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

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 it’s 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

Keswick Tourist Association advertise Steve’s personalised mountain activities

KTA

The Keswick Tourism Association are now advertising Steve’s bespoke mountain activities.  Hopefully, anyone looking for personalised adventures will have an even better chance of finding us.  With the opening up of outdoor activities we’re keen to help anyone who’d enjoy some support, to head out to the hills and valleys of the Lakes .  Please get in touch by email or phone.

By |March 29th, 2021|Mountain walking, Website|Comments Off on Keswick Tourist Association advertise Steve’s personalised mountain activities

We may be able to recommence guided activities soon.

Keswick Guided Walks

The government has indicated that we will be able to offer professional, organised outdoor sport and activity from March 29th.  If this happens as scheduled Steve will be pleased to assist with any mountain or other outdoor activities with which you would like some support. Please get in touch to discuss your interests and needs – we’ll be delighted to hear from you and will do our best to help.

To reassure you, we are, and will continue to be, very keen to work within all government regulations and guidelines in regard to Covid-19 so as to best protect ourselves and our clients from infection.  We are taking this disease very seriously and have no intention of taking any unnecessary risks.

By |March 10th, 2021|Environment & nature, Mountain walking, Winter mountain walking|Comments Off on We may be able to recommence guided activities soon.

Blencathra in winter

Blencathra in winter

Due to the coronavirus restrictions we’ve been unable to take clients out or to travel from home.  We have though, managed to walk from our front door, including a good family trip in the snow up Hallsfell Ridge on Blencathra returning via Blease Fell.   Some short roping was required to protect our young son from being blown away in the frequent and strong mini-blizzards (image) but an exciting adventure was had.

Steve is looking forward to being able to take clients out again once we’re allowed to do so.  If you have any mountain adventures of your own you’d like some support for please do get in touch and we can discuss how best to assist you.  We’ll be pleased to hear from you and happy to help.

By |February 18th, 2021|Mountain walking, Winter mountain walking|Comments Off on Blencathra in winter
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