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More Wainwrights

Who could possibly resist climbing a mountain called Barf. We couldn’t. Well, V nearly did, because they’d woken up feeling nauseus and a bit feverish. But we went for it anyway.

So today’s plan was to walk up to Lord’s Seat and then Barf. If we had time, there was the option to trudge over to Broom Fell too. The three mountains sit in a cluster just south of Bassenthwaite Lake and are accessible by climbing the Whinlatter Pass and parking in the Forestry Centre there. Parking there takes about 150m of ascent out of it.

Setting Off

Kas did the now customary trip to the sandwich shop while I moved my car round to outside the house. We were only parking my car there to occupy a spot for the day though. We went in Kas’s car. We set off not long after 9am and took the also now very familiar route past Grasmere, over Dunmail Raise, past Thirlmere to Keswick. From there we headed along the A66 and then up the Whinlatter Pass from Braithwaite. We arrived at Whinlatter Forest before 10am.

So we did a quick change into our walking boots and had a tactical wee before heading off. The walk up appeared mainly to be through trees until the last 100m of climbing. That meant it would probably be warm and a bit clammy. The weather looked pretty good for the day. The sun was out and the clouds were all fluffy. That meant it was quite warm while we were in the trees.

Legging it up

Despite being a reasonable gradient and mainly on graded paths/roads in Whinlatter Forest, it seemed hard work getting uphill. Maybe we were all just a bit tired. V certainly wasn’t enjoying it very much. Ami and Kas had climbed a smaller peak the day before and I’d spent the day walking around Penrith. Venus had been out on a pedalo with Kas all the previous afternoon. You get the picture. We were all maybe a bit tired.

The slow speed over the ground meant we were getting a good look at the forest and the attendant wildlife though, which was nice because most of the other walks on this trip had mainly been over unwooded open hill country.

We made it to Lord’s Seat at about 11:45, so we called that lunchtime and nestled down for half an hour somewhere on the lee side of the summit. As ever it was a bit breezy up top, despite the sunshine. So we picked a slope facing towards Skiddaw and camped down for a few minutes.

Maybe Not

While we were at the top of Lord’s Seat we decided it was at least and hour to go to Broom Fell and return. Maybe more. V wasn’t up to it (and nor was I, if I’m honest) and it wouldn’t be fair to leave someone lying on the side of a mountain for an hour waiting for us, even if the view was nice. So we decided to leave Broom Fell for another day. I assume it’ll still be there when we come back.

So having decided on an easy (well, easier) afternoon, we set off down the hill towards Barf.

Barf is quite a low mountain at 468m. Technically, it’s probably only a hill. It does, however, have one very, very precipitous slope on the north side which affords an obstruction-free view from (roughly) west the long way round to south-west. There’s only really the higher Lord’s Seat and Grisedale Pike that get in the way of a full 360 degrees. As a result the view over Bassenthwaite and Skiddaw is brilliant. It’s perfect (on a clear day) to pick out all the sub-peaks on Skiddaw and you can see all the way across to the Helvellyn massif too.

We took a mini break on the top to take in the scenery.

It’s All Downhill from Here

The way home involved descending a steep and winding path back into Whinlatter Forest. It was the steepest bit of the day and in places quite slippery. Thankfully nobody came a cropper though.

Once back in the forest, Ami plotted a route back along the various forest paths. There was some debate about how low we should go, but we turned out to have made the perfect choice. This path also took us back over some of the paths that we’d walked with our alpaca buddies a few days earlier.

Back at the Forestry Centre, we had an ice cream in the cafe before driving home.

When we got home, we popped out for some shopping for souvenirs and essentials. I wanted some pieces of artwork to stick on my wall in the study, because it needs a bit of personalisation. We’d some that I liked in a shop on the very first day of the holiday, so we went back there for me to make a purchase.

In the evening we went back to Luigi’s Italian for dinner. We’d booked it the previous week, when we were last here. Amazing we remembered to go, really. The food was top-notch again.

Me and the girls had resolved to do our packing in the morning. Kas had pretty much done hers already, as she was planning to leave early. So after dinner we went home and chilled for one final time, dreaming of when we can come back again on another holiday. We do seem to have a bit of a thing for the Lake District. This had been our fourth visit since 2016. Well, the fourth as a family. I’d also been for a long weekend with the lads in 2018, so my fifth visit.