My friend Dave and I took a walk around Welton on what turned out to
be a sunny evening. We’ve walked the various routes around Welton before
but this route was new to us. The first small climb offered up some
great views over Ellougton Wold and out across the Humber that we hadn’t
The route took us back down to our starting point through Welton Dale
– which has sadly been fenced on both sides now so it feels like you
are being kettled as you walk down the valley. If you’re prepared to
jump off the path for a bit you’ll find the Raikes Mausoleum
hidden within the woodland. The structure is two hundred years old and
sadly in need of some attention now, which is a shame as it still
houses the remains of some of the family. It was a bit spooky at dusk
and we didn’t hand around – so no photo.
I told Dave that Welton was quite posh, but I don’t think he believed me until we walked past a million quids worth of helicopter parked on someones lawn.
Millington Woods lies in a small valley in the middle of nowhere.
Technically it’s in the Yorkshire Wolds, but with the exception of the
nearby village from which it gets its name it’s miles away from anything
resembling modern civilisation.
The woods have never been busy when I’ve visited, but the few people
who you might meet will be the polite sort that wish you a good morning
as they pass. We had the wood to ourselves this morning, and all that
could be heard was bird calls, a light breeze murmuring through the
trees and blissful silence.
The wood is best known for its ancient ash trees, but I’m partial to the Norwegian Spruce which stands tall and magisterial among its peers.
I’ve just come back from a lovely short camping trip in the eastern
fells of the Lake District. One of the few places in the Britain where
you can enjoy scenery like this:
Our hike started with a hard walk up Dovedale. It looks like a nice
steady walk from the map, but in reality is quite difficult with a
weekends worth of camping gear and supplies in your back. The valley is
beautiful. It climbs steeply from Brothers Water up between the rugged
outcrops of Dove Crag and Hart Crag. Water flows from three small
natural springs near the peak which gather momentum as they tumble down
the hill until they combine in to a number of small waterfalls. Water is
plentiful in this valley. The flat, soft ground near the peak would be a
great spot for a wild camp. If you prefer something a little more wild,
the assertive head of Dove Crag hides a cave called Priests Hole, which
is largely protected from the elements and offers spectacular views
over Lakeland. Our goal was Grisdale Tarn, the legendary resting place
of crown of the Kingdom of Cumbria.
The last King of Cumbria, Dunmail, was slain by English and Scottish
forces in 945AD. A band of his loyal soldiers escorted his crown back to
Grisdale and laid the crown to rest in the deep waters of the tarn
where it could be recovered by Dunmail when he rose from the dead to
lead them again. The ghosts of his loyal army are said to return to the
tarn each year to recover the crown and carry it to a cairn dedicated to
the King. They strike the cairn with their weapons but are told by a
voice that the time is not yet right. Legend has it that you may hear
the cries of the distraught soldiers if you are at the Tarn at the right
Our tired legs slowly hobbled over the peaks of Fairfield, including
Hart Crag and Rydal Head, before reaching the slippery shale path down
to Grisdale Tarn. It appears out of nowhere, a shimmering semi-circular
expanse of black water closely surrounded on three sides by steep
mountains, the east and west exposed to the long valleys leading down to
the settlements below. I prefer to camp wild rather than on a site,
especially in somewhere like the Lake District which can offer isolation
as well as spectacular scenery up on the peaks. We camped on a grassy
outcrop with views of the tarn on one side and the valley leading to
Grasmere on the other. I dozed with one eye open, watching and listening
for the soldiers of Dunmail before falling into a exhausted sleep.
On the second day we stayed local, deciding to rest our tired bodies
instead of climbing up out of the valley and over Hellvelyn as planned.
We were just not as fit enough for the demands of the landscape,
especially carrying heavy packs. We took a leisurely walk down Grisdale
Valley, stopping for lunch on the way (porridge for me, pot noodle for
my companion) until we hit, almost literally, the climbing shack, then
headed up the hills towards Hard Tarn. Hard Tarn had been the ultimate
goal of our shortened route; a small circular tarn directly below
Nethermost Pike. It is very secluded; just a small rocky outcrop holding
a tiny body of water that only just deserves the grand’ish title of
tarn. My research suggested that it would have enough room for a couple
of tents and not much else, but it would offer plentiful water from
nearby springs and a spectacular view of the nearby fells. In truth, we
were exhausted. Our legs and lungs screamed for us to stop, so we did.
The land leading up to Hard Tarn provided too much temptation and the
cold streams, waterfalls, shallow crystal clear pools and soft, peaty
ground made for a perfect spot to camp up for night two.
After some breakfast, a long but undemanding walk down Grisdale
Valley was all that was left for the final day. Now that we were well
rested it was easy to forget the strains from the previous days. The
scenery was idyllic and the weather calm. We ambled back to the car
happily, pleased with our efforts