Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Wainwrights - Grey Crag, Tarn Crag, Kentmere Pike and Shipman Knotts.

We only had three Wainwrights left to do here, namely Grey Crag, Tarn Crag and Shipman Knotts.  The only problem was that Shipman Knotts was on the opposite side of the valley to the other two and involved descending 230m into upper Longsleddale and then climbing something like 330m up onto Kentmere Pike. The effort though was worth it.

Parking at Sadgill just after 7.30am it was straight into it as we puffed our way up the steep intake land and onto the fellside via a short easy gully.  

Sadgill and our start point below

Things flattened out a bit as we reached the top of Great Howe. From here the going was easy if a little boggy at times.  Despite the May sunshine the summit of Grey Crag was a bitterly cold place to hang around so we found a bit of shelter for a quick break.  The difference in temperature out of the wind was considerable and set the tone for a day of constant gear faffs as we added and removed layers to try and keep comfortable. 

Summit cairn on Grey Crag. Blue skies but unseasonably cold for May

From here we could clearly see the survey pillar which sits on the top of Tarn Crag, however before heading over to it we made the rather boggy detour over Sleddale Fell to Harrop Pike. 

Harrop Pike and the view towards Tarn Crag.

Retracing our steps to where the fence turned north towards Tarn Crag we made our way over some very sloshy and at times horribly bouncy ground where a thin skin of vegetation now sits atop of what remains of Tarn Crag Tarn. The tarn is marked on the map still even though nothing can be seen on the surface!   On the summit we met the first person of the day.

Survey pillar a few meres from the true summit

From the summit we followed the fence northwest to the col where the path comes in from Mosedale.

Mosedale with Mosedale cottage below the spoil heaps

After a short boggy section in the col the ground dropped away and took us steeply down to Brownhowe Bottom. On the way down our eyes were constantly drawn across the valley as we tried to work out a line of least resistance that would lead us up the slopes of Kentmere Pike.  

We could see several pathless routes up and in the end decided to ascend via the disused Wrengill quarry so that we could have a look at what remains there.

Old engine

Tarn Crag from Wrengill Quarries
Beyond the quarries we then used a wall as a handrail to lead us to the summit of Kentmere Pike. In the shelter of the wall we were absolutely lathered and down to base layers as we toiled up the hill, only to end up feeling nithered on the last section to the summit as the wall turned southwest leaving us exposed to the strong northerly wind. Here we were also greeted by a brief snow shower.

Trig and stile on Kentmere Pike
Looking at my records the last time we were here was the 7th September 1997, so a return, while not a new tick on our Wainwright’s quest, was certainly worth the effort just to reacquaint ourselves with the summit views.

View Northwest

View Southeast

Morecambe Bay and Heyham Nuclear Power Station

Now with jumper and duvet jacket back on we did not hang around and headed off in the direction of Shipman Knotts.  On the way we detoured to Goat Scar for no other reason than it looked like it would make a good viewpoint, which it did.

Longsleddale from Goat Scar
We only stopped off briefly on Shipman Knotts for a pic before making our way steeply down towards Wray Crag. 

View from Shipman Knotts back towards Goat Scar and Kentmere Pike

A very squelchy section then led us to the Stile End track.  

Nearly down. Tarn Crag (L) and Grey Crag (R) from the track

This was then followed down to Sadgill and our start point.

That’s 4 Wainwrights bagged, but only 3 new ticks as Kentmere Pike had been done previously.  This leaves us 58 to do in total and only 2 more to do (Wansfell Pike and Troutdale Tongue) to complete the Far Eastern Fells.

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