Wasdale in the south-west of the Lake District is one of the least developed of the classic valleys with lakes. Gable, the peaks of Green and Great Gable, is at the head of the valley with Scafell and Scafell Pikes off to the right. All are over 800 m. altitude and were swathed in cloud when we arrived, though this was clearing through the day of our hike. The Screes, which dip in to Wast Water, reminded me of the much vaster Hvalfjörður (fjord) that I visited in in Iceland, though without the Puffins.
Wasdale Hall, with its fine Lakeland gables mixed with mock-Tudor half-timbering, is now a youth hostel; my hiking mate Samuel was at school with the children of the family of the then YHA warden and so has followed the fortunes of Wasdale Hall over many years.
Further along our route, Lund Bridge is a fine old bridge that hasn’t been improved for road traffic, then the roofs of Woodhow farm remind me of Beatrix Potter’s classic description of a Lakeland farm far below.
Lucie scrambled up the hill as fast as her short legs would carry her; she ran along a steep path-way—up and up—until Little-town was right away down below—she could have dropped a pebble down the chimney!
Beatrix Potter, “The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle” (1905)
Our hike was followed by the most colourful sunset I have yet seen from Keswick, more than half the sky lit red by the setting sun.
Spot How Gill copper mine in Eskdale was worked from around 1850 for about fifty years and, at its peak, was the workplace of up to fifty miners. The copper ore they were seeking shows as a green-blue trace on the rock, a colour familiar to anyone who has seen Copper Sulphate in a school chemistry lab. The mine has long since been abandoned but the levels are accessible with reasonable care, and some wooden staging is still in place in the upper levels.
We returned via the picturesque Jubilee Bridge over Hardknott Gill and then Wahouse Bridge over the River Esk. Ordinarily these woods and valley would justify a hike in themselves.
I’ve not been underground and out of daylight for many years (except to tourist mines and caves) so this was a rare treat - thanks to Samuel for being my guide.
Shapes and shadows on Skiddaw (931m.) in the Lake District National Park. This was hiking the steep route up from Millbeck to Carl Side at 746 m. The tarn at the saddle before the last push to Skiddaw was almost dry and the view pretty misty. Then a quick excursion to Ullock Pike.
I started after breakfast but saw only one other hiker until 1130 or so. The wind was a bit gusty plus I was adequately knackered so I enjoyed my picnic at the mound on Longside Edge (734 m.), then came back down. Training in my gym at home has limited the damage of the lockdowns but is not the same as a hiking a big hill.
ROC Post Threlkeld must be in one of the most scenic locations of all the 1563 Observer Corps observation posts all over the UK which were established or repurposed from wartime use in 1956.
It’s an underground concrete bunker designed to resist nuclear attack, a “Protected Post”. The floor is about 5 m. below the access hatch and is reached by a vertical ladder. There’s a ventilator at the other end of the underground chamber, the dimensions are about 5 m. x 2 m. x 2 m. There’s a telephone line but no mains electricity or water. An observation platform was also required, ROC Keswick/Threlkeld has a small tower built of local stone for this purpose.