Lake District guided walks

Black Fell

We had a lovely Autumn walk aimed at providing great views without too much exertion.  An initial foray up Black Fell from the Drunken Duck (named Black Crag on the trig point) was followed, after a short drive, with an ascent of Holme Fell from Tilberthwaite.  Both walks afforded beautiful seasonal colours in the mass of deciduous woodland.  We also managed a bonus walk around and down into Hodge Close quarry (earlier post).

If you’d like to explore any part of the Lakeland Fells, large or small, get in touch with Steve who’ll be pleased to help you: 07796 213817, steve@stevebanksoutdoors.co.uk

By |October 27th, 2021|Mountain walking|Comments Off on Lake District guided walks

Hodge Close Quarry

Hodge Close Quarry

Hodge Close Quarry at Tilberthwaite by Coniston is an excellent reminder of the Lake District’s industrial past.  Mass tourism and the associated services which now support that burgeoning sector, are a relatively recent phenomenon.  Prior to the current situation the area was exploited for its mineral riches and stone: haematite and coal mines in the West fed steel works and ship building; graphite mines in Borrowdale led to the pencil factory in Keswick, wolframite mining on Carrock Fell produced tungsten, there were galena mines aplenty (lead and silver) and, of course, the copper mines at Coniston to name but a few.

Quarries are also prominent in Cumbria with granite extracted at Shap and Threlkeld, limestone also at Shap and, more commonly, slate at many sites such as Kirkby in Furness, Honister and Hodge Close.  Hodge Close was used for building and roofing slate from the 1800s up until the 1960s.  It is a large, steep-sided, flooded pit with many of the original tunnels and workings now submerged.  It has become a popular place for divers, wild swimmers and rock climbers to visit, though, as in our case, it is also an interesting place to just descend into and look at – especially with autumn sunlight and colours enhancing the spectacle.  If you would like to visit there is a path down to the big tunnels (image), though great care should be taken around the quarry edges and be mindful that the water is very deep and very cold.

By |October 27th, 2021|Environment & nature|Comments Off on Hodge Close Quarry

John Bell’s Banner

A misty and cool morning greeted us on Kirkstone pass for the start of a round of Stony Cove Pike, Thorneythwaite Crag, Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke, though the weather gradually improved as the day progressed and ended with warm, sunny conditions and sunglasses to the fore.

Of early interest in the walk was the name ‘John Bell’s Banner’ printed on the map in the vicinity of the Atkinson memorial cairn (image).  John Bell was, apparently, the curate of Ambleside during the 16th century whilst the term ‘banner’ denotes boundary i.e. the boundary of the area over which he ministered.  The first of our summits on the day was Stony Cove Pike which is the highest point on Caudale Moor, itself sometimes still referred to as John Bell’s Banner.

This is a excellent walk, particularly if you need or want to reduce the day’s uphill element for any reason, though without missing out on getting into the higher Lakeland hills.  Of note, Thorneythwaite Beacon is now considered unstable so care should be taken in its vicinity until such time as it has been stabilised – it should certainly not be climbed on.

If you’d like Steve’s support for your day out in the mountains please get in touch.

By |September 2nd, 2021|Mountain walking|Comments Off on John Bell’s Banner

Here be Dragons!

Southern Hawker

Not quite Game of Thrones, but you don’t need to go far from your doorstep to find some amazing creatures.  This exquisite female Southern Hawker dragonfly was well-camouflaged and perching inconspicuously alongside the River Glenderamackin.  We spotted her during a wild flower walk and, whilst dragonflies are voracious predators, they pose no threat to humans.

Conversely, we did also see Giant Hogweed which certainly does pose a significant threat to humans in that touching any part of the plant can cause very serious burns and long term damage.  Giant Hogweed, Hemlock and other toxic and poisonous plants are frequently encountered in Cumbria and the UK; being able to identify them correctly and understand their dangers is important if we are to avoid being badly affected by them.  Children are often most at risk of harm as they are more likely to encounter such plants whilst roaming and exploring and may not perceive them as a threat.  If you’d like to improve your ability to identify such plants, as well as the many which are not dangerous, then Steve will be pleased to help.  He can also aid your quest for dragons!

By |August 3rd, 2021|Environment & nature|Comments Off on Here be Dragons!

Lakeland Summer walks

The recent hot weather has allowed us some very enjoyable days out in the Lakes and Dales.  As well as running days of family rock climbing in Borrowdale and a fun caving trip in the Yorkshire Dales with three energetic children and their parents, we also managed a more sedate day walking in the South West Lakes.  Steve was able to find a quiet area for a day’s walk despite the crowds elsewhere – we encountered five other people all day and enjoyed having the hills to ourselves.  We also had some excellent Lakeland views (image of Kentdale) and great wildlife and wild flower spots (images of green veined white butterfly and bog asphodel).

Whether you seek solitude or enjoy the hubbub in the popular areas Steve will be happy to support your Lakeland walking adventure.  He’ll also be pleased to help if you’d like to try climbing or caving too!  Get in touch on 07796 213817 or steve@stevebanksoutdoors.co.uk

By |July 31st, 2021|Environment & nature, Mountain walking|Comments Off on Lakeland Summer walks

Ronas Hill, a mountain with latitude!

Ronas Hill

At 450m Ronas Hill is the highest point in Shetland.  Whilst running his recent sea kayak weeks in the UK’s most northerly islands Steve took the opportunity to spend a non-paddling day exploring this little visited granite plateau.  Despite its relatively lowly height, Ronas Hill and the surrounding peaks are the only sub-arctic terrain in the UK outside the Cairngorms.  What they lack in height compared to their southerly cousins they make up in latitude as, at over 60 degrees north, they experience similar temperatures, extreme winds and significant swings in light levels across the year.  This has led to a rounded, wind scoured and ice shattered environment with rare and unusual physical features such as solifluction terraces and fell field.  Ronas Hill also sports about 15 species of rare arctic alpine plants such as Alpine Lady’s Mantle, Alpine Azalea and Moss Campion.

Whilst there are no defined paths, Ronas Hill is a relatively straightforward walk in fine weather, though strong wind and/or cloud would make it an entirely different proposition.  The views from the summit, which, like Steve, you may well have entirely to yourself, are spectacular, taking in Northmavine and Yell to the north and Eshaness, Papa Stour and Foula to the the south west.  There’s also a neolithic burial chamber on the summit plateau.

If you’d like to share Steve’s broad environmental knowledge in any of the UK’s mountains and hills, or just be able to relax and enjoy your mountain walk with expert support, Steve will be pleased to hear from you and happy to help.  Get in touch at steve@stevebanksoutdoors.co.uk or call on 07796 213817.

By |July 12th, 2021|Environment & nature, Mountain walking|Comments Off on Ronas Hill, a mountain with latitude!

Hebridean heights

Hebrides walking

Whilst running his recent self-sufficient, wild camping canoe trip into the remote interior of Harris & Lewis, Steve built in a day off from paddling so we could enjoy the the surroundings and walk in the hills.  In order to get the best view possible we ascended Creag na Lubaig which provided a spectacular panorama north across Lewis (image) and south into the Harrisian mountains with Clisham clearly visible as the highest point in the Hebrides.

If you’re keen on venturing in the hills and mountains anywhere in the UK Steve will be able to support you.  If you’d like to combine your mountains with other outdoor adventures Steve has plenty of opportunities to do that too.   Have a look at what’s available at www.stevebanksoutdoors.co.uk and get in touch at steve@stevebanksoutdoors.co.uk or call 07796 213817

By |June 12th, 2021|Environment & nature, Mountain walking|Comments Off on Hebridean heights

Winter in May

Winter in May

As the world continues to heat up with new mean global temperatures nearly every year, local weather anomalies seem even more notable – especially when they’re cold!  As the image shows of our trip up Blencathra yesterday, winter has temporarily returned to the Lake District.  Whilst the unseasonable conditions may have caught a few people out, they certainly did get others excited as winter boots had a last hurrah.  Even the Lake District Ski club had an excellent day out on Raise – none of the members could remember such excellent powder conditions in May.

If you’re interested in support for your days out in the Lakes or further afield, whatever season presents itself, Steve will be pleased to help you.  Just call to discuss your needs.

By |May 6th, 2021|Mountain walking, Winter mountain walking|Comments Off on Winter in May

Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike

Three days before the further easing of lockdown and the expected influx of visitors to the Lake District, fine weather provided an opportunity to venture into the central fells whilst it was still relatively quiet.  A walk from Langdale was planned taking in Rossett Pike, Esk Hause, Esk Pike, Bowfell and Crinkle Crags.  On arriving at Esk Hause however, a change of plan was requested…

With time in hand, good weather and few other walkers about, the opportunity to extend the day to take in Scafell Pike and Great End was too good to miss.  A two hour round trip detour permitted a visit to England’s highest point with the summit to ourselves (image with Steve), a fantastic panorama, taking lots of photographs and a bonus summit of Great End to boot.  We returned via Esk Pike and Bowfell as planned but abandoned Crinkle Crags to a future walk.  In total we walked 26km, were out for 9 hours and climbed over 5000ft – a relaxed but big day out which will live long in the memory.

By |April 12th, 2021|Mountain walking|Comments Off on Scafell Pike

A very good Friday

Pillar, Gable & Scafells

Friday saw our first mountain venture since the easing of lockdown permitted organised outdoor activity.  With fabulous weather we decided to head to Wasdale on the basis it would be beyond the reach of most day trips.  On arrival however, we found hundreds of cars and many motorhomes and tents thronging the valley.  Our spirits quickly rose though, as we headed up towards Black Sail Pass, when it became apparent that the vast majority of people were intent on climbing England’s highest mountain.

We enjoyed an excellent (and crowd free) round of Pillar, Scoat Fell, Steeple, Red Pike and Yewbarrow having only to share the summit of Steeple with one other friendly walker – every other peak we had entirely to ourselves.  We did also, of course, have a great view over to Great Gable and the Scafells (image) – we thought Scafell Pike appeared slightly higher than usual!

If you would like to escape the madding crowd in these strange times, Steve will be pleased to help you.  Call to discuss your needs.

By |April 6th, 2021|Mountain walking|Comments Off on A very good Friday
Go to Top