Tag Archives: fell walking

A week in the Western Lakes. 

A few days ago we got back from a whole week in the lovely Lake District. We stopped in a holiday cottage , just outside the Eskdale village of Santon Bridge. Eskdale is a glacial valley in the less touristy Western side of the Lake District National Park. For us it was the ideal getaway, a base to explore what this gorgeous area has to offer.

Ride on the Ratty.   One thing I knew I wanted to do was take a steam train journey on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway.  The railway is a 7 mile minimum gauge heritage railway , affectionately known as L’al Ratty. It was originally used to carry hematite iron ore from mines around Boot, nowadays  it’s  an inventive way to explore the surrounding countryside.  We bought return tickets from Ravenglass to Dalegarth station £13.90 each ( Hugo’s ticket was £1.50) and walked along the river Esk to Stanley Ghyll Force. Trust us to find a waterfall!  L’al Ratty also played host to an Art Installation on our visit.   The Curious Incident of the Stag on the Train Line was an exhibition  of 12 beautiful wildlife paintings by local artist Sarah Taylor.  It was fun to spot  them along the trackside. 🙂

 A Walk to Wastwater.   The nearest lake to where we were staying is also the deepest lake in The Lake District. Wastwater is three miles long , half a mile wide and 260 feet deep.  One day we walked from the  cottage to the village of Nether Wasdale and onto Wastwater. As  you can see we were lucky enough to experience the most amazing walking weather, and the Autumn colours were stunning. Hugo got to bag another lake , which brings his lakes & tarns tally to 13.  Plenty more to go at though!

 Owls at Muncaster Castle. 


Muncaster Castle dates back to medieval times and with 70 acres of wild woodland gardens , its grounds are there for exploration.  The main draw for me though was the Hawk & Owl Centre which puts on daily flying shows. I caught the morning World of Owls Flying Display, where several species of owls can be seen at close quarters. The centre works in partnership with the Hawk Conservation Trust and the talk was both informative and entertaining. Make sure you know how to duck!  Of course Hugo had to stay with Wil whilst I had all the owl themed fun. 😦 Dogs on leads are welcome in the gardens and at the afternoon Sky Hunters Display and Heron feed ( there is a special viewing area for dogs and their owners), but we left before then, to find Hugo an off lead walk.  

Bag a Wainwright.
Wil was determined that we would walk up a mountain on our holiday, and bagging a Wainwright should have been on my Bucket List! Despite not being fond of hills, I’m always in awe of the gorgeous views, once I make it up one. 😉  We chose Buckbarrow, as it was within walking distance of our cottage, and from it’s summit, we could see the sea from one side and Wastwater and the screes from the other. Quite a vista! There are 214 Wainwight Peaks altogether. This was my first! 

 

Head for the Coast.  Santon Bridge ( our base) is actually only a few miles  from the coast, so it was inevitable that we would head for the seaside. The pretty harbor village of Ravenglass has a couple of pubs , a beach and of course is home to The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. We also ventured further a field , following the coastal road to Barrow In Furness and the russet stone ruins of Furness Abbey. The ancient abbey is looked after by English Heritage and it and the museum/giftshop are fascinating to look round. From Barrow we really wanted to take a trip to Walney Island , a nature reserve that is home to a colony of Grey seals. Unfortunately a traffic accident mean’t we had to forgo our plans, so we went to Haverigg Beach instead. The beach here is especially popular with dog walkers and it looked like you could walk for miles and miles.

I really enjoyed our time in the Western Lake District. My only regret is that we didn’t get to explore some of the other lakes in the area. But we were without a car for a couple of days…..so I think we did pretty well considering. 🙂

What is your favourite part of this iconic National Park?

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Haweswater and Small water Tarn.

As we were staying at the Haweswater Hotel recently, we decided to spend a day exploring the surrounding countryside. There are various walks and footpaths in the area including one round Haweswater Reservoir ( some sections are currently closed after the bad weather earlier in the year) and others that go up into the hills. After looking at a map we decided to head up to a small tarn called appropriately enough Small Water. 🙂 There is a little car park at the far end of Haweswater where we parked. First things first though, Hugo had to take a dip in the lake.

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Haweswater.

Haweswater is actually a reservoir and was built in the thirties. Controversially the valley, existing lake and the village of Mardale Green were flooded to create it. Haweswater supplies water to the city of Manchester, to this day. It is situated in the North East of the Lake District.

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We followed the Nan Bield Pass sign from the car park.
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The sheep here are like mountain goats. 🙂
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Cotton grass waving gently in the breeze.
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Meandering our way along the rocky path.
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I think this little fella is a Great grey shrike. 🙂
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Amazing views.

About an hours walk up the path and Small Water Tarn emerges from over a rocky crag. What a rewarding scene! We didn’t see a single person and had it all to ourselves. 🙂

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Small water Tarn.
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Hugo after a paddle. Think he’s eyeing up our sandwiches. 😉

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The path continues up onto ‘High Street’, yes that is the name of a mountain fell. 🙂 Another tarn called Blea Water is somewhere over those crags too. But we decided to head back toward Haweswater and follow some of the path round the lake.

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Heading back towards Haweswater.
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Meadow pippit.
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Any ideas what these flowers are. Purple violet like, the leaves resemble green stars.

From the car park we followed the signpost saying Eagle Viewing Point. Here’s a sad story actually. Until very recently ( only a few months ago in fact) Haweswater and Riggindale , was the home to England’s only Golden Eagle. Alone here since 2004, he had been displaying every Spring in order to attract a mate. Not this Spring though. Maybe he has passed away. Or maybe he has finally given up and flown North. What I can’t understand though, is why the RSPB never tried introducing another female eagle into the area. It’s a shame….

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A disused Bothy. It was locked up and looked like it wasn’t really usable though.
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We enjoyed some fresh clear water from this little brook.
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Pretty vivid blue wild flowers.
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The perfect place for a swim. 🙂
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Looking over the lake.
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Canada Geese family.

Although the eagle is no longer in residence here there are chances to see plenty of wildlife including Peregrines, Ring Ouzels, Red Deer, Goosander, Flycatchers and Dippers.And the countryside, I’m sure you will agree is just stunning. 🙂

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Hugo enjoying the views.
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Red Squirrel enjoying lunch at the Haweswater Hotel.

Have you ever walked to a secluded tarn? Have you ever been to Haweswater?