June: Really Feelin' The Heat!

Well, don't I look like a numpty for complaining about the heat in my last post! I did get one thing right however, I have been spending majority of my time in the shade as I am pathetic when it gets warm! Usually when the temperature has risen to mark the start of summer, I tend to make the most of it and visit places which would be less likely to be busy/filled with tourists... yes this is actually possible in the Lake District! However, the weather has been far too hot for my liking, so majority of my walks have been in the shade or later at night when there is a breeze in the air, and most nights I have just sat and watched the sunset!

At the beginning of the month, I visited High Dam Tarn and Low Dam Tarn in Finsthwaite. This walk was one which we found in one of our many Lake District guides, alongside Finsthwaite Heights. We had also heard many good things about this place from friends who had visited, we decided to visit the dams and potentially Finsthwaite Heights, time permitting (however this didn't happen as we decided to visit my Grandma and get out of the unbearable heat!). We managed to park up just before the pay and display car park (it was free parking according to our old guidebook!), which meant we got an extra few steps in by walking up the steep lane into the thick trees hiding the tarns! We only passed one person and their dog on our ascent through the woodland, so it was lovely having the place to ourselves and being able to take the time to appreciate the natural beauty around us before I took plenty of photographs! We followed the main pathway but we did wander off into the woodland at times, following old paths we could see under the summers growth on the ground. When we arrived at Low Dam Tarn, we sat beside the water and had a cup of coffee before continuing on. Low Dam Tarn is a tiny body of water, with channels running down into it, although when we visited there was very little water making its way down the streams!

Once we started to approach High Dam Tarn after our little brew break, there were a few more people wandering about the area, but it did not affect the atmosphere one bit! We could see why this is such a popular place in the height of summer, or even just later in the day on sunny Saturday, so we were glad to have timed it well for our visit! High Dam Tarn has a strong feeling of Tarn Hows about it, with the little 'islands' poking out of the water and the thick woodland surrounding the paths. High Dam Tarn is definitely bigger than what it seems, but there is a well looked after path around the whole tarn has clear views of the water from almost every point. We sat on a bench by the raised path which takes you into further into the woodland to eat our lunch, and we were greeted by the sound a cuckoo bird calling out for several minutes! Again, whilst we were eating lunch we didn't see anyone else, although there was a quiet hum of voices in the air which gradually increased as more people arrived at the tarn. The weather was soon beginning to warm up, and High Dam looked stunning as it shone under the sunlight - just proving why this was such a popular summer destination! The last part of our walk around the upper tarn had bankings along the water edge which has plenty of places that are perfect to sit and appreciate the heat, however we didn't stay long as the footfall around the tarn had definitely increased, and it was getting a bit too hot for my liking!

Last year we had discovered Helsington Barrows, a place which has a sprinkling of trees within the centre of the barren ground, so we decided it was the perfect place to visit during this weather as there would be plenty of shady areas to hide away from the sunlight when it all got a bit too much! Helsington Barrows is nestled between the bottom end of Scout Scar and Helsington Fell which has views over the Lythe Valley, and although The Barrows is not a large area it does have several paths working its way between the trees so you can spend several hours here and around each corner there is always something exciting to look at! We had missed a geocache or two in this area on our last visit, so we also managed to complete the circuit - geocaching is a good excuse to visit places in different seasons as you really do see the simplest things in a different way each time! As we visited later in the day, there were a cool breeze within the shade of the trees so we took the opportunity to position ourselves on one of the grassy mounds which had wonderful views of the central lake district fells and sat peacefully listening to the wind whispering between the leaves and the birds singing songs in the distance before heading home.

During June, I had two Saturdays off work for which I had planned walks for. Typically, as always happens to me, it was absolutely pouring down on the first Saturday so I had to cancel my plans to head over towards Elterwater (The day was not wasted, as when I was on my way to visit my grandmother I saw a cat show was in town - something which my mum and I have always wanted to go to!). My next Saturday off work was at the end of the month, in the midst of the good weather, so my Elterwater plans were back on! We parked at the Skelwith Bridge Hotel, and wandered down the footpath which took you along the River Brathay towards the water. It was relatively early in the day when we arrived, but there was already quite a few people in the distance using several of the paths that interlinked together. We followed the river along to Elterwater, where there was several people sat enjoying the weather and children dipping their toes in the edge of the water. We made our way to the village of Elterwater, and stopped off for a nice, cold drink at one of the little pubs near the water before continuing upwards towards a little woodland trail at Colwith. The woodland provided shelter from the sun and it was lovely to see that the area was well kept, I don't think I saw a piece of litter whilst wandering through and all of the shrubs and fauna had been left to thrive without human tampering which just made it such an ambient area to walk in!

Once we had passed through the woodland, we wandered along fields and small groups of trees towards Tilberthwaite. There was phenomenal views all around, with views towards Wetherlam and the Coniston Fells - you could even see old quarries on the faces of the mountains in amongst the trees. We are always lucky to have beautiful areas like this to ourselves, and as we crossed several fields we didn't see anyone until we reached a small hamlet just outside of Tilberthwaite and we made our way towards Little Langdale with phenomenal views of the Langdale Pikes on the horizon. We detoured slightly to reach the river and small footbridge which leads to Little Langdale and sat by the water for a drink, before making our way back up the hill and back towards Skelwith Bridge. The footpath led us over on the edge of a fell through farmlands and little woodlands before bringing us to the flow of water which formed Skelwith Force. We wandered up towards the waterfall, again it was clear that this footpath and waterfalls was a popular place, but it was well kept and any natural hazards such as tree roots or big rocks were clear so there were no nasty surprises! There were a few people at the waterfall so we didn't stay long, and continued our walk along the river back to the car.

I have also made the most of the evening heat by visiting parts of the Lancaster Canal which I don't frequent as much and their surrounding areas. There are beautiful houses dotted in amongst the fields along the country roads, especially the villages of Milness or Milton, some even have gardens that back onto the canal, which would be lovely in summer - though I wouldn't want to live there in winter/heavy rain seasons! I tend to walk closer to the end of the canal as that is closest to my house and has varied scenery along the footpaths, but I haven't explored much between the south of Crooklands and Holme village. We were planning to explore this area anyway, but we had a heightened incentive as there were plenty of geocaches dotted about! We parked just off the northern junction to Holme and walked alongside the canal back towards Crooklands, and because of Geocaching, we wandered down roads and footpaths which we wouldn't have normally explored - majority of which had fantastic views of Farleton Knott and Holme Park Fell! We had detoured down the footpath directly next to the canal until it stops due to the motorway in hope of finding a geocache (which we did!) and the reflection of Farleton Knott in the still water was just beautiful! I also managed to get a photo including a yellow field, something which I have wanted to get for a long time, so it was a couple of successful walks in all!

July is looking like quite a busy month for me, so I'm not sure if I'll manage to get out properly with my camera... but I have lots of exciting stuff in mind for this website that I can do in evenings after work so watch this space!

Hope you all manage to do plenty of exploring next month!