Reports on club meets from members who took part. If you would like to send in a report please mail it to the Hon. Editor. Reports of members activites.


Rhyd Ddu meet – Jubilee weekend – June 1 - 4

With the Queens’ Platinum Jubilee celebrations in full swing, we began to contemplate how long we had been coming to Rhyd Ddu and the Oread club hut (Tan yr Wyddfa) as a club, and how long we’d been having a communal meal as an integral part of that meet.

Well, to answer the easier question first. We’d been having a communal meal at Tan yr Wyddfa as an integral part of the meet since at least 2002, with a record of 27 people at one sitting (a full hut, plus others who lived nearby, or who were stopping at the pub). On how long the Rhyd Ddu meet has been going, the earliest date I’ve been able to find is 1982, when it was a winter meet. After that, it became a spring meet, initially called the Snowdonia Scrambles meet, and was sometimes based with John Berry in Bedgelert, and there were sometimes up to three meets there a year. By the mid 1990s though, the meet had become focussed on the Oread hut and the rest is an evolving history. The long and short of which means a Ruby anniversary for the Welsh meet as a whole, and a China anniversary for the communal meal!


Throughout the extended weekend, we had a variety of routes and aims on the go each day, from walking and climbing, to visiting Roman ruins, and even enjoying the scenery in an extended train ride.

Some people made use of the Wednesday evening start to get a days climbing in on Milestone buttress, and found they had Rowan route, a classic 88m 2star diff to themselves, despite how crowded Ogwen valley itself was.


My Thursday option was a round of Cnicht and Croesor slate quarry, starting with the south-west ridge of Cnicht. The lower slopes let you in gently to the mountain, whilst higher up, the angle noticeably steepens, with a further steepening just below the summit.

Ascending Cnicht
View of our Cnicht circuit

We are rewarded with great 360 degree views, from out to sea, to Snowdon, and the tip of the quarries at Blanaeu. From the summit, we take a long circling route past several lakes to the disused Croesor slate quarries, which we first visited a decade ago. The size of the spoil heaps and the skeletons of the various cottages stand as reminders to the history and toil that took place here at one time. From there, there are several options of path back to the valley – ours took us to the café on the edge of the village. An order for tea, Welsh scones and Barra Brith was swiftly placed.

Cnicht summit
Croesor quarries

Other parties had ventured to other locations, from walking up Snowdon and experiencing the bank holiday crowds at the top, despite the café being closed, to more climbing, this time on Pinnacle ridge on the East face of Tryfan (175m, Diff, 3 stars)

Friday saw a different passion involved – riding on old steam engines – this time along the Ffestiniog railway all the way into Blanaeu. Somewhat different, but the engineering remains a marvel, and we were lucky enough to see an osprey on the way down. As if to confirm our decision, by the afternoon the heavens had darkened, and we were treated to a thunder and lightning display of some ferocity. To compensate, on our return to the hut, we began the Jubilee celebrations with scones with jam and cream, suitably lubricated with a pot or two of tea.

Nantlle ridge from the monument

As if to emphasise the fickle nature of the weather, we were back to a decent morning on Saturday for our outing onto the Nantle ridge, which was a first time experience for some of the group. Always a pull up to the initial summit, once that has been accomplished, the ridge itself is a pure joy. Never tricky, but with some nice moves on it, and the occasional position that would be classed as ‘good value’. We paused for lunch at the memorial on Mynydd Tal-y-mignedd, which was constructed in 1887 by workmen of the Prince of Wales quarry to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

Starting the ridge proper
Wet, but still happy

After lunch, we descended down the shoulder into Cwm Dwyfor and a set quarry and mine workings I’d not visited before. Aided by various old sled tracks out of here we made our way back to the main route through to the forest track and back to the cottage.

The slate sheds

Determined to show the flag for the Jubilee celebrations, we had bunting up in both the dining area and living room of the cottage and preceded the meal with a loyal toast. The meal itself had a couple of Jubilee twists. Starter of homemade Coronation chicken, followed by that British favourite – bangers and mash (with an onion and Madeira gravy), and a suitable twist – the whole formed into a crown shape. To keep things simple for pudding, I let the supermarket take the strain, with options of apple pie, trifle and sticky toffee pudding being dispatched in quick order. By now the story telling was in full swing and continued further in the living room over the last glasses of wine.

Sunday was turnabout weather again, with steady rainfall during the night and continuing into the morning. For some of us, it was a sufficient hint to start the journey home, but for other hardy souls, an ascent to Yr Aran still beckoned to round off another successful Welsh meet.

Participtants: Katriona Archer, David Blackett, Ed Bramley, Andy Burton, Steve Caulton, David Clear, George Harper, Tony Howard, Mike O’Dwyer, Suzanne Strawther, Marcus Tierney, Michele Tierney

Report by Ed Bramley

This meet eventually took place in 2022 after being postponed from both 2020 and 2021, and not without complications.


The bunkhouse at the Braemar Lodge hotel, which had originally been booked, closed down so we were offered 2 cabins as replacements.

Later the hotel was sold but the new owners helpfully honoured our bookings as well as the agreed price.

Then the shock news came that the hotel itself burned down completely - but the cabins remained untouched, so we were able to use some comfortable accommodation at a good price.


Unfortunately one of the expected group had been in close touch with a colleague with Covid so was unable to join us. However the six of us who did attend had an excellent week, with typical Scottish sunshine and showers, without any days of continuous rain, so we were able to do good routes each day.

We all arrived on the Sunday, including Judy who came on the bus from Aberdeen. Max had been in the area for almost a week beforehand and had booked places for us for evening meals in different venues. In addition there was a well-stocked shop in the village for self-catering. After sorting ourselves out, we discussed a list of possible routes that Max had helpfully provided, most of which were based on the Cicerone guidebook. Since the weather looked uncertain, with some rain, we all agreed on a moderate route for the first day, just north of Braemar, taking in a Corbett and a valley walk.

In the morning we set off, in two separate parties, for Carn na Drochaide. This required driving to the Lin of Dee to cross the river and parking near the Linn of Quoich. Andy, Celine, Max and Judy crossed the bridge (which had been repaired after the guidebook was written) to a few houses at Allanaquioch and started up the hill. We had some deliberation about where to go up, as there was no path and the description did not quite fit what was there. However, we made our way through the heather, which was high and made for quite hard going, then higher up we found some intermittent boulder tracks which helped.

Andy, Celine and Max coming up Carn na Drochaide

After a short stop on the first top, we traversed to the main top and down a steep, wet descent north-eastwards towards a valley junction and the ‘fairy glen’ below. It rained for a couple of hours but not too heavily, with patches of brightness. The glen was extraordinarily pretty, with trees in young leaf and all shades of green. Later the sun came out and it became pleasantly warm, so a lunch stop was possible. We saw a lone stag on the ridge, sparrow hawks flying around, and tadpoles in the puddles on the path, as well as hearing the first of the many cuckoos of the week. Roger and Qing had started later, parking in the same place, but went up Glen Quoich to the top and descended further along. That evening we all managed to squeeze into the busy pub to eat, having been unable to book ahead that night, though the food and service were impressive.

Some of us wanted a longer walk the next day, especially one that included a scramble up the Stuic on the Lochnagar massif. Since Max had already done this a few days earlier, he decided to do a different route, though he started with us from Keiloch, a short way east of Braemar. We all had a pleasant walk through the Ballochbuie forest on a good track, and saw a large red squirrel and many birds. Max continued on the track but Andy, Celine and Judy turned off onto a path that appeared to be the correct one from our reading of the guidebook, but later realised this was our mistake. We ended up plunging along a non-path by a river, through rocks and boulders, re-crossing the river several times. This wasted a considerable amount of time and energy. After emerging from the forest, we crossed the tussocky heather moor, taking a while to reach Sandy Loch below Lochnagar for a late lunch. However, we did see plenty of small frogs, red grouse, ptarmigan, mountain hares and some dippers on the way.

Celine and Andy below the Stuic
Loch nan Eun below the Stuic

A heavy rain shower convinced us that time and conditions were not in our favour for going up the scramble, as it was still some distance away. So we headed up the ridge on the west side and made it to the top of the Stuic (1091m) in reasonable time.

On our way down we encountered another heavy shower, this time of hail (cold and unpleasant!). Then we made a bee-line across the moor towards a small corrugated iron shelter in the distance, which took us to the track we should have followed in the morning. Though it was boggy, through deep heather, it seemed comparatively easy after the morning’s efforts.

We reached the starting point some 9 hours after setting out, feeling well exercised.

Max had followed the correct route (which we should have taken) along the track to the top of the Stuic and around to the top of Cac Carn Beg, the main top of Lochnagar, and back across the moor so he was back well before us! Roger and Qing went up Morrone (859m), the Corbett just south of Braemar.

The following day high winds were forecast, and most people expressed a wish for a more relaxing day. So Roger and Qing went to Inverness and did some sightseeing in the area, Andy and Celine had a leisurely morning (though Celine had to catch up with some work) and later went over Morrone.

I decided to do Creag nan Gabhar (834m), another Corbett further south of Braemar and then did Morrone as well. This turned out to be a lovely round and very satisfying, though windy towards the end. Max gave me a lift to the start, from where the ascent was straightforward, up the ridge to a first and then a second top. I saw more mountain hares, black grouse, curlews and a lone deer. From the top I saw a rainbow below in the valley. The route continued south, down to a wet col then around towards Loch Callater and back on a track along the Glen. There were sunshine and showers intermittently all day, but overall pleasant conditions. The only difficulty was a stretch of the valley where the track went through a deep ford so I had to make my way along a rough section without a path, until a bridge made it possible to reach the track again. Since I was back at the start by early afternoon, I decided to take in Morrone on the way back. The ascent was gradual but quite long, then the wind became very strong indeed so the final section was a difficult struggle until I reached the couple of buildings and masts on the top. The buildings provided welcome shelter for a much needed break, before a quick descent back to the village.

I had expected to see Celine and Andy on the way over Morrone but saw only two other people who were on their way up and said we were all crazy being up there on such a windy day! Later I learned that that Celine and Andy had set out in the afternoon but had taken a while to find the path so were somewhere in the woods below while I was on the hill. They eventually returned around 9.30 that evening, for a very late pre-prepared dinner. We were glad we had not waited for them before eating that evening!

Andy, Celine, Roger, Max and Qing in Glen Lui

Very strong winds were forecast again for the next day, so this time we all went together on a valley route along Glen Lui, over the pass of Clais Fearnaig and back along Glen Quoich. It was good to be with the whole group and we managed to stay together for most of the way. However, it turned out to be wise to have taken three cars as people’s different paces and interests meant that we finished at different times.

We started near the Victoria Bridge, west of Braemar, parked along the road and walked up a good track towards Derry Lodge. Unusually, we met several other groups of people as this is a main route towards the high peaks of Ben Macdui, Derry Cairngorm and others. We turned off the track on a path up to Clais Fearnaig, a narrow valley with very picturesque scenery that appeared to some of us as if it could have been anywhere in the world, such as the Himalayas or central Asia.

Coming up to Clas Fearnaig
Gate into Glen Quoich

A nice sheltered place above some narrow lochans provided a leisurely lunch spot, again with plenty of wildlife, then we descended to Glen Quoich, with many photo stops and bird watching. The forests around there were in the process of natural regeneration, with fallen trees left lying and small self-seeded saplings growing in random places. This may have accounted for the good numbers of birds to be seen.

Max and Judy followed an interesting narrow path across the river for the last part of the Glen, which wound through small forest areas and along the beach beside the river, then crossed a bridge at the ‘punch bowl’, a natural formation caused by water erosion close to some waterfalls.

We all ate out at the very nice local pub that evening, having booked a table for six, making it a pleasant evening.

On the final day it was raining in the morning and high winds were forecast again, so there was much deliberation over what to do. Roger and Qing went to Balmoral to see the castle and gardens and to walk around the grounds. Max and Judy decided to go up Lochnagar by a different and longer route from Balmoral. Andy and Celine were still undecided when we left.

Max on Balmoral bridge

We started from the visitor car park near the castle and set off around 10am in rain, which stopped after half an hour or so. The guidebook took us around various outlying houses, churches and over a nice bridge on the river Dee. It was a bit of a shock to find armed police at most junctions - puzzling until we later learned that the Queen had been in residence at that time. We followed tracks through the forest then out to the south, past a bothy and a small house reputed to be the Queen Mother’s cottage. Again, there were hares and black grouse to be seen.

Later we had to leave the track and head across to the base of the first hill, Craig Liath, which we traversed around and went up steeply to a small col, then on to the summit of Meall Coire na Saobhaide (974m). The going was inevitably rough, through boulders and heather. A brief snack stop was required, keeping on the lee side to avoid the worst of the westerly wind. Coming down to a further col was incredibly windy, with gusts reputed to be up to 70 mph at times.

Max bracing against the wind, Stuic and Loch nan Eun behind
Judy in Cac Carn Mor
Lochnagar from Cac carn Mor

The final ascent was better, as we went up the East side away from the wind, although there was still no path, and reached the main top, Cac Carn Beg (1156m), not long after 1pm. We met one person at the summit, who seemed to the only other one on the hill that day. We took time to look at the spectacular views down to the loch and its surrounding rock walls before descending on easy paths all the way, with nice rocks, which were smooth but with good friction.

As we came down towards the lesser summit of Meikle Pap, we saw two other walkers in the distance. When they came nearer they shouted out to us, and to our surprise, turned out to be Andy and Celine who had driven to Ballater to look around then decided to continue to Glen Muick and take to more popular route from there. This was a surprise! They continued to the top and came back via a circuit on a similar path.

We continued down the side of Meikle Pap, taking a path to the east where the wind funnelled through a gap, with gusts even stronger than before. I was holding onto everything and crouching down to avoid being blown over completely. On reaching a sheltered section we had to stop briefly to sort everything out and cross the valley to reach a good track, which took us back to the edge of the forest from where we had emerged in the morning. The full round back to the car park had taken 7.5 hours, well within guidebook time.

That evening we all ate in the cabin, with four of us having a most civilised meal together. Andy and Celine arrived back much later, so had to make do with a quick cheese on toast (which managed to set off the fire alarm for the second time this week!).

We all agreed that it had been a thoroughly enjoyable week, with pretty good weather as no days were written off due to rain. Braemar had been a good base, with plenty to do, good facilities and a transport link to Aberdeen. We all wanted to come to Scotland again next year and discussed some possible areas to consider for the future.

Report by Judy Renshaw.

Present: Andy Burton, Celine Gagnon, Judy Renshaw, Max Peacock, Qing Wang, Roger James. Unfortunately Hugh Chapman was unable to join us as he had been in close contact with a colleague who had Covid and was being careful to avoid passing it on to us.

New venue at the Stables Bunkhouse, Ollerbrook Farm, near Edale, and a change of dates from the traditional May Day Bank Holiday weekend, together with other factors nearly conspired to force a cancellation of this meet, as initially only six people signed up for the weekend, in a property that sleeps 14.


David Clear on his first foray into the Peak District joined your Editor and I at the George Hotel in Hathersage for lunch, after which we parked at Millers Dale Station and cycled the Monsal Trail, giving Dave a glimpse of some of the delights of the White Peak, from Chee Tor through to Monsal Head and beyond.

Suffice it to say the River Wye and its many limestone crags and walls did not disappoint.


Eventually ten people arrived at the farm on Friday evening, with six of the early birds walking the ten minutes into Edale on the hunt for grub. The Nags Head was well full by the time we got there, and not taking any table bookings all weekend, so off we tiddly popped down to the Ramblers, where the six of us found perches and settled down to some very promptly served good food and drink, as one of the lasses behind the bar took ownership of our plight, and made things happen.
This made the decision where to eat on Saturday night for us. On returning back to base we spent time with Catriona and George, two potential new members, introducing ourselves and extolling the benefits of being an ABMSAC member, as well as listening to their various interesting experiences and what they were looking to do in the great outdoors.
With the arrival of Don and Judy the group was complete, and after discussions about the plans for Saturday, a relatively early night was had by all.

Saturday morning greeted us with clear blue skies and a distinctly cool breeze off the Kinder Scout plateau. Sheila Wainwright and her son were already busy in the lambing sheds as we all got ready.

Ed and Myles prepared their bikes, and here is Eds account of the day:
Myles and I set out early on our Saturday morning sojourn, but we hadn’t gone more than a couple of miles before a puncture brought us to an abrupt halt. Out came the spare inner, and with some deft handling of the tyre levers and pump by Myles, we were soon back on the road again; our first destination Hope.

From there, we joined the main road for a few miles, before taking a side road to eventually arrive at Ladybower reservoir. Lovely to get away from what little traffic there was, but there was still a steep pull through the picturesque hamlet of Thornhill, before we arrived at Yorkshire Bridge, at the foot of Ladybower and our last significant climb of the day, onto the main road. From Ladybower, there’s a great cycle lane which takes you all the way round to the dams turnoff – more a case of being aware of the pedestrians than the cars. From there, the road by the reservoir was much quieter and the inclines gentle and forgiving, so it wasn’t too long before we arrived at the café at Fairholme and the morning coffee refuelling could take place.
Just beyond the café area the road is only open to cycles, which made the rest of the ride up to near Slippery Stones at the top of Howden reservoir an absolute joy. Just beyond our café stop is Derwent dam and a 60th anniversary memorial to the dambusters. Having seen the Lancaster fly through on the 50th anniversary, it still brings home what a feat of flying was achieved.


The rest of our route to the road head at the top of Howden reservoir is a pure joy, with dappled sunlight through the trees. As we wind round the inlet of the river Westend, we can see we will travel about two miles to be 300 yards further on. The terminus of the metalled road is as quiet as the rest of this route, and we take a break for a snack lunch, even spotting a lizard scurrying out of sight in the grass. Our return route covers the same route, but on the way back we spot the sculptures to tin town by the roadside – a reminder of all the navvies who helped build these dams.

The return leg goes smoothly and as we enter Hope, we spot a bikers café for afternoon tea. Myles opts for the Bakewell tart, and makes sure it is seen off in customary fashion.

Refuelled, we complete the rest of the journey without hitch – even the downhills we’d remembered on the way out don’t seem to have turned into significant uphills on the way back. To use another of Myles phrases about the day – “nothing shabby about all of this”.

Group at the bunkhouse on Saturday morning
Bridge over Grindsbrook

The rest of us set off back into Edale to walk along the original start to the Pennine Way from outside the Nags Head pub, heading up Grindsbrook Clough with its interesting little scramble out onto the plateau itself, crossing the moor and finding our way through the Kinder Gates to Kinder Downfall.

Climbing up Grindsbrook to the plateau
Above Foxholes looking for the path across the plateau

Lunch was enjoyed at the Downfall with views out beyond Kinder Reservoir over towards Manchester.

View from Kinder Downfall

High point

We then walked back along the current Pennine Way path to the trig point at Kinder Low, 633 metres, where Margaret, Judy and Catriona posed for a summit photo.

The official high point of Kinder Scout at 636 metres is a mere inconspicuous mound of grass amongst boggy and featureless terrain, northeast of this point.

Continuing on through Edale Rocks and turning left down Jacobs Ladder close to Edale Cross, we made our way down through Upper Booth and Barber Booth and back across the fields to Edale and the bunkhouse for a welcome pot of tea and a great selection of homemade cakes.

Sunday morning we made our way to the Nags Head again to meet up with the ten day visitors who by all accounts were having a bit of a to-do finding parking spaces.

Once everyone had gathered together, we set off back through Ollerbrook Farm and up alongside the brook of the same name under the Nab and onto the traversing path leading to Edale YHA.

Ready for the off

New trees planted just above the Hostel
Above the Hostel with Mam Tor ridge in the background

A stop on the path to chat with a local sheep farmer out on his quad bike gave us a glimpse into some of the difficulties that the community were currently facing. Before descending to the ford where Jaggers Clough and the stile over the wall into Backside Wood meet on the map.

Here the 20 strong group split up with 7 or 8 electing to continue up to Win Hill, (see Ed’s account below), and the rest electing to wander through the woods and out to the road past the National Trust offices, having found a grassy slope to sit and enjoy lunch close to where the water from Jaggers Clough joins with the River Noe.
Crossing over the road and under the railway line the path continues on the opposite valley side turning right at Townhead and making its way up to Lose Hill (Ward’s Piece).
Here we tarried a while enjoying the views all around before continuing to Back Tor and Hollins Cross where the path from Castleton to Edale bisects the ridge path.
After lunch we head for Lose Hill
The team on the ridge with Back Tor in the background

Returning back to Edale and the farm and checking everyone was accounted for, if not all in the same valley, we took our leave of the Wainwrights, who were enjoying a much-earned cuppa themselves with Catriona and George, as Sheila said were swapping farmers tales.

Eds take on the Sunday walk - Win and Lose (Hill)

After out gathering outside the Nags Head on Sunday morning, we head east, realising that it’s going to be another good day and shorts and T shirt are the order of the day. After Passing back through where we are stopping at Ollerbrook, our next landmark is Edale YHA, which is over a mile out of Edale. Beyond there, our path takes a slow rising traverse to Jaggers Clough, and on the way we meet one of the local farmers, busy with lambing. George, one of our new members, and a sheep farmer himself, is soon in deep conversation, and enlightening for the rest of us.

Michele and Marcus atop Win Hill

At the clough, it’s decision time as we’ve several route choices to complete the day. My own is to follow the high level tracks round and eventually up onto the summit of Win Hill.

The biggest feature on the ridge is the remains of an old Roman road, which is also very popular with mountain bikers, which mean it’s heads up for the nearly three miles to Win Hill summit. At the top, the reward is a great seat for dinner overlooking the Derwent Reservoirs, and also the Hope valley, and we take some time to drink all the scenery in.

From the top, it’s a steep descent to the outskirts of Hope, before we begin the long slow climb to the summit of Lose Hill. From there, we have more sublime views back to Win Hill, and also the Mam Tor ridge, partially obscured in the afternoon haze.

The going is straightforward along the ridge, with a lot of slabs having been laid. Necessary, as this is a popular route with all. As we traverse the ridge, we spot the paragliders above Mam Tor, over a dozen in total, and they look like a set of crows in the afternoon lighting. At Edale Cross, it’s a straightforward descent back to the valley and Ollerbrook, ready for the journey home.

View of Derwent Reservoir from Win Hill

This part of the Dark Peak may have changed a bit over the years, but it has never disappointed since we first started coming here as teenagers. Long may that continue.

Thanks to everyone who attended, your support as always is what makes it.

The participants in the bunkhouse were: Catriona and George, David Clear, Margaret Moore, Myles, Ed, Mike Goodyer, Don and Judy, and me.

The day trippers were: Mike and Margaret O’Dwyer, Michele and Marcus Tierney, Steve Caulton, Dick and Lyn, Pete Hammond, Tony Howard and Roma.

Report by Andy Burton

This months walk saw participants gather in the Outside Store in Hathersage. Due to heavy rain at the time of the walk start plans were revised. Instead of the intended walk around the Stanage area a different plan was hatched over an extra coffee followed by retail therapy (well it was for Michele who bagged the most bargains).
The group then made a quick visit to the Ollerbrook Farm bunkhouse to check over the accommodation intended for the upcoming proposed Peak Meet next month.


As the walk had been delayed it allowed for Ian and Harvey the dog to meet up with us and join us for our walk, which started near to Foolow. In fact technically the route started at a small, very small place called Housley. Housley is marked on the map, it has official Housley signs as you enter, but is comprised of only about three houses. Waste of a place name, or rightly recognising their existence? Anyway probably some kind of ancient tax fiddle.

Our route started by crossing the busy A623 onto much quieter pasture land where young lambs were doing what they do best gambling. How young lambs can have any knowledge of betting, hang on poke in the ribs from Michele it’s apparently gambolling they do so I will move on.

The group descended along White Rake an old line of mine workings towards Wardlow turning left towards the top end of Ravensdale. At the end of the path there are good views towards Litton and it’s a good stop for a break. I know the club have stopped here before.

Time for a break

The walk continued towards the Peter Stone passing metal lids on potholes and soughs left by the old man a name given to the miners of old by the modern potholders. Upon reaching the Yonderman cafe it was found disappointingly to be closed. The group continued through the Wardlow Mires farm, home to a couple of the happiest and unhappiest farmers in Derbyshire, depending on which one you meet. The shortened walk soon found us back to our cars having pretty much dodged all the rain of the day.

the gang
The happy group

The day concluded with a well earned pint and or hot chocolate at the Peacock in Barlow. A most civilised and relaxed day. Or it will have be if nobody mentions again that I paid for all day parking at Hathersage and having got it wrong at the machine actually paid for a coach to park there all day, no seriously don’t mention it if you see me.

Attendees: Andy Burton, Steve Caulton, Michele & Marcus Tierney, Ian Mateer and Harvey, the dog

Report by Marcus Tierney, all photos by Ian

The forecast wasn't great - showery day with heavy downpours. At least I would get to use my new overtrousers! We were a depleted group with various regular attendees away on treks or with family commitments. So it was that three of us arrived at the carpark above Combe just as the rain was stopping.


Donning our waterproof jackets we set off, in improving weather, along the Bridleway above Combe walking over Walbury Hill along the ridge overlooking Highclere.
After a cooffee break in a small wood the waterproofs were discarded and the weather set fair for the rest of the day.
Just after Pilot Hill we turned off the bridleway and headed down to Faccombe.

We walked through the small village of Faccombe with a big church and continued along the track/road to Linkenholt. This was another small pretty village.

St Barnabas church in Faccombe
St Peters church in Linkenholt

Heading towards Combe Woods

At Linenholt we left the track and joined the Test Way through Combe Woods, which had seen some clearing of the trees.

We left the Test Way and after lunch we headed towards Buttermere and then continued up Ham Hill to join the Mid Wilts Way Bridleway.

We continued along the Bidleway overlooking Hungerford, shortly arrivng at Combe Gibbet. As we arrived back at the cars the rain started again!

We completed the 12 walk, with around 1000' of ascent in the five hour window between the rain showers.

Many thanks to Margaret for organising the walk.

Combe Gibbet

Attendees: Margaret Moore, Judy Renshaw and Mike Goodyer.

Report by Mike Goodyer

After many permutations due to positive Covid tests and unexpected work opportunities, our group “à géométrie variable” settled to 8 members, all ready and eager to brush up on their mountain skills over the weekend. Andy, Heather, Steve and I arrived on Thursday eve so we could make the most of a whole day out Friday. After a swift drink at the White Lion, we went back to the hut to share Andy’s delicious cottage pie and plan our routes for the next day.

After breakfast on Friday morning, we went off in three different directions: Steve climbed over the Dodds from Dockray, Heather and Céline walked back from Troutbeck via High Street and Angle Tarn, and Andy enjoyed the view at the beacon on Thornthwaite Crag.

The last snowman?

Steve parked at High Row and walked back down the road to Dockray to take the path up to Common Fell and Swineside Knott. Heading westwards to Hartside on soft snow underfoot he stopped at White Stones to refuel and take in stunning wintery views of Raise, Catstye Cam and Helvellyn.

The steady pull up to Stybarrow Dodd was made easier by frequent stops for photos and dramatic views to the south and west. From Watson’s a steady pull up north eastwards to Great Dodd followed. From the summit it was clear that the sky was darkening, and that weather was coming in from the northeast – a brief hailstorm rolled in while on descent from Calfhow Pike.

The Pike was a great spot for afternoon tea with good views over Keswick to the Solway Firth. Well fuelled with tea and hot cross bun, Steve headed north up Clough Head then on descent from the top of Clough Head to the Old Coach Road and the last leg back to the car.

Andy kindly drove Heather and I to Limefitt Park so that we could walk back to Patterdale via the Roman Road, High Street and Angle Tarn. The initial path was a gentle route along Trout Beck and the valley, providing shelter from the rather cold wind whilst we were lower down. We joined the Roman Road and continued northwards along Hagg Gill towards High Street, glancing the beacon and Thornthwaite Crag on our left, but continuing upwards without stopping.

After a quick lunch on the snowy summit of High Street, a few stones away from the triangulation pillar, we went on the east side around The Knott. We made our way to Angle Tarn, where we were briefly stopped in our tracks by the same swift but intense hailstorm. We had afternoon tea at Angle Tarn and were entertained by two geese chatting rather loudly to each other. Our last stretch took us home through Boredale Hause and the path down to Rooking.

High Street

Daniel arrived just in time to join our small party for dinner at the White Lion, where the fish and chips remains as generous and excellent as ever. Nan and Simon eventually made it to the hut after the longest and most frustrating car journey from Bristol. Early to bed for an early start.

Rope work

Mike P. joined us as we were getting ready for our skills day. Sam, John and Robin from the Mammut Mountain School in Kendal took us through the plans for the day. We then divided in 2 groups – one experienced, and one younger (I’m happy to say that Heather and I qualified for the young group…).

The experienced gents went to Thornhow on the Grisedale valley side with Robin to learn the ropes (get it?) for steep ground skills, whilst the young’uns followed John up Black Crag to test their navigation knowledge. Steep ground skills included identifying a line of weakness, moving safely as a group, using ropes for safety, and practicing abseiling to descent on difficult ground.

Micro navigation covered reading a map closely, using a compass, handrailing, taking bearings from a map and from a landscape feature, and using pacing to measure distance.

We had lunch together, looking at the hikers going up to and down from Hole in the Wall from our vantage point, then swapped guide and activity so that the younger group could practice rope skills and the more experienced one could get their compass out.

After a fabulous – if rather cold – day of mountain learning, we all went back to the hut to enjoy a much needed and warming cup of tea and some cake whilst listening to John’s very informative lecture on mountain weather.

Time for a quick shower than onto making dinner, which was chana masala (or chickpea curry), baked cauliflower and naan bread, followed by the traditional apple crumble and custard. We toasted to absent friends, who were with us in spirit and in recipes (Rachel’s curry and Johnny’s crumble).

We chased some Easter Eggs on Nan’s treasure hunt – a team effort as was most of the day – then went to bed on full stomachs and happy memories.


Beautiful weather greeted us on Sunday morning, with the sun warming us a little. After much discussion on where to go, we headed out to practice our newly acquired navigation skills. We walked along the valley through Crookabeck and Beckstones towards Hartsop. then traversed across the fields towards Calfgate Gill where Steve left the group to go up Gray Crag whilst the rest of us went up along the gill than back towards Angle Tarn, navigating our way eastward of the tarn. We took it in turn to lead the walk whilst Daniel was keeping an eye on the sky by consolidating his mountain weather knowledge.

Top of Brock Crags

Back at the hut for a quick tea break and then homewards for some of us as we left Nan and Simon behind to enjoy another day of quiet contemplation in the Lake District.

A superb weekend all round. I, for one, cannot wait for the next skills meet! Thank you to Mary for organising and to Karen for the chana masala recipe.

Report by Céline Gagnon

Our walk starts in Castleton, where the ruins of Peveril castle look down on the village. Completed in 1086, the castle was built for William Peverel, a favoured knight of William the Conqueror. Castleton’s fame equally lies below the ground, as the only place in the world where the semi-precious Blue John stone can be found, and our walk today takes us past several caverns associated with this rare stone.

Castleton back streets

Our walk begins stutteringly around the back streets of Castleton, past the stream flowing through the village, and out onto the moorland, where others coming towards us speak of slippery paths in front. The ground is cut up in places, but we make the bottom of Winnats pass and Speedwell Cavern without mishap. Originally a lead mine, Speedwell cavern is unusual in the caverns in this vicinity in that most of the travelling underground is by boat.

Steve and Michele on top of Mam Tor, with the afternoon route behind them

Our path continues onward and upward, past both Teak Cliff and Blue John caverns, until we are above the pass itself, and there is a clear route across to the upper flanks of Mam Tor. Known as the Shivering Mountain, the original road still lies in pieces below us, after repeated landslides took it away some years ago. The way up to the top has a number of cast metal interpretation pieces reflecting the ancient past of the summit, with its bronze and Iron Age hill forts.

The route ahead, to Hollins Cross, Back Tor and Losehill – A popular ridge walk
Edale and Grindsbrook from Hollins Cross

On the tops, the wind is much stronger and colder, so we press on along the wide paved ridge to Hollins Cross before our lunch break, with its views back to Edale, and the Sheffield - Manchester train line. It seems that most people walking the route, and there are a fair few out today, are sheltering in the lee here for their lunch. From there, we can even see where our Peak meet will be in May, on the edge of Edale itself.

On the way up to Back Tor – Suitably insulated against the cold wind
Losehill, with Win Hill in the background

After our break, we continue along the ridge to Back Tor and Losehill, with continuing great views, before we descend into Hope, rather than the more direct route straight back to Castleton. On the way, we cross over a branch line to the nearby cement works, which is a reminder of the mineral wealth of this valley.

From Hope, our route returns to over fields to Castleton, alongside Peakshole Water for much of the time, with meanders any geography student would be proud of.

Meandering Peakshole Water

The weather continues to be kind as we catch some afternoon sun and mild weather in the valley, before arriving back at our start point. Another grand day out.

Report by Ed Bramley

Two of us (Margaret Moore and Judy Renshaw) were the only club members who managed to attend the Southern day walk on 8th March, so we picked a route roughly half way between us. The rest of the usual group missed out on a beautiful day with lovely views, sunshine all day, Spring flowers, new lambs, bees, a muntjac deer and many kites.

break break
Judy and Margaret enjoying a break

We started at Aston Rowant nature reserve near Stokenchurch and took the slightly unofficial path down the open field to the Ridgeway path, under the M40 and south to the crossing with the Oxfordshire Way. Then we went East past Pyrton Hill and up through woods to Wormsley Park and across on the Chiltern Way, through fields with many young lambs to Ibstone.

Judy by Wormsley Park
Then we went North to Studdridge and took a short section of road to make sure we were able to get back over the motorway to our car park. A very enjoyable day, walking a nice route in good weather.

Report by Judy Renshaw

It was a predictably grey and cloudy sky which greeted Andy, Ed and I as we parked at the Ladybower Inn by the side of the A57 at Bamford, close to the northern edge of the Ladybower reservoir.

Ed, Roger and Steve
We were soon availing ourselves of a rather tasty full breakfast which seemed the right thing to do given a chilly breeze promised to be with us all day. Roger joined us and that was the party for the day. Worth noting that if you have a breakfast and become a 'patron' for the day the car park is free

Suitably attired we began the slow ascent on the clear pathway up onto Derwent Edge looking back on Ladybower reservoir now reflecting clouds in a variety of greys. Beneath these waters lie the drowned villages of Derwent and Ashopton. Pretty cottages, a church and chapel, shops, inns and a Manor House were demolished, and all disappeared when the reservoir slowly filled in 1945. In 2018, the long dry spring and summer saw the rubble revealed and the architecture of a bygone era was on view to those adventurous enough to wade across the mud.

Ashopton Viaduct and Bamford Edge

We continued upwards along slippery open pathways, assailed by a cold and stiff Westerly breeze keeping any threat of rain at bay. (942)Ahead lay windswept moors and the famous rock formations which makes this walk so interesting and different. Much loved and visited, these geographical marvels of gritstone have been worn down by wind, rain and all that photography, into weird and wonderful shapes and precarious arrangements that baffle the mind. How they weathered into such complex shapes and parlous stability is perplexing, but I wouldn't put money on guessing how much longer they will remain as they stand.

Coach and Horses rock formations

They have been given some impressive appellations too, their origins born in local legend. The 'Coach and Horses' probably being the best known due to a passing resemblance from a distance to such a vehicle. 'Back Tor,' which marks the highest point of Derwent Edge and carries the appropriate Trig Point. 'Lost lad', where a young shepherd from the submerged village of Derwent supposedly got lost in a blizzard and died there but not before scrawling 'lost lad' on a rock. Now there is a cairn and a toposcope to mark his tragedy.

Retrospect Back Tor

From here, high above the Upper Derwent Valley, we had views of Derwent Head and well over to the West, Bleaklow and Kinder Scout. To the East were the outskirts of Rotherham and Sheffield and away in the far distance the just visible, cooling towers and the cranes of Goole or some other part of the Humber Estuary.

the well made path

Our route was along obvious, decent and passable trackway a good deal of which has now been impressively flagstoned. There were some waterlogged stretches and a few wobbly flags, as Roger found out the hard way, but all was navigable and made for easy walking.

(team)The loveliness of that open moorland we left behind as we descended steeply through Hancock Wood and Walkers Clough to the roadway beside the Eastern side of Derwent Reservoir. A convenient bench afforded us all the ideal spot for lunch whilst we imagined all that had occurred along the very stretch of water in front of us and between the twin towers of Derwent Dam to our left. This exact spot of course was where the famed Dambusters Lancaster Bomber crews had trained for their massive assault on those of the German Ruhr Valley in 1943. Hard to believe they could fly such an aircraft at speed at next to no height in the confines of a narrow valley but unfortunately there were some crashes nearby. Over the years many locals have reported sightings and hearings of an unmistakable Lancaster bomber over the area, linking them to a recorded disaster in 1945.

No such sightings for us sad to say and we passed the Dam towers to take in the spectacle of thousands of gallons of water cascading down in a thunderous, unbroken white sheet to wend its way into the households of Nottingham, Derby and beyond.

Derwent dam – cue theme tune…

The two Dams of Derwent and Howden are over a century old now and the style and architecture of their massive stones hark back to the castles of medieval times and wouldn't be out of place in Lord of the Rings.

From there it was a very pleasant and easy stroll along the northern banks of Ladybower Reservoir. Looking across the water we could see where we had spent our morning high up on Derwent Edge and reflected on how good a stroll at 11 miles thereabouts it had been.

It had been a superb walk of contrasts. Open moorland above with great natural scenery set against the manmade wonders of mightily impressive structures taming colossal amounts of water affording a modern landscape to be enjoyed by all who are drawn to the varied opportunities this area offers up.

Stanage Edge from Whinstone Lee Tor

We were soon back at Ladybower Inn and it seemed rude not to go in and finish the day with a little liquid refreshment before going our separate ways.

An excellent day, a very good choice of route and good company.
As our dear old friend Myles is wont to say, 'What's not to like!'.

Report by Steve Caulton

2022 saw the very welcome return of the Annual Dinner and AGM meet in the Lake District after a break in 2021 due to the pandemic.

It also saw our return to the Inn on the Lake after their re-furb was completed last year.
Forty one of us gathered in various spots across Glenridding and Patterdale including the Inn on the Lake, the George Starkey Hut and various B&B’s and AirB&B’s, all coming together on the Saturday night for the Annual Dinner.

Before that however, many of the group had been out exploring the area.

Ed Bramley has written up the following account of his, Mike Goodyer, Mitch Sneddon, Andy Burton and Paul Stocks day out on Helvellyn on the Friday:

As Mitch had not been up Helvellyn before, we decided that particular itch needed scratching. Having consulted the forecast, it was due to be above freezing, but increasingly windy, so we opted for the classic safe route. Up to Grisedale Tarn, up and along the whaleback from Dollywaggon to Helvellyn, lunch at the shelter, and then down the Zig Zags, to finish in Glenridding.

the gang
Team on the way to the tarn

the gang
Selfie before the bad weather came in

By the time we had reached Grisedale Tarn, it was obvious that Andy and I were going slower than the other three, and also that the weather was getting worse with height, we were left rueing that we’d left full winter gear in the hut, including gloves. Ours were like a pair of sponges and offered scant protection against the wind and cold.

Mike, Mitch and Paul continued on their route and were battered by the very strong wind coming down from the summit to Whiteside, the wind kept up its strength down the Zig Zags until the Greenside mines! The summit shelter was virtually deserted, and as Andy and I quickly ate our lunches with our gloves still on. Going across the summit plateau, we could hear the wind like a jet engine and feel it pushing us towards the edge.

It was then we made our schoolboy error. Instead of still having our map handy (or consulting it in the shelter a few minutes earlier) and noting the bearing we needed to find the path down to the zig zags we assumed we knew which was the correct path, and followed the most obvious path away from the summit trig point. (For those in the know, a northerly bearing is needed to correctly locate the zig zag path.) As we slowly descended in the thick cloud, we cursed the state of the ‘new’ path, its unevenness and slippiness, wondering when the replacement path work had been done.

As we emerged out of the cloud, there was a clear view of a body of water, followed soon after by the sight of a road and traffic. It was now clear that we had taken the wrong path, but where exactly where we, and what were our options to get back to the hut? After a few more minutes descent I could see sufficient to know that we were on Brown Tongue and headed towards Swirls car park in Thirlmere! Looking at our watches made it clear that if we were to try and either retrace our steps, or find Stick Pass to reach Glenridding, then we would definitely still be out when it was dark. On top of that, we’d already burnt a lot of energy, and re-ascending at least a couple of thousand feet wouldn’t be easy.

Down we went to the car park. Phones not working, as they were suffering from the cold and wet, so no easy way of contacting the others, both let them know where we were, and to try and get help with getting back. It was at that point that disaster turned to salvation. A man and his dog were just about to head back to Carlisle in his transit van and he must have noticed things were awry, as he offered us a lift part the way to the Dockray turning on the A66. What a relief to us! And that relief went further as we approached the turning – “I'll tell you what lads. I can turn down by the lake and drop you at Aira Force. It’s not that much further for me”. The man was a saint in our hour of need. If you read this and are ever passing the hut, there will be a brew and cake waiting for you.

Still no working phones at Aira Force, despite tucking them close into ourselves to get some warmth back into them, but there was now a clear path back along the Ullswater Way, and we’d be back before dark.

Relief from both us and our friends as we walked through the door, just as dusk was closing in, and a salutary reminder. It does’t matter how many times you’ve done a route before, always check regularly where you are, even if the conditions make that a chore. It’s an even bigger chore getting back from the wrong valley.

Andy’s fish pie that he had made for the evening meal that evening was very much welcomed by everyone!

Friday night saw most people gathering at the The Inn in the Lake bar and it was fantastic to see everyone catching up with old friends and enjoying their company face to face once again.

Saturday saw various groups out and about. Storm was hitting the area so most people decided it was sensible to stay low and not venture too high up for fear of getting blown away!

The newly married Marcus and Michele Tierney were spending their honeymoon at a cottage with Rick Snell, Alison Henry and Mike and Maggie O’Dwyer.
They were joined by Andy Burton and some others to walk to the Brotherswater Inn who despite being struck by a power cut were still able to enjoy some mulled wine and some lunch.

the gang
Marcus spying Michele, Alison and Maggie

The two Julie’s (Freemantle & Jones), Heather and Dave and Anne Jago decided to walk up to view the Priests Hole in Dovedale. The wind was incredibly fierce even at low level and everyone needed to hang on to each to stop getting blown away. The route back involved a a short river tricky crossing during which Dave gallantly built a bridge of rocks to help Anne hop across to the other side.
the gang
Roger and Qing enjoying the weather

Other groups enjoyed walks across the weekend including Marian, Margaret, Roger and Qing who walked to Brotherswater on Sunday.

Paul, Mitch and Mike braved the windy tops again and enjoyed a leg stretch up to Baudale Hause and then a swift ascent of Place fell returning to the Hause so they could nip up Angle Tarn Pikes before returning to the hut. The wind was much less than earlier in the weekend, but the temperature reminded you that it was January!

the gang
Windy top

Saturday evening saw us gather first for the AGM and then into our favourite chalet style room, The Candle Room, which had been decorated by Heather with the flags and the club treasures. The meal was excellent and the waiting staff looking after all splendidly.
Catching the moment around the tables
group group group group group
group group group group group
group group group group group

Our after dinner speaker for the evening was Stevan Jackson. Stevan was a Captain in the Royal Navy and during his 30 years membership of the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Mountaineering Club he climbed in most areas of the UK and participated in expeditions to the Alps, Norway, Kenya, Tanzania, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, USA, Pakistan, Nepal and Tibet. He gave us a thoroughly entertaining and thought provoking talk about his expeditions to the Himalaya’s trips in South America’s and climbs in Scotland.

President with Stevan Jackson

Thanks to everyone who made the effort to come to the dinner this year and we look forward to seeing everyone again in 2023.

Report by Julie Freemantle.

With the Station café being a favourite meeting point, with cheap and plentiful parking during the week, it was easy to return to this area for the first day walk of 2022.

Eight of us gathered and set off over the railway bridge by the entrance to the three and a half mile long Totley Tunnel, the second longest in Britain, through which trains pass to Sheffield from Manchester.

We followed the track road bending left past Padley Mill, and Padley Chapel which is all that remains of the 14th century manor house owned by the Fitzherbert family. In Elizabethan times the head of the family was imprisoned in the Tower, and died there refusing to renounce his Catholic faith.At this time two priests were arrested at Padley and subsequently hung, drawn and quartered. The chapel was purchased in 1933 by the Church and restored as a memorial, and there was a school group having an outdoor history lesson there as we walked by.

Millstones near the old quarry

We ascended up to the A625 via a circuitous route through boggy pastureland through Greenwood Farm. Here you cross over onto the lane opposite and walk till the end of the woodland on your right, to a fingerpost on your left that leads up a surfaced track which you follow as it bends right up to the house at Scraperlow, with its well-balanced façade.

Views across the moors

Here we spoke to the owner who explained that the house was built on the salt trade route from Cheshire to Sheffield as an overnight stop and shelter for both the traders and their animals, and that was why we were still allowed to walk up his driveway, before we turned right onto the moor proper.

Continuing over a couple of stiles and down to join a track around Mitchell Field Farm we turned right by a stone bridge and climbed increasingly steeply past a previously abandoned farm now being lovingly restored by its new owner literally piece by piece.

Nestled in the moor side some way down from the road was a small green car that had clearly missed the bend and tumbled several times before coming to rest. Much conjecture about how the vehicle could be recovered ensued, with no need for any of us to take any action as according to Pete it had been there some considerable time.

On joining the minor road and crossing it by way of two stiles we climbed the stepped path up to the top of Higger Tor at 434 metres, where we hunkered down among the boulders and had lunch.

Higger Tor from Longshaw Esstate
Lunch at Higger Tor

We then carried on to the outcrop to the south, Carl Wark, which shows evidence of having been fortified, probably in the Iron Age. The path then continues down to the brook where various crossing points were found before we all emerged on the relatively new wide footpath that runs under all the rocks in this valley from Burbage South End right up to North End.

This dry graded path has been made to allow everyone a chance to enjoy this part of the Peak District by allowing wheelchair/pushchair access with plentiful car parking at either end.

Outside the newly revamped National Trust cafe on the Longshaw Estate

We crossed the A625 and followed the track to Longshaw Lodge where there is a newly revamped café and toilets. This hunting lodge was built in 1827 on an estate of some 11,000 acres owned by the Dukes of Rutland, and was used during the First World War and its aftermath to provide a place for injured soldiers to convalesce once they had sufficiently recovered from their injuries in hospital in Sheffield.

Woodland walk

The Country Park now covers only 1600 acres, and has been protected by the National Trust since the 1930’s. Here you bear right along the enclosed path around the lodge, and fork left at a junction of two paths, through two hand gates to follow the level track though open woodland and managed moor.

After about one mile, having crossed another track turn right over a stone stile at the end of trees, and descend along an old paved path and then bear right down a gorge. At this point we chose to stay high and traverse the woodland edge path above the Totley Tunnel, which eventually bought us out on a lane which meets with the B6521. We crossed the road and went right for a short distance and then left down the enclosed surfaced series of steps back down to the station.

Another great day out in the Peak with Steve Caulton, Pete Hammond, Lyn Warriss, Heather Eddowes and Dave Matthews, Michele Pulford (not for long) and Marcus Tierney.
Report by Andy Burton.

Map of the walk

The drive to Streatley was misty and rainy and this was the poor weather stayed with us most of the day. What with family commitments and recovery from illness we were down to a hardy group of three! After Mike had parked in the Golf Club overflow car park instead of the National Trust one we met up and set off, slightly delayed!

Mike and Margaret at Goring

Thames Path

The track through the woods and steeply down to the Thames at Streatley gave us a taste of the mud and slippery conditions we would have all day.

We followed the Thames Path for a few miles to Moulsford, where we left the river and after a coffee stop headed towards Aston Tirrold. The rain was now intermittent.

As we walked towards Aston Tirrold we passed the area of a large battle fought between the Saxons and Danes in Jaunary 871. The Danes had come along the Thames from Reading and set off along the Ridgeway (this was a major route at this time) to take Wantage. Prince Alfred was camped at Kingstanding Hill near Cholsey and took his army up the Fairmile towards Lowbury Hill where the Danes were camped. King Aethelred was camped at Blewbury Hill and delayed his departure to battle so he could pray at the nearby church in Aston Upthorpe. This nearly caused an upset as he arrived late after Alfreds army and the Danes had set to! The Saxons won the day and the Danes were sent in disarray back to thier boats via Dean's (Danes?) Bottom.

We found temporary cover under the porch of the village cricket pavilion for lunch. After a short break we headed off up to the Downs and the scene of the battle.

looking across to Langdon Hill

muddy conditions on the track

Judy and Mike atop Lowbury Hill, no battle today.

The hills and track loomed up out of the mist and slowly the rain stopped. We didn't much fancy slogging up here preparing to do battle! On Lowbury Hill, we were on the highest ground but could see only mist. Very soon we dropped down to the Ridgeway and followed this back to the golf club, cut uphill along the footpath back to the car park.

An interesting walk of 14 miles and around 1000' of ascent. We were, however, glad to get out the rain and head off home.

Map of the walk

Attendees: Mike Goodyer, Margaret Moore and Judy Renshaw

Report by Mike Goodyer

The group at the hut

A jovial and fun meet took place at the hut over New Year, despite wet and extremely windy conditions on the hills.

New Year’s Eve saw me rock up outside the George Starkey Hut just as Judy and Mary and her crew were leaving the Hut. Quick donning of boots and a group photo and we were on our way. (extra comments from Andy B.)

Six people braved the conditions on New Year’s Eve, taking the riverside route to Lanty’s Tarn, along to Glenridding Hostel and up to the col of Greenside Mines. Judy continued along to Glencoyne dale and Aira Force, through a few more unavoidable fallen trees, and back on the new(ish) lakeside path which forms part of Ullswater Way. The rest of group set off down the descending path along Bleabankside with views of Judy traversing the path running all the way round the head of the dale, as we made our way down to the National Trust properties at Seldom Seen. Here again was evidence of the power of the recent storm. A couple of very large old trees had been blown down from the upper bank across the road taking half of the road and its supporting walls down the hillside with them.
It was at this point that Anna spotted a red squirrel, and everyone in the group was able to see this iconic British mammal for themselves.

climbing through the trees

emerging from the trees

below Seldom Seen

The most ‘interesting’ part of the walk was getting through numerous fallen trees, which had gone down in Storm Arwen in November. The worst section for this was on the footpath near to Lanty’s Tarn. Though the path was officially closed at this point, we decided to take the challenge getting through, which added a certain degree of interest to a low level walk!

Don had done various essential jobs in and around the hut, including mending a storage heater and unearthing the water meter from underneath a large quantity of water and mud, before taking a local walk.

In the evening, a mix-and-match shared meal was enjoyed by 12 of us, including a home-made Christmas pudding with suitably flaming brandy and accompaniments.

During dinner prep and after dinner some of the twenty or so games that Rachel had brought with her were played, savoury snacks and chocolates and some deliciously warming drinks were shared in front of the glowing Hut stove.

Also one of the party taught us a wassail song and we went out at 12.00 in the rain to sing it and to welcome the New Year.

Party games!

New Year's Day dip

On New Year's Day Judy was up and out early. She did a circuit up and around Place Fell and Boredale, while Don went to view the swimmers at Glenridding Pier.

There were no steamers due to the high winds, but around 30 people braved going in to the water.

Marian was helping out at the pop-up café in Glenridding, in aid of village community activities.

The rest of the group dawdled a bit in order to allow the improving forecast to actually improve, before we set off in two cars to park at the disused quarry on the road up to Dockray, now run by the National Trust, as it allows access to a gate in the wall across the road and down to the top of Aira Falls where the Aira beck starts to cascade into its gorge proper.

Across the relatively new wooden footbridge and up and out of the trees towards Dockray before turning right and heading up the newly constructed stone stepped path to Airy Crag, which in parts is still a work in progress.

windy day on Airy Crag

wind on Gowbarrow

looking up the valley towards Kirkstone Pass

Airy Crag lived up to its name as the photos of us all on top show.

We then continued down and around Gowbarrow to where the path joins the Ullswater Way where it comes out of the forestry at Swinburn’s Park.

Lunch was enjoyed close to the Memorial Seat with views across to Sandwick and Pooley Bridge, before setting off down and back across Aira Beck where it passes through the collection of specimen trees and carved logs and tree trunks.

Here having spotted a little feeding box lowdown on a tree with just a lift-up lid to gain access to the nuts and seed inside, we saw a red squirrel showing us all how it is done, much to the delight of most of the passers-by.

With the main waterfall only being viewed easily from the bridge above, due to fallen trees having blocked the lower bridge and viewing platform, this area was quite busy, so we continued on up past the various cuts and cascades, spotting a dipper feeding off the rocks, before exiting back out to the carpark.

A swift half in the Royal at Dockray whilst learning a new card game, and back to the Hut for another delicious shared evening meal, which was followed with some enthusiastic a capella style group singing, and another new game to learn, so it was no surprise that everyone was ready to call it quits before midnight. Happy New Year everyone!

We all managed to have a safe and enjoyable meet, having tested ourselves beforehand so that we could socialise in a normal way and have fun. It was well worth it!

Report by Judy Renshaw, additional reporting from Andy B.

Present: Andy Burton, Anna Kaszuba, Don Hodge, Judy Renshaw, Karen Dickinson, Marian Parsons, Mary Eddowes, Mike Parsons, Nanette Archer, Pam Holt (AC), Rachel Howlett, Simon Palmer.

Archived reports from 2001 to 2021.