Setting out for Croglin Fell. Photo: Denise McLellan.

Trip Report:  Alston Bagger Rambles,  November 2021

‘A great fun weekend from start to finish and I really enjoyed the company, catering and hostel.’


'Seeing Richard jump off the trig on Cumrew Fell made my weekend - good to see another trig jumper!'


Having not stayed at a hostel for nearly 2 years, I was really looking forward to meeting up with other baggers at Alston Independent Youth Hostel in November 2021 for the Autumn Bagger Rambles.

24 people signed up to stay in the 28-bed hostel, many staying Sunday night as well. The hostel layout proved ideal for this sort of group with a large self-catering kitchen next to a combined lounge and dining area.

The showers were exceptionally good. Luckily, we made little use of the spacious drying room. Alston village has a well-stocked Spar, open long hours,  which provides free overflow parking and there are several pubs and lots of cutmarks to find.

Norman Wares decided to link the trip to his 500th Dodd and 15 people joined him on top of Blotting Raise (Croglin Fell), 591m, P64m on Saturday morning. Dodds have a minimum prominence of 30 m and are between 500m and 599m in height. As you can see, the weather was superb, with blue skies and clear views.

Norman evades the tickling stick. Photo: Richard McLellan.

The trig was a perfect table from which to serve fine malt whisky and cake, all provided by Norman. Congratulations to Norman!

The trig table on Croglin Fell. Photo: Denise McLellan.

There was almost a competition as to who could assist with the cooking both of the cooked breakfasts and the communal meal on Saturday night. We kept it simple and provided mushroom soup, pasta bolognaise and apple pie and custard, with vegan option. We turned the leftovers into a bonus Chilli con carne for those that stayed Sunday. Most of the whisky went...

Photo: Denise McLellan.

People’s bagging objectives were varied and included Marilyns, Simms, Dodds, Humps, Tumps, Elmslies (over 2000 feet, a new one on me), trigs, cut marks, concrete rings and even the hostel.

A perfect fit. Photo: Douglas Law.

Linda, the friendly warden, gave us a ‘gold star’ for the condition in which we left the place and thanked us profusely for the donation we made.

It was good to be so sociable again after recent restrictions. There was much talk of further trips and I look forward to future Bagger Rambles.


Denise McLellan

Climbing mountains has been a lifelong passion for Denise. Mostly, Denise walks with her husband, Richard. She finished her Corbetts in 2015 but is still working her way through Munros. As Denise lives in Birmingham, her main focus is on English and Welsh Tumps and Humps, but she is nearing completion of English and Welsh Marilyns. Internationally speaking, Denise focuses on Ultras, that is mountains with 1500m of prominence, and has done over 225 of these. Denise also sails, skis and kayaks and bags islands, trigs and benchmarks.

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