Saturday, 30 April 2016

Walla Crag to Ashness Bridge, Keswick

After watching the weather forecast all week we decided that Saturday would be the best day for a walk for the Bank Holiday weekend.  After our walk up Coniston Old Man a couple of weeks ago we have been itching to get back up to the lakes for another walk.  There were even a few strange yellow symbols on the weather map for Saturday!  The weather has been so wet, cold and windy just lately we are well overdue some warm weather.  So we decided to head up to Keswick and bag another Wainwright, this time Walla Crag.
Snow capped mountains up ahead

We'd planned an 8-mile circular walk starting from the Great Wood National Trust Car Park.  We're National Trust members so can park for free.

Setting off

From the car park we followed the path to Ashness Bridge.  Just after we'd set off the heavens opened and it absolutely threw it down.  So on went our waterproofs and undeterred we carried on.  After about 30 mins of walking the sun started to appear from behind the clouds and we soon warmed up.  So by the time we reached Ashness Bridge we had to strip off a couple of layers.

Ashness Bridge is a well known viewpoint across Borrowdale and towards Skiddaw and is very popular with photographers and artists. 

Ashness Bridge

The Bark House Mountain Base is next to the bridge.  There's a small plaque on the side with the date '1964'.  We went inside and got talking to a couple of National Trust volunteers who were setting up refreshments and National Trust leaflets.  There was a lovely roaring open fire there which would've been very welcoming if we were wet or cold.  They told us that there's no running water there or electricity and that the hut was used by the scouts in the 70s and 80s as a bunkhouse and had contained 12 bunks.

The Bark House Mountain Base

Welcoming sign

 Then we continued on our way.  The route via Ashness Bridge was a fairly gently climb up to Walla Crag, stopping to find a couple of caches along the way.

The views along the way were simply stunning.  The route was fairly easy going and it was a great feeling to reach the summit.

So that's our 5th Wainwright bagged and logged on the hill bagging site.

We spent quite some time admiring the view before finding a sheltered spot out of the wind to eat our cake - every walk should have cake!

Chocolate Guinness cake of course

Storm Desmond damaged this bridge in December 2015

Then it was down to Rakefoot to pick up the path that would take us down to Friar's crag.  Taking a short detour to the viewpoint at Castlehead on the way.

Any Star Wars fans would be interested to learn that a visual effects crew filmed background plates for the 7th Star Wars movie here in July 2014.  Interesting video showing the locations here:

Then we continued back down the path and on to Friar's Crag to do a couple of virtuals, George Hodgson and Mirror Image.

Herdwick Sheep

The Herdwick Sheep is native to Cumbria, the lambs are almost always born black and then lighten as they get older.

The walk along the shoreline back to the beginning was very picturesque.

After the walk we headed into Keswick for coffee and a mooch around the bookshop and then got a chippy tea to eat up at Ashness Bridge.

This has to be the best view EVER for a chippy tea!

After tea we drove up to the little hamlet of Watendlath, stopping off at Surprise View on the way.

'Surprise View'
Watendlath is now owned by the National Trust.  The Watendlath packhorse bridge is apparently the most photographed packhorse bridge in the country.  Unfortunately, it's closed at the moment due to damage caused by the storms in December 2015.
Watendlath Packhorse Bridge
Today was just an amazing day, I really didn't want it to end.......... hopefully be back again soon.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

14th Annual Cache in Trash Out Events

Cache in Trash Out

For the past 13 years cachers have been hosting and attending Cache in Trash Out (CITO) events, normally they are held over one weekend but this year it has been extended to two weeks to give more Geocachers the chance to take part - the dates are April 16 – 24 and September 17 – 25, 2016.

We love a good CITO and have been wanting to set our own for a long time but have never got round to it, this year we decided to go for it.  We organised a litter pick in Buckshaw Village near Chorley called Binbags in Buckshaw.  When we published the event we had found an area with a fair bit of litter but some time during the last 2 weeks the litter had been removed.  It's great that the litter was cleared away but we were concerned there'd be nothing left for us to pick up.  We needn't have worried, once we started looking we managed to find a fair bit and after about 45 mins we all gathered back at the meeting place for post-CITO cake and a chat.
Mmmm cake!

11 cachers were collecting litter altogether which is a good number considering it was so early on a Sunday morning.

We had our fingers crossed that no one would come back with an old mattress or worse as we were taking the rubbish away ourselves - the largest item was an old recycling box that was found in the pond.

 As there was only a car load we threw the bags into my car and took them to the local tip.

It was great fun and we'll definitely be setting more CITOs in the future.

Sunday, 17 April 2016


We last visited the Rivington area back in July 2009, we had a very wet family camping trip and it's really strange that this is now so close to where we are living, we had no idea back then that this area would one day be our home.  We're starting to feel a lot more settled now and really looking forward to getting our teeth into finding the local caches in the area and getting on with some puzzle solving.

The forecast was for sun all day so we decided to take a walk around Lever Park and do a few caches in the area.

Such an interesting place with so much history.

Lever Park is named after William Lever, Lord Leverhulme.  Lever is the founder of Lever Brothers the cleaning product company, he began manufacturing Sunlight Soap and is also responsible for other brands such as Lux and Lifebuoy.  We learnt all about him when we visited the amazing village of Port Sunlight on the Wirral a couple of years ago.  Port Sunlight was built to house Lord Lever's employees.  Well worth a visit and there's a brilliant Wherigo there too..... anyway I digress, back to Lever Park......


William Lever gifted 360 acres of land to the people of his native Bolton as a public park.  During Lever's lifetime he maintained the park at his own expense and when the park opened in 1904 it had a boating lake, zoo, tree lined avenues, he also built a folly, Rivington Castle, a scale replica of Liverpool Castle.

The original wooden Roynton Cottage which was the private property of William Lever was destroyed in an arson attack in 1913 and a stone replacement was built.  The private gardens were designed between 1905 and 1922 and contained terraces, a pool, Japanese lake, pagoda, Italian style gardens, a seven arch bridge and Pigeon Tower with Lady Leverhulme's sewing room on the top floor.

Pigeon Tower
A Bolton brewer acquired Roynton Cottage after Lever died and then during the Second World War the bungalow was requisitioned to be used as a billet for troops. After the war the site was acquired by Liverpool Corporation who then decided to demolish the building.

Original tiled floor can still be seen - care to dance?

In 1974 the park and gardens were passed to the North West Water Authority and following privatisation 'United Utilities'.  Today they are maintained as a public country park and have recently been awarded Lottery funding to safeguard the future of the gardens.

Then we continued on up to the tower on Rivington Pike.  Rivington Pike is a hill summit on Winter Hill and is part of the West Pennine Moors.  Great views at the top!

The Tower on the pike is a Grade II listed building. Originally built in 1733 as a hunting lodge and watchtower.  Apparently inside it's a single room and has a cellar.  It was to be demolished in 1967 by the then owner Liverpool Corporation (seems like they wanted to demolish everything! ) but after public outcry and a legal battle Chorley Rural District Council restored the building in 1973.  This is also now owned by United Utilities.
Pike Tower

Looking forward to more local adventures.....

STOP PRESS: Name changed back to Delta68 ........... long story......

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag Walk

After what seemed like non-stop rain for two weeks we thought we'd check out the forecast for the weekend and saw a window of opportunity for Saturday - it was going to be sunny in the Lake District! So we checked and double-checked no there hadn't been a mistake the forecast really was for sunshine all day until late afternoon.  So we decided a break from decorating and unpacking boxes was in order and we'd have a day out and maybe tick of a couple of Wainwrights from the list.  Way back in 2002 we enjoyed a family holiday in Coniston and had wanted to walk up the Old Man of Coniston but the weather was really bad the whole week so we hadn't been able to, then back in 2014 we stopped off in Coniston after Piratemania and on our way to the Mega event in Scotland - this time we just didn't have enough time to walk up.  I have been banging on about it ever since so this seemed the obvious choice for today.

We drove up the very steep narrow lane from Coniston and parked in the car park on Walna Scar Road at 8.30am.  As it was quite early there were only a couple of other cars.  We set off and were soon stripping off layers as the sun was getting quite hot.  We made the steady ascent up finding Peak a Boo 1 - 5 on the way, these caches were great as it made finding the route much easier and was a good excuse to stop and admire the views on the way up.

Once at the summit it was starting to get quite busy, it would seem that there are other more popular routes to the top.  The views were absolutely stunning and what luck that they weren't hidden in low cloud.  The sky was blue and the sun shone and we could see for miles around. 

View from summmit cairn

We found Coniston Old Man, admired the trigpoint (which is also a YOSM) and enjoyed tea and cake and a chat with a few other people. 

Chatting about caching

Mark overheard a group talking about Geocaching, it turned out one of the group knew all about caching as his mum was a keen cacher.  So after talking to them and assisting a few other people with photos we continued on our way. 

Ridge to Brim Fell

 We walked along the easy ridge to Brim Fell, it was biting cold along here and very exposed, there was still some snow on the ground which the sun was working hard to thaw.  After bagging the summit of Brim Fell we descended in a South Westerly direction down the grassy slope with no obvious footpath until we picked up the more direct route from Old Man to Dow Crag which is clearly marked.  The ascent up to Dow Crag was rocky but nothing too tricky. 
Dow Crag

Then we continued along the ridge to Buck Pike and Brown Pike and down onto Walna Scar Road to for the long walk back to the car.

We were just about to take our boots off when we remembered we needed to go and find LQ:Cumbria.  So with tired legs we set off along the old miners road and soon found our way to the grass track that would take us up to 'The Bell'.

We enjoyed a fabulous 10 mile walk today and found 3 Wainwrights to tick off the list, an LQ, a YOSM and a handful of other caches.

Then it was back into Coniston for a chippy tea.  We were so lucky with the weather, just as we headed off home the heavens opened and the rain was torrential most of the way back.

Looking forward to our next trip to the Lakes.

Friday, 8 April 2016

All Change!

Has it really been 3 months since our last blog! This is a bit of a rambling catch-up post as it's been such a long time since the last one.

Caching has taken a back seat this year as we've been moving house. We've had to relocate to the Lancashire area which has been quite stressful to say the least. It wasn't an easy move to make as we'd lived in Warwickshire for most of our lives but now we're here we're looking forward to exploring our local area and it's fantastic to see so many caches to find and great walks to go on not far from home. It's funny because we often joked that we'd have to eventually move house once we'd exhausted all the caches in our local area.

After moving in we had to wait two weeks to get broadband connected, yes TWO WHOLE WEEKS. Doesn't sound like long until you realise just how much we rely on it now and just about everything is done 'on-line'. It took two weeks to get a land-line sorted too! I started to get used to not having internet though and got quite a bit more done without the distraction.  Even though our house is fairly new we were keen to put our stamp on it straight away so I've been getting stuck into the painting and decorating.
Snow!! ... Makes a change from rain

Anyway enough of all that......back to caching.... At the end of last year we had our usual chat about what we were going to do in the upcoming year with regards to caching trips and holidays. For a while now we've both been wanting to make some changes and set ourselves new challenges and maybe go off in another direction but we just didn't know what.  We have enjoyed being the UK's top Mega Event attendees for quite a few years and if we wanted to maintain this status then it would mean repeat trips to countries and places we've already been to, something neither of us is keen on as it's no longer a challenge, we only get a few weeks off work a year so this probably isn't the best way to spend it and just paying flying visits to another country for a weekend doesn't really do it justice and, to us, a wasted opportunity.  There are so many places we want to visit and things we want to do and other interests, this just didn't seem the best use of time.  So the news that we were moving came just at the right time really as it made the decision much easier.  We realised we'd be right on the doorstep of the beautiful Lake District, a place we've always wanted to explore more - and a challenge I've always been interested in is walking all the Wainwrights but living so far away before meant it was difficult to get stuck into the challenge - The Wainwrights are the 214 fells as described in Alfred Wainwright's seven-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells. Compiled between 1952 and 1966 and consisting entirely of reproductions of his manuscript. I think to date we've done 1 - so straight away this became an obvious and fun challenge to set ourselves. - Wainwrights - 1 down 213 to go

This year we will have been married 25 years. Time flies when you're having so much fun. Back in 1991 we spent our honeymoon backpacking around Turkey, we were very young and it was all very exciting and scary, at the time we described it as 'character-building' and our families said we were mad as Turkey was suffering quite badly due to the Gulf War and it wasn't exactly the #1 destination for UK holidaymakers at the time.  We were young and didn't see the dangers back then. At the time one of Mark's brothers was living in Hendek, about 120 miles from Istanbul, he assured us we'd be fine and for our wedding present he very kindly paid for our flights to Turkey and we spent a few days with him before going off our own for a couple of weeks just with our backpacks, we visited Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Ankara, along the Mediterranean coast and back to Istanbul. The visit to Istanbul was fraught and stressful due to there being no tourists - the only 'foreigners' we met were two girls from Kent who were also backpacking. At the time we said we'd never go there again but then as time's gone by we thought revisiting after 25 years would be a fantastic idea as we could concentrate on the sightseeing we couldn't enjoy on our first visit. So last October we booked a holiday to Istanbul and chose a lovely hotel, we were to spend 5 days exploring the wonderful city of Istanbul.... how exciting! At the beginning of this year news of a suicide bombing in Istanbul worried us, then other atrocities started to occur which seemed to be targeting tourists, we started to have serious doubts we were doing the right thing. With all the stress of the move and the worry of the trip we decided to cancel a couple of weeks ago Very disappointed but can sleep now without the worry of it.... but what to do instead to celebrate......
A very young Mark at the Blue Mosque - 1991
Cappadocia - 1991

Which brings me on to my next ramblings.... A change of team name!  We've changed it to 'Deltas UK' we have been wanting to change it for quite some time but never really sure to what... we briefly changed it to Donna and Mark but we realised just how many things are connected to the 'Delta' name and not just in caching... so we've settled on Deltas UK as most people seem to refer to us as the Deltas anyway....
En route to Sheffield - Snake Pass