Half a coledale round (in the fog).

Distance: 9 miles
Ascent: 3,458ft

I had originally set out to do 8 peaks in 6 to 7 hours on the Coledale round this morning. It seems the dreadful weather and the having to check location and the difficult climb to Grisedale Pike meant time ran after 4.

The day started at 7.30am from the small car park just outside Braithwaite. Some rather steep steps lead out onto Kinn. Short for 'Kinn Hell if you ask me. Whether it was the early start or the bcaon and egg butty for breakfast the 1st climb towards Grisedale Pike was tough going. The heavy drizzle did not help either and it's fair to say I was pretty damn wet within 20 minutes despite various waterproofs.

Blake Fell and Burnbank Fell

Distance: 4.6 miles
Total Ascent: 1,134ft

I am now rapidly starting to tick off the Western Fells as many of them are easily accessible from my house. So much so that I managed to bag these two despite not leaving the house until 6pm. I beat sunset by a good 45 minutes too.

This was an excuse to get my puppy on the fells for the 1st time. She is only 3 months old but I felt she could manage the 4.5 mile route easily. She did quite well in the end.

The route it took started at Fangs Brow after Lamplugh and before the turn down into the Loweswater Valley. This area is marked as Open Access land at the gate which is always good to see.

The route follows a stony path of the 1st mile or so pass through several gates. It the turns almost 90 degrees unto the fell instead of following the terrace path above Loweswater. After a very short walk, you turn 90 degrees to starting climbing the fell head on.

There is a rough but easily followed path right up the face of Burnbank Fell. For such an assuming and somewhat boring fell the ascent is remarkably steep, so much so that the majority of the days ascent is achieved in just 0.4 miles. I didn't like it much it was really tough in places and and a real plod. The dog liked it even less than me and kept looking back to the car.

Eventually the torture ends and the land levels out to an almost imperceptible climb. The dog got its 2nd wind and started running about like a lunatic in the marsh grass. We attained the summit quite quickly once the climb was easier.

The summit is pretty rubbish. A rather meagre pile of stones and rickety fence mark the highest point on Burnbank Fell. I would have marched on but with my not having any dinner I thought it best to stop. I hooked the dog lead over a fence post, poured her some water and took on refreshments and surveyed the next summit.

Blake Fell is a magnificent looking fell. It rises quite sharply from the col between itself Burnbank Fell and Carling Knott. Certainly not as sharply as Burnbank did from the lower ground but it still looked fairly formidable.

The weather, which was pleasant when I started off was showing signs of turning. Dark clouds were skirting by with a cloud deck that didn't seem much higher than Blake Fell's 1,880ft. But confident that if the clouds dropped I could easily navigate via the fence and a clear path on Burnbank Fell I carried on anyway.

It had been my intention to descend via Carling Knott onto the terrace path, but with the potential for rain I decided I would reach Blake Fell and retrace my steps to the car.

Blake Fell is lovely climb. Despite the formidable appearance, the ascent is not too challenging. The views both north east towards Grassmoor and south west towards Knock Murton and Dent are very good.

The summit was attained fairly quickly and is a small summit with a small wind shelter. Views are extensive with the nearby Gavel Fell, Hen Comb and Mellbreak easily visible with the High Stile range dominating the more distant views. Grassmoor was also visible with cloud just caressing its summit (as it always seems to be).

The cloud deck was just above my head by a few feet and lower than the summit in parts. I finished my packed lunch and headed back to the car. The monotony of Burnbank Fell was certainly worth it when presented with views from Blake Fell

A Whinlatter qaurtet

Distance: 6 miles
Ascent: 1,900ft

I am really starting to get into this fell walking malarky and I try and snatch any short walk I can. Last weekend I had limited time so decided to visit the easily accessible and navigable Whinlatter forest with its well marked paths and collection of fells in close proximity. We set out to just climb Lord's Seat and Barf

We set off from the visitor centre at 11am and immediately found ourselves a bit lost on the rabbit-warren like paths through the forest. We eventually picked up the correct waymarker again and almost immediately got lost again, wandering up a moderate slope in the direction of Whinlatter Top instead.

I discovered our error at a stile that left the plantation boundary and with a check of the semi-useless path guide from the shop we decided to crack on for Whinlatter Top and Brown How (Wanwright's summit) before working out a route to our original targets. The path after the stile heads straight up the line of the fence and is very steep but we had warmed up so it didn't pose too much of a problem.

Whinlatter Top and Brown How are fairly average summits. Both offer great views of Grisedale Pike (now pencilled in as my 1st 2,000 footer) and Brown How has good views to the other fells in the group as well as through Lorton Vale.

We decided to continue on a good path off Brown How, which eventually traversed round towards the forestry path in the valley between the Whinlatter tops and those in the Lord's Seat range. The path became increasingly tenuous and eventually skirted the edge of a felled plantation. The thing I hate the most in the Lake District is the decimation left by a felled forest, like scars on the landscape.

We eventually intercepted the forest road and followed round the lower reaches of Lords Seat, leaving at a waymarked gatepost (the £2 guide proved its worth). There then followed a very stiff, straight and sustained climb through the forest which we did at a good rate of knots to get the blood pumping. A quick skip over a small boggy area and we were back on the gravel path and heading for Lord's Seat.

Like every fell I seem to choose, the summit of Lord's Seat climbs sharply for the last 100 yards and after the recent exertion another stiff climb was not too welcome. The climb was worth it though. The highest fell in its range gives extensive views to the west towards the Cumbrian coast and Skiddaw rises like giant to the north.

It was windy so we didn't linger to long as Barf awaited and time was getting on now, thanks to our earlier detour. The walk to the summit of Barf is fairly short. The route is somewhat eroded and was very boggy in places, though perfectly navigable. The final ascent was steeper than anything we had encountered that day, but short and not too taxing in the tiring legs. There was an abandoned wheelbarrow close to the summit, which was slightly bizzare

The views from Barf are truly astonishing for such an unassuming fell. The length of Bassenthwaite is visible from the fell, with Skiddaw providing a fantastic backdrop. Keswick and Derwentwater are also visible from the top. Well worth the effort and a great prize for all our exertions.

Mellbreak & Scale Force

Date: 30 May 2011
Distance: 6.2 miles
Ascent: 1550 ft

I've always wanted to climb Mellbreak ever since I first saw the fell. In fact it is probably the fell originally piqued my interest in fell walking. Approaching it from Loweswater it is just so imposing and looks completely inaccessible, with it's extensive scree and even more extensive crags.

I have collected a walking in the form of my friend and next door neighbour. He seems happy to have me as a guide (of sorts), though I am sure I will get us hopelessly lost at some point. Not on Mellbreak though, its stand-alone nature makes it impossible to get lost on.

My first 3 Wainwright's - An unfashionable route.

Distance: 8.2 miles
Total Ascent: 1605 feet

I decided recently to take up fell walking. With living on the edge of the lake District it seemed the natural thing to do. I also figures that the best way to start it all was to climb all 214 Wainwrights. 

The best place to start seemed to be the ones closest to me. They are of moderate height and easily accessible from my house. In fact the whole Lake District in no more than a 90 minute drive from my front door.

Other than the occasional ascent of the Outlying Wainwright known as Dent (it's literally on my doorstep) the last fell of any note I have climbed was Catbells and that was when I was 11 and probably fit enough to climb Everest. I am now 33, slightly overweight and do far too little exercise, so walking the fells is not going to be as easy as it was back then.

New To Fell Walking

Living in West Cumbria, you would think by the age of 33 I would have climbed half of the Lake District peaks by now. Unfortunately, for one reason or another I have climbed the grand total of 2 fells. One when I was 10 (or 11) and the other, Dent, which is within minutes of my house.

Inspired by programs such as Coast and Countryfile. I figured I was missing something quite interesting and something good for my general fitness. I literally have no excuse to not to climb the Lake District fells. The nearest are minutes away and the furthest no more than a 90 minute drive.

I've spent a few months soaking in information and getting some basic kit together and I am now ready to go.

My 1st target is to climb all 214 fells featured in Wainwright's Pictorial Guides. This might take me a while!