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Thursday, 30 March 2017

Newlands Round 25-3-2017

Well, yet another last minute decision saw me heading North again, to a part of the Lake District I've not been to before and part of the Derwent Fells. A little place called, would you believe, LITTLE TOWN, tucked away down a single track lane a few miles from Keswick. Another walk meetup from yet another Facebook group and yet another great day with like minded people and another five Wainwrights in the bag, not that I'm counting :-)
As I wasn't quite sure where the main meeting place was, it was an early start that saw me get into Keswick for about 8am where a few were meeting up for breakfast at the local Wetherspoons and then heading in convoy to the small car park in Little Town for the 9am meet up time. A convoy of cars pulled up at the small parking spot to find all but two spaces left but with a few more parked up a couple of hundred yards further down the lane. A big group of around 21 people and a few dogs all out to enjoy a summer walk in the fells. I say summer because that's what it was like weather wise. A bit cool to start with but by 10am all sign of gloves and coats were all put firmly in rucksacks, sunhats and sunglasses replacing them, only to come back out on the final descents as the sun was going down.  Despite a good dumping of snow a few days earlier that left drifts waist high in places it was the warmest day of the year so far and even a good summers day will be pushed to beat this day. Just a clear blue sky day with views going on for ever, perfect :-)
So off we all went trooping along the path that took us to High Snab where we turned sharp right and headed straight up the steep bank and on to High Snab Bank and the ridge over High Crags.

Our route for the day
Group Photo
Steep climb up to High Snab Bank
On High Snab Bank with views down the valley with the snow capped fells of Skiddaw and Blencathra as the backdrop
We made our way along the ridge towards the first summit of the day, ROBINSON, where there was a nice cheeky scramble for those that chose it or a relatively easier way round with those that had dogs or didn't fancy putting hands on rocks. Nothing too serious but is was a bit slippery in places after all the snow. This was where we encountered the first small patches of snow and the higher we got the more snow we encountered and also the warmer it became.

On the ridge with Robinson looming large
Approaching Robinson
On top of the short sharp scramble
Looking down on the scramble
Once over the scramble it was onwards and upwards through snow patches a foot deep in places and following a straight forward path to the summit of Robinson where the views stretched all to way to the Isle of Man and the Solway Firth and Scotland. A great place to sit and rest with a bite to eat while we took in the views and enjoyed the warm conditions.
looking back down the valley and the snow capped fells
On the approach to the summit of Robinson
Deep snow patches on the plateau
Robinson summit views
Robinson Summit pose
Summit views to a distant Scotland across the Solway Firth
Summit group photo
After a good rest it was decided that those that wanted to do all the original route would go on and bag the summit of HINDSCARTH before heading across to DALE HEAD where we'd all meet up again. There was a fair bit of descent and re ascent and through the snow is was quite tough going especially in the warmth of the day.
Across the snowfields from Robinson to Hindscarth
Looking across the snowfields to Hindscarth, on the left, & Dale Head to the right.
On the snowy slopes of Hindscarth
The deep snow of Hindscarth
Hindscarth summit plateau looking across to curved features of Dale Head
Hindscarth summit
Dale Head our next objective
Looking back across to Robinson
We made our way off Hindscarth and rejoined the main path between Robinson and Dale Head. More snow and some great views were to be had, especially down the NEWLANDS VALLEY where you can see how the glacier of the ice age has carved it out making it a spectacular view with the bulky SKIDDAW as the backdrop, awesome.
On the snowy path to Dale Head
Looking back to Hindscarth on the right and a distant Robinson
The snowy face of Dale Head
The glacial Newlands Valley
The final push up to Dale Head
We got to Dale Head summit and found a place to rest and wait for the others who weren't that far behind us. Another very relaxed summit where there was the sound of children enjoying building a snow man, laughter and chit chat coming from the various parties on the plateau. We had about 30 minutes rest time as we all took in the views and just soaked up the atmosphere of the place and the common consensus was that no one wanted the day to end and just wanted to laze about till god knows when, it was that relaxed.
Snowman and family
Mr Snowman trying to keep cool :-)
Enjoying the summer like conditions on Dale Head
Dale Head summit with Hindscarth and Robinson behind
Dale Head summit group photo
From here it was heading straight down to Dalehead Tarn and an old sheep fold. Most took the path but some went straight down the snow covered bank thinking it was quicker and easier on the knees. It may of been easier on the knees but certainly not quicker but good fun nonetheless :-)
Making our way off Dale Head
The way off Dale Head with High Spy & Maiden Moor as the backdrop
Dalehead Tarn
Dalehead Tarn
Resting at Dalehead Tarn
This is where we split in to two groups again as 5 of us went on to complete the original circuit while the others made there way down the valley that took them straight back to the car park at Little Town. We said our goodbye's and hoped that we'd all meet up in the pub after. So the five of us did some more ascent as we made our way to the summit of HIGH SPY. Despite this pull up and it was quite boggy in places, the first boggy ground we had encountered all day, I was feeling in good shape and really enjoying the day to full max. The pace was at a leisurely one that certainly suited me and the pit stops we had certainly helped and created a very good atmosphere amongst us all. Lots of laughs and chatter about almost everything made for a great meet where everyone seemed to get along just fine. A really great day.
On reaching High Spy, we were greeted by yet another snowman and great views of our route ahead over MAIDEN MOOR, a fairly flatish walk with a nice easy descent that offered some great views over DERWENTWATER as the sun was starting to disappear. It was also where you could tell it wasn't the middle of summer as the temperature dropped a notch or two that saw an extra layer go on.
Through the bog field on our way to High Spy
High Spy Summit
High Spy Snowman
Our way off High Spy on to Maiden Moor
Derwentwater coming into view
Looking back to High Spy and Dale Head
Maiden Moor summit as the sun goes down
Derwent water with the snow capped tops of Skiddaw & Blencathra as the backdrop and the elusive Catbells in the foreground
As time was getting on and the warmth of the sun had now disappeared it was decided to leave the final summit of CATBELLS for another day as it would of meant at least another 90 minutes walking and getting back in the dark. A straight forward walk back through the old Yewthwaite mines, saw us get back to the deserted car park about 7pm so a good decision was made.
Yewthwaite mines
Two lonely cars
As the car park was now empty and time was getting on we knew we wouldn't see the others but we made our way to the pub a short drive away for one last rest and chat before we all went our separate ways. For me, this was a great meet up that gave me the chance to see another part of the Lakeland Fells and enjoy what turned out to be yet another fantastic day in the most amazing weather with another great bunch of people. A joy to be out and about and long may it continue.
Thanks to all 
Cheers :-)

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