Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The Western Carneddau

The day after we walked Pen Llithrig y Wrach on the eastern fringe of the Carneddau mountains I set off on my own to explore some of the peaks on the western side of the range. There was one major summit that I hadn't visited - Yr Elen - and I was hoping to do this via its north eastern ridge before having a more gentle wander back down over the hills to the north. I'd seen this ridge on a traverse of the Carneddau last year and it looked like a fantastic airy route onto the tops.

Yr Elen's north east ridge from a previous walk in the Carneddau.


Monday, 11 June 2018

Pen Llithrig y Wrach and Pen yr Helgi Du

Although I've done several walks in the Carneddau mountains over the past couple of years, Pen Llithrig y Wrach has somehow always eluded me - either by not fitting conveniently into a route or by making the hike unfeasibly long for my short legs. Its profile is a striking one from various viewpoints, not least if you're looking at it from the south: from that angle it rises proudly between the extended ridge (Y Braich) that leads to Pen Yr Helgi Du in the west and the jumble of crags that make up Creigiau Gleision in the east. This makes for an inviting and striking prominence that is satisfyingly pointy. It's been suggested that the resemblance of Pen Llithrig y Wrach's profile to a witch's hat lies behind its colourful name, which translates into English as "Slippery Peak of the Witch", but no-one seems to know for sure if that's the case.

Pen Llithrig y Wrach (left), viewed from Moel Siabod in 2015.


Friday, 11 May 2018

Wardlow Hay Cop and Cressbrook Dale

Cressbrook Dale is a beautiful limestone valley just north west of Bakewell. It's one of my favourite spots in the White Peak and there's no better time of year to visit it than spring, when its wildflowers put on a breathtaking display. If you walk the full length of the dale, you'll find yourself in ash woodland at the southern end and here in May the air is rich with the aroma of wild garlic. We've done a circuit that takes in those woods and the beautiful expanse of ramson flowers that spreads below their canopy, which you can read about here.

Wild garlic in Cressbrook Dale in May 2015.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Causey Pike

Even before I first climbed it several years ago Causey Pike was one of my favourite Lake District fells, its distinctive profile a familiar sight from walks in the area and one that always prompted me to get the camera out.

Causey Pike from the Newlands Valley a couple of years ago.
We'd originally planned to walk the high ground hidden away behind Skiddaw and Blencathra last weekend but as we crossed Aughertree Fell on the way to our start point we could see that those rolling hills were hidden in low cloud.

It showed no signs of shifting and we began to question whether wandering around in limited visibility was the best use of our time - especially given how long the journey there and back is from Derbyshire. Driving from our hotel in Cockermouth we'd noted that the north-western fells were cloud-free so, after some discussion, we settled on heading back there instead  - a welcome return to Causey Pike for me and an entirely new experience for Rich.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

A Circular Walk from Peak Forest to Castleton

As I type this opening paragraph, the sun is streaming through the window, the skies are the most beautiful shade of blue and I'm being informed on a regular basis by Facebook and Twitter users alike that today is the vernal equinox. It certainly didn't feel like the first day of spring was only hours away when I ventured out on a walk above the Hope Valley yesterday. It's true that Mam Tor did stand resplendently green in the sunshine above Castleton - but that was because the unrelenting and bitter wind of the past few days had blown all the snow off its exposed slopes and not because of a seasonal thaw.

The wind's handiwork was apparent as I set off up a farm lane from Peak Forest, where huge drifts of powdery snow had formed along the wall. The pristine white whorls and curves and cornices in miniature were fascinating to look at, almost like works of art, and these were the first of many I was to encounter that day.