but a new route onto Nethermost and down to Swirls, so it builds on the knowledge. At cold windy day but still enjoyable for that, it puts air in the lungs and makes the heart pound, easing the conscience when drinking beer, it's been paid for in sweat. Out for another walk tomorrow, I hope the weather is better, but whatever it throws at us, we'll be out and hopefully have other company.