Walks (mostly) in the Lake District – 2002

Great Gable by Barrie
Angle Tarn from the south pike

Angletarn Pikes – Saturday 28 December – a lovely walk to round off 2002. We parked at Side Farm (1.00) and set off up the path to Boredale Hause. Several years ago I remember struggling up this path for the first time and thinking I'd never make it to the top. I must be a lot fitter than I was then! The weather was cool but good for walking and we enjoyed lunch just below the south pike looking down over the tarn. We then continued down to the tarn where Sam enjoyed a short swim and play then made our way back down by the same route.

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A short walk along the Walna Scar road – Monday 16 December – a short walk to the Beehive shelter, this time Sophie was with us. The weather wasn't too cold and we nearly got to the snow line. Dow Crag, as usual, was looking impressive and it was tempting to carry on but we weren't prepared for a long walk. A bit of Christmas shopping in Hawkshead rounded off another pleasant day. And Sophie enjoyed it too and says that one day she'll do some more Wainwrights!

Liz and Sophie on Walna Scar road, Dow Crag behind us

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The Scafell range from the summit of Green Crag

Green Crag from the Woolpack Inn, Eskdale – Monday 18 November – Another book, the Southern Fells, finished. The weather again was on our side as we set off over Doctor Bridge, past Low Birker and on to the fell. AW mentions that from certain directions the ridge of which Green Crag is the highest point, resembles the Black Cuillin of Skye. Having lived with a view from my kitchen window across to the Cuillins when I lived near Kyle of Lochalsh, it is clear to see the resemblence. The views across to the Scafell range and of beautiful Eskdale get better the higher you climb but after passing an old ruined stone hut, you turn away and on to the open fell. We passed Low Birker Tarn following a clear path and then a short rocky scramble to the summit.

It was a lovely place to be but there was a cold wind so after taking several photos we were off back taking the alternative route to the right of Crook Crag. AW says that the Penny Hill peat road is hard to locate – I can vouch for that – we got to the ruined stone huts but then found our own way down. A bit steeper than the peat road but fun all the same! But one of the best sights of the day was watching the nearly full moon rise over Hard Knott Pass as we were setting off home. Beautiful.

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Tarn Crag and Grey Crag, Longsleddale from Sadgill – Monday 7 November – my last fells in the Far Eastern book. It was good to get these two done as they are rather remote and we'd been to the start of the walk a couple of times (a long drive up a narrow road) only to find the cloud well down. We decided to start off easily by walking up the quarry road toward Gatesgarth Pass, making Tarn Crag our first objective and leaving the 1000' steep bit which AW refers to for the descent from Grey Crag. We left the quarry track after passing impressive Buckbarrow Crag and headed up the grassy but very wet slopes to the summit – it's always good to get back onto soft grass after stony tracks!

Sadgill, Longsleddale

The summit of Tarn Crag is distinctive with the remains of a survey post used during the construction of the Longsleddale Tunnel conveying the Haweswater Aqueduct. There are several in the area – another one being on the slopes of our next fell, Grey Crag. This was a very wet walk in places and at times we used the fence to sidle along to avoid the wettest and boggiest bits! A short detour was made to Harrop Pike with its prominent cairn before going onto the summit of Grey Crag. The 1000' AW thinks are steep aren't as bad as he would have you believe (although I was glad we were descending and not ascending) but AW's 'easy gully' was a bit awkward. A final butty stop on a rocky perch above Sadgill and time to savour another perfect day in this beautiful part of the world.

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Looking west from the summit of Moel y Gamelin

A change of country this time – a trip to Wales and a lovely walk up Moel y Gamelin from the Horseshoe Pass above Llangollen – Saturday 19 October – it felt strange going south instead of heading for the Lakes but they say a change is as good as a rest! It wasn't meant to be a walking trip either – we were intending to visit Chirk Castle and Errdig but the weather was too good not to walk and after a coffee at the Ponderosa at The Horseshoe Pass we set off up the tempting path to Moel y Gamelin (height about 1900'). There was a cold wind but it was exhilarating walking and a straightforward easy path and we were soon at the summit. It was tempting to carry on along the ridge but we weren't prepared for a long walk so returned to the car and our sightseeing trip.

By then it was too late to visit both Chirk Castle and Errdig but an interesting walk round Chirk Castle and a look at the shops in Llangollen rounded off a different but very pleasant day.

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High Raise, Rest Dodd and The Nab from Hartsop – Monday 7 October – the car park at the east end of Hartsop village is another of my favourite places just to sit and admire the beautiful countryside but the weather was on our side this time and we were soon heading up toward Hayeswater. After a rest at the dam wall we headed up the slopes of The Knott bypassing the summit but continuing over Rampsgill Head onto High Raise where we had our well deserved lunch. The views down into Martindale and across to Rest Dodd and The Nab, where we were heading next, were stunning and the sound of the stags roaring was a constant companion – trying to spot them, even with binoculars was another matter.

Rest Dodd and The Nab from The Knott

We retraced our steps back over Rampsgill Head and followed the wall from The Knott to the summit of Rest Dodd – quite a steep pull but not too long. Barrie and Sam then waited on the lower slopes of Rest Dodd while I went on to The Nab – still accompanied by the roaring stags but by now we had spotted quite a few in the distance. It can be a soggy walk across to The Nab but after a dry spell the peat hags were pleasant walking and I was soon at the summit. After rejoining Barrie and Sam we made our way over to Satura Crag and then a very steep path down Prison Gill to the filter house and back to the car. Another lovely walk and the weather was just right!

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Upper Wharfedale from the slopes of Buckden Pike Another Yorkshire one – Buckden Pike – Monday 23 September – only had a short day as I'd to be back early for a school parents' evening. A leisurely drive up Wharfedale through the pretty villages of Burnsall, Kettlewell and Starbotton brought us to Buckden and some lovely sunny weather for a change. Buckden Pike, at a height of 2302', is a pleasant walk with extensive views over Upper Wharfedale and into Wensleydale and beyond. You can also see the Yorkshire 3 peaks, Whernside, Ingleborough and Penyghent (looking a lot nearer together than they actually are!). And although you feel like you're way out in the wilds, there's always a public road in sight.

We drove on from Buckden and had our lunch by the river at Yockenthwaite – where, in my youth, I'd spent many happy hours picknicking with my family. We then drove over to Hawes for ice creams then back down to Ribblehead, Horton in Ribblesdale, Settle and home. A lovely day with some happy memories too.

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Ullscarf – Monday 9 September – another wet walk! It didn't start too badly and we set off from Dob Gill car park with great hopes. The steepest part of the walk is from the car park to Harrop Tarn (a lovely spot on a warm, sunny day) but we were soon up it and out onto the open fell. Unfortunately, the weather was deteriorating rapidly and by the time we reached the ridge fence the rain had started. We followed the fence over Standing Crag and eventually reached the summit – although it was difficult in the dreadful weather to decide which was the actual summit. It wasn't a day for standing round admiring the view but we did have a butty and then set off back the same way – grateful when we got back for the toilets in the carpark for us to change out of our wet clothes. And a very welcome cup of coffee! It was also my last fell in the Central book.

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Liz and Barrie at Watson's Dodd summit

WAINWRIGHT NUMBER 200!!! – Hart Side, Stybarrow Dodd and Watson's Dodd – Sunday 25 August – we parked at the isolated hamlet of Dowthwaitehead (with the permission of a very pleasant gentleman at one of the cottages) which saved us a couple of miles of road walking. The first part of the walk follows an indistinct and rather wet former miners' track but once the wall is reached the walking is pleasant and easy. Hart Side summit has the distinctive feature of a large ditch, the reason for which is not known but possibly to do with the local lead mines at Glenridding. The grassy summit of Stybarrow Dodd is clearly seen ahead – at least it is until the cloud drops then it becomes another of our walks with no view!

Luckily the cloud cleared by the time we reached Watson's Dodd summit for which I was grateful as it was my 200th Wainwright and I wanted a photo taking. The views down to Thirlmere and north to Keswick and Skiddaw were lovely but the low cloud was still hanging about so we returned by the same route, stopping for a butty break at Birkett Crag. This viewpoint is east of Hart Side summit but has the better vantage point with lovely views over Ullswater.

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A change of scenery – Gaping Gill and Ingleborough – Monday 19 August – every August Bank Holiday the Craven Pothole Club holds a meet at Gaping Gill where a winch is set up and memebers of the public can enjoy the experience of a lifetime and descend the deepest pothole in Britain. It doesn't cost anything to go down – but they charge you a modest amount to bring you back up!! – currently 8. It's worth it though. Sophie was with us this time – Gaping Gill is one of her favourite walks and having relations involved with the Club there's always the chance of a cup of tea – or something stronger for me!

Gaping Gill

It's a pleasant walk from Clapham passing first through the grounds of Ingleborough Hall to Ingleborough Cave, then on up the impressive rocky cleft of Trow Gill before reaching the open moorland and Gaping Gill. Barrie and I decided to go down – in fact it was nice to cool off underground for a while as it had been a warm walk up. Waterprooofs are advisable as it can be a wet ride down! We met up with my niece Judith who is an experienced caver – it was quite surreal chatting away over 300' below ground. The ride back up seems to take longer but the bright sunshine was a welcome sight after the darkness and gloom. After a refreshing drink at Judith's tent we found we still had some energy left and carried on up Ingleborough. Another pleasant day!

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Slight Side from near Cat Crag on the Terrace Route Slight Side – Monday 5 August – only a week and we were back up there! We parked near Whahouse Bridge and took the Terrace Route where, to borrow some of AW's words, 'a charming path winds amongst the bracken and granite outcrops'. It is a charming path but the route continues across Quagrigg Moss which is – as the name suggests – a bit wet. It's a stiff pull up the final bit but the summit is rocky and reached by a short scramble – in fact, a perfect summit, far better than its more illustrious neighbours. It was impressive looking toward Scafell as it disappeared and reappeared through the cloud and is quite a fairly straightforward walk from Slight Side.

But Slight Side was enough for me. We had contemplated returning by a different route (Cam Spout or Stony Tarn and Eel Tarn to Boot) but settled for the same, partly to pick up a rucksack belonging to a gentleman we'd met on the way up who'd left it at the bottom of the last steep bit meaning to pick it up on his way down but which he'd unfortunately lost Luckily we found it and Barrie was able to return it to him later.

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Weekend camping at Nether Wasdale – 26 – 29 July – a pleasant weekend camping where we managed 3 good walks. We arrived at the campsite early Friday afternoon and having pitched the tent and had a bite to eat were off up Middle Fell. The weather was warm with hazy sun and the views across to Yewbarrow and down into Wasdale from the summit were excellent – unfortunately the cloud was down over the Scafells. We returned by Greendale Tarn which was rather a boggy route apart from the Greendale Gill section which was lovely with some pretty waterfalls. On Saturday we had a longer walk from Cogra Moss car park – Burnbank Fell, Blake Fell and Gavel Fell. The weather was varied with some sun and rain but the low cloud had cleared by the time we were on the tops. Blake Fell from the track to Cogra Moss

On Sunday we were hoping to do Great Borne and Starling Dodd but when we reached the Bowness Point car park by Ennerdale Water the cloud was well down so a quick change of plan was made. Lank Rigg is another rather unexciting fell and of no interest if you like your fells rugged and craggy. And in the rain and mist it's even worse! But a lot of the walking in the Western fells is on broad featureless moorland but it has its own peaceful character and isn't unpleasant. This was another part of the Lake District that I wouldn't have gone to if I hadn't been 'bagging' Wainwrights which to me makes it all worthwhile. Monday dawned even greyer with the cloud right down so we decided to call it a day and come home. We had a trip to Wasdale Head first and had an interesting tour of the hotel with the landlord to see the Abraham brothers exhibition.

It was a lovely few day and not at all spoilt by the weather! And took my total of Wainwrights on to 196.

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Rosthwaite Fell from Seatoller Car Park Rosthwaite Fell (Bessyboot) – Monday 1 July – a very wet walk but as we'd travelled all that way we decided to brave the elements and go for it. After all, we could only get wet!! It was worth it just to see the waterfalls in Comb Gill. We eventually made it to Tarn at Leaves and from there it was just a short climb to Bessyboot which AW gives as the summit. Rosthwaite Cam would wait for another day. It's definitely on my list of fells to do again – in better weather though. The photo was taken from Seatoller when we got back to the car and it had in fact stopped raining and turned into a lovely evening.

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Tarn Crag, Easedale – Monday 17 June – and we made it this time (see 19.11.01). The weather was warm with a pleasant breeze as we set off from the car park on Easedale Road and it didn't seem to take long before we were at the impressive waterfall of Sour Milk Gill where we stopped to take photos and admire the views back down over Grasmere. It was a bit tricky getting across at the outflow of the tarn but we managed without getting our feet wet. A visit first to the cairn 200 yards south of the summit cairn for the bird's eye view of Easedale Tarn then a short climb to the summit. We didn't stay long as the wind was too strong, but at least it was dry! But it was difficult standing up at times! Tarn Crag from Easedale Tarn

Our return route took us down the east ridge with impressive views to our left of Deer Bield Crag. We were glad we'd used this route for the descent as we had the lovely views down over the Vale of Grasmere in front of us then a leisurely stroll back down delightful Far Easedale. Once again, we'd had another lovely walk – beautiful views, easy walking, a proper summit with rocks and crags and no rain. And Wainwright 190 for me!

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Mungrisdale Common summit with Foule Crag and Blencathra behind Mungrisdale Common – Monday 27 May – another unsettled day weatherwise but I was determined to get another Wainwright under my belt! We parked just beyond the Blencathra Centre where you're already at a good height and set off up the track above Glenderaterra Beck toward Skiddaw House. AW recommends leaving the track at Sinen Gill – we accidentally turned off earlier and came back down Sinen Gill which we decided was a much better way down than up But we missed the Cloven Stone which is an interesting split rock! Everywhere around the summit is grassy and featureless but the views across to Lonscale Fell, Skiddaw and into Borrowdale are worth seeing.

There are some lovely waterfalls in Sinen Gill and Roughten Gill too – a nice place to stop and realise how lucky you are to be in such a wonderful place! And if you're feeling energetic you can carry on across to Foule Crag then over Blencathra (seen behind me in the photo above). It was Wainwright 189 for me, and while it may not be the most exciting fell in the Lake District, it has its interesting bits and is much more enjoyable than AW would have you believe!

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High Dam, Finsthwaite – Monday 29 April – a beautiful and peaceful spot, just right if you're not feeling too energetic and the weather once again is letting you down. You can make it a longer walk and climb Finsthwaite Heights (about 600' at the highest point) but we just had a pleasant saunter round the dam and the sun actually shone for us while we were walking. It's just as beautiful as Tarn Hows – but without the crowds. Everywhere is sylvan and there are views of the distant mountains to reassure you but as AW remarks in the chapter on Finsthwaite Heights in his Outlying Fells book – '...this is not fellwalking'.

High Dam, Finsthwaite

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Rossett Pike from Mickleden Rossett Pike – Monday 15 April – and we certainly couldn't complain about the weather this time, it was perfect. Clear blue skies, warm sunshine with a pleasant breeze made the walking most enjoyable and we set off from the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel up Mickleden in the best of spirits. The breeze was welcome going up Rossett Gill as it is a bit of pull up the last rocky bit if you keep to the gill and don't take the longer zig zag route. But the views all round, especially across to Flat Crags on Bowfell were superb. We had our lunch looking down on Angle Tarn before going for the summit. (Wainwright number 188). But the best views are from the cairn about a hundred yards to the south-east perched on the edge of the crags looking straight over Mickleden. And on such a perfect day, it was a very difficult place to leave.

But we made our way down the easier slopes to the east and down to Stake Pass and then the long walk back down Mickleden for a welcome drink at the Old Dungeon Ghyll. But was the floor really sloping in the bar or had I had too much sun? We didn't see the packwoman's grave either, which AW mentions. But we didn't go out of our way to look for it – I think she deserves to be left in peace.

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Bakestall – Monday 25 March – once again it wasn't a promising start to the day weatherwise. We parked at Legburthwaite intending to do Stybarrow Dodd and Watson's Dodd but the weather couldn't decide whether to rain or be sunny. We knew it would be quite a slog up to the Dodds so opted for a shorter walk and carried on to Dash. It may not have the rugged beauty of more popular parts of the Lake District, but I've always loved it 'Back o' Skidda' for its peace and solitude. If you want to get away from the crowds this is one place to do it! But it was another summit we reached in the mist so no good views but we managed a few photos of Dead Crags, looking rather impressive and forbidding in the gloom. And it took my Wainwright tally onto 187 – only 27 to go. Dead Crags from slopes of Bakestall

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Snow capped mountains and Ullswater from Bonscale Pike

Arthur's Pike and Bonscale Pike – Tuesday 12 March – One of the hardest parts of doing these two peaks is finding somewhere to park. But there is a small pull-in on the left not far past the Sharrow Bay Hotel with the added bonus of a beautiful view across Ullswater with a small beach (just right for that well earned rest after a good walk) Once you reach the ridge this is a pleasant straightforward walk with superb views over Ullwater and the mountains to the south, particularly the Helvellyn range which this time still had a covering of snow even though the weather was so beautiful. There were still small pockets of snow on Bonscale and Arthur's.

I always prefer to return by a different route if possible, so we descended below the two towers by a fairly steep but easy route to reach the road at Howtown. I'm glad we didn't go up that way!! A leisurely stroll back along the road rounded off another enjoyable walk – and a well earned cuppa sitting by the beach enjoying the views across the lake.

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Branstree and Selside Pike – Thursday 14 February – the weather was cold and crisp with a fair covering of snow on many of the surrounding peaks as we set off from the car at Mardale Head and made our way steadily up to Gatescarth Pass. While it isn't too far or too steep from the top of the pass to the summit, we made several excuses to stop and admire the impressive views across to Harter Crag. We reached the summit in good time but didn't stop long as Artlecrag Pike, a couple of hundred yards toward our next summit is a better viewpoint with a fine cairn. It's just a steady slog on to Selside Pike, passing on the way a strange looking structure which is a survey post built by Manchester Corporation during the construction of the Haweswater Aqueduct.

Haweswater and Kidsty Pike from the Old Corpse Road

From the summit of Selside Pike we made our way across rather wet ground to reach the Old Corpse Road – last used for its original purpose of transporting bodies from Mardale to Shap for burial in 1736. A leisurely walk down the grassy track, with the views across Haweswater to the High Street range getting finer with every step brought us back down to the road and a short walk back to our starting place. Another lovely day.

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Little Mell Fell – Monday 28 January – Branstree and Selside Pike from Haweswater was the plan but having been nearly blown away at the Tebay services we decided not to risk being too high. Realising that we were in the right direction for one of the lower Wainwrights still on my 'to do' list, we ended up being blown up and down Little Mell Fell in 3/4 hour. It certainly blew the cobwebs away! I don't normally like walking in the wind but it was great fun to feel as if you were flying but knowing that a soft landing awaited when you blew over. But to walk with no rain was a great pleasure after most of our recent walks and it was another Wainwright done.

We then had a short walk along the old railway track from Threlkeld toward Keswick and to the chain bridge at Portinscale. And coffee in an almost deserted Keswick rounded off a very enjoyable day in the Lakes.

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Hard Knott – Monday 14 January – it was one of those days when you wished you'd stayed in bed (rain, low cloud etc.) but eventually you realise it's not as bad as it could be and you decide to brave the elements. Hard Knott, according to the map and AW, isn't a mammoth walk but in the atrocious weather we had it was quite an epic journey. But thanks to the GPS and Barrie's navigating skills we arrived safely back at the car, rather wet but happy and another Wainwright done. My 181st. But sadly, no photos.

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