Monday, 30 April 2018

Graystones to Whinlatter Circular.

To the north of Thornthwaite Forest above the Whinlatter pass there are five Wainwright's, four of which can be easily linked together to give a grand days outing.  The extra top of Whinlatter can also be added, but involves a detour through forestry via Tarbarrel Moss.

Our plan was to bag Graystones (456m), Broom Fell (511m), Lords Seat (552m) and Barf (468m).  This would, with only a little backtracking to take in Barf, give us our four Wainwright's. If time and energy allowed then Whinlatter (Brown How) would also be included.

Parking just before Darling How Farm we made our way up through Darling How plantation.  This involved a rather circuitous route, but it did at least bring us out of the forest not too far from the summit of Graystones. 

Moira just above the forest and not far from the summit of Graystones

Once out of the forest it was a very steep pull alongside an old wall before the ground flattened out just before the summit area.

The summit area has 2 high points but this one was the better viewpoint.

We took in both tops before dropping down to Widow Hause.  Here we had a quick break before heading up onto the summit of Broom Fell. 

The summit of Broom Fell.  There is also a shelter wall just to the left of the cairn

After another quick break we made our way over easy if rather boggy ground onto Lords Seat. 

Once on top we had good views over to Whinlatter and Brown How (525m) on the opposite side of the valley.  From here we thought we could work out a possible high route across to it via Tarbarrel Moss.  We have numerous single Wainwright's left to do, so grabbing Whinlatter today would save us a single hill outing.  Plus it looked like it would create a great circular route, providing of course we could find a way through the trees.

The view south over towards Whinlatter and Brown How with Grisedale Pike and Ladyside Pike beyond.  We thought we could see a break in the trees running onto the Moss just left of centre.

Convinced we could see a way through, we now turned our backs to our planned route and instead headed in the opposite direction to bag Barf. 

Barf (lower right) and the Skiddaw Range from the summit of Lords Top

Looking back towards Lords Seat from Barf

On the summit of Barf a heavy hail shower caught us unawares by sneakily using Skiddaw for cover.  

Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite Lake from the Summit of Barf

As a result we didn't hang around for long before the hail chased us back over to Lords Seat, where we avoided the worst of it by heading into the trees. 

The going after this became a little confused when we found signs that told us we could not use the Tarbarrel Moss path.  Unsure of where we could go we dropped down into the forest to meet with the main forestry road.  Here signs told us we could go no further.  Fortunately, next to a mountain bikes only track, Moira spotted a vague path heading through the trees.  I was far from convinced, but after a steep uphill section we broke out of the trees onto Tarbarrel Moss itself.  From here we could see a vague path heading across the moss to meet with the main path leading onto Whinlatter. 

In the Lakes the word Moss on a map tends to mean bog, so by the time we reached the main path leading up from the Whinlatter visitor centre I had wet feet. I really must get some new boots.

The view south from Whinlatter Top.  The weather by now was rather dull with frequent rain and hail showers.

Next we continued along the ridge to Brown How.  This is a great viewpoint, but due to its forested lower slopes it was difficult to work out how we could get down.

Brown How Summit.  

After a false start we descended diagonally over some very rough and pathless steep ground towards Willybrag Gill.  Here we followed the forest edge east to reach the boundary wall coming down from Whinlatter Top. This was then followed down more steep ground until we hit the main forest road through Aiken Plantation.  After this it was a straightforward walk back to our start point.

That's 113 Wainwright's completed now.  Hopefully the next trip should take us below the hundred to do mark.

Distance: 15.6K, 1000m ascent

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