Martindale, in Wainwright’s Far Eastern Fells. Hallin Fell on the left, Pikewassa right, with Loadpot Hill in the distance. an unusual view from Sleet Fell above the hamlet of Sandwick.

Martindale map

​High Horse Level

Greenside Mine was once the biggest lead mine complex in the country and operated for nearly 300 years finally closing in 1962. The High Horse Level was one of the earliest to be exploited by Dutch ‘Adventurers’ in the late 17th century. The stone extracted was dressed to separate out the lead ore and waste materials dumped producing the fan of tailings.
Dressing required a constant supply of water so Sticks Gill was dammed on the left of the photo. In the 1870s the ’Top Dam’ burst causing much damage.

The hill opposite is Green Side, from which the mine takes its name. Its on the on the east ridge of Stybarrow Dodd. The two large ‘glory holes’ are collapses of the Gilgowars Level which occurred in 1862 collapse. Fortunately this happened on a Sunday when the mine was closed so no one was killed.

Striding Edge

The classic ridge up Helvellyn. Interesting on a breezy day.


A pre-breakfast jog up to Red Tarn below Helvellyn. Any higher and I would have been in cloud. The view is Grisedale, with Grisedale Hause at its head. The 841m high St. Sunday Crag on the left is below the cloud ceiling but Fairfield at 873m is hidden, as is the Helvellyn range on the right.

There at least one other Grisedale in the Lake District, that overlooking Whinlatter Pass. There is also a Grizedale south of Hawkshead which probably has the same Old Norse root of griss and dalr, meaning ‘the valley of the young pigs’.

Grisedale map

Great Langdale

A view up Great Langdale, right of centre, from Loughrigg Fell with the Langdale Pikes on the far right. An overcast day but the tops are clear.

loughrigg map

Morecambe Bay

A wet day in a sodden Lake District. A view south west from Bigland Heights on the Cartmel Peninsula. The  estuary is that of the River Crake which outflows from Windermere.


Jackson’s Fold

I don’t know who Jackson was. Maybe he built this sheepfold. Maybe he breathed his last breath here after finding himself lost in a blizzard. But it’s a fold I’ve visited many times before on mountain marathons and orienteering events. A remote and quiet place, by the side of Stile Gill; great for a wild camp. The cloudbase is higher today with Blencathra summit just visible for the first time in the last four days.

And so 2016 draws to a close. The time to welcome and to be upbeat about the new year but after the cataclysmic events of the past six months it would be so easy to fall into nihilism. Not to dwell on the B word but when Nigel Farage says “For those that are here that aren’t particularly happy with what’s happened in 2016, I’ve got some really bad news for you – it’s going to get a bloody sight worse next year”  is there any hope? And then there’s Trump. Say no more.

But I do have hope. Hope that the new laws and regulations that need to be created will be far stronger for employment, the environment, equality and human rights. Hope that May and her cronies can begin to really work hard at healing the cleft the right have created in the country. Hope that they start to care for and preserve our NHS, welfare state and public services. Hope that education, unemployment and low cost housing stock will be given the priority our children and grand children will need. Hope that the Labour party can rebuild itself to be an effective opposition. And hope the derisive rhetoric and trenchant comments that has become the norm since Brexit will dry up.

I can honestly say I know of no one who is happy with the current climate. A black cloud looms over. I have read the media and have heard first hand of some who have been subjected to racist comments. Perhaps I lead an insular life, content with my own company in the hills, but throughout the country there must be thousands of disparate groups who despair. If these can come together and work together then there is indeed hope for all of us.

So let’s forget the bad decisions of 2016, have a clean break and welcome in the New Year on a hopeful note. In the words of Eric Idle:

Some things in life are bad,
They can really make you mad.
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle,
Don’t grumble, give a whistle!
And this’ll help things turn out for the best
Always look on the bright side of life!

Happy New Year.