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Muncaster Fell and back by train.
Date & start time: Saturday 19th June 2010, 11 am start.
Location of Start : Muncaster Mill car park, Ravenglass, Cumbria, Uk ( SD 095 977 )
Places visited : Muncaster Tarn, Muncaster Fell, Forest How, Irton Road, Eskdale Green, Ravenglass and back via a scenic drive round the Western valleys.
Walk details : 6.5 mls, 1300 ft, 4 hrs 55 mins (including lunch) for the walk.
Highest point : Muncaster fell 750 ft - 231m.
Walked with : Kathryn, Gareth, Jo, John, Ian, Ann and the dogs, Jodie, Amber, Polly, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Sunshine and fluffy clouds . . . summer continues
and the West Coast Valleys
We had our son Gareth and his young lady Kathryn up for the weekend and the weather was superb.
We decide on a walk on the western side of Cumbria to show her the sea,
one of the delightful smaller fells and La'al Ratty,
the narrow gauge railway which we would ride on at the end of our walk.
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Leaving on time from home we had fifteen minutes to spare before we had arranged to meet the others,
so we drove via Seascale to see the view.
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The seafront at Seascale with the Isle of Man in the distance just right of centre.
The flowers were in memory of one of the victims of the recent West Coast shootings. In fact on our drive to here we passed five such floral tributes which brought home the sadness and reality of the events of recent days. Most were at really random places where unfortunate bystanders had lives ended for no reason. This beach jetty featured on the news broadcasts and the simplicity of the image here brings home to me the sadness of that day.
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However life goes on . . . and today the weather is fine and the visibility excellent.
Ann, Kathryn and Gareth on the seafront.
Muncaster Mill station and the start of our walk.
We will pass on using the train to start in favour of a ride on the return leg of the walk.
Better get off the track before the next train arrives !
A quick look at the map to explain where we plan to walk.
Fell Lane as we make our way up the western end of the hill.
Lovely views to the south through the gaps in the trees that line the lane.
This is looking towards Woodend Heights, Yoadcastle and Stainton Pike.
The track leads us to Muncaster Tarn . . . the area is looking really green again.
Last time we were here they had been logging and brown mud was the order of the day.
The Water lilies were just coming into full bloom.
Harry decided on a swim to cool down.
Always on the lookout for the unusual, I decided to try for a photo of him swimming past the pipe.
Mmmm . . . just about works.
As he moved out of shot, Harry decided he'd return to shore but the water lilies were in the way !
Oops . . . are you ok in there ?
" That was a bit harder than I thought it would be ! "
All dogs safely back on solid ground,
we take the track around the lake to appreciate the views it offered.
The lake, once a reservoir for the Muncaster castle water supply,
has a series of islands which are covered in pink rhododendron bushes.
Still waters and reflections as Harry has another drink.
This was surreal . . . a Cumbrian Fire truck parked up in the woods . . . with no-one about.
We talked to another group of walkers about it and one of them turned round and asked where it was.
Apparently there had been a fell side fire near the railway last evening and the firefighters had been out to douse the flames.
The team had returned this morning to continue the work and were working lower down the wooded hillside.
While he had found his fire tender, we had unfortunately lost Amber . . . who seemed to have run off into the woods.
A quick search found me visiting the lake again as I retraced our route looking for the missing dog.
Dog and owner reunited again, we continued our walk towards Hooker Crag, the summit of Muncaster Fell.
It's been quite an eventful walk so far !
From the open hillside we had a good view over to the coast.
There's no mistaking the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield.
From this higher viewpoint the Isle of Man stands out really well.
" That bit to the right must be Rathlin Island " says John.
" No, no, no " . . . was the combined retort.
After great debate it was decided that, although the visibility was superb, the headland was the Point of Ayre,
which is the northernmost tip of the Isle of Man, separated from the main bulk of the central hills by a low lying part of the island.
Reaching the top our eyes turned to the hills . . . and what a superb view.
The highest fell in the centre is Scafell flanked by Illgill Head to the left and Bowfell to the right.
A photo call at the summit for Gareth and Kathryn.
. . . and for Bethan . . . up to Harry's usual trick of claiming the high ground.
After the summit we found ourselves walking through some lovely cotton grass.
The view to Harter Fell with a foreground of white.
The change of seasons brings a change of flowers, bluebells to cotton grass.
One of this site's two photographers, taken by the other one !
A wider panorama from Scafell to Harter Fell.
Gareth had been looking forward to this mythical place called Ross's Camp.
He was expecting a set of tents . . . what he got was a single stone slab.
Still it would make a great place for lunch . . . so he's happy !
A relaxed lunch was enjoyed by all.
Under way again . . . we look across at Linbeck and Raven Crags to the left.
Rough Crag and Water Crag behind are the first two fells we walk when we do the Devoke Water Round.
About two thirds of the way along Muncaster Fell you pass through the gate and start to drop down to Eskdale.
The village of Eskdale Green is seen below for the first time.
Bright Rhododendrons by the side of the path.
To the accompaniment of a steam whistle
the down-train passes ahead of us, heading for the Irton Road station.
A quickening of the pace meant we could reach the bridge and look down on the full train
which was waiting in the station for another to pass.
All that's missing is the sound . . . as the up train is clear and the River Esk loco pulls out of Irton Road.
We deferred our train ride back in favour of some light refreshment on this lovely hot day.
Ice creams courtesy of the Eskdale Stores . . . very refreshing.
We walked on through the village to the Eskdale Green station to await the next train.
Matching shirt and signpost !
Ann in cheerful mode as we pull into Irton Road aboard our train to the coast.
No . . . we're not all getting out.
We're just waiting for the next up train to pass.
Ours was a diesel but the River Esk steam loco passed us heading towards Dalegarth and Boot.
Passing below Hooker Crag and the area beneath Muncaster Tarn the train stopped for a few extra passengers to get on.
The Fire Crew had finished their work and accepted a lift back to their fire tender which was being driven round to the Mill for them.
The fire was probably started by a spark from one of the steam trains and took over seven hours to put out.
The current hot weather and lack of rain encouraged it to spread from the track side right to the top of the fell.
The extent of the charred fell side can be seen as we continue on our way.
So ended our round trip of Muncaster Fell.
What a lovely end to a walk . . .
Both John and Ann enjoyed their one-calorie cream teas
at least that's what John said they were !
All this eating . . . must go for another walk.
Here the sea wall has attractive handrails on the steps up onto the bank, an addition to celebrate the Millennium in 2000.
The tide is slowly covering the foreshore and the boats are starting to float at their moorings again.
Our second walk was a much shorter one . . . along the foreshore at Ravenglass.
Throwing stones gave the dogs lots of additional exercise and cooled them down.
Dancing for joy at her escape . . . or just playing around with Jodie . . . take your pick.
The sea wall and serenity on the landward side.
In the village, Ann stayed at this B&B cottage many years ago, before I met her.
The delightful main street of Ravenglass.
The old Petrol Pump
It come free with the house if you care to put in an offer . . . it was displaying a "For Sale" sign.
Colourful gardens as we return to the car.
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After saying our goodbyes to everyone else we started our journey home.
Being such a nice evening we diverted into Wasdale to show Kathryn the views of Wast Water.
This is the stone shelter on the roadside, part way up the lake.
Zooming in on Yewbarrow.
The Wasdale Screes were also looking wonderful.
Closer to the water, the classic "Britain's Favourite View" shot.
Yewbarrow in sunshine, Gable and Lingmell to the right in shadow, and the final climb to Scafell Pike in sunshine again.
Wasdale was looking so good that we took the Cold Fell road home and drove past Ennerdale Lake
which was looking equally spectacular in the clear air and late sunshine tonight.
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Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
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Previous walk - 13th June 2010 Keppel Cove and a Challenge
A previous time up here - 12th April 2008 Muncaster Fell 2008 with a train ride return
Next walk - 20th June 2010 Rannerdale with Gareth& Kathryn
Click here to view John's pictures of the day.