31 May 2015

Rannerdale Knotts and a million Bluebells - Sunday 24 May 2015

This late May bank holiday weekend was a particularly good one for me walking wise.  On the Saturday I'd taken part in a guided walk up Ullock Pike which was lead by voluntary Lake District National Park rangers.  It was the most fantastic ridge walk but quite strenuous and to say I was stiff when I woke up on the Sunday was an understatement, but I'd already arranged to meet friends Caroline and Susan with their wonderful trailhounds, Zach and Pandy, to go on a nice, easy walk at Buttermere so I had no excuse to sit around and feel sorry for myself.  

24 May 2015

A Fantastic Ridge Walk - Ullock Pike, Long Side, Carl Side and Dodd

View from Dodd towards Derwentwater - spectacular! 

Another bank holiday had arrived and I was meant to be coming over to our lovely holiday home at Whitegate Caravan Park, with my sister Pat, but due to a flare up with a back problem she was unable to come (plus she nearly sliced her thumb end off with a new vegetable slicing contraption on Thursday night!!!).  So, i decided to check out the Lake District National Park events calendar to see if anything was going on as I knew they had a great programme of events scheduled.  There were two things listed for the Saturday and the walk that took my fancy was up Ullock Pike and was in an area that I have never walked before so thought it sounded like a good one to go on. It turned out to be a fantastic ridge walk with the most spectacular views. 

13 May 2015

The Coledale Horseshoe - well, a variation on a theme! - 9 May 2015

I'd hummed and hahhed about whether I was fit enough to do a walk of this magnitude and when I got up on the Saturday morning and checked out the weather forecast decided I wasn't going to do it!  

My BFF (Brenda) and her family were staying in Mountain Cottage in Stair in the Newlands Valley so I would be driving there from our lovely static caravan at Whitegate Caravan Park near Appleby to walk the Coledlale Horseshoe with them starting at the cottage. I texted Brenda to say I wouldn't be doing it because I thought a) the weather would be too bad and 2) I wasn't fit enough to do 9 miles up these big mountains.  So, miserably I sat and had my breakfast and after feeling sorry for myself, gave myself a good talking to and told myself not to be such a defeatist and text her back to say I'd changed my mind but would we be able to cut it a little but shorter to say 7 ish miles and she replied saying yes as there were plenty of "escape routes" along the way. So, without further ado I packed my rucky, loaded  the Heidster in the car and off we jolly well went.  

We started the walk from Mountain Cottage and picked up the right path easily and from then on it was up, up, up and up!  The first summit we would reach would be Causey Pike 637 m (2090 ft).  As we started off it was very cloudy and a bit drizzly so we put waterproofs on because, according to the BBC weather app, it was going to be light rain most of the morning with heavy rain at 12 o'clock.  I'm happy to report that the BBC got it wrong and the early light drizzle stopped almost straight away and the clouds parted and the sun started to shine, making it a very very nice day to walk.

Short bimble along the road from Stair to the start of the walk

The path up was easily distinguishable and as you can imagine, the higher we went the better the views became.  We ascended steadily across the northern slopes of Rowling End reaching the rocky summit of Causey Pike

5 May 2015

Gear Review - Craghopper Kiwi Pro Stretch Walking Trousers and Craghopper Fleecy Lined Winter Trousers

Over the years I have bought and worn many different makes and models of walking trousers but in later years, due to my increasing size and other age related things, I began to find that wearing trousers with no stretch in them often made for an uncomfortable walk, especially if there was a lot of leg lifting going on either up or downhill!  

Because of this I decided to buy and wear trousers with some stretch (Elastine) in the fabric so it was just a matter of finding a pair which fit my shape, including my "thunder thighs" which is actually not as easy as some people might think.  I am envious of anyone who can just pick up a pair of trousers or other kit (boots for instance) and wear them and be spoiled for choice because every pair fits well. 

A friend of mine had been wearing Craghopper trousers for a number of years and always spoke highly of their comfort so I thought I'd give them a go and I'm really glad I did.  

The Kiwi Pro Stretch come in a number of different styles and colours including zip-offs, shorts, crops and just plain old ordinary trousers and obviously price depends on where you shop.  

They have all sizes from size 8 to size 20 and the full length ones are available in three lengths - Short (28 inch), Regular (31 inch) and Long (33 inch).  

A lot of the outdoors shops (for example Cotswolds Outdoors, The Great Outdoors and Go Outdoors) do a price match if you can get it cheaper online which is a great thing because there can be a difference of up to £10 between online and shop prices, which could get you a new pair of walking socks, and if you can get it cheaper online some of them will also beat that price by an extra 10%!  

Spoiled for choice for size and colour

From the spring time to autumn I wear the above style and have them in two colours and I really feel comfortable in them.  They are hard wearing and last quite a long time - I wear mine almost every day for walking so they get worn and washed very regularly.  I have only recently thrown away a pair that I have had for three years.