Monday, 15 July 2019

Land's End to John O'Groats - The Cumbria Way video

After diverting to Ulverston,  I set off on the Cumbria Way to Carlisle. Having lost so much time at the start of the hike because of the problem with my infected leg, I did not now have enough time available to complete my hike to John O'Groats. I therefore decided that Carlisle would be a good point to halt the walk and also to re-start the hike across Scotland at a later date. The Cumbria Way proved to be the most spectacular part of my hike to date.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

LEJOG 2019 - Mapping my Walk

During my walk, I used Viewranger app combined with OS mapping for navigating and recorded my location through the app as I walked. This photo shows a record of locations recorded on the walk between Hay on Wye and Carlisle. In all, I walked 391.77 miles.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

LEJOG 2019 - Finale

The day after finishing the walk, as I explored Carlisle's interesting and attractive historical centre, I made a point of asking in the Tourist Information Centre exactly where the Cumbria Way terminated as I couldn't find a terminus marker. I had noticed Cumbria Way markers on the way to the Castle and thought that this would make a great terminus to the walk. My guidebook didn't mention a finish point, unlike the southern end in Ulverston, so I thought the castle would be a great end to not only the Cumbria Way, but also this section of my trek. There was no marker visible when I reached the Castle so I asked in the Tourist Information Centre in the square in the town centre only to be told that it finished outside by the market cross. 'But there are signs pointing to the castle' I said. 'Oh yes, I think one guidebook finishes there' said the bored looking woman behind the desk. So there it is. The long distance walk without a definite finishing point. One thing I was sure of, my long distance walk was over, at least for now.

Carlisle Castle
Market Cross
The Citadel

Carlisle Cathedral

Thursday, 13 June 2019

LEJOG Day's 26 (47) - Caldbeck to Carlisle

I left the village of Caldbeck for my last day on the Cumbria Way and this particular section of my LEJOG hike in clear sunny weather. As I climbed above the village, I had panoramic views of High Pike, the hill I had climbed the previous afternoon and the highest hill on the Cumbria Way. The early part of the walk was a delightful mix of low hills, forest trails and riverside paths. The River Caldew was now sparkling and lively in the morning sun, unlike the more sombre mood it had presented as it had meandered through the previous days lonely hills. The first half of the walk continued in much the same way until the village of Dalston, where the way took on a more urban feel. Here, it became a surfaced cycle track and although it initially still passed through mostly open countryside, the joggers, dog- walkers and cyclists signalled that Carlisle and the end of my walk was now not too far off. Somewhere along the way, as the houses came into view, I lost the Cumbria Way markers but I wasn't too bothered as I knew that I only had to stay on the cycle track and I would arrive at my destination. Soon, I was crossing busy roads in the middle of the city as I made my way to my guesthouse where, with a sigh of relief, I took off my rucksack and shoes for the last time on this trip.

High Pike

River Caldew
Rose Bridge

Rose Castle

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

LEJOG Day 25 (46) - Keswick to Caldbeck

Today was the last day on the Cumbria Way in the Lake District and another superb day's walking. The first part of the walk involved climbing on the lower slopes of Skiddaw before veering off around Lonscale Fell to the remotely situated Skiddaw House youth hostel. This area is known as the 'Back o' Skidda' and marks a transition in the scenery as the rugged mountains give way to huge, rounded hills. Skiddaw House comes as a surprise as it is totally isolated, it's lonely position sheltered by a stand of trees. After a long track through the hills from the hostel, the Way climbs steeply on a very indistinct path alongside a stream to the highest point of the whole Cumbria Way at the summit of High Pike at 658 metres. The views from here were superb and included the Pennines, Blencathra, Skiddaw and across the Solway Firth to Scotland . After absorbing the view from the summit, I headed for Caldbeck where I am spending the last night on the Cumbria Way and also this current trip before completing the final fifteen miles along the River Caldew into Carlisle tomorrow .

Leaving Keswick
Contouring round Lonscale Fell
Skiddaw House
Climbing to High Pike
Summit of High Pike, highest and final hill on the Cumbria Way

LEJOG Day's 23 & 24 (44 & 45) - Coniston to Keswick

Day two started with low cloud and drizzle but after walking to Coniston village from the campsite and having breakfast in a cafe, the cloud lifted with the sun even putting in an appearance in the afternoon. The highlight of day two was the exquisitely beautiful Tarn Hows and the ever expanding view of the Coniston Fells. 

Coniston Village

Tarn Hows
The Langdale Pikes

Day three of the Cumbria Way was the most stunning day of the trail so far. Setting off from the village of Chapel Stile, I headed into Great Langdale as stunning views of the Langdale Pikes opened up ahead. After a thousand foot climb up to Stake Pass, I descended into Langstrath surrounded by awesome mountain scenery before reaching Rosthwaite and following the way to Keswick via Derwent Water with stunning views of the lake and the peaks of Skiddaw and Blencathra. A simply superb day on what is proving to be probably the most scenically stunning trail I've ever done.

The Langdale Pikes
Great Langdale

Mickleden from the Stake Pass path

Derwent Water scenes

Land's End to John O'Groats 2019 - Welshpool to Mow Cop video

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

LEJOG Day 22 (43) - Ulverston to Coniston

I left Ulverston after taking a selfie or two at the start point monument. This trail started gently through quiet hills and valleys before crossing into the Lake District National Park during the morning and almost immediately the scenery began changing as the Coniston Fells become more and more imposing ahead. On trails such as the Maelor Way and the South Cheshire Way, I regularly chose to hike along quiet country lanes as a way of more easily and quickly getting to my destination with little worry of missing any outstanding scenery and also to avoid the struggle of searching for invisible paths in the many boring fields of wet grass.This was never an issue on the Cumbria Way as the exquisite scenery kept me enthralled and the paths were always easy to follow. As the Old Man of Coniston and surrounding fells became more visible, I eventually descended to Coniston Water towards the end of the day and camped at a fairly busy campsite here at the end of day. The site was full of groups of ´car-campers´ enjoying barbecues and drinking heavily while listening to loud music. I escaped the noise by heading for a local pub for dinner where I watched Manchester City winning the FA cup before heading back to my tent. To be fair to the 'car-campers', they did turn down the music low at around 11pm and I slept quite well in the tent for the first time on this trip.

Looking towards the Coniston Fells

Coniston Water

Monday, 10 June 2019

LEJOG Day's 20 & 21 (41 & 42) - Arnside to Ulverston

Yesterday, was almost a rest day. After deciding I wanted to hike the entire Cumbria Way from Ulverston to Carlisle, I studied the map for some time and decided to take the train from Arnside to Grange over Sands across the estuary. This six minute train ride between the two stops saved a huge looping walk around the top of the estuary and although I wasn't overly happy at taking transport, my desire to walk all of the Cumbira Way overrode my desire to maintain the integrity of the walk. Having alighted from the train, I strolled around the pleasant town of Grange over Sands, stopping at a cafe along the promenade for tea with great  views of Morecambe Bay. I then followed a shoreline path the short distance to Kents Bank where I checked into a hotel for the night. 
The walk to Ulverston from Kents Bank was a mostly delightful walk through quiet, low hills and forests, alongside rivers and seashore with great views to Morecambe Bay and the distant Lake District fells. The end of the walk degenerated into a struggle to find my way out of a boggy swamp that was supposed to have a path running through it according to the map. Having decided to turn around, I struggled to find my way out of the swampy woodland and after crashing around for some time, finally located a track leading to a country road into Ulverston. Tomorrow, I start the Cumbria Way to Carlisle.

Village of Cartmel
Crossing boggy ground
Morecambe Bay
Bridge on the River Leven
The Lake District comes into view
Walking alongside Morecambe Bay
The Hoad Monument in Ulverston

Sunday, 9 June 2019

LEJOG Day 19 (40) - Over Kellet to Arnside

After packing up and drying my tent in the warm early morning sun, I made my way towards Arnside, where I planned to stay for the night. The walk was a complete contrast to the previous days high level romp and consisted of quiet lanes, field paths, canal towpaths and woodland trails. I stopped for breakfast in Carnforth and later, as I reached a viewpoint over Leighton Hall, enjoyed excellent views over Morecambe Bay. Passing the ruins of Arnside Tower, I descended to the seafront where I stopped for a welcome cold beer overlooking the sea. I have now walked 305 miles in total.

First view of Morecambe Bay
Leighton Hall

Arnside Tower

Arnside Viaduct 
A Welcome Drink