I had my last full week off work this year over and after the Summer Bank Holiday weekend, so I had to make it a fun one! This lead to 4 new Wainwrights being bagged, as well as an impromptu trip to Snowdon…
It all kicked off on the Tuesday, 29 August, with a trip to visit a friend camping in Keswick. We decided to go up Latrigg, which coincidentally was also the last Wainwright I’d done (you can read about it here). It really is a great small walk that rewards you with such fantastic views over Keswick and onto Derwentwater. Since I had the dentist in the morning, I sadly had to leave at around 8pm for a dark drive home back over the A69.
I wasn’t planning on doing anything on the Wednesday really, other than go to the dentist for a routine check up. As it turned out, I needed a few small fillings. So 2 needles, some fillings and a lighter wallet later, I was back out. A numb mouth and it’s only midday, what was I going to do?! Well, with it daunting on me that I haven’t really made much progress on completing the Wainwrights lately, there was only one thing for it…
Off to the Lakes!
Ullock Pike, Long Side, Carl Side and Dodd
Wainwrights number: 5, 6, 7 and 8 (in respective order as above)
Date: Wednesday, 30 August 2017
Having camped under Ullock Pike a couple of times, I decided it was time to finally go to the top of it. A quick Google, map print-out and it was off back towards Keswick I went.
I parked up in a small lay-by under Dodd on the A591 and headed straight up to Ullock Pike, stopping ever so often to see just how much more of Bassenthwaite Lake you could see the further up you get. The weather was in stark contrast to the overcast the day before, with the sun shining magnificently off the Lake. I also decided to use this trek to test out ViewRanger, which not only has great free landscape maps, but also a brilliant feature called Skyline.
This basically opens up your camera and lets you see exactly what you’re looking at, what’s beyond and nearby areas or features of interest. It tells you
the name of the mountain in front of you and how far away it is. How cool is that?! Now anyone can sound like they know the area really well without much effort (‘ah yes, that’s Barf just across the other side’), you just have to make sure that no one else notices you checking your phone…
Anyway, having been wowed by ViewRanger’s impressive app, I continued along from Ullock Pike towards Long Side, then Carl Side, pretty much following this walk on WalkLakes. Except after Carl Side I headed up to Dodd as well – I mean, it’s so close so why not? – which was only supposed to be a slight detour on my way back to the car. Nice and easy, a good way to end the day. However, my detour encountered another (unplanned) detour, which took me on quite an adventure through Dodd Woods. I felt like I needed a machete to fight my way through the woodland, but thankfully it wasn’t too long before I was back on track, in the car and on my way home. Knackered to say the least!
Note for the future: it may be easier to start at Dodd and do the route in reverse next time.
A trip to Wales?!
On the Thursday evening I was contemplating whether or not to hitch a ride down to Snowdonia, as one of my friends was doing the ZipWorld Titan zip wire on the Saturday. Having done none of the British 3 peaks yet, I was eventually tempted with the thought of reaching Snowdon’s summit.
We travelled down early on Saturday morning, my friend done the zip wire (a few at that, looked amazing!) and we all had a go on Zip World’s latest attraction, the insanely-good Fforest Coaster. I’ve been on these on my last couple of trips to France in the alps, and I really hope that a few more get opened up in the UK. They are immensely good fun! You get into your toboggan, either by yourself or with a small person in with you, and then you’re steadily taken upwards through the forest until you get to the top… Then you’re let loose, with control of braking left up to you as you’re thrown around the turns (or not). If you get the chance, do it! I’ll definitely be back.
After entering some sort of vortex trying to find the hostel in the dark of night, we eventually arrived to get some rest for the night. The rest of my friends were planning to do Zip World’s slate caverns the following morning, but I had to do Snowdon. I couldn’t leave without at least seeing it. I took the opportunity to read through the hostels few guides to Snowdon, including a rather old report regarding the visitor centre on the summit. I decided on going up via Llanberis Path from the village, knowing that it was popular route and I’d have company should anything happen.
7am, Sunday: rain, wind and poor visibility. Let’s go!
I got dropped off at the start of Llanberis Path, quickly put on my waterproofs and started to follow the trail upwards. Sadly, I didn’t manage to get many pictures, as the rain, whilst not exactly heavy, was made worse by the wind. I wasn’t going to risk testing out my iPhone’s waterproofness.
Visibility on the way up was good enough to see ahead, but not to see the mountains around, or the Lakes below. I passed the halfway Cafe just as the Snowdon Mountain Railway was also making its way up, comforted by the thought that I just might be able to catch a lift back down. It wasn’t to be.
It took me around 2 hours to reach the summit, passing by the hardened mountaineers who had also went up. There were even a couple of fell runners on there way down, as well a couple in shorts and leggings. I had learned a valuable lesson on the way up. My Berghaus waterproof jacket wasn’t so waterproof anymore. Time to invest in a new one (ended up with the Columbia Pouring Adventure if you’re interested).
A quick selfie at the summit, look at the closed visitors centre and it was time to head back down. Just under another 2 hours back to the village, peruse the souvenir shop, quick coffee, dash to the toilet and a look round the visitors centre. Back homeward we all went!
I’ll have to go back. I’ll have to add Scafell Pike and finally Ben Nevis to my to-do list. What a day. The not-so-good weather made it more of a challenge, although looking back it was an experience that taught me a few lessons, which I wouldn’t have got had it just been a simple walk up in the sun.
In the week since getting back, I have registered with Mountain Training and signed up for a Mountain Skills course to improve my skills and knowledge. For those of you interested, I’ll be sure to do a post about my experience of that on here as well.
Photos from the Lakes – Wainwrights 5, 6, 7 and 8
Photos of trip to Snowdon