Category Archives: Rambling

Rambling: Borrowdale, Lake District

Lake District
This is a beautiful, low-level walk from the Pathfinder Guide. Although it doesn’t circle a lake or climb any of the famous fells, the route follows the River Derwent and provides spectacular views down the valley. We walked the route in reverse, from Grange to Seatoller. Grange benefits from a lovely cafe as well as tea rooms – sadly, the cafe at Seatoller was shut when we arrived!  The route was quite easy to follow, except for the start of the footpath back from Seatoller – after following the road out of the village and up the hill, the directions are to take the footpath to climb steeply up the side of the valley.  The footpath and gate were obscured by bracken, so only visible when almost on top of them!

The route was booked at 7 miles and my phone recorded 18000 steps and 45 floors climbed that day.

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Rambling: Helvellyn including Striding Edge and Swirral Edge, Lake District

Lake District

Despite many hiking holidays in the Lake District, and at least two previous walks up Helvellyn via less challenging  routes, I had never crossed Striding Edge before.  The weather was perfect during this holiday, so I took the opportunity to tick this item off my bucket list.

I followed the route from the Pathfinder Guide, which starts at “Helvellyn Base Camp” in Glenridding, climbs up the side of Grisedale then circles around the beautiful Red Tarn.  Striding Edge is accurately described in the book as “positively hair-raising”, particularly because you have to scramble over fairly severe crags at the beginning and end of the ridge.  Whilst there is a narrow path just below the ridge, that has a vertical drop to the side and still requires some scrambling – so this isn’t a walk for novices.

After the exhilaration of crossing Swirral Edge, I didn’t want to drop below the peak of Catstye Cam without climbing that too.  The path down from the end of that descent, though, does not coincide with the path back to the “Hole-in-the-Wall”, so it was necessary to improvise a route across rocks in Red Tarn Beck and climb back up to the official path.

This walk was booked as 8.5 miles and my phone recorded 25000 steps and 267 floors climbed that day.

Grisedale

View back across Striding Edge

Swirral Edge

Swirral Edge from Catstye Cam

GriseDale

Hole-in-the-Wall crossroads

Striding Edge

Red Tarn

View across Red Tarn to Ullswater

Glenridding

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Rambling: Loughrigg Tarn, Lake District

Lake District
This was a short, family walk starting from Skelwith Bridge. We parked on the road near the Skelwith Bridge Hotel and roughly followed the route to Loughrigg Tarn from the Jarrold Lake District Short Walks book.  After a short ascent through a holiday park of wooden chalets, the route around the tarn is quite clear and largely flat.  There is a small stream into the tarn which can be jumped or crossed by stepping stones.

The circuit is under 3 miles, so is a handy short walk if you need to fill in an hour or so.

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Rambling: Wilverley Inclosure, New Forest


Visiting family near the New Forest, I squeezed in this pleasant walk in the vicinity of Brockenhurst, clearly a favourite of locals (judging by the number of cars parked nearby).

The New Forest was created by William I for hunting, with fencing forbidden in order to allow deer to run free. In the middle ages, though, the trees were reduced due to the browsing deer, and large areas were enclosed to re-establish the woodland. This is one such area, and plaques record when the area has been enclosed/re-opened over hundreds of years.

Whilst I didn’t see any deer during this walk, there were plenty of New Forest ponies on Wilverley Plain at the end of the walk.

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Rambling: Great Gable, Lake District


This walk starts from Seathwaite in the Lake District. My Pathfinder Guide advertised that the village has a cafe, but there was no sign of it. Wikipedia mentions that Seathwaite is the wettest inhabited place in England – luckily for me, the weather was glorious. A local farmer provides car parking in a field for a small fee.

As you look up from the car park, the peaks look pretty daunting and the walk starts with a tough climb straight up the valley side. Actually, most of this walk involves climbing or descending – the book wasn’t kidding when it wrote “you need to be reasonably fit to tackle it”. The first peak is Green Gable, offering spectacular views of Scafell Pike and Buttermere. After a steep descent and a scramble back up, you then reach Great Gable itself (site of a memorial to members of the National Trust who died in World War 1). The long descent down to Styhead Tarn is arduous, then the sensible choice is to take the path back via Stockley Bridge. I took the more difficult route to see the waterfalls at Taylorgill – the path is ill-defined and tracks the areas of peat bog, so not recommended.

The walk was booked at 6 miles and my phone recorded 25000 steps and 231 floors climbed.

Green Gable Summit

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Rambling: Ullswater, Lake District


Ullswater is one of my favourite spots in the Lake District. This was a low-level walk from the Pathfinder Short Walks series, with a minor embellishment to take in Silver Crag – we were blessed with good weather and lovely views across the lake.

The walk was booked at 5 miles from the car park in Patterdale (mind you, the book said that parking would cost £1 and it has gone up to £4.50 in the 10 years since I bought the book!). My technology recorded it as 23000 steps and 62 floors climbed.

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Rambling: Cat Bells and Derwent Water, Lake District


This visit to the fabulous Lake District National Park was greeted by sunshine and fine views – a rarity in this part of the country. Cat Bells is deceptive, from a distance it doesn’t look much of a challenge, yet it is steep and strenuous from the very beginning. The initial climb is followed by a scramble up to a peak that makes you think you’ve arrived. In reality, there’s another peak to go, followed (on this occasion) by beautiful views across Derwent Water. I chose a route that took us down the other side of the hill and back along the wooded shores of the lake.

This walk from the Lake District Pathfinder Guide was booked at 4.5 miles (but you could add on a mile to allow for parking some distance from the hill). My phone recorded 25000 steps and 118 floors climbed.

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Rambling: Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswolds


I’d been looking forward to this ramble in the Cotswolds for a while. Though not a National Park, the Cotswolds are well known as an area with beautiful countryside and idyllic stone villages.

I chose a 10 mile circular walk from Bourton-on-the-Water, through Lower Slaughter, Upper Slaughter and Naunton. Though lacking much in the way of hills, this walk passed some lovely meadows and rivers. Naunton also has a famous dovecote, built in 1660! Although this walk was worth 34000 steps, the lack of hills meant it only accounted for 40 floors climbed.


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