Blog post 4
Fells: Wether Hill, Loadpot Hill, Arthur’s Pike and Bonscale Pike
Wainwright count: 4
Date: 28th December
With: Hannah (wife) and Susie my dog (as always)!!
On what indicated to be a beautiful day, according to the forecasts by the Fell Top Assessors, we arrived at St Peter’s Church, in Martindale at around 8.36am, following a 6am start from just near Preston. There was thick ice on the car prior to setting off, which remained on the bonnet all the way up to Ullswater. We parked opposite St Peter’s Church in Martindale, where I have parked a few times on previous walks.
We walked behind the church and picked up the footpath down to Howtown, where we followed the path to the head of the valley, overlooked by the hills of Steel Knotts and Loadpot Hill, where we would later be on top of. Having checked that there was no sheep around, I let Susie, our Patterdale Terrier off her lead to run up and down the hills, as she so enjoys doing. We continued towards the head of the valley, when Hannah, my wife, spotted a few deer on the side of Brock Crag. We watched for a few minutes before continuing, pleased that we had seen some red deer.
View back towards Howtown and Ullswater
Before I continue, it is worth pointing out that Hannah is a reluctant walker, doing it for love, as they say. She enjoys the views and appreciates the countryside, but finds the slog up not as enjoyable as I do. She has done numerous walks with me in the Lake District however, more than I can remember, but appreciates her day when she is on the top of the fell, or when it is over and she is enjoying a glass of wine and a nice bit of food, whilst reflecting rather than whilst on the way up of the hills themselves! She has had a few occasions, where we have walked into mist and it has not cleared all day, which is worth pointing out at this point before I continue…
So, we neared the head of the valley, where the path branches Eastwards, away from Fusedale Beck, where we saw around fifty red deer on the side of Loadpot Hill, however the mist seemed to be dropping quite quickly, much to the annoyance of my wife. I convinced her that it would clear, once the sun had come out and warmed up a bit, but because this had not been the case in previous outings, she was rightfully dubious. We continued up the climbing hillside of Wether Hill in increasingly deep snow, when we noticed the growing strength of the sunlight, which is always a good sign when you are hoping for mist to clear. We continued up walking through the mist as it was rapidly dropping, which opened up one of the most beautiful views I have seen in my time on the fells.
Me with Helvellyn in the background
Hannah going up Wether Hill
With Susie now!
Our paced slowed, so in awe of the enveloping view and we didn’t know where to look; over towards High Raise? Helvellyn? or the fifty plus deer that were stood in the sunshine covered snow? I cannot tell you how amazing the views were, and we had watched it all from thick mist to a beautiful cloud inversion. The snow was so bright in the sunshine, it was beautiful. Hannah’s faith in me and my promises was restored and she was amazed how beautiful it was. She said how it looked as nice as when we had been snowboarding in Italy, and that she couldn’t believe it was in the UK. I understood what she meant and it was an experience that she had never had before in the UK, but one she loved! She forgot all about the fact that she still had a bit of climbing to do to reach the top of Wether Hill.
Me and Susie and view back to Wether Hill
Nick, Hannah and Susie
We then re-traced our footsteps a bit to head up to Loadpot Hill, knowing full-well that the cloud free blue sky was going to stay around all day, which is a rare occurrence in the UK in winter! I took my gloves off for a few moments when we stopped, and whilst it was warm in the sun, there was a slight breeze which must have been below zero degrees, it really highlighted the dangers of mother nature, and how these can perhaps be underestimated by some.
We continued on to Arthur’s Pike on an obvious path, which would clearly be very boggy except for in the winter or after a prolonged period without rain. We then dropped down to the valley, to then climb Bonscale Pike. From here, there were beautiful views over Ullswater, which we savoured for a few minutes, before dropping down the steep snow-covered descent down to Howtown.
The descent down to Howtown
From here we re-followed the path up to St Peter’s Church, where our car was parked.
What an amazing day with my wife, which we both enjoyed thoroughly what with the deer, the snow and the glorious sunshine! It was a great day for really appreciating the beautiful scenery within the UK, which many overlook.