Via Delle Trincee / La Mesola

After a very wet first night in the Dolomites we woke up to a fantastic day so headed up for a classic via ferrata. We decided on Via Delle Trincee / La Mesola which is predominantly a ridge traverse which provided stunning positions and views of the Dolomites.

The start of the route was the crux which provided a sharp warm up, this climbing quickly lead to amazing exposure and stunning views of the Dolomites. After the first section of via ferrata we found our first evidence of the WW1 heritage, in the form of a lookout tunnel and a traverse with evidence of old buildings and fixtures in the rock.

A steep down climb lead to the end of the second section of via ferrata, and most of the good climbing. The final section was filled with history with numerous WW1 buildings and lots of tunnels. This was really interesting but it must have been a hard place to have served in the war.

After navigating our way around the tunnels we soon came to the end of the via ferrata, and make a quick descent down to the refuge to enjoy a cold drink.

Amazing view from the start of the via ferrata

Looking south towards Marmolada

Exposed start

Great positions on the ridge

Fantastic exposure

First wooden bridge

Amazing views

Looking out a WW1 lookout

Amazing exposure around WW1 features

Entering a tunnel

Exit to a tunnel

Group photo in the tunnels

Nearing the tunnel exit

Post via ferrata refuge

Group photo

Walking in the Western Lake District

At the beginning of July I headed up to the Lake District for a long birthday weekend, we spent the weekend with the Avon Mountaineering club in the beautiful but remote Duddon Valley before heading over to Eskdale on Sunday.

On the first morning we woke up to a spectacular day, with almost wall to wall sunshine it doesn’t get much better in the Lake District. There was a reasonably cold wind, but this didn’t matter as we weren’t able to climb as Becky had broken her finger earlier in the week. We elected to walk the obvious circuit from the campsite which included most of the peaks around the Old Man of Conniston.

The circuit was great, with a short walk up a track to a picturesk tarn before making an abrupt ascent up to the ridge which connects all of the peaks. Once we had gained most of the altitude the views were stunning in every direction. To the south west we could see down the Duddon valley and out to the sea, to the north we could see Scafell, Scafell Pike and Crinkle Crags and to the east we could see endless lakeland hills.

When we got back to the campsite we had a bbq with the AMC, while doing our best to keep everything covered due to the midges which were swarming the campsite.

Walking up Grey Friar from the Duddon Valley

Stunning view towards Scafell Pike

Looking North East towards Ambleside

Beautiful views on the ridge

Becky walking towards the Old Man of Coniston

Amazing view over Conniston

The next morning wasn’t so great, which gave us a good excuse for a lazy morning while we waited for the weather to clear.

As the weather improved we headed up the Duddon Valley and over the dramatic Hardknott pass in the van, before doing a lovely circuit over Harter Fell. For the first half of the walk we were treated to yet more spectacular views of the lakeland fells, however as the walk progressed the cloud built up again. On the descent we quickly admired the Roman fort which was impressively situated high on the Hardknott pass.

We stayed in a lovely campsite in Eskdale that night where we enjoyed the food and large whisky selection at one of the local pubs, which lead to a lazy morning the next morning for us while we hid from the rain in the van.

Stunning scenery walking out of Eskdale

View from Harter Fell

Summit selfie

Becky descending from Harter Fell

Looking towards the Wrynose Pass

Stunning location for a Roman Fort

Overnight on Conival & Ben More Assynt

After two days of walking and a day cycling we had one day with some mild dampness, before another sustained spell of good weather. We took this as a good opportunity to enjoy a rest day before heading out for dinner. The next morning we woke up to a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky and without a breath of wind, we quickly decided it was too hot to go walking and we needed to go and get some brunch (definitely not the wine…). As the day continued to heat up, we did indeed decide that it was too hot to enjoy walking, but we could make the most of the conditions by waiting for it to cool down before climbing Conival and sleeping on the summit.

Due to the lack of phone reception we didn’t actually realise that it was forecast to be 30 degrees, or that the far north of Scotland was the hottest place in the UK. We left the car park after 7pm, and the walk up still felt brutally hot. I am pretty sure I have never been hotter walking, even in the alps! Eventually we made it up to the location where we needed to collect water, which gave us a good excuse for a rest but thankfully was also where we found a light breeze. This breeze enabled us to make quick time up to the summit, we arrived just before sunset at 10pm.

The sunset was beautiful, and it was great to be able to enjoy it on the top of the mountain without worrying about the walk down. After some horrible dehydrated meal we went to bed at around midnight, which was a bit surreal as it was still light enough not to need a head torch. The alarms were duly set for 4:20 in order to walk up for sunrise, which was a tad unpleasant! The beautiful sunrise did make the brief early start worthwhile.

Our second wake up was at a far more appropriate time, after a quick breakfast due to running out of gas we headed for the second summit which looked like it was only a short distance away. This was deceptive as it was far further than it looked and the ground was such that progress was fairly slow. After longer than expected we made it back to our bags on the summit of Conival and were able to enjoy some water! During the descent it became unbearably hot as yet again there was not a breath of wind. I was not at all envious of the people climbing the mountain!

By the time we made it back down the valley we were both feeling pretty hot and bothered, so elected to make use of the cold stream to wash and cool down which was fairly refreshing.

Looking up towards Conival

Stunning views

Just in time for sunset

Sunset selfie

Beautiful sunset

Sunset panorama

Sunset

Becky on the summit

Brilliant campsite

Sunrise from the tent

Sunrise

Brilliant campsite

Hot on the walk to Ben More Assynt

Becky on Ben More Assynt

Summit Selfie

Descending from Conival

Another hot day

Descending into the heat

Far North Munroe Bagging

We have recently got back from a trip to the far North of Scotland where we were Munro bagging and road biking. Initially we headed up about as far north as it is possible to go in Scotland to climb Ben Klibreck and Ben Hope. These are often climbed in a single day, as they are both relatively short days and are close together by road. Thankfully the weather saved us from having an epic day climbing both, as we had two days in a row with good weather in the morning and rain forecast in the afternoon.

Ben Klibreck was an enjoyable walk which followed a natural ridge line up, with a feint path for most of the way. The views from the top were very different to most of Scotland, with lots of moorland combined with the views of Ben Hope, Ben Loyal and Ben Mor Assynt.

Ben Hope was a very dull peak, but not as bad as Mount Keen! It was again another early start due to forecast rain, although it never materialised. The walk up was fairly harsh with lots of ascent in a very short distance, on a generally good path. At least the views from the top and on the way back down were excellent, and the descent was quick!

After making quick work of Ben Hope we chilled out at the van for a bit before deciding to drive around the north coast of Scotland for a bit to explore. After a huge loop and about 3 hours driving we eventually ended up almost back where we started so that we could go cycling.

Becky walking up Ben Klibreck

Near the summit of Ben Klibreck

Looking north from Ben Klibreck

Looking towards Ben Loyal

Becky on the summit of Ben Klibreck

Summit selfie

Looking towards Ben More Assynt

Becky walking up Ben Hope

Becky on the summit of Ben Hope

Summit selfie

Descending from Ben Hope

Descending from Ben Hope

Stunning Scenery