Dale Head Photo Fest

21 12 2016

Sun 20 November 2016
A trip to the Lakes in the earliest snow I’ve ever seen up there!

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Photos my film SLR & Richard’s digi camera (marked) – click on for full size/resolution

It was bitterly cold when we set off from the Royal Oak in Rosthwaite – luckily we didn’t have to drive anywhere. I was fine on the flat but my chest was finding the cold air very nasty and I didn’t have high hopes of getting very high up the fells.

Sure enough, by the time we’d reached the Allerdale Ramble a few hundred feet up some steep fellside, my lungs gave out completely. I couldn’t breathe at all and staggered around leaning on gates and suchlike and coughing very badly (when I could get the air to cough with!) ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The farmer and his missus were trying to herd some sheep near the gateway and the poor things didn’t know what to do. They didn’t want to approach this dying, coughing, spluttering thing and they didn’t want to get got by the sheepdogs. They milled around until the farmers gave up and went to get some others. The poor sheep stood around in a huddle wondering what to do so Richard snapped a quick shot of them.

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After ten minutes or so I could at least breathe a bit but still couldn’t really walk. Sick of hanging around freezing and not sure what to do, we decided to go along the flatter track towards Castle Crag and see if I got worse again. If I did, we were going to descend to the valley at Grange and just walk back along the river.

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Frosty Castle Crag (R Wood)

I was totally exhausted when we reached the top of the descent past Castle Crag so we walked back on the flat to the sheep again – finding them still huddled. I still didn’t feel any better but it’s a gently rising track all the way to the pass summit at Honister.

I was very sorry to abandon my favourite steep path up through Rigghead Quarries but knew I’d never make it up there, especially as it is completely cut off from any sun so would be even colder.

I did okay up to the pass and near the top it got sunny and warmer. By the time we reached it, my breathing had actually returned to normal. I was still eyeing the lovely, snowy Dale Head – my favourite walk in the area. We nipped into the cafe and I decided I had to at least have a go at the fell – it was only another 1000 feet or so from the pass summit and at a pretty steady angle most of the way – a steady snow plod.

I told Richard and he agreed we’d give it a go – I’m glad we did as this is what we saw…

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Honister Pass Summit

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We found the snow was pretty deep but, luckily, someone had been up before us and made footprints – Richard’s photo below…

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I looked back to a superb view over Bowfell, Esk Pike and The Scafells which were covered with sheets of cloud – this was straight into the light but we both took photos (using hands as lens caps) and Richard’s won this one…

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I got him back with these two though ๐Ÿ˜‰

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At one point we decided to draw a bunny – a mountain hare in full winter coat – turned out quite well – hope no-one obliterated it with their clumsy feet!

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Snowy Mountain Hare – R Wood

We plodded on up, Richard getting pretty far ahead sometimes and not just because I was taking photos – I had to be careful. The coldness of the air increased as we ascended and I ended up having to put my fleece buff over my mouth…

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I like fenceline photos and took these towards the High Stile Range over Buttermere…

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Richard obviously liked the fence and view in that direction too…

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We also were drawn to the view to the Helvellyns looking pristine in full winter coat…

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At one point I told Richard the summit was just up the next section – unfortunately I was wrong and, on topping a section of very steep snow, we saw we had miles to go. With my new lack of lungpower and the thick snow, I started to feel I was on some kind of Himalayan expedition doing a really big peak. I plodded on resolutely but was starting to stagger a bit I think…

At last we were there – the summit pillar at last – I thought it would never come!

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Comparison shots – mine above, Richard’s below
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The sudden view from here to the North-Western fells (my favourites) was astounding and I couldn’t stop raving about it (while we both clicked away)

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Another comparison shot of Hindscarth End with the Coledale Fells behind – mine first…

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Both R Wood
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It was growing very cold and the sun was disappearing so I took this final shot and took a very reluctant leave of the stunning views for the descent…

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Initially we went wrong on the descent – Richard had a bright idea but it ended up with us floundering across deep snowdrifts and I cursed him as I got back onto our original, trodden route where things became pleasant and easy again…

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My film ran out after this photo and I didn’t see much point in changing it so let Richard take over the photography at this point – I just enjoyed ploughing quickly back down the deep snow – always fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

I liked the light over Great Gable as the sun started to sink and told Richard he had to take this one ๐Ÿ˜‰

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We both liked this frozen tarn…

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We were soon back at the Honister Pass cafe where we parsimoniously drank our flasks and ate our biscuits outside – I’m Yorkshire but not sure what Richard’s excuse is as he’s a Brummie – I suppose he’s living in Yorkshire though ๐Ÿ˜‰

We were absolutely thrilled with this model of the Ambleside Bridge House which had been built by the slate quarry artisans!

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26 responses

10 01 2017
M.Barrett

Lovely photos. Haven’t been to the Lake District for years. That’s going to have to change this year!

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11 01 2017
mountaincoward

It’s my favourite part of Britain which is why I’m moving there ๐Ÿ™‚

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30 12 2016
Mark

Ah, Dale Head, the last climb on the Borrowdale Fell Race. The 1000ft ascent from Honister has had every sinue to bursting point. Nice routes east and west from there. Enjoyable read.

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30 12 2016
mountaincoward

Didn’t know you’d done the Borrowdale Fell Race – we’re always reading the board in the Scafell Hotel – it’s full of Blands! and Booths…

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30 12 2016
Mark

An also ran I’m afraid. Although I usually managed to get round in under 4 hours. Great route without being over-long.

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30 12 2016
mountaincoward

sounds a pretty good time to me!

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29 12 2016
Simon Howlett

A beautiful pristine landscape. I like the artwork too, the snowy mountain hare looks great along with the model of the Ambleside Bridge House. I’ll check it out next time I’m up there. I hope your breathing is better and you are feeling well Carol.

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29 12 2016
mountaincoward

That Bridge House was ace! At least that will still be there – our poor old hare will have melted now. I’m sure they must be selling copies of that Bridge House but I think, judging by the size of it, it would cost a fortune!

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26 12 2016
McFadzean

Excellent walk, and good job you made the effort because it was a great day with great pictures. Love the mountain hare.
All the best for the season, Alen

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27 12 2016
mountaincoward

We were both giggling like delighted schoolchildren while we drew that with his walking pole! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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25 12 2016
tessapark1969

That looked cracking. Yet to do anything that side of the pass unless you count Catbells and Maiden Moor (my 2nd and 3rd!!)

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27 12 2016
mountaincoward

Robinson, Hindscarth and Dalehead are all excellent walking and can be linked together in many great ways. Robinson is one of my favourite fells (I like all the North-western fells best though).

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24 12 2016
chrissiedixie

Superb photos there! Shame about your breathing issues but interesting to read about the possible link to Lyme Disease. Geoff and I have both had that in the past – Geoff quite recently but me about 10 years ago. Not had any breathing problems yet, but it makes you think.

I do remember being out in temperatures of around -17C in Canada though, and you just had to cover your mouth and nose with a buff, or the cold hurt!

Merry Christmas!

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24 12 2016
mountaincoward

It seems like it’s more Babesiosis (which is another of the many, many diseases ticks carry) – that seems to be the one which affects your breathing. I can check with the doctor but it’s not a lot easier to diagnose than Lyme Disease after the event – apparently for the first couple of weeks though they can see the bug living inside your red blood cells! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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23 12 2016
surfnslide

Winter walking in snow on a cold frosty day. Life doesn’t get much better than that!

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23 12 2016
mountaincoward

The bit in the sun was nice – it was too cold for me the rest of the walk!

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23 12 2016
Blue Sky Scotland

Great photos Carol and a lovely winter’s day. Did you have any history of breathlessness up until recently? The reason I ask is that acute shortness of breath seems to crop up with regularity in folk that have had Lymes Disease and some of the drugs used to treat it. May be a long shot but have a look yourself on the web. Many comments about developing breathing problems after having Lymes Disease. See what you think…. It may be nothing but worth checking out.

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23 12 2016
mountaincoward

Now you’ve got me worried! I’ve been tired on the hills for a few years and getting worse but originally put that down to my age. I’ve been asthmatic (but without symptoms) for 30 years but not been having any breathing problems until this year. The shortness of breath did start this spring I think and also the persistent cough. That does rather tie in with my Lymes Disease in spring! Back to the doctor I think. Apparently it could be Babesiosis which is another thing tick nymphs (which mine was) can affect you with. Thanks for the shout on that one…

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24 12 2016
Blue Sky Scotland

That’s what I was reading about Carol online. I don’t even know if ticks carry it in Scotland but it is worth checking out just in case. Merry Christmas….

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24 12 2016
mountaincoward

Merry Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay to you too Bob!

I’ll probably mention it to my doctor after Christmas but it’s all very hard to check for after the event. Something for them to bear in mind though – they might try that treatment instead of the COPD one. The asthma treatments certainly don’t help any!

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22 12 2016
Paul Shorrock

Great pics Carol (and Richard) – it’s great to see the hills with their winter coats on. Hoping for a good (aka snowy) winter!

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22 12 2016
mountaincoward

Yes, but with warmer air during the day! I suppose we should get that kind of thing by February. I always set off late in winter to avoid the severely cold air of the morning.

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22 12 2016
Gaslight Crime

What wonderful scenery and in such great conditions, JB

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22 12 2016
mountaincoward

It was superb and I couldn’t believe there was so much snow so early. Really glad I persisted and went up there ๐Ÿ™‚

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21 12 2016
treksandtors

Not done any of those around High Spy, Dale Head or Hindscarth yet, looking to do them on a good day next summer as the view down from Dale Head to the Newlands is a fine one apparently. Great walk this one and one to mark under perseverance!!

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22 12 2016
mountaincoward

It’s not the best route and we usually just use that for descent. I think, when you do them, you’re likely to do our more usual summer route which includes Hindscarth and Robinson. Hindscarth Edge is a joy. It’s hard to pick which to descend out of the other two though as both Scope End (Hindscarth) and High Snab Bank (Robinson) are great fun. You can also use Littledale between them which is lovely too. Lovely fells ๐Ÿ™‚

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