TR: *another* Lakeland Spring Week

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Mark Manning, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. Mark Manning

    Mark Manning Guest

    Sandy Saunders beat me to it with a fine TR of his week in the Lakes;
    here's mine, centred on AW's North-Western Fells. A very good week, and
    nice to be carrying a light daysack rather than a backpacking one; it makes
    the ascents *much* easier! Also nice that it was warm enough to wear Tevas
    rather than boots.


    Parked the car at about 0930 at Threlkeld, and then up above the
    intake walls to the path contouring the south of the fell. Up Doddick
    Fell ridge for the first time; AW comments that this "splendid way to the
    top of Blencathra" is "quite easy", and of course he's right. The top was
    obscured in mist, sadly. Met the summit path after an easy ascent, but
    scrambled up alongside it. Down to have a look at Scales Tarn (I'm hoping
    to camp there shortly); I watched the people heading for Sharp Edge as I
    had lunch. Then up to the top; the mist had lifted by now, and the sun
    shone in the blue sky. Then headed down to Roughton Gill for a dip, and
    back around the fell to the car. A good first day.


    Staying at the foot of Hopegill Head, so I set off to climb it for a
    day without the car. Climbed steeply alongside a wall from the minor road
    to reach the top of Swinside, and went along the ridge to Ladyside Pike
    and the top. The rock was greasy (the slabs face north, and so were still
    damp), and I found it a bit of a tricky ascent having lost the path,
    ending up scrambling up steep heather. But I made it! On to Grisedale
    pike in blue sky and good visibility (but a bit of a breeze). Then down
    to Coledale Hause and up to the top of Grasmoor via the tops of Dove
    Crags; an easy walk with good views. Went over to Grasmoor End to see
    AW's "magnificent scaffold"; I don't think I'm going to be climbing the
    hill that way! Then back to Hopegill Head and along the ridge to
    Whiteside. It was now about 1600 on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and there
    was no-one about *at* *all*. Very fine views from the top. Then down the
    ridge leading to Dodd, and to Hope Gill and back to the cottage.


    This was forecast as a windy day, so I thought I'd head for the hills
    in the Whinlatter forest; at least there would be some shelter there.
    Parked close to the Forest centre, then along the Pass towards Scale
    Force. I'd hoped to see this, but the path is still blocked by fallen
    trees, three months after the gales. (To be fair, I suspect the foresters
    have other more urgent things to attend to after gales.) But I could get
    to see the Force from the path running below Graystones. Then up steeply
    to Graystones; there seems to be no path at first, but one rapidly
    appears. I didn't make the proper top; the wind was too strong to enable
    me to look around! Then down to the back of Darling How plantation to get
    out of the wind and have lunch. Up to Broom Fell; the wind was still very
    strong, but it eased a little as I headed towards Lord's Seat, turning off
    to Barf before I got to the summit. A fine view from the top of Barf,
    were it not windy and a bit misty! Then back to the top of Lord's Seat,
    and into the forest. There's a heathery trod leading over to Ullister
    Hill, with good views of the Aiken valley; then on to the forest paths and
    roads, and my GPS and compass enabled me to find the ascent to Whinlatter.
    The western top is quite a way from the forest! But the wind was at last
    dying down. A good day on low hills, despite the wind.


    Headed over to Buttermere on a day that started rather wet. Ducked
    into the lovely church to see AW's memorial plaque: but sadly Haystacks,
    to which the plaque points, was lost in the mist. Then up towards
    Rannerdale Knotts; this low height should have been easy, but the wind was
    so gusty and strong that the family ahead of me had problems scrambling
    the intermediate summit, and I had difficulty not being blown about; so I
    turned back. Rather depressing. But I tried none the less to head up
    Whiteless Pike; the wind was at least at my back for this. The cloud
    lifted as I gained height, and it turned into a good climb. I could see
    the ridge heading to Thirdgill Head man, so ducked down from thus for
    lunch out of the wind, and a very fine view over the lake. Then took the
    ridge to the top, and headed over to Wandope. The mist was now down, the
    wind was back, and it was wet. I tried heading over to Eel Crag, but it
    wasn't at all pleasant, so turned back. Fortunately the path back from
    Wandope was *just* visible, and I got back down safely; though not easily
    at one point, where the wind was whipping me on a scrambly section.
    Finally along the ridge to Rannerdale Knotts, the wind having at last
    dropped a bit. A fine view from the top, and a good day salvaged from
    what could have been a wash-out.


    Spent the day prospecting some paths I'll be walking shortly in a
    Lakeland "tour". But I managed to get up Latrigg; the cloud on the higher
    hills didn't stop the view from the top being *very* impressive. Let me
    put in a good word for the old Keswick railway line, which is now an
    attractive permissive bridle-way; this is a very enjoyable walk as far as
    Threlkeld, and well worth seeing. The bridle-way has converted the
    railway nicely, so you cross the rivers on modified railway bridges, and
    what were presumably coal sheds or shelters for workers are converted into
    comfortable information points. And very good views, of course.


    Went over to see some friends in Wasdale, and took a short walk,
    parking at Overbeck Bridge and heading up Red Pike via Dore Head. It had
    started off cloudy in the valley, but the sun gradually broke through and
    the views were breath-taking. Back via Low Tarn and Over Beck, with
    virtually no-one around.


    Decided that I should get over my worries on Hopegill Head, and
    headed for it again, this time by Hope Beck; this was a considerably
    easier climb up a good path. The cloud was over the tops as I headed off,
    but I didn't have to wait long for the summit to become clear. Down to
    Coledale Hause again, but this time up to Eel Crag (which I'd missed when
    I was doing my Buttermere walk). I still felt I had some hills left in
    me, so headed along the ridge to Sail; and, finding I still had the
    energy, headed along to Causey Pike via Scar Crags. A magnificent
    journey, and one where I was very happy to retrace my steps! The cloud
    kept on lowering, so the top of Sail had disappeared when I got back;
    walking along the ridge in mist was weird and enjoyable. Then back to
    Hopegill Head and over again to Whiteside. The top had vanished in the
    mist, but the view became clear as I headed down for Dodd again; a
    magnificent view north. Met a determined sheep-dog on the path by Hope
    Beck: very much in his element, obviously had been told to head elsewhere,
    and was going with all reasonable speed.

    Mark Manning [email protected]