Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lighting the Lakes

Early this morning, 2am to be precise, I woke up and got ready to take part in the Light the Lakes event.  This was an event put on by Surrey Police aiming to raise money by lighting up the 214 Wainwright peaks.  The following is from the Surrey Police website and gives a full explanation:
Last year, the Surrey Police family was left devastated after the tragic murder of one of our colleagues - Detective Constable Heather Cooper who was just 33 years old. She was a mother of two, a respected and well-liked colleague and a professional police officer. Heather epitomised everything the police service stands for as a dedicated detective working in public protection investigation.
This tragedy left Heather’s two very young children without the love, counsel and guidance of their mother and in an attempt to do something positive, Surrey Police Federation has raised an appeal fund for her children, Joshua and Isobelle, who are now being cared for by Heather’s family. All the money raised will be placed into a trust fund towards their future and education.
The aim of the challenge is for every team to switch on a light at the summit of each peak at 4.30am in memory of our late colleague to raise some additional funds in the process. This will be the final fund raising event before the appeal ends in June.
Chair of Surrey Police Federation, Kieran Diamond, said: “This is the largest of all the fundraising events that have being taking place over the last nine months and the support from both colleagues within the emergency services and the public has been absolutely outstanding.
“So far we have raised £38,000 for the fund and the response we have had is a wonderful tribute to Heather and everything she stood for.”
If anyone would like to make a donation to the appeal fund, please visit the ‘Light the Lakes’ page on Face Book at or call Surrey Police Federation on 01483 638155/632098.

When it came to choosing a fell to light up, I opted my old favourite, Sale Fell.  Setting off from my house at 3am, we were at the parking place at about 3.30am.  Headtorches at the ready (as well as gloves and hat - brrrr) we set off along the familiar route.

Jonathan demonstrating poor headtorch etiquette, "MY EYES!!"
toughest part of the walk, taking a picture in the dark without the flash making the subject close their eyes


We got to this wall at about 3.50am and decided to hang out for a little bit rather than get to the top too early.  We actually got to the top at 4am.  Good time to text the organiser to say that we have set off (obviously a better time would have been when we actually set off, oops!)

It was really cold on the top, biting cold wind.  Half an hour is a long time to spend stood around on the top of a fell in the freezing cold.  We walked back down halfway to the wall and then back up to the top.  The instructions were, lights out at 4.20am and then a co-ordinated big light up at 4.30am.  We spotted a light on Skiddaw, and perhaps one on Lords Seat but to be honest, I think the timing was a bit late and it wasn't all that dark at 4.30am

our 'beacon' some sparklers and a headtorch.  We were careful to collect all the stray matches and used sparklers.

time to head back down.  Light coming in from the east as we descend

towards Bassenthwaite and Binsey

from the seat by the church

back at the gate, another text to say that we are safe and off we go

Make a donation to the Light the Lakes fund here

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rannerdale Recce

Rannerdale Knotts is famous for being the scene of a battle between Norman invaders and Britons and Norsemen.  The Britons and Norsemen apparently lured the Normans into the valley before launching a surprise attack.  The other thing the area is famous for is bluebells.  Our plan was a quick run around Rannerdale Knotts and a recce of the bluebell situation.

Setting off up to the point where the paths cross up to Whiteless Breast and down the valley.    Sour Milk Gill, Red Pike, High Stile and Chapel Crags visible over Buttermere lake.

Newlands Pass on the side of Buttermere Moss

nice to be at this point, this is the way down towards Crummock Water
nice easy run down

beautiful but I can't see bluebells

hang on....

getting there.
back on the road and running towards Rannerdale Knotts

Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks in view at the far end of Buttermere

about 4.5 miles all in.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

South Haweswater Loop

Flexi time is when you have worked so hard that you get a day off.  It's part of the work-life balance that I benefit from as an employee of the county council (as well as a gold plated pension and brilliant pay), I wanted to make sure I made the most of it and planned a long walk around the eastern fells starting from Haweswater.  This is one of the few times I have actually walked the route I had planned, the only slight deviation being a more direct route from Selside Pike (the last of the eight Wainwrights that I bagged today).

Parked up at the end of the resevoir, The Rigg (those trees on the left) are my first objective.

this little fella obviously hasn't met Haweswater's most famous resident

waterproofs on!

got a proper soaking about here

climbing up towards Kidsty Pike, Riggindale (home of the eagle) sloping from right to left.  Harter Fell's square top os middle left.  I'll be there in about four hours.

path up to Kidsty Pike

Riggindale peeping through

back down to Haweswater, The Rigg is in the centre of the picture

Kidsty Pike becomes more recognisable

Kidsty Pike on the far right, Riggindale in the middle with slope of High Street and Mardale Ill Bell behind.

top of Kidsty Pike towards Harter Fell

from High Raise towards Harter Fell on the left and Mardale Ill Bell in the middle

people on Kidsty Pike

Rest Dodd and The Nab

it's just a crow

Kidsty Pike on the left, High Street on the right.

path up to High Street from Rampsgill Head

High Street

High Street summit

Thornthwaite Beacon on the left marking the top of Thornthwaite Crag

Froswick and Ill Bell from the wall on High Street.  Windermere in the distance

and again from Mardale Ill Bell

looking over Harter Fell from Mardale Ill Bell summit

Small Water with Haweswater beyond from the Nan Bield Pass.  I could have cut back from here but decided to press on.

Kentmere Reservoir with Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke behind 

up to Harter Fell

Harter Fell summit looking west

looking out from the top of Harter Fell gully over Haweswater

tough slog up to Branstree, summit marked by a couple of stones and a dog bowl

heading over to Selside Pike, the last Wainwright of the day, I came across these three pillars.

top of Selside Pike and time to head back.

Like a good fell runner, I took a pretty direct route back to the road.  The views over Haweswater opened up as I descended.

sharp angled peak of Kidsty Pike visible middle left on the horizon

back on the road and a panoramic view of Haweswater

phew, there's the car

my new boots got a good workout (13 miles).  No complaints from me.

this Chaffinch came to hang out while I was changing out of my boots

yes, that's eight Wainwrights (13 miles).