Rhobell Fawr

Sunday, 14 September 2014
8.0miles/12.8km
2024ft/617m ascent
Trail 100 #49


It was a relief to find that Rhobell Fawr is a proper mountain with a good circular route and a great view from the top. The walk was made even better by the huge number of ripe blackberries we found in the hedgerows at the start of the walk. Our enjoyment was marred slightly by encountering two elderly men who were trying to round up their hounds who had been set free in the forest. The dogs, Pippa, Twizzle and many others didn’t want to return to their stick wielding owners.  I’ve never had a dog cower at my feet before and I hate to think how they had been treated.

Rhobell Fawr

Some of the forested areas shown on the map had been recently felled and we walked through high huge piles of logs before climbing steeply towards the summit.  The top was cold and windswept, so we didn’t linger and sheltered behind a wall for a quick snack.

Summit

We returned via the same lanes and collected enough blackberries for a crumble, which was delicious and just perfect after a weekend walking in the hills.


Route

From the car park at  SH805221.

Rhobell Fawr Route

Rhinog Fawr and Moel Ysgyfarnogod

Saturday, 13 September 2014
12.1miles/19.4km
4052ft/1235m ascent
Trail 100 #47 & # 48


Wendy’s house in the centre of the historic Welsh town of Harlech is amazing! From one set of windows we looked onto the massive grey walls of Edward the First’s castle fortress built to subdue the unruly Welsh, while other windows gaze inland to the Rhinog mountains.Heather

The guidebooks say that the Rhinogs are a wild and remote group of mountains, there are few paths and it is hard to find circular walks through the mix of beautiful deep heather and walls of huge grey rock slabs. We drove towards the mountains down long narrow wall lined lanes with no passing places (fortunately there was no other traffic) until we reached the end of the road at Cwm Bychan. The car park has an honesty box and we paid, but the tariff is quite bizarre asking for £2 per car and an extra £1 per passenger.

We followed the well marked trail to the “Roman Steps” and headed towards the rocky canyon where Bwlch Tyddiad crosses to the next valley.  At the col we left the good stone path and joined narrow tracks that wound upwards to the pretty Llyn Du which sits below the rocky crags of Rhinog Fawr (2362ft/720m).

Llyn Du

From the lake the ground gets rockier and there is a steep scramble up the scree before reaching the summit.  Rhinog Fawr is a proper mountain with a good summit and a fabulous view.  Tremadoc Bay twinkles in the sunshine to the West and to the South the summits of Rhinog Fach and Y Llethr make a dramatic skyline.

Portmerion & Tremadoc BayRhinog Fach and Y Llethr

We descended by retracing our steps, but now the path was busy with other walkers enjoying the sunshine and walking through the heather lined valley.  We ate our picnic lunch sitting on the grass in the car park.

I had planned to drive to a different place to begin our next walk, but we could see the mountain from where we ate lunch, so we looked at the map, chose what looked like a sensible route and set off to climb Moel Ysgyfarnogod (2044ft/623m).

We set off up an easy to follow path that runs at the foot of the crags, we dropped down the other side of the col and then followed a wall as it headed straight towards the top.  There are no paths marked on the map here and this had seemed like a reasonable route avoiding the crags – it wasn’t!  The wall ran through deep banks of heather and progress was very slow as we climbed up eventually reaching the plateau.

The map of this mountain is liberally sprinkled with the words ‘Piles of Stones’, but this does not do the stones justice.  What you actually find on the plateau is a series of deep crevices with neatly arranged walls of 10 foot high slabs of dark grey rock it is a tangled, bewildering, pathless place and we slowly found a way to the summit.

Moel Ysgyfarnogod

 

The view from the top is actually good, and we could see some paths leading down the other side.  Unfortunately, our route took us back into the pathless morass of rock strewn gullies.  At this point we had spotted in the distance a couple of walkers who were heading back along the ridge – we followed them hoping (correctly) that they would find a route through.

When we caught them we discovered Ursula Martin carrying a full rucksack on her 3,000+ mile One Woman Walks Wales charity fund-raiser.

Eventually we found a path and it led down through the crags to where we’d started earlier in the day.


Route

From the car park at  SH646314.

Rhinog Fawr Route

Great Gable and Pillar

Sunday, 24 August 2014
10.3miles/16.5km
4970ft/1210m ascent
Trail 100 #45 & # 46
Wainwright #162, #163, #164 & #165


The Mosedale Horseshoe is recognised as a tough walk over some of the roughest mountain terrain.  So we decided to add Great Gable (2949ft/899m) and Kirk Fell (2631ft/802m) on to the traditional route to make it a real challenge.  This allowed us to complete two Trail 100 mountains in a single day.

WasdaleFrom Wasdale Head we headed up the valley to the col between Great Gable and Kirk Fell before turning South and climbing over scree covered ground to the summit of Great Gable.  We stopped for a photograph and then returned to the col before climbing up the other side to Kirk Fell.

Great Gable from Kirk Fell

From the flat top of Kirk Fell there is a steep scramble down to the Black Sail Pass followed by another scree coated ascent to the summit of Pillar (2927ft/892m).  This time avoiding the detour to Robinson’s Cairn and Pillar Rock (2559ft/780m).Pillar

Heading West we crossed to Scoat Fell (2759ft/841m) and then descended to Red Pike (Wasdale) (2710ft/826m) before reaching Dore Head.  Having descended this route a couple of years earlier by running down the scree, we attempted the same again only to discover that the scree is now a mass of loose boulders.  Forty minutes later we arrived at the foot of the hill with shaking legs almost unable to walk.  Which explains why the route map finishes at the pub!

Pillar from Red PikeDore Head Scree


Route

From the car park at  NY187084. Pillar Route

Grisedale Pike

Saturday, 12 July 2014
10.8miles/17.4km
4001ft/1220m ascent
Trail 100 #44
Wainwright #156, #157, #158, #159, #160 & #161


Our goal on this walk was the pointed ridge summit of Grisedale Pike (2595ft/791m), we included the nearby hills to make a neat circuit. Then, because it was the only hill left in this part of the Lake District, we added the pretty bobble topped Causey Pike (2090ft/637m) to our itinerary, which forced us to descend to the valley floor and then climb back up to the ridge.  The result – a walk with 4,000 feet of climbing – fortunately mostly on good paths.

Bassenthwaite Lake

The climb from Braithwaite is a steady rise over the grassy slopes of Kinn (1227ft/374m), and it isn’t long before you can see the summit in the distance with the path, clearly visible.  We find it motivating being able to see the route ahead, and with this walk you can see almost the whole route laid out like a map in front of you.

The summit of Grisedale Pike is stony and gives a great view of the rest of the walk and glimpses over the cols to the Langdale Pikes,  From there it is an easy descent over Hobcarton Crag (2425ft/739m) to Coledale Hause.

Grisedale PikeSummit Coledale Hause

The paths here are well worn and easy to follow as you pass between Eel Crag (2753ft/839m) and Grasmoor (2795ft/852m) (and then turn East to return down the other side of the Coledale horseshoe.  We had planned to stop for a photograph at the trig point on Eel Crag to match an earlier picture taken in the snow – bur we were disappointed to find the pillar toppled and lying sadly on its side.

The next mountain is Sail (2536ft/773m), and I have memories of climbing this as a child in thick mist following a narrow heather lined path.  The heather is still there, but the path is now a wide, zigzagged trail with the old route still faintly visible.  The summit of Sail is a small cairn in the middle of a peaty pond.

Sail

Our route passed over the smaller hills as we made our way first to Causey Pike and then back to Outerside (1864ft/568m) and Barrow (1493ft/455m).

Derwent Water   Grisedale Pike from Eel Crag


Route

From the road at  NY227239. Grisedale Pike Route

Cross Fell

Sunday, 29 June 2014
13.4miles/8.4km
2283ft/696m ascent
Trail 100 #43


Over a big breakfast at The Coach House we discussed what to do.  We had finished our planned walks for the weekend a day early.  Afterwards Sue let us know what she would have done: ‘Gone for a mooch around and gone to a coffee shop’ – a good suggestion for a summer Sunday.

We stopped off in Hexham on the drive back from Northumberland and bought a map before climbing the largest mountain in the Pennines.  At 2,930ft/893m Cross Fell is one of the largest hills in England but, because it lies outside the big hill walking areas (The Lake District or Snowdonia), it isn’t a popular climb.  Which is a shame, because it is good walk and the view to the West of the nearby Lake District fells is superb.

Bridleway

We walked up the bridleway, always a good route up a mountain as the path tends to be wider and less steep.  Once over the first shoulder of the fell the ground becomes boggy before rising to a fortress of loose rock and scree.

ScreesDescent

The top is a flat expanse of grass with a scattering of stones which have been built into a series of cairns and shelters.  The large white golf-ball shaped radar dome on Great Dun Fell is prominent to the South, but it is the panoramic view of the Lake District fells to the West which is fantastic.

Shelter Pennine Way Cairn Lake District SkylineSummit

We charged down the mountain using the same route and got back in time to listen to the Netherlands vs Mexico World Cup football match on the way back home.


Route

From the road at  NY646325.

Cross Fell Route

Roseberry Topping

Saturday, 28 June 2014
1.5miles/2.5km
564ft/172m ascent
Trail 100 #42


From The Cheviot (674ft/815m) we drove the long distance South past Morpeth and Newcastle and Middlesborough, the weather improving all the time until we arrived at the foot of the small distinctive Roseberry Topping (1050ft/320m).  This cute little hill has a name to match and we walked up the dusty track in the afternoon sunshine.

Wooded Path

The path is stepped and paved and quite steep, but short and no challenge for us.  From the top the view South is over the empty landscape of the North York Moors; while North is the industrial sprawl of Middlesbrough.

North York Moors Roseberry Topping  Summit 2 Rocks

We stopped at the top for photographs and then walked slowly back down the same route to the car.  We then drove back through the Tyne tunnel and ate a fabulous supper at The Village Inn in Longframlington.


Route

From the car park at NZ571128.

Roseberry Topping Route

 

The Cheviot

Saturday, 28 June 2014
8.2miles/13.2km
2100ft/640m ascent
Trail 100 #41


A slight navigational error changed our plans for the whole weekend.  We set for a long trek around The Cheviot (2674ft/815m) in the far North East of England just by the Scottish border, and planned to walk up a much smaller hill, Roseberry Topping (1050ft/320m) on our way back home on Sunday. But we missed our path and arrived 200m away from the stile over the fence. We could have walked the short distance to the stile, but the weather wasn’t great so we decided to take a shorter route and try and complete both hills in one day.

Broadhope Hill

The Cheviot is a huge lump, with an extensive view as you climb the bracken covered lower slopes and then the high peat fells. The path across the top is paved, which is good – because otherwise it would be an unpleasant trudge across a bog. The summit is marked with an large tower, but there isn’t a view from the flat top only the nearby flat marshy land is visible.

Scald Hill  Cheviot Hills

Instead of our planned circular walk around the hill we turned around and dashed back down the pretty valley as a few light showers arrived. We got in the car and set off for our next hill.

Pennine Way The Cheviot


Route

From the road at NT956226. The Cheviot Route