Aira Force and Gowbarrow Fell

Sitting above the banks of Ullswater, to the NW of the junction of the A592 and A5901 lays the grounds of Gowbarrow Park, owned and managed by the National Trust and home to the stunning Aira Force waterfalls.

Nestled in the middle (ish) of Gowbarrow Park is Gowbarrow Fell which rises 481m above the huge expanse of Ullswater and, as the weather was pretty rubbish and along with a walk up to the falls, was to be our "target" for the day.

While not a long walk we'd decided that as Aira Force was somewhere we didn't get round to visiting last time we'd have a walk around the grounds and waterfall before heading up towards the summit of Gowbarrow Fell and then continuing the circuit back to the carpark - a walk of around 4 miles.

The grounds of Aira Force are managed by the National Trust so are well maintained as you'd expect.  There is a charge to park and it does get very busy in the summer months, but on a rainy, chilly Saturday in February there were loads …

Place Fell from Bridgend

A year on from our last (and first) trip to Patterdale and Ullswater and we were back, to the same place, the same cottage, and today, the same walk!

Our first walk to the summit to Place Fell (read about it here) was born more out of necessity than planning and as the weather had cleared on the drive across from North Yorkshire we decided to do the same again.

Heading a mile or so down the road from Patterdale village we stopped in the small pull-in (room for about 6 cars) off the A592 at Deepdale Bridge and spent a fair bit of time faffing about getting things into the right bag for the 5 or so miles to the summit of Place Fell (657m) and back again.

Finally, with new binoculars (a lovely pair of Nikon Monarch 5 8x42 that have an amazing, clear optic that also works well with or without my glasses) and also my (very) newly purchased Fjallraven Singi smock bought from the amazing outdoor shop in the Rheged Centre (services on the A66) - an amazing example of what services can be lik…

Ashley Walk - WW2 bombing range in the New Forest

As my my wife had taken our daughter and the two dogs to her parents in Yorkshire for the week, I'd planned a day off to go and walk with Tom - nothing more than that in mind really, just a walk somewhere.

A number of ideas were bandied about; wales (again) Dartmoor, South Downs and even the Forest of Dean to look for wild boar after watching one of the episodes of Hugh's Wild West on iPlayer.

Then, and I can't really remember how I stumbled across it, I remembered about the bombing ranges in the New Forest and thought that it would be an interesting way to spend the day in an area that we both know very well.

After a lot of reading up on the bombing ranges (a really good resource for this and website generally is The New Forest Guide) I was amazed at what had been tested during WW2 and also the extent of the ranges between Godshill and Fritham - the testing of the 22,000lb "grand slam" and 12,000lb Tallboy bombs that left their mark, the latter still being visi…

Sometimes the simplest plans make for the best adventures

The plan was very simple; head to Wales (nr Trefil) and go for a walk, we had 3 things on our check list;

see a waterfall & take some picturesexplore a cavedo some climbing/abseiling It couldn't have been much more simple than that!
There was a bit more planning than I've initially made out, I spent a few hours googling cave systems that didn't require any form of caving equipment and that were open and didn't require a permit/license and also planning kit - I love a kit list!
The weather on our planned day wasn't ideal in the South as it was grey and overcast and there had been a fair amount of snow in Wales over the last few days, something that please me immensely as I love the mountains in the snow but made Tom slightly more dubious.

We headed off early (to beat the rush hour traffic) and by the time we'd crossed the bridge we were very happy in the choice of car, my rear wheel driven automatic would have been horrendous and the last few miles from the …