Private Guiding

Private Guiding

There are lots of good days out to be had in the Lake District fells and yet the choice offered by many guiding companies is quite limited. If you want something a bit different, an interesting or challenging day that is tailored for you then the best option is to hire your own guide. Even better share it with a few friends.
The options are endless: combining your aspirations with my mountain experience and extensive knowledge of area a good day is guaranteed. Below are just some examples to fire the imagination, you will have your own ideas of what would make a great day out for you:

Famous Ridges Weekend

People love the challenge of climbing Striding Edge up to the summit of Helvellyn or Sharp Edge up to the summit of Blencathra. They are deservedly popular routes but can be daunting for the less confident. With a bit of coaching, careful guiding and lots of reassurance even the most nervous will manage a successful ascent. Your personal safety is paramount and in bad weather slippery rock or high winds will make both ridges accident blackspots. I will always assess the conditions on the day and if necessary agree an alternative day out- still enjoying the wild weather but in safety.

Both Scafells

A bit like Everest and K2 the second highest mountain is often ignored and so it is with Scafell- the smaller sibling of Scafell Pike but, just a few metres lower, a magnificent mountain in its own right. The traverse between the two is tricky and the whole area can be a navigation nightmare in low cloud. As an added bonus we can divert from the summit of Scafell to have a quiet moment by a makeshift memorial to two WW11 Hurricane pilots who crashed into the hillside on a training flight. Some the debris remains- a poignant spot overlooking the west coast and on a good day the Isle of Man and even Ireland. Climbing both Scafells in a single hike is a big day out.

Ennerdale Horseshoe with a night in Black Sail YHA

Ennerdale is one of the least explored areas of the Lake District and often only used as a highway on the Coast to Coast walk. It is flanked by a range of magnificent peaks- from Great Borne to Haystacks in the north and Haycock to Pillar in the south. The cirque at its far end is even more impressive- with Green Gable, Great Gable and Kirkfell all soaring up from the head of the valley. Tucked below is the famous Black Sail YHA- old school charm and always a cosy and welcoming place for an overnight stop. Ennerdale has an active re-wilding project planting thousands of native trees, the re-introduction of old breeds of cattle and much more is planned. As a result it is quickly transforming from what was a rather sterile conifer plantation into one of the most bio-diverse areas in the National Park.

Away from it all- a wild camp

When was the last time you slept in a wild place- have you ever? Being camped in a remote place with only the sound of a rushing beck and passing ravens with a big open night sky above is a special experience. Imagine: the walk in, the setting up of camp, cooking a meal over a little stove, then, watching the night slowly take hold before tucking down into a sleeping back listening to the sound of the beck. Waking up in the morning feeling more immersed in the landscape is even more of a treat. The next day starts early- just pack up and walk…

WH Auden’s Watershed- Cross Fell

Did you know that the highest point on the Pennine Way is in Cumbria? Cross Fell sits high on the north Pennine ridge that acts as a watershed between west and east England. The very same as Auden’s gritty poem about the mining works around Cross Fell, itself titled “Watershed”. If you want to get away from it all and (if you are lucky) have a great view of the Eden Valley and the Cumbria Fells, Cross Fell is a great option. Discover wild moorland, ancient mine workings and hope the Helm Wind doesn’t blow while we are up there- guarantees a fast descent.

Overnight hike

Walking in the high mountains at night brings its own challenges and rewards. In a more stripped back, simplified landscape there are opportunities for new sensations. In the “Wee small hours of the morning” time seems to hang- the challenges we face elsewhere become temporarily suspended. Then almost imperceptibly the dawn begins its early glow and gradually the scene is transformed and, if we are lucky, we are treated to the golden hour as we descend in search of a hearty hot breakfast

A discovery day- stone axes etc

A place I am constantly drawn to in the Lake District is Langdale and in particular the Pikes: high towers of volcanic rock dominating the head of the valley. I am not alone- it is reputed that over 6000 years ago Neolithic stone masons climbed these “Stickles” right to the very summits to find a rare, hard green tuft that could be chipped and polished to become axe heads. No one knows why our early ancestors overcame the privations of working in such a remote and desolate location but they were the vanguard followed by the Bronze and Iron Age settlers, the Celts, the Romans, the Anglo Saxons, the Vikings, the Normans, the quarry workers and miners, the Romantic Poets and now us! All have left their mark which can make for a great day of discovery.

Photography/ Writing/ Composing- space to create and reflect

Cumbria has inspired many writers, poets, artists, photographers and, to a lesser degree, musicians. It is not surprising that the heady mix of geology, weather, history and folk tales continue to inspire many of us today.

“I would walk alone, in storm and tempest…to drink the visionary power”

Wordsworth is said to have walked over 175,000 miles composing his poetry “on the hoof”- he created much of his greatest work while hiking- the rhythm of his steps keeping time with the metre of his rhymes.

A day out in the hills with time to think and to create can be just the stimulant needed for your next great work…

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