Foaling Around on Walla & Blaeberry

27 06 2022

I’ve recently re-discovered Walla Crag as an after-work walk (I hadn’t been up it for years) after I went up Cat Gill which was a completely new route for me.  Of particular interest to me though were two craggy-ended hills I could see from Keswick which I suspected were a trespass but wanted to bag!  This round has become a favourite of mine – not totally because of the mountains as you’ll see towards the end of the post…

The distant ridge of Dodd Crags

All photos:
my Olympus Trip35 film camera (which is having a focusing problem I think) and my digi point-and-shoot

On my first visit via Cat Gill, I found the route to Walla Crag was pretty short, very steep, beautiful and very enjoyable.  Strange that I never went up that way before but I’d previously only done Walla Crag a couple of times…

Cat Gill is a pretty engineered route due to erosion and its steepness on the upper half is stone pitched and some of it fenced (heath & safety at work).

Where the path leaves the gill you get nice views across the declivity…

an atmospheric shot of Raven Crag above Derwentwater

Three digi shots showing the gill head…

From here the rate of climb slackens as you head towards Walla Crag…

On my first visit I just did Walla Crag as it was early in the year and I didn’t think I had time to do Blaeberry as well.  The path along the edge of the crag for the return to Keswick is both scenic and moderately exciting as it is very near the edge and there are many gullies which you edge around the top of.  If you don’t like excitement though, there are plenty of paths further away to reach Keswick… Here are some photos from the more exciting path…

View from the summit along the edge where the exciting path goes

the digi-camera made a nice job of this shot – lovely light

around a gully top

Derwentwater

From the back of Walla Crag, a path leads back across the moorland to Blaeberry Fell.  I remembered this path as a wet and grassy one but it’s been improved a lot so you can now keep your feet dry on the next couple of miles…

There is a cute pointed peak to the right of Blaeberry Fell which I just had to go up.  I suspected there was a path but, by the time I was half-way along I hadn’t found it so just bashed up steep rocks and heather on the side.  Of course, when I reached its little summit, a beautiful path headed away along the ridge – at least that was a nice route back to my Blaeberry path.

The final ascent of Blaeberry fell used to be eroded, steep scree but has also been improved by stone-pitching…

I puffed my way up to the summit…

From here there is no real path or route to my next objective – the ridge of Dodd Crags which has a spectacular end!  I made my way following bits of very wet path by the fenceline until I reached the start of the ridge.  There is a wall across the start but it is broken down so easily crossed at the low bits…

It was a nice, dry and grassy walk along the ridge which narrowed on the way to the end.  There was a herd of deer on a parallel ridge stalking me on my latest visit…

Deer on the ridge – I found very many more below the crags

I neared the craggy ridge end, went for a look and then searched for a route down.  There were plenty of alternatives – I first used a grassy rake between crags straight down the side – this was steep but safe.  Later studying of the ridge-end showed a more interesting rake halfway down which I now use…

On reaching the foot I took quite a lot of photos looking back at the splendid crags (unfortunately, my Olympus camera seems to be having trouble with the focus settings so all the photos from it are very unsharp).

plenty of grassy rakes for descent

looking back along the long ridge

Delighted to have achieved a visit to this craggy ridge at last, I had a quick sit in the sun admiring the view and then continued on a path by a wall towards my other craggy-ended objective, Pikes… There is a very wet gateway en-route at which point the walkers’ path turns to a vehicle track…

After a final look back and photo (which unfortunately finished my film), I headed away from the vehicle track to stay on the top of the ridgeline for Pikes.  There are a couple more walls to cross – one easy, the other fenced and not quite as easy…

Soon, I was romping across almost level grass to the steep and spectacular end of Pikes…

Pikes from the campsite below – the top is steep and craggy on the front

On my last couple of visits I found, to my delight, fell ponies with their foals from the farm below on Pikes.  The first visit was when I had run out of film which was a shame as the foals were very playful – prancing and rearing at their mothers.  The second visit, I’d taken my digi-camera to work for a revisit to see them…

Just on my way to see them, I collapsed a section of wall on myself – a huge boulder came crashing down towards me.  I couldn’t get away quickly due to being on loose stone and it hit me soundly on the shins – luckily only causing a graze and bruising.  It did completely fell me though!  I rebuilt the wall and continued to see my friends.  The mares had been very friendly on my last visit and had brought their foals to see me!  I sat on the grass and they again all came to visit 🙂

The above foal was very curious about me and my camera!

who are you and what are you pointing at me?

After letting a pregnant mare rest her head on my shoulder for quite a while, I continued on towards the end of Pikes where there is a lovely, rocky ridge which goes steeply down towards the wall… From the foot of this I followed the wall left to rejoin the vehicle track back to the farm.

The farmer is obviously a general horse enthusiast as well as a fell pony breeder and he also had this dapple grey cob which I really liked.  I must get to speak to him sometime as I couldn’t figure out whether this was a Welsh Cob or a Garron (Scottish).  The very dark, flared and large nostrils suggest Welsh to me.  Beautiful anyway…

Welsh Cob? Garron? let me know what you think

With so much of interest and so many friendly fell ponies, this is definitely a walk I want to do regularly!

You’re reading a post by Mountain Coward. If you’ve enjoyed this post, be sure to follow The Mountain Coward from my homepage


Actions

Information

18 responses

9 07 2022
surfnslide

Never been walking along the edge there, looks wonderful. And the horses and foals – awwwww – bless! The ones on my local hills are quite shy and skittish

Like

9 07 2022
mountaincoward

It’s a nice little round – all the pathless bits are downhill. Quite a lot of heathery fellside leaving Blaeberry though and very, very wet from there onwards!

Liked by 1 person

4 07 2022
underswansea

Looks like a great hike with stunning views. Those rock fences always amaze me. Great shots of the horses. Take care.

Like

4 07 2022
mountaincoward

The drystone walls are great – until you collapse one on you like I did on my second visit! Some of the rocks are huge!

I was up again today – the mares and foals weren’t friendly today – they were chasing each other around with huge open toothy mouths and their ears well back so I left them alone! Probably the weather – which is vile and has been for ages now!

Like

30 06 2022
Alli Templeton

A lovely read, Carol. What a treat to meet so many beautiful animal friends along the way – I always think animal encounters enhance any walk. The deer look so atmospheric watching you from a distance, it looks to have been a pretty haunting and serene moment. I love it when horses and ponies amble over to you out of curiosity, but to have such a close encounter with a foal and to have the pregnant mare rest her head on your shoulder must have been very special. You’ve made some new friends there. Not sure about the dapple grey cob, but she is indeed beautiful. All that, and scenery to thrill too. I might even risk the exciting path to Keswick for those views, and I absolutely love that photo of the tree by the rocky stream – you’re right, the light is amazing. Wonderful stuff – thanks for making my day. 🙂

Liked by 1 person

30 06 2022
mountaincoward

I visited again today and was a bit worried about ‘the pregnant mare’ – she isn’t actually pregnant but has no foal so I’m not sure what’s gone wrong there. But the poor girl has been separated from the rest of the mares and foals and is on her own the other side of the wall. She was pretty upset about it today. I stayed with her for a while and chatted but of course I had to leave some time for my bus (I’m on the bus just now as I can’t drive as I’ve badly injured the muscles in my hand – it was hugely swollen but is going down now!). I’ll just have to pop up and visit her regularly!

Like

28 06 2022
tessapark1969

Nice post. Those are two of the relatively few fells I’ve done twice.

Like

28 06 2022
mountaincoward

I think it was more than 20 years since I did Walla Crag before I just started visiting again this year.

Like

28 06 2022
bob

I’ve been up Walla Crag and others in that area around Keswick a few times now. Fantastic Hills. Walla Crag was the first hill I did in the Lakes as I could do it from a teenage bus excursion to that town and a few years ago I got dropped off there as my hill-walking club friends were going up a mountain I’d recently ascend so I did Walla Crag again. One of the most varied and finest of the smaller peaks down there. World class views from the summit ridge. .

Like

28 06 2022
mountaincoward

My work start and finish times have altered dramatically at my new shop so I think I’ll be having to squeeze my walk in before work instead of after like I used to. Walla is a good hill to do from Keswick – the only other one really is Latrigg which I find boring.

Like

27 06 2022
Bitchy After 60

Beautiful spots. I can see why they will become a regular thing. What a wonderful walking adventure. Loved the horses. They were a perfect reward for your trek.

Like

28 06 2022
mountaincoward

and they are just so friendly. I thought that, having foals with them, they wouldn’t have come over but they all come over for a chat and let their foals come over too. In fact, they almost nudge their foals to go and see you.

Liked by 1 person

27 06 2022
jester1970

Some very nice pictures there. The film photos have an interesting appearance to them. This one was particularly nice – it looks like a painting! https://mountaincowardadventures.files.wordpress.com/2022/06/dodd-crags-portrait-1.jpg

Like

27 06 2022
mountaincoward

Thanks – I’m just very concerned at the very soft focus – they don’t usually look like that from my Olympus which is a very good lens. I’m thinking it’s gone wrong. I had to throw most of the film away!

Like

27 06 2022
John Bainbridge

Got a feeling we passed the grey horse the other day. Lovely corner of the district.

Like

27 06 2022
mountaincoward

I think you would have as it’s based around the farm on that path by the wall. It’s not friendly unfortunately – it just totally ignored me. Luckily it was with an old fell pony who was extremely friendly so I chatted to her instead!

Liked by 1 person

28 06 2022
John Bainbridge

Desperately wanted to get through the gate and quite obstructed us for a while.

Like

28 06 2022
mountaincoward

I had some sheep from that farm doing the same – trying to get through the gate at the same time as me and I was having to stop them as they weren’t supposed to.

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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




%d bloggers like this: