Date & Time: 2nd May 2006. 9.30 am start from Keswick Shop.

Location of Start of walk: The car park at Great Wood, Derwent Water, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 271 212 )

Places visited : Cat Gill, Walla Crag, Low Moss, Brown Knotts, Ashness Bridge, Raven Crag and back.

Walk details : 4.7 mls, 1,350 ft of ascent.

Time taken: All the working day, but including lunch and lots of sit-down-and-talk time.

Walked with : Ken Ledward, and five others of the Fishers sales staff. (The others go tomorrow)

Weather : Overcast and a rather cool breeze, with a rain shower after Walla Crag, but it didn't come to much.

Ken's kindly washed his minibus - ready for our day out !


Today was our George Fisher Training Day.

The idea was to get out of the shop and make time to discus matters relating to outdoor pursuits technology that would give us a better understanding of the clothing, boots and equipment we sell in the shop.

Ken Ledward is a long respected figure within the mountaineering fraternity, who now runs an equipment testing service based in Cumbria. He has been involved in testing and reporting on all aspects of outdoor pursuits equipment for many years.

A short drive took us to the Great Wood car park under Walla Crag

where we utilised an adjacent picnic table to layout and discuss what Gortex is made of and how it's improvements have impacted on the clothing and footwear manufacture in recent years.

Ken's bag held a multitude of goodies.
Comparing samples of Gortex, XCR and Paclite fabric.

A navigation exercise prior to the start of the walk.

Estimating stride distance using a ten meter rope - My average was 10.5 strides for ten metres on the level.

Uphill, that changed to 11.5 paces for the same distance.
Striding through Great Wood down towards the lakeside afterwards.

Knowing your average number of strides to every hundred meters travelled, and being able to use the compass properly is the basis of poor weather navigation.

It was also noticeable that trekking poles increased the length of our average stride during a repeat of the tests.

Add your uphill total and flat total, divide by two, and remember the average number. Use that figure all the time - it will give you a good estimate of distance.

Cat Gill Beck and the bridge under the Borrowdale road.
The pitched path follows alongside the beck higher up.

A chance to stretch the legs and have a little fun walking as we try a little very minor gill scrambling, ie. walking up the river - mind your head !

Team talk and paperwork.
Above Cat Gill, with Derwent water below.

In the shelter of Cat Gill valley we stopped to discus the nature of clothing and how the layering system affects body temperature.

Ken had examples of performance and temperature graphs. Comparative tests showed results experienced under different temperature and wind speed conditions. Cold conditions, high wind speed and poor clothing were obvious recipes for potential disasters on the fells. Hats and gloves were shown to be the quickest and easiest method of controlling body temperature. We also discussed test results of different methods of venting jackets.

( Oh, and one of Kath's incubating hen's eggs has hatched this morning - a phone call - not one of Ken's test reports.)

Walla Crag, a favourite viewpoint for the more energetic visitors to Keswick.

Click here or on the photo for a full panorama.

After an early lunch we turned inland towards the fells . . .

In fact from the cairn we actually turned onto a bearing of 150 degrees . . . . yes, I used a compass (see recent walk - Meal Fell !)

. . . and walked across the moorland to the ruined sheepfold shown on the map.

The weather had taken a turn for the worse at this point, although it still looked bright. A light but prolonged rain shower plus a strong cold breeze was provided by Ken in order to check out the garments we were actually wearing - what a clever fellow !

The target sheepfold turned out to be the ruin of an old house,

in fact this is regarded as the first ever Gamekeeper's Lodge built in Cumbria, probably by the Lowther Estate.

It is thought that the gamekeeper was responsible for the large deer herd which grazed around here at that time.

" Go South Young Man "

Ken pointing out yet another use of trekking poles.

Rough crossing through the moorland, heather and damp marshy ground

in order to reach the Bleaberry Fell path just short of Brown Crags.

We sheltered in the sheepfold for a further discussion, this time on Event Fabric and other non-Gore products.

Useful information - On average the temperature drops by 1 degree and the wind speed increases by 5 mph for every 500 ft (150m) you climb.

Out of the wind, conditions were much improved. By now it had stopped raining so we set off down towards Ashness Bridge.


The head of Derwent Water at Lodore (left)

and the foot of the lake with Skiddaw (above)


We diverted away from Ashness Bridge itself and took the path back towards Keswick.

One final stop for afternoon tea . . .

actually a quick meuseli bar, whist we talked of other things

including that rather controvercial article in Trail Magazine about re-proofing.


The Crags above are known as Raven Crag and are a popular rock climbing location. At present however, many of the routes are closed due to the presence of a nesting Peregrine Falcon on the high cliff.


The nest site is on the upper part of the second crag in the picture below.


Homeward bound - and so were we.
The final bridge crossing of Cat Gill.

We may not have travelled far in terms of mileage

but with Ken's help we are a little older and certainly a little wiser.


( Please note - any opinions here are purely mine and may or may not reflect those of Ken or George Fisher Ltd.)


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Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . someone who knows what they are talking about.

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Previous walk - 27th April 2006 The Easedale Fells and Sergeant Man

A previous time up here - 8th February 2006 Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell after the rain