The Vault Regulars

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gallaway and Cumbria

 Why does packing take me so long. No you don’t have to tell me.
Because we are off to the Galloway hills on Saturday which then concludes with the Duddon Valley fell race next weekend, we have to prepare for the different options.

 We will be doing some day walks, an overnight or 2 backpack, a campsite and a fell race marshalling point as usual, on Swirl How.

 So having all the different clothing and gear requirements to cater for all weather conditions has meant almost emptying the loft.

 We also have some new gear to test out which i can’t wait to do.

 We have new sleeping bags from PHD - Minimus 500. At just under a kilo and graded as -10 deg C they won’t get much of tough test with us now being in summer. But we will get a good idea.

 We also have a new sleeping mat and a pair of gaiters from the budget brigade which look a very good bit of kit for the money. More to come.

 Also, the good people at Outdoors Look have asked me to review a couple of long sleeved, zipped necked baselayer tops which i am looking forward to doing. I have been sent these FOC.
One is from Trespass and the other from Helly Hanson. Both completely different to each other so that will be interesting.

 And lastly, a pair of Berghaus power Stretch gloves.

We will endeavour to blog along the way so hopefully i won’t forget the camera or the cables and i can let you know how we get on.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Saturday 12th May. Wetherlam from Tilberthwaite.

  Yesterday evening we were told by a local farmer that tomorrow was going to be a fine day. You have to believe farmers, they are usually right.
So we had a look at the map and decided that we would go up Wetherlam from Tilberthwaite.

  I recalled the last time i did this top and it is quite a while ago, unfortunately on that day we were accompanied by an old walking friend, always up for a laugh, now no longer with us.

  Again this was to be a first for Sheila. She has looked down on this summit numerous times from our Marshalling position on Swirl How during the Duddon Valley fell race. Which, will soon be on us again this year. June 8th i think. Hopefully summer will decide to show by then.

  I knew the car park at Tilberthwaite gets full pretty early in the day and as it was when we arrived, we managed to squeeze in. We hadn’t need to worry though as a new car park has been built just on the other side of the ghyll. Still free as well. In the Lakes! Shh keep it quiet. Or everywhere else take note.

  Wetherlam is in a fine position and commands great views 360 degrees. It can be climbed from numerous valleys. Coniston, Little Langdale, Yewdale and the Duddon relatively easily. I prefer attacking the summit from Wetherlam Edge because there is a bit more scrambling up rocks to be had rather than just a slog to the top.

  Opting to ascend Tilberthwaite Ghyll via it’s north bank we set off. Almost immediately you have to stop to admire the wonderful old cottages and especially the one with the spinning balcony.  It was such a shame to see that the front of the cottage had been wire mesh fenced off, to stop dogs bothering people or visa versa. But it detracts from what is/was a stunning place to photograph.

     Cottage with spinning gallery, Low Tilberthwaite, by Tom Richardson.

This photo which i borrowed from the internet shows how it used to look.

   In years gone by, the Ghyll was a must see for travellers to walk up the ghyll changing banks via the numerous footbridges, to admire the gorge at it’s best. Sadly the bridges, apart from one, have all been washed away and never replaced.

  We soon started shedding layers as the day warmed up. The farmer was right, it was a lovely day. 
Height is soon gained and the aspect to the NE is stunning looking across the forestry to Brathay.
As the path starts to level out at the top of the gyhll the views just get better and better. This has to be one of the most picturesque spots for me. Considering the amount of mining that had previously been carried out here we are so lucky that it hasn’t the ugly scars that offend Coniston Coppermines valley. 

   I had it in my mind that we would explore the area between Blake Rigg and Birk Fell but the day was so good that we just wanted to get to the top. 

  Looking back down Crook Beck and over the Yewdale Fells from high above Dry Cove Moss was a pleasure.

From the track below Blake Rigg we could see the small silhouettes of numerous people almost at the top of Birkfell Hause. It was like when you see a large group roped on a glacier but here it was sky and not ice.
Now we knew where the occupants of the cars were. On reaching the hause ourselves the wind was quite fierce coming up from Greenburn. We walked on the leeward edge to keep out of the cold but the views across to the Langdales and Bowfell could not be missed. I put on a layer and took some photo’s.

  Although black clouds were rolling in, we stayed bathed in sunshine. It was our chosen day. 
The route up Wetherlam edge is quite steep but isn’t difficult. You can feel a little exposed if you suffer from vertigo but otherwise it’s very nice. You can make the ascent as easy or as hard as you want. There are numerous variations on this route. Not only did we catch up to the large group that we had spotted from much lower down but we passed them with relative ease.
They were struggling with hand holds whilst carrying walking poles. Please, whats it all about.

A small section of the edge path.

  As is always the case, Wetherlam has it’s false summit. You level out at the top of the edge only to find that the cairn is at the top of the next rise. Albeit a short rise. 
It was quite cold on top and time to put the layers back on after the exertion of gaining the edge. There were plenty of people milling around the top, all wrapped up. We asked a chap to take the Cairn shot for us. Thanks for that whoever you are.  
Sheila asked him if it was a good one and he replied “well its a good one of you”. You can make up your own mind, below.

  We needed to find a lunch spot out of the biting wind which we found about 100 metres south of the cairn. It was an east/west gully and so we had good protection. In fact we couldn’t feel the wind at all.
  Post lunch we had a quick meander around the summit, taking a few photos across to Swirl How and Carrs, Coniston Ridge etc then found our path to descend South along the top of Lad Sones. The numerous undulations of this path gave us some respite from the wind until eventually the path drops off the ridge towards hole Rake.
 Wetherlam, from South of summit.
 Track above Lad Stones
 Looking down to Tilberthwaite.
 Some hardy souls sheltering.
 Coniston Ridge in the background.
 Old Man of Coniston with Levers Water, centre, Low water just out of shot below summit.
 The well trod old mining track of Hole Rack is an interesting route as long as you deviate just slightly east. There are numerous old workings to investigate. Most people just walk past on the way to Coniston or Tilberthwaite oblivious to the heritage available for free.
 Another wooly watcher.
Descending this time on the south bank of Tilberthwaite Gyhll the hills of the Helvellyn and Fairfield Group looked wonderful being mottled with cloud and sun and all too soon we were back at the car.
Now lower down it was really quite summery and we wondered if this was high pressure to stay. 
We must have another word with that farmer.
A cracking good day and a bit of a sun tan too.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Beacon Tarn and surrounding tops

Friday 11th May. South Lakes - Woodland Fells.

  We had a chilly overnight in the tent on our campsite close to Broughton in Furness, and it dawned no better. In fact the wind had picked up and it was down right freezing. Not a place to be standing around.
Sheila had never walked the Woodland fells until now, although Great Burney was done as a short walk last year.
 It has also been quite a few years since i walked round here too and although it’s not in the same class as the high fells of lakeland there are still some pretty steep bits and the views are excellent.
  Our route was to be a figure of eight taking in Blawith Knott, Tottlebank Height, Beacon fell and Beacon Tarn.
Some of the track is also part of the Cumbria Way before the more serious heights are tackled.
 We parked the car near to Giants Grave, thought to be a Bronze Age Barrow about 4000 yrs old. Stupid me didn’t take a photo. Sorry.
  There are lots of historical sites in these hills which are well worth seeking out, however, today was not the day, due to the biting wind coming straight across from the Irish Sea. Today was a day to keep moving and infrequent stopping.
 Looking North towards the Coniston Group of Mountains.
 Sheila at the top of Blawith Knott, kitted out in 4 layers of gear.

Just at this point we were greeted to a short burst of sleet and rain and we sheltered behind some outcrops. Fortunately it was only for a few minutes and then it was clear again.
 We picked up the pace a bit and without dropping down much set off for the top just marked 204m on the OS map and then followed Mere Sike down to join the good path between Spunham and Cockenskell.
 Before i looked closely at the map we were off heading for Cockenskell when if i had been a bit more alert we could have gone north and seen the Coulter Stone. Next time.
 This is where we briefly joined the Cumbria Way, now heading North to pass Beacon Tarn on the west side and heading for Coniston.

 At the southern tip of Beacon Tarn we followed the good path on the East side which led us up onto Beacon Fell. Sheila had now donned her fifth layer.
 Yours truly on Beacon Fell having a breather before moving rapidly off.
 View of Beacon Tarn from Beacon Fell.
 Beacon Fell was our turning point and we followed the boggy path on the west side of the tarn before heading up to Tottlebank Heights, seen here beyond the tarn.
 Good views from the tops and more rain on it’s way in. Black Coombe disappearing before us to the west  as the rain swept in, but some relief for the souls walking on the Old Man of Coniston as the black clouds look like they are retreating for a while at least. (Below).
Apart from a chocolate bar on Beacon Fell we never stopped for a drink or some lunch so it was good to get back to the car for a hot drink and something to eat.
On arrival back at camp we had another green tea and got into our sleeping bags to warm us up. Fortunately we brought with us about 30cl of Glen Livet whisky which helped allegedly.

  Tomorrow hopefully we get a warmer day as Wetherlam is planned.

For those who want to view some more photo’s of this walk please click on the link here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hope all you TGO'ers are now on the whisky. Cheers all

Sent from my HTC

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On the road.

Hope Scotlands better than this, south lakes. Just on our way to a camp site and the weather is, well, crap!

Sent from my HTC

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

TGO Challengers 2012

  Sheila and I would like to send best wishes to all those taking part in this years TGO challenge.
All the packing done by now, yes? And don’t forget where you put everything.

  Just remember that whether you are a first timer or an old timer it’s not so much the journey that’s important; it’s the way we treat those we encounter and those we travel with along the way.

Have a great time and keep blogging, can’t wait to read of your adventures.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Getting back - Well almost.

  Last August 18th (2011), i came down with Shingles which i wouldn’t wish on anybody and it took it’s toll on my fitness.
I was pretty fit up to that point with regular running and walking trips.
I did 10k road run in 63 minutes just prior to the illness. I know that’s not fast for seasoned runners but i’m happy with that time because i’m not a running fanatic.
Since then i have been in hospital and numerous trips to the doctors and consultants and so the last 8 months have been a bit hit and miss with fitness.

  One of my worst moments was when Sheila and I was marshalling Swirl How for a charity event. I almost didn’t make it to the top and i felt dreadful. I was so pleased to get off that mountain and it took about 4 weeks to recover.

  Also going to New Zealand for 5 weeks didn’t particularly help my fitness because on holiday you tend to eat and drink far too much and at the wrong times. You cannot help but put weight on.
Getting that weight off is something that will happen, tomorrow, eventually, isn’t it.

  We started mentally, to get into a fitness regime. I weighed myself and was 87.4 Kl. 
We have been doing regular exercise in the gym and also Sheila has been cooking some fantastic fat free, healthy meals.
It’s been damned hard work at times keeping the regime going, especially with us enjoying a social beer or two but it’s paying off.
I went on a 10k run this morning and i did it in 62 minutes. 1 minute better than my best time. And having weighed myself i am now 76kl. A drop of 11.4kl. or 25lbs. 

 That’s comparatively like the weight of my full backpacking rucksack (less the food). I am pleased. When it’s expressed like this it makes you realise the worth of all the pain.

You will have to ask Sheila yourself what weight she is. I’m not brave enough.

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