Barrow – Easy Walk When I Wanted a Hard One

12 01 2017

Tue 22 November 2016
I was a bit miffed to see this first thing in the morning (Skiddaw, my favourite winter mountain caked in snow) and then to have to turn away and do a tiddler around the back of the hotel!

magnificent-winter-skiddaw-nov-16

Click on photos for full size/resolution – half my film camera and half Richard’s digi camera

All the way through the village to the foot of our walk up Barrow, I kept looking round at Skiddaw in his magnificent winter coat, remembering the times I’ve been up there in those great conditions and wishing I could still do it. However, the chest dictates that tough winter walks are now out of the question 😦

I asked Richard to take the following zoom photo as, at first, I thought there had been an avalanche on the flanks of Jenkin Hill

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But then I remembered that I think I’ve seen something like that cut into the side of the fell when there’s no snow – anyone know what it is? Not quite the right place for a peat dig (and it’s not peat anyway)!

Grisedale Pike, my absolutely favourite hill – but not in those conditions as I wouldn’t fancy the arete – was looking accusingly at me on my other side. Richard took a couple of photos…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The air was again cold and I didn’t want to repeat my lung failure from my Dale Head walk earlier in the week so I took it very steady indeed up the steep start. I did notice, however, that I overtook a group of even slower walkers than me – amazing! Richard kept the pressure off me by staying behind most of the way and snapping yet more photos of my favourite two peaks…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and an amusing zoom of a nipple on a perfect breast… sorry, a bump behind Blease Fell, Blencathra 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I occasionally broke my steady plod to have another peep at Skiddaw – in the foreground, the little forested hill is a ‘trespass hill’, Swinside, that I’ve wanted to do for ages and had gone up the day before in the pouring rain and really enjoyed myself

trespass-hill-skiddaw-from-barrow

As all people who’ve walked up Barrow know, there is an annoying dip which I think someone should put a little bridge across. After crossing it, I looked around to see the low winter morning light was quite interesting – showing the paths up well

snowy-skiddaw-from-barrow-gap

There were nice views across Derwentwater to the snowy Dodds Ridge so, while I was stopped I took one across that way and another of ‘The Grize’ (as I call Grisedale Pike)

barrow-across-derwentwater-to-helvellyns

beautiful-snowy-grisedale-pike

and a shot to the wintry hills across the Stoneycroft mine road

coledale-south-arm-from-barrow-winter

I then continued my slow plod – I have to say my chest was actually behaving itself but I’d had maximum preventer inhalers and had probably eaten two menthol pastilles by this point. Incidentally, for anyone else deciding to get COPD, the menthol pastilles are actually far more useful than the inhalers!

The shallow snow had been nice and crisp to this point but now started to get pretty icy and very slippery – there wasn’t really enough depth at this lowly height to sink in and get any grip. We’d neglected to bring our microspikes up the hill for some reason and had left them in our room!

We both took more or less the same photo near the summit and I have to say that, as often in snowy conditions, Richard’s camera handled the snowy hills against the sky better than my film camera. I think my problem is that I could do with one of those graduation filters to darken the sky a little but the only one I can get is too cumbersome to fit in my camera bag and there’s no way in cold conditions I’m going to be taking gloves off and faffing much with the camera! So, my photo first and then Richard’s after…

southern-coledale-fells-from-barrow-winter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We then reached the summit where I got a signal on my phone so was obliged to ring my solicitor about my house buying which was taking 5 months to go through but was nearly complete! (now is thank goodness). As I’m not the type to use a phone on the hill except in an emergency, I felt slightly foolish and walked quite a way from others on the hill.

I said we’d go and do Stile End but probably not Outerside – it was getting too icy for spikeless walkers really.

barrow-to-grisey-across-stile-end-winter
Stile End with Outerside and Grisedale Pike behind

Richard took a broody looking shot of Causey Pike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The descent down the back of Barrow hadn’t seen any sun and was pretty lethal so took us ages…

stile-end-outerside-in-winter

At least we knew Stile End would be fine – it was. We could see two guys very gingerly descending the northern nose of the small hill though. We were undecided at that point how we were returning to Braithwaite but, after seeing them, I said it wouldn’t be down the end of Stile End. I said we could either use Barrow Door but that really I wanted to go down into Coledale.

Richard’s photo looking back to Barrow – just look at the massed snowy ranks behind it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We decided to go for the Coledale option and ploughed down deep snow-covered heather to the col before Outerside (which we’d decided not to include). We ended up with plenty of snow down our boots before we made it back to the path. Richard’s photo of Outerside

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another of my photos of The Grize…

gorgeous-grisedale-pike-in-snow

And one of Richard’s just before we plunged down the slopes towards Coledale from the col. We actually used the path to the west of Stile End for most of the way – that at least was unfrozen. We were sorry to upset the sheep who were settled comfortably on the snowless path which isn’t used often so they probably thought they were safe from intrusion…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A fairly flat path traverses below Outerside and we set off up the Coledale Valley on that intending to head for the old zig-zag down to the river crossing. However, I got fed up of the fact that we were in shade when there was sun available across the river. Also, by the time we got there using the zig-zag the sun would have gone off the valley altogether. In the end, to humour my desire for sun, we just ploughed down the rough slopes to the river.

It looked like there was an easy crossing place where we could cross dryshod but, on reaching it, there was a deep section before the shallow bit we’d seen from above. Still desperate for sun, I had a quick look up and down the bank a short way and then did my usual… boots and socks off, socks stuffed into boots, bootlaces tied together so I could put them round my neck and a barefoot wade across.

Now I was slightly worried about making the broken toe I currently have worse on the rocks of the river bed, however, the water was so cold, within seconds I couldn’t feel my feet. The crossing was quite wide at that point and, of course, I couldn’t put my boots and socks back on until I’d crossed the river.

On exiting the water and reaching the cold, wet grass, the feeling came back to my feet and they hurt like bloody hell! I couldn’t really sit there in the freezing shade and cold, wet, semi-frozen grass so I clawed my way up the almost vertical banking towards the sun I could see way above.

On reaching a patch of sun I immediately sat down and dabbed off the wet with the tops of my thick socks. I then had to wrap my toes in the socks until the pain went away – I couldn’t tell whether I’d made my broken toe worse or not at this stage. I’ve crossed many a winter river in Scotland but have to say this was the coldest crossing I’ve ever done – either that or I’m getting soft in my old age!

By the time I’d put my boots and socks back on, clambered over the fence and reached the Coledale Mine Road, Richard was waiting for me. He’d found one of those hanging stock fences across the river and got across there.

I said that, now I’d reached my sun, I was going to have a break for coffee and biscuits. While we sat and munched and warmed up with a drink, a couple came past and asked about my river wade. They didn’t sound envious when I told them!

Just before we set off, I took a photo of my lovely Grisedale Pike which was looking down on me from the valley side – he looked pretty impressive…

grisedale-pike-towering-over-coledale

The colours looked lovely walking down the valley so I took a couple of photos – I notice Skiddaw doesn’t really show up though – that lack of the right filter again I think…

coledale-exit-in-autumn

ghostly-skiddaw-from-coledale-exit

Richard took a couple of photos towards Clough Head and the end of the Dodds Ridge

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

he does have a great zoom…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

another of his…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We then turned off down the walker’s track which is very narrow, fenced on one side above the drop into the gorge, and had Swaledale sheep on it who didn’t quite know what to do. They held us up for a good five minutes or so while they dithered around. Richard photographed their discomfort and confusion…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

They ended up doing their usual of running ahead of us down the path until they reached the gate then they dithered some more. by now, we’d had enough of giving them chance to escape and just continued towards them until they made a break for it past us.

We were soon back down and crossed to the Coledale Inn for a pint for Richard and a warm by the fire for me. Nice walk but shame about Skiddaw!

Advertisements

Actions

Information

12 responses

2 02 2017
smackedpentax

Superb photos Carol – both your and Richards. I love the Lakes in the snow – Blencathra is my favourite – it ‘looks’ like a mountain, if you know what I mean. You can get a Cokin graduated filter for your slr – I think they still make them – but you can often pick them up on eBay or second hand (I bought a shoe box full of them from a camera fayre a few years ago – I never use them but they were a bargain..). Good luck with the house move 🙂

Like

2 02 2017
mountaincoward

Thanks for the tip about the grad filter – I really need one. You haven’t got one lurking in that shoe box have you? If you have, I’ll certainly buy it off you if it fits my camera (it’s fairly standard so it should).

Like

15 01 2017
Blue Sky Scotland

I’ve never been walking it the lakes in snow like that. Looks amazing. Great photos by the way. My kind of camera :o)

Like

15 01 2017
mountaincoward

I’m assuming you mean Richard’s photos – yes, it does do better with snow scenes most of the time but my digi-camera is pretty awful so I rarely take it anywhere unless I’m desperate!

Like

13 01 2017
Mark

That’s gone right on must do list.👍 The Wainwrights are going to be a project for my latter years. I’ll look forward to one.

Like

13 01 2017
mountaincoward

They’re all easy anyway – good choice to leave them till later years.

Like

13 01 2017
treksandtors

I quite like Barrow, i always go up to Barrow Door first and I prefer the views of Skiddaw walking down the front. Not sure about the river crossing though. Brrrrr!!

Like

13 01 2017
mountaincoward

I really don’t know why I found the river crossing so cold – I think I must definitely be getting less tough. I’ve actually stood in Scottish winter rivers for a while helping friends across the stones and it’s never bothered me before – certainly never hurt!

Liked by 1 person

13 01 2017
Gaslight Crime

Quiet wonderful pictures, JB

Like

13 01 2017
mountaincoward

Thanks John – just wish I could get that graduated filter for the tops of my photos – stop them fading out like that, especially in those conditions.

Like

12 01 2017
tessapark1969

Lovely photos there. Grisedale Pike is high on the list for me this year, maybe when I stay in Grasmere as I don’t have any Keswick trips planned yet.

Like

12 01 2017
mountaincoward

Have you done the other Coledale Round hills? if not, you might be best waiting till you’re pretty fit and doing the round. That way you get quite a few Wainwrights depending on how many you decide to add it. The round is a great classic anyway.

Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: