Trains, Birds and Automobiles, 13th & 14th May 2017

A full-on weekend started off with us going to photograph 46115 Scots Guardsman on Saturday afternoon whilst working the southbound ‘Cumbrian Mountain Express’ at Eden Lacy viaduct near Great Salkeld…

On Sunday we travelled down to Kendal to visit the Cumbria International Motor Show to see some ‘Supercars’ and ponder which car to buy next(!!)…

And lastly an evening visit to Buttermere to see a rare Spotted Sandpiper on the shores of the lake…

More pics of this superb bird can be seen here

Pirelli International Rally, Kielder Forest, 30th April 2017

We decided to head down to Rosehill Industrial Estate in Carlisle to see the cars up close and personal on the Saturday evening before me and Jamie then headed up to Kielder Forest to see Stage 6 of the rally on Sunday morning. This was the first time we’d ever been to a rally so it was nice to do something new and a bit different and we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The shots above were taken at the service area on Saturday evening, a couple of Ford Fiesta R5’s, and the eventual winners in the Skoda Fabia R5

So then it was an early start on Sunday morning to get up to Kielder Forest for Stage 6…

I even decided to dust off my ‘big lens’, my old 100-400mm zoom to try to see if I could freeze some of the action! This was a bit of a challenge though – these guys can shift! I was really pleased with the results considering I’d not done this type of photography before, it was good to get some ‘action’ shots showing the stones and dust being kicked up…

Jamie particularly enjoyed the ‘historic’ cars which made me feel very old – my very first car was one of these!!…(although it wasn’t quite as fast!!)…

High Cup Nick, 22nd April 2017

High Cup Nick – described as one of the most spectacular natural places in Northern England. It is a geological wonder – a huge U-shaped glaciated valley set in the Pennines, and to be honest no photographs will ever do the place justice. It has to be seen to be believed. Thankfully a good friend of mine, Les, was also keen to visit this awesome place and join me on this superb circular walk….remember to click on the images to see them larger…

Our walk begins about 3/4 mile east of Dufton village, the early morning weather is perfect as we make the steady ascent up towards Peeping Hill.

Looking over the scar of ‘Middle Tongue’ towards Murton Pike.

As we gain height we suddenly gain our first view of High Cup Nick down to our right – it is a view that takes your breath away.

Continuing towards the head of the valley we cross a beck which tumbles over the edge of the scar.

Looking back over the Eden Valley

The scale of the place is just staggering. This lone pinnacle is known as ‘Nichol’s Chair’, said to be named after a local cobbler who climbed it and repaired some boots on the top…


Our return walk will see us drop down through the boulder field at he head of the valley and then follow the beck in High Cup Gill.

Now that’s what you call a view! And an ideal place for a sandwich or two…

The climb down through the jungle of huge boulders is somewhat entertaining as Les ends up on his backside and I end up bleeding and bruised after whacking my knee on one of them!…

Now this had us baffled….we followed the beck, which was fairly fast flowing and had plenty of water in it, until it suddenly disappeared. The water just vanished! You can see on this image the riverbed suddenly becomes dry at the point where the water presumably drops underground. We listened but couldn’t hear the water below the rocks. A few hundred metres further along, the beck reappeared out of the ground on the other side of the stone wall. Fab!

We follow the track, which becomes very boggy, until it eventually comes out onto drier ground near the farm at Harbour Flatt. Here I see my first Redstarts of the year. We then follow the road until Keisley before following a path back to our starting point just east of Dufton. What a fantastic walk.

Thortergill Force and Lambley Viaduct, 20th April 2017

Thortergill Force near Garrigill

After spending some time at Thortergill Force we decide to have a walk to Lambley Viaduct. I’ve passed this many many times on the way to Alston and always fancied visiting it. It’s not a long walk and as we make our way towards Coanwood Station we pass the remains of an old buffer stop.

At Coanwood Station the old platform still exists as does these weighing scales. Left out in the open these scales were once inside the Weigh Office. In the background of this image the old Station House can be seen, although it has been extensively modernised and extended on both sides.

Lambley Viaduct is on the old Haltwhistle to Alston railway line and was closed to traffic in 1976 after being in use for 124 years. It is a hugely impressive structure – it’s over 260 metres long and at over 100ft high the nine arches span the South Tyne River way below.

Lonscale Fell (2346ft, 715m), 18th April 2017

This enjoyable walk begins and ends at the car park at the end of Gale Road and makes use of the ‘tourist path’ up towards Skiddaw. The actual summit of Lonscale Fell is an uninteresting place but the views and sudden drops around ‘East Peak’ soon liven things up. Our descent takes us along the Burnt Horse Ridge before following the stunning path along the Cumbria Way below Lonscale Crags. At nearly 7 miles long Jamie did awesome on this walk – well done son!

Passing the Hawell Monument we make the steep ascent up the zig-zag tourist path seen here on the left. Lonscale Fell is on the right.

Keswick and Derwent Water

Hindscarth, Robinson and Causey Pike

Jamie on the summit with Carrock Fell (far left), Bowscale Fell and Blencathra behind.

Skiddaw Little Man and Skiddaw from the summit

Helvellyn and Thirlmere over High Rigg

Looking north from the East Peak towards Great Calva and Knott. Our descent takes us over the Burnt Horse Ridge (centre).

Blencathra and Blease Fell

Looking back up to the East Peak on Lonscale Fell

The highlight of the walk for both of us was the stunning views (and drops!) as we followed the Glenderaterra Valley back towards the car. With Lonscale Crags towering above us on our right, and the beck down in the valley to our left, this was an absolutely breathtaking way to finish a hugely enjoyable walk.

Barf (1535ft, 468ft), 17th April 2017

Driving alongside Bassenthwaite Lake most people will have noticed the obvious white rock (known as ‘The Bishop of Barf’) on the steep sides of Barf. From the road the fell looks incredibly intimidating as though it cannot be climbed, but there are two ways up to the top from this direction, one is too dangerous (I had Jamie with me) so we took the easier, but equally steep track up through the plantation which eventually leads on to the top and a stunning view over the lake.

The climb up through the plantation is steep and laborious, with only tantalising glimpses of the view below. A challenging small rock step is the only real thrill of the ascent, but once we are above the trees the incredible view makes the climb worthwhile…

Skiddaw and the southern end of Bassenthwaite Lake (and a big drop below!)

Latrigg and Keswick backed by Clough Head, Great Dodd and Stybarrow Dodd

In the distance are Stybarrow Dodd, Raise, White Side, Helvellyn and Dollywagon Pike with Bleaberry Fell and High Seat in the middle distance.

Catbells catches the sun with Ullscarf and High Raise behind

Pike o’ Stickle, Glaramara, Bow Fell, Esk Pike and Causey Pike

Stone Arthur (1640ft, 500m), 4th April 2017

Cracking weather for this short and sweet (or should that be short and steep!) walk, and we were still back home for lunch. As well as excellent visibility it was also nice to catch up with my first Swallow and Wheatear of the year and a Red Squirrel was also seen in Grasmere near the Swan Hotel. Click on the images to see them larger…

As we gain height the Langdale Pikes, Blea Crag and Sergeant Man come into view. The waterfalls (just right of centre) are on Sourmilk Gill with Easedale Tarn just above.

Alcock Tarn and Loughrigg Fell

The superb view from the summit looking over Grasmere to the Coniston Fells

Greenburn Valley with Gibson Knott on the left, Ullscarf behind, and Steel Fell on the right

Looking over Helm Crag to the picturesque and popular Easedale Tarn. Bowfell (left) and Scafell Pike (centre) can be seen in the far distance.

Pike o’ Blisco (left), Crinkle Crags (centre), and Bowfell (right)

Looking over Grasmere to Silver How, Lingmoor Fell and the Coniston Fells

This sign outside the Swan Hotel made us chuckle!!!