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ROUTES!LAND

LAKES ● WALES ● SCOT

Welcome to

Hillwalking Your guide to exploring Britain’s high places

“WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT THEN?”

HOW TO CHOOSE KIT

The gear that will help you unlock the mountains

Why you’ll love our world

Skills

GET THE LINGO

13 essential safety tips

Beginner’s guide to walking jargon

d o it! Lear n to..

. Take a bea Become a r ing ‘bag Plan a rou ger’ t Conquer fe e ar

Higher living!

The 9 most exciting places to walk

Brought to you by

and


WELCOME… “W

hat’s the point? This whole hillwalking thing – seriously, mate, what’s the point?” That (along with “have you always been that short?”) has to be the most frequent question I’m asked. And I’ve never been able to answer it without getting all flustered. Not that I don’t know how to answer it, but purely because I have too many answers, and all of them try to get out at once and get stuck – a bit like Laurel and Hardy both trying to walk through a door at the same time. The thing is, to people who haven’t experienced the head-bending majesty of the Scottish Highlands bathed in the afterglow of a summer storm, or sat and listened to the wind howling outside a fire-lit bothy in the thrawl of the knowledge that there is nobody for miles, that elusive appeal is all a bit mysterious. But all it takes is one moment: one “aaaaaaah – so THAT’S it” moment. One snatched view, one shimmer on the surface of a mountain tarn, one sight of a golden eagle above the Lake District, one step above the cloud inversion into the secret world of the mountaintops… oh, I’ll have to stop. I’m getting all flustered again. Hopefully this little guide will go some way into transmitting the sheer joy of hillwalking to you in a more articulate manner. And when you’ve had your own moment, you’ll find Lots More People Like You in the magazines below. Happy walking! Simon Ingram Trail Magazine

CONTENTS Our world!

The experiences, the joy, the cameraderie… 4 ...these and more reasons why you’re going to love hillwalking! Location, location... 8 The top nine places in Britain whose mountain spell you won’t be able to resist.

Skills

Compass bearings, beating fear... 13 ...and 11 more essential skills in our expert-fuelled Q&A section.

What’s an ‘adze’? 22 How to get the lingo with our walking jargon buster.

kit

The gear that will help you unlock the hills! 26 From boots to bags – let our experts guide you.

ROUTES

Four great mountain walks! Here you can... 37 ...see an amazing view. 39 ...get a big mountain tick. 41 ...walk a classic route. 43 ...try your first scramble.

WHO WE ARE Welcome to Hillwalking was created by the experts from Trail and Country Walking. Media House, Lynchwood, Peterborough PE2 6EA www.livefortheoutdoors.com

Editor Simon Ingram Art editor Laura Harvey Writers Hanna Lindon, Phoebe Smith and Simon Ingram Production Paul Stratton Advertising director Heather Smith SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAGAZINES Tel: 0845 601 1356 (0845 calls from landlines cost 4p per min. Calls from mobiles may cost more) Monday to Friday, 8am-9.30pm; Saturday 8am-4pm. Email bauer@subscription.co.uk Web www.greatmagazines.co.uk ADVERTISE WITH US Tel: 01733 468442

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what it’s all about!

Welcome to our

world... Here’s a little snapshot of just some of the experiences which make a hillwalker’s life worth living!

Driving to the hills for the weekend

You’re off, map on lap. A weekend of adventure awaits. And the long drive gives you plenty of time to get excited about it…

Feeling the fear… then doing it anyway

Capturing the moment

You did it! And you’ll never forget it… 6

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Night-time in a bothy

Hunt out one of hundreds of these free, remote buildings studded around the uplands of the UK, and spend a night listening to the wind howling outdside. Creepy, cosy and brilliant. Check out www.mountainbothies.org

Riding the ‘burn’

Walking for two days through a blizzard, the wind threatening to rip your clothes off, no sleep because of the snow on your tent… it’s tough. But you’ll be talking about it for years.

Taking in the view...

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what it’s all about! Grabbing a snooze...

There are 60 million people in the UK. But the chances of one of them finding you taking forty winks at 3,000ft? Practically zero. So go on, relax!

Finding snow in summer

The highest places in the UK hold snow year-round…

Reaching the top

The feeling you get when you’ve been climbing all day, then suddenly there’s no more up, and you’re the highest human for miles? Unbeatable.

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A temperature inversion

The rest of the world lies below, covered in murk. You’re above the cloud on the summit, above you a sky of deepest blue. What could be better? Walk for long enough, you’ll see one...

Seeing a brocken spectre

A ghostly shadow of yourself on the cloud below you, surrounded by a rainbow-halo called a ‘glory’, is one of many phenomena unique to the hills. A rare and very special treat.

Never running out

Thousands of hills in the UK, 15 national parks, the world’s most accessible wild places... and its best pubs!

The post-walk pint

The fire’s crackling. The beer’s cold. The sky’s turning lovely, deep evening colours. Oh, go on. You’ve earned it. WWW.live for the outdoors.COM

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WHERE TO WALK

Location, Location! Classic pyramidal-shaped peaks, knife-edged ridges, endless vistas… the UK is blessed with an array of stunning hills. So where on earth do you begin? We asked the outdoor experts the key places you should check out…

Snowdonia, north Wales

From the wilds of the Carneddau to the mammoth bulk of Snowdon and the scrambly fun of the Glyders, Wales really is the big country. Must-see peak: Tryfan. Don’t just take our word for it: “Snowdonia has proper-shaped mountains, less Julia Bradbury and more Don Whillans, and we can enjoy great scrambling straight from the road,” says Rob Johnson MIC (www.expeditionguide.com). How hard? You can make the walking as hard or as easy as you like. Enjoy Sunday afternoon strolls with your kids one day and world-class mountaineering routes the next. If you only do one route… do the Snowdon Horseshoe. It’s hard to beat for sheer scrambling pleasure, stunning views and mountain architecture. You can even get a cup of tea halfway round!

Brecon Beacons, south Wales

Dramatic peaks rise up like giants among miles of grassy moors. And, with a network of remote waterfalls and hidden caves to discover, a trip here will unleash your inner explorer. Must-see peak: Pen y Fan. Don’t just take our word for it: “The Beacons are high mountains: nothing more, nothing less,” says Trail’s Wales’ routes writer Tom Hutton. “There are peaks over 800m in all four ranges.” How hard? Easier than Snowdonia or the Lakes but tougher than the other national parks in England or Wales. It’s a great place to cut your mountain teeth. If you only do one route… Try Pen y Fan and Corn Du from the north. You’ll take in the delights of Cefn Cwm Llwch, Pen y Fan, Corn Du, Craig Cwm Llwch, Llyn Cwm Llwch…

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Yorkshire Dales, England

The first time you set eyes on a limestone pavement you’ll feel like Dorothy about to follow your own personal yellow-brick road, but with river valleys, underground caving and a famous three peaks challenge to its name, this place is definitely better than Oz! Must-see peaks: Ingleborough, Pen-y-ghent and Whernside (the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge). Don’t just take our word for it: “The Dales have an amazing variety of dramatic landscapes and some of the most idyllic river valleys to make a satisfying day’s walking route,” says Yorkshire outdoor writer and photographer Paul Richardson. How hard? The Dales are no soft option, with a host of summits over 2,200ft to choose from. The popular routes are generally clear and easy to follow although some of the open moor routes can become pretty boggy. If you only do one route… Try out the cracker of a round starting at Kettlewell, taking in Great Whernside, Buckden Pike and returning via the River Wharfe.

Dartmoor, England

Free, legal wild-camping is just one reason to head to this southern walking gem. Add to that the emotive and heart-stirring sight of a seemingly endless moorland and the chance to scramble on some of the rocky outcrops and this place is hard to beat! Must-see peak: Cranmere Pool (and its letterbox). Don’t just take our word for it: “Big skies and sweeping vistas combine with rolling hills and a timeless landscape to create a wilderness experience like no other in England,” says Andy Hodges, of Dartmoor Mountain Rescue and author of ‘Mountain Adventures in the Maurienne’ (pb Cicerone). How hard? Navigation can really be a challenge in mist especially as a lot of walking covers ground over trackless hills. Ascents are not taxing. If you only do one route… Make it the Western Ridge – from Sourton Cross south to the pub at Horndon. It gives fabulous views and you’ll hit Sourton, Sourton Tor, Branscombe Loaf, Great Links Tor, Chat Tor, Hare Tor, Tavy Cleave Tor and Ger Tor, ending in Horndon.

Peak District, England

The gritstone edges that cut through the bleak moorland have been the location that kicked off the career of many a famous climber. But the Peak District is also home to some excellent walking that’s easy to access even by train. Must-see peak: Mam Tor. Don’t just take our word for it: “A combination of moorland walking, shapely tors and classic crags make the Peaks a mustvisit destination for walkers,” says Trail’s mountaineering editor Jeremy Ashcroft. How hard? It’s not technically hard and exposure is not an issue, but distances can be quite challenging. If you only do one route… A skirting of the edge of the Kinder Scout plateau starting from Edale. It’s a full day but it takes in the delights of Kinder Downfall, the surrounding valleys and the other-worldly tors – without any bog-hopping!

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where to walk Lake District, England Aside from the highest mountain in the whole of England, the Lakes is also home to some of the finest fells you’ll ever clap eyes on. There really is something for everyone. Must-see peak: Scafell Pike. Don’t just take our word for it: “The hills, valleys and lakes here have long been described as among the most beautiful in the UK and inspired a wealth of artists, writers and poets to make some of their best creations,” says Trail’s technical editor Graham Thompson. “At the foot of Scafell Pike lies Wastwater in the valley of Wasdale which was named Britain’s

favourite view on a public vote.” How hard? Relatively easy by hill and mountain standards, thanks to the popularity of the area that has given rise to well-used paths and a vast array of guidebooks. But as with all hill and mountain areas, the walking is more challenging than a valley walk. If you only do one route… Climb Scafell Pike from Wasdale via Sty Head and the Corridor Route, then descend over Lingmell Fell for the view back to Scafell and Scafell Pike.

Fort William and Glen coe, West Highlands, Scotland

From the soaring highs of Ben Nevis – the tallest peak in the whole of the British Isles – to the exciting scrambles on Buachaille Etive Mor and the drama of The Lost Valley, the West Highlands are a hillwalker’s adventure playground. Must-see peak: Buachaille Etive Mor. Don’t just take our word for it: “There’s so many great mountains close together you really are spoilt for choice,” says David Haygarth MIC (www.climbingcourses.co.uk). How hard? As challenging or as easy as you want to make it. If you only do one route… Ben Nevis via the CMD arête. Away from the crowds, it takes in some fine ridge-walking and allows you to gawp at the North Face in wonder.

Torridon, Northwest Highlands, Scotland

An area home to some of the wildest mountain experiences in Britain. Must-see peak: Beinn Eighe. Don’t just take our word for it: “The peaks of Torridon are simply dramatic,” says lightweight expert Peter Macfarlane. How hard? The walking can be tough here, big mountains, steep slopes and at times narrow ridges. If you only do one route… An Teallach is a monster hill of narrow twisting ridges, pinnacles and deep corries. But there's a straightforward route from Dundonnel over the shoulder of Meall Garbh to the Munro of Bidean a Ghlas Thuill.

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Cairngorms, Scotland

The Cairngorms hold a firm place in Scottish mountaineering history. Must-see peak: Ben Macdui. Don’t just take our word for it: “These hills are great for learning your winter skills basics as well as offering cracking walking in the summertime,” says Sandy Paterson MIC (www.sandypaterson.co.uk). How hard? A true mixture, but navigation can be challenging in poor conditions. If you only do one route… It’s got to be Ben Macdui from the Linn of Dee. A real classic.

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Get the knowledge

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Mountain SkillsQ&A Got a question about hillwalking but too bashful to ask? We address the most common beginner’s queries...

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Should I join a walking group?

There’s no reason why not. Groups are now officially back in fashion, and it’s the perfect way to get into hillwalking. As part of a group, you’ll be able to pick up tips from more experienced members and explore unfamiliar areas – not to mention socialising with likeminded outdoors types. Find a group local to you at www.ramblers.org.uk or meet fellow newbies at the www.lfto.com forum.

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2

What if I’m scared of heights?

Don’t let vertigo deter you from taking up hillwalking – there are plenty of fantastic high-level walks with minimal exposure. If you’re feeling brave, you could even see this as an opportunity to conquer your fears. “Fight your demon,” advises Will Legon, whose company Will4Adventure (www.will4adventure.com) runs courses on overcoming a fear of heights. “Go on nice hillwalks but also aim to tackle your fear by interchanging these days by ticking off some more challenging routes one at a time too. Make a list of your ‘scary’ walks in order of challenge. Keep the list on view so that it is always there tempting you. One by one, tackle these routes and build on your confidence. Make sure that navigation and route-finding don’t become an issue – go with someone that is experienced who can do this for you. Once the day is done, reflect on how great it feels.”

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Get the knowledge

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Who do I call if something goes wrong?

If you find yourself in a lifethreatening situation, dial 999 and ask for Mountain Rescue. Don’t have mobile reception? Make sure you leave a route card at home or at your accommodation before going out walking – you can download one at www.lfto.com. You should also consider carrying a survival kit – a thermal bag, whistle, headtorch and extra food rations.

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What if somebody gets hurt while on the hill?

“It depends on the injury, but your planning and preparation should include first-aid skills, communications and safety equipment to guarantee the best outcome,” says Duncan Clark. “Carrying a first-aid kit and knowing how to use it doesn’t just mean you could save someone’s life –minor injuries like a bruised knee can be sorted with a compression bandage, and a triangle bandage can stop a bleed or deal with a broken bone. Why not consider getting trained – the skills are useful in everyday life as well!” See www. sja.org.uk for courses. “If the casualty is immobile they need outside help. Call for it immediately (shout, whistle, torch, mobile phone) then look after yourself and them until professional help arrives. Memorise the

mountain distress call and emergency phone numbers and visit www.mountain.rescue. org.uk for more info. All this time, of course, you, the casualty and the rest of your party will be static on the hill: now who packed the group shelter?”

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Tell me about basic navigation techniques…

Navigation is an essential addition to the hillwalker’s skills arsenal. Mark Eddy, guide at www. mountain-journeys.co.uk, explains the basics that every beginner should know… ■ Kit: Familiarise yourself with the key and scale of the map you’ll be using, either 1:50,000 (less detailed, greater coverage) or 1:25,000 (more detail, less coverage) as this will be important when on the hill. A compass with a long baseplate is invaluable for accurate navigation in poor visibility. ■ Route-planning: Using the compass ‘romer scale’, measure the distance of your intended route. Try to visualise the route, making a mental note of significant features that can be used to aid navigation – summits, rivers, buildings and forests are all helpful. How much height will be gained (count the map contours)? What will the terrain be like (use the map key to help)?

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Welcome to Hillwalking

■ Taking a bearing: Using the edge of a compass, line up where you are with where you’d like to go. Whilst holding the compass completely still on the map, turn the bezel until the red arrow on the baseplate is aligned with north on the map. Now estimate the angle of direction this should be, for example, east would be 90°. Align the north arrow with the red arrow in the baseplate. Keeping the compass in front of you, hold it flat and steady and follow the direction-of-travel arrow.

■ Judging distance: To calculate distance travelled, it’s necessary to use pacing. This is different for all of us so find an area that’s a known 100m (such as a running track; 50m rope x 2, etc). Count each time your left foot touches the ground to arrive at your personal 100m pacing (mine is 63). This will change depending upon the terrain, so it’s necessary to practice this in good visibility and on varying terrain types prior to needing it for real.

The Silva Ranger, a great basic compass. Should cost around £20 from a gear shop.

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How many calories do I need for a day on the hill, and what should I pack for lunch?

You will need to consume between 3,000 and 5,000 calories for a full day on the hill, depending on your weight and the ascent involved. Pack high-energy treats that are easily accessed while wearing gloves, such as trail mix, cereal bars and flapjacks. Make sure you protect your sandwiches by keeping them in a dry bag – a soggy lunch can cast a damper on even the best day on the hill.

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Help, I’m lost!

“No you’re not, you’re misplaced,” says Mark Eddy. “Stop and take time to think. What type of terrain have you covered, on what bearing and for how long? Can you retrace your steps? If so, do this to your last known location. “If you can’t do the above, for whatever reason, consider your immediate surroundings. What is the slope doing? Try to follow a gently descending traverse, take a bearing along the slope and follow it as you descend. As more ground is covered, try to pick up information from the terrain, keep a particular lookout for linear features. If you do arrive at a linear feature (eg a stream) orientate the map to the feature, this often means you’ve now found yourself ! Also, by following a descending traverse line, it’s far more likely you’ll emerge below the cloud, with improved visibility. It’s now easy to use more distant features to determine your position.”

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I’ve heard that some hillwalkers are ‘peak-baggers’. What’s all that about?

Some walkers are keen on ‘collecting’ peaks, such as the Scottish Munros or the Wainwrights (see ‘Hillwalking Jargon Buster’, p22). If you’re interested in starting your very own tick-list then there are plenty of places where you can get tips and share your experiences. www.peakbagging.co.uk is a good place to get started. Peak-bagging – be it Wainwrights, Munros or Welsh 3000ers – is a great way to see the hills.

I’m planning my first wild-camp – what do I need to know?

Wild-camping is only tolerated, not legal – except in Scotland and on Dartmoor. But that shouldn’t put off responsible walkers. “In practice, camping on unenclosed hills is widely tolerated if you are discreet and leave no trace,” says Duncan Clark, course director for the Survival Instructor Award. “Remember that your tent is your refuge so it’s worth choosing carefully – tunnel tents are easy to pitch but geodesic designs are stronger. Rivers can flood and rocks and trees can fall, so choose a site away from danger and always take headtorch, whistle and phone.”

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Duncan also advises would-be wild-campers not to weight themselves down. “Walk further and enjoy yourself more by targeting a pack weight of 20-25lbs. Leaving nonessential kit behind is scary but it’s all part of the learning curve!” See www. outdooraccess-scotland.com and www.nationalparks.gov.uk for more on the legalities of wild-camping. To find out more about Duncan, visit www.northridgeadventure.co.uk

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Can I still walk in winter?

“Your walking need not stop when the nights draw in and/or the snow starts falling, but you’ll need some additional skills,” says William Legon from Will4Adventure. “First you must be good at navigating in all weathers and with little or no visibility. Remember snow or cloud can obscure features such as footpaths and tracks so confidence with a map and compass is a must. Next learn about the hazards that come with the season – rivers in spate, avalanche awareness and the effects of extremes of weather. Finally buy the kit and learn how to use it – walking with crampons, arresting with an axe and digging a snow hole. Then get out and enjoy a whole new vista presented by the very same hills you trod in the summer.”

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Any tips on staying hydrated?

According to Richard Samuels of CamelBak, your water bottle is your most important piece of kit. “A rule of thumb is that you need to take at least a litre of water for every hour of physical activity,” he says. “Energy drinks can enhance rehydration, thanks to the inclusion of sodium, the key electrolyte lost through sweating, if no other form of food is taken. Bear in mind that you can lose more than a litre of water per hour through sweating, so the rule above is very important.” Bear in mind, though, that the way you consume liquid is almost as important as the amount you drink. “Regular sipping of water – two good glugs every 10 minutes – is far more beneficial than not drinking much at all and then downing a larger quantity when you’ve finished.”

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What if I run out of water?

“Firstly, check your map for the nearest source of running water,” advises Joe O’Leary of www. wilderness-survival.co.uk. “No map? No obvious running water? Get up on to some high ground and search the surrounding terrain for potential places to fill up (valleys, dips and cliff bases, areas with unusually lush vegetation). You may need to divert a trickle, dig down into soggy ground or even catch the rain in your tent flysheet! Keep an open mind. Whatever your source of wild water, you must filter and sterilize it to avoid becoming very ill in the middle of nowhere. No expensive water purification gear? Pour your gathered water through a T-shirt to filter out irritating particles, then heat it to a rolling boil to sterilize.”

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What happens when I, er, need the loo on the hill?

“A lot of people are embarrassed about going to the loo outside, but when you’ve been hillwalking for a few years you won’t care!” says MCofS Mountain Safety Officer Heather Morning. “It might be tempting to hide behind a wall or a boulder, but people may want to shelter behind that in bad weather so you’re better off going out in the open. If you’re in a well-used area then go some way off the track and ideally dig a hole and bury it. Try to avoid going near a watercourse, and use something natural such as moss, leaves or snow to wipe – there’s nothing worse than seeing bog roll on the hill!” If you’re keen to know more, then the MCofS publish a free leaflet called ‘Where To Go In The Great Outdoors’, available at www.mcofs.org.uk Alternatively, have a flick through ‘How to Shit In The Woods’ by Kathleen Meyer.

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KNOW THE LINGO...

Hillwalking r buste gon r ja ng mates are on Ever wondered what your walki Let us clear things up for you…

A

about?

Left: correct use of an ADZE. Below: enjoying a BIVVY.

xe Adze: The blunt end of your ice-a . snow in s hold foot – use it to chop Altitude sickness: Medical conditions associated with high altitudes. Symptoms can include hear t. headaches, nausea and a racing p Arete: Ridge-like feature on a stee rs. mble scra ng amo lar rock-face, popu

B

Ben Nevis: At 1,344m it’s Britain’s highest mountain. star s Bivvy: Overnighting under the ection. prot for bag a than e mor with no rop outc y rock t Buttress: A prominen n. ntai mou a of side the from out jutting

C

trail. Cairn: Pile of stones mar king a s. peak two een betw pass ll Sma : Col 0 2,50 een betw peak Corbett: Scottish 0ft. 3,00 and of Cornice: An overhanging edge d like avoi – mit sum or e ridg a on snow the plague! ts in Country Tops: The highest poin ty. each British coun ents Crampons: Spiky boot attachm . snow in helpful for walking within a Cwm: In Welsh, a hanging valley lake. a g ainin cont mountain range, often land. Scot in ie corr a as to red refer Also

E

the Eight-thousander: One of called wor ld’s 14 highest mountains, so 0m. 8,00 e as it stands abov

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Walking a MUNRO in Scotland's Mamores.

Exposure: A scar y drop, or the distance which a walker could fall from a route.

F G

is Flake: A thick slab of rock that from ched deta ially part detached or the main cliff.

h Gaiters: Items of clothing whic attach to the lower part of the leg. have Mysterious to all but those who walked over a bogg y moor wearing them and seen them in action. e Gorge: Opening in a mountainsid its ugh thro ing flow am stre with a WWW.live for the outdoors.COM


A mountain TARN in Snowdonia.

as a bottom. Can also be referred to l. ghyl ravine or land Graham: One of 224 hills in Scot and 0 2,00 een betw of n atio with an elev . 2,499ft and a drop of at least 150m

A superb example of a BUTTRESS.

H

e of Hanging corrie: An enclosur ll mountains that sits around a sma e. nsid ntai mou a on valley land, Hewitts: Any of 525 hills in Eng an with 0ft 2,00 over nd Irela and Wales . 30m t leas all-round drop of at tion Hypothermia: The body’s reac de to extreme cold. Symptons inclu usion. uncontrollable shivering and conf

I M

Left: your ICE-AXE is your friend in winter. Below: a CAIRN marking a descent route.

Ice-axe: Essential safety tool for snowy winter walks.

with Marilyn: One of 1,554 UK hills . an all-round drop of at least 150m y ntar Volu e: Rescu Mountain g in search and rescue teams operatin the ss acro ents ronm envi s mountainou UK. The good guys! in Munro: One of 283 mountains Scotland over 3,000ft.

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KNOW THE LINGO...

SCRAMBLING a RIB of rock in the Lake District. Below: a PLUNGE STEP.

Crib Goch, par t of the SNOWDON Hor seshoe .

P N

by Neve: Hard snow-pack formed s. haw ze-t repeated free Nuttall: One of 443 hills in with England and Wales over 2,000ft . an all-round drop of at least 15m

O

no Outcrop: A small cliff, usually bigger than a house. Overhang: Large horizontal news overhanging piece of rock. Bad ! way your if it’s in

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n’ Peak-bagging: The ‘collectio a wing follo lly of summits, usua s, prescribed list such as the Mar ilyn s. ight nwr Munros or Wai Plunge step: Downhill walking motion used in deep snow.

R S

cliff. Rib: Slender ridge of rock on a

een Saddle: A large, high pass betw two peaks. Scrambling: The grey area . between walking and rock-climbing

h Scree: Loose, broken rock whic ers. walk to s rdou haza can be Seven summits: The tallest mountains on each of the seven different continents. er Sherpa: Nepalese mountain port wor king at or above basecamp. n in Snowdon: The highest mountai 5m. 1,08 England and Wales at

T W

by Tarn: Body of water surrounded in an loch or loch a land (also called Scotland or an ilyn in Wales).

Wainwrights: Lake District ed hills with a chapter in one of Alfr the to e Guid l oria ‘Pict ’s ight Wainwr all. Lakeland Fells’. There are 214 in

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hillwalking gear

Get kitted out! W Choosing the right gear for walking the British hills can be a key part of your success – and is a big part of the fun. Here's some help...

ith so many brands, colours and labels vying for your attention, walking in a gear shop can be an overwhelming experience. But when it comes to hillwalking, taking the right kit can make the difference between a good and a great day out, so it’s vital to know which are the bare essentials. Here are the basics to help you navigate your way through the aisles...

Rucksack

For a day-walk a 35-litre rucksack will do the job. Just make sure it fits your frame well (women may want to look for a female-specific fit).

Walking poles

Your knees will really take the strain on the hills, especially on descents, so these are well worth the weight.

Hat and gloves

If you don’t keep your head covered you can lose around 50 per cent of your body heat, so it’s vital that you keep it warm. In the summer a good sun hat will stop you overheating. You’ll be using your hands frequently to go in and out of your rucksack and navigate so it’s vital that you keep them warm, dry and functional. Temperatures can plummet on the hills so always take them – even in the summer.

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Welcome to Hillwalking

Walking Trousers

So that you can keep moving unencumbered look for quick-drying, water-resistant, breathable fabric with built-in stretch.

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Dry bags

No rucksack is fully waterproof, so if you want to keep the contents dry, investing in these is a must.

Waterproof jacket and overtrousers

Absolutely essential items as these will keep you dry when the typical British rain kicks in. Whether you go for Gore-Tex, eVENT or one of the other options available, the main thing you want is maximum waterproofness and breathability, and look out for stormflaps on zips and rain-sealed pockets.

Boots

For walking below the snowline three-season boots are a great option for general hillwalking. Make sure you try them on before you buy them as everyone’s feet are different shapes so what’s right for your friend may not be right for you.

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hillwalking gear What’s in your rucksack? Regardless of the weather or your experience on the hills there are certain items of kit you should always take with you…

A headtorch (and spare batteries)

A survival bag

A compass (with a knowledge of how to use it)

A whistle – and know the emergency signal (six blasts, then a minute, then repeat)

A map (and be able to read it)

Optional extras Not every bit of kit you buy will be essential. These items can make your day that bit more comfortable…

Socks – a pair of comfortable, light, warm and quickdrying socks can make even wellfitting boots feel more like slippers

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Buff – use it as headband, hat, balaclava. The choices are endless Gaiters – these will stop water and debris getting in through the top of your boot. Great for boggy terrain

Flask – the sip of a hot drink on a windy hill can warm you from head to toe Welcome to Hillwalking

23


HILLWALKING GEAR Layering explained

“The key to comfortable hillwalking is not to overdress so that you start sweating early into your walk,” says Trail’s technical editor Graham Thompson. “Using the threelayer system will help you control your temperature as you can simply add or remove a layer as you warm up or cool down, without continuously stopping and starting.” There are three layers you should have: ■ Base-layer – this is the one that will sit against your skin, trapping warm air and moving moisture away from your body. Can be synthetic or merino wool.

Mid-layer

Base-layer Outerlayer

■ Mid-layer – this provides insulation and should be made of a warm but breathable fabric. Options here include fleece, soft shell or a primaloft/down gilet. ■ Outer-layer – this is usually your waterproof jacket that keeps the wind and rain at bay. Remember you can wear all three at once or just a combination of two depending on the conditions.

The last word…

When buying kit the most important thing to remember is that everyone’s different. “What’s right for one person is not always right for another, so it’s always important that you try as many different pieces of gear on as possible until you find what works best for you,” says Trail’s gear guru Graham Thompson. “And remember what you need from your kit will change as you evolve from novice hillwalker into competent mountaineer, so keep in mind the activities you want to do and above all be comfortable in all your gear.”

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Welcome to Hillwalking

Eat right! Walking o n ru

gged, unev terrain m en eans, on average, you’ll be burning a round 35 calories/ 0 hour (acc ording to British N the utrition A ssociatio so take p n) lenty of sn acks that are high in energy an da minimum 1.5 litres of water.

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hat if camping isn’t your thing, but you want the same affordable, immersive experience of waking up in the heart of the mountains? Then consider a Pod! Pods are a unique place to stay – just look at the pictures – and allow you to get closer to the mountains in comfort. Their vibe is a perfect blend between Scandinavian chic and ‘Lord of the Rings’, made from natural materials to keep you warm and dry, while the double-glazed French doors provide you with a cosy view if it’s raining and a breath of fresh air when it’s warm. You can see how appealingly unique a Pod is: the best news is that they are located right in the middle of many of the UK’s most exciting mountain heartlands, and so are

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ROUTES Four fantastic UK hillwalks, taking you from mountain novice to your first scramble...

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hen it comes to hillwalking, choice of route and accurate directions are key to the enjoyment of your day. At Trail and Country Walking, every month we corral the best outdoor writers and photographers to bring you dozens of superb walks, from strolls to county tops to the highest mountains in the UK. The following walks cover just this spectrum, giving you the chance to break in your boots on a comely Lakeland fell, before ticking off your first Munro, climbing the highest mountain in England and trying your first scramble amidst the grandeur of Snowdonia. It's quite a trip!

STRENUOUSNESS

How tired will this route make me? The times quoted for Trail Routes are based on estimates of 4km per hour, plus 30 min for every 300m of ascent, with another hour added for rests every 8 hours. The blocks give you an at-a-glance guide: ■ Quickie ■ ■ Short day ■ ■ ■ Full day ■ ■ ■ ■ Very full day ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Endurance test

NAVIGATION

How tricky is this route to follow? ■ Clear, well-marked paths in a valley or following a linear feature, like Hadrian’s Wall or the South West Coast Path ■ ■ Valley, moor, hill or mountain paths which are normally clear but low cloud could affect your ability to follow paths ■ ■ ■ Almost pathless in valleys;

& Route 1: wansfell rict Loughrigg, Lake Dist

Route 2: ben lomond, south highlands

Route 4: cnicht, snowdonia Route 3: Scafell Pike, Lake District

less clear paths on moors, hills and mountains, but generally following clearly defined hill shapes ■ ■ ■ ■ Some paths but not clear, not well-used or some confusion possible ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Open moorland, mountain plateau or crag without paths. Route confusion likely and close attention to navigation needed at all times

TECHNICALITY

How difficult will I find it? ■ Easy walks in gentle countryside ■ ■ Unthreatening slopes with no exposure ■ ■ ■ Typical Lakes fellwalk – rough, rocky ground, bogs and steeper slopes ■ ■ ■ ■ Steep, rough ground and scree. Occasional exposure ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Hands required for at least one move – airy and steep throughout ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Grade 1 scramble

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Welcome to hillwalking

27


ROUTE 1: lake district

Great VIEW! 19.3km/12 miles STRENUOUSNESS ■■ ■ ■ ■ NAVIGATION ■■ ■ ■ ■ TECHNICALITY ■■ ■ ■ ■ wainwright COUNT 2

Wansfell & Loughrigg

tom bailey

Loughrigg Tarn, from Loughrigg.

One of the quintessential walks of the Lake District is also one of its most accessible, and is the perfect place to appreciate all that’s great about hillwalking…

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Log on now! www.trailroutes.com

graham thompson

Y

ou don’t have to head for the highest hills to have a great day out; there’s no need to set off before sunrise and descend after dark no matter what time of year it is. That’s the great thing about hillwalking in the UK – there’s always something to do, no matter what kind of mountain experience you’re after, from gentle walking to full-on mountaineering. A great place to base yourself if you’re just starting out is the Lake District, and in this case, the town of Ambleside. Here you can find all the kit you need, helpful shop staff with buckets of advice, great cafés to grab a pre-walk breakfast, and brilliant pubs in which to unwind in the evening. Loughrigg Fell and Wansfell Pike above Ambleside are two great little peaks that provide less-challenging walking where you can get acquainted with the joys of hillwalking within sumptuous sight of the surrounding

Ambleside across Lake Windemere.

mountains. A great introduction to the hills, the pair can also be tackled in a figure-of-eight route starting from Ambleside if you want a full eight-hour day on the hill. Alternatively, if you fancy a shorter walk, then do each hill on a separate day over a weekend. Either way, Loughrigg Fell and Wansfell Pike will bring you some of the best views there are in the

Lake District. This route climbs Wansfell Pike first, but you could easily start with Loughrigg Fell. If you’re tackling the walk in one eight-hour day the cafés of Ambleside provide the perfect lunchtime retreat. Go for a clear day for maximum view payoff – and make sure you pack weatherproof kit, as on any hillwalk!

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Welcome to Hillwalking


Aberdeen

Mallaig

Braemar

Fort William Oban

ROUTE 1: lake district

Glasgow

Great VIEW

Edinburgh

Berwick-upon-Tweed

FACTS Newcastle -upon-Tyne Middlesbrough

Keswick Kendal Lancaster

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A digital revolution in digital mapping for the outdoors.

www.mapyx.com

7 2

Ingleton Bentham Skipton

Distance 19.3km (12 miles)

6

NY376045 From centre of Ambleside, walk Sheffield between Barclays Bank Time 7-8 hours (or two Betws-y-Coed and Salutation Hotel shorter Llangollen walks) Derbythen turn L on to Stock Start/finish Ghyll Lane. After around Ambleside, NY375045 300m youPeterborough can leave the Birmingham road for a track leading Nearest town down through woods to Ambleside Hay-on-Wye Stock Ghyll. The path BreconRelatively Terrain leads along Stock Ghyll low fells with clear to a Y-junction, where Oxford Pembroke paths; but in low cloud, you turn L to descend mist or rain good and cross the river via a navigational skillsBristol will bridge, before climbing still be required steeply up the northern bank. You then arrive Minehead Maps OS Explorer at another bridge where Southampton (1:25,000) OL7; OS Brighton you can cross the head Landranger (1:50,000) Poole of the waterfalls in quite 90; Harveys Walker spectacular style. After Bodmin (1:40,000) and crossing the bridge, stay Plymouth Superwalker (1:25,000) L to follow path to road. Lakeland Central Accommodation Youth hostel (tel: 0870 770 5672), B&Bs and hotels in Ambleside; campsite in surrounding areas at Low Wray, on the western shore of Windermere Public transport Regular trains to Windermere with connecting buses to Ambleside – tel: 0870 608 2608 Guidebook ‘The Far Eastern Fells’ by A Wainwright, pb Frances Lincoln Tourist information Ambleside – tel: 015394 32582

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NY384045 Turn R on to this path and follow it over a cattle grid and up the valley. A stile on the R soon appears. Climb this to follow a path through fields to another gate in a wall. From here a clear path climbs south-east, directly up the slopes of Wansfell Pike.

2

might want to head for the Mortal Man pub along the road to the L. But if you are planning on tackling Loughrigg Fell the same afternoon, turn R and follow the road to the post office, from where you can take a bridleway back to Ambleside via Jenkin Crag. NY383028 At Jenkin Crag, stunning views are to be had across Windermere to Loughrigg. The path continues down into Ambleside. If you want to have a rest, then head for one of the many cafés for a cuppa and some cake! After your rest, walk under the tall spire of St Mary’s Church into Rothay Park.

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NY409034 The path meets the road in the Troutbeck Valley. If you are spreading the route up Wansfell over the whole day, then you

straight through Rothay Park and cross the River Rothay via a stone bridge. Turn R over a cattle grid and then L over another cattle grid, from where a steep climb leads on to Loughrigg Fell. The steep zig-zags lead through woods until finally a gate marks entry to the open fell. The path is still very clear and crosses a stream at its highest point. The main path continues to Loughrigg Tarn, so leave it by

turning R to follow a steeper path that undulates north-west towards the summit of Loughrigg Fell.

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NY346051 At 335m above sea-level Loughrigg Fell is far from high, but its position between the valleys of Langdale and Rydal make it one of the best viewpoints there is in the Lake District. The walking continues along the clear path northwest, down to Loughrigg Terrace. Turn R here to follow a clear path. NY343057 Follow the Loughrigg Terrace path north-east and then east above Rydal Water. By taking a R fork at NY348059 you can visit Rydal Cave. You can follow the main paths east through woods to meet a lane which you take to Pelter Bridge beside the A591.

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Welcome to Hillwalking

NY371045 Walk

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Heading up Loughrigg looking over Grasmere.

The 3 NY394041 summit of Wansfell Pike features a rocky cluster which provides grandstand views of the Lake District fells. The views over Ambleside are particularly impressive. Step over the stile on the summit and descend via a clear path into the Troutbeck Valley.

tom bailey

© Crown copyright in association with MM/EMAP’s media licence no. AM122/05

Total ascent Manchester 800m

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Routes in association with Mapyx

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NY366059 At Pelter Bridge, turn R to follow a minor road in a southerly direction back to Rothay Park and then on to Ambleside.

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ROUTE 2: South highlands Here: reaching the top of the north-east ridge. Below: Ben Lomond’s summit, from Ptarmigan Ridge.

Big Tick!

13km/8 miles

peter macfarlane

STRENUOUSNESS ■■ ■ ■ ■ NAVIGATION ■■ ■ ■ ■ TECHNICALITY ■■ ■ ■ ■ Munro COUNT 1 TRAIL 100 1

Ben Lomond

Head for the Highlands and take a walk to the dark side of Ben Lomond – where you can tick off your first Munro!

B

en Lomond is a fine hill, deserving of its popularity. It should have a big flag on the summit saying ‘The Highlands start here!’ It’s many a walker’s first Munro – the name given to the 283 mountains in Scotland over 3,000ft – and its accessibility means it vies with Ben Nevis and Cairn Gorm as Scotland’s mostclimbed mountain. Countless feet have worn a wide path up the nose of Sron Aonaich and along its easy south ridge, and even the less-frequented Ptarmigan Ridge is seeing more traffic these days. Ben Lomond bears its load well, though, looming over Loch Lomond like a benign

giant with its arms outstretched for people to clamber along and up on to its wide summit cone. But that image is a little misleading, for the summit cone is actually a narrow ridge and far below over its precipitous edge lies a wild corrie with cliffs, steep ridges and trackless rough terrain. Ben Lomond is my local hill, and over the years I’ve explored it from all angles. It’s so much more than a quick up-anddown from the

Rowardennan car park. It covers a huge area, throwing ridges out to all sides, and approaches can be made from all points of the compass. But for a first step into the unknown, this route shows you the real face of Ben Lomond, its summit perched over its dramatic northern corrie, a hard ascent via its north-east ridge – and all still accessible from the car park. After this, you’ll want to explore further…

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Welcome to Hillwalking


ROUTE 2: South highlands Ullapool

FACTS

Inverness

Mallaig

Braemar

A digital revolution in digital mapping for the outdoors.

Fort William

www.mapyx.com

Oban

Glasgow

Big Tick

Routes in association with Mapyx

Aberdeen

4

Edinburgh Berwick-upon-Tweed

3 6

Distance 13km (8 miles) Newcastle -upon-Tyne

Total ascent 1,231m

derry

Time 5½ hours Belfast

Start/finish NS359986 Keswick Nearest town Drymen

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Kendal

© Crown copyright in association with MM/BAUER’s media licence no. AM105/09

rford

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MapsPembroke OS Landranger (1:50,000) 25; OS Explorer (1:25,000) 429

Peterborough

Oxford Bristol

Accommodation Youth hostel and hotel atMinehead Rowardennan; various other options along the east side of Loch Lomond including Bodmin campsites Plymouth Public transport Bus to Balmaha, 8 miles away. Nearest train station is Balloch. Ferry from Inverbeg on the opposite bank of Loch Lomond, but check availability – tel: 01360 870273 Guidebook ‘The Southern Highlands’ by DJ Bennet, pb SMC Tourist info www.lochlomondtrossachs.org

Welcome to Hillwalking

NS359986 Start at Rowardennan car park and follow the West Highland Way north past youth hostel and then ranger station, after which you cross a small bridge and immediately turn R to follow a track into trees by burn. This climbs steeply and once through a gate, trees thin and you emerge on to steep ground where you follow a well-defined track that curves to L and contours northwards along hillside to Ptarmigan. Take care, as track cuts into steep ground until near minor top of Tom Fithich.

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Ingleton Terrain Road then Bentham steep hillside via easyLancaster Skipton to-follow track and a steep hillside traverse on to a well-defined ridge. Pathless, rough and steep terrain Manchester Sheffield then the north-east ridge (steep, with Betws-y-Coed easy scrambling and Llangollen Derby some exposure). All difficulties avoided by keeping L on ascent. Birmingham Tourist path to summit then a steep and airy Hay-on-Wye descent to rejoin the Brecon outgoing route

Dublin

5

Middlesbrough

Southampton Poole

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Brighton

NN358021 Once through a gate, track rises over and works its way around crags and knolls of Ptarmigan Ridge. There are zig-zags to deal with and some stepping stones, but track is welldefined. Enjoy clear views from crest of Ptarmigan to waves of peaks of Southern Highlands and to Ben Lomond’s fine summit ridge.

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NN362030 As you reach bottom of steep pull up to summit, leave track as it turns R up ridge and descend north-east into rough, trackless terrain. Traverse down and around most

difficult and steep ground, picking your way around crags and over numerous burns. In poor visibility it’s probably easier to descend north-east until you reach a fence lower down and follow that eastwards to bottom of north-east ridge.Look up for brand new views of Ben Lomond, and savour the flavour of adventure as you work your way around the obstacles and into the northern corrie where steep cliffs and gullies make up the skyline.

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NN374032 Aim for lowest, large slabby crag on north-east ridge, and work your way around it – above it if it’s dry, or below it if the ground is wet. Turn sharp R and start on steep ascent. If you stay to R side of ridge crest near cliffs you’ll get the best views, some easy scrambling and the most fun. But if conditions or nerves dictate another approach, easier ground is found a few metres to L and ascent can be made mostly on steep grass. NN371026 The ridge is long and uniformly steep, but views to hidden side of Ben Lomond, dark and dramatic, will keep you moving – and all too soon you’ll find top of ridge, where to your R the sight of the broken line of corrie rim is this secret route’s last gift before you turn R and walk rim that joins traditional track a couple of hundred metres from summit. Here you’ll meet fellow walkers for the first time in a while. Linger at the trig pillar and admire views from the Southern Uplands to Ben Nevis and all points in between.

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NN366028 From summit descend steeply north-west on a well-defined but loose track and after losing 200m of height rejoin ascent route where you left it.

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ROUTE 3: lake district

classic route!

The highest point in England: yours for the taking!

14 km/8¾ miles

simoningram

STRENUOUSNESS ■■■■ ■ NAVIGATION ■■■■ ■ TECHNICALITY ■■■■ ■ wainwright COUNT 2

Scafell Pike

Following the pioneers of Lakeland walking, head to outdoor capital Wasdale Head for a classic-flavoured ascent of England’s highest mountain.

T

he Wasdale Valley is unarguably the The spellbinding view down to Wast Water from Scafell Pike. mountaineering capital of the Lake District. The 1872, ‘Jenkinson’s Practical Guide to the English Lake District’ describes ‘Wastdale Head’ as lying at the foot of “the most wild and lofty mountains in the district.” In 1886 the valley of Wasdale became the birthplace of modern rockclimbing when Walter Parry Haskett Smith climbed Napes Needle on Great Gable. But even by 1890 the fascination mountain exploration. The inn’s Ritson of climbing was only known Bar is named after the first landlord, by a select few in Britain, and it would Will Ritson, who was the first ‘World’s not be until around 1900 that the sport Biggest Liar’. Today the bar is where would really take hold in Wasdale. everyone congregates after a day on the The Wasdale Head Hotel, as it was fells, while the log-burning stove and then known, became the popular base of WWW.live for the outdoors.COM

real ales from the Great Gable Brewery keep you warm. The most famous peak in England and Wasdale is almost certainly Scafell Pike, the highest peak in the land at 977m/3,205ft above sealevel. The most popular path on to Scafell Pike follows the Corridor Route from Sty Head above Wasdale. In the late 19th-century it was known as the Guides Route as it was a popular course used by local guides taking tourists on to Scafell Pike. Having climbed Scafell Pike it would be a shame to miss out neighbouring Scafell, which was originally thought to have been the higher of the two. So this route takes in both peaks – which are also Wainwrights (see p24) – in one long walk before returning to Wasdale. Welcome to Hillwalking

32


allaig

Braemar

Fort William Oban

classic route!

ROUTE 3: lake district

Glasgow

Edinburgh

Berwick-upon-Tweed

NY187087 There is parking on the green just before you reach Newcastle -upon-Tyne Wasdale Head Inn. A clear path leads north-east to Burnthwaite Farm and Middlesbrough Keswick up the slopes of Great Gable to Sty Head. Kendal This path is very Ingleton clear underfoot and Bentham Lancaster provides stunning Skipton views back over valley, with the Scafell massif dominating the view Distance 14km to the south-east. Its (8¾ miles) Manchester ruffled contours give Sheffield Total ascent 1,200m no obvious way of Betws-y-Coed ascent, although if TimeLlangollen 6-7 hours you know where Start/finish Wasdale Derby to look the rising Head, NY186088 terrace Peterborough followed Nearest town Birmingham by the Corridor Whitehaven Route can be Hay-on-Wye seen snaking a Terrain A very rocky Brecon route across the mountain walk with mountain. steep ascent and

FACTS

Pembroke

© Crown copyright in association with MM/EMAP’s media licence no. AM122/05

Bodmin

descents on loose rock; navigation problems can exist in lowBristol cloud or mist. In later autumn and winter, snow and Minehead ice may cover the ground, in which case Poole ice-axes and crampons are recommended

Plymouth

Maps OS Explorer (1:25,000) OL6, OS Landranger (1:50,000) 89, Harvey Walker (1:40,000) and Superwalker (1:25,000) Lakeland West Accommodation Youth hostel at western end of Wast Water – tel: 0845 371 9350; campsites, hotel, B&Bs at Wasdale Head Public transport Trains to Seascale, buses to Gosforth, tel: 01228 606000 Guidebook ‘The Western Fells of Lakeland’ by A Wainwright, pb Frances Lincoln Tourist info Whitehaven – tel: 01946 852939

Routes in association with Mapyx A digital revolution in digital mapping for the outdoors.

www.mapyx.com

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3 7

Oxford

NY218094 Sty Head has been a junction of paths since Victorian tourists began exploring the fells. There Southampton is a MountainBrighton Rescue stretcher box here too. The Corridor Route is your objective, and this can be found by heading east for about 100m and then picking out a path leading south-south-west under the folds of crags on Great End to traverse the lower shelves of the Scafell massif.

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NY213077 The path slips close to the head of a deep ravine with a waterfall crashing down its walls. This is the head of Piers Gill. From here look for a path junction where the L fork can be taken to climb directly on to Scafell Pike. If you miss this first junction, you’ll rise to a col, south of Lingmell, from where another path that has risen from Wasdale can be joined and traced to the summit of Scafell Pike.

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Scafell Pike from Scafell.

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NY215072 A huge cairn, loads of wind shelters and a trig point adorn the summit of Scafell Pike. On average air temperature drops by 1 deg C for every 150m of altitude. Therefore,

as Scafell Pike rises to 977m, the summit should be around 6.5 degrees cooler than the valley, so you might want to slip on a warm jacket during lunch while taking in the view. The walk continues by leaving the summit and heading for Scafell, which you can do by heading south-west to Mickledore.

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NY210069 The safest route on to Scafell follows the Foxes Tarn path, which you reach by descending east down the

screes below the Scafell crags to an obvious ravine with a stream running down it. Climb directly up this ravine, with a clear path gradually emerging underfoot from the stream. A steep path through the scree carries you on to the summit of Scafell.

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NY206064 Scafell receives fewer visitors than Scafell Pike, so don’t be surprised if you have the summit to yourself.

The views are arguably at least as good if not better than those from Scafell Pike too. Descend west down the broad open slopes of Scafell’s flanks.

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NY183073 Path from Scafell descends over Green How and eventually arrives at Brackenclose at the head of Wast Water. A path leads past the campsite to the start at Wasdale Head.

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Welcome to Hillwalking

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ROUTE 4: Snowdonia

fi st scrarmblE

STRENUOUSNESS ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ NAVIGATION ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ TECHNICALITY ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

tom bailey

10km/6¼ miles

Reaching the summit of Cnicht after enjoying a nice bit of Welsh hands-on action.

Cnicht

Small but perfectly formed, Cnicht is a must-do Snowdonia peak, with a thrilling little section ideal for you to get to grips with scrambling...

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ales’ Moelwyns seem to have many distinguishing characteristics – chief amongst them the stunningly sharp summit of Cnicht, which projects from the skyline like a barb when navigating the roads near Beddgelert and never fails to grab attention. What’s brilliant about Cnicht – which translates as ‘knight’ – is that for such a seemingly impenetrable peak it is also eminently doable, by anyone with a moderate head for heights who is keen to get their hands on rock. Scrambling warrants great care on any hills, but it’s tremendous fun, and provides a walk with a tremendous feeling of expedition. WWW.live for the outdoors.COM

and explore some of Snowdonia’s quieter reaches. The clamber on to Cnicht is rough but straightforward, but the link between the shapely summit and the remains of the quarrying industry at Rhosydd is anything but straightforward: the way can be boggy and will take careful navigation. The final descent is painless enough, but even on the best of days you’ll probably be surprised at how long it all takes. Challenging, but fun which is what hillwalking’s all about!

Cnicht’s pyramidal summit is striking up close and from afar.

This is a great walk: short but incredibly rewarding, and also a fine challenge to put navigation skills to the test, enjoy some low-grade scrambling

Welcome to Hillwalking

34


Newcastle -upon-Tyne

derry Belfast

ROUTE 4: Snowdonia Middlesbrough

Keswick

Fi st scrarmbl e

Kendal

FACTS Dublin

© Crown copyright in association with Mapyx/BAUER’s media licence no. AM105/09

ford

35

Ingleton

Lancaster

SH631446 Walk 1 Bentham back out of car

can be incredibly wet. Stay with path as it climbs again, and then keep R over a short, scrambly section to follow faint path along eastern shores of Llynnau Diffwys.

park,Skipton past interpretation board, and then turn R to walk along road to its end. Continue straight Manchester ahead through gate and Sheffield along rough track. At top Continue, bear R, again well-signed, Betws-y-Coed 4 SH660468 Llangollen still on a faint path through another gate Derby that winds its way across to head almost directly boggy, undulating ground, towards Cnicht’s shapely Peterborough Birmingham and this will eventually summit. Now stay with drop to quarry road that obvious but rough path leads west across Bwlch Distance 10km Hay-on-Wye as it runs along north yr Rhosydd. Join quarry flanks of ridge, crossing a (6¼ miles) Brecon road and turn R (L if you succession of stiles, and Total ascent 620m want to explore ruins) to eventually Oxford delivering you Pembroke Time 4-5 hours elevated section, where on to crest of ridge. you should turn L to Start/finish Croesor, Bristol follow another rough path Now SH631446 2 SH638458 down into a dip where it continue along ridge, Nearest town Minehead crosses a stream. mainly on a clear path, Penrhyndeudaeth Southampton and you’ll soon arrive Brighton Terrain A real mix: Stay at a broad, Poole grassy col 5 SH661462 good tracks over on this path and it with a steep slab ahead. Cnicht, vague and eventually develops into There are a variety Bodmin Plymouth boggy paths from a good track that strikes of scrambling options there to Rhosydd. an easy line across steep available here – some Some sections of easy hillside. Continue down, easy, some fairly serious, scrambling – less than still boggy and wet so be careful to not Grade 1 with harder (unless you’ve caught a climb up anything you options available cold snap!) until you can’t climb back down if reach a stile on R by a necessary. Drop to the R Maps OS Explorer footpath sign. Cross stile to gain a good path that (1:25,000) OL17 & and walk down to another avoids any hands-on. OL18; OS Landranger stile above houses. Once over this section, (1:50,000) 115 & Cross this and join good continue easily to first 124; Harvey British track that then leads summit, which at 689m is Mountain Map down valley, eventually the true summit of Cnicht, (1:40,000) Snowdonia becoming Tarmac and and offers superb views South leading back into over Moelwyn Mawr as Accommodation Bryn Croesor, and to the well as rest of walk. Gwynant Youth Hostel start of – tel: 0845 371 9108; your walk. Now keep 3 SH645466 camping at Beddgelert straight ahead over Public transport Buses two subsidiary summits from Porthmadog to before dropping to a fork. Croesor www.travelineBear L to take best path cymru.info – tel: 0871 towards Llyn yr Adar and 200 2233; Porthmadog as you reach far end of can be reached by train this, bear R on to a rougher – tel: 08457 484950 path that drops beneath a crag into a shallow, boggy Guidebooks ‘Mountain valley. This is where you and Hillwalking in need to be careful Snowdonia Vol 2’ by of the bogs, as Carl Rodgers, pb from here to the Mara Books quarry road 2 Tourist info at Rhosydd,

Scrambling on Cnicht’s SW ridge.

3

4 5

Porthmadog TIC – tel: 01766 512981

Routes in association with Mapyx

1

A digital revolution in digital mapping for the outdoors.

www.mapyx.com

Welcome to Hillwalking

WWW.live for the outdoors.COM


AND FINALLY…

9

things hillwalkers do...

Compete

Climbing hills – as with anything that requires braving exhaustion to do something which is, in essence, pointless – has its fair share of one-upmanship. Happily – as you’ll no doubt agree when you overhear someone in the walkers’ bar bragging about the time they once bounced down Mont Blanc on a helmetmounted pogo stick – it also has its fair share of fabrication. But rest easy: even the most straightforward stories are a cut above those of sealevel dwellers.

Flaunt Know how to spot a hillwalker on a spring evening? They’re the ones walking along Tottenham Court Road with a jacket made for Everest, a well-smashed pair of boots, trousers with more pockets than a magician’s laundry basket and a keyring made from a bit of rope that ‘saved their life once.’

36

Welcome to Hillwalking

Appreciate creature comforts After eight hours on the hill in winter in minus 10 with wet socks and a grease crisis, even a cup of tea is worth crying with joy over.

Eat Something about pushing yourself hard in a high place awakens the cravings for the things that your body really needs for pure, unadulterated survival. Chances are that Creation didn’t have Monster Munch in mind when it made you, but hey…

Drink On hill, water. Off hill, beer. It’s not rocket science… oh, but it is your round.

Stay on form There aren’t many sports where you actually get better as you get older. So don’t worry when a septuagenarian leaves you for dust on Helvellyn.

Master the ‘faraway stare’ Fancy an experiment? Hold this magazine at arm’s length, form your mouth into a toothy ‘o’, squint, then try and focus on the full-stop at the end of this sentence. Hold that face, and go and look in a mirror. Congratulations: you now resemble a hillwalker.

Get through moisturiser Hold the above for a decade or

so and add cold wind, and you’ll appreciate this is the only way to avoid looking like a scrunched up ball of brown paper by the time you’re 40. Yes, 40.

Live life to the full Yes, it’s eccentric. Yes, it involves a lot of mileage, exhaustion, tears, blisters and cold hands. But every bit of it has one thing in common: it’s brilliant. And you’ll love it. Yes, you will. And it’s still your round.

WWW.live for the outdoors.COM


Advertisement feature

Kit yourself out for hillwalking Go gear crazy at GO Outdoors, your local one-stop outdoors superstore…

H

eading to the hills this weekend? Make sure you’re well-prepared with a trip to GO Outdoors – the UK’s biggest outdoor retailer. Choose from nearly 50,000 products, ranging from tents and climbing gear to the latest waterproof jackets. GO Outdoors caters for walkers, horse riders, cyclists, fishermen and even skiers – so whatever your idea of an outdoors adventure is, you’ll find the gear to match here. For hillwalking newbies, store staff are on-call to offer impartial advice about everything from footwear fitting to fabric types. If you’re keen

to increase your gear knowledge before hitting the shops go to www.gooutdoors.co.uk/expert-advice and while kitting yourself out for the hills can be pricey, the GO Outdoors Discount Card is a great way to save cash. Costing just £5 for 12 months, it promises to slash at least 10% off the retail price on all products. Card holders will also receive regular amazing deals offering savings of up to 70%. So for the biggest choice and the best bargains visit your local GO Outdoors shop or go shopping online at www.gooutdoors.co.uk

Boots for beginners Check out these GO Outdoors own-brand boots, perfect for new starters…

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These unisex boots are ideal for anyone looking for a waterproof and durable boot for lowland rambling, dog walking and general mild incline walks. Made with a reinforced toe to protect from abrasion, as well as a stiff sole for balance and stability on uneven terrain, the Derwent is capable of withstanding rain, puddles and dirt, protecting your feet and keeping them dry. The cushioned inner lining ensures comfort next to the skin and the insole is lightly padded.

North Ridge Corrie eVent

Made with a durable ‘Wolverine’ pig suede & cordura panels, the Corrie eVENT are waterproof boots for 2-3-season hikes on defined paths and trails. Lined with eVENT, they offer warmth and breathability. B0-rated, they are comfortable and offer room for flexibility without the danger of your ankles rolling. The tough Vibram sole provides great traction and grip underfoot. See www. gooutdoors.co.uk/ expert-advice/ hill-walkingboots

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Welcome to Hill Walking  

Welcome to Hill Walking - First published in Country Walking and Trail magazines, May 2011

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