Saturday 25 January 2020

Winter Weekend Walking

This morning, although I woke to the sound of birdsong, outside it is dark and damp and, unfortunately, it is not forecast to improve any time over the weekend. Last week couldn't have been more different, however, as we were treated to bright, frosty days and (occasionally) warm sunshine. The best kind of weather to go walking.

On Saturday we ventured out to a new nature reserve, to have a look around and see just what it was like. I could find very little information about it online and had no idea what to expect, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover a beautiful wooded area with bird hides overlooking several small ponds. Some of the ground was quite bare around the ponds, and it is clearly a work in progress but I'm looking forward to returning and seeing how it develops. We spent a short time in the hides but our interest lay elsewhere this time, as we were hoping to catch a glimpse of the deer which  reside in the woods.

Can you just about see them through the trees?

We walked the clear pathways, weaving our way through the trees, which occasionally opened out towards the fields where there were platforms and benches to allow us to relax and enjoy the views. We saw pheasants and rabbits, and it was exciting to have the deer run past us many times, only for them to hide away in a quiet place amongst the trees again.
It felt magical to be the only people in the woods and especially to see the deer (I just wish I was faster with my camera). As we were leaving we enjoyed a chat with the manager of the reserve who had just arrived with his camera, hoping to catch sight of the deer as well. We will definitely be going back in the spring.

The following morning I had plans for a slightly higher walk but was unsure about exactly where to go. I changed my mind several times but by Saturday evening had decided on a gentle climb up Helm Crag, which overlooks the village of Grasmere. I've done this walk on many occasions but this time intended to extend it slightly by including the summit of Gibson Knott. It was perfect weather for the walk and, although the path was sometimes icy, it could be easily avoided and the still air meant that, for once, we could enjoy our picnic lunch at the summit and enjoy the views, then we made our way along the ridge to Gibson Knott before returning to Grasmere along the Far Easedale track.

Helm Crag to the left.

On our ascent looking up the Easedale valley.

Sour Milk Gill in the distance.

Steel Fell to the left. A walk for another day.

Gibson Knott from Helm Crag.

Steel Fell again and the Helvellyn range.

Gibson Knott summit.

Looking back towards Helm Crag from Gibson Knott.

Yet she still has enough energy to climb!