Distance: 8.5 miles
Wainwright count (round 2): 3
Wainwrights: Lord’s Seat, Barf, Whinlatter Top
Who with: JP, Susie (The Patterdale Terrier)
Following on from an enjoyable day on The Coledale Round the day before, and a few evening beverages, we checked out of the Royal Oak pub after breakfast, where we had been staying for the weekend, and made our way up the road. The short drive to Whinlatter Visitors Centre, which is a couple of miles up the pass, only took a couple of minutes – and it was here we parked up.
We left the car, and followed one of the marked paths through the forest, climbing relatively steeply at first, in the dark wooded area, before reaching the forest track, which we followed for about a mile. It was a dull start to the morning and a thick, low hill fog looked set-in for the day. This was why we chose a walk which kept at the lower levels – and not reaching more that around 550m all day.
We followed the path, which was still relatively quiet at this point, as it winded through the forest, which looked very dramatic – with a thick mist hanging over it. It was extremely mild for the time of the year, so we were soon de-layering as we climbed, being sheltered in the wooded area, before reaching the open fell-side, at the foot of Lord’s Seat.
As we followed the very clear and well-made path, which snaked up the fell-side, the wet mist seemed to be getting thicker as we ascended. It was a relatively short walk to the summit, which stands at 552m, where we met lone walker who was furiously marching on, with his headphones in, whilst singing loudly….it takes all sorts. He looked happy though.
It was from here that we headed East, over wet and boggy ground, which Susie continued to trudge through, whilst getting caked in mud! She was just as happy as the singing-fell walker, so all was good on Lord’s Seat.
The mist remained low, as we continued along the path to the top of Barf fell, which stands at 468m, although upon arrival the views were non-existent and the mist was wet! We made the decision to keep walking on pretty quickly, and we took the path heading south, back in the direction of the woodland.
As we crossed the stepping stones across the small beck, which runs down into Bassenthwaite Lake – the mist hung around the small valley, over the trees with rather dramatic effect. It was like the iconic photos of Whistler in Canada – not Whinlatter. On a clear day, the views from here over towards the lake are quite special, but they were not to be enjoyed today. Another reason to do the walk again, in case I needed one.
We headed back into the forest at this point, where the mist remained to dramatic effect, dispersing as we got ever deeper. We followed the path onwards, and continued to weave through the forest trails, passing families on the GruffaloTrail.
From here, we headed towards the Western edge of the forest, down the last forest track, where one of the many bike trails crossed, before we reached the gate, where the woodland becomes open fell-side once again. JP and I have done the Whinlatter forest trails a few times on the mountain bikes – the trails are good; and as we saw the bikers cross, it was a reminder that we needed to come back at some point, when time allowed!
After a minute taking in the views across the valley, on the other side of the Whinlatter Pass road, we started the short but steep path, which runs parallel to the fence line, which was a breathless few minutes for us, and possibly one of the only times on the walk that we stopped nattering. As we reached the highest point of the fence line, we headed west towards the top of Whinlatter, on a good path.
The mist was clearing in parts, so we enjoyed the views in the breaks of the cloud, which was helped by the slightly stronger breeze that had arrived. We arrived on the top of Whinlatter, where we found a sheltered spot to enjoy our lunch – the highlight of JP’s walks. After half an hour, we started to make our return trip back to the Visitor’s Centre, where we were parked – obviously, after JP had finished another story!
As we walked back through the forest, you reach the ‘honey pot’ where all the people are gathered, enjoying the park with their children. We arrived back at the car, and didn’t hang around long, so that I could get back to see my little lad – which I was eager to do.
This walk is quite a nice half day walk, if you are short of time, or the mist is in – like today, and once you get out of the busy visitors centre area, and close to the trails, we didn’t see many folks at all. The end of a good weekend in Braithwaite, with our next little trip being Aviemore in a couple of weeks, something that I am definitely looking forward to.