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Hill Explorer - UK Hiking Routes

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  • Mark Barrett
  • October 28, 2015 01:04:49 AM
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Walking, Hiking, and Scrambling route descriptions and reports, mainly focusing on Snowdonia and the Peak District, eg. the Snowdon Horseshoe, Tryfan, the Bochlwyd Horseshoe, and Kinder Scout. GPX files provided for all routes.

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The Carneddau’s Southern Ridge Circuit

The walk starts by Llyn Ogwen, at any free parking space that you can find. There are quite a few parking areas on the stretch of road between Ogwen Cottage and Tryfan. Head west to the end of Llyn Ogwen. As soon as the bridge is crossed at Pont Pen y Benglog, cross the style […] The post The Carneddau’s Southern Ridge Circuit appeared first on Hill...

The walk starts by Llyn Ogwen, at any free parking space that you can find. There are quite a few parking areas on the stretch of road between Ogwen Cottage and Tryfan. Head west to the end of Llyn Ogwen. As soon as the bridge is crossed at Pont Pen y Benglog, cross the style on the right and begin following the track up the south-west ridge of Pen yr Ole Wen.

Tryfan from the car park
Tryfan from the car park
An early view of Llyn Idwal
An early view of Llyn Idwal

This is what you call a proper mountain track. No defined paths, arduous, small sections of scrambling, and small sections of steep scree. It’s a completely different kettle of fish from something like the Llanberis path. It’s also a path that you don’t want to be descending at the end of a long walk — not if you value your knees. Eventually, after much slogging uphill, the summit plateau is reached. Looking back across Ogwen Valley at any point during the ascent rewards you with some astounding views of the mountains opposite, from Tryfan on the left, across the Glyders and Y Garn, and ending with Mynydd Perfedd and Carnedd y Filiast on the right.

The way ahead up Pen yr Ole Wen
The way ahead
Looking back down Pen yr Ole Wen
Looking back down
Ascending Pen yr Ole Wen
Working my way up the south ridge
Looking towards Porcupine Ridge
Some decent scrambling over there!
A view back towards Foel Goch
A view back towards Foel Goch

Once on the summit, head north across Bwlch yr Ole Wen, then follow the edge around to the north-west past the large cairn at Carnedd Fach, and eventually to the second summit of the day at Carnedd Dafydd. Approaching from this side, it barely even looks like a mountain. More like a slightly elevated part of the ridge. The impressive features of this mountain aren’t visible until later when, looking back, its impressive north face comes into view. The area down to the right is Cwm Lloer and houses the lake of Ffynnon Lloer.

Pen yr Ole Wen summit wind shelter
Poor visibility on the summit
Heading along Bwlch yr Ole Wen
Heading along Bwlch yr Ole Wen
Looking down at Ffynnon Lloer
Looking down at Ffynnon Lloer
Looking back at Pen yr Ole Wen
Looking back at Pen yr Ole Wen

The route continues east along the top of the Ysgolion Duon (Black Ladders) cliffs and offers great views looking north-west into Cwm Llafar. On this section, I made my first sighting of the Carneddau wild ponies down on the slope to my right. I kept my distance as I have an irrational fear of anything that’s bigger than me! The route eventually curves around to the north-east as it passes Bwlch Cyfryw-drum, and the drops to the left become less dramatic. A zig-zagging ascent path to Carnedd Llewelyn is clear to see and this is the one that should be taken all the way to the summit.

Approaching Ysgolion Duon (Black Ladders) from Carnedd Dafydd
Approaching Ysgolion Duon from Carnedd Dafydd
The atmospheric Ysgolion Duon (Black Ladders)
The atmospheric Ysgolion Duon
Cwm Llafar from Ysgolion Duon (Black Ladders)
Cwm Llafar from Ysgolion Duon
Approaching Carnedd Llewelyn
Approaching Carnedd Llewelyn

From the summit, head east then south-east as the route descends Penywaun-wen and towards Pen yr Helgi Du. As the ridge narrows, the impressive Craig Yr Ysfa Amphitheatre can be seen down below on the left. Down on the right is the Ffynnon Llugwy reservoir, and ahead is the narrow ridge of Bwlch Eryl Farchog that leads across to the final summit of Pen yr Helgi Du. It’s a fantastic viewpoint and a great place to stop for a brief rest and properly absorb the atmosphere.

Carnedd Llewelyn summit plateau
Carnedd Llewelyn summit plateau
Heading down Penywaun-wen
Heading down Penywaun-wen
Looking towards Pen yr Helgi Du
Looking towards Pen yr Helgi Du
Passing above the Craig Yr Ysfa Amphitheatre
Passing above the Craig Yr Ysfa Amphitheatre
Bwlch Eryl Farchog and Ffynnon Llugwy
Bwlch Eryl Farchog and Ffynnon Llugwy

To get down onto the ridge involves a short scramble and downclimb. In good weather, it’s a fairly simple affair — but in icy conditions, it can be treacherous and has been the scene of a few accidents in the winter months. After navigating the scramble, the ridge is crossed south-east and Pen yr Helgi Du is ascended directly and steeply. Legs and knees are probably feeling a little weary at this point, but luckily the descent route from the summit of Pen yr Helgi Du is possibly the easiest and gentlest descent route in Snowdonia. It’s a very easily angled, grassy slope that heads south all the way back to the A5 where a bit of road walking is in order to get back to the car.

The short scramble pitch
The short scramble pitch
Looking back at the scrambling section
Looking back at the scrambling section
Looking across the ridge to Pen yr Helgi Du
Looking across the ridge to Pen yr Helgi Du
The steep climb to Pen yr Helgi Du
The steep climb to Pen yr Helgi Du
The sun shining over Ogwen valley
The sun shining over Ogwen valley
The simple descent path down from Pen yr Helgi Du
The simple descent path
A young Carneddau wild pony
A young Carneddau wild pony
Farm road back to the A5
Farm road back to the A5

The post The Carneddau’s Southern Ridge Circuit appeared first on Hill Explorer.


Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge (4th Time)

For the past couple of years, I’ve been suggesting to my kids that they might fancy giving the Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge a go. Up until this year, they half-heartedly gave it some consideration… and finally decided that this year was the year. Well, almost anyway… my eldest son Sam, who was 13 at the […] The post Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge (4th Time) appeared first on Hill...

Looking over Horton towards Ingleborough

For the past couple of years, I’ve been suggesting to my kids that they might fancy giving the Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge a go. Up until this year, they half-heartedly gave it some consideration… and finally decided that this year was the year. Well, almost anyway… my eldest son Sam, who was 13 at the time, decided that he’d really like to do it. His younger brother was unfortunately too far lost in the fantasy world of Fortnite. A whole day away from that was a possibility far too terrible to even think about.

So me and Sam set about doing it. I’d done it 3 times already and so gave him a rough idea of what to expect. I also warned him that we were only going to do this if he was really serious about it. I don’t like failing a challenge, and if he was going to attempt it with me then he’d be expected to walk until no longer capable of walking. And no whining either about being hungry, thirsty, aching legs, etc.

I gave him my little collection of rules and tips: Take it easy on the ascents and up the pace on descents and flat ground. Conserve your fluids… don’t drink them so quick that you run out halfway through the walk. Don’t stop too regularly for rests… it really doesn’t help that much. If your legs and feet hurt, ignore them and carry on… they’re supposed to hurt. That’s why it’s a challenge. And do not, under any circumstances, let inferior looking people overtake you. Each time it happens, a little bit more of me dies. If someone overtakes me, I want it to be a fell runner or a seasoned hiker with huge calf muscles. I can live with that.

We set off early in the morning and arrived about half 8. It was reasonably busy, but considering it was still the summer holidays, it wasn’t quite as busy as I was expecting and there were still plenty of available parking spaces. We completely ignored my advice and stormed up Pen-y-ghent at speed, overtaking many unseasoned walkers, and maybe a few seasoned ones too on the way. Before we knew it, we’d hit the summit. The last time I did the challenge, visibility was poor on top of Pen-y-ghent. The time before that was in the dark, so it was nice to finally see the great views again from the top. I warned Sam against feeling too optimistic… it’s common to feel that after gaining the first summit so quickly and so I informed him that it would be a long time before we got anywhere near the second one. I persuaded him against having a break so early and so we quickly took the summit photos and continued on our way.

The ascent from Horton up to Pen-y-ghent
The ascent from Horton up to Pen-y-ghent
The final section up to the summit of Pen-y-ghent
The final section up to the summit
Pen-y-ghent summit
Pen-y-ghent summit
Descending Pen-y-ghent via the Pennine Way
Descending via the Pennine Way

And just as I said, this section was a long stretch. By the time we arrived at the Ribblehead Viaduct, Sams legs and feet were truly tired. We hadn’t stopped yet as I wanted to push on until we got to the food stall near the viaduct. Most people take a break at this point and so we did too. I bought a cup of wishy-washy tea and a disappointing hot-dog. Sam bought a cheeseburger which looked utterly amazing; Loads of cheese, very meaty, and dripping with grease. I was envious but tried not to show it.

After feeling refuelled, we continued up the long path to Whernside. It had turned into quite a decent day with the sun coming out every so often. After the stroll across the plateau and a quick visit to the trig pillar, we descended down the steep loose path. At this point, I was actually in worse condition than Sam as his knees were a lot more resilient than mine and contained much more cartilage! Despite this, I certainly wasn’t the one complaining. ‘Shhh’, I said. ‘Can you hear something?… it sounds like… a child whining’. ‘I’m not whining’, he said. ‘I’m just saying’. We headed towards the farm that has a nice little cafe set up in one of the buildings. I promised him we’d have our second stop when we got there. ‘It’s just at the bottom of the hill’, I said. It was a little further away than I thought. After a few repetitions of ‘It’s just round this next bend’, and maybe one instance of ‘You see that building over there? well, that’s not it’, we eventually arrived at the cafe and fuelled up again with junk food and drinks.

Ribblehead Viaduct
Ribblehead Viaduct
On the way to Whernside
On the way to Whernside
Low Force waterfall on Whernside
Low Force waterfall on Whernside
Whernside trig pillar
Whernside trig pillar
Looking towards Ingleborough
Looking towards Ingleborough

After leaving the cafe, we soon arrived at the road. Sam looked totally fed up and so I asked him if he wanted to quit or continue. ‘I want to quit’, he said. ‘OK’, I said. ‘That’s fine but there’s something you should know first. If we walk back to the car from here, we’ll have to completely circle Ingleborough. We would actually cover more mileage than if we just went straight over the top’. Realisation set in followed shortly by a look of resignation. ‘OK’, he said. ‘I’ll do the last one’. So we headed up. It doesn’t actually take long to get up to the summit from the road and it’s quite a pleasant walk most of the way. There’s just one hideously steep bit at the end. The final push. We arrived at the final summit and took photos of the final trig.

On the way to Ingleborough
On the way to Ingleborough
Approaching Ingleborough
Getting closer…
Ascending the steep section of Ingleborough
Ascending the steep section
Ingleborough summit
Ingleborough summit

It wasn’t over yet though. The descent back to Horton is longer and involves at least another good hour of walking. Both our legs were shot at this point and we were walking with stiff bowed legs as if we’d been riding a horse for the last 12 hours. It may have also looked as though we’d both had little accidents too. Sam was wanting frequent rests every ten minutes now but I wasn’t having any of it. I just wanted to get back to Horton as soon as possible as there wasn’t much daylight left. I informed him that there was no point resting as all it was going to do was allow his legs to seize up, and it would still be painful the second he started walking again. The best thing to do was to keep plodding on. Just grit your teeth and shut up. I noticed to my horror that cows were grazing all around me and my anxiety levels shot up. It’s the first time I’ve seen them on the way down from Ingleborough. I soon realised that there was nothing to be scared of as they were spread very thinly over a large area – and not all getting together and ganging up on me like they normally do. After a while, we decided to try jogging a little (not because of the cows). Strangely, our legs didn’t hurt anywhere near as much when we did this. Or maybe not strange as different muscles are utilised for running than walking. We were resting the fatigued muscles and utilising others. That’s how I explained it anyway… it sounds right. It may also be a load of crap.

Starting the descent of Ingleborough
Starting the descent
A brief rest on Ingleborough
A brief rest
Pen-y-ghent in the distance
Pen-y-ghent in the distance
Cattle grazing
Cattle grazing
Signpost to Horton
Signpost to Horton, 1 mile to go!

Eventually, at long last, we arrived at the railway line in Horton. I pointed out other walkers that were also clearly in pain for the benefit of Sam, just so he could see that it’s a perfectly normal experience on a challenge walk. I can’t remember his exact time but it was between 11 hours and 12 hours. It was a good walk and Sam had done extremely well – I was proud of him. I’ve told him that next year we’re going to try something even more adventurous. I’m sure he’s completely looking forward to that.

The post Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge (4th Time) appeared first on Hill Explorer.


The Wharfedale Three Peaks

The walk starts in Kettlewell in the large car park on the main road. Continuing north-east, take the first turning on the right and follow Middle Lane for a short distance. This can be confusing as the road that runs parallel to the north is also called Middle Lane. Turn left at The Green, and […] The post The Wharfedale Three Peaks appeared first on Hill...

wharfedale

The walk starts in Kettlewell in the large car park on the main road. Continuing north-east, take the first turning on the right and follow Middle Lane for a short distance. This can be confusing as the road that runs parallel to the north is also called Middle Lane. Turn left at The Green, and follow as far as a sharp bend to the left. Instead of taking this bend that leads over Kettlewell Beck, continue straight ahead onto Scabbate Gate. The road continues running parallel to the beck for a while until it eventually veers away. Just before the track heads across another beck (Dowber Gill Beck), take a right and continue following the line of the beck instead. This is only followed a very short distance before a bridge is crossed carefully using good balance and footing.

The Green, Kettlewell
The Green, Kettlewell – turn left here!
Sign to Great Whernside on Scabbate Gate
Sign to Great Whernside

Once over the bridge, a path is followed north-east gradually uphill, initially following the line of the beck to the right until eventually the beck veers away to the east. The route continues north-east until it arrives at the old farmhouse that is now Hag Dyke Scout Hostel. From here, the ground becomes a little rougher. On this particular day, it was in the middle of a very dry spell and so the ground had all dried up. On other, more typically English days, the going may not have been quite so easy. The route continued roughly north-east on a direct course to the summit.

The ascent of Great Whernside
The ascent begins
Hag Dyke Scout Hostel
Hag Dyke Scout Hostel

The name Whernside means ‘hillside where millstones were got’. Whern is derived from quern, which means ‘millstone’. The upper part of the hill is composed of millstone grit – it’s literally strewn everywhere and gives the summit a nice homely feel to a walker like myself who frequents the Dark Peak much more often than the Yorkshire Dales. Amongst the piles of gritstone blocks and boulders site the Great Wherside trig pillar. I always think a summit is a little more satisfying when there’s a trig to mark the spot.

Great Whernside summit and trig point
Great Whernside summit and trig point
Great Whernside's western edge
Great Whernside’s western edge

From the summit, the route heads north, keeping to the highest ground and following the line of the boundary fence. Eventually, a path heads straight down to the west, following the line of a wall that drops steeply down the hillside. This path is called Black Dike and is labelled on the 1:25k Ordnance Survey map. The path follows the wall for a little while before veering away to the right, descending roughly north-west for a while until a narrow lane is crossed.

Looking back towards Great Whernside
Looking back towards Great Whernside
Buckden Pike in the distance
Buckden Pike in the distance

From the lane, the route continues west of north-west directly to Tor Mere Top. After a short distance, it joins the line of a wall which is useful to aid navigation. On Tor Mere Top, the route takes a sharp turn to the right and heads north of north-west, past the memorial cross, and eventually arriving at the summit of Buckden Pike. The memorial cross is dedicated to the memory of five Polish airmen of the Polish Air Force 18th Polish Operational Training Unit, based at RAF Bramcote, who crashed their Wellington Bomber on the 30th January, 1942. It was completed in 1973 with the help of locals and the sole survivor of the crash, Jozef ‘Joe’ Fusniak.

Eroded moorland
Eroded moorland
The air crash memorial
The air crash memorial

It had been a very quiet day so far and the first sighting of other walkers didn’t happen until the approach to Buckden Pike. It was a huge difference to the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge. For the most part, it felt as though I had the whole place to myself. The summit of Buckden Pike is again marked by a trig pillar and offers fantastic views looking west through Langstrothdale and into the heart of the Yorkshire Dales beyond.

The path to Buckden Pike summit
The path to Buckden Pike summit
Buckden Pike trig pillar
Buckden Pike trig pillar
Summit view - Pen y Ghent visible in the distance
Looking towards Pen y Ghent in the distance, from Buckden Pike’s summit

The descent path descends steeply from the summit in a north-easterly direction, initially following the line of a wall. This path eventually curves to the left and ends up heading south-west as far as Buckden Rake where a junction of footpaths is reached. The well defined path heading north and south is part of the Pennine Journey long distance footpath, and the northern route along Buckden Rake should be taken for a short distance until a path becomes visible on the left heading steeply downhill to the foot of the hill. This ends at Cray near the White Lion pub after crossing Cray Gill. Two Peaks down, One to go! It’s nice to imagine at this point that the walk is two thirds complete, but unfortunately the truth is that it’s only halfway done. Probably not even that. The reason for this is because the third summit, Birks Fell, is long. Very very long. Half of the walk feels like it’s spent on the top of this fell. At this point, it’s hard to know this and therefore hard not to feel optimistic at the speed of reaching this part of the walk.

Upper Wharfedale
Upper Wharfedale
Langstrothdale and Birks Fell
Langstrothdale and Birks Fell
Cray Gill and the White Lion pub
Cray Gill and the White Lion pub

The next section of the walk takes you from Cray to Yockenthwaite via Langstrothdale, where the ascent path to Birks Fell awaits. There’s a high level option here should you want it that ascends from Cray and follows the line of the valley at a high level, above the wooded slopes and skirting the moorland above. On this occasion, I chose the easy option and followed country lanes as far as Hubberholme.

Pretty cows...
Pretty cows…
...and a very mean looking bull
and a very mean looking bull

Once at Hubberholme, the riverside path can be accessed behind the church. It makes a pleasant walk and takes you all the way to your destination at Yockenthwaite. Here, the river is crossed via the bridge and a left turn takes you down a country lane heading south. This is followed as far as a cluster of buildings where a footpath heads uphill on the right. It initially heads north-west before zig-zagging a couple times, eventually settling on a course south-west, following the line of Hagg Beck below on the left. The route eventually brings you out on the summit some distance away from the Birks Fell summit. Like I mentioned earlier, this is a long fell. From the point that you arrive on the top, there’s over 5 miles of walking before you can even start descending again.

Easy riverside walking
Easy riverside walking
Not a sign I expected to see
Not a sign I expected to see
Looking back down Langstrothdale towards Buckden Pike
Looking back down Langstrothdale towards Buckden Pike
Ascending to Horse Head Moor
Last big ascent of the day…

Normally at this point, it would be a case of following the path south-east along the top – however, with the Horse Head trig pillar such a short distance away in the opposite direction, it’s hard to resist the detour (or at least it was for me!). Once obtained, retrace your steps and continue following the highest ground of the fell. It continues south-east across Moss Top before curving to the north-east around the head of Crystal Beck and then back south-east again. There’s a small section of deep peat groughs to navigate near the beginning but after this, the walking is fairly straight forward. Navigation is also simple as the path follows walls for the whole distance of the fell. Word of warning though… this section of the walk seems to go on and on and on…..

Trig pillar on Horse Head Moor
Trig pillar on Horse Head Moor
Following the wall on Horse Head Moor
Following the wall…
Exposed peat on Birks Fell
A particularly (g)rough area
Looking back after the exposed peat area of Birks Fell
Looking back after the peaty section

Birks Tarn is passed on the right – unfortunately completely dried up on this particular day, and eventually the Birks Fell trig point is reached. This is not the official summit of Birks Fell though! The true summit will almost certainly be unwittingly walked past and is actually located a mile or so back on the route. After the trig, there’s still a good 2 miles of plodding to go along Old Cote Moor before at long last the descent path is reached on the left. Another steep descent path is available on the left before this one, but I decided to opt for the later one as it led directly to Kettlewell and had a gentler gradient. The main ridge of Birks Fell will have been partly descended by this point and already 100m+ of height will have been lost since the trig point.

A dried up Birks Tarn
The area formerly known as Birks Tarn
Birks Fell trig pillar
Birks Fell trig pillar
The gradual descent along Birks Fell ridge
The gradual descent along Birks Fell ridge

The path heads directly downhill through Middlesmoor Pasture and eventually to the steep rocky section of Gate Cote Scar. Care needs to be taken here, especially as muscles and joints will almost certainly be fatigued. Once at the bottom, you’re home and dry! Kettlewell at last.

The descent to Kettlewell. Great Whernside in the background
The descent to Kettlewell. Great Whernside in the background

So, a few thoughts on the walk…

It most certainly had a different feel than the traditional Yorkshire 3 Peaks. This one was very very quiet in comparison and brought a real feeling of solitude… and I love that feeling when I’m out in the hills. A few walkers were passed on Buckden Pike and in Langstrothdale but apart from that, I had the hills to myself. Not a single person was passed in the whole 6 miles of Birks Fell. The Yorkshire 3 Peaks does come out on top in the quality of hills. It’s hard to beat the combination of Pen y Ghent, Ingleborough, and Whernside – and that’s why the walk is so popular. The second peak of Buckden Pike doesn’t feel like a big ascent as not enough height is lost between there and Great Whernside. They’re two hills on the same range. Saying that, the walking is far more rugged and it lacks the nice big paths of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks. This, coupled with the fact you spend more time on the tops, make it feel more of a proper hillwalking day. Admittedly, the slog across Birks Fell did get a little tedious after a while. With the Yorkshire 3 Peaks however, the main slog comes in the lowland stretch between Pen y Ghent and Whernside. So would I recommend it? Yes, it’s a great walk and makes a worthy competitor to its more popular cousin.

Note – I did this walk on a weekday and have no idea how much busier it would have been on a weekend.

The post The Wharfedale Three Peaks appeared first on Hill Explorer.


A Simple Win Hill Circular

After his initiation to the Dark Peak, I decided to try moving the little one to the next level to see what he was capable of. I was looking for something around 3 miles long but providing tougher walking than simply walking along a gritstone edge. I decided upon Win Hill. The ascent via Parkin […] The post A Simple Win Hill Circular appeared first on Hill...

Win Hill

After his initiation to the Dark Peak, I decided to try moving the little one to the next level to see what he was capable of. I was looking for something around 3 miles long but providing tougher walking than simply walking along a gritstone edge. I decided upon Win Hill. The ascent via Parkin Clough is a tough slog, however the rocky summit contained interest for a youngster (they tend to love scrambling on rock) and the descent back down the woodland tracks is pleasant with easy going gradients.

We parked just a little higher up the road from the Yorkshire Bridge Inn and proceeded across the dam (which I could see amazed him) before turning left and heading to Parkin Clough.

Crossing Ladybower dam
Crossing Ladybower Dam
River Derwent south of the reservoir
River Derwent south of the reservoir

I have to be honest, I really thought he’d struggle with the climb and was expecting lots of whining whilst we slogged up the hill. The boy was doing well – enjoying it even. Eventually, we arrived at the head of the clough and stopped for a little while so he could munch down a bit of cake and refuel those little legs.

Having  a closer look at the stream
Having a closer look at the brook
Slogging up Parkin Clough
Slogging up Parkin Clough

We continued up through the woodland, the rocky summit of Winhill Pike now visible in the distance. The summit was reasonably busy considering we only passed a handful of other walkers on the way up. The little one enjoyed his moment of scrambling around the top before we took the obligatory trig point photo and had another rest. It was a nice day and the views, as always, were fantastic.

Winhill Plantation
Walking through Winhill Plantation
Refuelling with cake
Refuelling with cake
Ascending the final steps to the top of Win Hill
Ascending the final steps
Stepping onto Winhill Pike
Stepping onto Winhill Pike
View of Ladybower Reservoir from Win Hill
Enjoying the fantastic views of Ladybower Reservoir
Mingling with the crowds on Winhill Pike
Mingling with the crowds
Trig point photo on Win Hill
Trig point photo

After dropping down the opposite side of Winhill Pike, we headed west for a little while before taking a sharp turn to the right and following a narrow track north-east, through heather moorland, and back towards the wooded slopes.

Scrambling down Winhill Pike
Enjoying a brief scramble
Leaving Winhill Pike behind
Leaving Winhill Pike behind
The main path to Hope Brink
The main path to Hope Brink
Cutting across moorland
Cutting across moorland

Once back in the woods, the little ones legs had finally tired. He needed a little motivation from dad to keep him going. This was normally in the form of ‘OK, you wait here, I’ll go home without you. Bye bye‘. And then I’d wait around the bend as he shouted after me a couple of times before suddenly finding the strength to come running. After many repetitions of this same tactic (I wasn’t carrying him, no matter how many times he asked), we eventually reached the reservoir back at the foot of the hill.

Navigation skills
Teaching important navigation skills
Descending through woodland
Descending through woodland
Walking through the Win Hill woodland
Almost there…
Looking over Ladybower towards Bamford Edge
Looking over Ladybower towards Bamford Edge

At this point, I could see that he’d genuinely ran out of steam and wasn’t simply whining, and so I rewarded him with a shoulder ride over the dam and back to the car. Mission accomplished!

The post A Simple Win Hill Circular appeared first on Hill Explorer.


The Skiddaw Group

I had multiple options on where to start this route, including Keswick and the north side of Latrigg, but in the end decided to start up at the Dodd Wood car park and get the big ascents out of the way as early as possible. The reason for this was the temperature… it had forecast […] The post The Skiddaw Group appeared first on Hill...

skiddaw

I had multiple options on where to start this route, including Keswick and the north side of Latrigg, but in the end decided to start up at the Dodd Wood car park and get the big ascents out of the way as early as possible. The reason for this was the temperature… it had forecast a scorching hot day and I thought I’d benefit more from finishing the route with a long but easy low level road walk than the other way around. The evening before, I walked the Blencathra group before settling down to sleep in the car in one of the lay-bys on the A66, somewhere near Keswick. Upon waking, I popped to the Rheged Centre filling station for breakfast and a coffee before heading to Dodd Wood to start the walk. It was still nice and early and I was the first car to park in the normally busy car park.

Armed with a layer of sunscreen and 6 bottles of water, I began the walk up to the summit of Dodd through Dodd Wood. Apparently I was lucky in my timing of the walk as the paths had only just opened up again after tree felling. After an initial steep section, the path contoured gently around the slopes of Dodd Wood before, eventually, a short steep path headed up to the summit. Despite it being the smallest Wainwright of the day at only 502 metres, it quite possibly had the best views. A decent view was available looking south towards Derwent Water but by far the best view from this summit was looking north-west over Bassenthwaite Lake. Breathtaking!

Ascending through Dodd Wood
Ascending through Dodd Wood
The summit of Dodd
The summit of Dodd
View over over Bassenthwaite Lake
View over over Bassenthwaite Lake

From Dodd, I retraced my steps back down the summit track before continuing east, descending to the gap between Dodd and the south ridge of Carl Side. After a steep ascent up to the ridge, I followed it uphill and north to the summit of the second Wainwright of the day, Carl Side. The sun was getting hotter and hotter as the day was progressing and I let out a sigh as I spotted the ridiculously steep path up Skiddaw on the opposite side of the col. I was able to delay the inevitable for a little longer though as my next objective was to grab the Wainwrights of Longside Edge and Ullock Pike. Both of these involved little ascent and were located on the ridge to the north-west of Carl Side, forming one side of Southerndale with Skiddaw forming the other. After getting to the end of the ridge at Ullock Pike, I turned around and retraced my steps back to Carl Side.

Looking back at Dodd
Looking back at Dodd
Ascending to Carl Side
Ascending to Carl Side
On the ridge to Ullock Pike
On the ridge to Ullock Pike

So this was it – the inevitable slog. The sun was even hotter now and it was doing an outstanding job of sapping all of my energy. Normally I would give myself a good workout and try and keep a good pace uphill, but I just didn’t have it in me. I shuffled up the path slowly. Very slowly. I was starting to wish I had an unlimited supply of drinks in my backpack as I was getting through them at a fair rate. Eventually, after what seemed like far too long, I hit the summit plateau. I wandered over to the official summit and had a brief rest by the trig point. I felt like my skin would start to char and blacken, and my blood boil if I sat still for too long and so I continued.

The path up to Skiddaw
The path up to Skiddaw
Looking back at the ridge from the slope of Skiddaw
Looking back at the ridge
Approaching the Skiddaw summit
Approaching the Skiddaw summit
Skiddaw trig point
The Skiddaw trig pillar

I headed south for a short distance before veering south-east, taking in Skiddaw Little Man before descending down Jenkin Hill. Eventually I arrived at the path that would eventually take me back down alongside Whit Beck. Not yet though as I first had to make a little detour to bag Lonscale Fell by following the right hand side of a wall. Easy walking and there hadn’t really been any big ascents since the one up to Skiddaws summit. The sun was still out and there was nowhere to hide, and not a cloud in the sky either. I’d drunk all but one bottle of my water and I could have quite easily gone through another 5 bottles. It was becoming almost impossible not to dehydrate. The water had warmed up with the high temperatures and was no longer satisfying. The water wasn’t just lukewarm, it was heated like I’d filled my bottles from a hot water tap.

Heading to Skiddaw Little Man
Heading to Skiddaw Little Man
Looking back towards Skiddaw
Looking back towards Skiddaw
Looking back at Skiddaw Little Man
Looking back at Skiddaw Little Man
Lonscale Fell and Blencathra from Jenkin Hill
Lonscale Fell and Blencathra from Jenkin Hill
Lonscale Fell
Lonscale Fell

From Lonscale Fell, I backtracked again and descended down the aforementioned path by Whit Beck. It was steep, but had some great views ahead to Latrigg during the descent. Eventually I arrived at the car park that sits between the slopes of Lonscale Fell and Latrigg, but not before passing a memorial for the Hawell family of shepherds who tended their flocks of Herdwick sheep on Skiddaw back in the 1800’s. Just one small Wainwright to go… and then, due to my starting location, a long walk back to the car.

Descending towards Latrigg
Descending towards Latrigg
Looking up at Jenkin Hill and Lonscale Fell
Looking up at Jenkin Hill and Lonscale Fell
The Hawell memorial
The Hawell memorial

Latrigg is only 368m high and would be described as a rounded grassy hump rather than any kind of mountain. I walked up the summit with ease – opting for the direct route rather than the wheelchair friendly path which winds its way more gradually up. The hill overlooks Keswick and so the views from the top are excellent despite its modest height. The views looking south from its viewpoint are dominated by the Derwent Fells, the Borrowdale Fells, and the Helvellyn range surrounding the foreground of Keswick and Derwent Water.

The Skiddaw range from Latrigg
The Skiddaw range from Latrigg
The Helvellyn range from Latrigg
The Helvellyn range from Latrigg
Looking
Looking towards the Grasmoor range

The water situation was desperate at this point. I’d just drunk the last of what I had left and needed more. I descended Latrigg on its west side until I met the Cumbria Way long distance footpath. I followed this south beyond my planned turning and over the bridge into Keswick. My main objective now was to find the Co-op, which I achieved after only a short time. I bought 4 drinks… 2 I’d drunk before I even left the car park, the other 2 I stuck in my bag. I had a quick chat with one of the locals who informed me that this was the hottest day that Keswick had ever seen, or at least in his lifetime anyway. He informed me that it was around 33 degrees centigrade at the moment. What a day to go Wainwright bagging!

I backtracked over the bridge and took the turning that led me across pasture at a nice easy low level towards Applethwaite, before walking the remainder of the way long the road. I was really looking forward to getting back to the car and was disappointed to find my car had heated up so much inside that I could have baked a pizza in there. Luckily there was The Old Sawmill Tearoom at the other end of the car park and so I indulged myself with ice cream whilst the car cooled down.

Descending through forest
Descending through forest
Latrigg Woods information board
Latrigg Woods information board
The long walk back
The long walk back

The post The Skiddaw Group appeared first on Hill Explorer.


Snowdon, Moel Cynghorion, and Moel Eilio

The route starts initially by following the Llanberis with (especially on a summers weekend) hoards of other walkers. There’s a little trick though to escape and enjoy a much quieter walk with a bit of solitude and some fantastic views. Once on the Llanberis path proper, follow until just past the large sheepfolds on the […] The post Snowdon, Moel Cynghorion, and Moel Eilio appeared first on Hill...

The route starts initially by following the Llanberis with (especially on a summers weekend) hoards of other walkers. There’s a little trick though to escape and enjoy a much quieter walk with a bit of solitude and some fantastic views. Once on the Llanberis path proper, follow until just past the large sheepfolds on the left and then head left up the slopes towards the ridge edge. There’s no path here so use your best judgement to find the best route up. Once a fence is reached, you’re on the ridge and the fence can be used as a guide pretty much all the way along to Llechog. These initial sections can be a little rough and scrappy underfoot, but it soon becomes easier walking as it progresses along.

The start of the Llanberis path
The start of the Llanberis path
Heading up to the ridge
Heading up to the ridge

The track is followed south-east over the lumps and bumps of the ridge edge. Outstanding views are all around. To the left is the Llanberis Pass and a direct view into the beautiful valley of Cwm Dudodyn that sits between Elidir Fawr and Y Garn. To the right is a view over the Snowdon mountain railway and Llanberis path down below, and across to Moel Cynghorion, Foel Goch, and Moel Eilio. And of course there’s the views along the ridge itself… south-east to Snowdon and north-west back towards Llanberis, Llyn Peris, and Llyn Padarn.

Looking back down the Llechog ridge
Looking back down the Llechog ridge
The Llanberis Pass
The Llanberis Pass

Eventually, an opportunity to cross the fence via a style presents itself and should be taken. From this point on, the route hugs the very edge of the ridge and commands some fantastic views looking down the Llanberis Pass. Eventually, the summit of Llechog is reached, and it’s also around this point that the Snowdon Mountain Railway veers away from the Llanberis path and joins the ridge edge. Therefore, the walk between Llechog and Clogwyn station runs alongside the railway track. It’s a perfect opportunity to wave at train passengers as they stare at you with a look of awe on their faces. ‘Look – a person walking to the top… and he’s not on the Llanberis path! Wooooow. That’s awesome!’. I did this route in the middle of summer on a weekend day, and can honestly say that I didn’t see a single other walker between leaving the Llanberis path at the start, and regaining it again after Llechog.

Following the Llechog ridge
Following the ridge…
Following the Llechog ridge
…and again some more
Approaching Llechog
Approaching Llechog
The view from Llechog
The view from Llechog
A train from Snowdon
A train from Snowdon
Approaching Clogwyn station
Approaching Clogwyn station

After Clogwyn Station, the route rejoins the Llanberis Path. Don’t worry though as it’s not for too long. The path heads south-east for a short distance before taking a sharp turn to the right and continuing up to Snowdon to the south-west direction. Instead of taking this turn, leave the path before it bends to the right, and continue south-east up the grassy slope until arriving at the edge of Cwm Glas (careful in poor visibility!). From here, it’s a simple case of following the edge up to the summit of Garnedd Ugain, which is the 2nd highest peak in Snowdonia. Whilst following the edge, you are treated to some great views of Cwm Glas, the Clogwyn y Person Arête, and Crib Goch. As before, it’s very likely that you’ll have a bit of solitude whilst following this edge up to the top.

The Clogwyn Y Person Arête
The Clogwyn Y Person Arête
Ascending the ridge to Garnedd Ugain
Ascending the ridge to Garnedd Ugain

Eventually, the summit of Gernedd Ugain is reached, marked by a trig pillar. Hopefully, visibility is good because the views from here are spectacular. On this particular day, the cloud was low and unfortunately not a lot was visible at all. At this point, you’re on the route of the famous Snowdon Horseshoe. This is followed south-west, eventually arriving at the point where this path, the Miners Path, the Llanberis Path, and the Snowdon Ranger Path all meet. From here there’s just a single path that follows the railway track south and up to the summit station, and this path can be very very busy!

Trig pillar on Garnedd Ugain
Trig pillar on Garnedd Ugain
Final ascent to Snowdon
Final ascent to Snowdon
Snowdon summit
Snowdon summit

After the brief time spent on the summit, depressing yourself over the sight of empty coffee cups, bottles, and cans strewn about, it’s time to move on. Backtrack as far as the junction of footpaths and veer left onto the Snowdon Ranger Path. This descends steeply westwards on a good path along the Clogwyn Du’r Arddu ridge. This section of the route has nice views down towards Llyn Ffynnon-y-gwas. At the foot of the ridge, leave the Snowdon Ranger Path. Watch out for a track on the right. It’s not a problem if you miss it, just head north in a direct line up the hill, following the wall that tracks the line of Clogwyn Llechwedd Llo. This eventually leads to the summit of Moel Cynghorion – an excellent viewpoint to look back on Snowdon, Clogwyn Du’r Arddu, and also the Llanberis path.

Descending the Snowdon Ranger Path
Descending the Snowdon Ranger Path
Looking back from the slope of Moel Cynghorion
Clogwyn Du’r Arddu from the slope of Moel Cynghorion

Once at the summit, head west and gradually descend the ridge-line of Bwlch Carreg y Gigfran. Navigation is straight-forward along this section as its a simple case of sticking to the highest point of the ridge until eventually arriving at a junction of footpaths at Bwlch Maesgwm. The route continues following the ridge and the highest ground and so the next destination should be obvious. Head directly uphill north of north-west until arriving on the summit of Foel Goch. From here, continue heading north-west over Foel Gron and along the ridge until finally reaching Moel Eilio. This section of the route is fairly straight-forward walking with grassy slopes and great views along the whole stretch. There are some steep sections but they don’t take long to ascend. It’s very surprising that more walkers don’t venture this way. Once I’d left the Snowdon Ranger Path, I encountered just one walker between Moel Cynghorion and Moel Eilio. Considering that it was a summer weekend and dry, I thought that was pretty good going!

Descending down Bwlch Carreg y Gigfran
Descending down Bwlch Carreg y Gigfran
Looking towards Bwlch Maesgwm from Foel Goch
Clogwyn Du’r Arddu from Foel Goch
Looking back at Foel Goch
Looking back at Foel Goch
Looking back from Foel Gron
Looking back from Foel Gron
Heading to Moel Eilio
Heading to Moel Eilio
The wind shelter on Moel Eilio
The wind shelter on Moel Eilio

The descent initially heads north before the hillside splits into 2 ridges. One heads north and the other heads north-east. Both can be used to get back to Llanberis but the north-east route is the shorter distance. On this particular day, I continued along the north ridge until arriving at a farm track then cut back east towards Maen-llwyd-uchaf. Eventually a road is reached that heads steeply downhill back to Llanberis town.

Descending Moel Eilio
Descending Moel Eilio
A farm track - Elidir Fawr in the background
A farm track – Elidir Fawr in the background
Rainbow over Snowdon. The sun typically comes out as I'm finishing!
Rainbow over Snowdon. The sun typically comes out as I’m finishing!

The post Snowdon, Moel Cynghorion, and Moel Eilio appeared first on Hill Explorer.


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