Hiking

Dew  Pond - Hollingbury - South Downs National Park

Hollingbury Fort - South Downs National Park

The South Downs National Park has been fully open throughout the lockdowns, unlike many other National Parks in England. Its rolling downs and valleys are accessible on foot from many homes, giving a welcome relief from the mundane and banal tedium of life in lockdown. The grassy ramparts of Hollingbury Fort/Castle/Camp (178 m.) are the vestiges of an Iron Age hill fort which dominates the area, overseeing the City of Brighton, with panoramic views out to the English Channel, the Isle of Wight, Seaford Head, the Sussex Weald and the North Downs. Although much of the topographic feature is now a golf course owned and run by Brighton City Council, several Dew Ponds and some low forest remain in the surrounding area, unlike much of the rest of the South Downs which have been stripped to grassland for grazing. Then back to Preston Park via Surrenden Road in time to see a chilly sunset over Hove.

More photos: Hollingbury Fort (178 m.) - South Downs National Park

North Lakes skyline in the lockdown, Cumbria
North Lakes skyline in the lockdown

Snow on Grisedale Pike, Cumbria
Snow on Grisedale Pike (791 m.)

Taking advantage of a sunny interval in a “Four seasons” day for a walk from my new front door to halfway up the local mountain, Skiddaw (931 m.). Sunshine, snow, fog, gales and heavy rain all on this one day in late March.
With only a very limited number of other hikers on this usually populous route (because the #stayathome legal lockdown was still in force), it was possible to sit and enjoy the views without having to stray too far from the path. With an apple and a couple of locally baked hot cross buns.
The guy in rugby shorts carrying a well-trimmed log told me he was doing it to make his day “more interesting”. He was last seen on the skyline on the path at about 650 m., still going upwards.
The rain came in while my Coq au Vin du Vaucluse was cooking but my work of the past weeks meant I could enjoy it in relative comfort.

More photos: Halfway up Skiddaw (931 m.)

Late afternoon sunshine on Skiddaw, Cumbria

Late afternoon sunshine on Latrigg, Cumbria

Late afternoon “Golden Hour” hike for exercise after the frustrations of work setting up my project here, with only time for a quick raid up Latrigg, a walk out from Keswick. Latrigg is a minor peak compared to Skiddaw (931 m.) immediately behind which dwarfs it, but the views from Latrigg are always rewarding. The sun set behind Grisedale Pike (791 m.) and its shadow climbed up the fells behind me as I hiked home.

More photos: “Golden Hour” on Latrigg (368 m.)

Castle Rigg stone circle, Cumbria

Castle Rigg stone circle, c 3200 BC. view of Helvellyn (950 m.) with remnants of snow cover

Castlerigg, Cumbria

Hike out to Castlerigg stone circle and its fantastic location at the focus of a number of Cumberland valleys. It’s one of the oldest Neolithic monuments in the UK, constructed in about 3200 BC. Onwards part of the way to St Johns in the Valley and back via the TV transmitter and Castlehead with its panoramic view of Derwent Water and up the valley to Borrowdale.
Brilliant views with interesting skies, an afternoon exercise walk in the gap between two weather fronts whilst fixing up my kitchen plumbing. Followed by a clear and moonless night giving the possibility to enjoy the darkish skies above Keswick to see The Plough and Orion.

More photos: Castlerigg to Castlehead

Hammersmith Bridge - south side

Hammermsith Reach viewed across the Thames

Sporty circular walk out to Barnes Bridge and round  the Thames path on the Surrey bank, passing around Hammersmith Bridge (which is closed, even to pedestrians or river traffic) and back home via Putney Bridge. I did this today as a training walk, so a couple of litres of water as weight in my rucksac, walking fast and with as few stops as possible.

Read more: Hammersmith Bridge - south side