Walk Date – 7th July 2016
Distance – 5.2 miles
Weather – overcast but warm and muggy
Its been a rather ‘bitty’ sort of week with various commitments using up half a day here and there, together with one full day on Wednesday when we did some volunteering work by taking part in the Glenridding and Patterdale Fell Care Day, so we haven’t had a full day to call our own. Not that we could have done very much walking if we had as the weather continues to behave in its sullen and sulky fashion, and the sun remains hidden by an unyielding blanket of greyness. We did have this afternoon available so we drove over to Keswick just to have a bit of a leg stretch by taking a walk up Latrigg.
Here I’m standing at the beginning of Spooney Green Lane looking towards the Skiddaw group of fells, of which Latrigg is the most southerly top. It is nowhere near as high as those in the picture, being a mere 1207′ above sea level, but its better than nothing when you only have the afternoon available, so off we go eastwards along Brundholme Road walking in an anti-clockwise direction just by way of a change.
On our left as we walk up the road is today’s objective, Latrigg. If you take a look at the route map you can see that there is a car park just to the north of Latrigg and from there it is just a few minutes walk to the summit. We didn’t park there because a) the road up to it is very rough, and b) we wanted a rather longer walk to the summit than the one you get by starting there.
Further along the road we came upon this little pastoral scene, four horses standing under the tree although the fourth one is hidden behind the tree trunk. They certainly weren’t seeking shade from the sun that’s for sure.
“You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”
By the way, the chestnut one hasn’t been blindfolded, its wearing a see through hood made of a fine stiff mesh which prevents the flies from irritating its eyes whilst still allowing it to be able to see. Perhaps this one is particularly susceptible to flies as the other three weren’t wearing one.
A little further up the road we pass these holiday cottages at Windebrow.
Crossing the busy A66 via the footbridge with a view of the familiar knobbly top of Causey Pike above the trees.
Walking along here was very pleasant. It had rained quite a bit during last night and the woods had a lovely, damp yet fresh smell to them. Nice to experience the scent but it made for quite a muggy walk through the trees.
If you have viewed the walk I took up Latrigg on 18th February this year you may remember that I mentioned that the road had been closed following the land slips which occurred during Storm Desmond. We had been wondering if it would have been opened since then but obviously not. Its only closed to vehicular traffic so round the barrier we went and continued on up the road.
Wherever there was a gap in the trees the wild foxgloves had taken full advantage of the available light and space and the fell sides were covered with them.
I took a couple of photos which show the broken surface of the tarmac and the reason why the road is still closed.
There were several of these faults along the road and a very weak looking crossing point over a beck. It makes you wonder if this is ever likely to be repaired given the steepness of the slope on the left and the possibility of further land slippage.
Every cloud has a silver lining as the saying goes, and today’s silver lining was, that with the sun obliterated, we could at least see the surrounding fells and not just their silhouettes. This is a view of Bleaberry Fell through a convenient gap in the trees.
Another gap provided this view of Clough Head with Great Dodd just behind it.
A little further up, and the fells to the south of Clough Head came into view, they are The Dodds and the Helvellyn range.
At the end of the forest road we go through this gate and turn on to the Latrigg path. The path going straight ahead leads on to the summit of Latrigg, the one going off to the left takes a route through the forest, keeping below the summit, and eventually meets up with the Spooney Green Lane path. As you can see the gradient is quite gentle and the path is firm underfoot so there are no difficulties whatsoever.
From the same spot I turned around to take a look at the view behind us and to see if there was any chance of a break in the cloud. There wasn’t. There’s no lonely cloud wandering up there today, there’s a whole gang of ’em!
The path from the gate leads for about a mile westwards along the grassy ridge to the summit. On our right as we make our way along is Blease Fell, the western end of Blencathra.
Further along and also on our right is this view of the path above Whit Beck. It leads up to Jenkin Hill and Skiddaw Little Man and eventually on to Skiddaw itself. This is a popular route, especially with visitors, but there are other, and better, ones which never get as busy as this one does.
Gaining a little more height and taking a look behind us at Great Mell Fell, by itself over to the left, with Clough Head and Great Dodd over to the right. We were now clear of the mugginess of the forest track and enjoying a cooling breeze.
From the same spot another view of Blease Fell with Lonscale Farm below it.
When you begin to see Derwentwater and the fells beyond it you know that the summit of Latrigg isn’t very far away.
Still heading towards the summit and on our left is this view across the fields below. On the centre skyline is Raven Crag which is sandwiched between High Rigg, on the left, and Bleaberry Fell, on the right. The higher fells on the left skyline are part of the Helvellyn range.
Further along, the flat firm track which we had lower down has become deeply rutted by wheels and feet.
On our right is the path leading up to Jenkin Hill. It was relaid a few years ago as the old one, traces of which you can still see alongside it, had become badly eroded.
On our left in the middle of the skyline is Bleaberry Fell.
When we pass through the gate we’ll be on the flat summit area of Latrigg.
Some of the fells making up the Skiddaw range, on the left is Dodd from where you can walk up its next door neighbour which is Carlside. From Carlside you can follow a steep scree path to the summit of Skiddaw, which at the moment has its head in the clouds, with the rest of if being hidden behind Skiddaw Little Man over on the right.
There is nothing to mark the summit of Latrigg but this little scrape of rock is generally accepted to be the top. Time for the GPS to come out to make sure that we are where we think we are.
The view over Keswick and Derwentwater to the north western fells. I do wish we could have at least one day without all this cloud, it seems to have been around forever.
A new seat has been installed since I was up here in February, and yes, we did have a sit down seeing as someone had been good enough to go to the trouble of replacing it.
The views are lovely from the seat area but they aren’t being seen at their best today. On the far shore the lower fell covered in greenery is Catbells. On the skyline right behind it are Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson.
Another view of Bleaberry Fell with the tree covered slopes of Walla Crag below and to the right of it. The large flat, and slightly bowl shaped, area just below Bleaberry is Low Moss. Moss meaning marshy so its somewhere to try to avoid walking through unless you like having wet feet.
Over on our right are the Whinlatter Fells, Bass Lake and the tree covered slopes of Dodd. I think I can see just a slight hint of blue sky above Bass Lake.
Taking a closer look at some of the north western fells. On the left of the photo is tiny Swinside Knott standing at just 800′ above sea level. Behind that, with what looks like evidence of land slippage, is Barrow, with Stile End and Outerside behind it. On the left skyline is the knobbly top of Causey Pike which rises up to Sail and Crag Hill, while over on the right skyline is Grisedale Pike.
Even more of a close up to have a look at the tremendous cloud activity going on above the higher fells.
Here the path from the summit is joined by another coming in from the car park which is just beyond the grassy slope across from us. This is the low mobility path which was created by the National Park Authority as one of the Miles without Stiles routes. These have been created to provide access to some fells for wheelchair users, the visually impaired and families with pushchairs. As you can see the path is eroded, Storm Desmond again, and we had just passed a family group with pushchairs and baby buggies who were having a devil of a a job pushing them up here. I hope this will be repaired before further erosion takes place or it will become very difficult to get anything with wheels up here and thus denying people the access it was meant to provide. As we aren’t parked in the car park we take the left hand path which takes us over Mallen Dodd.
The Mallen Dodd route descends in a series of hairpin bends, this is hairpin number two. Number one is in the previous photo.
Hairpin number three.
Hairpin number four …..
….. which brings us nicely down to this level stretch of path alongside the forest plantation.
The path wends its way down the western slopes of Latrigg passing this pair of very old gateposts which seem to have been turned into a kind of art installation. The horizontal post looked to have been inscribed but I couldn’t make out whether it was lettering or a design of some kind.
So here we are, approaching the end of Spooney Green Lane where the car is parked immediately to the left at the end of it and where today’s walk comes to an end.
Almost at the end of the lane so I turned to take a last shot of the Skiddaw fells when I saw this, its that bit of blue sky I noticed in one of the previous photos. Blimey, that’s a welcome sight for eyes which have had nothing but grey to look at lately.
I was so overwhelmed I got carried away and took another one just to make sure it wasn’t a mirage. However my optimism was dealt a severe blow because by the time we were nearing Penrith on the way home the grey cloud blanket returned and we were back to square one. Frustrating doesn’t begin to describe it.