Walk Date – 19th February 2017
Distance – 4 miles
Weather – sunny, cloudy, windy, dry and mild
The best weather day over the past two weeks was on Tuesday 14th February but, as luck would have it, that was the day we had to take the injured leg for its six weeks check up at the hospital, so all we could do was spend the afternoon staring at the blue sky and sunshine through the windows of the Fracture Clinic in Carlisle Infirmary. Why does the good weather always seem to turn up when you have to be somewhere else?
We didn’t have to be somewhere else today so, when things brightened up ever so slightly around lunchtime, we drove over to Askham. I parked up at the top end of the village and had a short walk up to Heughscar Hill. The other team member was happy to wait in the car and just watch the world go by until I returned.
“Take no notice, she’s just showing off for the camera. We can all scratch our backs this way.”
I make my way along the path from the parking area past this group of fell ponies who were contentedly munching their way around the field.
Yes, its been raining again, but the little girl up ahead was having great fun splashing through the puddles in her brightly coloured wellies, with Mum trying to get her to not splash quite so hard since all the water was going down the inside of the wellies and onto the socks.
Making my way up the gentle incline towards Riggingley Top. I’m heading for the gate in the wall straight ahead of me.
Through the gate and heading up the hill towards the plantation of pine trees. It looks as though there was no-one else around but there were people everywhere, all partaking in some form of locomotion, walking, running, cycling, and horse riding. However, there is such a lot of space up here that everyone can spread out and so it never feels crowded.
I turned around for a look back along the path I’m following and a view of the gloomy skies. This looked like the best place to be today as we were enjoying sunshine courtesy of a very large break in the clouds, which nowhere else seemed to be experiencing. Leaden skies everywhere you looked with only the foothills of the distant Pennines visible on the horizon, we haven’t seen the tops of those for a couple of weeks now.
I arrive at the tree plantation with its crumbling wall and continue on to the point where the wall turns a corner somewhere around the crest of the rise up ahead. Having been in this patch of sunshine all the way up here I am now very hot and regretting adding a fleece layer beneath my jacket before we left home. The jacket and fleece have to be unzipped just to let some heat out and allow the mild, although strong, southeasterly wind to cool me down.
At this point Ullswater and its surrounding fells come into view, but views are limited today. The light is poor and flat, the fell tops are shrouded and its quite difficult to make out any detail.
A look back to the wall corner, it turns off to the right when you reach it so I carry on straight ahead towards the summit.
There was a large group of walkers at the summit cairn so I carried on past it. As I walked on I had this view of Pooley Bridge with Dunmallard Hill, covered in trees, just behind it. On the skyline above and beyond is the dark mound of Carrock Fell with the low cloud just clipping the top of it.
Across Ullswater and Little Mell Fell has its own little patch of sunshine.
Things are looking decidedly gloomy beyond Ullswater so I don’t suppose anyone walking on those fells today was worrying too much about UV levels while they were outdoors.
However, over on this side of the water we still have the sunshine which offered the chance of a fairly decent view over to Arthur’s Pike and its network of paths.
I walked along as far as the limestone outcrop of Heugh Scar, from which the hill derives its name, and then dropped down below the top for this, and the following, view of the Scar.
I begin to make my way back to the summit area keeping, for a short while, to the lower level I had dropped down to. Things haven’t improved over to the west of Ullswater.
Never mind, its still sunny over here and there are some spectacular clouds to gaze at.
Back at the summit cairn and the previous walkers have left allowing me the peace and quiet to appreciate the impressive and dramatic skies above me. Photographs can’t convey just how it feels to stand below all this and simply watch, and marvel at, nature at work.
Looking east from the summit cairn, things haven’t improved over there either.
I begin to make my return and drop down a little to take a slightly different route back, here’s one of the many standing stones to be found all over this area. When they were put here, by whom and for what purpose is mostly unknown, other than they have been here for thousands and thousands of years, so its a magical, mystery moor. Perhaps it might not be wise to walk across here on a misty moonless night, who knows what you might experience.
Ahead of me, as I drop down further, is Arthur’s Pike to the right, with Loadpot Hill beyond it over to the left.
In the distance is another limestone escarpment, this one is Knipe Scar, the summit of which is full of limestone outcrops. There are also a couple of ring cairns, one of which AW described as an ancient enclosure, but we had no luck in finding them when we went looking because we failed to consider the presence of bracken. It was so high the day we went that it was almost impossible to see the ground, never mind any ancient ring cairns. That’s something else we’ll have to have another go at finding one of these days.
Making my way back to Askham on the soft, springy turf.
I wasn’t of any interest to these pregnant ladies. The ‘bumps’ are showing and in another month or so we’ll be seeing cute and bouncy lambs again.
High above me, to my left, a group of ponies and their riders were taking a steady walk across the moor.
Further ahead of me they began to drop down and eventually turned to walk back along the path I was following. A gentle ride out on an agreeable afternoon which they were all enjoying.
Back at the gate below Riggingley’s Top with a view of Askham below and the tops of the Pennines hidden in dense cloud in the distance.
The fell ponies have moved further up the hill, when I set off they were grazing below the gorse bushes. My little red car, with its waiting passenger, is also in view, tucked in behind the silver Freelander down there.
The fell ponies were also too busy eating to take any notice of me.
Back at the car and time to give the injured leg a bit of gentle rehab.
On your marks, get set …..
A short stroll along the dry and non-slip lane …..
….. with hardly any weight on the left leg for the time being.
Only the toes are allowed to touch the ground for the time being. Another week has to go by before the whole of the foot can start to take any weight at all.
Down to the gorse bushes and then the return journey.
A few more baby steps and its back to the start point. It wasn’t at all boring waiting in the car apparently. The binoculars were there for wildlife spotting but there wasn’t much around to be spotted. However, he’d had a busy time watching the various coming and goings of farmers shifting sheep, assorted dogs and their owners, various runners and riders and, of course, the usual shenanigans to do with parking and turning on soft grass. He’d been so busy he’d worked up quite a thirst so I had to take him home for a well-earned cup of tea.