Saturday, 24 September 2016

Weekend on the Wirral


This weekend’s plan was to head over to the Wirral.  We assumed we’d missed out on the CITO souvenir this time round and then we noticed that a CITO had been published at short notice in Bromborough on the Wirral.  Normally if the weather forecast is bright and clear we’ll head up to the Lakes or across the Pennines and into Yorkshire but the forecast looked a little grim so as the CITO was on Saturday we thought we’d head there instead and do some caching in the area and maybe make a weekend of it in the camper.

The route we took went through the Queensway tunnel, also known as the Birkenhead tunnel, a 2 mile tunnel under the River Mersey.  Although we’ve been to the area before we’d never been through the tunnel.  The tunnel is a toll road and costs £1.70 to drive through it.  Another fun fact about the tunnel is that a scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1 was filmed here about 1.35 in

Once through the tunnel it was a short drive to the CITO which was held in Dibbinsdale Nature Reserve.   

We gathered at the visitor centre where the ranger Alan told us what jobs he had planned for us.  For 3 hours we cleared branches and cuttings from near a reed bed and shifted wood chippings to relay a path.  It was hard work but really rewarding and good fun.

 After the CITO.  We headed to LQ: Merseyside.  We’re slowly but surely ticking off the LQs and think that now leaves 23 to find.  The LQ cache was at Birkenhead Priory which is the oldest standing building on Merseyside.  We climbed to the top of St Mary's tower and enjoyed a fab view of the area including the shipyards next to the priory.

We spent the rest of the day finding a few caches before heading to New Brighton for the night.

A life-size replica of Resurgam


We woke up bright and early with a lovely view of the seafront from the camper van window.  

The plan for today was to head into West Kirby to do the Wherigo around Hilbre Island.  

Hilbre Islands are an archipelago consisting of three islands at the mouth of the estuary of the River Dee.  The islands are a Local Nature Reserve and SSSI.  It was decided in 2011 that there would no longer be a resident ranger as they couldn't find anyone prepare to live without mains electricity or running water and as of 2012 the islands have no permanent residents

We spent a four hours or so exploring the 3 islands.
There were also 3 earthcaches on the island which were interesting and not too tricky.

After that we spent we enjoyed a walk and a few caches up on Caldy Hill.

The sun shone all day today and we were so lucky with the weather seeing as the forecast hadn’t been too good.

All too soon it was time to head home, this time through the Kingsway tunnel, also known as the Wallesey Tunnel - this tunnel was built because the Queensway Tunnel, which was built in the 1930s, was unable to cope with the rise of post-war traffic.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Late Summer Weekend in The Lakes

I had been looking forward to the weekend all week as the forecast was really good.  We decided a weekend in the lakes would be great fun - especially as we're heading rapidly into autumn now and we want to make the most of the longer days while we can.

We parked at the Old Sawmill Tea Room on A591 about 3 miles north of  Keswick.  It's a pay and display car park here and costs £6.30 for the day which is a bit steep but there are clean toilets here and we felt it was worth the cost for peace of mind leaving the campervan.  There were free options for parking not too far up the road but seemed a bit too secluded.

After brewing up some fresh coffee and enjoying a slice of home made chocolate Guinness cake - yep we know how to enjoy ourselves we set off and and followed the well-marked path towards Ravenstone Hotel and then took the steep path up towards the ridge.  The sun was starting to get really warm so we had to stop to apply sun cream quite early on.

It's funny though and I know I've mentioned it before but this walking lark is totally addictive.  I think about it all week and in my spare time I look at places we can go.  I count down the days until I can get out walking in the countryside again.......Anyway.......We followed the ridge to Ullock Pike which was our first Wainwright of the day and the longest ascent to get there.  
Fab views on the way up of Bassenthwiate Lake

Ullock Pike

Heading from Ullock Pike to Long Side was a third of a mile walk along the ridge and although a slight height increase it was barely noticeable.  We stopped to have our packed lunch before continuing on to Carl Side, again following the well worn route to a small summit cairn. 

Carl Side summit cairn

Strangely although Carl side is higher than Long Side it is dwarfed by its neighbour, Skiddaw and feels very small in comparison. 

Helicopter landing on Little Man

Whilst walking on Longside we saw a helicopter land on nearby Little Man.  Later we read that a 16 year old fell runner had collapsed during a race. The Keswick Mountain Rescue do an amazing job.

The OS map shows several public footpaths towards Dodd summit but we chose to take the well worn route towards White Stones where we paused to admire the view before continuing in a Westerly direction down the hillside then back up again towards Dodd Summit. 
Sitting on White Stones

Dodd Summit

The views of Keswick and Bassenthwaite Lake were simply spectacular from Dodd summit in the glorious late summer sunshine.

Then back tracking from the summit down to the path we continued in a north westerly direction through dappled pine woodland.  We were so lucky to see red squirrels as we walked through the woods, such a fantastic sight to see them in the wild.

Red Squirrels

This is definitely my new favourite walk.  I would highly recommend it if you like a good walk, fantastic scenery and views, although this is no power trail so don’t expect lots of caches I think we only found 3 which is perfect on this type of walk.

Then it was back to the camper to find a spot to wild camp for the night.  We’d had a place in mind and as we parked up we got talking to another couple who’d had the same idea and in by coincidence they live not far from us in Preston.

Not a bad view from the bedroom

Beautiful sunset over Derwentwater

Morning campers

Up bright and early and ready to hike to High Rigg but first we attempted a classic photo of the jetty on Derwent Water.

While we were there, a photographer appeared and advised us to head up to Surprise View where it was lovely and sunny above the cloud.
There were several photographers there and the view was mesmerising.   The cloud over the lake constantly changing shape and covering/uncovering parts over time.
Photographers at Surprise View

Setting off to High Rigg

Anyway, High Rigg.... We parked in the small United Utilities car park at Legburthwaite.  It's normally pay and display here but thanks (once again) to Desmond it's free until further notice - looks like the machine had suffered flood damage.

We set off in glorious sunshine and followed the well defined unmarked path up the hill and along the ridge until we finally reached High Rigg.

Then descended down to the lane and headed East and picked up the bridle path/footpath for the return leg and back to the car park.

This walk was approximately 5.5 miles and thoroughly enjoyable........... It's been such a brilliant weekend.  Looking forward to the upcoming weeks and some autumnal walks in the lakes.