Autumn Sunshine

Trowbarrow Quarry

Despite the wonderful autumn sunshine it was easy to tell that the weather has consisted of pretty much endless rain for the past several months – the cracks of the main wall of Trowbarrow Quarry were running with water! So we decided to start off with the normally easier proposition of Jean Jeanie… This was a wise choice, for even this moderately graded line, with it’s occasionally polished holds, was greasy and the depths of the major crack that it follows were wet. A good work out on a classic and sustained pitch.

The super classic and sustained Jean Jeanie

We also climbed a great pitch we hadn’t done before, Hollow Earth. This route had a wild move from the initial corner out on to the face. Thinking that would be the crux I was then shocked to find the real crux, a long section of strenuous jamming!

Hollow Earth

Leighton Moss Nature Reserve

After our time at Trowbarrow we made use of our proximity to the RSPB nature reserve at Leighton Moss, hoping to perhaps see part of the red deer rut. As it turned out the mega amounts of rain have had their impact here too, the paths to the various hides were flooded! At the car park a kind man warned us that without wellington boots we would get wet feet. Now, would that stop us, or would it be an open invite for extra adventure?

Laetitia getting wet and cold feet in one of the less flooded sections of path!
I think the best time to see the rutting deer is dawn. However, we did spend a few tranquil moments watching some cormorants landing in their roosting tree, and many coots browsing amongst the reed beds.


Sunday’s weather was perhaps even more lovely than Saturday. Although our muscles were tired and our heads were even more tired after a week of extremely stressful work. So we chose a relaxed day at Wallowbarrow in the Duddon Valley to enjoy the fantastic autumn sunshine…

Laetitia on the immaculate line of Digitation

The first pitch of Digitation ends at a massive dead oak tree. When we first visited Wallowbarrow this poor and ancient tree, whose dead branches are just visible at the top of the picture above, was alive and well. Sad perhaps that a tree maybe hundreds of years old has died – but I guess it comes to everything and everyone eventually. But even in death there is life, there were masses of mushrooms at the base.

Just a few of the hundreds of mushrooms at the base of the dead old oak tree.

Langdale Navigation & Kendal Fireworks

What amazing weather, a whole weekend of wall-to-wall sunshine! Even the evening was clear (and cold) for the fireworks… 😀

After planting nearly 100 mini daffodil bulbs (they were on offer ay Hayes, just £3 for 30) we headed out in to the fells to enjoy the weather. It would have been a great day for rock climbing on a suitably sunny south facing crag. But, because of the late start we opted for a walk with a late finish to allow for some night navigation and a quick dash in to Kendal to see the fireworks at the castle.

Pete on top of one of the many tops of Cold Pike
Laetitia with the Scafell tops beyond
At first I thought this little mushroom was a magic mushroom - it's the right colour, size, and basic shape - but thanks to Mike Raine's super little book, Nature of Snowdonia, I think it's actually an inedible Milk Bonnet...

The fireworks over Kendal Castle were spectacular! And free! 😛 Although we did chuck a few quid in to the Round Table collection bucket to support (unspecified) “Kendal charities”.

The amazing fireworks over Kendal Castle!
(with Photoshop enhancement, sorry couldn't resist! 😉 )

Stretton Skyline and Long O’

The mushrooms in Hawkbatch Woods were fantastic this weekend….

Running was pretty good too. I ran the Stretton Skyline fell race – a 19 mile circular of Church Stretton that summited Pole Bank, Ragleth Hill, Cae Caradoc, the Lawley and Wild Moor. Richard meanwhile ran the Wrekin Orienteers Long O’, which happened to be in the same area. In fact, in a few cases the two events almost got a bit confused, with orienteers being told where the Stretton Skyline was going and runners following orienteers into the abyss. I was out for 3hrs 45 and Richard was out for 2hrs15. We rendezvous’d at the race finish and then we went to find well deserved cake!

We were so hungry, we only remembered to take a photo when we'd nearly finished.

Five have an adventure on Walla Crag

After yesterday’s outing on limestone, it was back to Borrowdale where we thought we might try a route on Walla Crag.

I doubt that more than ten people a year bother to go up to the crag every year. Path ….. ???? what path???

Pete led the way and his sense of direction was at its most precise……..

Pete wondering where the crag has got to

Eventually though we did find the crag. Typical of these unfrequented places it was damp and mossy at the bottom, but looked more promising higher up. We chose White Buttress an “airy” VS, we left Kelda guarding the rucsacks and set off (the chance of anyone finding and stealing the sacks was slim). The route was great, after a mossy start, and we all enjoyed it and pulled through a heathery/ferny fringe into a jungle of indescribable proportions.

Pete on pitch 3

“Blimey this is a bit of a jungle”

We had no chance of finding the descent path, so abbed down and made a hasty descent down through the mossy overgrown woods and eventually came across the car park.

We looked back….. the crag was knowhere to be seen. Had it been there at all, or had we imagined it all?

Hallucinatory mushrooms? They were everywhere!

We found the cafe though… and look at this fab carrot cake…. Yum

Mushroom Hunt

Well it’s been a wet and dismal summer but as with all things there is a silver lining its an early start to the mushroom season. Just in case you think mushrooming is a bit dull get this from the front of our mushrooming guide: “get it wrong and you or your loved ones could die a horrible death” the Deathcap is quite common and a single specimen is quite enough to kill untreated poisoning has a 50 ->90% death rate eek 😯 !

So our first foray was merely a gather some samples and see what we could indenitfy with no intention of eating any (although we also gathered some brambles we do intend to eat!). We were pretty confident that we collected several edible and at least two poisinous varieties. See pictures for what we found….

Labour designs affordable homes ….

So Gordon Brown has announced the new Labour house building policy. 3m new homes by 2020!! Let’s hope he keeps them in the south (that’s Manchester and beyond).
But it looks like the Prescott scheme is already underway…. this 3 bedroom house, with views of Bassenthwaite, has been designed by a labour think tank and can take up to 15 eastern european workers. Right on the doorstep of Keswick. Perfect!!

Hey Gordon, is this where Northerners live???