Whinlatter Round aka ‘Caught in the Forest’!

8 09 2020

Tue 7 April 2020
This was during lockdown but, as I’d had to travel to Keswick anyway, I did the walk on my way back. I knew all the Whinlatter Forest carparks were shut (and so the Forestry people thought that Whinlatter Forest was also shut) but I also knew there was roadside parking. There were a couple of other cars there and I bumped into one girl just coming back from the hill (although, of course, at a 6 foot social-distance!)…

All photos:
my Zenith manual film SLR

I’d had to go to Keswick to pick up some foodstuffs which weren’t available locally. My bakery is in Appleby but the owner lives in Keswick so we arranged a regular meetup there every 10 days for me to pick up goods from them as Keswick Market was temporarily discontinued for the virus.

This was highly-suspicious to watch… I’d park my car and sit waiting. He’d come along and park a few yards away. I’d get out and leave my boot open… he’d leave his driver’s door open. He’d put a large package in my boot and I’d put money inside his driver’s door. We’d then both get back in our cars and drive off. As this was outside some housing, they must’ve thought it was a drugs heist! 😉

I parked my car near the top of the pass and, hoping no-one would vandalise it out of spite (I’d already had nasty notes left on my cars), set off into the forest. The track starts climbing immediately until a forest road branches off to the left (it’s the second left). This branch road ends in a few hundred yards at a large turning circle with a walkers’ gate through the fence ahead. Immediately through the gate a steep path sets off for the ridgeline above – a very short climb.

Once on the ridgeline, I romped along the undulating ridge – it was nice and dry due to the great weather conditions at the start of the year – some days it’s pretty wet and boggy.

It’s a short distance to the very small cairn on Whinlatter Hill but you need to continue on to Brown Hills in the distance…

Brown Hills from Whinlatter Hill

It’s great going all the way along the ridge and I absolutely flew – I was feeling very fit. There are lovely views straight across the valley to Grisedale Pike and the lovely Hobcarton Ridge (which is unfortunately being destroyed by illegal mountain biking – it’s a footpath not a bridleway!)


Grisedale Pike and Hobcarton End

When I reached Brown Hills summit I didn’t have any particular intentions – certainly not what I ended up doing. I thought I’d probably return to the car. However, I hadn’t been on Lords Seat for a few years and had a yen to do it on the way back – not that it is particularly en-route.

In the end, I saw a path continued off the end of Brown Hills and decided to follow it and see if it dropped me into the valley at the back. It took a very roundabout route but eventually I landed at the top edge of the forest. A track set off alongside the wall in both directions – wanting to extend the walk, I chose left.

I could hear a vehicle in the forest below which I knew could spell trouble if I came across the driver as he would think I shouldn’t be there. I watched for a while and could see it going up the side of Graystones opposite. I clambered over the broken-down wall into a section of felled forest. As he was still buzzing about in his van, I thought I’d keep to the forest edge so as to be less visible.

I was soon down on a forest road which was heading downhill on my side of the valley. I wanted to cross the stream and continue up a wallside onto Broom Fell.

Suddenly, as I walked on down the forest road, I heard the vehicle again – he was very close and about to appear around the corner any second. Feeling a little hunted, I wondered whether to dive down the banking. While I dithered, the forestry van came around the corner – oooerr…

I decided to just brazen it out, ignore him and continue walking. He approached and started to slow…

“Here we go”, I thought, guessing he’d ask me what I was doing there. He drove past me slowly having a long, hard look but I kept looking straight ahead and walking. He continued past – phew!

A minute or so later, he’d turned around and was coming back down. I wondered again whether to plunge down to the lower road through the bushes but again I didn’t. He again slowed down and had a good look at me and I again ignored him.

In the end, he kept on driving and left me in peace. I was nervy until I left all the roads and set off across the stream though. Soon after, I was hidden in trees and behind high banks for a while. I would be fully visible once I set off up the hillside – I hoped the forestry guy didn’t come back with a gun and pick me off!

There was a bit of a gill which looked more hidden and I wondered whether to divert to that but, in the end, I didn’t and just followed the wallside path. It was a long slog up to the ridge of Broom Fell but I kept up a good pace.

Looking back down and across to the North-Western Fells…

North-western fells from Broom Fell ascent

When I reached the ridgeline it was only a short distance to the well-built cairn on Broom Fell. I stopped for a brief rest in the hot sunshine – it was a lovely evening…

Lords Seat from Broom Fell

It’s an easy romp again along the ridge until the final climb up to Lords Seat – I always find this short section hard!

It was quite a brisk and cold wind at Lords Seat’s summit so I didn’t hang around. It was by now 2000 hours anyway and I was wanting my tea!

I always think Grisedale Pike is a lovely shape from Lords Fell descent…

I ran most of the descent, especially down the forest roads, and was back at the car in around half an hour. Fortunately, no-one had bothered my car this time and he was fine. He was sat in full sun though and pretty hot for piling my sticky body into!

I’d had a superb walk despite feeling slightly harried by the Forestry people – actually, I think that may have added a little excitement to the walk anyway 😉

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18 responses

17 09 2020
tessapark1969

That looked great!

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17 09 2020
mountaincoward

It makes a very nice, if odd, round – a bit strange to descend into a valley halfway and go up the other side but still nice. I have a soft spot for the Whinlatter Hill to Brown Hills ridge – a nice quickie done on its own.

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11 09 2020
chrissiedixie

Looks a lovely day out!

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12 09 2020
mountaincoward

It’s a bit strange for a round as you drop down into the valley between the 2 sets of hills but it’s the most sensible way to do it. They’re nice fells though – easy and with good views.

Liked by 1 person

10 09 2020
bob

I’m always impressed and amazed at your continued enthusiasm and energy for the mountains Carol. I can’t be arsed these days but do not miss them :o)
Bob.

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12 09 2020
mountaincoward

Yeah, but these are easy, English hills – remember those? I’m not sure how bothered I can be for the more difficult Scottish stuff nowadays – I’m getting a bit lazy about the pathlessness etc.

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9 09 2020
Alli Templeton

A great read, Carol. I’m glad you got a decent hike in during lockdown and it clearly did you the world of good. The story about the clandestine grocery running made me laugh. I can just see it now – so funny! I’d find it nigh on impossible to resist venturing into that beautiful landscape if I lived up there. The cairn on Broom Fell looks amazing, and what a perfect place to stop and take it all in on a lovely evening. And it would have been nice and peaceful – apart from the forester – but at least he left you alone.

I’m also glad your car didn’t get targeted by judgemental idiots. That really annoys me. People just don’t think. We were exempt from the driving ban because of our son, Nathan being autistic, and we used to get disapproving looks from people who had no right to judge us because they had no idea how much the lockdown was messing up our poor special needs kids. I’m just glad no-one actually said anything to me because if they had they wouldn’t have known what had hit them. 😉

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9 09 2020
mountaincoward

I suppose it might have been better if they’d said something instead of the disapproving looks and then you could have told them why. But I’d had a note left on my car as I had a walk on the way back from work one night about a week before (the next village to Keswick so it was definitely on my way home). I left them a reply taped to the tree I’d parked by the next night – well, I left them a corrected version of their note. I also told them to ‘wind their necks in’!

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9 09 2020
treksandtors

So if anyone needs any recreational drugs we know where to come!!

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9 09 2020
mountaincoward

LOL – yeah, just meet me on that road, leave your door open etc.

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9 09 2020
underswansea

Sounds like an exciting walk and run! Were you worried about the forestry guy because you were not to be hiking during lockdown. During our ‘lockdown’ the government encouraged us to get out hiking as long as we kept our distance.

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9 09 2020
mountaincoward

we were allowed to walk but weren’t supposed to drive far to walk as such at the time. But I’d stopped on my way back from shopping really so I saw no reason not to go. However, our mountain rescue guys were insisting we should stop going to the fells but that wasn’t official and, as I’ve walked the fells all my life and am both sensible and careful, I didn’t see why I shouldn’t do some easy and grassy fells on my way home.

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9 09 2020
John Bainbridge

Your baker’s in Appleby? Well there is one there but every day they get deliveries from Keswick. Very suspicious this…

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9 09 2020
mountaincoward

It’s Kath Earl’s bakery I get fruit pies from. They do them properly and don’t ladle sugar into the pastry (turning it into shortcake biscuit instead) and just put sugar in the fruit fillings. Their mince pies are excellent for the same reason. Any other fruit pies I could buy are way too sweet and sugary to be healthy in any way so I won’t buy them.

They normally have a stall at Keswick Market but obviously weren’t allowed while the lockdown was on hence the meet-ups. The guy who runs the bakery lives in Keswick so I was meeting him on his way back from work when I needed resupplies.

Liked by 1 person

10 09 2020
John Bainbridge

Ah, explained. Enjoy.

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10 09 2020
mountaincoward

I do! I eat half a pie a night for my pud! 😉

Liked by 1 person

8 09 2020
Jim R

I envy your access to the many good walks in your area. My wife and I enjoyed watching a 4 part series on Acorn TV about Wainwright walks. Have you seen the program?
https://acorn.tv/wainwrightwalks/

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9 09 2020
mountaincoward

I’ve got quite a few ‘Wainwright Walks’ DVDs which I watch regularly – mainly Scottish ones. Very restful soundtrack too.

Liked by 1 person

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