Barrow and Outerside

Walk Date – 15th October 2020

Distance – 5.1 miles

Weather – a mix of sunny spells and cloud, cool north easterly breeze at height

Just a short walk today to take advantage of a slightly better weather forecast than we’ve been having over the past few days, and out of consideration for the discomfort my back problem is currently giving rise to. Its a short enough distance not to cause it too much aggravation while being high enough to get amongst some fells and enjoy the views on offer. It was rather cool and breezy on Outerside but I’d packed my gloves so numb fingers were not a problem today. Apart from all that its a grand little walk if you only have a morning or an afternoon to spare, and it would be a very pleasant way to spend a fine summer evening.


Uzzicar – Barrow – Barrow Door – Stoneycroft Gill – Outerside – Barrow Door – Stoneycroft Gill – Uzzicar

There was plenty of cloud drama on show today, in this shot the cloud boils up and spills over the top of the Skiddaw group. Adding to the general effect, in the valley below, a thin wispy veil of smoke from someone’s bonfire was drifting by.

A couple of minutes later the cloudscape becomes even more dramatic, this time looking towards the Lonscale Fell end of the range. Both shots were taken from the parking area at Uzzicar.

We walked the short distance from the parking area to this point where we turned off to make our way up to join the main path over Barrow. The bracken may be dead but its still refusing to lie down so a slightly scratchy walk up followed.

The path we followed brought us out at this point, whereupon we took a moment to de-bracken ourselves. The location of the smoky bonfire, which was still going strong, became apparent. The village of Braithwaite is in view below.

     Barrow is of lowly height but it is a steep climb nevertheless, a fact easily forgotten when you haven’t walked this particular path for five years. Its warm work and a stop to remove a layer or two gave us the chance to take in the developing autumn colours of Little Braithwaite Wood. The bonfire is still going strong, that’ll create a few mutterings down there from those who’ve just put their washing out to dry.

From the same spot a look beyond Braithwaite towards Bass Lake, Binsey should be visible too but the low cloud has hidden it.

You do get a break from the steeper bits every now and again which gives you the chance to see something other than a green hill in front of your nose. Here we’re looking towards the top of Barrow, and on the right are the tops of Stile End and Outerside. We weren’t high enough at this point to feel the cool breeze so it was a very pleasant walk across in the still air and the sunshine.

A little further to my right here to include Grisedale Pike. The higher tops were continually in and out of the cloud today.

A slight loss of height as we drop down to the cairn marking the junction of a path which comes up from the Stoneycroft Gill side of Barrow. That particular path can be easily missed when the bracken is high, but its useful if you don’t particularly want to walk the full length of Barrow. The tops of the fells around Coledale are beginning to appear and between Barrow and Stile End we can see Causey Pike, Sail and Crag Hill.

A look back towards the Skiddaw group beyond the ‘suet pudding’ we’ve just dropped down from. So far we have the path to ourselves.

We were beginning to feel the cool breeze now and it became a little too chilly for bare arms, so just before we topped out on Barrow we stopped to add another layer. The morning sun lights the fields of the Vale of Keswick below us and chunks of cloud drift around, sometimes adding to the view and other times obliterating it altogether. The bonfire smoke has disappeared.

Looking to our left from the same spot, Binsey now visible again.

The view into Coledale from Barrow summit. From left to right are: Causey Pike, Scar Crags, Sail, Crag Hill and Outerside.

A little further to my right for this view across Stile End of Grisedale Pike.

Looking eastward where patches of Derwentwater are visible beyond the little mound of Swinside. Nothing much, other than swirling cloud, is on view beyond. All very atmospheric and constantly changing.

The Skiddaw group from the top of Barrow. No cairn or trig point on the top just this scrape of rocks.

Another view along Stoneycroft Gill as a shaft of sunlight brightens up the scene for a while.

A closer look at our next destination, Outerside.

After about five minutes we were joined at the summit by a young couple who must have arrived via the cairn path, shown earlier, as they were nowhere to be seen behind us as we walked up. They settled down for a refreshment break, after adding their sweaters, to enjoy the view and the cloud show. This cloud appeared out of nowhere in particular and proceeded to obliterate Blencathra. I enjoy watching clouds which actually do something, then they become such magical things that its difficult to believe that they are really only water in another form. There’s very little interest, or liveliness, in those dense, grey, woolly blankets which often hang over us for days on end and they definitely aren’t my cup of tea at all.

Here comes another back of cloud rolling over the summits of Skiddaw and Little Man, and much the same thing was happening wherever you looked today. The bonfire looks to have run its course.

We spent a good fifteen minutes on Barrow just gazing around and enjoying the cloud show before moving on down to Barrow Door and onwards to Outerside. We had already seen several walkers coming up the path from Braithwaite, some of whom are visible in the shot although a zoom in will be necessary to spot them. As we descended we met plenty of folk coming up Barrow too.

A cluster of walkers up ahead as we reach the junction of the Stoneycroft Gill and Barrow Door paths. A little further up we had a good natter with a regular visitor to our web site, Anne from Whitehaven. Lovely to meet you Anne, and apologies if there is no ‘e’ at the end of your name.

More walkers coming up Stoneycroft Gill as I take a look back from the junction. One young man, not a runner, has just bounded past us and scooted along overtaking all before him. We can only reminisce about bounding along since our bounding days are lost in the mist of time. My back pain is back again so a steady pace is the best I can manage at the moment.

A sunny view of Sail and Crag Hill as we turned off the Stoneycroft Gill path and made our way up Outerside. Some of the cluster of walkers ahead of us continued on up the path between Sail and Scar Crags and eventually across Scar Crags, while others took the traverse path just beyond the old sheepfold and made their way up the western slopes of Causey Pike and then back along Scar Crags. Whatever route takes your fancy I suppose.

Crag Hill gets its own share of sunshine so I took a close up while it lasted.

Looking towards Coledale Hause from the top of Outerside. Crag Hill on the left with Sand Hill and Grisedale Pike on the right.

Grisedale Pike across Coledale.

Looking eastward across Stile End and Barrow from Outerside. The cloud activity has died down a little so the tops of Blencathra, Great Mell Fell, Clough Head and the Dodds are all clear at the moment. As we headed for Keswick along the A66 earlier Great Mell Fell was completely hidden by cloud which is very unusual indeed.

It was very much cooler and windier on Outerside, not enough to blow anyone over but enough for our jackets to go back on, the hoods were pulled up tight too. Just as well I brought my gloves! A quick stop for a shot of Kinn, quite deserted, as was the path up Grisedale Pike as far as we could tell.

The view of Stile End and Barrow below us as we start the descent. We didn’t bother going over Stile End and once down we simply cut off along one of the paths to the right to rejoin the Stoneycroft Gill path once again.

Causey Pike and the Stoneycroft Gill route below it.

J, still well wrapped up but no gloves (his hands always seem to stay warm unlike mine), steadily making his way down. Care is needed down this part of the path, its deeply rutted with some very awkward rocky sections and is badly eroded in many places. I take my time and lead with my left foot which keeps the pressure away from my right side where the discomfort is. We couldn’t have rushed even if we’d wanted to as there was a pair of walkers just in front of us who were taking things just as carefully. Any overtaking would have involved a knee deep walk through thick heather, and all that it entails.

We met no-one coming up as we descended beside Stoneycroft Gill so that was it for the rest of the walk. As the shot shows things have become a little duller over towards the east …..

….. but there are still occasional brighter spells behind as I stopped to take a look back at Outerside. Here are a few more views from the walk back to Uzzicar …..

The temperature rises and the breeze disappears as we walk down so jackets are unzipped and my gloves come off.

Walla Crag, Clough Head and Great Dodd in the distance beyond Derwentwater, and another garden bonfire, its one way of getting rid of all those fallen leaves I suppose.

A burst of very bright sunshine almost washes out the view of the Skiddaw group as we round the corner and drop down to the road.

A last look back at Catbells as we reach the end of the Stoneycroft Gill path. I’m looking forward to sinking into the seat and giving my back a rest when we reach the car. Even with the back niggles we’ve had a very enjoyable morning out in some very pleasant, and often very entertaining, weather. Let’s hope that we get a few more days like today before the hours of daylight begin to dwindle after the end of this month. By the time we got back home the brighter weather was gone and the flat, grey woolly blanket of cloud was back over us again, groan.  And finally ….. the current Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, one Matthew Hancock, made a speech in 2017, when he was a Minister in the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport, addressed to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s (4IR) Autumn reception in which he said: “I’m delighted to speak alongside so many impressive colleagues who really understand this, and alongside Professor Klaus Schwab who literally ‘wrote the book’ on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Your work, bringing together as you do all the best minds on the planet, has informed what we are doing, and I’m delighted to work with you.” His speech can be found, in full, here, if you are interested enough to read it:

I recently came across a review of the books which have been written by the afore-mentioned Klaus Schwab, the self-same Klaus Schwab who was so whole-heartedly supported by Mr Hancock in the above speech. I will make no comment on the review itself or Matthew Hancock’s behaviour and attitude since the end of March 2020. Anyone who chooses to read the review can critically consider everything that is contained within it, think about all that has happened over the past few months and reach their own conclusions.

The link to the review is here:

It is a long read but it is presented in very short paragraphs in a clear and readable style and can be read in ‘bite-sized chunks’ over a couple of days if you don’t have the time to deal with it all in one go.