Thursday, 3 January 2019

Wainwright’s - Kidsty Pike, Rampsgill Head and High Raise

High Raise was another of those Wainwright’s we had probably done but did not have a record of doing, so we decided on a straightforward out and back walk taking in Kidsty Pike and Rampsgill Head, both of which had definitely been bagged previously.

Parking at Haweswater just before the sun came up we headed along its eastern shore to Bowderthwaite Bridge.  Here we left the main path and made our way diagonally up a very boggy section towards the broad ridge which connects Kidsty Howes with Kidsty Pike.  Fortunately as the ground steepened the bogs were left behind and we soon found ourselves on Kidsty Howes where we had a second breakfast as the sun appeared.

It’s been a few weeks since we have had chance to bag a few of the higher hills and despite noticing a loss of fitness it was still a pleasant if rather tiring plod up onto the summit of Kidsty Pike. 

The view back towards Kidsty Howes

The summit of Kidsty Pike and the view towards Twopenny Crag and the col between High Street and Rampsgill Head.

From here we headed up onto Rampsgill Head where we had some spectacular if rather hazy views towards the Helvellyn range. 

Summit of Rampsgill Head. (L to R) Fairfield, Helvellyn and the Dodds

Moving on a pleasant wander in the sun took us up onto High Raise.

Low Raise from High Raise

Helvellyn range from the Summit of High Raise

After a relaxing lunch in the sun we took a diagonal course back to Kidsty Pike to avoid a re-ascent of Rampsgill Head and then retraced our route down.

That’s 3 Wainwright’s completed in total, but only one new one we can tick off our list. 

140 of 214 completed – 74 to go. 

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Wainwright’s - Base Brown and Green Gable

Both of us had climbed Green Gable on numerous occasions, but Base Brown was yet another of the “only one of us had climbed it variety”. 

Parking at Seathwaite we headed up the side of Sourmilk Gill. 

The steep path up the side of the gill meant height was gained quite quickly and the views soon opened out.

Looking back along along Seathwaite from just above the intake wall.

At the top of the gill we carried on along the main path until it flattened out and then struck diagonally east up the hillside towards the hanging stone, a large boulder that juts precariously out over the crag guarding the northern approach to Base Brown.

The Hanging Stone

The view along Seathwate towards the Helvellyn range from just below the Hanging Stone

Passing under the crag we were still in deep shadow and it was cold, but as we traversed around to the east side to outflank it we came out into bright sunshine.

Easy walking took us to the summit, but despite the sunshine a cold wind meant we had to huddle behind a rock in the shade for our coffee.   Ahead the way onto Green Gable was clear and we could see a few people making their way towards its summit.

The summit of Base Brown

Green Gable with Great Gable just peeing over its top. Viewed from the summit area of Base Brown

The view back towards Base Brown from the Green Gable path
We were making good time so we decided to head off route to a rocky top just above the Gillercombe Head path, which gives good view down into Ennerdale.  I am glad we did because the views were stunning.

The view down Ennerdale towards the coast with Pillar on the left and Haystacks, High Crag and High Stile on the right. The hills, center right in the far distance may possibly be Great Borne and Herdus? 

Dragging ourselves away we soon found ourselves on the Summit of Green Gable; again the views down Ennerdale were stunning. 

The valley of Ennerdale (center), with the lakes of Buttermere and Crummock Water (right)
We only had a short break before moving off to pay our respects to two airmen who lost their lives as a result of an accident here during the 2nd World War on the 9th of August 1943.

The aircraft, an Avro Anson Mk1 (Serial No DL222/A2) flew into the hillside in bad weather while on a night-time navigation exercise (three others also crashed that night)!  Three of the aircrew survived, but sadly Sgt W Panasik (Polish Air Force) and Sgt E. A. Loppe (Royal Canadian Air Force) did not.  

We found the crash site quite easily and like many of these places there is no memorial. In fact there wasn’t even a poppy, which surprised us given that Remembrance Sunday was only last week.  I suppose that may be due to the fact that the memorial on Great Gable is usually the main focus.

Crash site with the summit of Green Gable behind
Moving on we made our way down to Windy Gap and then steeply down the screes of Aaron Slack to Styhead Tarn.  From here it was a nice wander down to Stockley Bridge.  

Stockley Bridge with the sun just going down behind Seathwaite Fell.

From Stockley Bridge it was a gentle wander along the track to Seathwaite and our start point.

139 of 214 completed, 75 to go.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Wainwright’s - Great Dodd, Watson's Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd and Hart Side

Of these two hills, Great Dodd was one of the “only one of us had done it variety,” while Hart Side was a new one to us both.

Parking at High Row we headed along the coach road for 600m or so before picking up the Bridleway alongside Groove Beck.  Crossing over Matterdale Common it was pretty icy in places and to say there was a biting wind would be an understatement. The views were great though.

Great Mell Fell and Little Mell Fell from Matterdale Common just before Randerside.

Great Dodd from the cairn on Randerside

A quick break at the cairn on Randerside left us chilled to the bone and it took a good stomp up onto the summit of Great Dodd to warm us up.  

Moira approaching the summit of Great Dodd with Blencathra behind

The windchill on top was really uncomfortable and I ended up with frozen fingers before I could even drag my camera out of its bag.  As a result we did not hang around and headed off in the direction of Watson's Dodd.   

The little lump on the right is Watson's Dodd

In the lee of Great Dodd we were sheltered from the wind and within ten minutes we had to stop and strip off a couple of layers.  Another ten minutes later and everything was back on again as the approach to the summit of Watson's Dodd.

Watson's Dodd summit cairn

Next stop was Stybarrow Dodd.

Stybarrow Dodd summit cairn. 

Hart Side (middle left) from the wall close to the summit of Stybarrow Dodd. The wind was from the wrong direction to enjoy the shelter of the wall today.  It would make a grand place for a break otherwise.

As there was very little shelter out of the wind we headed straight off towards White Stones where I knew there was some rocks just below the summit where we could have our lunch out of the wind.

We could have cut the corner off and headed straight for Hart Side, but instead we nipped over to the summit of White Stones.

Cairn a few yards from the summit of White Stones. Hart Side is the lump on the left

Making our way across to Hart Side the wind was bitter and blowing straight from the north. I was pleased we had packed our winter kit despite the forecast blue skies.

Birkett Fell from the summit of Hart Side

Great and Little Mell Fell from the northern cairn. Our start point was at the trees just right of center and followed the broad ridge on the left

From the summit we then headed for Birkett Fell and with the wind to the side now a much more comfortable walk.  The views from here along Ullswater were stunning – what a cracking viewpoint.

Birkett Fell with Ullswater beyond

We were tempted to drop north east directly down the fell, but in the end took the less direct route using the wall leading towards Brown Hills as a handrail.  This made for a slightly longer walk but it was nicely sheltered from the wind.

Ullswater from the wall. It was so sheltered here we could walk without jackets on.

Easy if rather boggy walking led down to the farm at Dowthwaite Head where we then followed the road back to our start point.

Wainwright’s  bagged: Great Dodd, Watson Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd and Hart Side, but having already done the others on previous walks we only get to tick off another two.

That’s 137 completed leaving 77 Wainwright’s left to go.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Wainwright's - Sca Fell and Slight Side From Wasdale Head

Sca Fell, the second highest mountain in the Lake District is often overlooked by the masses in order to tick off its near namesake Scafell Pike.  The latter may be the highest mountain in the Lakes, but for me it is Sca Fell, or perhaps more accurately its North Face that has always held my interest.  As I write my mind wanders to those long walk in’s and the occasional camp, all of which were followed by summer and winter climbs on classics routes such as Moss Ghyll, Moss Ghyll Grooves and Botterill’s Slabs.  Wonderful memories shared with some great pals and all still clearly etched in my mind despite the passage of time.

I can also remember the descent down Broad Stand too, as it was invariably wet and greasy and often felt a great deal more dangerous than the actual graded climbs we had just done.  I mention the latter as the Wasdale Team had just rescued two people from there just before we arrived at the National Trust campsite.  Given the publicity this spot has received due to the injuries and indeed deaths that have occurred here it amazes me that none climbers still continue to attempt it.

In reminiscing over those climbs I did wonder if I had climbed Sca Fell before, however a look at the map suggested I had probably only been on the summit of Symonds Knott a few hundred metres to the north of the true summit.

A little further south is another Wainwright, namely Slight Side, so a plan was hatched to take in both.  

Looking up from the National Trust’s Wasdale Head campsite we could see a few of the higher tops were covered in cloud, but most were clear.  With a forecast suggested an improving day with sunny spells we set off a little later than normal to give the higher hills time to clear.

Wast Water from near Brackenclose, Wasdale Head. 

As a result it was just after 9.30am when the four of us (Moira, Graham and Sandra) set off along the old Wasdale to Eskdale corpse road.  This was followed to the far end of Fence Wood, where we left the main track and headed up the bridleway towards Burnmoor Tarn. 

It was very boggy underfoot and by the time we reached Maiden Castle, a Bronze Age burial mound, I was already bleating about having damp feet - I really must get some new boots!

Rather than continue on the path to the tarn where it looked even boggier we headed diagonally up the fell towards Slight Side.  While working out way around the numerous boggy sections we lost the main path.  Rather than try to relocate the main path we crossed Hard Rigg Gill lower down and began following various sheep trod's which led in the general direction of Slight Side.

Hard Rigg Gill

Hard Rigg Gill below with the mountain of Illgill Head behind

On the final approach just below the summit crags we came across the remains of two Hurricane aircraft that had crashed here in 1941.  Sadly neither of the Polish pilots survived.  The nearby memorial to the airmen looks out over this lonely fell side and as the cloud came in it created a poignant if somewhat eerie reminder of the price paid by people who were not just from the UK, but also from other European countries as well.  Sadly this is just one of number of crash sites in the Lake District.

The memorial with Burnmoor Tarn below

The remains of the Hurricane Engine

     The memorial plaque to Polish pilots P/O Zygmund Hohne and Sgt Stanislaw Karubin who lost their lives here on the 12th August 1941.

I did a bit of research later and found out that Sgt Karubin had fought in Poland and after escaping the Germans he went on to fight in the battle for France. Later he fought in the Battle of Britain and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal.

Above us the cloud came and went over the summit, but the way up was clear.

The summit of Slight Side viewed from the memorial

In the clag we were unsure which of the two rocky lumps was the true summit Slight Side so climbed them both anyway.

The summit of Slight Side

Moving on towards the summit of Sca Fell the visibility was down to a few metres so it was just a case of making our way over rocky ground until we hit the highest point.

The summit of Sca Fell

Just after reaching the summit it started to rain. Just a shower we thought but by the time we had dropped under the cloud it was pouring down - so much for the good forecast.

79 Wainwrights left to go

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Wainwright’s- Birkhouse Moor, Catstye Cam, Helvellyn and White Side.

Moira and I have walked over the top of Birkhouse Moor on many occasions when climbing Helvellyn, but that said neither of us could visualise having ever been on the summit. The only way to resolve this was to revisit the location and perhaps also have a wander over to enjoy the view from its north top as well.  Catstye Cam on the other hand had definitely been climbed by me, but not by Moira.  To address this we devised a walk onto Helvellyn that would also give us a little bit of adventure in the form of the fine little arĂȘte of Swirral Edge as a bonus.

Accompanied by our friends G&S we left the Gillside campsite and made our way up via the Mires Beck track.

Ullswater and Glenridding

There were lots of people about on the main track, but as soon as we left it to walk the few hundred metres to Birkhouse Moor’s north top we lost the crowds.
The north top of Birkhouse Moor.

Returning to the main track we joined the crowds again as we walked onto and over the true summit of Birkhouse Moor. Once there we realised we had done it many times before, still at least we could be sure and tick it off our list now.  Despite being keen to stop for a few minutes the arrival of a noisy group of walkers heading towards Striding Edge pushed us on. 

Fortunately things became a lot quieter as we left the main path to make our way towards Catstye Cam and by the time we reached its east ridge, there were only two people and a dog ahead of us.

Helvellyn ahead and Catstye Cam on the right

Up until now it had been cloudy, cold and windy, but as we made the steep pull up the ridge and onto the summit, the sun came out. 

Summit with the view over Greenside to Ullswater

Helvellyn and Swirral Edge from the summit of Catstye Cam

Heading off we made our way down to the start of Swirral Edge
.  Following its crest we had an enjoyable scramble onto Helvellyn.

As expected it was pretty busy on the summit, but certainly nowhere near as busy as Striding Edge was. Here we counted over 70 people on the final section before the headwall. 

Summit from the trig point

A busy Striding Edge with St Sunday Crag beyond.

Despite the crowds it was heartening to see very little in the way of litter. Whether the relatively litter free summit was down to people having carried out a litter pick recently, or whether it was down to people respecting the hills I don’t know – I do hope it is the latter though.

Returning over the summit we headed to Lower Man before trending right to White Side (already bagged before so no extra tick today). 

The path towards Lower Man

Skiddaw from White Side

From here we descended into Keppel Cove and then followed the track down through Greenside, stopping off on the way for a pint of Helvellyn Gold at the Youth Hostel.

A perfect pint to end the walk

All in all it was a grand wander that gave us 4 Wainwrights in total, but only 2 new ones to tick off. That leaves us 81 Wainwrights left to go.  Wasdale area next I think.