DATE                                29.05.12

DISTANCE                      JUST OVER 10 MILES

WEATHER                      HOT AND SUNNY


Mooching in Mardale

This is a bit difficult as I’m not really sure where to start, I suppose this walk really started over five years ago in what was a dark and difficult time in my life, I was up and sort of walking when my wife and I decided that I needed a week’s holiday in the lakes. On one of these day we decided to park up at Mardale head and would have walk up to Small water have a look and then a slow walk back. I remember it was a grey wet day and I just couldn’t walk on the uneven path at all , after several falls I had to turn round and make my way back to the car , totally sick of my life and if honest my mind was a bit like the weather cold and dark . Looking back I can now remember I just about made the stone wall, I was so sick of everything then.

Fast forward to 21.05.12 when Standing on Kidsty Pike when WOW the views open up towards Haweswater and suddenly something kicks off in my brain, something that had been stored away, buried, and forgotten about until now kicks in, I know that I will have no peace till I return there and do something, the strange thing is I can almost feel the hills calling to me, promising that they will look after me if I return to them. An old song kicks off in my mind by Olivia Newton  John ….MAGIC and I find myself humming the first verse over and over for the rest of the day:-

Come take my hand

 You should know me

 I've always been in your mind

 You know that I'll be kind

 I'll be guiding you.

Why? I haven’t got a clue, but I felt that I had to download it off I tunes and for the last week I have been blasting my old ear drums with it almost 24 / 7. Strange thing was I can’t say that I liked or even knew her music when I was younger. Strange!!

Anyway I was on a mission, I am ashamed to say that I didn’t do my homework on these hills or route just trusting to common sense would kick in if things started to go pear shaped.

But saying that it is a very well walked area and I’m not completely stupid when it comes to walking in the hills.

Normally when I have one of these “flashback” thingies I normally do it on my own as it can be a bit emotional at times, but I know my wife isn’t too happy with me disappearing of into unknown hills on my own, so a quick p.m. to my walking partner, who as always come through for me and that’s it sorted. Well it’s sorted for me but as always it’s a complete surprise for Yvonne (Cheviot Stroller) where we will be walking, and as I’m “mooching” around I am not that certain myself, yes I have a rough route in my head but nothing is decided until we finish the walk.

Meet up normal place normal time and drive off. On parking up at Mardale head we go into our routine, coffee from the jet boil, gear on, map on the car bonnet and spend a few minutes pointing at the map (secretly hoping that where we are pointing at is where we are) and discuss what I would like to do, what Yvonne would like to see, wimp out places and generally pointing out stuff that might or might not be handy to know. Then we both look at the surrounding area and with lots of wow look at that and wow we should be up there later , take a few photos , check gear out and off we go , both excited about what promises to be a brilliant days walking .

Looking from the car , if all goes well we will be up there later.

At this stage I am doing my best not to show how excited I am as this walk means so much more to me that just a good day out, it’s hard to put into words but I suppose what I am attempting is to rewrite a small part of my past life which is shit and I don’t like at all and want to replace it with something I can look back at on with good memories, if that’s possible, personally think it is but only time will tell.

Our route today takes us straight up Gatescarth Pass, I see the stone wall that I managed to reach all those years ago, emotions swell up and I have to let them run their course, (pretending to take photos so Yvonne doesn’t see my eyes watering) then something clicks inside my head and I know “things & stuff” will be fine and I have an incredible sense of well-being and realise just how lucky I am to be here today doing something that I only dreamed about a short while ago.

"That Wall" a real barrier or just something in my mind? whatever it was its well and truly gone for good now.

There is some low level cloud which is threating to block out all the views as we start to gain some height.

But “something” in my head tells me, not to worry about it as it will lift once we get to the top as the weather gods owe me and the hills want me there today, “things “will be fine, in fact the cloud covering is a blessing sheltering us from the sun for the long climb up , once at the top we decide to have a sit down and yes the cloud starts to dissipate and the views start to open up and with both the hills and the weather gods looking after me today I couldn’t have asked for more .

our route took us from Mardale head , up Gaatesgarth pass then Little Harter Fell -Harter Fell-Nan Bield pass-Mardale III Bell-High Street- Rampsgill Head-High Raise-Kidsty Pike -Kidsty Howes-Bowdertwaite Bridge-over the Rigg and back to the car ..................... by this time I was knackered. but very happy.

A few photos enjoy:-


Looking back towards Haweswater.



Looking towards Mardale ?.



Heading up Gatescarth pass looking back.



Heading into some low level clouds , for a while we couldnt see more than 20 meters infront of us , but it turned out to be a blessing keeping us cool as we worked our way up to the top.



Looking across the valley towards what I think is "High street". where if all goes well we should be later on.



One of our many breather stops , Yvonne making the most of the moment to take a few photos.


Just starting to enter the clouds , looking down towards Haweswater.

In the clouds at Harter Fell.

We decide to have a well deserved sit down ,and wait to see if the cloud will lift . I didnt say anything at this point but I somehow knew it would. (The weather gods love me today)and sure enough it started to lift and this view started to open up.

Then a bit more.

Then it cleared , and I just knew it would stay that way for the rest of the day.

Looking at our path up and Little Harter Fell.

Looking towards Blea Water.

Further along Harter Fell Bell looking towards Haweswater.


Looking down at Small Water .

Our  route ahead, it doesnt look that bad but there was a lot of ups & downs over rocky stone paths which is something that I dont really like , but it has to be walked if you want to go on. and I have spent a lot of time teaching myself how to walk on these paths so its time to see if all this training works. The worse that can happen is that I fall,I dont mind falling but it tends to hurt more on rocky surfaces.

Looking down.

Our route.

Heading down towards the shelter at Nan Bield Pass.(we left the main path at this point and made our own way down on "softer" grassy terrian. ok so i"m a wimp at times.

A few photos as we make our way down.

The shelter.

Starting to head up again.

I think that we are now on Mardale III Bell now , a few photos.

Our lunch spot , not bad views eh?

Arty leg wanting to have his photo taken.(note new boot)

Trig point on High Street (Racecourse hill) our heighest point today.

The next section of this walk is easy walking along High street, in a area that I am familiar with, and the views from up here are really good.

Looking over towards Kidsty Pike , where we will go to later on if all goes well.

Looking back at our route.

Stone cairn on High Raise . This was one hill that we missed out on last time we where in the area so today we took advantage of the good weather to "bag" it. and I am pleased to say that I have compleated all my " to do" hills in the Martindale area .

Taken at max zoom looking towards Riggindale /Rough Crag .(a trip for another day I think). it was at this point that Yvonne saw the eagle for the first time , in fact Yvonne saw it several times today , myself I only caught two quick sighting of it. Both times it dissapeared before I could grab a photo of it.

Now on Kidsty Pike . Arty leg want another photo hes starting to turn into a bit of a poser.(time for him to go into the wardrobe if he doesnt behave)

On our way down looking back up.

Yvonne leading the way .

Now on Kidsty Howes, looking down. By this time I am feeling Knackered and the nice gental grassy path has turned into a set of rocky paths with sudden steps down .something that I really dont like..

Its very steep in places as well.

Phew nearly down , now back on grassy paths , our route ahead.

Now on the rigg walking around the tip of Haweswater , what a lovley place this is , the photos dont come close to capturing the views .

It was at this point I had my one and only fall on this walk , I tripped over my good foot ..DUH!!! After all the tricky bits I managed with no problems I triped over on flat short grass, Yvonne did her best to cover her smile and looked conserned but I know she was wetting herself trying not to laugh.

Heading over the Rigg . even now the views are still almost breathtaking.

Last bit around Haweswater towards the car on the otherside.

thank you.

morning after thoughts.

it was late when I got home so shower , bed and I slept in (Shows how knackered I was)

a few aches and pains when I first woke up but nothing to get excited about.

All the effort I put in with the walking "on stony paths training"  seems to have worked out and even if I say it myself I am pleased with my performance so far. after all just over ten miles and about 3400 ft of ups and downs is something to feel good about , so yes I feel good about it . 

I know I say this after every walk , but this must be the best walk so far, how am I ever going to top this?