Walk date – 4th November 2022
Distance – 5.4 miles
Weather – mostly overcast, some sunny spells, cool breeze
We’ve had relentlessly stormy weather over the last few weeks with day after day of heavy rain and very strong winds, so it has been a case of hunkering down and waiting for things to improve. Staying indoors wasn’t much of a problem in that kind of weather and my back problem would have precluded being out on the fells anyway so I returned to the ‘tying myself in knots’ exercise routine. We had thought about doing this walk yesterday (Thursday) as the day began reasonably well but, as usual, towards late morning the clouds came rolling in and the rain battered down for the rest of the day. Today was supposed to be very windy again but there was no mention of rain in the forecast so we decided to venture out. It turned out to be the best day of the week, although that isn’t saying much as you’ll see from the photos, but we did get a couple of sunny spells and we didn’t get soaked. Although the back problem has eased a little it seemed wise to give the high fells a miss and opt for something with a few ups and downs but nothing which would undo all the exercising effort. Sale Fell seemed to fit those requirements so here’s how we got on.
Wythop Mill lane (roadside parking) – Routen Beck – Lothwaite – Rivings – Sale Fell – Kelswick – Chapel Wood – Wythop Valley – Wythop Woods – Wythop Mill lane
Just a few steps from where we parked on the back lane from the Pheasant Hotel to Wythop Mill is where we began today’s walk. There was a heavy frost last night which left a thick covering of ice on the car windscreen but by and large it was very sunny in the east when we left home. As we drove west along the A66 it became obvious that this sunny morning was going to be a repeat of yesterday’s sunny morning and would soon deteriorate. At least the clouds ahead weren’t scudding along at speed like they were yesterday so we were unlikely to be troubled by strong winds. Anyway off we went through the gate and up the path to …..
….. the flattish area at the top of the path. We had noticed inversions over the Ullswater area, over Derwentwater and over Bass Lake as we drove along so it wasn’t surprising to see one covering the Embleton valley when we looked around. As we viewed the scene a young woman and her dog came down the path and we exchanged ‘Good mornings’. She carried on down the path in the shot above but the dog stayed with us. I called out to her to say that it looked as though the dog wasn’t ready to go home just yet. With a smile she said that it never was and continued on down. We encouraged the dog to follow her but it wasn’t having any of that so in the end J started walking down the path, the dog followed him and eventually it caught up with its owner and back home it reluctantly had to go.
Looking towards Wythop church (St Margaret’s) from the bench at the top of the path. The Embleton valley was covered by the inversion although we could hear the traffic trundling along the A66 below it.
The view across the valley as we walked up the path from the bench. Seeing the brighter skies to the west gave us some hope of a little sunshine to come because it was quite chilly beneath those grey clouds.
The view along the valley from the broken down wall which the path crosses.
Looking towards Binsey from further along the path. Some of the houses in the hamlet of Routenbeck appear through the mist below us.
At the top of the climb we continued on towards the gate, passed through it and then made our way down to cross Routen Beck. The beck had overflowed at the crossing point so the area around the crossing was very wet. At the gate you can get up to the summit of Sale Fell quite quickly by just following the wall but we were taking the longer route via Lothwaite.
The view back to Sale Fell after we crossed the beck. The path alongside the wall is clearly visible amongst the acres of withered bracken. The path was not as mud ridden as we had expected and for the most part the ground all along today’s route was surprisingly firm given all the rain we’ve had.
Another look back at Sale Fell as the sunlight finally got a look in. What a difference a little sunlight makes.
On Lothwaite now where a few rays of light were trying to penetrate the gloom around Bassenthwaite Lake. They didn’t last long but their effect was quite dramatic nevertheless.
Beyond the water the Skiddaw group remained in cloud with the sole exception of Dodd. If that little fell gets covered then you really have got a low cloud day.
Looking along the Lothwaite ridge towards Broom Fell and Graystones as we approach the bench. We didn’t bother sitting and admiring the view, the bench was wet through with a pool of water around it and the views were dull so it didn’t seem worthwhile. The chilly breeze is stronger up here too.
A little further on the sunlight came back which lit up the fields very nicely.
The path we walked to Lothwaite is just the other side of the wall alongside the plantation.
Looking ahead to Rivings and Sale Fell as we walk over Lothwaite’s ridge. Only a few walkers were out and about today.
Rivings and the huge pile of stones on its top.
This was the most crowded part of our walk today. It seemed as though a couple of sheep, out of shot to the right, had found a nice piece of grass to eat and several of the others were making their way over to them to check things out and maybe get their share of whatever was available. We head for the gate in the wall with Sale Fell summit on t’other side of it.
Beginning the climb up to the summit with a look back towards Rivings where a solo walker has just appeared.
Looking back to Lothwaite from the same spot. The green path visible on the left is the one we followed up to Lothwaite.
On Sale Fell summit now and another look back to Lothwaite …..
….. and another look back to Rivings. The solo walker looks to be heading for Lothwaite.
Looking ahead to Ling Fell during another sunny spell as we begin to descend Sale Fell to make our way down to the Wythop valley.
These orange fungi were everywhere although most of them had gone over by now. I tried to find out what its name is but the closest I could get was ‘orange peel fungi’, although the photos of that variety didn’t really match up so I’m not really sure that’s what it is.
Embleton valley now inversion free.
Ling Fell ahead as we reach the bottom of the descent. I don’t recall it getting any sunlight today, if it did I didn’t see it.
Lord’s Seat and Broom Fell on the skyline as we begin to descend into the Wythop valley.
The path drops down to join the access lane to Kelswick farm where, after a very brief section of road walking, we rejoin the path in the shot and continue on towards Chapel Wood.
Only a short distance into the woodland the ruins of the old Wythop church come into view. The nearest wall contains this plaque …..
….. and next to it is a framed description but the information on it has faded so it is impossible to know what it says or shows so I didn’t take a photo of it.
Another plaque propped against one of the crumbled walls. Perhaps this was once part of the old church and the inscription added later.
A bird’s eye view of the site of the old church.
Walking through Chapel Wood. Very very muddy in some places.
We are out of the woodland now but the Skiddaw group is not out of the cloud which continues to billow all around it.
The view across the Wythop valley towards Lord’s Seat and Broom Fell.
A little further along when the cloud over the Skiddaw group cleared slightly and Ullock Pike appeared …..
….. and stayed in the clear for a few more minutes. We never saw the top of Skiddaw at all today. The path we’re on climbs gently away from the valley and eventually joins up with the engineered forest track leading through Wythop Woods.
A look back from the top of the forest track as it begins to turn and head back towards the Embleton side. Ullock Pike and its neighbours are back in the cloud again. Thanks to the wild weather many trees have been stripped of their leaves now so we haven’t really had much of an autumn show of colour either. Ah well, next autumn perhaps.
Binsey in the distance beyond Bass Lake, quite a contrast with the view at the beginning of the walk.
Here we are, back at the bench area looking down at the last few yards of today’s walk. No reluctant dog this time just one solo walker who has just made his way through the gate and back onto the lane and we’ll be doing the same in just a couple of minutes. My back held up reasonably well despite all the slithering around across muddy ground so let’s hope it continues to improve. It hasn’t been the brightest of days but its the best one we’ve had for over two weeks and its been good to be tramping the fells again even if it was only a lowly one, one is better than none at all.
A quick PS – you may remember that in the ‘tipping point’ post at the beginning of October I mentioned that the US Federal Reserve Committee would be having their meeting on 1-2 November and that they might raise their interest rate, which would have a knock-on effect here and in the EU. The Fed raised the interest rate by 0.75% and, as expected, the Bank of England and the ECB duly raised theirs. The Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell, also stated at a press conference subsequent to the meeting that ‘rates will stay higher for longer’ and that ‘pausing is not something we’re thinking about’. So, at their December meeting US rates are likely to go up again and, in turn, so will the BoE’s and the ECB’s. I wonder how much dollar denominated debt the BoE has? Whatever the amount the interest payments on it have just gone up again. Hardly surprising then that there are indications that our current Chancellor will announce that electric vehicles will now have to pay vehicle excise duty from 2025/26. Gotta fill those Treasury coffers somehow.