thought.photos

occasional snapshots of thought

Posts from the “Fell Walking” Category

A First Munro

Posted on 3rd April 2022

Back in July 2021 Family Watson did a tour of the North West of Scotland. Hannah and I drove to Moffat on 27th June, stopping overnight before continuing to Dundee where we had another overnight stop. We met up with the kids in Dundee and on Monday, 29th June we set off on a lovely sunny morning on a trip from the east coast to Kerrera on the west coast.

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Seconds out, Round 2: Part 2

Posted on 20th February 2022

I was very happy to be feeling fit again and, after a couple of wet-ish days, the weather was looking promising. After a quick breakfast I was driving back the way I’d come the previous evening. I planned to walk The Matterdale Dodds, the same walk I had completed just over five years ago, but this time using a different start point for a bit of variety. Five years ago, the walk had been a bit miserable, a thick mist had descended and I hadn’t seen much from the tops. Today was going to be a very different experience.

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Seconds out, Round 2: Part 1

Posted on 15th November 2021

The government “Roadmap out of Lockdown” hit the next step as planned on 17th May, and my stay at YHA Ambleside was confirmed. I was going back to the Lakes, and I couldn’t wait to get out on the hills. Although I’d had a week off in April, I wasn’t really feeling refreshed and I was hoping that a concentrated period of solo walking might do the trick, and that’s how I’d planned the first part of the week. The end of the week would be a couple of days walking with my brother and nephew, both of whom had recently started taking walking more seriously, and I was looking forward to having some new walking companions. As usual, I stopped over in Southport…

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A Return to the Hills: Part 3

Posted on 3rd December 2020

Today would be the day. The day I’d complete the challenge I’d set myself to summit all of the Wainwright fells and all of the Fellranger fells, 235 in total. My adventure had begun on 17th June 2015 with a tentative walk to Low Pike, High Pike and Dove Crag from Ambleside. Today, it would conclude with a high-level walk in Langdale, taking in the final Fellranger on my list, Little Stand. This walk was going to be my reward for a tough week of walking. Although I had enjoyed visiting the final Fellrangers on the list, they almost all were what Wainwright calls the Outlying Fells, and that meant they were lower and more scattered than the popular and better known fells in…

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A Return to the Hills: Part 2

Posted on 21st November 2020

So far, so good. My week in the Lakes had started very well and I’d bagged eleven of the seventeen tops on my list in just three days. You might think I’d be confident in completing the final six with three walking days left, but I wasn’t. Some were in far-flung locations, Black Combe and Muncaster Fell were each a trip in their own right, and others like Little Stand would require (or merited) a day walk. Added to the geographic complexity was my fitness, or lack of it. Ordinarily I’d have five walking days and then a rest day but I was going to have to walk at least six days straight to get this done. As it turned out, I walked seven…

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A Return to the Hills: Part 1

Posted on 5th October 2020

I had pretty much given up hope of visiting the Lake District in 2020. Lockdown had been frustrating and since restrictions were eased, finding accommodation in one of the most popular “staycation” destinations in the UK turned out to be almost impossible – almost. I had planned to return in April, with the aim of completing the Fellranger Fells. YHA accommodation had been booked back in December and I’d planned the walks that would take me to the remaining tops I needed to complete the challenge I’d set myself 5 years ago – to complete both the Wainwright and Fellranger fells, 235 in all. With the Wainwrights completed in July last year, and a few of the additional Fellrangers already in the bag, I…

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Loose Ends and Rainbows

Posted on 16th November 2019

So I’d completed the Wainwrights and you might think that would be that. However, despite a final tick in the 214th box, it didn’t really feel like a completion. I didn’t have a complete photographic record of all the summits, and since this challenge had become mildly obsessive, that bugged me. During my early walks I wasn’t particularly focussed on photographing summits because I didn’t even know that I might be attempting a completion. And then there was the time I lost two days worth of photographs when the SD card in my camera failed. In short, I needed to return to the Lakes to complete the set. Earlier this year, over supper at YHA Eskdale, I was asked whether I was an incrementalist…

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The End of a Beginning

Posted on 16th August 2019

Family holidays are becoming a bit of a rarity for us. With both kids now living away from home, Hannah and I had booked a week in a small cottage in Buttermere, not knowing what the kids’ movements would be over the summer. As it turned out, they both said they wanted to be there when I completed my round of the Wainwrights, and naturally I was delighted. So we booked a couple of camping pitches close to the cottage and we were all set. If you’ve been reading this journal, you’ll know that I had just two Wainwrights remaining, Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks. Both tops are relatively easy walks from Buttermere and my priority was to bag those two; any additional walking would…

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Bagging the Scafells

Posted on 30th June 2019

There are a few reasons why I’ve been leaving the Scafells to the end of this challenge. First, as the highest of the Wainwright fells, in fact, the highest mountains in England, it seemed fitting to leave them to the end. Second, it made sense geographically. Broadly, I started in the east, moved round to the north and am finishing in the west and south. Third, they are difficult to get to, or rather, they are a long drive from the key centres in the Lake District. But most of all, they are popular. There would be no chance of getting to the top of Scafell Pike alone and although I don’t mind meeting the odd (in every sense of the word) traveller, crowds…

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Way Out West

Posted on 10th June 2019

Teaching is now over for yet another academic year (my 23rd!) and the Lakeland Fells once again beckoned as a curative for the increasing stresses and strains of academic life. I’m now happy to concede that these post-teaching trips to the Lakes, which have become a regular feature of my fell-walking challenge, are now an important part of my mental well-being regime. Under normal circumstances, planning a trip to the Lake District over the Easter bank holiday weekend would be considered a special form of madness. But on this occasion, I had two good reasons. I usually plan my Spring trip in the week immediately following the end of teaching but this year I booked late (3rd of January) and couldn’t find any suitable…

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