Ski Club of Manchester Lakes Weekend, 29 April - 2 May 2011. Monday Walk, 2 May: Barf & Lord's Seat
By Paul Prentice
Having said he would organise a walk for the residue of the party on Monday, Dave Miller reccied a suitable route by running it in a spare hour or two after Sunday's Blencathra walk.
The Monday party was Dave & Vanessa, Ian, Martin & Val, Joy, Liz & Paul. Steve was feeling off-colour after too much sun, dehydration and (possibly) rehydration in the Royal Oak after Blencathra and thought Barf might be interpreted too literally if he attempted the walk.
A very steep and taxing climb up through the woods, beneath The Bishop (a white-painted stone at the top of a precipitous scree slope), eventually opened up onto a rocky path up to the gorse-dotted hilltop of Barf. It was another exceptionally bright and cloudless day with a chilly north-east wind. We looked over Bassenthwaite Lake to Solway Firth beyond. Next was Lord's Seat, across a dried-out peaty saddle which would normally be boggy & wet.
Lying on the grass avoided the worst of the wind, but sitting up was required to enjoy the views to Cockermouth & the new bladeless offshore wind-farm whose proposed line of pylons threatens to spoil the Trough of Bowland with new power lines en route to civilisation (Manchester). Voice your objections before it's too late.
An easy route down through the Whinlatter Forest led us to the smart new visitor centre which Ian says has a good cafe, and mountain bikes for hire for the many trails. Further down Ian led us on a scenic detour past a sequence of little ponds and the breached remains of Thornthwaite hydro-electric dam for which there are plans for renewal. A nice path descended next to the stream down into the village and the Larches where we said goodbye to Ian and headed back to the car park, feeling that it had been a jolly nice walk of a gentler kind that might have general appeal as an alternative to the high fells.
We left the Lakes feeling that we had maximised our opportunities to make the best of the four-day weekend which was blessed by fantastic weather, three great walks and a bonus fell-run up & down Barrow (on Friday afternoon, led by Ian), and the great convenience of chauffeured 4X4 travel courtesy of 'Let Dave Do It.'
Thanks for catering throughout the weekend, to: Middle Ruddings (meals), Steve (Eccles cakes) and Dave (granola bars).
Many thanks also to Will and Kate, for the special extra day.