Ski Club of Manchester September Walks 2020, Sunday 13th September
Reporter: Dave Miller
The planned route for the day was an ascent of Blencathra via Halls Fell, but the high winds forecast made this an unsavoury and very likely risky option. Instead a low level walk from Braithwaite was devised, this had an additional benefit as we didn't have to drive to the start.
A dozen walkers plus Jim the dog set off from the car park at Middle Ruddings and we made our way into the village centre and along the beck side path towards Swinside. Unfortunately footpath erosion further along meant we had to abandon the path and do some road walking, but the lane wasn't too busy and we were soon approaching the beginning of the main path up onto Catbells. We wisely left this to the hordes of walkers set on that summit and made our way instead along quiet paths to Little Town.
Here was the first surprise of the day, in contrast to the usual yomp up the high fells the group has become accustomed to, this leisurely stroll became even more so with an early tea break at Little Town Farm. The weather was kind enough for us to sit in the garden admiring the fine views of the Newlands valley while variously enjoying tea, coffee, bacon butties, scones and cake, and all rather soon after breakfast.
From here further gentle lane walking and a crossing of Newlands Beck brought us to the second surprise, we were going up after all. Leaving the road a narrow path contoured around the base of Rowling End and into a narrow stream valley with a well made track that climbs towards Outerside. It didn't take much altitude gain to find the high winds forecast for the day and so we found a sheltered spot to eat our lunch before leaving this track to climb up onto Barrow.
From Barrow summit a long and sometimes steep descent over grassy slopes brought us down to Little Braithwaite and finally a well earned pit stop at the Coledale Inn, no surprise there.
Thanks to all who joined the walk, it wasn't the high route planned but was testing enough for a second day at around 9 miles, and we had the pleasure of admiring the lofty crags from the relative comfort of the valley paths.