28 September 2008

Venturing South

Well, it's nearly been a month living in Carlisle, and tomorrow will be the start of my third week at university and there hasn't been much rain since moving into the house. With this in mind I didn't even bother trawling the Internet to find out which drainage basins had water in, instead I headed to Carlisle's Library on Saturday afternoon and routed out a rather nice book, crammed with short walks in the South Lakes. The evening was taken up with picking out a walk, getting everything ready, checking the route out on a map and planning how to get there by road. In the end that trusty Google Earth picked a route out for me down the side of Ullswater, up over Kirkstone Pass and down the aptly named 'The Struggle'.

All in all the drive wasn't that bad, but it had me worried about the return journey. Driving back up 'The Struggle' wasn't an appealing thought what so ever, but we set off on our walk nevertheless. The walk started off in the village of Elterwater and followed the course of Great Langdale Beck until it reached the shores of Elterwater.

Looking up the Great Langdale Valley from the shores of Elterwater.

From here it joined some woodland before meeting up with the River Brathay, flowing out of Elterwater and down over Skelwith Force.

Water cascading over the lip of Skelwith Force.

It then carried on along the banks of the river before crossing on to the other side at Skelwith Bridge and on, across country past Park Farm and Low Park, to Colwith Force on Little Langdale Beck.

Little Langdale Beck tumbling down Colwith Force.

Here the path continued to High Park and eventually reached Stang End. As you headed onto Wilson Place you had amazing views up the Little Langdale Valley.

Lingmore Fell dividing the Great Langdale and Little Langdale Valleys.

Continuing on, traversing the base of Lingmoor Fell and skirting around some disused quarries you reached Baysbown Farm.

Signposting the way at Baysbrown Farm, the earliest settlement in Upper Langdale.

Continuing on the path brought you past Oak Howe and eventually Great Langdale Beck was crossed before heading up the fell, which towers behind Chapel Stile. A traversing path took you beneath Sheep Crag and around the back of Thrang Crag before reaching a ridge which gave you views of Loughrigg Tarn, Rydal Water, Grasmere and Windermere off in the distance.

A Cairn on Dow Bank with Windermere in the background.

It was then just a simple case of descending around Huntingstile Crag, across the Red Bank road and over Walthwaite Bottom to the van for the drive back to Carlisle via 'The Struggle', Kirkstone Pass and Ullswater.

All in all it wasn't a bad day and the drive home wasn't as bad as expected either. In some ways it maybe good that I'm not always off chasing the rain, as it doesn't always let me take in the amazing scenery of the Lake District, like walking does. The weather was great, which added to the experience and made all the photo's look that bit nicer, and made the eight or so miles we walked even more enjoyable. The particular route we followed is walk seven in Aileen and Brian Evans' book 'Short Walks in Lakeland Book 1: South Lakeland'.

More pictures can be found here.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

21 September 2008

Kettlewell Car Park, 11am...

is all I knew about today. Well, actually I knew I was going paddling with my mum on Derwent Water with some guys from Ribble Canoe Club, but I didn't know much else. I didn't even know how to get there. Google Earth sorted that out for me last night so I set off in good time with a series of turns to be made once I had reached the large round-about by The Sands Centre in Carlisle. To cut a long story short I arrived at the rather full car park before 11am, paid an extortionate price to park and then got ready to get on the water.

A composite Valley Avocet sat on the western shore of Derwent Water.

As would be expected from a flat water paddle in the Lake District the views were stunning and in no way possible did I manage to do them justice with my camera. I tried. The weather wasn't the best you could have asked for mind. It was overcast for most of the day and glimpses of blue sky were few and far between. However, the water was still calm and when sat still, not dipping a paddle in the water, the reflections were perfectly mirrored in the surface.

Jemma and me on the lake waiting for the others to put a fire out we came across on our paddle.

Once on the water at the National Trust's Kettlewell Car Park we headed south to the mouth of the river before crossing to the west shore where we stopped for dinner. We then carried on north to the top of the lake paddling past islands and bays, enjoying the warm September day. Eventually we reached the top of the lake and the only thing left for us to do was explore the eastern shore. That is exactly what we did on our return journey to the vehicles.

Trekking back down the eastern shore. My mum's reflection is slightly broken as the drip of the paddle creates ripples on the surface.

A clearer reflection on the surface of the lake.

Once back at the beach we had launched from we swapped around boats, tried this and that and practiced some rolls before packing everything away. Rather than heading back to the busy metropolis of Carlisle straight away we had a leisurely chat, drink and bite to eat sat by the waters edge.

Zac the dog sporting his new buoyancy aid in his canoe.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

18 September 2008

Paddling Apparell

For you astute readers you may have noticed of late that many of the pictures featured in this blog have me wearing a rather bright red hooded top. You may have also noticed an addition to the right hand side bar of these very pages. That addition to the side bar is a link to a clothing manufacturer, Shirt City, who are producing, selling and shipping some of my clothing designs.

If you fancy a gander at the online wardrobe, or wish to purchase some paddling apparel. Take a butchers here.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

BA (Hons) Outdoor Leadership

Once again I have joined the educational world after a year out when I enrolled at the University of Cumbria's Penrith campus on Monday. Tuesday was the start of the induction process as the whole School of Outdoor's headed out into the Lake District for a three day residential based at a little Youth Centre between Low and High Rigg with the objective of making us a cohesive group of students.

We were left with a multitude of things to plan - before we even got dropped off at what happened to be the put-in for the Keswick Greta; it looked low - like food for the trip and the purchasing of said food. Once abandoned by the minibuses we were given details of where we were staying and off we walked. Skirting around Low Rigg soon had us arriving at the Youth Centre where we rested for a while, waiting for the other students to arrive. Once everyone was accounted for we headed out into the wilderness for a series of small activities with the lecturers around Low Rigg and the Youth Centre.

The next day briefings were held and we were sent out into the wilderness once again with the task of visiting fourteen different check points around the base of High Rigg, the shores of Thirlmere and Great How. Eight of these check points were manned by second year students and the other points were Orienteering clips. We planned out routes before leaving the centre and then headed off for the day.

Looking north-east to Great How from Dowthwaite Gill.

Skirting around the west foot of Yew Crag with the Helvellyn Range in the background.

All had been going swimmingly and by four o'clock, when we had to start heading back, we had only missed out a couple of checkpoints. Getting back was the problem though. We planned our route around the western edge of Yew Crag and High Rigg expecting to find a straightforward path, instead a boggy field of bracken lay in front of us with no sign of a path. Compass Bearings were taken and we just relied on these as we walked back tired, hungry and aching from our exertions.

The evening quickly passed with a trip in to Threlkeld's Salutation and before long the last day was upon us. We cleaned the centre and had it looking like we found it before heading back to campus to sort gear and get cleaned up for a leisurely afternoon. The induction was amazing, and a great way of getting the students comfortable with each other, as well as introducing parts of the year to come. It all looks good in the academic world after such a long break from pen and paper.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

05 September 2008

I've Relocated

My new hometown.

As of yesterday I am now a resident of the English border city, Carlisle. That does mean I have eventually left the PGL bubble behind as I enter the real[?] world and start studying for a degree in Outdoor Leadership just down the road at the University of Cumbria's, Newton Rigg Campus. It's quite scary being out in the big bad world, but I hit twenty this year and it might be the right time to move away from the easy PGL life where you have to worry about nothing as accommodation and food is provided and just deducted from your wage. I now have to do that for myself and pay my own bills. Scary? This does mean that my gap year is officially over as well. It's been a good year with lots of downs and twice as many ups. Just click the categories link 'Gap Year' to see what went around.

Living in Carlisle does mean that I am back in my paddling homeland of Cumbria. The place where I learnt to paddle and love to return to and paddle rivers of old as well as rivers of new. I'll be looking at getting Roger the Rocker II out on the Cumbria becks as soon as possible and show him around the waters that his predecessor navigated.

I'll always be looking for paddling partners. Just get in touch.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...