Gurnal Dubs in Snow from the A6

21 04 2018

Wed 27 Jan 2018
Richard and I were on a visit to our ‘winter residence’ – our favourite warm hotel in the Lakes, the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal. There was much snow around and I fancied something uphill, even if I didn’t make a summit, so decided we’d do Gurnal Dubs up a tempting looking lane from the A6 side.

We parked in a large layby on the side of the A6 by the Garth Row turnoff. The road after Garth Row is closed now anyway due to a road collapse leading to the river bridge – I can’t see it being rebuilt as other roads go to the same places from Burneside.

Just before where the lane is washed away leading to the bridge, homeless folk have set up home in various old and knackered vans and lorries – they’re not doing any harm so I hope no-one moves them on. One was foraging for very damp firewood and they all seem to have managed to get wood stoves going inside their vehicles. One was an old green horsebox so he’d have multiple very small rooms! 😉

I was glad to see the actual bridge was still up (although damaged) – I would have waded the beck to reach my objective, even in January, but Richard certainly wouldn’t!

After a couple of miles of lane walking, we reached the end of the rough tractor lane leading up to Gurnal Dubs. This starts by raking across under Hollin Crag – the track rises gently all the way to Gurnal Dubs – a couple of miles. The lanes had been gritted but the track had around 4 inches of fresh snow…


Bad Weather over Kendal (this and next 2 Richard’s digi-photos)

As we reached the top of the climb, we entered the moorland enclosure for Gurnal Dubs – the snow was much deeper here – probably around 6 inches. I thought it was quite nice to walk on but was soon to find out my leg didn’t agree!

There was a little tarn to the side of the track…

We then turned off on the first track around the lake to circumvent it – there are good tracks all the way around. So far, we’d seen no-one else…


Me starting to limp around the lake


Gurnal Dubs (my film photos)

By the time I’d taken my second photo, my leg was becoming really troublesome so we stopped by the boathouse for a quick coffee and biscuit. Richard had to lend me his sit mat as I had to sit to rest my leg.

We then set off round the rest of the tarn and here started to meet folk coming the other way. One was a woman walking madly with 2 poles – don’t know if she was Nordic Walking or something? The other was a man strolling along.

The woman with the poles probably gave me a funny look as I was carrying a pole and limping badly – she probably wondered why I didn’t use it. To be honest, poles don’t really help much with a knackered hip as it’s lifting your leg and stretching it forward you can no longer do! You need one when it starts collapsing though…


Richard’s digi-photos of the redescent of the track

The weather was pretty horrid so we didn’t hang around any more but set off back down our snowy lane. I was looking into the fields to our right as I knew a shortcut footpath descended to the start of the long track and cut a good mile off. We soon saw a signpost and set off straight down the fields and, very shortly after, arrived back on the gritted lanes.

I was struggling badly by now and knew my leg wouldn’t stand much hard tarmac walking so we had a rest on the banking just as a young coloured lady strode past up the lane looking very fit – I was pretty jealous!

The couple of miles back on the hard tarmac started to really crucify me and my leg started to collapse every few steps – my sciatic nerve was screaming agony in my shins! Every time we found a bench, banking or tree stump, I had to stop and have a sit down – I started to think we’d never get back to the car…

Soon we reached another shortcut footpath across fields – Richard said he’d just continue on the road and I set off across the fields. I was fine until I got to the stiles which needed climbing and then just couldn’t lift my legs high enough. I hauled my bad leg manually over each stile – it didn’t help they were very wet and slippery stone or wood.

Eventually I came to a stile which you just couldn’t safely use with one leg. It was wooden, collapsing, very tilted and lethally slippery. I found a low bit of wire fence and clambered over that. That completely finished my leg off and I took ages to do 100 yards or so across to the exit stile by the road where Richard was waiting patiently despite having walked much further round.

The next mile was painfully slow and was just a blur of pain to me. We eventually passed through the village of Garth Row and up the final hill to the car. I was clinging on to the drystone wall with my non-stick hand now.

Just as I staggered back to the car, Richard’s sciatic tendon gave way. We had all on just to get our boots off and get into the car. Luckily my driving wasn’t too bad and the pain went off now I was seated.

What had upset my leg so badly? I think it was because, due to the snow, I’d been having to lift it higher before moving it forward for each stride and it didn’t like that. It also didn’t like the 4 miles or so road walking.

Ain’t it a bitch getting old! 😦


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17 responses

29 04 2018
Paul Shorrock

Wow! A bit of an epic!

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30 04 2018
mountaincoward

Only really due to my knackered hip – should have been a lovely, easy walk

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24 04 2018
tessapark1969

Looked freezing!

Sounds as though the leg was very troublesome. Hope the replacement can happen soon.

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25 04 2018
mountaincoward

Supposedly in the next couple of months. It was quite a warm day for the time of year – the snow was just lying and I should have enjoyed it but for the leg!

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24 04 2018
thecaptainnemo

Way too much white stuff, looks cold brr 🙂
My mom recovered from knee surgery last year pretty quick. She’s looking to get the other one done now. Hope your surgery goes well.

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24 04 2018
mountaincoward

I’ve got a nasty feeling my other hip is going to need doing after this one has given it so much hell compensating – it’s starting to show early signs 😦

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22 04 2018
Blue Sky Scotland

Don’t know that area at all. Shame about the hip. I’ve just stopped limping badly after my knee packed in on the bothy trip a month ago. Not much fun when you can’t do the things you took for granted before.

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23 04 2018
mountaincoward

I’m really, really hoping I can get back to normal after the replacement – I keep stressing to the surgeon that I need/want to be really active after the op when my recovery is complete

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22 04 2018
underswansea

Whew! That sounds like quite the trek. Good thing you were comfortable and able to drive back. When I was a youngster I had to drive an old Scout International back down a narrow mountain road after my Dad wore out one of his legs. I think his exact words were, ‘It’s a bitch getting old.’ Then he added, ‘But it’s better than the alternative.’

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22 04 2018
mountaincoward

Driving used to actually be worse when my hip wasn’t quite as worn – it affected the sciatic nerve badly and my shins were so painful I couldn’t concentrate. I still have to lift my bad leg from one pedal to the other though 😦

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22 04 2018
John Bainbridge

Grand snowy pictures,

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22 04 2018
mountaincoward

Yes, it should have been a very easy and enjoyable walk – damn legs!

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22 04 2018
Jim R

Yes it is.

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22 04 2018
mountaincoward

Let’s hope the coming hip op rejuvenates me a bit!

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22 04 2018
Jim R

When Will it be? It should help.

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22 04 2018
mountaincoward

the surgeon says it should be in a couple of months. Best get the house move done first!

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22 04 2018
Jim R

true…you’ll be slowed down considerably

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