Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
Earlier this year I tried to run with a blog-a-day; my “Out and About” series. When spring came, the weather improved; freelancing work started again; the garden demanded tending; we had lots of people staying and other trips came. A daily post proved impossible to keep going. So very little has been written since April. Now it’s all built up and I have many stories to tell;
Starting again from last weeks trip;
I was training and supervising a group from Manchester on their Duke of Edinburgh Award, Silver practice expedition. We walked up from Ambleside to Kirkstone pass, showing them Map Reading, navigation and how to handle an incident. That evening, just as it was getting dark, we met up again at the lovely positioned Gillside campsite in Glenridding. Across the Beck the steep slope of the Glenridding Dodd loomed up above our tents. I couldn’t remember ever being up there, certainly not recently and since I started re-climbing the Wainwright peaks.
Next day our expedition route went up Glenridding to Greenside Mine, around Glencoyne Head and dropping down onto the Old Coach Road via Dowthwaitehead. We were giving very close supervision up to the wall cutting across Birkett Fell on the side of Hart Crag. My group of girls thoroughly enjoyed the walk up through the mines, once we had gained height up the zigzags through the mines. Walking alongside the upper edge of Swart Beck through the abandoned mine the team were thrilled with the views down into the ravine. Cast-iron pipes and beams from the old buildings littered the pathway and we scrambled up a small outcrop, not easy with a big rucksac. We made our way through the bleak area of the tips onto Nick Head before traversing Glencoyne head. It’s a remote place, with a narrow path above a steep slope to the valley floor. We helped each other across the slight outcrops and along the muddy path, good teamwork practice and gaining experience of steep ground. I really felt like I was using my ML qualification that day.
This was the last group out, so on reaching the wall we were alone on the moor. Leaving the group with a bearing taking them across the moor, I had to return to the campsite. Taking a more direct route would be a hike across Sheffield Pike and so with a short diversion up Glenridding Dodd, I could grab a couple of outlying Wainwright tops both missing from my completed list. It’s not a long pull, just a hundred metres, up from Nick Head to the top of Sheffield Pike. This is a great spot with views on one side down Glencoyne to Ullswater and on the other into Glenridding. Wainwright claims the top is a dismal and cheerless place, neither descriptions I would use. He is right about the views improving as one heads east towards Heron Pike, small tarns and rocky outcrops litter the short 5 minute stroll to the better views that unfold. Today it was clear, with clouds and occasional sunshine, good for perspective and autumn colours.
A gentle ridge dropped down to the col and the path to Glenridding, but as the Dodd was less than 50 metres ascent, I ran to the top. This would be an easy stroll from the town and hotels below and the best view points were marked with small cairns along the edge.
I didn’t have time to dawdle if I was to make it to the next checkpoint, close to Threlkeld. So I quickly skipped down the path (called The Rake on the map) to the car. This was definitely a better way down than returning via Greenside, with splendid views all the way and two more peaks ticked off!